Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Social Media / Twitter History Blows Lenient Sentence in DUI Manslaughter Case ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

The date:  November 17, 2013, approximately 12:00 am.

The location:  SoFlo's Sawgrass Expressway.

The scene:  A car is being driven the wrong way on the expressway by an under-aged driver with a BAC of .15 (adults are presumed impaired at .08 but minors, who are not old enough to lawfully drink at all, are subject to the significantly lower DUI / BAC threshold of .02).

The antagonist:   Then twenty (20) y/o presently twenty-two (22) y/o Kayla Mendoza, pictured below...

The protagonists:  Kaitlyn Nicole Ferrante (the blonde) and Marisa Caran Catronio (the brunette), pictured below...

The kiss of death:  Twitter / Social Media (and piss poor judgment).

Yesterday, Monday, May 4th, 2015, the "force" was definitely not with now twenty-two (22) y/o Kayla Mendoza when she was sentenced to twenty-four (24) years in state prison (followed by six (6) years of probation) for the double vehicular DUI manslaughter which she caused after a night of drinking at the "Tijuana Taxi Company" in Coral Springs, Florida.  

Apparently then twenty (20) y/o Kayla had gone to the restaurant / bar after work, got her paws on enough drinks to pump her BAC up to nearly double the legal limit for an adult (for her, a minor, it was nearly eight (8) times the legal limit) and then drove... entering the Sawgrass Expressway in the wrong / opposite direction. culminating in a head on collision which killed her two (2) unsuspecting victims (who were best friends and has been in the wrong place at the wrong time while out {responsibly} celebrating a twenty-first (21st) birthday).  

I will spare you the gory details (although you can watch the news video synopsis here) and will focus instead on the main lesson (apart from the obvious - no matter how sober / capable that you think that you are, please DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE... freaking Uber, Taxi, walk, whatever... just don't drive), which is that Social Media is a huge difference maker (please see "Haber's Rules of Social Media # 1 - 5 here).  

In this case, just a few hours before the crash, Kayla had Tweeted the following fateful words for the world to see (and for the prosecution to enter into evidence against her):  "2 drunk 2 care"...

Kayla tried to explain the "2 drunk 2 care" Tweet away during a pre-sentencing interview with Inside Edition (which you can see here) by stating that the Tweet was meant for her then boyfriend, with whom she had had a falling out.  In the interview Kayla said: "It did not mean 'I'm too drunk to care, I'm going to get in my car now and wherever the hell I end up, that's it', No. It was directed to my boyfriend.  That's the only person that it was for."  However, and unfortunately Kayla, her Twitter history compounded her problems, exponentially.  For instance, Kayla had nicknamed herself the "Pothead Princess" and had chosen the moniker "@highimkalia"...

Further, in the days leading up to the accident, er, make that "double DUI manslaughter", Kayla had both fired off dozens of Tweets and had even posted incriminating pictures (like the one below which came from her Twitter feed) about being high and rolling joints, bragging in one post about her car "permanently" smelling of weed and in another about her being unable to sleep without first smoking a "bedtime blunt".

Here's the lesson (again, apart from NOT drinking and driving):  "But for" her Twitter / Social Media history I will go out on a limb and aver that young Kayla would have received a significantly shorter sentence.  She faced thirty (30) years and, not withstanding her heartfelt apologies (both in court and on tv), she got eighty percent (80%) of it, not because she killed two (2) beautiful, innocent young girls but almost certainly because of her Twitter / Social Media history.  Again, Social Media IS (not "can be" but "is") a huge difference maker, and I encourage you to please see, read and take to heart "Haber's Rules of Social Media # 1 - 5 (which you will find here).  

Perhaps "Miranda" should be rewritten in light of the technological revolution from advising you that "Anything that you say can and will be used against you" to: "Anything that you say, Tweet, post, like, dislike or comment upon can and will be used against you"...  

Regardless, even without the social media angle and based solely upon the facts (i.e. an underage, unlicensed - Kayla's DL was suspended at the time of the crash - driver with a BAC of eight times (8x) the legal limit had a head on wrong way collision on an expressway which resulted in the death of a pair of innocent young girls), in this case Kayla would have gone to prison no matter what, but for how long was, in a way, entirely up to her.  Actions speak louder than words.  "But for" her own Twitter history all that the government would have had at sentencing were the aforestated facts and Kayla's own words (i.e. her public apologies, regrets, sympathies, acceptance of responsibility... in short "mitigating circumstances" - a "Mia Culpa" of sorts - which, even if self-serving, were not inherently damning); but, instead, the State was able to cram "2 drunk 2 care" (among other things) down the "Pothead Princess"'s pie hole.  

When it comes to the subject of drinking and driving, the best advice that you are ever going to hear is:  "Don't do it!  Get a DD (Designated Driver), not a DUI".

Be smart{er than Kayla Mendoza}: Don't drink and drive, but, if you do, just say "NO{thing}", don't blow (in FL your 2nd subsequent refusal is a crime) and call me stat at 305-381-8686, 305-798-2220, **ARRESTED, **305DUI, **MIAMIDUI, **MIAMILAW or **HABERLAW.

Michael A. Haber, P.A.: Providing creative, effective and zealous criminal defense litigation services primarily in SoFlo since 1991.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"! 

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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