Articles Posted in Reckless Driving

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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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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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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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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National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 19-25. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for 14 to 18 year olds across the country, which is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has deemed this is as one of the most important roadway safety topics facing teen drivers and all other motorists across the United States.

According to various survey results, a mere 25 percent of parents have serious talks with their teens about safe driving practices, despite the fact that nearly half of all teen drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents die.

Talk to Your Teen

9734369452_c56e20a600_zTalking to the teen drivers in your family is very important and the most effective way to help improve their safety as well as the safety of others on the road. The NHTSA has compiled a list of great resources, including the “5 to Drive” rules, which are five crucial topics to talk to your teen about before they start driving.

Five to Drive

  • No alcohol
  • No cell phones
  • No extra passengers
  • No speeding
  • Always Buckle up

While the Five to Drive list may seem like obvious rules to follow, the number one cause of teenage deaths is car accidents, and the above five topics are often contributing factors.

Underage Drinking & Driving – Zero Tolerance in Florida

Florida law takes a hard stance on underage drinking and driving. First and foremost, the “zero tolerance” statute states that drivers under the age of 21 can have their license suspended for having any alcohol in their system when pulled over by law enforcement. Second, the license suspension penalties are much harsher for underage drivers charged with a DUI.

The NHTSA offers many helpful tips for talking with teens, which includes setting ground rules and writing a contract so that teen drivers know that they are accountable for all actions when behind the wheel. Even just a simple conversation with teen drivers can have a positive impact on roadway safety for Florida motorists.

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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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With extra patrols on hand, Flagler County deputies made three DUI arrests and conducted 247 traffic stops over the Labor Day Weekend.

The extra patrols were conducted from Friday, Aug. 29, until Monday, Sept. 1.

In total, deputies executed 247 traffic stops, issued 43 traffic citations and 204 written or verbal warnings. Deputies made a total of 25 arrests, including three DUI arrests.

Additionally, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s Marine unit made 20 boat stops on the Intracoastal Waterway and made 18 field contacts.

DUI walkAlso over the Labor day weekend, the Sheriff’s Office assisted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on three separate occasions, conducting security checks and also rescuing a dog that fell into the canal that was in distress.

The number of arrests made over this end of summer campaign just shows how much of an emphasis law enforcement agencies have placed on enforcing Florida traffic and DUI laws. Even though officers are always on the lookout for impaired drivers, DUI checkpoints are increased during times when alcohol-related accidents, injuries and deaths are highest, which is usually around and during holidays and weekends. More Florida and nationwide DUI campaigns are planned for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season.

At Whittel & Melton, our Flagler County DUI Lawyers frequently work with drivers who were arrested during periods of increased law enforcement patrols. It is not uncommon to see overzealous officers eager to increase DUI arrest statistics make errors or even violate the rights of motorists during these periods. Whatever the issues related to your arrest, our legal team will fight aggressively to protect your from DUI-related charges and the serious penalties that accompany a conviction.

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Pop star Justin Bieber has agreed to a plea deal following a DUI arrest in Miami, Florida earlier this year, which will not include serving any jail time.

In exchange for pleading guilty to careless driving and resisting arrest, the state will drop the DUI charges against Bieber as long as he attends an anger management course and makes a $50,000 charitable donation, according to reports.

The 20-year-old was arrested in January and charged with drunken driving, resisting arrest and driving without a license after police believe Bieber and a friend were drag-racing in Miami Beach. Police allege that Bieber’s security team, and reportedly his father, had blocked off the street for the race.

14434872840_39cf43a2d2_mAccording to police, Bieber continuously shouted expletives at the arresting officer, which resulted in the resisting arrest charge.

Even though officers claim they observed symptoms of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes and a flushed face, the results of blood alcohol tests showed Bieber’s BAC was actually below the legal limit.

Regardless, in addition to his donation and 12-hour anger management course, which reports show will be held privately to keep fans at bay, Bieber has been ordered to watch online videos of tragic DUI cases.

Bieber’s DUI plea deal is his second in the last two months, and both involve anger management classes.

Bieber’s previous plea happened just a month ago, when the singer pleaded no contest to charges of vandalism for allegedly egging a neighbor’s house in California.

For that deal, Bieber accepted two years of probation, five days of community service and 12 weeks’ worth of anger management classes on top of paying restitution to the owner of the house.

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