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Articles Posted in Orlando, FL

The Fourth of July is just around the corner. Most Americans love to celebrate this day by hanging out with friends and family which usually means cookouts, pool parties, festivals, parades and fireworks.

In gearing up for the Fourth, it is important to remember the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. This campaign is designed to inform drivers that if they get behind the wheel of a car at or over the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content, they will be arrested and charged with DUI.

Florida drivers can expect to see lots of police cars out patrolling this holiday weekend. That means more roadside checkpoints and more drivers getting pulled over for speeding and other infractions. The period just before the Fourth and immediately after, from July 3 to July 6, usually means Florida law enforcement will be out in full force patrolling cities looking to stop those suspected of DUI.

The Fourth of July holiday is a dangerous time to be on the road, and not just in the state of Florida. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012, 179 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents between 6 p.m. on July 3rd and 5:59 a.m. on July 5th. Of these accidents, 44 percent were found to be alcohol-related and 28 percent involved a driver that had a blood alcohol content of .15, which is almost twice the legal limit in all 50 states.

IFThis holiday weekend, the Florida DUI Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to play it smart. Exercise caution and safety and do not drink and drive. While a DUI charge is serious, what is even more serious is that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol places everyone on the roadway at risk for injury or death.

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A recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that a significant number of college-age adults are placing themselves at serious risk by driving under the influence of marijuana.

Specifically, the study reached the following conclusions:

  • Forty-four percent of college-age men admit to driving under the influence of marijuana in the last month. A much smaller percentage of college-age men – just 12 percent – admit to driving drunk in the same time frame.

From cookouts and family get-togethers to concerts and parades, Memorial Day weekend is a time for remembrance and celebration. Like any holiday, law enforcement will be out in full force this weekend looking for intoxicated drivers, so partygoers should exercise extra caution to avoid criminal charges.

memorial dayGiven the extent of potential consequences, it is in everyone’s best interest to try and avoid a DUI charge during the 2014 Memorial Day weekend. The following tips can help you prevent an unnecessary DUI charge:

  1. Use Alternate Transportation. Alternate modes of transportation, such as taxis, buses or even car services like Lyft and Uber can prevent you from driving under the influence and help you have an enjoyable holiday weekend.
  2. Try to Stay Within Walking Distance of Your Destination. Travel risks are increased during holiday seasons whether you have been drinking or not. When venturing away from the home, try and stay within walking distance so that you are not tempted to get behind the wheel after consuming a few alcoholic beverages.
  3. Never Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. Many people fail to realize that DUI laws do not just apply to those who have been drinking alcohol. Any substance that can lead to intoxication, including marijuana and prescription pills, can result in a DUI charge if you decide to drive.

The above safety tips can help you and those closest to you stay safe this holiday weekend. However, if you are stopped for a DUI it is important to know how to react. It can be frightening to be stopped by law enforcement, but being prepared can help you get through this experience unscathed. Understand that during busy holidays, like Memorial Day, police usually set up checkpoints throughout the state and will be stopping drivers. If you get stopped this weekend, remember the following tips:

Stay Calm. Anytime you are pulled over you should remain calm. While you may be anxious or scared, staying cool and collected is the best way to handle the situation.

Know Your Rights. Reviewing and understanding your rights is crucial in order to protect yourself. If you know nothing else, remember that you have the right to speak with an attorney before answering any questions.

Contact a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer. A Florida DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can assist with your defense following an arrest for DUI. We can also make sure your rights remain protected throughout the entire legal process.

Retaining an attorney is just the first step towards resolving your DUI case. At Whittel & Melton, we can review all the evidence against you and scrutinize every detail of your case in order to map out the best course of action. Every DUI charge involves different factors with time-sensitive requirements that must be met, so do not delay.

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The University of Central Florida has become the No. 1 area in Orange County for DUI reports.

Police believe DUI reports are becoming more of a problem due to the recent developments of new restaurants and popular bars around UCF campus.

In 2013, a total of 209 underage drivers were arrested and charged with DUIs by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. This is a whopping 48 percent increase from 2012. Of these arrests, 91 were made by OCSO within 2 miles of UCF, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the total arrests in Orange County. Moreover, more than 50 percent of these arrests involved UCF students.

DUI walkIn zone 22, which is where UCF is located, between Oct. 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013, a total of  168 arrests were made by state deputies and troopers. Another 15 arrests were made by the UCF Police Department.

During this same six-month period in 2013 to 2014, 244 arrests were made by state deputies and troopers, and 39 arrests were made by UCFPD. For Orange County, this is a 45 percent increase from last year. For UCFPD, this is a 160 percent increase.

The UCFPD made 63 DUI arrests in 2013, and 38 administrative suspensions were given to people under the age of 21 who were stopped and had more than a .02 breath alcohol content. Current reports indicate that UCFPD has made 17 DUI arrests this year.

Even when comparing these numbers to other counties and college areas in Florida such as Alachua County, where the University of Florida is located, Orange County and UCF still take first place.

According to the records bureau chief for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has 199 offense reports associated with impaired or reckless driver related incidents in 2013. Of these 199, nine occurred within 2 miles of the University of Florida, 82 reports less than UCF. At Florida State University in Tallahassee, from May 2013 to May 2014 there were only three reports within 2 miles of the college, 88 less than UCF.

A recent study conducted by the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health reported that one out of every five college students has admitted to getting behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, when you are arrested for DUI as a student, there are many serious ramifications that accompany a DUI conviction that could follow you around for the rest of your life.

Just like anyone else arrested for DUI, college students facing these charges could possibly serve jail time, have their driver’s licenses suspended, be placed on probation, ordered to partake in community service and pay large fines. However, you could be looking at additional penalties as a college student, including having your student loans or grants revoked or possibly getting kicked out of school. Due to the serious consequences associated with a DUI, you must get legal help as soon as possible. A Florida DUI Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you achieve the best possible outcome following a DUI arrest.

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A woman wearing “zombie” contact lenses and dressed as a “pig in a nude color bathing suit” for Halloween was arrested and charged with driving under the influence last week, according to an arrest report.

The 26-year-old Orlando woman, a water-sports athlete, was pulled over around 2 a.m. Friday for driving a Chevy Cavalier erratically on Orange Avenue, according to the report.

The woman, whose occupation is a wake skater, allegedly failed sobriety tests after she was stopped by a police officer.

She apparently agreed to a breath test that registered her blood-alcohol level at .120 and .121 more than an hour after she was pulled over.

The legal limit for Florida drivers is .08.

It is unknown where the woman was going or where she was coming from when she was pulled over.

According to reports, the arresting officer spotted her driving southbound on Orange Avenue north of Holden Avenue at 1:55 a.m. The officer claims he observed her car weaving in and out of traffic for several miles.

The deputy said the woman had an odor of alcohol on her, red eyes, slurred speech and apparently admitted to consuming alcohol.

The woman was asked to perform field-sobriety tests, and was arrested after she allegedly failed these tests.

The report indicated the woman was wearing zombie contact lenses and was dressed as a pig in a nude colored bathing suit.

She was taken to the Orange County DUI Center, where breath tests were taken just after 3 a.m.

The woman was then transported to the county jail.

halloween betch.jpgHalloween is a big social holiday that is not just for kids. Many adults love to don elaborate costumes and hit up parties or local drinking establishments for a fun night out. However, sometimes partying can lead to criminal charges, including driving under the influence. If you were charged with a DUI offense on Halloween, or any day for that matter, an Orange County DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you defeat these charges. As former prosecutors, we have handled hundreds of DUI-related cases and can apply our experience to work for you, making sure your rights are protected and that you receive the most favorable outcome for your unique situation. We can immediately begin examining the police investigation and fight to have your case reduced or dismissed.

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Orlando, Florida police arrested former Pittsburgh Steelers football player Joseph Burnett II, now under contract with the New York Giants, for his first DUI last week.

Burnett, 24, was arrested on March 16 by Orlando police and charged with first-degree misdemeanor DUI, according to court records.

He posted bond and was released from jail the same day. According to the Orlando Sentinel, his arraignment date is April 14 at the Orange County Courthouse.

An Orlando police arrest affidavit showed that Burnett’s vehicle was failing to maintain its lane and moving at a low rate of speed.

An officer followed Burnett and pulled him over after he starting speeding an alleged 10 mph over the speed limit. The arresting officer said that when Burnett exhaled he smelled a trace of alcohol from his breath.

Burnett agreed to a field sobriety test where the arresting officer concluded that Burnett was supposedly under the influence of either drugs or alcohol that impaired his normal faculties.

Following his arrest he was transported to a DUI center where he provided two valid breath samples, both reading 0.046. Florida’s legal limit is 0.08, but a driver can still be charged with driving while under the influence for failing a field sobriety test.

Burnett received a misdemeanor citation for driving while under the influence and was transported to the Orange County Jail.

A blood or breath test reading at least 0.08 automatically declares intoxication according to Florida DUI statute. However, this case is a prime example of being arrested for being too impaired to drive even if your reading is below 0.08. Oftentimes a lower reading can indicate to police that an individual is under the influence of another intoxicant such as drugs or medications.

Field sobriety tests have widespread use, but are not always reliable indicators of being too impaired to operate a vehicle. The results of Burnett’s field sobriety tests can be contested on several arguments, including improper “grading” or incorrect administration by the officer.

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