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Sarasota, Florida, criminal defense blog

Protecting your job as a teacher from allegations of bad behavior

For many people, working as a teacher often proves to be a simultaneously frustrating and rewarding experience. Helping to educate children and teach them to think critically is incredible. You know that you are having a positive impact on the community in which you live and work.

However, low rates of pay, standardized testing issues and potential personal danger on the job all impact the happiness and success of many teachers in Florida. As if paying teachers less than many other professionals wasn't enough, the state also holds teachers to a higher standard than many other professionals.

What factors lead to felony DUI charges in Florida?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a common criminal charge in Florida. Residents and tourists can decide to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink or after taking drugs or medications that impact their ability to drive.

The vast majority of DUI cases result in misdemeanor charges. However, there are circumstances under which someone accused of driving while under the influence could wind up facing felony charges instead of misdemeanor charges. Felony DUI offenses carry harsher penalties and result in a more serious criminal record.

Does your case meet the requirements for "Stand Your Ground?"

Florida criminal law is relatively confusing. A lot of people struggle to understand the nuances of the law as it could apply to them. For example, many people conflate stand your ground rights under Florida law with the right to self-defense. However, there is actually a world of difference between the two, including when they would impact your potential criminal case.

Self-defense is a legal term employed as part of a defense against existing criminal charges. You may claim self-defense as an affirmative defense against many kinds of violent crimes. What happens is that you agree with the state that you committed the act in question. However, you were not committing a crime because you acted out of an intention to defend yourself or someone else under imminent threat.

You could lose your gun rights without a weapons offense charge

It would be hard to deny that gun laws are important in the United States. The right to bear arms—as the Founding Fathers put it—is intrinsic to our legal system. Despite being a right of all Americans, the number of ways you could lose your firearm privileges might surprise you.

Who can lose their gun rights?

The hidden expenses behind a DUI conviction in Florida

A quick Google search for DUI penalties in Florida could lead you to believe that the financial consequences of such an offense are relatively minor. For example, under Florida law, a first-time offender may face a minimum fine of $500 and as little as eight hours in jail.

However, there are far more expenses connected to a DUI conviction--which can come as a bitter surprise to many defendants. In today's post, we provide a breakdown of the additional financial penalties you could face:

Medical fraud in Florida often involves doctors, not patients

Public discussion of Medicaid and Medicare fraud usually focuses on individuals gaming the system. Americans seem particularly worried about the idea of somebody getting medical benefits that they should not receive. However, in the grand scheme of medical cost in this country, fraud perpetrated by individuals against government insurance programs is miniscule.

Fraud related to medical professionals, on the other hand, is a major cost. Due to the skewed nature of commentary and coverage on this topic, medical professionals might imagine that they are not under intense scrutiny. In reality, it is very likely for medical professionals and their support staff to face criminal consequences because of fraudulent billing practices.

What does a criminal charge mean for my immigration status?

Being arrested is always a stressful experience—particularly if you’re facing criminal charges. However, as an immigrant—even a green card holder with permanent residency status—the process can be especially harrowing. In addition to facing the usual criminal penalties—prison sentence, probation and fines—a non-citizen also faces the prospect of being removed from their family and the country they call home.

In recent years, the list of deportable crimes has grown. Conviction on even minor criminal charges, such as a DUI or minor drug offense, can lead to deportation—and permanent ban on re-entry—for non-citizens.

What are the punishments for a marijuana conviction in Florida?

It's difficult to imagine that in some states it's perfectly legal to possess marijuana yet, in others, the act could result in serious criminal charges. In Florida, this is the reality we have to face. Even though recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, it's still illegal in Florida.

Since possession of marijuana could result in criminal charges, Florida residents need to understand the potential punishments associated with a marijuana possession conviction.

Theft by finding: an examination of Florida law

You’re walking down the beach at sunset, when all of the sudden you feel foot kick something hard. You look down and notice a pair of Rat-Ban sunglasses in pristine condition. You look around and, seeing no one to claim them, take them for yourself. Lucky you!

Unfortunately, in Florida, the rules of “finders keepers” don’t apply. Theft by finding is actually a crime.

Prescription medications can also lead to DUIs

When cold season arrives, many people begin to catch illnesses. As a result, they head to the doctor and obtain medications. Those medications are perfectly legal, but that doesn't mean they're safe to drive on.

When you get a medication from a pharmacy or off a retail shelf, it will have a list of warnings. It may let you know that it can cause drowsiness or that it could potentially interact with other medications. In some cases, there won't be any significant warnings, but, depending on what other medications you take, it could have the potential to make you hyper, distracted or exhausted.

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