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Sarasota, Florida, criminal defense blog

When should I accept a plea bargain?

You’ve been arrested for burglary—a felony offense in Florida. At a minimum, you could be facing up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. You hire a strong defense attorney, and you begin to prepare for your trial.

But then, before the trial even begins, the prosecution offers you a deal—known as a plea bargain. The deal gives you a unique opportunity. If you plead guilty to the lesser, misdemeanor offense of trespassing, you can avoid the felony burglary charge and avoid going to trial. Should you accept the plea bargain? Here are some factors to consider:

Medical marijuana and driving

Florida is a state that recognizes medical marijuana is a necessity for some patients. However, it still criminalizes driving while under the influence of marijuana in some instances. According to the law, a person is guilty of a DUI in Florida when he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair his or her abilities. For example, if a person's sight, hearing, speech or ability to make judgments are impaired, then he or she may be accused of a DUI.

Medical marijuana can place you in a difficult situation when it comes to driving, particularly if you must drive for work, school or other activities. It's up to you to make sure you're no longer influenced by the intoxicating effects of marijuana before you get behind the wheel.

Managing a complaint against your nursing license

The health care industry is in a state of flux. Demand is driving insurers and providers to find new ways to maintain quality and access at lower cost. One result is that more diagnostic and preventive care is in the hands of nurses and physician assistants. That in turn means anyone in one of those professions may find his or her license under threat.

Complaints to licensing boards can come from any source. Even a disgruntled ex-lover or spouse can file a grievance. Considering that boards are regulatory bodies, those with experience in certification administration and licensure defense agree any complaint should be taken seriously and responded to. However, knowing what action to take can be hard to sort out amid the emotions you likely will be feeling.

Understanding what constitutes fraud in the medical world


The health care system in the United States is notoriously complex. This can lead to care providers, medical corporations and billing specialists facing allegations of health care fraud. These charges can and do lead to criminal and professional penalties. 

Defending your professional license in Florida

It can take months or even years to finish the educational requirements for professional licensing. Then, you must pass tests and submit applications to the state regulatory board to actually get your license. The investment of your time, as well as the financial costs associated with the education, testing and licensing application, represent a substantial investment you've made to ensure a decent future with a solid career.

Sadly, many different mistakes can leave you at risk of losing your professional license in Florida. Even unpaid student loans could cost you your career. For those who work as doctors, nurses, physicians' assistants, teachers, accountants and other educated professionals, complaints by clients or patients and pending criminal charges could result in a loss of licensing and financial hardship.

Sarasota police film traffic stops for social media campaign

Imagine knowing exactly what the police in your area were doing at this very moment. For people in Sarasota, that's a reality. The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office sent out its DUI unit to spend a day in March live on social media, providing real-time updates about the risks of drinking and driving.

According to the March 31 news report, the agency used Twitter to provide a kind of "virtual ride-along" with video. Their goal was to show what it looked like when the police were patrolling and responding to emergencies. The police admitted on their Twitter that those who didn't want the internet to see them get arrested should avoid drinking and driving. Some may believe that's unfair. People are, according to law, innocent until proven guilty. One mistake could mean that someone's subjected to the scrutiny of others who do not have all the information. One wrong move could ruin a person's reputation.

What are the penalties for selling or using cocaine in Florida?

If you're caught with cocaine or were attempting to sell it, you could face serious penalties in the state of Florida. It's not always easy to defend yourself from a drug crime, but fortunately, there are drug courts in the state that you could go through if this is a first-time offense or if the prosecution and your defense attorney can come to an agreement.

Cocaine is particularly bad when it comes to charges because it is an illicit drug. Cocaine is a Schedule I drug, which means that there is no medical purpose for the drug recognized in the United States. If you're caught with this drug, you could face harsh penalties. For example, Florida law states that possessing less than 28 grams of cocaine is a 3rd degree felony. If you have 28 grams or more, you'll be accused of trafficking cocaine, which is a 1st-degree felony.

A DUI for drugs is hard to measure but still likely

Driving under the influence of drugs may result in several charges including a DUI and drug charge for possession. Initially, a person driving while intoxicated by drugs will be charged with a DUI, but keep in mind that the officers and prosecution have to prove that the individual had taken drugs prior to driving.

In 2010, a survey completed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration determined that around 10 million people in America had driven while under the influence of illegal drugs. That doesn't include the number of people who likely drove while influenced by prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Marijuana is still illegal in Florida

You wanted to try marijuana, and you think it would help you relax. You went to Colorado and enjoyed trying it there, but now, in Florida, you think it is harmless, too.

Unfortunately, marijuana is legal in many places, but it is not yet legal in Florida. Even simple possession of marijuana can lead to charges and potential incarceration. For instance, did you know that possessing 20 grams and under could result in up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000?

DUIs aren't only for drinking and driving

Drinking and driving is illegal, and most people understand that easily. They know that at a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), they can be pulled over and arrested. They know that is the legal limit, and if breached, could result in a DUI.

One thing some people don't realize is that you can get a DUI if you use drugs or medications that make you into a dangerous driver. Many kinds of drugs impair your vision, release your inhibitions and make you more dangerous to yourself and others. Some drugs make you tired, while others affect how fast you think or process new information.

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