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Tampa, Florida Criminal Defense & Family Law Blog

Sheriff's deputy arrested on boating while intoxicated charge

The Hlllsborough County Sheriff's Department, which serves the Tampa area, arrested one of its own deputies recently as part of a routine boating patrol off the coast. The deputy was detained on charges of boating under the influence of alcohol and posted a $500 bail. He has also been suspended from his job without pay until the sheriff completes an internal investigation.

According to reports, another deputy initiated a stop for the purpose of checking the boat for proper safety equipment. The deputy who stands accused reportedly did not slow down right away and instead swapped places with a female on the boat.

Could your diabetes land you in jail on suspicion of DUI?

The number of people across the country and here in Florida who suffer from diabetes seems to grow daily. This condition has become a significant health crisis, and it affects sufferers' lives in many ways.

One way that they and their doctors may not anticipate the condition affecting their lives is during a DUI traffic stop. It is possible for a sober person with diabetes to blow readings as high as .06 when taking a roadside breath test. This may not be Florida's legal limit of .08, but if this is you, the officer may still place you under arrest on suspicion of DUI.

Assault and battery basics

Assault and battery charges are serious criminal charges. In many situations, these two charges will go hand in hand so it is important for accused individuals to understand what they are. Assault refers to when one party places another party in fear of immediate harm. Battery occurs when one party physically strikes another party.

Assault and battery charges are often lumped together in many states so it is helpful to know the laws in your state. The two have distinct legal distinctions and elements, however, so it is also helpful to know what those are. Generally, assault places the victim in fear of harm and can include threats of harm, while battery charges include causing actual harm to the victims. Assault can also be defined as an attempted battery. The elements of a battery include the intentional touching of the victim that is harmful or offensive without the consent of the victim.

What is a drug diversion program?

If you are facing serious drug charges, you may wonder what your options are. You may also have heard about drug diversion programs and wondered what they are.

A drug diversion program is a process some accused individuals may qualify for that can result in the dismissal of charges against them if they fulfill specified requirements.

It is important to understand the basics of plea bargains

Plea bargains are an important part of the criminal justice system that every accused individual should understand. Plea negotiations are a way that criminal charges are resolved without the need for a trial. There are different types of plea negotiations that it is important for accused individuals to be familiar with when facing criminal charges and evaluating their options to address them.

Charge bargaining is one type of plea bargaining which refers to the accused individual negotiating over the charges they are facing. In this type of plea bargain, the accused individual may plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the prosecutor dropping other charges. Another type of plea bargaining is sentence bargaining. When sentence bargaining, the accused individual may plead guilty to a charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or sentencing recommendation to the judge. There are additional types of plea bargains it is helpful for accused individuals to also be familiar with.

Protections from drug possession charges

Drug possession charges are serious criminal charges that can carry serious potential penalties and consequences for the accused individual. For individuals accused of drug possession, who are facing the serious potential penalties and consequences associated with drug possession charges, it is important to be familiar with what drug possession charges include.

Drug possession refers to ownership and control over the illegal drug or controlled substance. There are different types of drug possession it is helpful to be familiar with. Actual possession refers to having the illegal drug or controlled substance in the accused individual's hand, pocket or container or bag that is in the accused individual's hand or on their person; constructive possession refers to having the illegal drug or controlled substance in a location the accused individual has control over but it is concealed; and joint possession refers to two or more individuals having possession over the drug or controlled substance.

What are drug trafficking charges?

Drug trafficking charges are extremely serious charges, however, accused individuals facing them may wonder exactly what a drug trafficking charge refers to. Drug trafficking charges refer to the selling, transportation and illegal importation of unlawful controlled substances. Controlled substances can include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and other illegal drugs. The penalties associated with drug trafficking charges can be especially harsh.

Accused individuals facing drug trafficking and drug distributions allegations, accusations and charges can face prison sentences ranging from 3 to 5 years in prison to life in prison. Punishments associated with drug trafficking charges vary widely but can depend on factors such as the amount of illegal drugs involved, the types of drugs involved, the geographic area the drugs were distributed in and if children were the target of the alleged drug trafficking and distribution activities. Drug trafficking charges can also apply to prescription drugs illegally obtained, possessed or distributed.

Things to know when facing DUI charges in Florida

Whether you were visiting one of the beautiful beaches on vacation in Florida or are a full-time resident, if a police officer pulled you over and arrested you on suspicion of drunk driving, the next weeks and months of your life may be rather stressful. Having a to pay a speeding ticket is bad enough; facing criminal charges that place your freedom at risk is even worse.  

Arming yourself with as much information as possible regarding your personal rights and DUI laws in this state may be key to obtaining a positive outcome in your case. The good news is that you don't have to go it alone. There are support networks in place that can help you every step of the way. No two incidents are exactly the same, so it's crucial to determine which type of defense strategy best fits your particular situation. 

What are the penalties for drunk driving in Florida?

Individuals who are facing drunk driving charges may have serious concerns about the potential penalties they face and questions as to what they might be. The potential penalties and consequences for drunk driving charges can vary depending on the circumstances. For instance, an individual who has their second DUI offense is required in Florida to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. In addition, an ignition interlock device may be required for a first DUI offense in some circumstances.

Likewise, the age of the driver accused of a DUI may also impact the potential penalties and consequences the accused individual faces. Florida has a zero tolerance law for underage drinking and driving. For drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit in Florida to drive is .02. For drivers over the age of 21, the legal limit is .08. Underage drivers accused of drunk driving can have their driver's license automatically suspended for 6 months.

Underage college students could face serious penalties for DUI

For many Florida students, heading to college or university is the first step into adulthood. Many students will have their first taste of true freedom and adulthood responsibilities in the first few years of their higher education. However, while college students are adults, there are some things they cannot legally do until they turn 21. This includes the purchase and consumption of alcohol.

Drinking and driving is always a crime, regardless of your age. However, underage drinking is also a crime under state law, regardless of whether the student is living independently as an adult or not. For many college students, alcohol is a small part of the college experience, yet a one-time mistake can still lead to serious legal repercussions. For students under the age of 21, fighting a DUI is an important step to protecting future interests.

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