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Tampa, Florida Criminal Defense & Family Law Blog

Does my Florida DUI affect my out-of-state license?

With the brutal cold up north, ice storms and blizzards, no one can blame you for wanting to escape to the beautiful warmth of Tampa. In fact, you are among thousands who travel south during the harsh winter months of the north, and few are disappointed with what Florida has to offer winter-weary visitors.

Unfortunately, the warmth and relaxation of the climate here in Florida often creates an urgency for guests to cram as much vacation into their visit as possible. This may mean partying, and such parties may end with someone getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Because Florida is a popular destination for vacationers, law enforcement is serious in its handling of drunk drivers. Not only that, but your home state may have something to say about your arrest.

Overview of collateral consequences to convictions

People who live in the Tampa area probably do not need to be told that getting convicted of a crime, even a misdemeanor, can carry with it serious consequences like jail time, fines and strict terms of probation. Additionally, there are court costs and other fees associated with these penalties.

Also, there is no doubt that having a criminal conviction can have serious consequences to one's personal and professional reputations. However, what people don't recognize is that there many laws, regulations and other formal policies out there which serve to deprive people with criminal convictions of certain benefits and privileges, even when they have served their time.

What is our office's approach to drunk driving cases?

There are lots of attorneys out there who say they are ready to defend against drunk driving charges at a trial. Obviously, each of them have a slightly different approach to an OUI case.

The approach of our law office, which can be summarized as "get started early and investigate thoroughly" is one which we feel is effective. It is also proven to get results, as we have had several favorable outcomes for clients facing drunk driving charges.

Do I have to take field sobriety tests if I am stopped?

Even those in the Tampa area who haven't had personal experience with them may be at least somewhat familiar with field sobriety tests. After all, they have been ingrained in the common culture as part of the ritual of a drunk driving arrest and charge: first a person gets stopped, then they take the field sobriety tests and then they take an official blood or breath test.

However, it is important for Floridians to remember that just because field sobriety tests are commonly done, they are not mandatory. Many might not want to take these tests. Some might believe, and arguably quite rightly, that the tests are inherently flawed and are likely to diminish one's chance of beating a DUI case. Others might be concerned that they physically will not be able to perform the test.

Officer, is that breath testing machine properly calibrated?

Anyone stopped and suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol may want to ask this question. You may be one of many Florida residents who are under the impression that breath tests are a definitive way to tell whether a person is intoxicated.

This prompts many people to simply plead guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge. That could be a mistake, however. Breath testing machines, like many other machines, require routine calibration and maintenance in order to function properly. You may be surprised just how often these machines don't give correct readings because they aren't taken care of by the officers (and departments) who use them.

Drunk driving penalties in Florida are significant

It is important to note that there are two separate types of penalties and consequences individuals accused of drunk driving in Florida may face. Accused individuals may face criminal penalties as well as administrative consequences associated with drunk driving charges. In Florida, accused individuals can have their driver's license suspended and, in addition to administrative penalties, may also face stiff criminal penalties.

Accused individuals who have a blood alcohol content level of .08 or above, or refuse to a take a breath, blood or urine test after being arrested for DUI, may have their driver's license automatically suspended unless they submit a written demand for an administrative hearing that is filed within 10 days following their arrest. Criminally, those charged with drunk driving may face jail, fines, probation, the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed on their car, DUI classes, community service and impounding their car.

What are the penalties for drug trafficking charges?

A strong criminal defense in the face of drug trafficking charges is important. Because of the serious potential penalties and consequences associated with drug trafficking charges, they should not be taken lightly. Drug trafficking charges can involve controlled substances including heroin, methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana but can also include prescription drugs if illegally obtained and sold. Penalties for drug trafficking charges are severe and can range from 3 to 5 years in prison and up to life in prison.

Drug trafficking charges are felony charges which makes them punishable by incarceration for a year or more. Although all criminal charges are serious, when compared to some other types of charges, such as misdemeanor charges, drug trafficking and felony charges are the most serious types of criminal charges accused individuals can face. Accused individuals can face the threat of a criminal record and the loss of their freedom and future.

Florida nurse arrested on prescription drug charges

This blog recently discussed the serious nature of drug charges and it is important to note that individuals can face drug charges in a number of different circumstances, including for illegally obtain prescription drugs. A nurse in Florida was arrested recently for allegedly obtaining prescription drugs using the name and information of a dead patient. The 52-year old Tampa nurse allegedly used the dead patient's name to obtain 30 Metolazone 10 mg tablets.

The patient whose name the nurse was allegedly using to obtain the prescription drugs has been dead since 2015. The prescription was called in using the dead woman's name and DEA number. The doctor whose name was also provided received notifications over the past two years for prescriptions written in the name of the dead patient and another patient. The doctor said he did not write or authorize the prescription for the dead woman.

Clean hands are important, but can they land you behind bars?

How many times have you read about the importance of frequent hand-washing with regard to avoiding harmful germs, viruses and infections? You may be like many others in Florida who are aware of this crucial hygiene factor but are so busy in the normal course of an average day that you may not always have time to locate a sink to wash your hands. Like most people nowadays, you probably keep hand sanitizer nearby for quick in-between washings and disinfecting.

In addition to your own hygiene, you may have cause for concern regarding others. Someone who doesn't wash his or her hands often enough could cause you to contract an illness. You may also be surprised to learn certain people's hygiene habits, such as a police officer pulling you over in a traffic stop, could cause you to test above the legal limit for alcohol in your bloodstream if you were to take a Breathalyzer test? As shocking as it may seem, if the testing device picks up the residual alcohol, you might be convicted for drunk driving in court.

Understanding defense options in response to drug charges

Accused individuals should know how to defend against drug charges because so much is on the line when they are facing them. Drug laws vary by state but some common defenses are useful to be familiar with. It is also important to keep in mind that accused individuals always have criminal defense rights and protections regardless of the criminal charges they are facing.

Drug charges carry significant and harsh potential penalties and consequences. Criminal defense options may include challenging the facts as stated by authorities; challenging testimony provided by witnesses; challenging alleged evidence against the accused individual; challenging the charges based on procedural errors such as search or seizure violations; or others.

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2917 W. Kennedy Boulevard
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33609

Phone: 813-513-0274
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