Articles Tagged with DUI defense lawyer

Since the passage of Amendment 2 in 2016, Florida lawmakers have been trying to weed through the state’s already-complex marijuana statutes to hammer out new rules for growing, processing, distributing and possessing/ using the plant. Some individual cities have adopted their own ordinances with regard to recreational marijuana, which has led to many people being confused about what’s legal and what isn’t in Florida.marijuana defense lawyer

What we can say for certain is that Amendment 2 did NOT:

  • Alter Florida’s drug possession laws;
  • Change the fact that you can be arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana – medical or not;
  • Grant permission for the public consumption/ smoking of the drug;
  • Have any impact on federal law, which expressly prohibits marijuana possession and distribution, regardless of purpose.

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Marijuana use is gaining acceptance in a growing number of states across the country, and it’s even approved in Florida for limited medicinal uses. Many municipalities have decriminalized personal possession, but that doesn’t mean people can use it with impunity – particularly on the roads.marijuana DUI defense

In fact, nothing about F.S. 316.193, Florida’s driving under the influence statute, has been altered to allow drivers operating vehicles under the influence of marijuana to do so with any greater freedom. But the increased popularity has led the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to allocate $5 million to a public service campaign to warn people of the consequences for driving while high. The “Drive Baked, Get Busted” initiative is an attempt to discourage people from driving after they have smoked or otherwise consumed marijuana. The campaign has already started cropping up on billboards and on local television and radio broadcasts statewide.

The state is specifically targeting motorists 18 to 34, as well as those 55 to 74. Additionally, authorities plan to start collecting data on positive drug test results gleaned in traffic crash investigations, with the goal of helping policymakers ascertain how frequently drug use plays a part in crashes and other traffic offenses. These tests are likely to be similar to what are used in roadside tests used to ascertain sobriety, except they would likely use urine as opposed to breath. But as our criminal defense attorneys know well, the challenge here – and with prosecutions of drivers accused of DUI marijuana – is how to ascertain if someone is actually under the influence, or merely consumed marijuana at some point recently. Continue reading

A Florida woman who allegedly rode her horse slowly down a busy highway while intoxicated was arrested for DUI recently. Although Florida is practically infamous for it’s bizarre news, even this seemed a bit over-the-top. Plus, it raises a number of questions about the scenarios in which F.S. 316.193, Florida’s drunk driving law, can be applied. DUI Defense attorney

The law allows penalties for those who “are driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state” and are also either under the influence of alcohol to the extent his or her normal faculties are impaired OR the individual has a blood-alcohol concentration that exceeds 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. But is a horse a vehicle? What about a motorized wheelchair or shopping cart or lawn mower or bicycle?

Florida residents have been arrested for DUI for operation of each of these scenarios. And while there is legal precedent that could support a conviction, our experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys recognize there may be ample opportunity to fight for either a reduction of charges, if not an outright dismissal, in these non-conventional DUI arrests.  Continue reading

The majority of criminal defense cases that aren’t dismissed or result in acquittal are resolved through plea deals. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports two-thirds of felony defendants in the U.S. are eventually convicted and 95 percent of those convictions occur through plea bargains.DUI defense attorney

Criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale know that doesn’t necessarily mean these defendants are getting a raw deal. In many cases, these plea deals are agreements to plead guilty to far lesser offenses, resulting in fewer penalties than defendant may have been facing initially. Still, where there is ever an opportunity to fight for dismissal or acquittal, our attorneys won’t hesitate to do so. Plea bargain agreements are only for cases where the weight of the evidence is clearly against the defendant and the attorney is confident that negotiation with the prosecutor can result in an advantageous outcome for defendant, considering the circumstances.

That said, defendants must be prepared to abide by the terms of the plea bargain, or else risk the possibility that the maximum penalty could still be imposed. Even during the plea bargain negotiation process, defendants need to be mindful of their conduct. The Miami Herald reports one case recently where a plea deal following a serious DUI crash fell apart after defendant’s drug test was returned positive – a violation of her conditions for release from jail pending trial. Continue reading

A Palm Beach County man accused of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal bicycle accident received a sentence of 12 years behind bars, following his conviction on the latter charge this summer. He’d been acquitted of DUI manslaughter, the Palm Beach Post reported. DUI defense attorney

This case was in the headlines for a number of reasons, most obviously because it involved the death of a 65-year-old bicyclist. However, there was more to it. Initially, the defendant’s girlfriend, who had been in the passenger seat, agreed to tell officers at the scene that she had been the one driving. The pair reportedly made the decision due to the fact her boyfriend had a prior conviction for driving with a suspended license, and they knew whatever sentence was to be received was harsh. She spent more than a year on house arrest before providing prosecutors with evidence – both emails and text messages shared between the pair – that indicated his alleged guilt.

The DUI manslaughter charge was a difficult one to prove from the outset because responding officers never tested defendant’s blood-alcohol concentration at the scene of the crash, given that they did not believe him to be the driver. However, a change in Florida law pursuant to hit-and-run crashes means drivers who flee the scene of a deadly crash, per F.S. 316.027, face the same minimum mandatory sentence – four years – as someone convicted of DUI manslaughter, per F.S. 316.193. The change in law was meant to serve as an incentive to possibly impaired drivers to remain at the scene of serious crashes and render aid, as required by law.  Continue reading

Earlier this year, prosecutors in Broward County filed charges against a man who allegedly caused a New Year’s Day crash in Fort Lauderdale that killed a teenager. However, despite there being no breath or blood evidence, prosecutors still chose to file a charge of DUI manslaughter. How can this be? DUI defense

For the answer, we look to F.S. 316.193, Florida’s DUI statute. In order to prove a defendant was driving under the influence, prosecutors need to show the individual was driving or in control of a motor vehicle and that they also met one of the following criteria:

  • Had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood;
  • Had a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 milliliters of breath;
  • Were under the influence of any alcohol or chemical substance to the extend the person’s normal faculties were impaired.

It is that last provision on which prosecutors are hanging their hat in this case.  Continue reading

Authorities made a South Florida arrest for DUI and child endangerment in Boynton Beach after allegedly discovering a woman drunk behind the wheel of a car in a parking lot with four children jumping in and out of the sunroof.winebottle

According to The Sun Sentinel, the engine of the vehicle was running. It was about 7:30 p.m. and the vehicle was parked in a Publix grocery store parking lot. In the front passenger seat, police say, was a half-empty jug of sangria. The 34-year-old woman in the driver’s seat allegedly had a blood-alcohol concentration of .358, which is more than four times the legal amount of 0.08. This was after she agreed to undergo a blood alcohol test.

Police reported they were called to the parking lot after several witnesses said they had tried to chase the young children out of harm’s way, as they were running around the parking lot and were almost struck by vehicles entering and leaving. One witness called dispatchers and said they had seen the driver drinking in the car from a large jug of wine.  Continue reading

The former director of the Florida State Parks was recently arrested for DUI with property damage and hit-and-run, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, which explained the arrest occurred after defendant was stopped by troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol.drink and drive

According to reports, the former official, who also previously worked for the state Department of Environmental Protection, had left the scene of a crash after briefly speaking to the other driver. Troopers were called to the scene by that other driver around 7 p.m. on a Saturday. The driver reported he was traveling south when a Mercedes Benz, later identified by police as being driven by the former official, traveling in the same direction veered into his lane and struck his driver’s side mirror in passing.

The defendant reportedly pulled over, talked to the other driver for a minute, then rolled up her window and abruptly drove away. Dispatchers then started receiving other calls about a vehicle matching that description in the same area running other motorists off the road Continue reading

Makers of a device called the “Breathometer” promised that their product could help drinkers determine when they’d had too much to drive. driver

The product concept was first pitched on the television show, “Shark Tank,” and it involved an app-supported smartphone device that would help consumers make smarter decisions about whether to refrain from driving after consuming alcohol. By breathing into the app device attached to their phone, users would be able to tell whether they were over the legal limit of 0.08 alcohol concentration.

However, the Federal Trade Commission recently slammed the company, ultimately negotiating a settlement, amid charges the device didn’t actually work as promised. Specifically where the FTC was concerned, the company lacked the scientific evidence to support the claims made in advertising.  Continue reading

A South Florida woman was facing 20 years in prison for DUI manslaughter in case that stemmed from the deaths of two pedestrians. In fact, sentencing guidelines called for her to spend at least that long. Instead, as part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to challenger her defense attorney’s request to ask the judge to go below those guidelines. Still, prosecutors asked for 10 years, while defense attorney asked for four. Instead, the judge handed down a five-year prison term.sad

According to the Sun Sentinel, Alyza Russell, then just 23, was reportedly driving her mother’s brand new Porsche in downtown Fort Lauderdale when she lost control of the car and careened through a cluster of bushes and into a parking lot – killing two men who were standing in the parking lot, talking with a group of friends. At the scene, Russell reportedly began screaming, “What have I done?!” Authorities say her blood-alcohol level at the time was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Russell has reportedly since her arrest gone on to graduate from Florida International University with a degree in international relations. Now 25, she made the dean’s list and landed a job as a research associate at a firm in Miami. She also completed several online courses offered by Harvard, Princeton, Yale and MIT and recently applied to graduate school. Although these facts to not automatically make her case go away, they are likely part of what the courts refer to as “mitigating circumstances.”  Continue reading