Articles Posted in Marion County

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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On Wednesday police arrested a 26-year-old man accused of driving a vehicle through a fence, a shed, the side of a home and another shed.

The accident resulted in damage to a hot water heater sending gas in the air.

The Ocala man was arrested on a charge of DUI with property damage, according to an Ocala Police Department report.

An OPD Officer arrived at the scene of the crash at 4402 NE 11th St. at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. Reports indicate he found a broken chain link fence on Northeast 44th Avenue where it dead-ends at Northeast 10th Place. Tire marks went through the backyard of the home at 4402 NE 11th St. and into a shed. The marks continued to the southwest corner of the home.

A silver Toyota hatchback was located against a laundry room separated from the residence. The officer smelled gas and called for Ocala Fire Rescue. The man accused of causing the accident was found lying on the ground.

210977249_da533e62a4_zThe man is accused of driving the 2004 Toyota north on Northeast 44th Avenue when he reached the dead end, crashed through the fence and struck the first shed in the yard. The report also states that the vehicle then struck the house, spun around and hit the second shed, where a part of the vehicle damaged the hot water heater. The pilot light was damaged and gas was released.

The accused apparently refused to provide a breath sample. He was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center. Once cleared, he was transported to the jail.

The home was deemed uninhabitable, according to OPD.

If you are involved in an auto accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could be subject to criminal penalties and restrictions on your freedom. Destroying property due to drunk or drugged driving can lead to serious charges of DUI with property damage, and you can bet that Florida police and prosecutors will work to make sure you face the most severe consequences for your alleged crime.

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With Christmas behind us and the New Year’s holiday looming ahead, many Florida drivers are distracted by all the holiday parties and family gatherings and are not as persevering about designating a sober driver or staying sober for the ride home.

Florida law enforcement officials are not distracted during this holiday season. In fact, they are patrolling for drunk drivers throughout the month of December and New Year’s Eve and setting up DUI checkpoints.

15777342095_163bc0b4a3_mWhat should I do If I have been drinking and I am pulled over by the police?

  • The most important thing to remember is to be polite with the police officer that pulls you over. Being confrontational or acting rude will only put you in jail quicker.
  • Know your rights. You do have the right to refuse all field sobriety tests. These tests only help the arresting officer build a stronger case against you. Understand that police intend to use the results of any test against you in court.
  • You also have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, blood or urine test. Remember though, if you do refuse these test, you face a one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
  • Law enforcement is recording you. Be sure to watch how you act and what you say.
  • An officer will likely ask you various questions about what you were doing in the hours leading up to your vehicle being stopped. You do not have to answer an officer’s questions about whether you had anything to drink that night, where you were coming from, or any other questions. The most appropriate response to these questions is to politely request to speak to your attorney before answering questions.

If pulled over for DUI, what type of field sobriety tests will the police administer?

There are various field sobriety tests conducted by police, including the following:

  • The Eye Test also known as the HGN Test
  • The One Leg Stand
  • Alphabet Recitation
  • Walk & Turn
  • Nose Touch

Questions you can expect to be asked by police:

  • Where are you coming from?
  • Have you been drinking?
  • Who have you been with?
  • Where are you going?

It is important to be respectful to the arresting officer, but you do NOT have to discuss any personal information. You do not have to tell the officer where you are coming from, where you are going or who you have been with.

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The holidays are well known by law enforcement officials as “DUI Season,” and the reason behind it is because people all over the U.S. tend to throw caution to the wind during this time of year and drink too much and get behind the wheel. Don’t give yourself the gift of a DUI this Christmas. The consequences of a DUI arrest are severe and the penalties of a conviction could ruin your holidays for many years to come.

The most obvious and reasonable solution to preventing a DUI is to refrain from drinking and driving. If you plan to drink, ask your friends or family if you can spend the night, or secure a sober ride home. Keeping yourself from getting behind the wheel after a few too many can not only keep yourself safe, but secure the safety of all other drivers and passengers on the roadways. Be smart and always plan ahead.

6469630651_3689c55464_m (1)The consequences of getting even one DUI conviction are serious, and almost always include jail time, license suspensions, points on your license, increased insurance rates and hefty fines. Fines can range anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for a first-time DUI conviction. Jail time can also vary from as a few days to six months for a first-time offender. A DUI is not something you want to mess around with. The best thing you can do for yourself whether you have had one drink or several, is to give up your keys. Do not chance it. The holidays see increased DUI patrol efforts on the roadways, including sobriety checkpoints and a blitz of patrols.

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President Obama designated the month of December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in 2010 in an attempt to shed light on the serious problem of drunk and drugged driving in the U.S. With the holiday season and the end of the year approaching, holiday parties and celebrations will go hand in hand, making it a great time to highlight the dangers of impaired driving and the consequences that come along with an arrest.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, someone is killed every 52 minutes in a drunk driving-related crash every year and someone is injured every 90 seconds. An interesting fact to note about drunk driving problems is that one-third of arrests, injuries and fatalities come from repeat offenders. This translates to mean that each time a driver is behind the wheel, he or she is possibly sharing the road with 2 million people who have three or more drunk driving offenses.

11064883376_6771bd6c4a_zPreventing a serious drunk driving accident or a DUI arrest all begins with you, so if you know that you will be attending a party or event where you will consume alcohol, make sure to designate a driver before you head out, or even program the numbers of local cab companies in your phone to ensure you have a safe ride home.

If you are going to host a party, make sure to include non-alcoholic beverage options for guests. Another good tip? Try not to serve alcohol the last hour of the gathering. Also, be ready to help your guests stay off the road if they have been drinking by allowing them to stay at your home, or by having sober rides home lines up.

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Believe it or not, there are scarier things on Halloween than ghosts, werewolves and twisted clowns. Seeing police lights in your rear view mirror and knowing there is a possibility that you could be arrested and hauled off to jail to face criminal DUI charges is horrifying. Perhaps even for frightening, is the reality that your mug shot could be chosen to be featured as entertainment by your local news outlet.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, in 2011, a whopping 44 percent of crashes Halloween night involved a driver whose blood-alcohol level was 0.08 percent or higher. Between 2007 and 2011, 175 people were killed in DUI crashes across the United States on Halloween night.

11064883376_6771bd6c4a_zIt is important to be smart and safe this Halloween weekend. Police often sit outside bars and various events where they know alcohol is being served just waiting to make an arrest as soon as they see someone get inside a vehicle and drive off. While sometimes effective, in certain cases drivers can escape DUI charges. If your criminal defense lawyer can prove that the officer failed to exercise reasonable cause when pulling you over, prosecutors may be forced to drop the charges entirely.

Another popular police tactic for holidays is DUI checkpoints. Officers will sometimes use these checkpoints to press for permission to search vehicles for evidence of drugs, weapons or other items that may result in additional criminal charges. If you are stopped this Halloween, you can refuse to have your car searched. Police may choose to search your car regardless, but the fact that you refused could be grounds to suppress whatever evidence was found.

Should you find yourself under arrest for DUI , you need to be prepared. Understand that you are not obligated to tell the arresting officer where you are going or where you came from. With that said, it is never a good idea to lie, but do not offer up any additional information as to how much you have had to drink or if you have taken any drugs that night. Try your best to keep your cool and keep your statements to a minimum.

If police do arrest you, make sure to explain that you do not want to answer any questions without the presence of your attorney.

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National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 19-25. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for 14 to 18 year olds across the country, which is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has deemed this is as one of the most important roadway safety topics facing teen drivers and all other motorists across the United States.

According to various survey results, a mere 25 percent of parents have serious talks with their teens about safe driving practices, despite the fact that nearly half of all teen drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents die.

Talk to Your Teen

9734369452_c56e20a600_zTalking to the teen drivers in your family is very important and the most effective way to help improve their safety as well as the safety of others on the road. The NHTSA has compiled a list of great resources, including the “5 to Drive” rules, which are five crucial topics to talk to your teen about before they start driving.

Five to Drive

  • No alcohol
  • No cell phones
  • No extra passengers
  • No speeding
  • Always Buckle up

While the Five to Drive list may seem like obvious rules to follow, the number one cause of teenage deaths is car accidents, and the above five topics are often contributing factors.

Underage Drinking & Driving – Zero Tolerance in Florida

Florida law takes a hard stance on underage drinking and driving. First and foremost, the “zero tolerance” statute states that drivers under the age of 21 can have their license suspended for having any alcohol in their system when pulled over by law enforcement. Second, the license suspension penalties are much harsher for underage drivers charged with a DUI.

The NHTSA offers many helpful tips for talking with teens, which includes setting ground rules and writing a contract so that teen drivers know that they are accountable for all actions when behind the wheel. Even just a simple conversation with teen drivers can have a positive impact on roadway safety for Florida motorists.

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Amanda Bynes was arrested on a DUI charge early Sunday morning in Sherman Oaks, California.

CHP officers said they observed the 28-year-old actress driving her white Mercedes Benz SUV west on Riverside Drive, where she stopped for a red light in the middle of an intersection.

Bynes pulled over immediately for the highway patrol and allegedly failed to pass a series of field sobriety tests.

Officers then transported her to the West Valley CHP office for evaluation by a drug recognition expert.

6905273526_d6f6d3b525_mBynes was eventually arrested for driving under the influence of a drug and booked at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys Jail shortly after 7 a.m.

The CHP arrest report notes that Bynes had a “disheveled appearance.” The report also shows that she was cooperative throughout the entire arrest process.

The former child star of Nickelodeon’s “All That” and “The Amanda Show” was placed in an involuntary psychiatric hold last year.

In 2012, she was charged with a DUI after an April incident in which her BMW allegedly sideswiped a police cruiser in West Hollywood. In February 2014 that DUI charge was dismissed in a plea deal where Bynes ended up with three years probation, a requirement to attend an alcohol education course and pay a fine after she entered a no-contest plea to reckless driving.

Bynes’ recent arrest would typically be charged as a misdemeanor offense, however there are some complications due to the fact that she was sentenced to three years of probation in February because of her 2012 DUI arrest.

While this DUI arrest was made in California, in the state of Florida, a second DUI within 5 years of a previous DUI conviction is punishable by up to 270 days in county jail, a fine of no more than $2,000, probation of up to one year, five years of a driver’s license suspension and one year of ignition interlock.

Furthermore, in Florida, a new arrest while on probation could lead to additional charges, like a violation of probation. This means that you could not only be facing criminal liability for the new charge, but your probation could be revoked, and the original sentence for the prior crime could be reinstated.

Despite the circumstances, if you are arrested for DUI in Florida, a DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help. We will review your case and figure out what steps need to be taken in order to give you the best possible defense strategy. Time is of the essence in these cases – by acting quickly, negotiations can sometimes be made with the state attorney to have the terms of probation reinstated. However, every DUI case is unique.

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Labor Day weekend is just around the corner. For many people, that means an extra day off work, backyard and beach barbecues, visiting with friends and family and the unofficial end of summer. However, with the good comes the bad and unfortunately, Labor Day means a sharp increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities.

Beginning August 15 and continuing through September 1, local law enforcement and the Florida HIghway Patrol will be aggressively targeting drunk and drugged drivers as part of a nationwide effort to put an end to impaired driving and save lives.

13002617474_07a9010503_mPolice will be patrolling streets and highways looking for impaired drivers throughout the the state. Residents should expect to see an increase in police as well as DUI checkpoints.

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