Tampa a Possible Location for Goodman DUI Retrial

The retrial of International Polo Club Chairman John Goodman for DUI has been prolonged because of accusations over the suitability of a previous juror. It has now been suggested that because of adverse publicity over the trial in Palm Beach County, the retrial may take place in Tampa or another location in Florida. A senior judge in Palm Beach, Justice Colbath, denied the trial move last Friday unless suitable jurors cannot be found in the county.

Goodman is on house arrest at present, pending the retrial. He was originally sentenced in 2012 for DUI manslaughter after the car he was driving in veered into the path of an engineering student at the University of Florida, Scott Wilson. Wilson’s vehicle was pushed off the road and into a swamp. He was drowned and died as a result of the accident. Goodman was alleged to have had a blood alcohol level of twice the allowed limit of 0.08% and was sentenced to 16 years in jail.

A retrial was ordered after one of the jurors in the original trial that found Goodman guilty was accused of misconduct by the defendant’s defense attorneys. 70 year old Dennis DeMartin was alleged to have failed to reveal that his ex-wife had been arrested for DUI in the pre-trial jury selection process. If this allegation was true, then it could mean that DeMartin was in contempt of court, as he would have lied about his suitability as a juror in a DUI case and hence the original trial would have been invalid.

The retrial has been delayed because DeMartin’s suitability has not yet been decided. Judge Colbath has delayed the hearing into DeMartin’s conduct until an assessment of his mental state has been made.  Meanwhile, there has been a push from Goodman’s defense attorneys to have the retrial moved to another county. They have contended that a fair trial is impossible in Palm Beach County because of the huge amount of publicity about the case. They have said that the likelihood of finding impartial jurors would now be too difficult.

Judge Colbath has since ruled that the request for a change in county venue is inadmissible on the grounds that the county should be able to furnish suitable jurors. However, he has stated that if suitable jurors are not forthcoming that it will then be possible to change the trial location. Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and Ocala are the possible alternatives for the retrial.

The Deputy State Attorney has said that nothing has been satisfactory so far about the Goodman case. He said that it was unlikely that there would be any difficulties finding suitable jurors from within Palm Beach County and was sure that the retrial would take place there.

The case does demonstrate the necessity for giving a DUI defendant a fair trial. This is everyone’s constitutional right. If you have been arrested for DUI in Tampa, it is highly unlikely that there will be anything like the publicity about your arrest as there has been for John Goodman. However, the lack of publicity is no reason why you shouldn’t be granted exactly the same privileges as the head of the International Polo Club. In any DUI trial, the prosecution has to prove beyond any doubt that you were guilty of the offense you have been charged with.

An experienced and aggressive Tampa DUI lawyer will work on your behalf to defend you against a DUI charge that could lead to serious and long lasting consequences for you and your family. DUI is a very serious charge in this state. It is not treated in the same way as an ordinary traffic offense, like speeding. For a start, a DUI conviction will mean that you have a criminal record and this, more than anything else, will affect nearly every aspect of your future life. A skillful Tampa DUI defense attorney will be able to examine every aspect of your DUI arrest and search for inconsistencies and inaccuracies that can help to reduce your sentence or get your case dismissed altogether.


Having a Famous Name Does not Help in DUI Arrest

A woman from St Augustine with a surname the same as a famous make of motorcycle discovered that it did not help at all when arrested for DUI recently. Hiring a very experienced DUI attorney would probably have been a lot more useful at this stage.

49 year old Ms Heather Harley Davidson, assumed to be no relation to the inventor of the famous motorcycle brand, was arrested for DUI after she was observed swerving from side to side in a 2001 Lincoln Continental, according to a report from the St. John’s Sheriff’s office.

What followed after Ms Harley Davidson was stopped didn’t appear to make it any easier for her potential DUI defense. The arresting officers allege that her breath reeked of alcohol, while she was unsteady on her feet, as well as unable to walk in a straight line towards the area where sobriety tests were to be carried out. According to the report, the driver of the Continental at first refused to complete any tests and was quite abusive. She later calmed down and then became tearful and was taken first of all to Flagler Hospital, then on to the county jail.

Ms Harley Davidson now needs a good DUI lawyer as she will find that the DUI arrest process is loaded on the side of the prosecution. Whatever the real story of what happened before and after her arrest last Wednesday evening, the story given by the deputies at the scene is the one most likely to be listened to by the court unless she has a skilful and experienced DUI attorney to help her with her defense.

At this stage, it is not known whether Ms Harley Davidson had been convicted of a DUI offense before, so it is hard to predict what sort of penalties she could face if she is convicted for DUI this time around.

A first time DUI offense in Florida could mean a potential jail sentence of up to 6 months as well as a fine of between $250 and $500. Jail is not commonly used as a punishment, but probation, loss of one’s license and insurance rate increases are much more likely. This may not seem too bad, but even a first DUI offense is considered a misdemeanor. This is still a criminal conviction and the effects of such a conviction are likely to hang around the DUI defendant’s neck for a very long time. A DUI conviction can mean the loss of a job, promotion, career or a college course. At the very least, insurance rates go up as soon as the driver’s insurance firm hears about the conviction.

For anyone who has been convicted for DUI before, the need for a reliable and skilled DUI attorney is even more important. A good DUI lawyer can at least look more carefully at the arrest procedure. Many aspects of a DUI arrest are not always carried out correctly. In some cases, drivers who have had no opportunity or inclination to drink then drive, have been arrested for DUI. Their breath analysis or other form of blood alcohol test should definitively prove whether they were DUI at the time of their arrest, but the test is not always reliable. Even innocent people have sometimes been wrongly convicted and have later had to be released.

The best advice that any DUI attorney can give to anyone contemplating driving back home using their own automobile is simply not to drink and drive. There are usually several opportunities to share vehicles, pay for a cab or use public transport. DUI laws in Florida are some of the toughest in the country, so if you have been arrested for DUI in the Tampa Bay area, then make sure you engage a professional and experienced DUI attorney to help you in your defense.