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Palm Beach Gardens Criminal Defense Law Blog

Think twice before refusing a Breathalyzer test in Florida

Do you know a police officer can arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving if you're sitting behind the wheel of your car on the side of the road while the engine idles? If the officer determines he or she has probable cause to arrest you for possible DUI, it doesn't matter whether or not your vehicle was moving at the time. In fact, there are many laws and regulations governing DUI arrests that may surprise you.  

The more you know about Florida drunk driving laws ahead of time, as well as how to protect your rights if a law enforcement officer takes you into custody, the better. A major factor in many DUI arrests is implied consent laws. In short, when you obtained a driver's license in this state, you agreed to do certain things, including submitting to a Breathalyzer test if a police officer lawfully requests that you do so.  

Woman faces charges after ramming stopped vehicle

There is never a positive point in getting arrested for driving drunk, but fortunately, there are good things that can happen after the fact. A strong defense is necessary, but it's possible to get charges reduced or dropped completely with the right investigation and support.

A woman traveling through Jupiter struck the rear of a vehicle stopped at a red light, and that's when the trouble started. According to a May 11 report, the woman had stopped at the light prior to becoming angry and accelerating into a vehicle in front of her. She allegedly continued to yell, throw her hands up and curse at the scene.

Is marijuana decriminalized in Florida?

Drug penalties vary based on the class of drugs used or sold. Depending on the kind of drug you're caught with, you could face a misdemeanor or felony, fines or imprisonment.

One drug that officers in Florida come across often is marijuana. In several states, it has been decriminalized, and in some, it's totally legal. That's not the case in Florida, where the possession of 20 grams or less still results in a misdemeanor and up to a year of incarceration. In fact, the maximum fine for your first offense is $1,000.

Domestic violence: Not just between lovers

Domestic violence is against the law in Florida, and there are many laws in place to protect those who may be victims of abuse. Domestic violence is defined as violence committed against household or family members, not just those you're related to. Florida's laws also include individuals who used to cohabitate and those who do cohabitate in the domestic violence laws.

Several kinds of crimes fall under domestic violence laws in Florida. These include kidnapping, stalking, aggravated stalking, aggravated battery, assault and others. If there are aggravating factors in the case, then Florida law may allow for more significant charges, such as a felony instead of a misdemeanor charge, and harsher penalties.

Alcohol: The factors that impact you

There are many factors that affect how your body responds to alcohol. These factors could mean that you become intoxicated faster than others. For instance, if you weigh 100 pounds and your friend weighs 150, the same amount of alcohol is more likely to cause you to become intoxicated than your friend.

Factors that affect intoxication include your biological or genetic risk, gender and ethnicity. The speed at which you drink alcohol also plays a role in how fast you get drunk. Drinking large amounts quickly is likely to result in a higher blood alcohol content, or BAC.

Florida State University quarterback faces drug charges

Deondre Francois, a Florida State quarterback, has been working hard to recover from a previous injury and to impress his football coach. However, despite all his good intentions, a two-month drug investigation led to a search warrant being issued for his home in Tallahassee. There, the police discovered a mixture of marijuana and tobacco along with other drug-related items.

He was not arrested for the possession of the substances, instead receiving a misdemeanor for possession. He was offered the opportunity to go through a pretrial diversion program that could help have the charge completely removed from his record if he complies with the court's requirements.

Cyberstalking: a real crime with very real consequences

Technology and the way that computer use plays into everyday life has led to a dramatic increase in the amount of criminal activity that takes place online. Florida readers may mistakenly believe that, if something happens online, it will not necessarily translate into real life. If you face charges of cyberstalking -- an internet crime, you understand that is not true.

Cyberstalking is a real crime, and a conviction can bring significant penalties that can forever alter the course of your life. There is a lot at stake, but a conviction or guilty plea are not your only options. You have the right to fight back and strongly defend your interests against this very serious accusation.

Is a plea bargain a good idea?

Plea bargaining is a process in which the prosecution and defense work out a deal. Instead of facing the harshest penalties and going to trial, a person who works out a plea deal may agree to a lesser punishment in exchange for information or for pleading guilty.

Defendants can save themselves much trouble by agreeing to a plea deal. For instance, it helps save them money on legal costs and helps prevent them from facing more significant penalties in court. The prosecution also saves itself time and energy while still making sure the defendant faces penalties for an alleged crime.

Outdated, unusual laws can catch you off-guard

If you're accused of a crime, it's devastating at the best of times. What's even worse is if it's a charge for something you didn't know was a law or if the law is outdated.

For instance, Florida has a very outdated law that makes it illegal to amble or stroll. It's actually a misdemeanor in Hialeah. Although it's unlikely you would be charged, it's still in the books.

Eligibility for a firearm: What you need to know about licensing

In Florida, there are requirements for a concealed weapon. To obtain a Florida concealed weapon or firearm license, you need to be able to show that you're competent firing a weapon. You must also show that you are 21 years of age or older. There is an exception for those in the military. If you are serving overseas or are currently in the United States serving in the military, you need to submit a copy of your deployment documents to receive a license for your weapon.

What reasons are there to limit someone's ability to obtain a firearm license?

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