Articles Posted in Pasco County | New Port Richey

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.

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A Lakeland man is accused of driving under the influence with a 4-year-old child in the car.

The 40-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning after a traffic stop in New Port Richey.

According to the arrest report, the sheriff’s office received a call about a possible impaired driver.

The responding deputy stopped the man’s vehicle, a white 2012 Ford pick-up.

According to the report, the man had glassy, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The reported also alleged his breath smelled of alcohol.

The report indicates the man admitted to drinking but changed his answer to how much several times.

The report goes on to state that he staggered and swayed and could not understand simple instructions. He apparently refused to take a field sobriety test. He also declined a breath alcohol test, according to the arrest report.

The report says the man had a 4-year-old child in the vehicle with him at the time of the stop.

There are several aggravating factors that can increase the penalties attached to a Florida DUI conviction. One of these penalty enhancements would apply when the DUI offense occurred with a minor child in the vehicle. This penalty enhancement can add significant jail time on top of whatever sentence is imposed for the underlying DUI offense.

If you have been arrested for DUI in New Port Richey and have an additional penalty enhancement allegation involving a child in the vehicle, it is important that you speak with a Pasco County DUI Attorney at Whittel & Melton immediately. As former prosecutors, our DUI Lawyers understand how best to defend parents or others charged with DUI.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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