Monday, March 12, 2012

Florida Highway Patrol To Increase Enforcement of Impaired Driving Over St. Patrick’s Day Weekend March 17, 2012

Tampa Bay Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses how the Florida Highway Patrol will increase DUI enforcement over the March 17, 2012 St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend.

Issue:

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) increased its patrol efforts during the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, 2012.  The holiday is often associated with increased drinking and partying throughout the nation.

The FHP’s crackdown was part of a national program known as, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, which is a nationwide multi-year advertising campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation that aims to get drunk drivers off the road and involves increased law enforcement efforts in local communities including the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

The Florida Highway looked for individuals who were driving under the influence (DUI) in Pinellas County during the week of March 10 -17, as well as individuals engaging in speeding or reckless driving, and drivers without their seat belt fastened.

According to the FHP, 18,000 car crashes occurred throughout Florida in 2010 due to alcohol. These crashes resulted in nearly 800 deaths and over 12,000 injuries.



Why This Matters To You:

If you were pulled over for DUI, drinking and driving, reckless driving, or any other alcohol-related offense, such as DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury, or DUI with property damage in St. Petersburg on St. Patrick’s Day, it is very important to contact an experienced local DUI defense attorney.  You only have 10 days to request an administrative review hearing if your driver’s license was suspended because you refused to submit to a chemical blood or breath test or failed to pass a chemical alcohol test.

Additionally, if you are convicted of a DUI offense in Florida, you can face serious penalties and repercussions, such as jail or prison time, fines, a driver’s license suspension, requirements to complete substance-abuse evaluation and treatment and/or a criminal record.

With the above said, you may not have to face a conviction for your alleged DUI offense.  There may be defenses or mitigating factors available in your defense, such as problems with the chemical alcohol test, law enforcement procedural violations, constitutional violations and/or insufficient evidence to prove your charges.  Additionally, the state prosecutor must prove you committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  This can be a very difficult burden of proof to satisfy, and any doubt in the mind of the judge or jury can possibly result in a dismissal or reduction in the charges against you.


What To Do Next:

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), or reckless driving offense in the Tampa Bay area, contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 for a free initial consultation on your case with an attorney.  The Morris Law Firm can help.  Attorney Melinda Morris has specific knowledge and experience in representing alleged drunk driving offenders throughout the entire Tampa Bay, Florida area (Pinellas County: St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole;  Hillsborough County: Tampa; Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, and Bradenton counties).