Across the United States, the dangers of drinking and driving are well-advertised. Television campaigns, billboards, and other public service announcements by various groups combine to do everything possible to ensure that drivers know that impaired driving leads to accidents, injury, and death.
The problem, of course, is that drunk drivers often make the decision to drive after they’re too impaired to know that they’re too impaired. For those drivers, criminal laws and civil solutions are necessary to punish offenders and to compensate their victims.
In Florida, if you have a driver’s license, there is an implied consent to breath testing. If an officer suspects you’ve been drinking and driving, he can require you to take a breath test and the court can impose penalties if you refuse. If a breath test shows that a driver has a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of over .08 (.02 for drivers under 21 years old), that driver could face criminal prosecution.
Earlier this year, on April 21, 2015, Chadwick Dean Vogt chose to drink anddrive, and then turned his Ford Bronco into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist. His BAC at the time was revealed to be over three times the legal limit, and the jury took less than two hours to convict him of vehicular manslaughter. Vogt had just one previous conviction for DUI, and another for Reckless driving, but on May 29, 2015, he received the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Vogt likely didn’t intend to kill anyone that night, but he’ll be spending a very long time wishing he’d made an alternate plan to get home.
Last year, in 2014, Daytona, Florida officers saw a spike in DUI arrests, especially around the University of Central Florida. Over Volusia County, there were over a thousand DUI arrests – that’s 22 arrests for every 10,000 residents. Daytona Beach Shores, with just 4,258 residents, saw 69 arrests for DUI last year. That’s significant because Ormond Beach, with a population of 38,376, also had just 69 arrests.
Most drivers are very careful and avoid drinking and driving like the plague it is, but for all of us, DUI is a deadly problem with plenty of innocent victims. While you’re driving, watch for the signs of DUI: Swerving, driving too slow or too fast, reckless choices, difficulty maintaining a lane of travel, etc. Whether you choose to report the driver to law enforcement, be sure to protect yourself by literally steering clear of dangerous drivers.
If you have been injured in an accident involving an intoxicated driver, the Daytona Beach law firm of Zimmet & Zimmet has the experience to educate you on the criminal process, guide you through the civil process, and get you the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.