Articles Posted in Reckless Driving

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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A Washington House committee heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that would lower the state’s blood alcohol level threshold for drunken driving from .08 to .05.

The state of Washington arrested 28,000 people for drunk driving last year. That figure is down from about 40,000 a few years ago.

The United States as a whole, saw its biggest jump in drunk driving deaths in 10 years in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2015, 35,092 people lost their lives on U.S. roadways, which is a 7.2 percent increase from 2014.

While there was a siginificant increase in deaths, 18 states actually had fewer alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2015 compared to 2014. Florida was not one of them. The 5 states that experienced the biggest increases in deaths include Florida (+103), Georgia (+87), Arizona (+72), Oregon (+56) and Michigan (+55).

Florida saw 2,939 motor vehicle fatalities in 2015. Of those, 797 were alcohol-related tragedies. This is a 17.8 percent increase from the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in 2014.

All states have the right to establish their own BAC limits, but currently all states set the BAC at .08 for DUI arrests. It will be interesting to see in time if more states choose to set their own BAC or keep it uniform across all states.

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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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With the holidays here, a large amount of people will be traveling to see their families. While this is a time for celebrating and family fun, the increased number of drivers on the roads usually means a larger number of intoxicated drivers, leading to an increased risk of accidents and arrests for driving under the influence.

The following tips can keep you out of trouble and help you avoid being charged with a holiday DUI this year.

Do Not Drink and Drive

Sounds easy enough, right? The most obvious way to avoid a DUI over the holidays is to refrain from drinking and driving. If you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver. If you do not have anyone that can drive you, call a taxi , use a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft, or just stay put until you are completely sober. This will keep you and everyone else on the roads safe.

A person can be charged with a DUI if they get behind the wheel of a car with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. There are several ways to keep you BAC down, including:

  • Eating
  • Drinking water
  • Pacing yourself
  • Waiting before driving

It is important to point out that if you happen to cause an accident with any amount of alcohol in your system, you can still face severe penalties and a possible DUI arrest. Every person is different, and there is no absolute formula to help you stay sober. Generally speaking, it takes a small amount of alcohol for a person to become legally drunk.

Drive Safely

Always drive safely, but pay special attention to this during the holidays. Don’t blow through stop signs or make any risky maneuvers. Eliminate distractions like cell phones and loud music so that you can focus completely on the task at hand.

The above tips can help you avoid a holiday DUI, but understand that there is always the possibility of being pulled over at the wrong time. If you find yourself arrested for DUI over the holidays, our Tampa Bay DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you obtain the best possible outcome for your unique situation.

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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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Former Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson has been arrested again for DUI, according to reports.

Anderson, who played for the Falcons from 1994 to 2001, was arrested and charged after a traffic stop Sunday morning around 2 a.m., according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

He was stopped on Friendship Road at Deaton Creek Parkway for failing to maintain his lane.

He bonded out of jail around 10 a.m. Sunday.

This is the second DUI arrest in less than a year for Anderson, who was charged in Gwinnett County last November after he was found passed out in his Cadillac Escalade near the I-85/Ga. 316 merger.

Anderson was reportedly scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday for the November charges, according to reports.

If you have been arrested for a DUI offense in Florida, with a prior offense on your criminal record, you have some serious potential penalties stacked against you. The consequences for a second drunk driving charge are greatly increased from a first offense. If you were arrested for a second DUI in Florida, a Florida DUI Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can prepare you for what to expect.

The penalties for a second DUI conviction within five years of any prior DUI conviction may include the following:

  • At least 10 days in jail and maximum imprisonment of up to 9 months
  • 12 months probation
  • Fines between $1,000-$4,000
  • At least 50 hours of community service
  • Vehicle impoundment or immobilization of 30 days
  • Minimum 5 years revocation of the driver’s license with no eligibility for hardship reinstatement until after one year
  • Mandatory ignition interlock device for 1-2 years

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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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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 driver of a van that went into the water at Snell Isle Boulevard on Tuesday afternoon suffered minor injuries but was charged with DUI, according to St. Petersburg police.

The incident occurred at Snell Isle Boulevard NE and Coffee Pot Boulevard NE just before 4 p.m. Police claim the 59-year-old man suffered minor injuries, but refused any medical treatment.

Police believe that driver impairment appeared to be the only factor that led to the van exiting the roadway and landing in the water. The man was apparently tested twice and had blood-alcohol levels of .264 and .273, which is more than three times the level at which a motorist is considered too impaired to drive in Florida.

It is important for all Florida drivers to be aware of and understand the penalties they could face for a DUI arrest. Florida DUI laws and punishments are some of the toughest in the nation. The penalties for a drunk driving, which also includes driving under the influence of drugs, increase with the number of previous convictions, as well as the length of time between prior DUIs.

There are numerous factors that can affect the degree of punishment for Florida DUI convictions, including blood or breath alcohol level at the time of arrest, if the DUI involved a collision with injuries or fatalities, prior DUI convictions, the presence of a minor in the vehicle, open containers and even what information is relayed to the arresting law enforcement officer.

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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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