Articles Posted in Driver’s Licenses

Seeing the flashing lights and hearing the siren of a police car behind you while on the road is always scary.  In the best cases, these traffic stops are very brief and only involve a short conversation.  In other instances, though, the stop may become much more serious, and the officer may at some point tell the driver they want to search the vehicle.  If you find yourself in this situation, it is critical that you know what to do and that you understand how to protect your rights.  Your Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer can assist you with any illegal search and seizure that you may be subjected to.

Vehicle Searches Under the Fourth Amendment

             The Fourth Amendment protects all American citizens from unlawful search and seizures.  Before law enforcement searches any property, they must obtain a search warrant to do so.  That protection applies to vehicles as well, but drivers may have fewer rights when an officer wants to search their vehicle.  The law recognizes that drivers could easily leave the scene if the police officer had to obtain a warrant before searching the vehicle.  As such, police officers must only have probable cause to search a vehicle during a traffic stop, and they do not need to obtain a warrant.

            The criminal offense of driving under the influence (DUI) seems straightforward but is much more complex than people first think.  It can be found at Florida statute §316.193.  All drivers within the state of Florida should know about the state’s DUI laws, and what they entail, so they do not find themselves facing charges.  If you have been charged with a DUI, your Jacksonville criminal attorney can assist you with getting the best result out of a bad situation.

             DUI vs Drunk Driving

            The Florida Statutes define the offense of DUI as driving or having physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, chemicals, or controlled substance that results in a blood alcohol or at least 0.08 percent, or that impairs a person’s normal faculties.  Many people use the terms “DUI” and “drunk driving” interchangeably, but the two are different.  While a drunk driver is considered to be under the influence, not all motorists under the influence are drunk, as chemicals and controlled substances can also impair a person.  Some people can be impaired taking over-the-counter medications such as Nyquil.  Consult your local Jacksonville criminal attorney if you have been charged with driving under the influence.

In the state of Florida, a person who has any alcohol in his or her body is prohibited from being in physical control of a motor vehicle.  F.S. 322.62.  The penalties for violation of this law result in being placed out of service immediately for a twenty four hour period.  If one has a blood alcohol level of .04 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or a breath-alcohol level of .04 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, he or she is exposed to additional penalties that are enumerated in F.S. 322.61.  The ramifications could result in adverse effects on one’s livelihood with restrictions on the operation of a commercial vehicle.

What Are the Possible Ramifications of a Single Drink?

A single drink can result in fulfilling the first element of proof required to prove a DUI charge.  The next element required to meet the definition of a DUI in Florida is proof that an individual was driving a motor vehicle within the state of Florida.  The last element required to prove a DUI case is that the offender’s normal faculties are impaired.  The last element may be proven by an officer’s belief that the driver was impaired and or by the smell of alcohol on his or her breath, slurred speech, difficulty standing, walking in a straight line, based on a field sobriety test.  This is a non inclusive list.

What Are the Potential Costs?

When an individual is charged with theft or shoplifting in Florida, he or she faces potentially serious penalties.  This can affect one’s ability to secure a job because such a crime is classified as a crime of dishonesty.  This is significant even though a misdemeanor is typically considered relatively insignificant.  When a potential employer performs a background check and finds a conviction for such a crime in a candidate’s history, it may disqualify the candidate depending on the type of job.  The penalties for shoplifting or retail theft include jail, fines, civil penalties, restitution, court costs, and attorney’s fees.  In the event one is convicted a Grand Theft in Florida, they may be sentenced a prison.

How Does Florida Law Define Retail Theft?

If you are ever stopped for DUI, you may not trust the breath test and want to refuse to take the test or you may even want to ask for a separate blood test or breath test by a lab of your choosing.  In Florida, your license can be suspended for refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test.  You can ask for a review of your license suspension, but a hearing officer will be looking at certain factors under the statute at the review hearing.  Florida courts have determined that a law enforcement officer may select the initial test; and refusal will result in license suspension.

keys DUIIn the case of Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Green, 702 So.2d 584 (2nd DCA 1997), Mr. Green declined to take a breath test after being stopped for DUI.  He was observed to be weaving his vehicle and to have bloodshot eyes, alcohol on his breath, and to be unsteady on his feet.  He failed a standard set of roadside sobriety tests.  He was arrested and taken to the breath testing unit.  The officer provided the “implied consent” warning indicating a refusal to take the breath test would result in a suspension of his driving privileges.  Mr. Green refused.  He, instead, offered to take a blood test and requested assistance from the arresting officer by bringing him a telephone book or a telephone to contact a laboratory.

Mr. Green argued that he had the right to select the test of his choice and the officer was obligated to assist him in obtaining that test.  The Court held that the officer has the right to select the initial test, and it can be “an approved chemical test or physical test.”  Only after a driver has complied with the initial law enforcement selected test does an officer have to assist a driver in obtaining a blood test or secondary test.

“License and registration, please.”  If you have ever been pulled over by police, you have probably heard this phrase.  In recent years, Americans have grown more and more suspicious of police officers. With all that we see and hear on the news and in social media, arguably, there is cause for alarm in some cases.  In my practice as a Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer, I get questions regarding encounters with police regularly. Criminal defense lawyers can’t always give the definite answers that people are looking for, however. Much of what we can and cannot do under Florida law is based on the particular details of a situation.   There are certain rights that all Jacksonville criminal attorneys will tell you that can or should expect to be a given.

license and registration checkWith the popularity of smartphones with video recording capabilities, many people are taking it upon themselves to record officers. I recently watched a video online that showed a man pulled over at a DUI checkpoint. The driver refused to give the police officer his license and registration. The driver asked the police officer to explain what probable cause there was to ask for the driver’s license and registration.   The officer even threatened to have the man arrested for interference, but the driver didn’t fold. Instead he asked that a supervisor be called out to the scene. Once the supervising officer arrived, he leaned forward a little into the driver’s window and stated that there was no smell of an alcoholic beverage and told the driver he was free to go. The original officer who had demanded the driver’s license and registration and repeatedly said the U.S. Supreme Court and upheld DUI checkpoints looked very confused.

The likely reason that the supervising officer let the driver go about his business is that the United States Supreme Court in the case of Delaware v. Prouse back in 1979 held that it is improper for police, without “articulable and reasonable suspicion” to detain drives simply to check their licenses and registration.  The U.S. Constitution’s provision against unreasonable search and seizure provides a shield against this type of police conduct. Florida’s Constitution also protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. For more information or help with a case, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PPLC today. Initial consultations are free.

In most situations, bad driving gets you a traffic ticket. However, for some driving offenses, traffic tickets are not enough as far as the law is concerned. You can be arrested for being a bad driver. Recently, a woman was arrested in Virginia after being caught driving over 90 mph on three separate occasions within an hour. The third time she was stopped, Kai Kitchen was arrested for reckless driving.

Reckless drivingFlorida has its own version of reckless driving.  Florida Statute 316.192 states, “Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”  Reckless driving is a criminal offense that can lead to jail, even prison in some cases, depending on whether it’s the first conviction or whether there are injuries or property damage.  Reckless driving is deemed more serious than simple careless driving.  Careless driving leads to a civil citation and is defined in Florida Statute 316.1925, which states, “Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the [vehicle] in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.”

Reckless driving can be punished more severely, because it looks at situations where the driver is actively doing something that can be dangerous, while careless driving is more like being absent minded while driving.  Causing property damage, an injury, or even a death while driving carelessly isn’t a criminal offense, but doing either while driving recklessly can result in a stiff punishment.

How to Receive a Temporary Driving Permit after a DUI in Florida.

In Florida, a person arrested for a DUI must face two separate cases: an administrative case and a criminal court case. While most people are familiar with the criminal consequences a DUI brings, there is also an important administrative process dealing with the person’s driver license.

When someone is arrested on suspicion of DUI, the arresting officer will normally take the driver’s license, which results in an immediate suspension of driving privileges. If the driver takes a breath test, and fails, the driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. If you refuse a chemical test (such as a blood, breath or urine test) for the first time, the driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If the driver has previously refused a chemical test the suspension lasts 18 months.

If you’ve ever been in a crowded parking lot where space is limited, you know that you should be more careful than normal when maneuvering through the tight spaces that often accompany these situations. Misjudging the amount of space available to make a turn into a parking space, for instance, could easily result in a minor collision. So what are you required to do after you lightly swipe the car next to you? As a Jacksonville traffic attorney and criminal defense attorney, I’ve seen what can happen when people are unfamiliar with what they are required to do, or simply make the mistake of leaving the scene because they’re scared and nervous. Leaving the scene without doing certain things that Florida law requires of a driver involved in an accident, is a criminal traffic offense that could lead to you being arrested. So how do you avoid being charged with the crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident?

141003_destruction-demolition-derby-5-1302975-m.jpgDamage Caused to Attended Vehicle or Property
Florida statute 316.061 requires that the driver of a car that collides with another car or some other property, where damage occurs, to immediately stop and provide the driver’s information to driver of the other vehicle or property owner. Consider the crowded parking lot example above. If you are attempting to park in a crowded parking lot, and swipe a parked car next to you, if there is someone sitting in the car, you should (1) stop at the scene; (2) provide the other driver with your name, address, and registration number for your car; (3) if asked, allow the other driver of property owner to see your license; and (4) report the crash to police. Failing to do what you are required to do prior to leaving is a second degree misdemeanor.

Damage Caused to Unattended Vehicle or Property
Florida statute 316.063 mandates that when there is a crash that involves damage to an unattended car or other property, you must (1) stop at the scene; (2) locate the owner of the other car or property in order to provide the owner with your name, address, and registration number for your car [if the owner cannot be found, leave this information in writing in a place that the owner can easily find it]; and (3) report the crash to police without any unnecessary delay.
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Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAs a Jacksonville Traffic Attorney I cannot stress enough to my clients NOT to drive once their license has been suspended or revoked. Monday I reported about Ms. Bynes recent run in with the law and how her license would be suspended. I find it hard to believe she would be unaware of the status of her license and therefore, when she was pulled over recently she was cited for driving on a suspended license and her vehicle was impounded.

This incident with the law follows her two pending counts of hit-and-run. Although she has a some hurdles to cross before she can put all this behind her, the advise and assistance of her Attorney could prove to be invaluable in her case.

As a Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, I handle all sorts of traffic violations; speeding, careless driving, DWSL, etc. Therefore, if you find yourself with an unwanted traffic citation, contact a Jacksonville Attorney who can review your citation and make the proper determinations in moving forward.

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