Articles Posted in Felony DUI

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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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 mother was arrested in Marion County after she was accused of driving under the influence while her 2-year-old daughter slept in a car seat in the back seat.

The 26-year-old faces charges of DUI and child neglect.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said they received a phone call from someone about a possible drunk driver on Baseline Road Wednesday night.

According to reports, a deputy got behind the woman’s vehicle and observed it cross the center lane and weave in and out of traffic.

2719031_cfd70da743_mThe deputy pulled the woman over and claims she failed several sobriety tests. The report said she told a deputy she was on a medication. The woman was arrested.

The incident report shows that the woman passed the breathalyzer test, but later admitted to taking a type of medication. Sheriff’s deputies believe that she was impaired, possibly by a medication or narcotic.

The woman has a previous DUI charge and probation violations.

Facing any type of DUI charge is quite stressful. When a child is in the car during the arrest, however, penalties will enhance drastically. Florida has strict laws regarding DUI, and if a child is present in a DUI case, you could be facing a mandatory fine, jail time, driver’s license revocation and other harsh penalties.

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The Fourth of July is just days away and people all over Tampa Bay will be planning to attend various celebrations, or perhaps planning one of their own. As is the case with other holidays, Fourth of July festivities often involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages. State and local law enforcement are aware of this fact, and you can definitely expect to see increased DUI patrols during this holiday weekend.

4428561177_831c2f9269_zThere are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of being arrested for DUI. Obviously, the most straightforward course of action is to refrain from drinking alcohol. However, there are perfectly responsible ways for Tampa area residents to enjoy alcohol this Independence Day. If you do choose to drink, here are a few ways to avoid a DUI arrest:

  • Plan ahead. Before heading out, make sure you have a plan on how you will be getting home safely.
  • Select a Sober Driver. If you are going out with a group of people, choose someone you can trust to act as the designated driver.
  • Use Public Transportation or a Rideshare Service. Tampa has a variety of public transportation options. You can always use a rideshare app such as Uber and Lyft as well. By leaving the driving to someone else, you will eliminate any risk of being accused of drunk driving.

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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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