Articles Posted in Drunk Driving (DUI)

fire%20rescue%20red%20paramedic%20vehicle.jpgIn Florida and other cases, there are legal ramifications when a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) accident leads to the personal injuries or death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. Even a few drinks can lead to a serious crash and have an impact on the lives of accident victims and family members. Here are the legal cases that may be involved with a DUI accident that result in personal injuries and / or a wrongful death:

1. Criminal Case. The local police and State Attorney’s office can prosecute a driver for DUI under the applicable criminal statutes. Florida has an established .08 alcohol level as the presumed impairment level for a person who drinks and then drives. Keep in mind that a person who has been charged with a DUI is entitled to representation from a Florida Criminal Defense attorney or the Public Defender’s office. Evidence can be challenged and questioned as part of the criminal defense on the case. While restitution can be part of a plea deal or sentence, restitution is typically limited to out of pocket expenses rather than those associated with pain, suffering, mental anguish, and related damages. The family of a injured person or deceased person from a DUI incident can have input into the prosecution of the criminal defense but the ultimate decision as to a plea deal is left to the State Attorney / Prosecutor and then to the Judge presiding on the criminal case. The results or resolution of the criminal case are not necessarily binding on the pursuit of a civil case for damages / injuries caused by the DUI automobile accident.

2. Driver’s License. There are specific Florida Statutes in place that deal with the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license following a DUI accident. The suspension of the driver’s license is often times connected to the criminal case. The administration and supervision of the issuance of driver’s licenses is handled by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This is technically an administrative type of proceeding which is different than the civil and / or criminal case involving the Florida DUI Automobile Accident.

beer.jpgLilly Mills, five-years-old, sadly died as a result of a car crash in Riverview, Florida. The driver, Rolando Rojas, 52, was initially charged with two counts of driving under the influence (DUI) with serious bodily injury, but when the child died, one of those charges increased to driving under the influence with manslaughter, said Sergeant Steve Gaskins.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), the automobile accident occurred at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Bloomingdale Avenue. Rojas of 1220 E. Crenshaw Street was driving northbound on U.S. 301 in a 1999 Ford Ranger. He tried to pass between a Nissan Altima in the outside lane and a Honda Civic in the center lane but sideswiped both cars instead, Trooper J. Cohen said. Rojas’ truck then continued through an intersection, where it crashed into the passenger side of a Chrysler van driven by twenty-five-year old Samantha Anne Populin. The pickup then rolled over and hit another vehicle, a Ford Mustang, said Cohen.

Gaskins, a patrol spokesman said that Samantha Populin was the mother of Lilly, and one other child that was in the van. Paul Wilson Mills, 29, was also in the van, along with Kayla Marie Mills, 10; Audrey Mills, seven; and Sophia Evy Mills, two. Paul Mills, Audrey Mills and Sophia Mills sustained serious personal injuries and were listed in fair condition at Tampa General Hospital. Samantha Populin and Kayla Mills were treated for minor personal injuries and later released. The occupants of the other vehicles were not injured, but Rojas sustained minor injuries and was kept overnight at the hospital.

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In Escambia County (Pensacola), Florida, there was an accident involving a van and a bus transporting students from Pine Forest High School. It was reported that the van sideswiped the school bus that was occupied by the high school students. Drivers should always be alert when driving on Florida highways. This is especially important when there are children and school buses in the area. Florida Highway Patrol believes that alcohol may have been a cause or element of this crash. A high school student and a bus attendant were taken to an Escambia county hospital. See 2 Injured in Escambia County School Board Crash.

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Underage drinking is a problem in Panama Beach, Florida and other Spring Break areas. See Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages – Enforcement and Arrest Made in Panama City Beach, Florida – Orlando Sentinel. In Florida, the drinking age is 21. Anyone under the age of 21 is violating the law if he or she consumes alcohol or provides alcohol to another person under the age of 21. Teenagers have poor safety awareness and judgment when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. Teenagers get into a “party mode” and believe that drinking is harmless fun. This is far from the truth as many teenagers suffer serious personal injuries and some die every year from alcohol related deaths. Driving Under the Influence is a big problem in Florida whether the driver is a teenager or an adult. Alcohol dulls the senses and affects one’s alertness and motor skills. In Panama City Beach, Florida, agents from the the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco patrol the area on the look out for underage drinking violations by teenagers as well as businesses.

Over 900 teens and 20 year olds were arrested between March 11 and March 28 for underage drinking / possession of alcohol in Panama City Beach. Unfortunately, some parents become aware of underage drinking by a child only when there is an injury or arrest. It is important for parents to sit down with their children and have discussions about the dangers of alcohol and what it means to be a responsible teenager or young adult.

If a child has been injured as a result of an alcohol related automobile accident or personal injury, contact a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for consultation, advice, and legal representation.

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In Florida, children are transported to and from schools every day. It is important for drivers to be careful anytime that there is a school bus on the roadway. It is and should be well known that school buses make frequent stops and that children often times need to cross streets after exiting a school bus. In addition, children are at risk for injuries on school bus when there is an accident. In Bonita Springs, Florida, an accident was reported. The incident involved a 19 year old driver who crashed / rear ended the school bus. The car was actually wedged under the school bus as a result of the crash. The driver was later arrested and charged with DUI.

Of course, the driver will be entitled to representation in the criminal case by a public defender or a private attorney. However the criminal case works out, it is important for all drivers to be careful when driving on the roadways and be on the look out for school buses and child pedestrians. You can read more about this story at Driver Arrested Following Bonita Springs School Bus Crash.

DrunkDriving.jpgThe Florida Highway Patrol takes drunk driving in Jacksonville, Florida and other Florida towns and cities very seriously, saying that it is one of the most deadly crimes. Their motto is “Over the Limit, Under Arrest.” If you get pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, a breathalyzer and / or field sobriety tests will help officers determine if you are over the legal limit. Drivers found to be drunk face jail time, losing their driver’s licenses, higher insurance rates, and many other expenses.

The Florida Highway Patrol has released some tips so that drivers can determine their own limit before getting behind the wheel. For example, they would like to remind people that one drink is the equivalent of .54 ounces of pure alcohol; that is the amount found in one ounce of 100 proof liquor, twelve ounces of beer, or four to five ounces of wine. Also, it does not take many drinks for the average person to reach the legal limit of .080 blood alcohol content. A 120 pound woman would very likely be well over the limit after consuming three drinks in one hour. A 180 pound man would be over the limit after four drinks in the same time period.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is no joke. It can be harmful or even fatal both for the driver himself and for innocent victims on the road with him. Drivers are urged to contact the Florida Highway Patrol by cell phone at *FHP (*347) to report any dangerous driving behavior. Callers may be anonymous.

Meds.jpgAccording to a Marion County, Florida Sheriff’s Office report, Nekisha Smith made a trip to the McDonalds drive thru one evening with her five year old son in the car. An employee of the restaurant became concerned after noticing that Ms. Smith was allegedly speaking with a slurred voice and smelled of alcohol. She also reportedly seemed confused about her order once she reached the window. The employee told Ms. Smith that her food was still being cooked, and asked her to pull forward to wait for it. He then called police.

When police arrived, Ms. Smith was parked in the McDonalds parking lot, eating her food. She reportedly told deputies that she was just tired from drinking the day before; she also said that she was taking several medications, including Zoloft. She failed field sobriety tests, including a breathalyzer that showed a blood alcohol level of .13. The child’s father was called to pick up the boy, and Ms. Smith was arrested. She has been charged with drunken driving and child neglect. Deputies have contacted the Florida department of Children and Families about the incident.

Read more about the alleged McDonald’s drunken drive-thru incident Mother arrested in McDonald’s parking lot, charged with child neglect, DUI.

DrunkDriving.jpgAngela Stone’s daughter, Shelby Taylor Hagman, was killed in a drunk driving accident in Hernando County, Florida in 2007. She was riding in a minivan with her grandparents, Larry and Deborah Wynn of Brooksville, Florida, when Christopher Marcone ran a stop sign and crashed into their car. Marcone pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and three related charges and is currently serving 13-years in prison.

Angela Stone then filed a civil lawsuit against Marcone for the death of her daughter. She has said that she does not have any hope of collecting a settlement from Marcone, but she is not doing it for the money; the lawsuit is an effort to send a message to would-be drunk and reckless drivers.

A jury of six women awarded Stone the one of the largest verdicts in Hernando County history, and possibly in the state of Florida – $55 Million in compensatory damages and $275 Million in punitive damages. Stone is also suing Kia Motors Corp. and a local auto dealer who sold her grandparents the minivan they were driving on the night of the accident. She claims that a defective seat belt in the Kia minivan also contributed to Shelby’s death.

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An Oviedo, Florida high school special education teacher recently resigned from her job. The resignation followed a DUI crash and arrest of a student who was reportedly given alcohol and the use of a vehicle by the teacher. The Orlando Sentinel (Reporter: Willoughby Mariano) wrote an excellent article regarding this incident. It was important for the reporter and Orlando Sentinel to cover this story since it shows that some teachers have extremely poor judgment that, at times, leads to serious consequences. In this case, a teen was in an automobile accident and then arrested due to intoxication. The teen even make threatening comments to police officers upon his arrest. While there were no reported injuries, this kind of incident could have lead to quite tragic consequences if the teen or another person had been serious ly injured or died as a result of this DUI crash. Dylan Ferguson, age 18, was a senior of Oviedo High School, as of the date of the accident. Yes, Dylan is an adult and should have known better. Furthermore, Dylan should be held responsible or accountable for his action. In addition, any person, including teachers and others, should also be accountable or responsible if alcohol was knowingly provided to a person under the age of 21 in the State of Florida. You can read more about this article at Oviedo Teacher Resigns Following DUI Crash and Arrest of Oviedo High School Senior.

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Glen Maxey of Fort Myers, Florida was arrested for drunk driving by deputies when Maxey’s ex-wife reported that she had witnessed him put one of their children on his lap while driving his swamp buggy earlier in the day. She said that he was driving erratically and one of the children fell out, badly bruising his back and causing him to vomit. Maxey admitted to having a hard day and drinking a few beers before driving the children around in the swamp buggy.

Accidents caused by drunk driving are so easily preventable. It is very frustrating to DUI related automobile accidents and related injuries making news headlines day after day. Alcohol impairs not only a person’s motor skills, but also his judgment – which leads many people to believe they are “OK to drive” even when they are putting the lives of their own children, not to mention other drivers, on the line.

To date, Maxey has only been charged with drunk driving, but child endangerment or child abuse charges may be forthcoming. You can read more about this Fort Myers, Florida child injury case at Child injured in alleged DUI, swamp buggy incident.