Tag Archives: Hillsborough county

Tampa Teacher Driving Wrong Way on I275 Faces DUI Charges

Hillsborough County educator Kevin Thomas Smisor was recently arrested for driving the wrong way dui attorneys in hillsborough county floridaon Tampa’s notorious Interstate 275. After refusing a breathalyzer, Smisor was booked on charges pending a thorough investigation. For the Sunshine State, this would not be the first time a Florida teacher made headlines for a controversial traffic violation, one where driving under the influence has been called into question. The future, for Chamberlain High’s newest social studies teacher could be bleak if he is found guilty of DUI or other reckless driving charges. There were no reported injuries or fatalities at the time of the event, but the arrest certainly did something to jog the memories of local law enforcement officers who clearly recall numerous I 275 accidents and Florida residents who have been forced to watch teacher after teacher stand accused of behaving irresponsibly behind the wheel.

Florida Educator Arrests

In May of 2013, Florida educator Nancy Louise Vaughn of Estero High School allegedly blew .258 and .273 on two separate breathalyzer tests two hours after initially being stopped for a suspected DUI. Just a few months later she was arrested again for the same charge. She was reportedly making her way to the high school the second time she was arrested and has since been removed from the classroom. Meanwhile, in Collier County, Lake Park Elementary School teacher Amy Jane Daniels was accused of both DUI and cocaine possession.

In early 2014, a Paul R. Smith Middle School Teacher made shocking headlines for allegedly engaging in a DUI scandal where she was reportedly arrested for DUI and partial nudity. From Broward County to Lake County, from South Florida to Central Florida, the education system has been called into question. It is notable to mention that in the case of Nancy Louise Vaughn, the breathalyzers that produced two different readings could have also been called into question by a qualified DUI attorney in her defense. While the rash of teacher DUI’s has definitely rattled the Florida community, law enforcement is shaken by something much worse — the number of auto accident deaths occurring on Interstate 275.

The Death Count on I 275

Wrong way crashes on Interstate 275 are becoming an all too common occurrence and law enforcement is looking into making drastic changes to the stretch of highway. In a startling February 9th DUI event, five students from the University of South Florida were fatally struck by a suspected drunk driver. Since then, five equally shattering fatalities have occurred as a result of I 275 wrong way collisions. Drugs and alcohol were presumed to have played a role in a number of these devastating incidents and investigations are still underway.

In the meantime, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation is making attempts to launch a pilot program which would include the implementation of flashing LED lights and wrong way signs for drivers on the notorious interstate. The spokesperson has pinpointed the road itself as being the root of the problem, citing the fact that two of the crashes involved u-turns at a place in the highway where a median didn’t have to be crossed in order for the driver to turn around. Law enforcement continues to claim the drivers are at fault and that the road itself is perfectly sufficient but many concerned Floridians would disagree. New construction can certainly be a costly endeavor but part of the promotion of driver safety is providing drivers with safely constructed roadways. If the interstate is poorly constructed, Chamberlain High School’s 2014 social studies teacher could have an applicable DUI defense.

The Problem with Teaching and DUI

Florida teachers accused of DUI can fall under misconduct investigations and possibly lose their jobs or teaching privileges. The Florida Department of Education will usually investigate the details of a DUI case involving a professional educator. Disciplinary action in the event of a guilty verdict could have devastating, career altering consequences. For this reason, the allegations against Kevin Thomas Smisor should be thoroughly investigated in return, especially if the road he was driving on was misleading or unsafe.

Speeding Tickets Still Most Likely in Tampa Bay

The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles latest report puts the Tampa Bay area the most likely place to get a speeding ticket in this part of Florida. Speeding tickets are more common here than any other nearby city, although the statistics indicate that it is more likely that you will get a ticket for a red light infraction than a speeding offense.

Part of the reason why Tampa gets such a high number of speeding tickets is simply because of the sheer density of vehicles using the city’s highway system. In fact, based on population density, you are more likely to get a speeding ticket in a smaller city like Largo than Tampa, because the local traffic authorities have focused their efforts on certain highways, like US Highway 19. According to the 2012 statistics, over 40% of traffic citations given out in Largo were for speeding. Many of the speeding tickets were for drivers who were allegedly driving at more than 10 mph over the speed limit.

Florida DMV speeding tickets vary a little from county to county, but basically if you accept a citation (i.e. you plead guilty or no contest to a speeding or other traffic offense) you will have a fine to pay as well as a local court fee. You will also have three points added to your Florida license if you are convicted of speeding at less than 15 mph over the limit. You will get four points on your license if you are caught speeding at more than 15 mph over the limit.

Most traffic citations, such as running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign, will get you the 3 points, plus a fine. You might lose your license if you accumulate 12 points within the same number of months (i.e. 3 speeding tickets in that period) or 18 points within 18 months.

The practice in many Florida cities of installing red light cameras is supposed to improve safety at those intersections where they are used. Red light camera citations work a little differently from those that are handed out at intersections where there is no camera. You basically end up paying a fine, but will not have any points on your record.

10 News has conducted an investigation into how the red light cameras have had an effect throughout the Tampa Bay area and the results are far from clear. In cities like Bradenton, it has been claimed that red light cameras have had a significant effect on the number of crashes at the city’s intersections, but the investigators found that too little actual monitoring has taken place to provide any meaningful conclusions as to their usefulness. In fact the 10 News revelations found that Bradenton city’s statistics were actually calculated incorrectly. They also say that over half of the Tampa Bay cities are failing to record red light camera crashes as effectively as they should to keep in line with Florida DMV policy.

The best way to avoid getting a speeding ticket or a red light camera citation of course is to make sure you keep within the speed limit or don’t go through a red light, but sometimes you can get a ticket when you have done everything right. Just because you get a traffic ticket, it doesn’t mean you are automatically guilty. You could lose your license as a result of a mistake in observations. You can plead not guilty to a traffic citation and fight the charge. The best way to get a successful result is to use a Tampa traffic ticket attorney to help you get your ticket dismissed.

Riverview Dentist Accepts DUI Plea Bargain Three Years after Harbour Island Bridge Deaths

The highly publicized DUI manslaughter case of Riverview dentist Matthew Moye has finally ended in a plea bargain. Moye has pleaded guilty in exchange for being given a relatively light prison sentence of 12 years, together with 10 years probation, compulsory DUI school and a $2,000 fine. Similar sentences in Hillsborough County have seen considerably longer jail terms of 20 years or more given out for DUI manslaughter cases in the past. The 12 years jail sentence, which could see Moye released in 10.5 years with good behavior, is still within standard DUI manslaughter guidelines for sentencing.

The case has taken 3 years to be finally decided in court, just a few weeks before a trial was to determine his fate. The families of the two young people who were killed on the Harbor Island Bridge at Halloween in October 2010 were in court and were quite emotional as the sentence was read out.

The deaths took place as Moye’s car swerved out of control on the bridge, hitting Kate Collier and Douglas Kosar as they were walking across the road back to their car after work at the nearby Marriott Waterside Hotel. Moye’s vehicle was estimated to be traveling at around 89 mph at the time of the impact. He was being accompanied by his wife and another person in the Cadillac on the way from one Halloween party to another in the early hours of the morning.

On being questioned by police after the accident, Moye apparently said that he was the designated driver for the night. He refused to take a sobriety test but took a blood alcohol test later. The test results returned a blood alcohol content of 0.136%, just over 50% higher than the state legal limit of 0.08%.

Collier and Kosar’s families have been upset about the time it has taken for the case to be resolved, as well as the attitude that the dentist has taken since the original charge. He has been out on bail of $119,000 since the charge was made and has been able to continue his dental practice in Riverview, Big Bend Dental. His lawyer had apparently urged Moye not to show up in court, as he had been subject to some quite “disturbing” threats. However, he did in fact show up and pleaded guilty to each of the charges against him.

The families of the two young victims made emotional statements about the impact of the deaths at the court hearing. One of the aspects of the case which has made it so contentious is the fact that the dentist refused to acknowledge any blame for the deaths and has not yet offered an apology to the families. At the court hearing, he was reported to have stared unemotionally at each of the family members who spoke and again refused to make a statement or an apology after the sentence was handed down.

Plea bargains are one of the options which are available to those who have been arrested for DUI in Florida. DUI is a serious charge, especially when someone has been seriously injured or killed as a result of being allegedly under the influence of alcohol or controlled drugs. When the arrest has become highly publicized it is even more important that you choose a proficient and skillful DUI attorney to represent you.