Browse Month: August 2016

After Seven Years, There’s a Conclusion to a Myrtle Beach Felony DUI Case

It took seven years, but the DUI case against Myrtle Beach businessman Mike Hilton has finally been put to bed.

i-sect-dwiBack in 2008, Hilton was originally charged with felony DUI resulting in death and felony DUI resulting in serious injury following an accident that involved Hilton and the two passengers on a motorcycle that he struck while he was driving while under influence of alcohol.

After a great deal of back and forth, Hilton has finally entered a guilty plea to the reduced charges of first offense DUI and assault and battery, third degree. These charges made it possible for Circuit Court judge Benjamin Culbertson to sentence Hilton to serve 30 days or pay $400 on the DUI charge and 30 days or $500 on the assault and battery charge, a significantly less severe punishment than Hilton would have faced had the charges not been reduced. Just the felony DUI death charge carries a 25-year prison sentence.

In addition to serving time and paying a court fine, Hilton has to pay the victims $265,000. This amount must be paid in fully by July 24th or else the court will strike the plea deal and Hilton will once again be charged with the felony DUI count, something he wishes to avoid.


An ignition interlock device will also be installed on his vehicle and will stay in place for 6 months. The ignition interlock device is designed in such a way that the vehicle will not start until the Hilton inhales into the device which is designed to determine whether or not he has an alcohol in his system. If he does, the engine won’t start.

The accident that started the case took place on May 10, 2008 when Hilton was traveling on Wildwood Trail. It was on this road that he struck a motorcycle carrying two passengers. The bike’s driver was killed as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident. Since the accident, the second person on the bike has gone through 12 different surgeries in an attempt to repair their leg which was severely injured in the accident.

More than two hours after the accident took place, Hilton’s blood alcohol level was .15, twice the legal limit in South Carolina.

dui attorneyOne of the reasons that the case took so long to resolve was the breathalyzer test. In the months following the accede, South Carolina’s legislatures passed a law stating that the breathalyzer test had to be taken within two hours of the accident in order to be admissible in court. This led to a lengthy debate about whether or not the prosecution could use Hilton’s test in the case. As a result, the case was bounced around in the Court of Appeals and South Carolina Supreme Court, and was eventually settled in a plea deal.

“This is terribly tragic event and cased like these are the reason I became a personal injury lawyer. To protect families who have been victimized by others and to make sure the accident doesn’t lead to insurmountable financial setbacks,” said Joseph Sandefur, managing partner of a top personal injury firm, with an office headquartered in Myrtle Beach.




Man Reaches Over Dog Owners Fence and Gets Attacked

An attack by a dog in Homestead Florida resulted in bite wounds severe enough that the victim had to be airlifted to the Kendall Regional Medical Center.

The attack took place at a home on 12th Street. The Florida Fire Rescue were the first to respond to the attack.

dog_bitesKrystal Jimenez was a witness to the attack. “The dog just attacked him.” Before the victim was taking away by the EMT crew, Jiminez saw that his neck had been bitten.

The owner of the dog claims that despite the beware of dog signs they have posted all over the fence that runs along the perimeter of their property, the victim reached an arm over the top of the fence, most likely in an attempt to pet her Rottweiler mix. The dog was quickly to attack.

Jimenez says the dog has a violent temperament and this isn’t the first time it’s gone after a human. “The lady right here, her daughter got attacked by the same dog.”

“I don’t know if there are actually more cases of people getting severely bitten or violently attacked by dog’s these days” John Bales, a member at a Florida based personal injury legal firm, muses, of if it’s just that the media has started to become more aggressive about reporting them. It seems like I hear about at least one case like this one a week, and lately they seem to be happening even more frequently.”

Dog owners are liable for injuries their pets cause if the owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite. In some states, statutes make the owners liable whether or not they knew the dog had a tendency to bite; in others, owners can be held responsible only if they knew or should have known their dogs had a propensity to bite.

While John Bales have no problem with people owning dogs, he feels that dog owners have to become more aware that they really are liable for their dog’s actions and personality. “I like dogs, but I also know that if own one that’s aggressive and it bites someone, I’m legally responsible. The more violent the dog’s background is, the greater the odds become that I’ll find myself on the wrong side of a civil claim.

6QGVkpkIxqMI think the time has come for dog owners to step up to the plate and realize exactly what they’re getting into. If they want to avoid being named as a defendant in a civil dog bite case, they need to make sure that they take steps to find a dog that’s friendly, who has never exhibited an aggressive behavior, and than get the dog properly trained and socialized. If they own an aggressive dog, it’s their responsibility to take steps and precautions to ensure that the dog isn’t able to ever hurt anyone. If they’re not prepared to do that, they’ll need to rehome the dog or face the legal ramifications.”

Dog bite cases by nature are quite complicated. It can often be difficult to tell exactly who is and isn’t responsible for the attack. The best way to sort through the matter is with the assistance of an experienced personal injury John Bales Attorneys like those found at Florida. They’ll help you decide who to name as the defendant, make sure the paperwork is in order, and guide you through the negotiation process.