Articles Posted in Multiple DUI Convictions

There could be more severe penalties on the way for first time drunk driving offenders.

A bill that would require an ignition interlock device on someone’s vehicle after their first drunken driving conviction has passed its first committee in the Florida House of Representatives.

The bill (HB 949) passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Tuesday. It must go through two more committees before reaching the House floor.

The interlock device prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking. The current law makes it mandatory for six months for a first offense if the person’s blood alcohol content is higher than 0.15 percent or a minor is in the vehicle. The devices are also mandatory for multiple DUIs.

Florida would join 28 other states and the District of Columbia with similar laws.

Ignition interlock devices prevent cars from being started unless drivers can prove that no alcohol is in their system. How is this done? There is a built-in breathalyzer that forces you to blow into it in order to drive as long as you are 100 percent sober. Avid supporters of the new bill believe ignition interlocks are vital because a third of all drunk drivers arrested or convicted are repeat offenders, and the average drunk driver is believed to have driven drunk at least 80 times before a first arrest.

This new law will require Florida judges to order ignition interlocks for first-time DUI offenders for at least six months.

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A Florida police officer is facing a second DUI charge after he was apparently found asleep inside his car.

St. Petersburg police said the 36-year-old was booked into jail early Tuesday and was being held on a $500 bond.

In December 2009, authorities claim the man drove over a concrete median and struck a sedan. The man apparently kept driving and hit another vehicle.

No one was harmed in either crash. Records indicate the man’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit to drive in Florida. He was convicted on charges of DUI and leaving a crash scene.

Prosecutors view DUI charges quite seriously in the state of Florida. This means that it is equally important for you to take these charges seriously and speak with a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton.

In Florida, the consequences attached to a second DUI conviction depend on whether the conviction is within 5 years or outside of 5 years of the previous conviction. If the DUI arrest occurs outside of 5 years from any prior DUI conviction, then the DUI will have the following penalties:

  • maximum jail time of 9 months instead of 6 months
  • fines between $1,000 to $2,000 instead of $500 to $1,000
  • an ignition interlock device must be installed for one year

No minimum jail time is required, however the prosecution will likely push for some jail time. The most serious consequence of a second DUI conviction that occurs outside of five years is that you will not be eligible for a hardship license after a second DUI conviction.

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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.

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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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Denver Nuggets star Ty Lawson was arrested for DUI in Los Angeles Tuesday night making this his second DUI arrest this year.

Lawson was apparently pulled over by CHP for speeding on the 101 Freeway early Tuesday morning. Officers allege he showed signs of intoxication, so they gave him a field sobriety test.

He was arrested around 2:30 AM.

Cops said during the arrest, Lawson identified himself as an NBA player.

Washington Wizards v/s Denver Nuggets January 25, 2011

Washington Wizards v/s Denver Nuggets January 25, 2011

His bail was set at $5,000.

Lawson’s previous DUI arrest was back in January in Denver.

If you happen to be one of the nearly half a million people who have been charged with multiple DUIs, you must have a Florida DUI Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton working on your defense. There is so much at stake with a DUI charge, and you could spend time behind bars as well as lose your driving privileges. Moreover, your wallet will definitely take a big hit if you are convicted.

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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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A 31-year-old woman who killed two sisters in a 2012 DUI crash has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

On Tuesday, the judge also ordered for the woman’s prison term to be followed by 10 years of probation, a stipulation that prohibits her from consuming alcohol or going to bars.

3041221202_eebf02b178_zAccording to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the woman’s blood alcohol content was 0.106 percent when she drove the wrong way down a highway and crashed into a car carrying the two sisters on Jan. 12, 2012. It was her second DUI arrest. In 2007, her DUI charge was pleaded down to reckless driving and she received six months of probation.

It is quite dangerous to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol can be a big factor in many auto accidents. If you have been charged with drunk driving following an accident that caused the death or injury of another person, police and prosecutors will automatically assume your blood alcohol content was the sole cause of the accident.

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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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Around 50 percent of people arrested for their first DUI will face the same charges or nearly the same charges if arrested for the same offense in the future. This is the case for Olympian Michael Phelps who was arrested early Tuesday morning in Baltimore on suspicion of driving under the influence, making it his second DUI arrest.

According to reports, Phelps, 35, was stopped at 1:40 a.m. after an officer observed him traveling 85 mph in a 45 mph zone. The officer apparently followed the athlete’s White Range Rover northbound through the McHenry tunnel on I-95, where he allegedly spotted him crossing into the other lanes. The officer pulled him over just before a toll plaza.

The officer claims that Phelps exhibited signs of intoxication and asked him to perform  field sobriety tests. According to the officer’s report, Phelps performed poorly on the tests and was taken into police custody.

2770812057_d31fdb2417_mThe arresting officer said Phelps was cooperative. He was released later Tuesday and charged with DUI, speeding and crossing double lane lines.

This is the gold-medal winner’s second DUI arrest. His first was in 2004, when he was only 18. He was stopped for running a stop sign. He was charged with DUI, but made a deal and was sentenced to 18 months’ probation for pleading guilty to drunken driving.

A second DUI offense is classified as a misdemeanor offense in Florida. A misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term that can extend to 12 months. However if you cause an accident that results in property damage or bodily injury to another person, a second DUI offense can then be enhanced to felony status.

Florida does not have a typical lookback period when it comes to DUIs. All DUIs will remain on your record and can be used for charging purposes in the future.However, if a second DUI conviction happens within 5 years, the offender will be sentenced to mandatory time behind bars for 10 days, and at least 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive.

The look back period in Maryland is 10 years so Phelps may be able to avoid being charged a repeat offender. If Phelps is charged as a repeat offender, he could avoid some of the harsher penalties attached to this second DUI by working with a DUI Defense Lawyer.

Everyone, celebrity or regular Joe, needs to contact a DUI attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. A DUI is not a charge to take lightly, as the repercussions could adversely affect your life in many ways. A solid defense strategy is vital to avoid the harsh ramifications that can accompany a conviction.

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307393_mowing_job.jpgMarion County, Florida – A 68-year-old Marion County man was arrested and charged with his fifth DUI Tuesday after a deputy stopped him for allegedly driving a lawnmower in the opposite lane of traffic.

A dash camera allegedly captured the man driving his lawn mower in the wrong direction. The man apparently told the deputy that he thought that was the way he was supposed to drive the lawnmower; however the deputy told the man he was not supposed to drive a lawnmower on the street at all.

The deputy claims that after asking the man for his license, he responded that he had not had a license since 1985 due to a DUI.

The deputy asked the man to submit to a field sobriety test. However, the man told the officer he could not perform the test due to his equilibrium being off balance from a brain surgery he had.

The man allegedly told the officer he could not count to 10 because of his equilibrium.
Deputies claim the man failed the sobriety test and then pleaded with the arresting officer to let him go home.

Deputies allege the man had an open beer in the cup holder of the lawnmower, and four unopened beers in the back of the lawn mower.

While this DUI charge may seem strange, the prosecutors representing the State of Florida will argue a riding lawnmower is considered a motor vehicle in pursuit of this DUI, and anyone suspected of operating this type of vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be arrested for driving under the influence.

Following a stop for DUI, you will likely be asked to submit to a field sobriety test. It is important to understand that these tests are not very accurate, but can still be used against you as evidence in court. You can fail a field sobriety test for numerous other innocent reasons than simply being intoxicated. In fact, a medical condition, poor balance, vertigo, fatigue, fear, stress, age and most commonly, incorrectly administered tests can result in a “fail.”

It is important to understand that an officer will ask you to submit to a field sobriety test because he or she believes you are impaired. Any mistake or error you make on these tests could serve as an indication to the arresting officer and the prosecution that you were drinking and driving. To make matters worse, seldom will an officer in Florida inform you that these field sobriety exercises are voluntary and you cannot be forced to perform them.

If you choose to consent to a field sobriety test, the officer will likely ask you to perform one or more of the following tests: Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Standing on One Leg, Walk and Turn, Finger to Nose or they may simply ask you to recite the letters of the alphabet (forwards and/or backwards). Remember, unlike the breath and/or blood tests you have the legal right, with no legal consequences, to refuse these roadside tests. When refusing a field sobriety test, the best way to do so is to tell the arresting officer no thank you and that you wish to speak to an attorney first. Whatever your decision, the Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will work aggressively on any DUI case, especially those based on an officer’s opinion as opposed to scientifically reliable evidence.

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