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Sarasota, Florida, criminal defense blog

Criminal convictions can impact your teaching career in Florida

Florida has many state requirements for teachers. Teachers must attend college, pass exams and meet certain moral standards. The state licensing board specifically requires that candidates disclose criminal convictions on applications for their Florida educator certificate provided by the Bureau of Educator Certification.

There are several criminal offenses which leave an individual ineligible for a teaching certificate. Anyone accused of an offense who hopes to retain their professional license needs to take immediate steps to defend their freedom and their career against the pending charges.

Life after wrongful incarceration: what are your rights?

Imagine you’ve been convicted of a crime you didn’t commit. Maybe you were framed, or perhaps you were the victim of inaccurate eyewitness identification. It may sound implausible, but unfortunately, the criminal justice system is not perfect—and mistakes happen.

Being sent away to prison when you’re innocent is a crushing prospect. You could lose the best years of your life—a debt which is virtually impossible to repay. However, if your attorney is able to prove your innocence and get you released after the fact, the state of Florida has a legal obligation to try to make amends for its mistake.

Driving on a suspended license: is it worth the risk?

There are many reasons you could end up with a suspended driver’s license in Florida—from simple traffic violations to crimes. Even offenses unrelated to driving can get your license revoked.

Maybe you failed to stop for a school bus—and an officer wrote you up and suspended your license. You may be upset. It may seem like an outrageous penalty for a seemingly minor infraction. And it creates a huge inconvenience on your life.

What offenses can result in a driver’s license suspension?

You may think that only certain driving-related crimes—such as drunk driving—could result in a suspended license. However, there are actually numerous offenses that can get your license taken from you.

In this article, we outline some common offenses that could get your license suspended. Some of them may surprise you:

Lying on a mortgage application could lead to fraud charges

About 10 years ago, it was easy for a person with a questionable financial history to secure a mortgage. Banks were happily handing out what they called NINJA loans. NINJA was a popular acronym for "No Income or Job, No Assets." In other words, the banks didn't verify any financial information on these mortgages, instead applying higher interest rates and variable rates to these kinds of loans.

After the housing downturn in 2008, mortgage companies and banks became much more cautious. They are less likely to hand out mortgages without employment verification or substantial collateral assets. People wanting to make the transition from renters to homeowners may find it more difficult these days to secure a mortgage.

Florida Uber driver killed a man but may not face charges

Last month, Uber driver Robert Westlake was driving down a dark, empty roadway in Polk County. Suddenly, an aggressive driver in a pick-up truck appeared in his rearview mirror. The driver tailgated Westlake for a minute, then swerved in front of the Uber and slammed on his brakes—forcing Westlake to stop.

34-year-old Jason Boek jumped out of his truck and charged Westlake angrily. Boek was waving an object in his hand and shouted, “you know I got a pistol? You want me to fucking shoot you?”. A split second later, Boek fell to the ground—shot by Westlake. The Uber driver then called 9-1-1 and attempted—unsuccessfully—to resuscitate Boek.

What's considered "grand theft" in Florida may surprise you

When you hear the word "grand theft," thoughts of an elaborate car theft or jewelry heist may spring to mind. However, in Florida, even taking low-value items can be considered grand theft--which is a felony offense with severe consequences.

For example, let's say you're a college student. One night, you and your friends are hanging out at the frat house, bored. You start to brainstorm silly antics to pass the time. One of you suggests that it would be funny to run down the street and unfasten the stop sign from its post. It sounds pretty ridiculous, but why not. You go along with your friends.

Understanding the medical marijuana law in Florida

For many decades, marijuana and all of its active compounds have been illegal in the United States. That includes Florida, which penalizes possession and other marijuana offenses relatively harshly. As of January, 2017, though, some people may qualify for legal protections under the Florida medical marijuana program. However, the Department of Health has taken longer than expected to create and implement rules.

The new law allowing for medical marijuana is the culmination of years of work by activists, but the results of that work are still unknown. The Department of Health has managed to miss meeting every major deadline so far regarding creating and implementing rules. There have also been other serious delays, including long wait times for cards for patients in the state registry.

What is the penalty for a DUI conviction?

It doesn't matter if you're driving in Florida or another part of the country, it's important to always obey the rules of the road.

Even if you understand the risks of drunk driving, there's a chance you could make this mistake at some point in your life. For example, you may believe that one or two drinks won't impact your ability to operate your vehicle, just to find yourself pulled over and in trouble with the law.

How much like real life are those CSI shows?

If you've ever wondered about the accuracy of "CSI: Miami," you may have heard that real life is not at all like that. First, real crime scene investigators don't have access to all the expensive equipment they use on TV. Also, even popular cops can't speed up the months-long process of obtaining test results. Yes, the "CSI" franchises are a bit fantastical -- they have to be, in order to solve a crime in less than an hour.

But what about the forensic techniques themselves?

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