Articles Posted in Underage DUI

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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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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Planning a trip to Key West for the holiday? There will be a DUI checkpoint on Stock Island, according to reports.

As most Florida drivers know, there can be huge traffic delays in the Florida Keys if there is a crash on U.S. 1, which is the main thoroughfare through the island chain. However, this Labor Day weekend, expect delays because the DUI checkpoint will be on Stock Island, which you have to travel through to get to Key West.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, deputies will stage it for northbound drivers on U.S. 1 at Cross Street, from 8 p.m. Saturday through 2 a.m. Sunday.

2816552570_c25300d775_mPer usual sobriety checkpoints, vehicles will be checked for safety violations, and drivers will be observed for signs of impairment.

Authorities claim they are expecting lots of visitors to the Keys for the long weekend, so deputies will be heavily enforcing laws against speeding, passing in the no passing zones and drunk driving.

While the police are allowed to establish DUI roadblocks, they still are required to follow certain constitutional guidelines. With that said, police cannot just create a checkpoint at anytime and anywhere on impulse. They must sufficiently justify their reasons for the roadblock in that vicinity, clear guidelines must be established for the conduct of the roadblock and prior notice must be given to the public. If proper procedures are not followed, any evidence gathered during the investigation may be deemed inadmissible in court.

In many instances, police do not follow required procedures for DUI roadblocks. However, irregularities on their part can actually benefit your case. A Florida DUI Lawyer at Whittel & Melton will scrutinize every facet of your DUI arrest and find anything that could possible help defend you.

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Labor Day weekend is just around the corner. For many people, that means an extra day off work, backyard and beach barbecues, visiting with friends and family and the unofficial end of summer. However, with the good comes the bad and unfortunately, Labor Day means a sharp increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities.

Beginning August 15 and continuing through September 1, local law enforcement and the Florida HIghway Patrol will be aggressively targeting drunk and drugged drivers as part of a nationwide effort to put an end to impaired driving and save lives.

13002617474_07a9010503_mPolice will be patrolling streets and highways looking for impaired drivers throughout the the state. Residents should expect to see an increase in police as well as DUI checkpoints.

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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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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Justin Bieber was arrested and charged with DUI, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license after police allegedly witnessed the 19-year-old pop star street racing early Thursday morning in Miami Beach.

According to the arrest report, when stopped by a Miami Beach police officer just after 4 a.m. Bieber asked “What the f*** did I do? Why did you stop me?”

Bieber was released from a Miami jail an hour after he made a short appearance through a video link before a Miami judge. His bail was set at $2,500 Thursday afternoon.

Bieber was apparently booked into a Miami jail after failing a sobriety test, according to the Miami Beach Police chief.

The chief said that Bieber “made some statements that he had consumed some alcohol, and that he had been smoking marijuana and consumed some prescription medication.”

A Miami Beach officer alleges he saw Bieber driving a yellow Lamborghini in a race against a red Ferrari in a residential area of Miami Beach. Reports indicate the cars were speeding at about 55 to 60 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Justin Bieber Charged with Drunk Driving in Miami Thursday.

Justin Bieber Charged with Drunk Driving in Miami Thursday.

Bieber allegedly ignored a police officer’s request to keep his hands on the car while he did “a cursory patdown for weapons,” according to the report.

The arrest report goes on to describe Bieber as having a “flushed face, bloodshot eyes, and the odor of alcohol on his breath.”

The Ferrari’s driver, identified as 19-year-old Def Jam recording artist Khalil Sharieff, was also arrested for DUI, according to police.

Bieber arrived in Miami on Monday.

While most people are aware that the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) legal limits in Florida and throughout the rest of the country are .08, many do not realize that drivers under the age of 21 must meet different requirements. Florida’s “zero tolerance” policy states that a driver under the age of 21 must have a BAC of less than .02. If a young driver is pulled over after being suspected of driving under the influence, the officer can request for the person to submit to a field sobriety test. If the test confirms the officer’s suspicions, the driver could then be asked to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. If the BAC results are .02 percent or higher, then the officer can arrest a young driver for DUI.

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The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, dubbed the name “Black Wednesday,” is one of the busiest nights of the year for police departments making DUI arrests. People travelling to see old friends in combination with the long weekend often results in many impaired drivers on the roadways. Law enforcement is certainly aware of this which is why starting the Wednesday before, and lasting through Thanksgiving weekend, police will be increasing their efforts to catch intoxicated drivers on the roads. Police will be using sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation zones to keep all impaired motorists off the roads.

Understand that while it is important to drive responsibly at all times, it is not illegal to consume alcohol and drive. As long as you are not intoxicated, or your blood alcohol content is not at the legal limit of .08 or above, it is legal to operate a vehicle. Many law enforcement ads during the holidays convey that it is illegal to get behind the wheel of a car if you have had anything to drink. However, this is not true – the legal limit is still 0.08 percent.

drinking betch.jpgLaw enforcement officers are extremely aggressive when it comes to DUI arrests during the holidays, regardless of the legal limit. Anyone suspected of being even close to the legal limit could be arrested for DUI. Unfortunately, many of these arrests are borderline cases, and you could be slapped with a DUI charge even if you were not intoxicated. If you are arrested over the course of this Thanksgiving holiday for a drunken driving offense, you must act fast and enlist the help of a DUI defense lawyer who can examine the facts of your case and help you beat these charges.

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