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Articles Posted in Orlando, FL

A staffer for Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto was charged with DUI after being accused of rear-ending a motorcyclist Friday, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The woman is facing a number of charges stemming from an accident that left a motorcyclist with injuries.

The woman has been suspended with pay.

The accident happened at about 10:24 p.m. Friday when a motorcyclist was traveling southbound on State Road 417, near John Young Parkway. The motorcyclist was apparently rear-ended by the woman as she was driving her Nissan Altima, according to the FHP.

The motorcyclist suffered a skull fracture, possible broken bones to her foot and hand and was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center as a “trauma alert,” FHP described. She’s expected to recover.

The FHP arrest report states that the woman’s two children were in the car with her: a 14-year-old who was in the front passenger seat and a 9-year-old in the driver-side rear seat.

The woman, an Orlando resident, told authorities that she was coming from a work event, where she had two glasses of wine, and was on her way to a friend’s house in St. Petersburg before the accident, the FHP stated. The trooper claims that an opened and partially full can of beer was found in her Altima.

The FHP said an alcohol test found that her blood alcohol level was .119. The legal limit in the state is .08.

The woman was charged with DUI and serious bodily injury to another, driving with a suspected license while causing serious injury and child endangerment.

A first time DUI conviction has serious consequences in Florida: you could be facing a jail term between 6 and 9 months, fines ranging between $500 and $2,000, and your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days. You could also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

These consequences alone can be very traumatic to someone who has never been in trouble with the law. However, if you were charged with a DUI with a minor in the car, things can get much worse. This charge carries a penalty of up to 9 months in jail, fines between $1,000 to $2,000 and a six month requirement for an ignition interlock.

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Former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor has pleaded guilty to a DUI charge in Florida.

Taylor pleaded guilty Monday in Palm Beach County to DUI with injury or property damage. He was sentenced to one year of probation and a nine-month license suspension. He must also pay $1,500 and perform community service.

The Florida Highway Patrol claims Taylor was arrested after crashing into a motor home and a patrol vehicle on Florida’s Turnpike in September 2016. Breath tests conducted five hours after the crash record blood alcohol levels of 0.082 and 0.084 percent. You are considered impaired at 0.08 percent.

Taylor played 13 seasons with the Giants, helping the team win Super Bowl titles in 1987 and 1991.

If you’re a fan of professional football, you may have noticed that DUI charges are a common occurrence amongst athletes. Athletes are not immune to criminal charges, just like the rest of us. In fact, many NFL players have had recent issues with DUI-related charges. In the past two years, there have been many pro football players arrested for DUI, including Michael Floyd, Dak Prescott, Alvin Bailey, Troy Hill, Josh Huff, Damontre Moore, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TJ McDonald, Jonathon Williams, and Shiloh Keo.

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St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year, so we all know that means more people will be partaking in shenanigans this holiday weekend.

St. Patty’s Day is the fourth most popular drinking holiday, behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas and Independence Day. Every year, more than 33 million Americans celebrate by drinking pints of Guinness or green beer.

As with any holiday, St. Patrick’s Day can lead to some bad judgement calls, including choosing to drink and drive. While St. Patrick’s Day is a time for celebrating the luck of the Irish, a DUI can put a serious damper on your good time. A DUI conviction brings you anything but luck, including fines, jail time and loss of driving privileges. Not to mention that you put yourself and the lives of everyone sharing the roadways with you in extreme danger when you drink and drive. Reports indicate that on St. Patrick’s Day, there is a fatal alcohol-related accident every 74 minutes.

Instead of driving, plan another way home in advance. An Uber, Lyft or taxi ride is just a phone call away. Public transportation options are also available, depending on where you choose to celebrate.

If you are arrested this St. Patrick’s Day, or any other day for that matter, and charged with a DUI, it is best to retain legal counsel right away. Our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will be available 24/7 this St. Patrick’s Day weekend should you find yourself detained for DUI.

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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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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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Soccer star Abby Wambach was arrested early Sunday on a DUI charge in Portland, Oregon.

Portland police claim Wambach, 35, was pulled over at 11:05 p.m. local time Saturday after failing to stop for a red light. She was arrested after allegedly failing a field sobriety test and was taken to Portland’s Central Precinct.

Wambach was booked at 2:02 a.m. local time Sunday and charged with misdemeanor DUII (driving under the influence of intoxicants), according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. She was released on her own recognizance and was described as being “polite and cooperative” with police.

She apologized for the incident on Facebook.

The leading career scorer — male or female — in international soccer, Wambach announced her retirement in October.

Wambach appeared in four World Cups with the national team. She also has a pair of Olympic gold medals from the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2012 Games in London. She did not compete in the Beijing Olympics because of a broken leg.

One of the most common questions from those facing DUI charges in Florida is what to do if you failed a breath or blood test. Fortunately, an expert DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you fight this aspect of the case.

If the test operator is unqualified, your breath test could be wrong. There are many things that can interfere with these machines, like radio transmissions, as well as mouth alcohol contamination or breath temperature variation.

Blood tests are not always accurate either. If an unqualified medical personnel handled the blood draw, these results could be inadmissible in a court of law. If the seal on the blood vial was past its expiration date, this could cause a false high test result. False results can also result from improper storage and handling of the blood or poor testing machinery.

Like all medical tests, breath and blood alcohol tests can yield false results. There are a plethora of things that can go wrong and give false high readings.

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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.

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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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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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The UCF Police Department, in partnership with Florida Highway Patrol, Orange County and Seminole County sheriff’s offices, will be amping up their efforts to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the roads Friday.

The agencies will be on the lookout for impaired drivers in the UCF area, according to reports.

This increase in patrols coincides with campus move-in and many students first night of freedom. Those suspected of driving under the influence will be pulled over and asked to complete a roadside sobriety test.

UCF PD and OCSO’s newly implemented program SNAP will also be in effect, and those violating drinking laws will be subject to written or physical arrests along with Office of Student Conduct referrals.

If arrested for DUI, drivers will be transported to OCSO’s blood-alcohol testing trailer, which is stationed near the Bright House Networks Stadium, for a breath sample before being taken to jail. Drivers under the influence who are under 21 will face consequences even if they are below the legal limit.

According to the release, “UCF PD’s goal is to reduce the crashes, injuries and fatalities that come from impaired driving, and police will have zero tolerance for those breaking the law.”

DUI checkpoints are roadblocks set up by law enforcement officials to check the sobriety of drivers in the vicinity. Officers will typically stop all or some of the vehicles to check for possible impairments, either by alcohol or drugs. Patrols are usually set up during times when people are most likely to be out drinking –  late at night during the end of the week and on weekends.

If you have recently been arrested at a DUI checkpoint, it is in your best interests to speak with a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. If you are convicted of DUI, the consequences can be severe, including the following potential penalties:

  • Loss of your driver’s license
  • Jail time
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Substantial fines and fees
  • Court ordered alcohol/drug treatment or classes
  • Increased auto insurance premiums

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