Florida Man Outraged Over Google Search Sues Sun-Sentinel

Stating “Jealous Rage” is an Exaggeration DUI Story

Florida – A fifty year old businessman from Florida is suing the Palm Beach Post and the Sun-Sentinel for defamation for exaggeration of events preceding his second DUI arrest.

Joseph Loprete, who is the business owner of a recruiting search firm, say he has received negative publicity from the arrest that is adversely hurting his business as clients who have looked him up only to find his name linked to the car crash.     

Loprete, who says the wreck was a simple accident, was outraged when the first search result for his name is a Sun-Sentinel article about his DUI arrest in 2010 for driving his car into his Boca Raton house. The article, citing a police report, calls the accident the result of mixing alcohol and “jealous rage.”

“All I want them to do is take the article down, and they won’t do it,” he tells Riptide in a statement.

The papers, neither of which returned calls from Riptide to comment on the suit, have told Loprete’s defense attorney, Basil Von Lashley, that the story pieces are accurate and will not be removed.

The trouble all began earlier this month on July 4, 2010, when Loprete says he and his wife got into a fight at a party. They continued to argue when they got home. According to Loprete, what happened next was that he drove with the intention to clear his mind. However, after pulling out of the drive, he changed his mind recalling that he already had a couple of drinks and a prior DUI conviction few years ago in 2007. He says he started the engine back into drive, only to have his car crashing into the house.

According to Sun-Sentinel’s account on the accident, which quoted police who say in a report that they found the fifty year old man sitting on the couch, reeking of alcohol, as his wife cried in the bathroom. Loprete told cops he had crashed the car into the house out of jealousy, the paper reported, and then told officers, “Put me in cuffs, take me to jail, let’s go.”

Loprete was charged with three accounts: driving under influence of alcohol, aggravated assault and criminal mischief.

Now, the Florida man says he pilfered to the DUI charge in order to get the other charges dropped, but staunchly maintains that he did not crash his car deliberately. On the contrary, he says the accident was caused by a malfunctioning throttle cable that made his car accelerate uncontrollably. The fifty year old also says that the car experienced the same problem nine months ago, citing previous example when his wife got into an accident in a Walmart parking lot.

At present, Loprete is suing Sues Sun-Sentinel and Palm Beach Post to have the story removed, in addition to looking for compensatory damages of $650,000 in the neighborhood, as a result of lost business.

A DUI charge in Florida carries serious repercussions. Not only does one suffer time and monetary loss owing to expensive fines and legal fees, attending hours in DUI schooling, serving hours of community service but may also face jail time that may go up to years, in addition with mandatory installment of an ignition interlock device to one’s vehicle. The magnitude of these penalties increase if the person is a repeat offender, has a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle at the time of DUI arrest, or has blood alcohol concentration of 0.15%, in which case it becomes an extreme DUI. A person in Florida is convicted of DUI with a BAC of 0.08%, and the legal limit is 0.04% for commercial drivers.

Therefore, in order to avoid the hassles associated with complexities related to one’s case and complicated courtroom proceedings as well as reduce the magnitude of penalties facing, it is crucial and highly recommended to hire, or at least consult, a well-trained and experienced criminal defense attorney who can tackle your case effectively and efficiently.

The best recourse however in such a case is to not drink and drive as it may prove injurious not just to you but others as well.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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