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Sarasota, Florida, criminal defense blog

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.

Addiction can endanger your medical career

Addiction to opioids, such as prescription painkillers, has reached epidemic levels in the United States. Florida hasn't escaped the nightmare, as people overdose or get arrested on drug charges on a daily basis.

The consequences of a drug conviction are quite serious. However, for people in the medical field, claims of addiction are even more dangerous.

Brass knuckles: Avoid the weapon, art and jewelry

Brass knuckles have been a fashion trend and a dangerous weapon. They're also known as knucks and knuckle dusters; they cover your knuckles and deliver a hard, metal blow to anyone you strike.

These hand weapons were used in both World Wars, and they often had knives attached as well. Their ability to be used as a deadly weapon can't be overstated.

Limits to opioid prescriptions could hurt patients in Florida

Lawmakers have been considering limiting the number of opioids people could get, even by prescription, which could help reduce the shock of the opioid crisis. However, that does pose some problems for people with chronic pain who need their medications each month.

Despite that, the Agency for Health Care Administration announced that prescriptions for narcotics would be limited to a seven-day supply when purchased through the Medicaid program. Medicaid won't require prior authorization for some medication-assisted treatments, in exchange, which could help those attempting to fight opioid addiction. One of the treatments it no longer requires prior authorization to obtain is a monthly shot of Vivitrol, a drug that helps individuals overcome opioid addiction.

Stand your ground changes leave defendants facing uncertainty

Florida is one of approximately two dozen states in the nation to have implemented a stand your ground law. While the bill has always been controversial, it became the subject of heavy criticism during the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012.

Last year, lawmakers revised the bill, but these changes have been subject to legal challenges. This has left individuals who may have acted in self defense in legal limbo.

Vehicular homicide convictions come with harsh penalties

Vehicular homicide is defined as a killing of another human being as a result of driving in a reckless manner. It also includes the death of unborn children in the definition per the 2017 Florida statute.

The interesting thing about vehicular homicide is that these events are not necessarily intentional. However, they still result in penalties including first- or second-degree felony charges. Vehicular homicides become first-degree felonies if the person who causes an accident does not stop at the scene and knew or should have known that the accident took place.

How do you know if a Breathalyzer took a bad reading?

You were stopped by an officer for a taillight that had gone out. You didn't think much of the stop, and you appreciated him telling you that your light wasn't working. Just as you thought you'd be able to continue on your way, the officer asked you if you'd been drinking. He believes you smell of alcohol.

The truth is that you had a single drink, but nothing more. You know you should pass the breath test easily. Despite that, the results are clear: Twice you failed. The first time, you had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent. The second, it was .12. The officer is convinced, but you're not. How could the numbers be so high and so far apart with just seconds between tests?

What should you do if you're facing vandalism charges?

Vandalism is a serious crime that damages property that does not belong to you. It includes a range of crimes such as graffiti writing, egging vehicles, breaking windows or even destroying someone's webpage.

Vandalism has a number of potential penalties depending on the amount of damage caused. It's possible to go to jail, be fined or both if you're caught.

Biased judicial systems: The truth comes out in Florida

Many people believe that the criminal justice system is harsher on people of color, and over time, more and more data has come out in support of that claim. After a review, it's been confirmed that it was the case in Broward, Florida. After releasing the results of an investigation about the number of blacks arrested in drug-free zones alongside sentences and discrepancies, the Herald-Tribune had reported that black people were receiving more prison time than whites.

Prosecutors didn't agree and disputed the newspaper's findings, but after a month of review with the State Attorney's Office and newspaper, it was discovered that the county's records had many errors, errors that then made their way to the public eye.

These property crimes could land you in prison

Several types of property crimes can get you into deep trouble with the law. Some include burglary, shoplifting, arson, robbery, larceny and theft. Each of these varies slightly from the other, but all have the potential to be charged as misdemeanors or felonies.

Take larceny, for example, which is when you take something from another person without consent but intend to do so to permanently remove the item from his or her possession. This may be called theft instead of larceny in some states or be treated separately. A good example of this could be if you visit a coworker's home and take money out of his or her wallet while he or she is in another room. It's intentional, and you don't plan to give it back.


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