Articles Tagged with DUI defense attorney

Felony convictions against a man accused of killing two while driving drunk were reversed recently by an appellate court in Illinois, which ruled the DUI testing after his arrest was unconstitutional. DUI defense lawyer

Although this issue takes place outside of Florida, it’s one motorists in the Sunshine State have had to grapple with as well. It was a very similar case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 with Missouri v. McNeely. That was a landmark case in which the court ruled that when it comes to drunk driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in one’s blood stream is not sufficient grounds to argue exigent circumstances in every case that would justify conducting a blood test absent a warrant. In other words, there may be some cases in which a warrantless blood draw is justified, but it has to be based on more than just the fact that alcohol quickly leaves the body.

Even with that instruction, courts across the country continue to grapple with these questions, trying to balance the scales between the rights of the accused and gathering all pertinent information in these serious felony cases.  Continue reading

Facing down a criminal conviction can be incredibly unnerving, but fleeing can leave you in even bigger trouble than before you started. That’s because failure to appear is a charge in and of itself that can have serious consequences, even if you are ultimately found not guilty of the original crimes. handcuff-300x114

This was seen recently in a case involving a Bahamian man who reportedly fled the country while awaiting sentencing for his DUI manslaughter conviction in 2000 following a crash that resulted in the death of a 44-year-old married mother of two. He was fighting his conviction first in Palm Beach County courts and then in his native country, but he lost his appeal in 2003 and was ordered to report to Palm Beach County to serve his sentence, according to the Palm Beach Post. Instead, he allegedly cut off his ankle bracelet and fled. He was arrested by authorities in the Bahamas and after exhausting all appeals, was extradited. Now in addition to the DUI manslaughter conviction, he is facing two failure to appear charges.

F.S. 843.15 outlines failure of defendant on bail to appear. The law says that anyone who is released pursuant to F.S. Chapter 903 and who willfully fails to appear before any court or judicial officer as required incurs a forfeiture of any security that was promised or given as a condition of release. If he or she was released in connection with a felony charge or while awaiting sentence or pending appellate court review after conviction, it’s considered a third-degree felony, meaning it’s punishable by up to five years in prison. That’s on top of the original sentence. Continue reading

Following a DUI arrest, the primary goal of our DUI defense attorneys is to find ways to challenge the charge outright, in hopes of a dismissal or not guilty verdict. However, when the chances of that are slim, we may adjust our strategy to negotiate with prosecutors to amend the charge from DUI to the less serious offense of reckless driving. DUI Defense Attorney

This is precisely what golf pro Tiger Woods did after his Florida DUI arrest in Palm Beach County earlier this year. Authorities arrested him after he was found passed out at the wheel of his vehicle. He was accused of intoxication with prescription drugs and marijuana. There was no alcohol in his system. He would later release a statement saying he was attempting to self-medical to relieve pain from a previous back surgery and insomnia.

By pleading down to reckless driving, F.S. 316.192, as opposed to DUI, F.S. 316.193, defendants can first of all avoid many of the consequences that accompany the more serious charge. Continue reading

In cases that result in drunk driving convictions, a judge may assign varying penalties, depending on things like defendant’s prior criminal record and whether anyone was injured.  In some cases that result in direct injury to another person, the court may order restitution. This is money paid by defendant to the victim in order to compensate for certain losses.criminal defense lawyer

It is separate and apart from any civil liability action that may be taken by victim(s). Victims can sue a drunk driver in civil court to obtain compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, loss of life enjoyment, pain and suffering, etc. The circumstances under which restitution may be compelled are spelled out in F.S. 775.089.

If a judge in a criminal case orders you to pay restitution, it would be unwise to seek the public’s help in paying it. The reason is that while the intention is to compensate the victim, criminal courts are concerned with penalizing poor choices. That means the person who commits the crime is responsible to pay the penalties for that violation. Recently, a man convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter in Texas raised ire and generated headlines when he created a GoFundMe account to help pay his court-ordered restitution following a conviction for a crash that killed to highway workers. At the time, defendant’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.118, more than double the legal limit.  Continue reading

Authorities made a South Florida arrest for DUI and child endangerment in Boynton Beach after allegedly discovering a woman drunk behind the wheel of a car in a parking lot with four children jumping in and out of the sunroof.winebottle

According to The Sun Sentinel, the engine of the vehicle was running. It was about 7:30 p.m. and the vehicle was parked in a Publix grocery store parking lot. In the front passenger seat, police say, was a half-empty jug of sangria. The 34-year-old woman in the driver’s seat allegedly had a blood-alcohol concentration of .358, which is more than four times the legal amount of 0.08. This was after she agreed to undergo a blood alcohol test.

Police reported they were called to the parking lot after several witnesses said they had tried to chase the young children out of harm’s way, as they were running around the parking lot and were almost struck by vehicles entering and leaving. One witness called dispatchers and said they had seen the driver drinking in the car from a large jug of wine.  Continue reading

The former director of the Florida State Parks was recently arrested for DUI with property damage and hit-and-run, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, which explained the arrest occurred after defendant was stopped by troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol.drink and drive

According to reports, the former official, who also previously worked for the state Department of Environmental Protection, had left the scene of a crash after briefly speaking to the other driver. Troopers were called to the scene by that other driver around 7 p.m. on a Saturday. The driver reported he was traveling south when a Mercedes Benz, later identified by police as being driven by the former official, traveling in the same direction veered into his lane and struck his driver’s side mirror in passing.

The defendant reportedly pulled over, talked to the other driver for a minute, then rolled up her window and abruptly drove away. Dispatchers then started receiving other calls about a vehicle matching that description in the same area running other motorists off the road Continue reading

Florida House committee lawmakers have put the state one step closer to compelling more first-time DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices. DUI

On the surface, this may seem like bad news for DUI offenders. After all, ignition interlock devices are expensive, cumbersome and embarrassing. However, there could be one major upside for first-time offenders if the bill is passed statewide in its current form.

According to News4Jax, the bill would revise and replace provisions of the current ignition interlock law, as addressed in F.S. 316.193 and F.S. 322.271 and F.S. 316.1937. Current law only makes it mandatory for a first-time DUI offender in Florida to have ignition interlock devices installed if his or her blood-alcohol concentration was at 0.15 percent or higher or if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense. Beyond that, the devices are mandatory in cases where an individual has previous DUI convictions.  Continue reading

Florida’s law against driving under the influence, F.S. 316.193, covers the offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated not just by alcohol, but by any chemical substance that impairs the person’s normal faculties. This includes marijuana. However, now that the drug has become legal for medicinal purposes in the Sunshine State, some lawmakers say this statute does not go far enough. rolledcigarette

Now, House Bill 237, the Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Act, proposes that DUI arrests can be made and convictions secured if evidence is presented the driver had 5 nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood. If the law is passed, it would go into effect this October.

However, there has been significant push back from the scientific community on this because blood testing for THC, which is a fat-soluble compound, is known to be an inaccurate means of testing impairment. That’s because the substances stays in one’s body long after consumption, unlike alcohol, which dissipates quickly. What that means is if you find a certain amount of alcohol in one’s blood or breath or urine, that alcohol was consumed fairly recently and one can opine with reasonable certainty about the degree of intoxication. But that isn’t true with marijuana. In fact, all a test like this will tell you is that the person is a marijuana user. A high level of THC in the blood stream is not necessarily indicative of impairment. It may only indicate the person is a regular user. So if a person consumes a little of the drug every evening for a month and is pulled over one morning – completely sober – he or she could well have a THC level above that 5-nanogram limit. Continue reading

Florida State University football team’s strength & conditioning coach was suspended for a month without pay following his Florida DUI arrest in Tallahassee, following a blow-out party with crew members of the “Showtime” network.whiskey

According to The Tallahassee Democrat, Coach Vic Viloria spent the evening drinking whiskey on the Florida State campus, first at his office and then, after deeming that “inappropriate,” fearing other employees might see, moving to the Showtime crew’s trailer. Although he initially planned to “sleep it off” in his office (a wiser choice), he chose to drive home early on a recent Saturday morning. However, he did not make it home before he was stopped by police. The FSU team and its season is the focus of Showtime’s latest series, “A Season With,” which debuted this month. Viloria said he was given a bottle of whiskey by the crew to celebrate the closing of the preseason camp. He reportedly opened the bottle in his office and shared it with three Showtime crew members.

The case is illustrative of the fact that a Florida DUI arrest can impact multiple areas of your life. Obviously for someone with a high-profile position like Viloria, the impact is severe. In this case, the 30-day suspension handed down by the university represents one-third of the team’s regular season schedule, which spans a total of 12 games. The suspension began Sept. 2 and will last through Oct. 1.  Continue reading

A Hollywood man has been arrested for DUI and hit-and-run after he allegedly caused a fatal crash and then failed to remain at the scene.beers

According to The Sun-Sentinel, 53-year-old Gabriel Tommie could be facing up to 5 years in prison.

Officials report defendant was driving a pickup truck in January when he reportedly struck a vehicle at the Stirling Road and South University Drive intersection. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash was reportedly injured, but Tommie left the scene. Continue reading