Palm Beach DUI Lawyer: Computer Error in Florida Deletes DUI Conviction

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The Florida Times-Union reported last week on a computer error that deleted the felony conviction of a drunk driver. Government officials mistakenly reinstated the driving privileges of Brandon Hoffman, who was 17 at the time of the incident. The accident occurred in 2005 and left Don Worley in a wheelchair.
Questions from the Times-Union prompted an inquiry into the government computer system, including the Traffic Citation Accounting Transmission System (also called TCATS). All 67 Florida court clerks use the system to transmit information about convicted DUIs to Highway Safety officials and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Highway Safety officials notified Hoffman, now 20, that his driver’s license would be suspended starting in 20 days. Back in 2006, Hoffman had pleaded no-contest to the felony drunken driving charge and was sentenced to six years of probation, in addition to 150 days of jail time and a six-month driving suspension.
That information never made it into FDLE records. FDLE never received a copy of Hoffman’s fingerprints from Flagler County, so they were unable to enter information about his arrest and conviction in their system. They are investigating to ensure that the computer error has not impacted other DUI cases.
Computer error strikes teen’s DUI conviction, Florida Times-Union, August 11, 2008

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MADD Volunteers in Florida Launch Traffic Observation Program

In Manatee County Florida, volunteers for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are preparing to launch a pilot program in cooperation with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. The six month “Traffic Observation Program” begins September 1, 2008.
Volunteer traffic observers from MADD will report vehicle descriptions, direction of travel, and license plate numbers of drivers who show signs of intoxication to the county Sheriff’s office. Safety permitting, the observers may decide to follow vehicles while maintain contact with dispatchers from the Sheriff’s office. The volunteers will work in pairs using their own cars and cell phones, monitoring the roads between peak DUI periods (around 10 pm to 2 am).
Data from the 6 month pilot will be used for assessment purposes. Manatee County Sheriff W. Brad Steube estimates that Florida drunk drivers will kill approximately 1,000 people this year.
Although the volunteers have been instructed not to intervene or stop any vehicles suspected of DUI, the program raises some questions. Is it necessary? More importantly, volunteers can easily be described as “state actors” for legal purposes? Following automobiles and reporting them directly to law enforcement raises some significant constitutional issues. Furthermore, overzealous participants are certain to create traffic hazards while persuing citizens whom they believe are impared. This pilot program is absolutely ludicris.
This Florida pilot program is the first in the country, so only time will tell.
MADD Volunteers Support Local Sheriff with New Program to Report Drunk Driving, MarketWatch.com August 7, 2008

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Palm Beach DUI Lawyer: West Palm Beach Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison After Fatal Car Wreck

In Broward, Florida, Christopher Sales pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter and driving under the influence. The 28-year-old man will serve five years in prison and spend eight years on probation after release from prison. If convicted as charged at trial, Sales would have faced up to 20 years behind bars.
On October 8, 2005, Sales was driving a 1994 Chevrolet Camaro and made a U-turn in front of Harley-Davidson, causing a crash that killed motorcycle driver John Steelman, 38, of Boynton Beach. Steelman’s passenger, Tara Summer, suffered a broken arm and leg after she was thrown from the bike. Sales sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash.
Sale was driving under the influence of painkiller oxycodone and tests showed that his blood contained for the three times the recommended medical dose. According to an attorney for the state of Florida, he did not have a prescription for the medication.
Man sentenced to 5 years for causing fatal wreck while on painkillers, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, July 15, 2008

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CITY OF DELRAY BEACH TO PETITION THE FLORIDA DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION FOR FUNDS AIMED AT STRENGTHING DUI ENFORCEMENT.

The City of Delray Beach has set its sights on obtaining money that would finance an officer whose duties would primarily include analyzing ways to fight DUI offenders. The City of Delray Beach also hopes to use this grant money to finance a vehicle outfitted to further this endeavor. The application seeks over $100,000 which … Read more CITY OF DELRAY BEACH TO PETITION THE FLORIDA DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION FOR FUNDS AIMED AT STRENGTHING DUI ENFORCEMENT.

Palm Beach DUI Lawyer: MOTHER’S AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING SEEK TO ADD TO THE ALREADY LONG LIST OF MINIMUM MANDATORY SENTENCES FOR FIRST TIME OFFENDERS.

Individuals convicted for their first DUI offense in Broward County are required, at a minimum, to serve six months probation, pay a $250 fine plus court costs, attend a Level I DUI class, and have their vehicle immobilized for ten days. In many cases, those convicted must also follow-up with treatment for alcohol dependency. As … Read more Palm Beach DUI Lawyer: MOTHER’S AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING SEEK TO ADD TO THE ALREADY LONG LIST OF MINIMUM MANDATORY SENTENCES FOR FIRST TIME OFFENDERS.