Articles Posted in DUI / BUI – Drunk Driving

A criminal defense attorney’s worst enemy is a confession, whether in writing or one that is video taped. As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I’ve had my share of clients confess to crimes, even after they had been warned and told that they have the right to remain silent. At least these confessions came while they were being interrogated by trained detectives. I am completely baffled by the number of people that use social media to “confess” to criminal offenses by posting statements, and the ultimate confession… posting videos of themselves committing the crimes.

A teenager in Oregon was arrested after he made a Facebook post concerning a crash that occurred while the teen was driving under the influence, according to abcnews.go.com. The teenager posted, “Drivin drunk… classsic 😉 but to whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P”. After the messages were sent to the local police station, the teen was arrested for hitting two parked cars, but not for DUI.

140908_capture-1046263-m.jpgNydailynews.com reported that Facebook also led to a North Carolina mother’s arrest after a video was posted on her son’s Facebook page. The video showed the teen’s mother helping him attempt the “fire challenge“. The forty-one year old mother was arrested for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor after her son had to be treated for the burns he received while attempting the challenge.
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Driving Under the Influence or (DUI) is a crime that knows no bounds and affects everyone from ordinary citizens, politicians, celebrities and athletes alike. Almost all of us know or have known someone who has driven under the influence of alcohol at some point in his or her life. Driving under the Influence is a type of crime that does not discriminate on who you are in order for you to be arrested or commit the offense. As a matter of fact, we often hear of famous people committing these crimes, nationally the list of celebrities charged with the offense is substantial. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Charles Barkley, Heather Locklear, FloRida, Kiefer Sutherland, and the list goes on.

So what does Driving Under the Influence (DUI) mean? In Florida if you have a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or more and operate a motor vehicle, you are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol and you will be arrested. So what does .08 mean and how much do I have to drink to reach .08?

That is where the problem lies. Your blood alcohol level is affected by many factors besides the amount of alcohol you consume. Factors such as your gender, how much you weigh, whether or not you take prescription drugs, how long it takes you to consume the alcohol and whether you drink on an empty stomach or have eaten a full meal, all contribute to your body’s blood alcohol level. The only way to be truly safe is not to consume alcohol at all, which can be difficult given our culture of happy hours and bars.
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Jacksonville Criminal LawyerChildren and Adults, alike, look up to and aspire to famous Actors and Actresses. But, when their good name is pulled through the mud, we all begin to question how innocent are these movie stars anyway. One recent example is Amanda Bynes who made her fame and fortune on the Nickelodeon channel programming. She just recently had her driver’s license revoked by the State of California following three (3) alleged driving related incidents.

Her first incident stemmed from a collision with a police cruiser in April of this year. She was subsequently charged with DUI, but has rebutted all allegations that she was “under the influence.” Bynes went as far as to tweet President Obama, “..I don’t drink…” Her other two incidents are cases of hit-and-runs but she also denies any wrongdoing.

Although a California case, her same issues are relevant here in Jacksonville as well. As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, clients come to me with all sort of driving issues and I work diligently to correct any wrongs and get the best possible outcome, given the circumstances. In Florida, if you incur too many points or three or more citations for driving on a suspended or revoked license within 5 years you could be labeled HTO. As a HTO your license is suspended for 4 years! However, as a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney I can review your driving history and determine where I can provide assistance and fight to get your license reinstated.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyDo you have a not so perfect driving record? Have you been cited or arrested for driving without a license or when your license is revoked? Have you accrued too many points on your license for it to be valid? Have you received notice that you are labeled as a Habitual Traffic Offender and therefore will have your license revoked for four (4) years? If you answered “yes” to any of the prior questions, the assistance and guidance of a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney may be right for you. I can review you driving record, determine how to proceed forward, and fight to get your license back!

There are a few different events that can lead to HTO status, all of which must occur within a five-year period. The most common is to have three offenses of driving while license is suspended or revoked. It is important to remember that this includes convictions as well as cases where withheld adjudication. Some people make the mistake of believing that because adjudication was withheld and no conviction occurred that these cases are not counted when it comes to determining whether someone is should is a HTO. The HTO sentencing guidelines do examine how many points your license has, they count your convictions and withholds instead. Further, no distinction is made as to whether or not you “knowingly” drove while your license was suspended or not.

HTO status lasts for five years and requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV) to revoke your license, but there are things that may be done to get you back on the road. After sufficient time and class work, a hardship license may be issued to allow you some right to drive, but with restrictions. After the five year revocation is over, you must petition the DMV to have your license reinstated. A hearing may be required to determine whether or not your reinstatement can be granted or if you should have an alternative, restricted license.

Jacksonville Criminal LawyerIn Florida, anyone accused of committing a felony is permitted to take depositions of the prosecution’s witnesses. On misdemeanor charges the judge has to decide if there is a good reason to allow depositions before they will go forward. The judge can even allow depositions of people not listed as witnesses if it is proven that they have something relevant to say about the charges or the defense.

Depositions are part of the discovery process, which is the process by which the parties in criminal cases gather facts about the case from each other. The deposition itself is like a question and answer session that is being recorded by a court reporter. The defense lawyer can ask pretty much any question that could get to information that would help the defense theory or help impeach the witness and this is a pretty big umbrella.

Depositions are very useful for many reasons; to get the witness’s story on the record so they can’t change it later, to find out more information about the witness, to find holes in the prosecutions case and to let everyone know you are serious about defending the case.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAccording to a recent report on Yahoo, a civil rights group is trying to turn the tables on the police. The New Jersey Branch of the Americans Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has created a new app that will allow users to discreetly monitor and record police activity. The mobile phone program is designed to hold police officers accountable for their behavior while interacting with the public.

The app, dubbed “Police Tape,” allows people to securely and inconspicuously record interactions with police officers. Currently the app is only available on Android devices, but another version for the iPhone will be released later in the summer. The ACLU says the device will act as a critical tool for monitoring the actions of law enforcement officers.

The ACLU’s New Jersey executive director, Deborah Jacobs, said, “Too often, incidents of serious misconduct go unreported because citizens don’t feel that they will be believed.” She says this app should go a long way to remedying that worry.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyLast week Clay County Sheriff’s Office conducted a DUI Check point that resulted in 22 being arrested and jailed. The arrests were not just for DUI, but for numerous other offenses. Don’t become a statistic; do NOT drink and drive.

As Jacksonville heads out into this weekend, beware of JSO activity and roadblocks that may be in place. However, the best policy is not to drink or drive. Unfortunately, some Jacksonville motorist decide they are “good” and when they are caught by police, you should call a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney to represent your best interests in Court. The sooner I get involved the more time I have to mitigate the offense and speak with the State.

The DUI standard in Florida is .08 BAC. That is a very low standard and most people do not “feel” the effects of alcohol at that level. However, you could still be arrested. As a Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer, I advise everyone if you are going to drink do not drive. Get a Designated Driver, Stay at that Location, Take a Cab, or Get a Hotel Room.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAccording to a report by WFTV, four out of every 10 Florida drivers stopped by police for suspected drunk driving refuse to submit to breathalyzer tests. Something that many people may not be aware of is how severe the penalty can be just for refusing to take the breath test.

Florida’s current law regarding breath tests, known as Florida’s Implied Consent Law, states that any motorist who simply accepts the “privilege… of operating a motor vehicle within this state is… deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to… [a] test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath.”

The condensed version of the law means that if you choose to drive in the state of Florida, you have already consented to a breathalyzer test and if you refuse to take one then you can and will be punished. The punishments can be quite severe as well; with a first refusal punishable by a suspension of a driver’s license and a second refusal being considered a first-degree misdemeanor and a criminal offense.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyFlorida State University criminologist Bill Bales knew Florida’s crime rate, like that of the nation, had been dropping for years but he had no idea just how much. Once he sat down to crunch the numbers he was shocked to discover how safe the state has become. Bales said, “I was astonished by the consistency of the decline and the magnitude of the decline.”

The decline was far from statistically insignificant. His results indicate that the level of safety of citizens and tourists in the state over the past 20 years has improved by a whopping 52%. What he labels a “remarkable” figure. His analysis indicated that crimes rates in Florida fell dramatically since the peak year of 1991 across all seven categories of crimes tracked by the FBI: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

What’s the reason for such a steep drop? Bales and other criminologist say there’s no one answer. A variety of factors such as state demographics, deployment of law enforcement resources, unemployment rates and poverty all likely played a part. The only significant correlation the study found was with increased imprisonment rates. He found that from 1980 to 2010, as crime rates went down, Florida’s prison population ballooned nearly 170 percent. However, he emphasizes that that alone does not explain the overall trend.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAAA and sponsor Budweiser has offered “Tow To Go” in the past for most holiday events. Well, let’s not let that trend die! So from the 4th of July to the 7th, AAA will be offering FREE rides for both you and your vehicle. The Number to call is 1-800-AAA-HELP (222-4357).

We all like to indulge in the festivities of the season, but sometimes the indulgences get the best of us and when they do we need to make sure we do not take to the motorways with the perception we can drive. However, this misconception can have dire consequences. As a Jacksonville Attorney, I have seen the consequences of such accidents. These consequences include criminal charges: DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, disorderly conduct, etc. and civil charges: property damage, victims injuries and resulting bills. All these and more could be awaiting you if you decide to drive in Jacksonville following some over indulgence.

Therefore, Jacksonville, be safe this week and remember a FREE ride home is only a call away.

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