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February 2013 Archives

Criminal Cases of Domestic Battery - Can the Victim Drop the Charges?

In the context of criminal cases involving domestic battery or domestic violence, a question I'm often asked is whether a victim can drop the charges. The short answer is No. Only a prosecutor has the discretion whether to charge a person with a crime. The victim to a domestic battery can request that the State not press charges, however it is simply a request.

Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in Florida

Failure to yield to pedestrian is a moving violation in Florida. section 316.130. A recent article in the Gainesville Sun detailed the Pedestrian High Visibility Enforcement program conducted by the Gainesville Police Department.

The Move Over Law Traffic Tickets

The Florida Move Over Law requires that a driver move over or slow down 20 miles per hour under the speed limit when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle  that is using any visual signals and is parked on the side of the road, or a wrecker displaying amber or flashing lights that is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, or sanitation vehcile peforming its function.

Drug Cases From Traffic Stops and Dog Sniffs

Many criminal drug cases begin at a traffic stop sometimes with a dog sniff leading to a search. Another case of a traffic stop leading to drugs being found has made it all the way to United State Supreme Court. This particular traffic stop led to a dog sniff which when the dog supposedly alerted caused the police to search the vehicle, of course drugs were found.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident - Did you know or should you know?

The law on Leaving the Scene of an Accident with injury or death had been interpreted to require that you knew or should have known that an injury occurred. There is a knowledge requirement to LSA with injury or death because they are a criminal traffic offenses that are both a felony.  LSA with property damage is also a crime. The requirement of knew or should have known has been applied to the injury element of the offense even if there is a death. However, the Florida Supreme Court had said in the opinion that led to the standard jury instructions that "knowledge of the accident is an essential element of the offense". State v. Mancuso, 652 So. 2d 370 (Fla. 1995).

Texting and driving still legal in Florida but beware

Texting and driving is not a direct violation of the law in Florida. However, I have had several prosecutors argue to me that texting was, could be or should be considered reckless driving per se. This all may change with the introduction of senate bill 2013-0052.

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