Articles Posted in DUI with a Minor

A 32-year-old woman is accused of crashing her car into another vehicle and then fleeing the scene with two boys in the back seat while driving under the influence, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Just after 10:30 p.m. Friday, deputies responded to a hit-and-run crash near the intersection of Boynton Beach Boulevard and State Road 7. They apparently spoke to a driver who said his car was rear-ended and that the other driver headed south on State Road 7.

Eventually, a deputy found a red Nissan Altima stopped on the side of the road with front-end damage with the 32-year-old woman behind the wheel, according to the report. In the backseat were a 11-year-old and 7-year-old.

While speaking with the woman, the deputy allegedly noted a smell of alcohol on her breath and that her words were slurred and her eyes were glassy.

The woman apparently submitted to a Breathalyzer tests showing her blood-alcohol level was nearly double the legal intoxication limit of 0.08. Her first test was allegedly 0.150 and the second was 0.146, according to the report.

The woman faces charges including DUI, child neglect and hit and run. She was released Saturday from the Palm Beach County Jail on $6,000 bond.

Being charged with DUI in Florida can be the start of a never-ending nightmare. Depending on the circumstances, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony charge. There are not many things that can make the situation worse in such an event, but one of them is if you had a child or children in the vehicle when you were pulled over.

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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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Around 40 million drivers will be travelling on the roadways over the long Thanksgiving weekend to spend time with family and friends. In fact, Thanksgiving weekend is the most travelled holiday period of the year. It is estimated that 418 people will lose their lives in motor vehicle collisions in the United States this Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Safety Council.

For college students, Thanksgiving Eve is sometimes referred to as “Black Wednesday,” and it is unofficially known as the busiest bar night of the year, which means it is also the biggest drunk driving night of the year.

As many people celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, their celebration also includes the use of not just alcohol, but also drugs. Alcohol or drugs, or a combination of them, will put drivers at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accidents that could kill or injure themselves as well as others.

It is important to mention that Florida has a Zero Tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21. Any driver who is under 21 who is stopped by law enforcement officers and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have his or her Florida driver’s license suspended for six months. There are many other devastating consequences that accompany a DUI conviction, including academic penalties as well as criminal consequences.

Avoid a DUI this Thanksgiving

There are a few tips that can be followed to prevent DUI injuries and deaths, including:

  • Plan a safe way to get home before heading out to your party
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver
  • If you are intoxicated, please do not get behind the wheel of a car. Call a taxi, use public transportation, call a sober friend or family member, or even use a ride share app such as Uber or Lyft so that you are sure to get home safely.
  • Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Take the keys and help them make other arrangements to get where they are going safely.

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A Lakeland man is accused of driving under the influence with a 4-year-old child in the car.

The 40-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning after a traffic stop in New Port Richey.

According to the arrest report, the sheriff’s office received a call about a possible impaired driver.

The responding deputy stopped the man’s vehicle, a white 2012 Ford pick-up.

According to the report, the man had glassy, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The reported also alleged his breath smelled of alcohol.

The report indicates the man admitted to drinking but changed his answer to how much several times.

The report goes on to state that he staggered and swayed and could not understand simple instructions. He apparently refused to take a field sobriety test. He also declined a breath alcohol test, according to the arrest report.

The report says the man had a 4-year-old child in the vehicle with him at the time of the stop.

There are several aggravating factors that can increase the penalties attached to a Florida DUI conviction. One of these penalty enhancements would apply when the DUI offense occurred with a minor child in the vehicle. This penalty enhancement can add significant jail time on top of whatever sentence is imposed for the underlying DUI offense.

If you have been arrested for DUI in New Port Richey and have an additional penalty enhancement allegation involving a child in the vehicle, it is important that you speak with a Pasco County DUI Attorney at Whittel & Melton immediately. As former prosecutors, our DUI Lawyers understand how best to defend parents or others charged with DUI.

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St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most dangerous holidays to be on the road. As with most holidays, there is increased law enforcement presence, and there are drunk drivers everywhere. Celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day are notorious for the green beer and other alcoholic beverages. No matter how you choose to celebrate, keep in mind that law enforcement agencies across Florida will be stepping up their efforts to keep the roadways safe.

4441404620_3f16a0f0c0_z (1)Saint Patrick’s Day Drunk Driving Facts

  • From 2009 to 2013, over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, 276 people were killed in drunk driving crashes across the nation.
  • In 2013 on St. Patrick’s Day, 31 people were killed in drunk driving crashes.
  • In 2013, two out of five auto accident fatalities over Saint Patrick’s Day weekend involved drunk drivers.
  • On March 18, 2013, between midnight at 5:59 a.m., 55 percent of crash fatalities involved drunk drivers.

If you plan on celebrating today with green beer or any other form of alcohol, please do not get behind the wheel. If you are going to be drinking any alcohol, make sure you have a plan. Designating a driver ahead of time is a great way to make sure you have a safe ride home. However, sometimes plans fall through, so make sure you have a backup plan, too.  Save a local cab company’s number in your phone or download a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft. Law enforcement officers will be out patrolling the roadways, so don’t risk your life,  the lives of others, or a potential DUI arrest.

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In the past, the Tampa Police Department has arrested between 200 and 400 people each Gasparilla weekend on DUI and other alcohol-related charges. Nowadays, many people are issued civil citations for violating open container laws which includes a fine of $75 – $450. In 2012, TPD issued 302 open containers violation civil citations, and 8 others were arrested for DUI and 27 were cited for underage drinking.

While you should be able to enjoy the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion without waking up with a criminal record, understand that you must take certain precautions in order to protect yourself from suffering this fate. Keep in mind that the TPD will be using mobile surveillance camera units in order to identify troublemakers. The Tampa Police will also use Bobcat Golf Carts, bicycles, Segways and horses to stop fights, drunk drivers and find lost children.

4319865951_914dfdb236_zThe following guidelines are helpful to review before you head out this weekend. These laws will be strictly enforced by the TPD:

  • You Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol
  • Open containers are only permitted in designated areas
  • Alcohol cannot be consumed from kegs or large vessels
  • Alcohol Must be Purchased from vendors
  • Plastic Bottles and Cans are permitted, but no glass or Styrofoam cups or containers are allowed
  • Public Urination will not be tolerated
  • No Fighting
  • No Property damage
  • No Trespassing – the parade does travel through residential neighborhoods, so be respectful of other people’s private property.
  • No nudity
  • No Public intoxication
  • No Driving Under the Influence
  • No Weapons
  • No Illegal Drugs
  • No Coolers

The Florida DUI Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to be safe this weekend. We recommend the following:

  • Plan where you will park before heading out. There will be plenty of parking at Raymond James Stadium with a shuttle to the parade. Also, there will be parking in the Ybor City Garage and from there, you can take the streetcar trolley. Other options are to park in downtown Tampa and Channelside garages or parking lots.
  • Assign a Designated Driver before consuming alcohol, or plan on taking a taxi home.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat before you start drinking.

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With Christmas behind us and the New Year’s holiday looming ahead, many Florida drivers are distracted by all the holiday parties and family gatherings and are not as persevering about designating a sober driver or staying sober for the ride home.

Florida law enforcement officials are not distracted during this holiday season. In fact, they are patrolling for drunk drivers throughout the month of December and New Year’s Eve and setting up DUI checkpoints.

15777342095_163bc0b4a3_mWhat should I do If I have been drinking and I am pulled over by the police?

  • The most important thing to remember is to be polite with the police officer that pulls you over. Being confrontational or acting rude will only put you in jail quicker.
  • Know your rights. You do have the right to refuse all field sobriety tests. These tests only help the arresting officer build a stronger case against you. Understand that police intend to use the results of any test against you in court.
  • You also have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, blood or urine test. Remember though, if you do refuse these test, you face a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
  • Law enforcement is recording you. Be sure to watch how you act and what you say.
  • An officer will likely ask you various questions about what you were doing in the hours leading up to your vehicle being stopped. You do not have to answer an officer’s questions about whether you had anything to drink that night, where you were coming from, or any other questions. The most appropriate response to these questions is to politely request to speak to your attorney before answering questions.

If pulled over for DUI, what type of field sobriety tests will the police administer?

There are various field sobriety tests conducted by police, including the following:

  • The Eye Test also known as the HGN Test
  • The One Leg Stand
  • Alphabet Recitation
  • Walk & Turn
  • Nose Touch

Questions you can expect to be asked by police:

  • Where are you coming from?
  • Have you been drinking?
  • Who have you been with?
  • Where are you going?

It is important to be respectful to the arresting officer, but you do NOT have to discuss any personal information. You do not have to tell the officer where you are coming from, where you are going or who you have been with.

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The holidays are well known by law enforcement officials as “DUI Season,” and the reason behind it is because people all over the U.S. tend to throw caution to the wind during this time of year and drink too much and get behind the wheel. Don’t give yourself the gift of a DUI this Christmas. The consequences of a DUI arrest are severe and the penalties of a conviction could ruin your holidays for many years to come.

The most obvious and reasonable solution to preventing a DUI is to refrain from drinking and driving. If you plan to drink, ask your friends or family if you can spend the night, or secure a sober ride home. Keeping yourself from getting behind the wheel after a few too many can not only keep yourself safe, but secure the safety of all other drivers and passengers on the roadways. Be smart and always plan ahead.

6469630651_3689c55464_m (1)The consequences of getting even one DUI conviction are serious, and almost always include jail time, license suspensions, points on your license, increased insurance rates and hefty fines. Fines can range anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for a first-time DUI conviction. Jail time can also vary from as a few days to six months for a first-time offender. A DUI is not something you want to mess around with. The best thing you can do for yourself whether you have had one drink or several, is to give up your keys. Do not chance it. The holidays see increased DUI patrol efforts on the roadways, including sobriety checkpoints and a blitz of patrols.

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President Obama designated the month of December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in 2010 in an attempt to shed light on the serious problem of drunk and drugged driving in the U.S. With the holiday season and the end of the year approaching, holiday parties and celebrations will go hand in hand, making it a great time to highlight the dangers of impaired driving and the consequences that come along with an arrest.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, someone is killed every 52 minutes in a drunk driving-related crash every year and someone is injured every 90 seconds. An interesting fact to note about drunk driving problems is that one-third of arrests, injuries and fatalities come from repeat offenders. This translates to mean that each time a driver is behind the wheel, he or she is possibly sharing the road with 2 million people who have three or more drunk driving offenses.

11064883376_6771bd6c4a_zPreventing a serious drunk driving accident or a DUI arrest all begins with you, so if you know that you will be attending a party or event where you will consume alcohol, make sure to designate a driver before you head out, or even program the numbers of local cab companies in your phone to ensure you have a safe ride home.

If you are going to host a party, make sure to include non-alcoholic beverage options for guests. Another good tip? Try not to serve alcohol the last hour of the gathering. Also, be ready to help your guests stay off the road if they have been drinking by allowing them to stay at your home, or by having sober rides home lines up.

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Planning a trip to Key West for the holiday? There will be a DUI checkpoint on Stock Island, according to reports.

As most Florida drivers know, there can be huge traffic delays in the Florida Keys if there is a crash on U.S. 1, which is the main thoroughfare through the island chain. However, this Labor Day weekend, expect delays because the DUI checkpoint will be on Stock Island, which you have to travel through to get to Key West.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, deputies will stage it for northbound drivers on U.S. 1 at Cross Street, from 8 p.m. Saturday through 2 a.m. Sunday.

2816552570_c25300d775_mPer usual sobriety checkpoints, vehicles will be checked for safety violations, and drivers will be observed for signs of impairment.

Authorities claim they are expecting lots of visitors to the Keys for the long weekend, so deputies will be heavily enforcing laws against speeding, passing in the no passing zones and drunk driving.

While the police are allowed to establish DUI roadblocks, they still are required to follow certain constitutional guidelines. With that said, police cannot just create a checkpoint at anytime and anywhere on impulse. They must sufficiently justify their reasons for the roadblock in that vicinity, clear guidelines must be established for the conduct of the roadblock and prior notice must be given to the public. If proper procedures are not followed, any evidence gathered during the investigation may be deemed inadmissible in court.

In many instances, police do not follow required procedures for DUI roadblocks. However, irregularities on their part can actually benefit your case. A Florida DUI Lawyer at Whittel & Melton will scrutinize every facet of your DUI arrest and find anything that could possible help defend you.

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