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.
Reckless Driving, not to be confused with careless driving, is a criminal traffic offense in Florida. An accusation of Reckless Driving does not require a crash, but property damage does enhance the offense. In a recent case, an attempt at defending a charge of Reckless Driving was made via a motion for immunity under the Stand Your Ground law.
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.
In August 2014 I wrote about a Florida Court finding that in criminal cases of solicitation of prostitution the mandatory civil penalty ($5,000) is unconstitutional. Since then the matter has continued to be fought in courts. People who picked up charges of soliciting could still have imposed this penalty but depending on their representation, the sentencing court could have deferred imposing the penalty, left open the possibility of removing the fine or refused to impose the penalty all together.
In Florida, Chapter 825 addresses the criminal offense of Abuse or Exploitation of the Elderly. "Elderly person" is defined by law to mean "a person 60 years of age or older who is suffering from the infirmities of aging as manifested by advanced age or organic brain damage, or other physical, mental, or emotional dysfunctioning, to the extent that the ability of the person to provide adequately for the person's own care or protection is impaired."
You can vacate, dismiss, dissolve, modify or change an order of protection against domestic violence, injunction or restraining order, sometimes also called a stay-away order. Once a domestic violence injunction is in place, the only way to remove it is through the court. Often people seek out a domestic violence divorce or family lawyer after it is too late and the court has already entered an injunction. If circumstances have changed, you can ask the court to change the order of protection against domestic violence. To get relief from the injunction, a party must show that the scenario underlying the injunction no longer exists so that the continuation of the injunction would serve no valid purpose.
Criminal cases, especially those involving firearms are significant and tense starting at the roadside encounter. The recent appellate case of Rose v. State from the First District Court of Appeal, in which the person was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, is a scary reminder of how interactions with law enforcement can go horribly wrong, fast. The Defendant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
In DUI defense a common questions is "how do I avoid a DUI?" The answer is easy. If you drink don't drive and if you drive don't drink. The best way is to simply not drive to a drinking event. A taxi costs a heck of a lot less than a DUI attorney; it actually will cost you less than the court reporter. Depending on where you live, a taxi will run you less than the $25 is costs to file a request for a formal review hearing before the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The best way to avoid a DUI is to hire a taxi or ride share.