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October 8, 2014

Polo tycoon on to round two on DUI manslaughter charges

untitledTexas billionaire, John B. Goodman, is still in the early stages of his second trial, which is set for March 3, for the death of 23 year old college student, Scott Williams on February 2010. Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide back in 2012, and sentenced on May 3 to 16 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. However, the sentence was later overturned by Judge Colbath because a juror failed to notify the court that his ex-wife had once been arrested for a DUI – juror misconduct. Goodman was released on a $7 million bail and has since been on house arrest.

Prosecutors state that Goodman was driving his Bentley while intoxicated and proceeded to ran a stop sign, crashing into Scott Williams’s car and pushing it towards a canal, where shortly after he drowned. According to police reports, Goodman fled the scene of the crime.

Jury selection began on Monday in Tampa. Once the selection process has concluded, jurors will travel to Palm Beach for the retrial.

Judge Colbath also announced during one of the hearings that the jury will get to hear evidence about blood drawn from Goodman after the crash. According to investigators, the level of alcohol in his blood was well above the legal limit in Florida. Goodman’s defense attorneys initially tried to get this piece of evidence thrown out alleging it violated his Fourth Amendment for lack of a search warrant, but were unsuccessful.

Prosecutors are seeking a second conviction after two years from the first sentencing, while the defense team is looking for Judge Colbath to throw out the case before trial based on evidence-related issues.

In Florida, if a person driving under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substances causes an accident in which another individual (s) is killed, the person driving can be charged with DUI Manslaughter. This is a very serious crime that can be punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. Additionally, if the individual leaves the scene of the crime without reporting it to the proper authorities or does not try to render any help, it becomes a 1st degree felony, punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or 30 years in prison.

This is not a charge that should be taken lightly because it has the potential to change your life in a blink of an eye. You want to hire the best legal team out there that will evaluate the circumstances of your charges and the accident and give you the best legal advice and defense options available. At Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins, our qualified attorneys are ready to fight for your case. If you or someone close to you has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide, call us today for a free consult! Don’t wait another minute!

November 5, 2012

Operation Felon Sweep Ends In Almost 12,000 Arrests

With the holiday season upon us, it looks like the Florida police were doing some end of the year housekeeping. Operation “Felon Sweep” was a three-week operation by the Florida Sheriffs Task Force that resulted in the arrest of 11,875 felons throughout the state of Florida. The purpose of the successful operation was to target those violent felons believed to be residing in the state with an outstanding warrant. In addition to focusing on violent felons in general, the sweep specifically hoped to find as many sexual offenders and predators as possible.

The task force behind Operation Felon Sweep was comprised of 43 sheriffs’ offices working in conjunction with each other. In addition to locating felons with outstanding warrants, the sweep also hoped the combined efforts among offices would serve to enhance law enforcement presence in certain high crime areas, provide additional patrols and resources to combat violent crime and locate contraband many of the felons were suspected of having with them.

Although the actual felony charges that the individuals targeted in the sweep varied, the presence of an outstanding warrant gave the police, in these instances, the authority to immediately arrest the individuals and take him or her in for further questioning.

The arrest is only the beginning. “Once we arrest these individuals, we bring them back here to be interviewed, we’ve solved homicides in the past and other crimes by talking to them. They’re on the streets, they know what’s going on and sometimes they can provide information that is extremely helpful to us.” News 10 quotes, Col. Donna Lusczynski from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office.

Felonies are considered the most serious type of crime an individual commit. Some examples of a felony include: murder, rape, kidnapping and sexual abuse. Not all felonies are violent in nature and white collar crimes involving large sums of money can also fall into the felony category. With the serious nature of a felony, many of the individuals picked up in Operation Felon Sweep, if convicted, could face substantial jail time as well as heavy fines, a lengthy probation and other punishments.

Just because the men and women of this sweep were wanted on an outstanding warrant (which will certainly be used against them) and now arrested, does not mean that their chance to fight the charges against them is over. At this point in the process, the individuals arrested will face legal repercussions relating to the warrant but they remain innocent until proven guilty for the crimes listed on the warrant. Because many of the men and women apprehended in the sweep are repeat offenders, they would also face legal consequences for violating any terms of a previous probation.

If you are being charged with a felony offense, it is in your best interest to speak with a reputable Florida criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Finebloom & Haenel P.A. can evaluate your case and inform you of your options. Get in touch with us today.

November 9, 2010

Florida DUI News – Tampa Man Pleads Guilty To DUI Manslaughter Charges Now Awaiting DUI Sentence

Florida DUI Penalty

A series of car crashes that led to multiple DUI charges in Tampa including DUI manslaughter against an Army veteran has led to the man pleading guilty after claiming his innocence for more than a year. Randy Archiquette is waiting to be sentenced now on two counts of DUI manslaughter, three counts of DUI with property damage and leaving the scene of numerous accidents.

Archiquette could be looking at life in prison for killing two women in a series of crashes. According to TampaBay.com on April 13, 2009 Archiquette caused five crashes in a 30-minute period while driving his Chevrolet Yukon with a 0.147 blood alcohol level. He was driving near Hillsborough and Florida Avenues when his truck finally flipped ending his rampage. Following the crashes Archiquette learned that 20-year-old Brittany McFarland and 69-year-old Betty Williams were both dead. He steadfastly denied he could have killed the two women. Prosecutors contend that Archiquette was not only drunk but under the influence of prescription drugs as well at the time of the car crashes.

The families who lost loved ones that day will have to wait until February 11 to find out what Archiquette’s Florida DUI sentence will entail. The judge warned Archiquette that he could not change his mind once he pleads guilty and the penalty for DUI manslaughter in Florida could be life in prison. Archiquette acknowledged that he understood that. He has already been in jail for 19 months since his arrest as he was not given bail. The Army veteran spent 12 years serving his country and has two young daughters.

Several family members attended the hearing as did the grandmother of Summer Moll who was severely injured in a DUI crash in which Tammy Rosian also lost her daughter. Rosian connected with families of the victims of this accident on Facebook and came to lend support.

October 15, 2010

Florida DUI Sentences – DUI Manslaughter Guilty Pleas Could Bring Severe DUI Penalties For Florida Man

Florida DUI penalties

A north Florida man is facing a lengthy DUI prison sentence after pleading guilty to a felony DUI charge in the death of a 16-year-old girl. John Campbell Arthur pled guilty to numerous charges in connection with a car crash that killed Alayna Bowman on June 23. According to reports Arthur had a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit at the time he hit Bowman’s car as she was pulling into her driveway.

Arthur has entered a plea of guilty to DUI manslaughter, driving with a suspended license as a habitual traffic offender, reckless driving and violation of probation on a previous charge of carrying a concealed weapon. Arthur will be sentenced December 14 and his Florida DUI sentence could be as high as 33 years in prison.

The car crash that took the life of Bowman took place at approximately 10:30 p.m. outside the teenager’s home in Fort Walton Beach. Arthur was apparently trying to pass the girl leading to the fatal crash. The family was relieved with the guilty plea. First, it means the man that took the young girl’s life will go to prison but it will also spare her 13-year-old brother from taking the stand and reliving the horrible night as he was in the passenger seat at the time of the crash.

According to the report of NWFDailyNews.com, Arthur still has 30 days in which to change his mind, withdraw his guilty plea and take the case to trial. With blood alcohol readings of 0.278 and 0.276 it would be a difficult case to fight for any criminal defense attorney. Circuit Judge John Brown will hand down his sentence in an Okaloosa County Courtroom, which will hopefully allow Bowman’s family to begin to move on from the tragedy that took their daughter’s life.

July 26, 2010

Sarasota Criminal Courts – Those Arrested In Sarasota Face A Tougher Road To Getting Out Of Jail

A recent study referenced in the Sarasota Herald Tribune found people arrested in Sarasota County have a harder time being released from jail following an arrest compared to arrestees nationwide. According to Florida law judges are supposed to use the least restrictive conditions on an arrestee to make sure that person appears in court while balancing the safety of the community. According to the study, defendants in Sarasota usually have to post a commercial bond twice as often as the national average.

Following a Sarasota arrest, defendants are less likely to get out of jail on their own recognizance even when it comes to first-time offenders of those arrested for DUI. According to the study the reason for this is fear. The paper says that according to this study judges are scared of losing their spot on the bench if they release a defendant who goes on to commit another crime following his or her release.

Defense attorneys argue that the restricting a defendant’s ability to be released following an arrest can hurt the person’s employment and ability to provide for children and families without ever being convicted of a crime. The study cites a famous Sarasota case where a 12-year-old was abducted, raped and murdered by a man that was released following a crime in Sarasota but 12th Circuit Chief Judge Lee Haworth who was quoted in Todd Ruger’s story said he didn’t believe that had anything to do with the statistics cited in the study.

U.S. Department of Justice statistics show that 40% of the time those who are released from jail before trial either have the charges against them dropped or they are acquitted.  The numbers from the Pretrial Justice Institute are even more eye opening. According to their figures 61% of Sarasota defendants post a pre-trial bond compared to 37% of defendants nationwide. Nationally 26% of defendants are released on their own recognizance compared to just 3% in Sarasota. Chief Judge Haworth was quoted in the article. He said judges receive background checks for every new inmate giving them accurate information to make those pretrial judgments.

May 19, 2010

Tampa Defense Attorney News – Did ‘Hyde Park Rapist’ Really Violate His Probation Aggressive To His Arrest?

Tampa Criminal Attorney

The probation violation that led to the arrest of the man known as the ‘Hyde Park Rapist’ should not hold up in court nor should his subsequent arrest according to Bobby Joe Helms’ Tampa Criminal Defense attorney. Helms’ lawyer told 10 Connects that his parole for 12 Tampa rapes and four other attempted rapes in the 1980’s expired in 2006 making the latest arrest of Helms that started as a stop for a probation violation invalid.

Helms has been in jail in Hillsborough County for almost a year. He was originally arrested following a traffic stop based on a tip he had a 17-year-old girl in his car. The arrest was based on the fact that Helms was told to stay away from the girl by his probation officer. His lawyer argued that even if Helms was still on probation there were no terms forbidding him to have contact with minors and that a probation officer cannot make up terms to add on to his probation.

If the defense attorney is right, then Helms should not be sitting in jail. According to the story on WTSP.com Helms had complied with the terms of his parole and never had committed a violation of his probation as reported by the Brevard County Sheriff’s. They had no reported problems with Helms up until last June. At that time there were reports of the 52-year-old having contact with area teenagers.

At the time of the traffic stop that led to his arrest, police did report finding Helms’ in possession of what may be illegal prescription drugs. Helms had a suspicious amount of painkillers and police suspect he may be involved in doctor shopping and prescription fraud. Authorities believe he was trying to illegally acquire Oxycodone and Xanax, which they say also violates the terms of his probation.

May 12, 2010

Tampa Criminal News – High Speed Chase From Tampa To St. Pete May Result In DUI Drug Charges

Tampa Criminal Lawyers

A man known as Pop Daddy led police on a high-speed chase from Tampa to St. Petersburg before being arrested on drug possession and fleeing and eluding charges. Artez Leon Hooker fled police on I-275 in Tampa in A BMW convertible driving so fast at times that the police helicopter tracking him couldn’t keep up with the car’s speed. Hooker was eventually found in St. Petersburg after abandoning his car.

According to police reports and a story on TampaBay.com, the chase began at 3:00 a.m. when Hooker was spotted running red lights on Tampa’s Armenia Avenue. Police then attempted to pull Hooker over in his 2004 BMW but he took off at speeds of 120 M.P.H. amid I-275 traffic. He eventually turned off his lights to avoid being caught, abandoned his car and hid in a staircase. The police helicopter was able to track Hooker and lead police on the ground to his location.

Hooker was arrested on felony fleeing and eluding charges and was then also hit with drug charges when police discovered marijuana in the backseat of the police car where Hooker was being held. Although he was not charged with DUI police noted in their arrest report that Hooker seemed to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

Hooker has a long history of arrests according to TampaBay.com including charges of reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and cocaine possession. As a juvenile Hooker was arrested on numerous charges including robbery and also he was connected to the shooting of a man. Hooker allegedly shot a man three times after an altercation in which his bicycle was cut off.  He was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to three years.

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