In criminal cases, it is not uncommon for people to call the office after their current lawyer has failed to reach an acceptable agreement with the prosecutors or the caller does not like the offer received. Sometimes, the unfortunate circumstance of the case is that the prosecutor will not make a deal. Sometimes just having a lawyer who answers to the Defendant for their paycheck instead of the government makes a big difference to the Defendant. Sometimes there are things that can be done to present the case in a better light.
Self Defense has been an available affirmative defense to criminal cases since the dawn of society. Florida also has long acknowledged the fundamental right to use force in defense of self or others. The essential elements of self-defense have stayed about the same. A person may use deadly force when it is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the person or to another person. The procedure and burden of proof required to make a self-defense argument has changed.
Allegations of child abuse or neglect can generate criminal or family cases against the accused. In many cases a parent accused of child abuse or neglect by the State of Florida in a criminal case will also find themselves defending against a Supplemental Petition to Modify a parenting plan or custody. Sometimes a third case of an injunction for protection against domestic violence could also be brought.
In divorces, a large asset for most people is their retirement or pension. A pension or retirement account is likely a marital asset that has to be divided by the divorce court. If a spouse began saving for retirement before the marriage, or if it is a second or subsequent divorce, then all of the pension may not be a part of the marital estate.
In a DUI arrest, when a breath test is not available or feasible, or if the circumstances allow, law enforcement may seek a sample of the accused driver's blood to determine a blood alcohol concentration or content (BAC). The question of whether and how the police may take the accused DUI driver's blood has been considered by the United States Supreme Court in the last few years.
In family law, whether divorce or paternity, once there is an order of child support, the next problem for some is collecting said support payments. Enforcement of child support can be especially difficult when the obligor has no assets, hidden assets or protected assets. One way to protect assets from being depleted is by having a spendthrift trust that restricts the way that funds that are distributed can be used.
In Florida, a person accused of DUI has faced mandatory adjudication, also known as conviction, for many decades. In cases where the Court is not restricted, it can also withhold adjudication which means that technically a person is not convicted. The difference can have far reaching consequences. For example, a DUI cannot be expunged because of the conviction and convictions stay on a driving history for up to seventy-five (75) years. Convictions also require higher surcharges and court costs.
In Florida, a criminal record or arrest can be sealed or expunged but only once in a lifetime and only if the charge(s) qualifies. Not all charges can be sealed or expunged. The Petition to Expunge or Seal must be filed in the county where the case originated. In Florida, expunging a case or sealing an arrest or case are different things.
Arrested for DUI? Before going to court, a driver's license will be suspended 10 days after the DUI arrest if the person refused to give a breath sample or sumbmitted to the test and blew over a .08. As to the license to drive, there are three options (1) request a hearing to reverse the suspension called a Formal Review Hearing, (2) request hearing for an immediate hardship license or (3) do nothing. The choice to do nothing is a choice to accept a driver license suspension. The deadline to file an election for a hearing at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is also the same 10 day period before the suspension is imposed. The DUI citation is a driving permit for those same 10 days.
Many criminal cases such as drug possession, drug trafficking and not just DUI or other criminal traffic charges begin with a mere traffic stop. Until recently, clients were advised that if they are driving a blue car and the registration states the registered vehicle is white then, that alone is a sufficient basis for a stop. This would mean that if a person purchased a used car that was white, registered it and then had it painted black with red flames the mere fact that the car was painted would cause an inconsistency with the registration sufficient to justify a traffic stop. Many times, this is where the officer says they smell marijuana or they have a dog that alerts to cocaine or other drugs. When drugs are found a person is charged with possession or drug trafficking. In other words, painting your car is going to get you stopped but only at the discretion of the officer's suspicion. While it may seem outrageous that you can be stopped merely for painting your car, that may appear suspicious to a government worker driving a government car who is not responsible for the government paint job. That and people who steal cars tend to switch the plates of similar make and model cars. Obviously, in the eyes of law enforcement officers anyone who paints their car is suspicious.