Tampa Man May Receive A DUI After Crash

A Tampa, Florida resident may face driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) charges after fleeing the scene of an accident on Tuesday night. According a Florida State Troopers press release, around 8 pm on Tuesday July 19th, William J. Daniels, 52, of Tampa Florida was driving along Leland Hill Road in Franklin when he swerved his vehicle into two mailboxes causing property damage to both his vehicle and the mailboxes. Daniels then immediately fled the scene of the accident without notifying anyone of the damages.

After Daniels fled the scene, the owners of the mailboxes reported the incident to the state troopers. The state troopers began patrolling the area around Franklin to find the suspect.

While on patrol, the state troopers noticed a vehicle matching the description of Daniels’ along State Highway 28. The vehicle was swerving, a typical sign of drunk driving, so the state troopers pursued the vehicle. The state troopers followed Daniel until he started to turn into a driveway off the Highway toward the nearby town of Oneonta.

At the turn state troopers noticed he was really beginning to lose control of the vehicle so they pulled him over. Once stopped, state troopers were able to link Daniels to the earlier hit and run. Due to his suspicious driving, the state troopers asked Daniels to submit to a breathalyzer test to determine his blood alcohol level. Daniels refused to take the required test.

Under the State of Florida’s implied consent law, by accepting the privilege of driving, any driver has effectively consented to submit to any chemical test, including a breathalyzer test. If the state troopers have probable cause to suspect a person is under the influence of alcohol, by law that person has to submit to a Breathalyzer upon request. A refusal to take a breathalyzer can lead to a suspended license and can be used in court against the suspect.

Since Daniels has been swerving and driving erratically, as well as having earlier left the scene of an accident, the state troopers had probable cause to suspect Daniels of driving under the influence of alcohol. So once Daniels refused to submit to the breathalyzer, the state troopers took him into custody and after further investigation into the matter, charged him with a DUI.

The arresting state troopers also charged him with a series of minor traffic violations related to both his erratic driving and the earlier hit and run incident.

Daniels was then taken to the Oneota Town Court where he was arraigned. The court then sent Daniels to the Otsego County jail to await trial. Though the judge is allowing Daniels to be released with either a $1,250 cash bail or a $2,500 property bond.

Daniels will face his charges in court in the town of Oneonta on July 28, 2016.

With the rising rates of DUI fatalities, Florida courts takes DUI charges very seriously. If found guilty of a driving under the influence, Daniels could fines of up to $5000, have his license suspended, and may even serve prison time.

Daniels’ arrest follows a string of recent DUI arrests in the Tampa Bay area after the Fourth of July weekend. Tampa Bay police officers are cracking down on DUIs after seeing a 60% increase in DUI fatalities in the last five years. DUI fatalities have become such a serious problem in the Tampa Bay area that on Friday, July 22, 2016, the Tampa state troopers are planning a series of DUI checkpoints across the area.

Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of Tuesday’s accident.