Articles Posted in DWI

From cookouts and family get-togethers to concerts and parades, Memorial Day weekend is a time for remembrance and celebration. Like any holiday, law enforcement will be out in full force this weekend looking for intoxicated drivers, so partygoers should exercise extra caution to avoid criminal charges.

memorial dayGiven the extent of potential consequences, it is in everyone’s best interest to try and avoid a DUI charge during the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. The following tips can help you prevent an unnecessary DUI charge:

  1. Use Alternate Transportation. Alternate modes of transportation, such as taxis, buses or even car services like Lyft and Uber can prevent you from driving under the influence and help you have an enjoyable holiday weekend.
  2. Try to Stay Within Walking Distance of Your Destination. Travel risks are increased during holiday seasons whether you have been drinking or not. When venturing away from the home, try and stay within walking distance so that you are not tempted to get behind the wheel after consuming a few alcoholic beverages.
  3. Never Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. Many people fail to realize that DUI laws do not just apply to those who have been drinking alcohol. Any substance that can lead to intoxication, including marijuana and prescription pills, can result in a DUI charge if you decide to drive.

The above safety tips can help you and those closest to you stay safe this holiday weekend. However, if you are stopped for a DUI it is important to know how to react. It can be frightening to be stopped by law enforcement, but being prepared can help you get through this experience unscathed. Understand that during busy holidays, like Memorial Day, police usually set up checkpoints throughout the state and will be stopping drivers. If you get stopped this weekend, remember the following tips:

Stay Calm. Anytime you are pulled over you should remain calm. While you may be anxious or scared, staying cool and collected is the best way to handle the situation.

Know Your Rights. Reviewing and understanding your rights is crucial in order to protect yourself. If you know nothing else, remember that you have the right to speak with an attorney before answering any questions.

Contact a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer. A Florida DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can assist with your defense following an arrest for DUI. We can also make sure your rights remain protected throughout the entire legal process.

Retaining an attorney is just the first step towards resolving your DUI case. At Whittel & Melton, we can review all the evidence against you and scrutinize every detail of your case in order to map out the best course of action. Every DUI charge involves different factors with time-sensitive requirements that must be met, so do not delay.

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A 33-year-old Brevard mother was charged with DUI impairment/serious bodily injury and three counts of child neglect-great harm after allegedly crashing her vehicle while under the influence of cocaine and alcohol, sending her and her three young children to area hospitals.

The woman’s 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee overturned several times on March 8, ejecting her 5-year-old son. Her 4-year-old boy and 9-month-old girl were also in the vehicle.

The older two children were flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. The 5-year-old suffered severe injuries, while records indicate the 4-year-old was critically injured. The 5-year-old boy had a fractured femur and clavicle, bruised lungs, cerebral contusion and other injuries.

The woman and her 9-month-old were taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce.

A Mercedes carrying two adults was also involved in the wreck.

Police claim blood taken from the woman at the hospital nearly four hours after the 8:30 p.m. crash tested positive for cocaine and had an alcohol content of 0.094.

Five days after the crash, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper went to St. Mary’s and allegedly smelled alcohol coming from the woman and reported her eyes were bloodshot and watery and her speech very slurred.

A nurse at the hospital apparently told troopers that the 5-year-old boy told her his mother’s favorite drink was wine.

FHP officials claim the woman told them she had consumed three glasses of wine before she left her home the day of the crash. She apparently borrowed her friend’s jeep to visit her husband at a federal penitentiary.

According to FHP, only one child seat was recovered from the vehicle.

The woman apparently denied taking any controlled substances.

The presence of children in a vehicle can complicate a Florida DUI arrest and often results in child endangerment charges. In fact, Florida law provides for enhanced penalties for a DUI charge if a child is present in the car. This woman will likely face enhanced DUI penalties due to the allegations she had drugs and alcohol in her system and three children in her vehicle at the time of the incident.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009 there were 1,314 traffic deaths amid children ages 0 to 14 years. Of these, 181 involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Due to numbers like these, Florida as well as other areas throughout the country has implemented tough child endangerment laws for those drinking and driving with children in the car. The consequences of a DUI charge alone can carry stiff penalties such as heavy fines, jail time and the loss of your driver’s license. Having a child in your car following a DUI arrest adds an additional charge of child endangerment. By having multiple children in your car, additional counts will be tacked on making the consequences associated with a conviction even more severe.

Child endangerment cases are fueled by emotions, requiring a DUI Defense Lawyer that can mount an effective defense based off of the facts. When faced with charges stemming from a DUI, it is important to protect your rights until your case is fully resolved. The Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are committed to pursuing the most positive conclusion on your behalf. As former prosecutors, we are fully aware of how the State builds its case against those charged with DUI and child endangerment. We can discuss your case with you and the many ways these serious charges can be addressed.

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An 18-year-old south Tampa teen was recently arrested for her third DUI in three weeks.

One day after police arrested her on a DUI charge, the teen rear-ended a stopped car. The alleged victims claim she appeared to be drunk.

Police noted she had glassy eyes and allegedly recovered marijuana, a bong, a roach clip and a glass pipe in her van.

She was charged with her third DUI arrest in 18 days – her second in 48 hours.

The teen allegedly told officers on the scene at the March 12 crash that she did not know smoking marijuana and driving would equate to a DUI.

A day earlier, as police were booking her for her second DUI charge the teen apparently told an officer she had smoked marijuana four hours earlier.

Both times she had a blood-alcohol content of 0.00, which indicates she had no alcohol in her system. However, police believe she was impaired and ordered a urine sample. The results from the tests are pending.

The teen appeared in court Monday. A prosecutor filed a motion asking the judge to revoke her bail. The judge sent the teen back to jail.

According to court records, each time the teen was stopped she was violating driving restrictions.

State records indicate the teen had a learner’s license that was issued in November and was not supposed to be driving without an adult in the vehicle.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in the first two months of this year she was cited for careless driving, violating her learner’s license, not wearing a seat belt and driving with an open container.

Police claim they found a bottle of Sailor Jerry spiced rum on the floorboard of her father’s van when she was pulled over the first time on Feb. 23.

Officers allegedly found 12 Xanax pills, marijuana and a bong in addition to the bottle of alcohol.

Police claim that the teen kept driving despite receiving a letter from the Department of Highway
Safety stating her license was suspended.

Her license was officially suspended March 20, but by that time she had been arrested three times for DUI.

The legal blood alcohol content in every state for operating a motor vehicle is 0.08 percent. However, this does not apply to teenagers. Most states stringently enforce a “zero-tolerance” policy. Meaning that if police determine a minor is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she can be placed in police custody. Florida law is no different and takes a firm stance on underage drinking and driving. The consequences of a Florida DUI can impact young lives forever.

An underage DUI conviction can seriously compromise a promising future. Penalties associated with a conviction can range from a suspended license to heavy fines and jail time. Other consequences can arise in the future such as rejection from admission to college or employment. Probation may be a possibility, but a minor could still be subject to 60 days in jail on a first DUI conviction, and up to a year on a second.

Despite the circumstances surrounding an underage DUI arrest, the sooner you get legal help the better. Too much is at stake to handle this serious matter on your own. The Florida DUI Defense Lawyers will protect your rights and make sure that a proper investigation into your arrest is performed. We can challenge the initial stop of your vehicle and various types of testing, such as breath, blood and urine tests.

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A Lake Butler corrections officer was taken into custody for DUI shortly after midnight Friday after a Marion County sheriff’s deputy allegedly noticed the man weaving on and off the roadway.

The deputy claims that after stopping the vehicle he detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver’s breath. He apparently asked the driver if he had been drinking, and the driver apparently answered no.

The man agreed to perform field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed.

The man allegedly admitted to drinking “a little bit of gin.”
The deputy claims he found a red plastic cup in the center console inside the man’s vehicle that apparently contained gin.

The man was placed under arrest and transported to Marion County Jail, where he apparently registered a .132 and .129 on breath tests.

In Florida, a BAC level of .08 percent is considered legally intoxicated. It is generally perceived that the higher the BAC, the less control a driver has of his or her vehicle and the greater the threat to other drivers. The state of Florida has an implied consent law, like many other states, that basically means if you are pulled over by police on suspicion of drunk driving, you will be asked to submit to a chemical test. A chemical test is a very important aspect of DUI prosecution. It is important to be aware that even with evidence obtained in a breath test there are many ways to combat DUI charges. Numerous DUI defenses are contingent upon not what you have done, but what police have or have not done.

Just because you failed a breath test does not mean you will be convicted of DUI. In fact, how a person breathes into a breathalyzer can affect the test results. Many times Florida police will advise suspects to breathe deeply and blow hard into a breathalyzer. However, by doing so, this may inflate the results and provide an inaccurate reading of a person’s blood alcohol level.

A Florida DUI Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can scrutinize the evidence from your arrest, which include field sobriety and chemical test results, and determine if any mistakes were made. If it can be established that your rights were violated, or if any procedural errors occurred, we will pursue reduced or dismissed charges. If you are pulled over anywhere in Florida and asked to take a breath test, you should immediately request to speak with a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer to learn about your legal rights. At Whittel & Melton, we understand the issues surrounding breath tests and how to identify improper procedures.

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British professional golfer Rachel Connor was arrested Thursday morning for DUI with retired NFL star Eddie George apparently riding shotgun.

Connor, 21, was pulled over around 2:21 a.m. in Sarasota, Florida after police allegedly observed her speeding. According to the police report, Connor apparently admitted to consuming two vodka cranberries earlier in the night.

Cops identified the man in the passenger seat as former NFL star and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George.

Connor was allegedly given a breathalyzer test that yielded results of .133 and .137. Authorities claim she had trouble walking straight and could not count in numerical order.

According to reports, George was not arrested.

Anytime law enforcement officials suspect a motorist may be operating his or her vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may detain the individual. After stopping a vehicle for suspicion of DUI, officers may choose to administer field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer test. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, it is extremely necessary to have a DUI defense lawyer on your side to defend your rights, livelihood and future.

Breathalyzer test results are not always reliable. In fact, these results may be challenged in court for the following reasons:

• The machine was improperly calibrated
• The test was not properly administered
• The breathalyzer machine was not stored properly
• The breathalyzer machine was possibly damaged
• The test, or tests, yielded conflicting readings
• Other possible chemicals or substances may have been present that created a false reading
If any field sobriety or chemical tests are not properly administered they may be found inaccurate, and the results may not be admissible in court. The Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton may be able to assist with your defense by identifying errors in the test procedures and/or results.

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Former NHL player Matthew Barnaby plead guilty to four violations connected to a DWI arrest that got him fired from ESPN Tuesday evening in the town court in Clarence in suburban Buffalo.

The former hockey analyst apologized for driving while intoxicated, refusing a breath test, driving with unsafe tires and for failing to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of an address change.

A judge sentenced Barnaby to 100 hours of community service, alcohol abuse counseling and fines and surcharges in the amount of $1,950.

Barnaby was arrested in the early morning hours of Dec. 5 near his Clarence home after Erie County sheriffs supposedly found him in the driver’s seat of a Porsche Cayenne that had front-end damage and was giving off sparks due to a missing front tire.

Barnaby apparently refused a breath test and failed field sobriety tests resulting in his license being revoked.

The missing front tire is believed to have been located near an Interstate exit ramp a short distance away from where Barnaby was arrested. A fifth charge of leaving the scene of an accident was dropped because no evidence was found to support Barnaby caused any injuries or additional damage.

The NHL veteran was fired by ESPN from his four-year career as a hockey analyst the day after his arrest.

Barnaby, 38, allegedly reached the plea agreement to avoid a potential one-year jail term for DWI.

In the state of Florida a DUI charge equates simply to drunk driving. The laws regarding drunk driving vary depending on the state and can even have different names including DWI – Driving While Impaired and OUI – Operating Under the Influence, just to name a few. No matter what it’s called, drunk driving charges can seriously impact your life by imposing heavy fines, loss of your driver’s license, jail time and public humiliation.

DUI laws in Florida, as well as most states, are based on blood alcohol content or concentration. It is considered a crime to operate a vehicle with a BAC of more than .08. It is important to note that you do not have to be over the legal limit to be charged with DUI. Florida DUI laws can be extremely complex, which is why it is so important to consult with a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer. Even if you were arrested for DUI or failed a field sobriety test, this does not always mean you are guilty. Prosecutors and police officers usually have added pressures from legislators to aggressively arrest and prosecute those believed to be guilty of driving drunk. With that said, not every DUI arrest is justified and an experienced DUI Lawyer can spot any evidence of reasonable doubt that can possibly mitigate the consequences of being convicted of DUI.

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