My client was leaving a McDonald’s drive-thru in Clearwater early in the morning. He struck another car as he entered an intersection. The driver of the other car began to yell at him and he drove off. Shortly thereafter, he got into a second accident. He waved to the woman driver to follow him into a neighborhood. The Clearwater Police Department responded and investigated.
The driver of the first car claimed that she was injured and went to the hospital. That gave law enforcement probable cause to arrest him for felony leaving the scene of an accident involving injury. They did not charge him with a crime for the second accident because he waved the other driver over and she followed him. He was given a citation for careless driving for that accident.
The police also detected the odor of alcohol and began a DUI investigation. My client admitted that he had consumed alcohol the night before. He performed poorly on the field sobriety tests and was also arrested for DUI. He refused the intoxilyzer.
I instructed my client to immediately report the accident to his insurance company and encourage them to pay. He did that and it was successful. He carried Allstate and they paid for the damage to both cars and paid each of the women involved in the accident $25,000 for their injuries.
I also instructed him to sign up and attend DUI school with Suncoast Safety Council. He did that and began his treatment.
Because the charge was originally a felony involving injuries, I wanted to know more about them. It turned out that the injuries were only soft tissue in nature, so I was able to convince the prosecutor to reduce it to a misdemeanor.
It also was my client’s third DUI, which was a real problem. I was fortunately able to keep it as a misdemeanor DUI.
The incident was obviously an aggravated situation. He caused two accidents, hurt two people and it was his third DUI. I knew that it was going to be a tough case to resolve. Fortunately, because his insurance paid out all of the damages, there was no restitution and no victims present. Because he had stayed sober, did the DUI school and was in treatment, there was also leniency. The State initially wanted him to do 120 days of jail followed by 180 days of CAM monitor. I was able to negotiate the sentence down to 30 days of jail and no CAM. I felt like it was a very good result for the facts of the case.