Articles Posted in DUI Serious Body Injury

A fiery crash on the Selmon Expressway killed a child and two adults, and led to the arrest of a 29-year-old Brandon woman for DUI.

The woman is accused of leaving the scene of the crash and she faces a litany of charges after she apparently lost control of her car near the Bay to Bay and Euclid exit and “touched off a chain reaction of crashes,” leading to the deaths of two adults and one child, according to police.

Witnesses allege they saw the woman driving at a “high rate of speed,” eastbound on the expressway. Reports indicate they said she tried to pass at least two vehicles going in the same direction, lost control of her vehicle and slammed into the back of a Hyundai occupied by the three victims. The Hyundai then spun out of control through the grass median and into the westbound lanes where it was struck by a Jeep and an Infinity SUV.  The vehicle came to a final rest in the westbound lanes and burst into flames, according to police.

The woman is accused of leaving the scene. Law enforcement caught up with her shortly after the crash when her car broke down near Willow Avenue and Platt Street.

According to reports, her speech was slurred, and police said she admitted to using anxiety medications Lexapro and Ativan before getting behind the wheel, and she allegedly failed a field sobriety test after demonstrating clues of impairment.

She was taken into custody and transported to Tampa General Hospital where her blood was taken for alcohol testing. According to police, once they administered the blood tests, the woman tried to remove her vials of blood and hide them in her underwear, which lead them to charging her with tampering with physical evidence.

The woman has been charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury, leaving the scene of a crash with death, leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury and tampering with physical evidence.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. When added to driving under the influence, charges and penalties will become escalated. While a simple DUI may only be a misdemeanor, the offense can become more serious when there are additional factors, like fleeing the scene of the accident.

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A staffer for Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto was charged with DUI after being accused of rear-ending a motorcyclist Friday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The woman is facing a number of charges stemming from an accident that left a motorcyclist with injuries.

The woman has been suspended with pay.

The accident happened at about 10:24 p.m. Friday when a motorcyclist was traveling southbound on State Road 417, near John Young Parkway. The motorcyclist was apparently rear-ended by the woman as she was driving her Nissan Altima, according to the FHP.

The motorcyclist suffered a skull fracture, possible broken bones to her foot and hand and was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center as a “trauma alert,” FHP described. She’s expected to recover.

The FHP arrest report states that the woman’s two children were in the car with her: a 14-year-old who was in the front passenger seat and a 9-year-old in the driver-side rear seat.

The woman, an Orlando resident, told authorities that she was coming from a work event, where she had two glasses of wine, and was on her way to a friend’s house in St. Petersburg before the accident, the FHP stated. The trooper claims that an opened and partially full can of beer was found in her Altima.

The FHP said an alcohol test found that her blood alcohol level was .119. The legal limit in the state is .08.

The woman was charged with DUI and serious bodily injury to another, driving with a suspected license while causing serious injury and child endangerment.

A first time DUI conviction has serious consequences in Florida: you could be facing a jail term between 6 and 9 months, fines ranging between $500 and $2,000, and your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days. You could also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

These consequences alone can be very traumatic to someone who has never been in trouble with the law. However, if you were charged with a DUI with a minor in the car, things can get much worse. This charge carries a penalty of up to 9 months in jail, fines between $1,000 to $2,000 and a six month requirement for an ignition interlock.

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The 4th of July is almost here, so it is important to bring up DUI arrests. The holiday is celebrated with barbecues, picnics, fireworks, and alcohol. Because this is a peak time for drinking and driving, law enforcement throughout the Tampa Bay area will be stepping up patrols over the holiday weekend.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has dubbed July 4th as the deadliest day for Americans on the road. Alcohol is a factor in 41 percent of 4th of July traffic deaths. July 3 and July 5 also have high numbers of alcohol-related collisions.

This year, the 4th falls on a Tuesday, so many people will be celebrating a three day or even four day weekend.

With the increased likelihood of a deadly accident, you will see more DUI patrols and checkpoints starting as early as Friday, June 30 and continuing through Wednesday, July 5. Please keep this in mind if you plan to get behind the wheel after drinking. Our Tampa Bay DUI Lawyers at Whittel & Melton encourage you to plan ahead and secure a safe ride home before you start drinking. Designate a driver to stay sober, call a taxi, or use Uber or Lyft.

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Former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor has pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Florida.

Taylor pleaded guilty Monday in Palm Beach County to DUI with injury or property damage. He was sentenced to one year of probation and a nine-month license suspension. He must also pay $1,500 and perform community service.

The Florida Highway Patrol claims Taylor was arrested after crashing into a motor home and a patrol vehicle on Florida’s Turnpike in September 2016. Breath tests conducted five hours after the crash record blood alcohol levels of 0.082 and 0.084 percent. You are considered impaired at 0.08 percent.

Taylor played 13 seasons with the Giants, helping the team win Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991.

If you’re a fan of professional football, you may have noticed that DUI charges are a common occurrence amongst athletes. Athletes are not immune to criminal charges, just like the rest of us. In fact, many NFL players have had recent issues with DUI-related charges. In the past two years, there have been many pro football players arrested for DUI, including Michael Floyd, Dak Prescott, Alvin Bailey, Troy Hill, Josh Huff, Damontre Moore, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TJ McDonald, Jonathon Williams, and Shiloh Keo.

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A 23-year-old Hudson man was arrested and charged with DUI with property damage after he allegedly crashed into a home overnight.

According to FHP, the man was traveling northbound on Balsam Avenue approaching the intersection of Shadow Lake Boulevard around 2:20 a.m.

Troopers claim he failed to slow or stop and collided with a posted stop sign and then the front of a home on the 13000 block of Shadow Lake Boulevard.

The crash caused an estimated $75,000 worth of damage to the home and caused minor injuries to the 71-year-old occupant of the home.

The man is also facing careless driving charges.

The man was a probationary Sheriff’s County deputy in Pasco, working in corrections since 2013. He has resigned following his arrest.

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Charges against a 31-year-old St. Petersburg man accused in a fatal DUI crash have been upgraded now to DUI manslaughter.

The man faces these charges after the death of a woman who passed away late Monday at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg as a result of her injuries suffered in a traffic crash last weekend.

According to Pinellas Park police, the 34-year-old St. Petersburg woman and her boyfriend were driving just before 1 a.m. Sunday in the 4000 block of Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park when they were struck by a 2016 Toyota Corolla.

Deputies say the 31-year-old man  was drunk when he drove through a red light and struck the woman’s 2003 Toyota Camry.

The woman her boyfriend were rushed to the hospital, where the woman later died. The man remains in critical condition.

In addition to DUI manslaughter, the man is also facing two charges of DUI causing serious bodily injury.

Pinellas Park police said surveillance video from a nearby restaurant captured the crash.

The man refused field sobriety tests at the scene of the crash.

Pinellas Park police did force a blood draw on the man.

DUI manslaughter and DUI causing serious bodily injury cases are quite complex as there are numerous factors that must be addressed immediately. Our Tampa DUI Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are former prosecutors, so we know what types of issues these cases raised. We can examine the evidence with the hopes of answering the following questions:  

  • What was the cause of the accident?
  • Is there any proof of who was actually driving the vehicle?
  • Was your blood alcohol content above or below the legal limit? Was a blood, breath or urine test lawfully obtained by law enforcement?
  • Did your negligence cause the death of another person?
  • Were there any witnesses to the accident?
  • What do experts and accident reconstructionists have to say about the evidence?

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Drinking and driving in the great state of Florida has some pretty steep consequences.

Wallet Hub compiled a ranking of the strictest and most lenient states in the U.S. with DUI penalties and Florida took the No. 14 spot.

The strictest state in the country is Arizona, followed by Georgia, Alaska, Oklahoma and Nebraska while South Dakota, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Vermont were the most lenient.

According to the site, the data was found by examining 15 categories including minimum jail time, minimum fines, and average insurance rate increase after an arrest. The overall findings showed that the average fine for a first DUI is $347. Wallet Hub also reports that 92 percent of states “require offenders to equip their vehicles with Ignition Interlock devices after DUI.”

In Florida, there is no minimum jail time sentence for a first-time conviction. A second conviction mandates a 10 day minimum time. A DUI becomes a felony after the third offense with older DUI offenses factoring into penalties for up to 10 years.

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Debby Ryan, star of the Disney Channel show “Jessie,” was recently arrested for DUI.  

According to reports, the arrest happened sometime last week, when Ryan was driving around in Los Angeles. She allegedly hit a Mercedes and injured the driver.

When police arrived at the scene, they arrested the 22-year-old actress for felony DUI after she performed a sobriety test.  

Ryan allegedly blew a .11 — the legal limit is .08 — and the authorities dropped her arrest to a misdemeanor.

She’s has been released on bail, which was set at $100,000, but has been charged with driving under the influence and driving with a .08 blood alcohol level or higher.

Anyone can be charged with a DUI – and this case shows that even celebrities are not immune from being arrested. Even consuming just one or two drinks and getting behind the wheel could result in disastrous consequences. Alcohol affects every person’s body differently, so it is best to refrain from drinking and driving at all times.

A DUI arrest resulting from an accident can enhance the consequences of a conviction. If another person was injured, this further complicates the DUI charges. Instead of a misdemeanor offense you could be looking at a serious felony.

DUI charges are nothing to mess around with. Not only can these charges hurt your wallet, but they could cause you to lose your job, your driver’s license and possibly require jail time. The state of Florida takes DUI charges very seriously, and prosecutors look to make examples out of even first-time offenders. With that said, just because you have been charged with a DUI this does not mean you cannot beat these charges. Each DUI case is unique, and depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton may be able to help you achieve a successful outcome. In certain scenarios, it may be possible for the charges against you to be reduced or dropped altogether.

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St. Patrick’s Day is here! This holiday celebrates Irish heritage with food, green attire, music, dancing and, often, the consumption of alcohol. According to reports from the National Highway Safety Administration, St. Patrick’s Day sees one of the biggest increases in drunk driving arrests and accidents compared to the rest of the year. In fact, during the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than 28 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. Moreover, from 2010 to 2014, nearly three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol contents (BACs) above the 0.08 limit. Of those crashes, 266 resulted in death.

If you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, you can face very harsh consequences. For a first offense, you could potentially serve time behind bars along with heavy fines, probation, suspension of your license and even the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. DUIs that involve bodily injury or death are even more serious and carry even more severe consequences.

The increased number of drunk drivers on the road on St. Patrick’s Day not only leads to an increased risk of becoming involved in an accident, but also an increased chance of being arrested. Law enforcement is well aware that holidays lead to more DUIs. Because of this, they increase patrols and set up DUI checkpoints in hopes of catching anyone drunk behind the wheel. They are ready to make arrests, so be aware of this as you are out celebrating.

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If you have had one too many drinks and can’t drive home New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, AAA will give you and your car a ride home.

Through its “Tow to Go” program, which is geared towards limiting the number of drunken drivers on the road by providing free lifts on a tow truck, the company is offering free rides throughout Florida through New Year’s Day.

“Tow to Go is basically a safety net or a last resort for people who don’t have a plan in place when they are away from their home and celebrating,” said Tow to Go program spokesman Matt Nasworthy.

Those who may need a lift do not have to be AAA members, but the service is offered on the availability of AAA drivers and tow trucks.

If you need a ride, the service is confidential and a tow truck driver will take you to a safe location within a 10-mile radius of your location.

The rides are intended to be a last resort for people who do not have a safe way to get home. AAA recommends planning ahead and selecting a designated driver or using a cab before calling for a tow.

The program is funded by Anheuser-Busch Wholesalers, who have co-sponsored the program since its inception.

To request a free tow and ride from AAA, call 855-286-9246.

The program has been offered since 1998 in Florida, and has provided more than 24,000 rides to impaired drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida had the third highest number of DUI-related fatalities in the nation in 2012. If you are found to be under the influence of alcohol and are in an accident, in addition to harsh criminal penalties, you could be held liable for all of the costs resulting from the collision. If a fatality does occur, you could be found at-fault in a potential wrongful death lawsuit along with the criminal consequences.

The average cost of a first time DUI can range up to $10,000, including fines, legal defense, and auto insurance increases. If you are going to be out celebrating this New Year’s Eve, be smart and refrain from drinking and driving.

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