Articles Posted in DUI & BUI

dui-3Here’s a troubling statistic: while drivers under the age of 21 only represent 10% of licensed drivers in the United States, they are responsible for at least 17% of fatal alcohol-related crashes. No wonder some parents install an interlock install device to keep their teens from driving while intoxicated.

Below are other sobering statistics you need to know before you hand over your car keys to your teenager:

  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), many young people abuse alcohol more than any other substance, with 12 to 20-year-olds accounting for more than 10% of the total consumption.

An IID or ignition interlock device is an electronic tool installed in vehicles and designed to detect if the driver has alcohol on his breath. The device is specifically for DUI offenders, particularly those who have been convicted more than once.

Although there are general penalties, each state in the U.S. follows its own guidelines and ignition interlock device installation laws. For example, in Florida, if a first-time DUI offender registered a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher, or if he had a minor passenger at the time of the arrest, the IID should stay in his vehicle for six months. Some states have similar laws, while some others have different penalties for such violations.

If you are a vehicle owner or driver, learning everything you can about DUI and IID laws is a must regardless of which state you reside in. Knowing what to do when you are arrested for driving under the influence is important. Familiarizing the penalties for ignition interlock device violations is also essential.

dui-3Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Approximately one person dies every 50 minutes due to drunk driving. That’s equivalent to more or less 30 individuals per day.

In 2018 alone, the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities was at 10,511, with 980 of these involving drivers under 21 years of age. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, the numbers have significantly lowered in the past 30 years. Nevertheless, drunk driving remains to be a major problem in the country.

While each state follows strict DUI (driving under the influence) protocols, this has not prevented individuals with suspended licenses from driving again. As a result, federal and state authorities implemented interlock installation policies throughout the country. This technology uses an IID or ignition interlock device to prevent convicted drunk drivers from driving their cars while under the influence.

From Florida Daily:

This weekend is a big one for Saint Petersburg with the St. Pete Grand Prix and St. Patrick’s Day coming up.  Per the Florida Daily though, local residents need to be aware of a law enforcement operation set to coincide with all these fun activities…

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On Wednesday, the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA)Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Highway Patrol announced the launch of Operation Dry Streets, a joint statewide initiative that focuses on keeping the roads safe for citizens and visitors across Florida.

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in Florida, you should know what’re facing. You’ll most likely be facing  knowledgeable and capable prosecutors who are well-versed in using the legal system to get the information they want in order to make their case. They know how to phrase the requests they file with the court and make arguments in ways that generally persuade judges.

In order to defend yourself fully, then, you need legal representation that also knows how make (or oppose) requests effectively and make (or oppose) arguments persuasively. You need to be sure you have an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney on your side.

Consider the case of L.L. Actually, it was, at first, the non-case of L.L. In 2018, the state asked a judge to issue a subpoena for L.L.’s medical records. At that time, L.L. was not facing any criminal charges. The state argued that it needed the records as it had reasonable suspicion that the records held “information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”

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There are many different ways to pursue justice if you’re a criminal defendant. Sometimes, the best way is to plead not guilty and to contest your case all the way through trial and any necessary appeals. Others times, however, the best path forward may be a plea agreement. Even if a “not guilty” verdict is not a viable option in your situation, there are still variables in play that can increase or decrease the severity of your criminal penalty. Getting justice can mean ensuring that you do not receive an unjust sentence based upon a bad application of the facts or the law. To get the help you need in securing the justice you deserve, be sure to retain the services of a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.

Here’s an example involving one man who pled guilty. J.P. was facing two charges in a DUI-related matter. Both charges related to one fatal crash that took place in Broward County in June 2011, where a motorcyclist died after skidding into J.P.’s SUV. The accused man entered a guilty plea and, as part of the agreement, the state dropped count one.

That left the court to sentence J.P. on count two, which was a felony. Florida splits felony crimes into 10 categories of severity. 10 is the most severe and 1 is the least severe. There are several factors that can cause the “score” you are assessed on your scoresheet to go up. Some include if you have prior criminal convictions, if your crime injured multiple victims, if your crime resulted in a victim’s (or victims’) death or if you were on probation when you re-offended. Your score may go up in instances such as those.

A friendly heads up this weekend for those of us who will be enjoying the official beginning of summer.  The PCSO has announced that they are participating in a Memorial day enforcement operation.

Cleverly named the 2018 Memorial Day S.A.L.E. (Sea Air and Land Enforcement), it began 9:00 a.m. today and will continue until 5:00 p.m. Monday.

Per the official release ” The detail will utilize the Marine Unit to conduct vessel safety inspections and enforcement of marine laws to include impaired vessel operation. The Flight Unit will assist the Traffic and DUI Unit in the enforcement of speeding, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence.

The detail is part of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Strategic Policing through Education and Enforcement for Drivers (SPEED) highway safety grant and the DUI Enforcement Enhancement Program grant.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is committed to reducing deaths, injuries, and property damage associated with crashes related to speed, aggressive driving, and the impaired operation of vehicles and vessels”.

In summary, have fun and be careful.  Know that there will be heightened police presence on most major roads and waterways.  If you are drinking, then Uber.  If you are boating, be careful and make sure you have all the proper boating safety equipment at hand. Continue reading

A new article from the Tampa Bay Times discusses new changes that makes getting a DUI in Saint Pete even more costly.

Just passed by the city council, a new ordinance now calls for a $500 fine plus towing/storage costs for drunken drivers if they want to get their vehicle out of the impound lot post-arrest.  The SPPD will need additional training in this matter before they start enforcing this new rule.  It is not known when it will go into effect.  Also not known? If a person who is later found to be not guilty or not under the influence at the time will be able to have their money refunded.

A city council member remained unmoved. “Difficult consequences to poor decisions is what changes behavior. “Call Uber, call a taxi, save a whole lot of money and probably a life. There’s just too many easy ways to save the $500.”

With this ordinance, Saint Petersburg becomes the first city in the Tampa Bay area to add a fine to get your car back from impound.  Hillsborough and Pasco officials both denied wanting a similar law in their area.

With over 445 dui arrests in Saint Petersburg so far this year, members hoped this new law will make tipsy drivers think twice before getting behind the wheel.  City council voted 6-2 on this new law with the two members who voted against the ordinance stating worries about due process and an extra burden on certain driviers who could not afford the additional expense.

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Quick tip from ABC news…when your brother gets arrested for DUI and you want to argue with the cop, make sure you are also not driving under the influence

Florida Highway Patrol arrested a brother and sister for separate DUIs last Friday morning near Ocala.

Reports say that troopers received a BOLO (be on the lookout) call for a reckless driver going southbound on 75.  A trooper spotted the car and stopped it on State Road 200.  The driver, identified as 31-year-old Josue Moncada, was interviewed and eventually arrested for DUI shortly before 3:00 a.m.

In a case of justice delayed but (finally) not denied, the case of the “affluenza teen” may finally have come to an end…

Ethan Couch, who killed four people in a DUI manslaughter case, but received no jail time in a case that outraged the nation finally received his punishment.

A Texas judge just sentenced him to two years in the Tarrant County jail-180 days per each person he killed.  While this seems light, it is the maximum punishment he could receive based on the conditions of his parole.  The judge announced that Couch’s terms of probation would be similar to what he was previously doing including no drugs/alcohol and he must get a job.

Ethan Couch was front page news in 2013 when a now retired judge sentenced him to 10 years of probation only after he drove into a crowd of people.  Though only 16 at the time, he was legally drunk on stolen beer and the crash killed four people including a youth pastor and  a mother and daughter.

The judge at the time listened to Couch’s criminal defense attorney who hired a psychologist.  The psychologist claimed that the boy was a victim of “affluenza” and that he was so spoiled from his family that he never learned the difference between right and wrong.  The court was told that the “child” never learned that actions have consequences.

The judge bought it and Couch stayed out of trouble…for a while.  Video last year showed him playing beer pong at a party which was a violation of his probation.  Rather then face the court, Couch and his mother Tonya fled to Mexico.  They both changed their appearance with Couch sporting dyed blonde hair and his mother holding tens of thousands in cash.  They were arrested in Puerto Vallarta in December and he was deported in January.

As of this writing, his mother still faced a third-degree felony charge.

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