FLORIDA'S PUSH FOR HARSHER DUI PENALTIES
Now compare this to the State of Florida, who is now also considering changes to their laws after the DUI case involving Allison Huffman, the 36-year-old who admitted on Tuesday that she was behind the wheel when tow truck operator Roger Perez-Borroto was struck and killed touching off a hit and run investigation that ultimately led to a DUI Hit & Run Investigation.
The question Perez-Borroto’s family and friends have for Florida lawmakers is why was Huffman, with a total of three (3) previous DUI arrests, was even on the road.
State Representative Scott Plakon is sponsoring HB 555, a bill which, if enacted into law, would mandate interlock devices be installed on the vehicles of even first-time DUI offenders. When asked why Florida does not have DUI laws with sharper teeth, Plakon said, “By the filing this bill, I'm suggesting that we should.” Plakon calls his bill is an incremental move in the right direction.
Last year, a 10News WTSP investigation found more than 113,000 three-time DUI offenders were still driving and statistics have shown 40 percent of drunken driving cases are downgraded or dismissed.
Just this week, 23-year-old Whitney Beall of Lakeland, who had broadcast herself driving drunk using the app Periscope, entered a plea bargained for no jail time.; but prosecutors made sure the punishment was harsher than usual for a Florida woman who streamed live video of herself driving drunk last fall.
Assistant State Attorney Lori Winstead indicated that the now 24-year-old Whitney Beall pleaded no contest last week to driving under the influence. She received a six-month license suspension, 10 days of vehicle impoundment and 12 months' probation — all common for a first-time DUI; but Beall also received 150 hours of community service and 10 days of weekend work release because she flaunted her endangering the community. The question looming is should the punishment have been harsher?