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 divorce or dissolution of marriage cases, if there are any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, the Court will have to decide the validity of the agreements but may also have to interpret the meaning. Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are interpreted using contract law principles because they are contracts by another name.
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.
In criminal and traffic defense a common complaint from an accused individual or their family is that the arrest affidavit, arrest report, accident report or citation contains one or more errors. For example, if there is a DUI accusation with a child in the car but the officer marks on the DUI citation that there were no passengers under the age of 18 or marking "no injury" on a traffic ticket in a case involving a near fatality. (actual examples). The ugly truth is that the police, deputies and troopers filling out these documents are people too and they make mistakes. Unfotunately, typographical or similar errors will usually not lead to a case being dismissed.
In the traffic ticket defense practice clients often ask for a continuance of the case. There seems to be some urban myth that if the court date or hearing is rescheduled, then it might make it more likely to conflict with schedules. Both the State via the officer and the driver or defendant can ask the court to change the trial date in a traffic citation case just like the opposing party in any other case be it criminal, injunction, family law or other civil case.
Tampering with evidence is a criminal offense in Florida. Tampering with evidence is a third degree felony; the maximum penalty is five (5) years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. To prove tampering, the State has to prove that a person while knowing that a criminal trial, proceeding or an investigation has begun or is about to be started, then alters, destroys, conceals or removes anything with the intent to impair its credibility, availability or use-ability in trial. Many times tampering is not what is shown by the entertainment industry like fabrication or threatening a witness; instead several tampering cases begin at the all important traffic stop and escalates when an officer thinks that evidence is tossed, thrown or eaten.
Arrests and the resulting criminal accusations happen every day. Common questions are how can they arrest when there are conflicting stories or can they arrest for whatever just happened. Unfortunately, that is the wrong question. If someone was just arrested, then the answer is yes the cops can and in fact they did just make that arrest. Now the accused has to defend themselves but the only place that happens is at a trial and that will not be for several months.
Recently the 5th District Court of Appeal held that a passenger of a vehicle is lawfully seized and not free to leave a traffic stop. Therefore, if evidence of a crime is found, it can be used against the passenger. A large amount of drug possession cases and other criminal cases start with a traffic stop and subsequent search of passengers.
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.
The firm represents individuals who have received traffic tickets or criminal accusations in Columbia County, Florida, located in North Florida. Several people receiving citations in Columbia County are from out of state. This is because Interstate 75 and Interstate 10, both heavily traveled by tourists and visitors to Florida, intersect just north of Lake City in Columbia County. The Florida Highway Patrol or FHP monitors traffic along both I-75 and I-10 corridors.