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Tampa, Florida Criminal Defense & Family Law Blog

Can you seriously injure someone with one punch?

When you think about causing serious injuries in a fight, you probably think of a long brawl. You assume the fighting would have to go on for some time, it may involve weapons and things could escalate out of control. You certainly don't think that those injuries would happen instantly after just one punch.

They can, though, and it can have a devastating impact on your life. Losing your cool for just a split second may be enough to leave you facing serious charges.

While in Florida, Dallas Cowboys wideout arrested

With the NFL offseason in full swing, a wideout for the Dallas Cowboys was not in Texas but in Florida. He is originally from Tampa, so he had returned there when not required to be with the team, as many players do.

However, while in Florida, a Tampa police officer spotted him driving at night without headlights. He was in a Dodge Charger. The officer initiated a traffic stop due to the lack of headlight use.

How can you be charged with burglary when nothing is missing?

From childhood, you may remember cartoon characters wearing striped shirts, newsboy caps and black masks. They usually carried a large sack of stolen items on their backs and found comical ways to slip unseen into dark homes to steal what they wanted. Anyone seeing them would cry, "It's a burglar!" and call the police.

While the old cartoons show burglary as something slapstick and light, you may not feel like laughing if police have arrested you for burglary. Additionally, you may feel confused and have many questions, especially authorities have not accused you of stealing anything.

What is self-defense?

If you get into a fight with someone, you run the risk of facing assault charges. However, just getting arrested does not mean you are guilty. These are often chaotic situations, and it's hard for the police to decipher exactly what happened on the spot. They may simply arrest everyone involved and decide to sort it out later.

One common defense to assault charges is claiming that you acted in self-defense. What exactly does this mean?

Traffic stop tips to make things go smoothly

Flashing red and blue lights come on behind you on the highway. You look in the mirror, and there's a police car a few feet from your back bumper. You're getting pulled over.

Forget for a moment if you think you did anything wrong. Maybe you don't have any idea why they're stopping you. Maybe you wonder if it's a legal stop at all. No matter what, here are a few tips that can help make the interaction with the officer go smoothly.

  • Signal and pull over as soon as it's safe to do so. Even delaying for a second or two puts the officer on edge.
  • Look for a safe place to stop. For instance, pull as far onto the shoulder as you can on the interstate. On a city street, you may want to pull into a parking lot. This keeps the officer safe, which they'll appreciate.
  • If the officer is aggressive, keep your cool. Don't let them escalate the situation. Stay calm, no matter how they act toward you.
  • Remember that you don't have to admit anything. They may start by asking if you know why they pulled you over, and you can simply say that you don't. If they really start questioning you, you may want to tell them you need a lawyer to answer questions.
  • Keep your hands in view. If you need to move them to grab anything -- like your wallet -- tell the officer what you're doing, or ask if it's all right to do so.

Why is the War on Drugs controversial?

The concentrated effort by the United States government to eliminate the use of drugs by citizens is usually called the "War on Drugs." It has been going on for decades now, with its roots in the 1970s. The main ways this is done is by cracking down harder on drug-related offenses, making more arrests and then giving those who make, distribute, sell or use drugs harsher sentences.

This is a controversial stance for many reasons. One is that it's now been around 50 years since the War on Drugs began. It's clear that it has not worked, despite the amount of money and energy being put into it.

What does it mean to stand your ground?

If an intruder enters your home at night, someone follows you while you walk through a dark parking lot to your car, or you encounter someone who threatens you, you may feel fear. This is a normal reaction, and in many cases, that fear can save your life by prompting you to flee. However, running away is not always the ideal response to a threatening situation.

When your life or the lives of your loved ones are in danger, your next instinct may be to move to defend yourself. In fact, even those who are not fighters are often surprised when a primal reaction kicks in when faced with a threat against themselves or someone they love. In most states, the law requires you to flee such situations. However, what happens in Florida when you stand your ground?

Do you need to blow a .08 to get a DUI?

The "legal limit" for a driver who has been drinking is .08%. At that blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the court assumes that the person was drunk enough for their driving to be impaired.

That's all true, but it's given rise to a certain myth, which is that you cannot get a DUI as long as you do not blow a .08%. People who have been drinking may think they can avoid legal charges -- and may think that they have actually not broken the law -- if they blow a .07%.

Florida law enforcement warns against New Year's drunk driving

New Year's Eve is a time for celebration in Florida and across the United States. For many, that involves going to parties and drinking alcohol. While there is nothing illegal about that, some might believe they are in a condition to drive and get behind the wheel after drinking. Law enforcement planned to be out in force to catch and arrest drivers who might be driving while intoxicated.

It is a positive in Florida that the state is ranked near the bottom for DUI arrests in the U.S., coming in 46th. In the state, out of 100,000 people, 151 are arrested for DUI. Nationally, that rate is 330 for every 100,000 people. Separate research states that Florida was 42nd in the nation in the reduction in DUI arrests in the decade from 2009 to 2018, at slightly higher than 47%. Still, there is an average of 30 drunk driving fatalities every day. With New Year's such a prominent day for alcohol consumption, it is a concern that law enforcement is taking very seriously as it prepares for a crackdown.

How does a police investigation affect your case?

Your arrest by Florida police or other agents may have been a confusing time. Officers likely searched you, took your photograph and fingerprinted you. They may have confiscated your clothing and other personal belongings, and they may have taken other samples from you, such as your handwriting, saliva or hair. Any of these may become part of the evidence prosecutors will use against you in court.

When you face criminal charges, police will conduct a thorough investigation to gather enough evidence to make a case against you. Depending on the type of crime you stand accused of committing, police may spend a great deal of time collecting evidence from the crime scene. Because you will probably not be present when investigators gather information, it may help you to have a general idea of the process.

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