I wrote last week about a drunk driving accident in which an allegedly drunk driver hit and killed a motorcyclist in Miramar, dragging him nearly 200 feet before stopping. Despite having a BAC of 0.236, nearly three times the legal limit, driver Robert Jones was driving his stepdaughter to school — and after the crash, he tried to continue the journey by foot. The Miami Herald followed up on that story Sept. 11 with another surprising and disappointing piece of news: Jones had a valid Florida license even though he was wanted in Maryland for failing to appear in court on another DUI case.
According to the Herald, Jones was on probation in Cecil County, Maryland after serving ten days for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident involving bodily injury. He apparently violated his probation, an offense for which he was supposed to attend a hearing in late 2006 — but left the state instead. About four months later, he arrived in Florida and applied for a special Florida-only driver’s license using an apparently valid license from Delaware; the DMV does not check criminal records. After Jones was arrested for the Miramar crash, Broward County officers did not find any warrants for his arrest. Nonetheless, Jones is languishing in Broward County jail with nine charges against him, including DUI manslaughter.
As a Lauderhill car accident lawyer, I am not surprised to see that this driver has a history. Statistically, a large minority of intoxicated driving deaths are caused by chronic drunk drivers with several past DUI convictions. Procedures like license checks are supposed to catch this kind of history when drivers move to a new state — but in this case, the system in Florida failed. An official is quoted in the article saying her agency is only as good as the information provided by other states — and she’s right. That’s why, as a North Miami Beach car wreck attorney, I would like to see a better information-sharing system between the state DMVs, or even a national licensing program, if appropriate.
At Cohn, Smith & Cohn, our Fort Lauderdale car crash lawyers see the tragic results of drinking and driving far more often than we would like. Intoxicated driving kills and seriously injures its victims, leaving them with severe burns, brain damage or lifelong paralysis. In many cases, victims and their families are also plunged into financial instability, because of the very high medical bills they face and the fact that many victims can no longer earn a living. In Florida, victims of serious accidents that were no fault of their own can sue the wrongdoer for all of the financial costs of the accident, plus compensation for their physical and emotional injuries and losses. A car accident lawsuit may not be able to reverse injuries, but it can help victims get back on their feet and make a new start.
If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in Florida by an irresponsible, inattentive or drunk driver, you should talk to Cohn, Smith & Cohn about your rights. To set up a free consultation, please contact us online or call our main office in Hollywood at (954) 431-8100.