Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
FREE Consultations Available
Tampa Car Accident Lawyers > Blog > Car Accidents > Tampa Woman in Jail After Alleged DUI Crash

Tampa Woman in Jail After Alleged DUI Crash


50-year-old Helen Mention is behind bars after she allegedly drove drunk and slammed into a guardrail. Her infant grandchild, who was in the vehicle, died three days later.

According to police and witnesses, Mention was driving erratically before the final crash. Responders found her semi-conscious and slumped against the driver’s side door. Harlem, her 10-month-old granddaughter, was completely unresponsive. In court, Mention’s attorney argued that there was no direct evidence of intoxication. A hospital nurse apparently said Mention’s BAC level was .226, but prosecutors offered no physical evidence during a preliminary hearing. Instead, Mention’s attorney offered that she had sustained a head injury.

Evidence in Tampa Alcohol-Related Crashes

Based on the facts alone, there may not be enough evidence in the above story to prove DUI in criminal court. However, there is probably more than enough evidence to establish impairment in civil court.

The burden of proof is often critical. In criminal court, people are presumed innocent. To overcome this presumption, prosecutors must produce a substantial amount of evidence. In DUI prosecutions, that usually means a combination of multiple pieces of evidence — like clear failure of field sobriety tests, admissions of impairment, or a legally admissible lab result. It appears that neither of those things are present here.

But in civil court, there is no presumption of innocence. Instead, victim/plaintiffs must only establish facts by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). Evidence of impairment includes:

  • Tortfeasor’s previous activity (e. was the tortfeasor recently at a place where alcohol was served),
  • Erratic driving, and
  • Impaired memory.

Taken individually, these facts do not prove intoxication, or even impairment. But the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Impairment is different from intoxication. Most people are intoxicated after they consume three of four drinks in a couple of hours. But impairment begins with the first drink. And, that’s what a victim/plaintiff must show in criminal court.

Wrongful Death Claims

From both an emotional and legal standpoint, these cases are quite complex. A good Tampa personal injury attorney helps victims cope with both these aspects.

Fundamentally, a negligence action is not about “blaming” anyone for the crash. In fact, most of these claims settle out of court. And, these settlements usually include no admission of liability. Furthermore, we all make mistakes. In this respect, tortfeasors are not different from victims. However, we all must accept the consequences of our mistakes. In this context, these consequences include fair compensation. This is an area where insurance companies do not act fairly.

The amount of compensation is difficult to determine in wrongful death claims. So, attorneys often partner with financial professionals to determine things like:

  • Lost future earnings,
  • Lost future emotional support, and
  • Possible future financial support.

There might be procedural difficulties as well. Many victims are vulnerable to certain types of injuries. One person’s fatal injury might be another person’s bump on the head. But according to the eggshell skull rule, the result is all that matters. If a pre-existing illness, injury, or other condition made a victim more susceptible to injury, full compensation is still available.

Contact Aggressive Lawyers

Civil cases utilize special rules of procedure and have a different burden of proof than criminal cases. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The experience you need in your pursuit of justice

The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

The resources to provide quality representation for the length of your case

Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorney's advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneys need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa car accident attorneys, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Toll Free
2811 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, Florida 33609