Articles Posted in Lake County

A man reportedly threw up at a fast food restaurant late Wednesday night, but it was not because of the food.

The 32-year-old Clermont man was charged with DUI and resisting arrest after an employee at a Burger King in Clermont called police to report a driver in the drive-thru line had vomited in a vehicle, according to an arrest affidavit.

The man also paid $35 for an $8 order, according to the report.

Police claim that when they responded to the State Road 50 restaurant at about 11:40 p.m., they found the man in the driver seat with his head down, his eyes bloodshot and glassy and his vehicle running. Officers allege they smelled alcohol on him.

They apparently had to pull the man out of the vehicle after he refused to exit, and he was unsteady on his feet.

The man reportedly refused sobriety tests and was arrested.

If you are arrested for DUI in the state of Florida, within 10 days of your arrest, it is likely that your driver’s license will be administratively suspended for at least six months, or confiscated by authorities. If you wish to dispute your DUI suspension you have only 10 days from the time you were arrested to appeal the immediate suspension. Different from other criminal charges, DUI arrests are unique. Depending on the circumstances leading up to a DUI arrest and the defendant’s previous record, the case can have many possible outcomes, including the possibility of charges being reduced or dismissed entirely.

Continue reading

Former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell pleaded not guilty today to his second DUI charge.

Bell was arrested in Glendale on Dec. 21, 2015, according to reports from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors allege that Bell was seen driving erratically on San Fernando Road.

The actor also allegedly refused to take a sobriety test.

At his arraignment today, Bell pleaded not guilty. He is due for a pretrial hearing on August 5.

In 2010, Bell was convicted of driving under the influence in San Diego.

Because this is his second charge within a 10 year period, Bell could potentially face 365 days in county jail if convicted. Bell, who submitted proof of attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous classes, is currently out of jail.

With a second DUI charge in the state of Florida, the stakes go up significantly. If this is your second offense, you probably know what to expect in court. Our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know how scary these charges can be and we understand your fears regarding your future. Florida judges do not go lightly on DUI offenders, particularly repeat offenders.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day is here! This holiday celebrates Irish heritage with food, green attire, music, dancing and, often, the consumption of alcohol. According to reports from the National Highway Safety Administration, St. Patrick’s Day sees one of the biggest increases in drunk driving arrests and accidents compared to the rest of the year. In fact, during the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, more than 28 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. Moreover, from 2010 to 2014, nearly three-fourths of the drunk-driving fatalities during this holiday period involved drivers who had blood alcohol contents (BACs) above the 0.08 limit. Of those crashes, 266 resulted in death.

If you are arrested for a DUI in Florida, you can face very harsh consequences. For a first offense, you could potentially serve time behind bars along with heavy fines, probation, suspension of your license and even the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. DUIs that involve bodily injury or death are even more serious and carry even more severe consequences.

The increased number of drunk drivers on the road on St. Patrick’s Day not only leads to an increased risk of becoming involved in an accident, but also an increased chance of being arrested. Law enforcement is well aware that holidays lead to more DUIs. Because of this, they increase patrols and set up DUI checkpoints in hopes of catching anyone drunk behind the wheel. They are ready to make arrests, so be aware of this as you are out celebrating.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Contact Information