Vero Beach attorney enters no-contest plea, found guilty on DUI charge from Aug. 29 crash

Corey Arwood Treasure Coast NewspapersPublished 5:51 PM EDT Sep 22, 2020VERO BEACH — A judge found a&nbsp

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VERO BEACH — A judge found a local attorney guilty on a DUI charge and suspended his driver's license, ordering him to attend rehab and perform community service. 

Louis "Buck" Vocelle Jr., 64, of Dolphin Drive, entered a no-contest plea Monday to the DUI charge in a crash reported by Vero Beach police Aug. 29. He crashed into parked cars, a tree and utility box near his home.

Circuit Judge Dan Vaughn ordered a year probation, suspended his driver's license for six months and ordered him to spend one month at a rehab facility, according to court records.

Vocelle's silver 2018 Lexus sport utility vehicle was impounded for 10 days and he was scheduled to for 50 hours' community service and required to pay just over $1,000 in fines and related court costs.

A court document showed Vocelle entered Florida Center for Recovery Aug. 31 and was scheduled to complete his treatment program Oct. 1.

Vocelle, of the Vero Beach-based personal injury and wrongful death firm Vocelle & Berg, LLP., was arrested following an evaluation at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital around 9:30 p.m. Aug. 29, and released from jail the next day on $1,000 bail, according to a police report.

Police stated in an arrest affidavit he crashed his SUV in the street near his home around 5:30 p.m., and then refused to answer police questions, or submit to a blood test.

More: Prominent attorney's DUI charge, arrest follows crash into parked cars, tree and city power box

The state's implied consent law, which can be found on Florida driver's licenses says, "Operation of a motor vehicle constitutes consent to any sobriety test required by law." 

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, anyone that refuses "breath, urine, or blood test" will have their license suspended.

A Vero Beach Police Department traffic citation stated the damage to property exceeded $5,000.

More: Vero Beach attorney fights release of medical records; dashcam footage shows scenes following crash

Vocelle faced an arraignment Oct. 1 with Vaughn, but his case was closed Sept. 21 following the no-contest plea.

Assistant State Attorney Steven Wilson said the case was "resolved in a very expeditious (manner)" because Vocelle wanted to "come in and plea ... quickly."

He described it as "straight forward" and said it was resolved quickly, as a result.

Andrew Metcalf, of Green, Metcalf and Lazan in Vero Beach, said the sentence was "standard" and the case was "pretty routine."

More: Vero Beach lawyer Buck Vocelle charged with DUI, property damage and personal injury

He served as Vocelle's co-council along with Vero Beach attorney Bobby Guttridge.

"Many cases are resolved quickly," said Metcalf. "It depends upon the circumstance and the wishes of all those involved."

Vocelle is on the Indian River Mosquito Control District board and is running for re-election Nov. 3.

The Vocelle family has been in Vero Beach since 1924 and Vocelle's grandfather, attorney James Vocelle, played an important role in the county's founding in 1925 at age 28.

He went on to hold state posts while being a personal friend of governors.

Vocelle's father, L.B. "Buck" Vocelle, was a local circuit judge who handled high-profile criminal cases.

Both were figureheads in a family that was honored in 2006 as Indian River County pioneer family of the year. 

Corey Arwood is a breaking news reporter for TCPalm. Follow Corey on Twitter @coreyarwood, or reach him by phone at 772-978-2246.

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