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Orlando Criminal Defense Law Blog

Don't underestimate the driver's license laws in Florida

While it can be easy to broadly proclaim that you would never consider getting behind the wheel without a valid driver's license under any circumstances, it's important to remember that things aren't always so cut and dried.

What if you forgot to renew your license last week and your child suddenly needs to be picked up? What if you friend offers you the chance to take a quick spin around the block on his new motorcycle even though you don't have a license anymore?  

Wet reckless: Pleading to a lesser DUI offense here in Florida

With Memorial Day right around the corner, you can be certain that law enforcement agencies across the state of Florida are busy making preparations for a long weekend of enhanced DUI enforcement from saturation patrols to sobriety checkpoints.

What this essentially means is that local law enforcement will be looking for any reason to pull people over on suspicion of drunk driving -- from speeding to neglecting to use a turn signal. While this tactic will result in a large number of sober -- and understandably peeved -- motorists being temporarily detained and even ticketed, it will also result in a considerable number of impaired driving arrests.

AAA study questions validity of marijuana impaired driving laws

Driving While High.jpgAs we've discussed on our blog before, the way in which the individual states treat marijuana has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last decade with the drug now legal for recreational and medicinal purposes -- or both -- in many.

All indications are that this movement is only going to continue gathering momentum. If you don't believe it, consider that at least six state legislatures are currently considering some manner of legalization measure, while upwards of 11 other states could be putting the legalization question to voters this coming fall. Indeed, voters here in Florida will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in November.

What are the criminal consequences for leaving the dog in the car?

While there are animal lovers of all stripes, it goes without saying that the pets most likely to be found in homes across the Sunshine State are dogs. Indeed, many of us are guilty of going to great lengths and expending great sums in order to ensure our four-legged friends are as happy and healthy as possible.

Given this universal love for all things canine, most people are immediately outraged when they read newspaper headlines outlining how law enforcement officials were called to free a dog trapped in a hot car and left wondering what sort of criminal charges, if any, the dog's owner could potentially face.

Florida's new civil asset forfeiture law could be a game-changer

impound.jpg

A police procedure that has generated considerable criticism among not just criminal defense advocates, but the general public is civil asset forfeiture. Indeed, a recent survey conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance determined that as many as 84 percent of registered voters here in Florida had serious concerns about the practice.

For those somewhat unfamiliar with this term, civil asset forfeiture is a policy whereby law enforcement agencies are legally permitted to seize personal property and/or cash that they merely believe is somehow connected to criminal activity. 

Retail theft can encompass more than just shoplifting

When we hear the term retail theft, we automatically envision people attempting to leave a store with something for which they did not pay, perhaps concealing a single item under their coat or brazenly walking out with a full shopping cart.

While this is an accurate depiction, it fails to account for the various other forms that retail theft can take under Florida law. For example, the applicable statute not only expressly prohibits the "taking possession of or carrying away of merchandise, property …" but also the alteration or removal of labels, universal product codes, or price tags. 

Do You Support Orlando's Move to Decriminalize Marijuana?

big_bud - Copy.jpgA number of cities across the United States are adopting new ways to deal with marijuana possession and now Orlando is the latest to considering decriminalizing the drug. This past week, The Orlando City Council proposed a new ordinance that could change possession of up to 20 grams into a city code violation.

Can I refuse to take a chemical test? - II

Last time, our blog began examining what the law here in Florida has to say concerning those scenarios in which a person has been placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence and the arresting officer indicates that they want to take a chemical test of their breath, urine or blood.

Specifically, we discussed how the state's implied consent laws essentially dictate that by accepting a driver's license, you've already agreed in advance to submit to chemical testing in connection with a DUI arrest.

Can I refuse to take a chemical test?

In the unfortunate event you are placed under arrest by a police officer or state trooper who has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol -- likely gained through a battery of field sobriety tests -- you might imagine that the incident is essentially over and the next stop is jail. Accordingly, you may decide to say or do very little until you've had a chance to speak with an attorney.

While your instincts are good, the reality is that the matter isn't actually over, as the arresting officer might indicate that they want to take a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine.

New measure aims to tackle backlog of sexual assault kits

Back in January, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released the results of a rather shocking survey, which determined that there were 13,435 untested sexual assault kits across the state.

In light of the reality that these kits contain valuable DNA evidence that could not only identify potential suspects, but also establish the innocence of those wrongfully sent to prison, state lawmakers vowed to take the necessary actions.

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