Articles Posted in Felony DUI

A 32-year-old man was arrested on multiple charges early Friday after police said he crashed a U-Haul moving truck into a St. Pete Beach hotel.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the man drove the UHaul truck into the Hotel Zamora located at 3701 Gulf Boulevard just after midnight.  

Officials said the man then drove off from the area. He was arrested about two hours later.

When deputies arrived there was substantial structural damage to a hotel parking garage drop ceiling. Witnesses provided deputies with a description of the moving truck.

Shortly afterward, deputies stopped a 10 foot U-Haul truck with roof damage, driving north on Gulf Winds Drive at 64th Avenue in St. Pete Beach.

Officials said the man told them he attended a party at Hotel Zamora. After the party, the man was driving his passenger to her car in the parking garage when he struck the parking garage drop ceiling with the roof of the U-Haul truck.

The man apparently said he fled the scene and hid the truck in the area until deputies left the area. He said he was in the process of moving to Miami.

He is facing charges of leaving the scene of crash with property damage, one count of DUI, and one count of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol can lead to life-changing penalties. These charges are further complicated when a crash occurs resulting in property damage. A Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can make sure you understand your legal options and what to expect from the criminal justice system. We can walk you through every stage of the process, working with you to aggressively pursue your desired outcome.

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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 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 Lakeland man was arrested Saturday night on DUI charges after a hit and run and driving the wrong-way.

Troopers believe the 36-year-old was driving recklessly westbound on I-4 around 10 p.m. Saturday.

When troopers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the Dodge Journey, they said the man drove through the median and cable barrier into the eastbound lanes of I-4, still traveling westbound.

Troopers claim the man then stopped his vehicle westbound on the inside shoulder of eastbound I-4, and when they approached him, they said he drove off to the outside shoulder and stopped.

Troopers then arrested and charged the man with DUI, DUI property damage, leaving the scene of a crash, and driving on the wrong side of a divided highway.

He was transported to the Polk County jail.

Leaving the scene of an accident (hit-and-run) is a crime. When coupled with DUI, charges and penalties can be more severe. While a Florida DUI may only be a misdemeanor on its own, the offense can be enhanced when there are aggravating factors, such as leaving the scene of the accident. Anytime a driver is involved in an accident, they are required to stop.

Just because you have been charged with DUI does not mean you are guilty. Our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know the many faults and flaws that can occur during a traffic stop or during a DUI investigation. Law enforcement officers do not always use the proper procedures when stopping vehicles.

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A 33-year-old Lakeland man has been charged with DUI manslaughter after his father died from his injuries in a January crash.

The man was already in Polk County Jail after the crash, which occurred Jan. 21.

At that time, the man had been charged with DUI leaving scene involving bodily injury.

The man’s father was hospitalized after the crash and died on March 27, according to reports.

Authorities announced the new charge against the man on Tuesday.

The man’s father suffered multiple broken bones in the crash and was being treated at Lakeland Regional Health before he died.

Facing charges that deal with taking someone else’s life is terrifying. DUI Manslaughter charges carry serious lifelong penalties that will follow you around forever. Because of the severity of these charges, you need to enlist legal help as soon as possible, so that you can have the best defense strategy possible.

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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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Cinco de Mayo is viewed as an American drinking holiday, just like St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Halloween. On the fifth of May, there is usually a rise in DUI arrests due to local law enforcement officers cracking down on drunk drivers using DUI checkpoints. If you have found yourself facing DUI charges, it is best to speak with a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible so that you can better understand your legal rights.

We understand how to help you build the strongest possible case for DUI charges. We will start by collecting and analyzing the facts surrounding your case, including why the police stopped you in the first place and how they tested your blood alcohol content level.

Did you know that Breathalyzers can malfunction? Police can even make errors when it comes to the proper methods for administering these tests. A further investigation into the testing procedures could show that the equipment used may not have been maintained or calibrated properly. Let us help you mount the strongest possible defense for the specific DUI charges you are facing.

When it comes to DUI cases, it is important to act fast as there are deadlines for filing paperwork, and if these documents are not filled out correctly, this could weaken your chances of achieving the best possible outcome. Even if you are facing a first- time DUI arrest, you could still be looking at possible jail time. Prosecutors fight quite aggressively to enforce the maximum punishments on DUI offenders. As former prosecutors, we know what techniques the State will attempt to bring against you and can counter their attacks accordingly.

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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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With the holidays here, a large amount of people will be traveling to see their families. While this is a time for celebrating and family fun, the increased number of drivers on the roads usually means a larger number of intoxicated drivers, leading to an increased risk of accidents and arrests for driving under the influence.

The following tips can keep you out of trouble and help you avoid being charged with a holiday DUI this year.

Do Not Drink and Drive

Sounds easy enough, right? The most obvious way to avoid a DUI over the holidays is to refrain from drinking and driving. If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver. If you do not have anyone that can drive you, call a taxi , use a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft, or just stay put until you are completely sober. This will keep you and everyone else on the roads safe.

A person can be charged with a DUI if they get behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. There are several ways to keep you BAC down, including:

  • Eating
  • Drinking water
  • Pacing yourself
  • Waiting before driving

It is important to point out that if you happen to cause an accident with any amount of alcohol in your system, you can still face severe penalties and a possible DUI arrest. Every person is different, and there is no absolute formula to help you stay sober. Generally speaking, it takes a small amount of alcohol for a person to become legally drunk.

Drive Safely

Always drive safely, but pay special attention to this during the holidays. Don’t blow through stop signs or make any risky maneuvers. Eliminate distractions like cell phones and loud music so that you can focus completely on the task at hand.

The above tips can help you avoid a holiday DUI, but understand that there is always the possibility of being pulled over at the wrong time. If you find yourself arrested for DUI over the holidays, our Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you obtain the best possible outcome for your unique situation.

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A central Florida woman has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for a fatal drunk driving collision.

The Volusia County judge sentenced the 44-year-old woman on Tuesday. Jurors found her guilty of the fatal DUI crash in October.

Authorities believe the woman was speeding in November 2012 when she rear-ended a 22-year-old woman, who was stopped at a red light.

The woman’s blood alcohol level after the crash registered at 0.152 percent, according to police. Florida law considers a driver impaired at 0.08 percent.

Car accidents can cause serious injuries in many ways, especially in rear-end collisions. However, when alcohol or drug use is involved, what could have been a simple car accident may become a serious felony criminal charge. In the state of Florida, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher, and who causes injuries in an accident may face charges of DUI Manslaughter.

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