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Sarasota, Florida, criminal defense blog

What is voluntary manslaughter, and is there a good defense?

Facing charges of any kind is daunting, but it's especially intimidating when you face charges for murder or manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter is one charge you could face. It is the intentional killing of another person with no prior intention to kill.

How could you intentionally kill someone but not intend to?

What kinds of factors play a role in blood alcohol levels?

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is altered and affected by many different things. For example, a person who is 100 pounds is more likely to get drunk on the same amount of alcohol had by a person who is 150 pounds. Other factors that can affect you include if you've eaten and the type of alcohol you drink.

Why is it important to know how alcohol affects you?

Florida representative pleads guilty to DUI charges

Drunk driving charges can affect anyone negatively, causing them to lose face and struggle with their work, home and social lives. For those in the public eye, it's incredibly damaging to be charged, let alone convicted, of drunk driving. For those the media follows, charges can ruin their reputations and damage their job prospects.

Take for instance the case of Florida Representative Cary Pigman, who was placed on probation for drunk driving. A June 6 report discusses that the representative pleaded no contest to a charge for driving under the influence. He was placed on a one year probation.

It's my first DUI in Florida. What should I expect?

Facing any type of criminal charge is a daunting prospect, especially when your personal freedoms and financial security are at stake with a potential conviction. With a drunk driving charge, a conviction could bring penalties that may affect various areas of your life, including your right to drive. 

Even if it is your first-time DUI in Florida, you could be facing serious consequences. It is worthwhile to shield your interests from the very beginning by seeking appropriate defense counsel, no matter your criminal history. Whether it is your first DUI or you have other convictions on your record, your future is worth protecting.

Digital footprints can incriminate you or help your case

If you're accused of a crime, one of the things that could be used against you is digital evidence. Today's world has plenty of digital items that can collect information about you. That information can be incriminating, which is why it's important to be upfront with your attorney about any and all digital footprints you've made.

The web-connected devices you use each day give a quick look into your life. Facebook posts deliver short looks at photos or your thoughts at a given time. Instagram has snapshots of your day with tags to draw attention. Emails are discussions between friends and colleagues. Personal sleep devices even record your sleep patterns.

How prevalent is violent crime in Florida?

Participating in a violent crime can get you into deep trouble with the law. The crimes can result in felony charges, which could lead to long prison sentences and other penalties.

If you're accused of a violent crime, it's vital that you work with your attorney as soon as possible to defend yourself and protect your reputation. What is a violent crime though, and what should you know about these crimes in Florida?

Vandalizing property: You could face a felony or misdemeanor

It's easy to be persuaded by others that performing graffiti or defacing property in some way is a good idea. Maybe it's meant to be a joke or wasn't meant to cause harm, but the fact is that vandalism of any type is a criminal act. When you destroy or deface a property without permission, it's considered to be vandalism.

Vandalism isn't just graffiti or breaking windows. It could also include egging someone's vehicle, keying a person's car or the car's windows, spray-painting a property, slashing tires, damaging, knocking down or altering street signs and other acts. Vandalism laws prohibit these acts and are created at the state level. These laws aim to penalize someone convicted of the destruction of property.

Fentanyl dealers could face stronger penalties in Florida

When you go into the hospital for surgery, one drug you may have been given is fentanyl. It is a painkiller and highly restricted. That's why it's such a big deal that its on the streets in Florida.

A May 5 report has discussed that stiffer penalties may be on the way for those found to be in possession of fentanyl. According to a state commission, this drug is responsible for more overdoses in the first half of 2016 than any other drug, including heroin or methamphetamine. It caused 704 people to overdose and pass away.

You can defend against drug trafficking charges

You know that giving someone else your prescriptions is against the law if you're intending to sell the drugs, but you didn't expect to get in trouble for giving someone the medications without asking for payment. Drug trafficking is a criminal offense penalized within the state of Florida; if you have a controlled substance and possess, sell or distribute it, you can be charged.

To be charged and convicted, the prosecution has to show that you participated in the activity of drug trafficking. The prosecutor will need to show that you knew you were bringing a controlled substance into the state or that you intended to give them to someone.

Are you facing criminal charges related to distracted driving?

The same traffic laws and regulations obviously bind all motorists. Whether you're just passing through from another state or are a permanent resident, any time you get behind the wheel on Florida roadways, you are accountable for your actions according to current traffic laws. Depending on the type of vehicle you're driving at the time, you may, in fact, be under additional restrictions, such as those pertaining to tractor-trailers or other commercial vehicles.

No matter what type of car or truck you drive, however, it's important to be alert and cautious while driving and to obey all traffic requirements. Distracted driving is a problem that often leads to serious vehicle collisions. There are several types of driving infractions that place all travelers at risk for injury. Knowing what they are and how to avoid them, may help you prevent disaster. Such distractions can also lead to criminal charges against you. Knowing where to turn for help in such circumstances is also beneficial.

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