Articles Posted in Hillsborough County

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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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 Tampa man has been charged with DUI after he allegedly struck a deputy’s vehicle while undercover deputies were investigating a marijuana grow area, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Around 7:50 p.m. Sunday, deputies were confiscating marijuana discovered growing in the mangroves just north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway boat ramp when deputies believe the accused struck the rear of an occupied deputy’s vehicle.

Deputies claim the suspect showed signs of being under the influence of alcohol. DUI deputies responded to the scene to conduct an investigation.

The 26-year-old allegedly provided BAC readings of .143/.144. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

A total of 68 marijuana plants were uprooted and seized from the mangroves. A total weight of approximately 77 lbs with a street value of approximately $114,500, according to police.

95 percent of first-time DUI offenders do not get a lawyer. Statistics report that this is because they think the cost of an attorney to avoid DUI penalties will be greater than the cost of their drunk driving charges. However, between significant fines, increased insurance rates and a ruined career, studies estimate a DUI can cost 20 to 40 thousand dollars over your lifetime.

Florida drunk driving charges impact your family, job, reputation, and of course, your bank account. When you’ve been charged with a DUI in the Tampa Bay area, you cannot afford hefty fines, revoked or suspended driving privileges, possible job loss, and the incredible amount of time it takes to deal with legal paperwork, DUI classes, trips to the DMV, and other financial stresses.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is underway. From August 19 through September 7, 2015, the national drunk driving enforcement crackdown will run to increase awareness through public safety campaigns. Law enforcement agencies across the nation will be out in full force to catch drunk driving offenders.

This year, the NHTSA will be taking a multi-pronged approach to educational awareness. They will be using paid, earned and social media advertising outlets, as well as working with a variety of local resources across the country.

Drunk Driving: A Look At the Numbers

  • Around one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers.
  • In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in the U.S.
  • On Labor Day weekend in 2013, there were 424 crash fatalities nationwide.
  • Nearly half of the 424 fatal crashes  in 2013 involved drunk drivers.
  • In 2013, an estimated 1 in 5 child passenger deaths happened in drunk-driving crashes.
  • Drunk driving crashes cost an estimated $49.8 billion annually.

Increased Enforcement of Drunk Driving Laws

In the upcoming weeks, local and state law enforcement agencies will be stepping up their drunk driving enforcement efforts. Expect to see an increased number of patrols out as well as more DUI checkpoints. Labor Day weekend is notorious for drunk driving offenders, so you can expect to see additional police units out and about looking for drunk drivers.

Do not risk a DUI or the lives of others. Always get a safe ride home.

Stay Safe Over Labor Day Weekend & Avoid a DUI Arrest

Labor Day Weekend can be especially dangerous for drivers in Florida and across the country. The NHTSA urges motorists to remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Even just one drink can be one drink too many. If you intend to celebrate with alcohol, always make a plan to get home safely. When in doubt, call a friend or a cab.

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A wrong-way driver is facing a DUI with property damage charge after he was involved in a crash on Bearss Avenue early Thursday morning.

Deputies believe the 45-year-old was traveling eastbound on Bearss Avenue in the westbound lane of traffic at approximately 12:45 a.m.

At the same time, deputies said another vehicle was traveling westbound on Bearss Avenue and saw the man’s 2015 Toyota Tacoma traveling toward them going the wrong way.

Deputies claim the driver veered left into the median to avoid the man’s vehicle, but at the last minute the man veered right and the two vehicles collided in the median.

There were no injuries.

If you or someone you care for were involved in a DUI accident in the Tampa Bay area, this is a very serious offense. A DUI charge usually means hefty fines, driver’s license suspension, a spike in insurance fees, the possibility of  installment of an Ignition Interlock Device and even potential jail time. However, being charged with a DUI does not mean your case is hopeless. The right criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in your case.

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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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Every Cinco de Mayo, thousands of people across the United States are arrested for drunk driving.

In Florida, law enforcement officers will be out in full force with extra patrols and DUI checkpoints to crack down on drunk driving during Cinco de Mayo. Cops will be out on the roads searching for intoxicated drivers. If you want to avoid a DUI this Cinco de Mayo, refrain from getting behind the wheel after drinking a few too many margaritas.

The following tips can be helpful if you are stopped on Cinco de Mayo:

  • Roadblocks can be set up around your favorite bars and restaurants. Typically, roadblocks will be setup in spots 4583346381_64229794bc_zwhere cops know DUI or other traffic violations are likely to occur, so be careful when driving. If you do come up to a checkpoint, be observant. Take note of whether all cars are being stopped. Also look at if the roadblock is clearly identifiable as a roadblock. These things could help with your defense should you be arrested for a DUI.
  • Field Sobriety Tests are voluntary, meaning that you do have the right to refuse. Tests like the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn and one leg stand are voluntary in the state of Florida. Police might not tell you that you have the right to refuse these tests, but just know that it is an option to politely decline.
  • If you get arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will demand a blood or breath test from you. Again, you have the right to refuse these tests. A breath or blood test is usually the State’s strongest evidence against you if you do test over the legal limit of .08.

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The results of a new study indicate that artificial sweeteners, like those found in diet sodas, actually increase blood alcohol concentrations in male and female social drinkers.

The study was conducted by doctors at Northern Kentucky University. The results were published in the medical journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Eight men and eight women, between the ages of 21 and 33 years old, and are social drinkers participated in the study. People who are infrequent drinkers were excluded from the study. Also excluded were people with diabetes, psychiatric disorders, head trauma or any other injuries to the central nervous system, as well as anyone who has substance abuse problems.

Participants came to three different sessions and were given random drinks and then had their blood alcohol content 9286986393_4c386b4324_zmeasured. The drinks consumed were either vodka and Squirt soda, vodka and Diet Squirt soda or vodka and a placebo drink. The drinks contained 1.97 ml/kg vodka mixed with 3.94 ml/kg of the soda or placebo. The vodka used in the drinks was 40 proof.

It was found that participants who consumed the drinks with the diet soda had significantly higher blood alcohol contents than those that consumed the drinks made with regular soda. The actual levels measured averaged 18 percent higher. Those same people also showed signs of greater impairment and slower reaction times.

The study concluded that diet soda mixed with alcohol results in higher blood alcohol contents than regular soda mixed with alcohol.

The results of the study confirm other related findings from previous studies done about how diet sodas can affect blood alcohol levels. In 2011, a group of researchers surveyed people who were leaving bars and asked participants to share what and how much they had drank, and allow researchers to take breath samples. This study also found that those who had consumed alcoholic beverages made with diet soda had higher blood alcohol readings.

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Baltimore Ravens running back Bernard Pierce was charged with DUI last week after he was stopped for speeding in Baltimore County.

The team released Pierce later in the day.

Baltimore County police claim an officer stopped a Ford Mustang that was speeding around 2 a.m. ET Wednesday in Towson, just north of Baltimore.

8633611060_766f049da4_zAccording to a police spokesman, Pierce had been driving 55 mph in a 30mph zone, and then allegedly failed a series of field sobriety tests after he was stopped.

Pierce was taken to a station house in Towson for processing, and later released.

Pierce is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol and two additional speeding offenses.

This is not the first run in with the law that the Ravens have had recently. Five Ravens players were arrested last year, most notably running back Ray Rice for domestic violence. This criminal offense resulted in his suspension by the NFL and his release from the team.

A Florida DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help prevent you from receiving a conviction for DUI. The penalties attached to a conviction are quite serious and could have a significant impact on your life moving forward. You do not have to face this process alone, our DUI attorneys can help you fight these charges. We can help you beat the charge successfully or possibly get you a reduced sentence, like probation or even get the charge dropped entirely.

There are many circumstances that surround a DUI arrest that can determine whether the State has a good case against you. The following are just a few of the details our DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will examine when fighting your charge:

  • Did the police stop you legally?
  • Did the police violate any of your constitutional rights when they arrested you?
  • The integrity of the Breathalyzer machine or the blood test administered that ultimately determined your BAC. Failure to maintain these systems properly could result in complete dismissal of your case.

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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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