News

Are Refunds For Traffic Tickets On The Way?

Most times a traffic ticket is given in person, by being pulled over by an officer. But, with the number of drivers on the road being significantly higher than the number of police cruisers, authorities are looking for new ways to issue tickets. One way that has been implemented in cities across Florida is by use of a red light camera, a device that captures images of traffic offenders and generates a citation. The use of these devices has recently come under fire, and there is some good news for those that received tickets as a result.

News reports on the issue claim some offenders may be receiving a refund of fines paid. Here are the facts:

● A lawsuit against the company that manages the cameras and the program utilized to create traffic citations was filed in federal court.

● The suit seeks over $5 million in damages.

● The basis for the lawsuit is that issuing traffic tickets in this way violates the constitution, and people who received a ticket in this fashion are entitled to a refund of any fines or penalties paid as a result.

 

One of the problems with this system is that the management company was screening the footage, and deciding who to ticket. The Court ruled a private company is not authorized to make this determination, and thus any ticket issued as a result of this practice is not valid. For more information about traffic tickets and your rights, call a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. You are guaranteed certain rights when criminal charges are brought against you, and a competent attorney will fight to make sure your rights are not violated.

If you have questions about traffic tickets, or have been arrested for a crime, call our office for help. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.

E Cigarettes Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up To Be

Great secretIt’s no secret smoking is harmful to your health. The tobacco companies recently paid out a historical settlement to the states for misleading advertising regarding the possible impact smoking has on your health, and chances are at least one person in your social media feed is dealing with a loved one or knows someone with a loved one that has cancer. In the wake of all the reports on how bad cigarettes are for you came the next best thing to actual tobacco: e cigarettes. These products are advertised as “safe” smoking, and millions of people have jumped on the vape bandwagon.

While vapes may be less harmful than cigarettes, one important drawback is how the chemicals show up in your system. In some cases, there is a possibility of being charged with DUI when the real culprit was your e cigarette. There are a number of other causes for false positives on breath tests that should be considered if you are charged with DUI:

  • Moisture in the machine.

● Substances found in asthma inhalers.

● The chemicals used in everyday mouthwash.

● Medical conditions such as acid reflux, diabetes, or heartburn can create chemicals in your blood that lead to a false positive on a blood        alcohol test.

When charged with a DUI it is critical that you look at all the contributing factors that may have resulted in an inaccurate test. Electronic interference from radio towers and cell phones might cause the testing equipment to give a faulty reading. The bottom line is the testing procedures are not perfect, and should be questioned. Remember, to be charged with DUI your blood alcohol content has to be above a certain level. If there is any question about the test result or how they were obtained, the results cannot be used. There are many ways to fight a DUI, call our office to find out what works best for the facts of your case.

If you have been charged with DUI, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. We offer aggressive representation for criminal charges. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

You’re Not Always The Boss

business partnersEven if you are in charge at work, when you take the wheel of a car you are just another driver. You are required to obey the traffic law and operate your vehicle in a way that doesn’t endanger other motorists. This includes the prohibition on drinking and driving, and no matter who you are you might face criminal charges if you are pulled over and charged with drinking and driving.

Popular baker, Buddy Valastro (aka the Cake Boss) was arrested for DUI, but the incident has done little to slow his pace as the boss of the bakery. Valastro was charged with DUI as follows:

● The star’s car was seen swerving in and out of traffic in NYC.

● Valastro’s BAC was over the legal limit, at either 0.08% or 0.09%.

● The baker was said to have told the police he couldn’t be arrested, because “he’s the boss”.

 

But, arrest Valastro they did. The TLC celebrity was arraigned on charges of driving while intoxicated and impaired. The incident has left his followers mostly unphased, but with a general feeling that no one is above the law. A significant lesson to learn from this story is that accountability is key. When you face criminal charges, it is important you face the charges head on with humility and by accepting responsibility. This is not to say you should not put forth an aggressive defense, or roll over for the prosecution. You can and should fight for your driving rights, fight to keep your insurance rates low, and work to make sure your employment is not impacted. Our office can help you accomplish these goals.

 

For more information about DUI cases, call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We work with you to tailor a defense that fits the specific facts of your case. We offer an initial consultation for no charge, and look forward to helping you resolve your case in a satisfactory way.

 

 

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

Great secretEarlier in the year we reported on a crime so bizarre it could have been taken from a primetime police drama; the so called “cookie monster”. The case centered around a woman who was very vocal about how easy it was for her to steal money from girl scouts selling cookies. But that wasn’t the woman’s only crime. Stefanie Woods was currently on probation for a felony charge, and her antics proved to be a violation of that probation.

The final word is now in on the punishment Woods will face for violating probation:

  • The 24 year old will be nearing her 30th birthday before she is released from prison, in close to four years.

● Woods had been on a six year probation term for the felony charges of robbery with a      firearm, and kidnapping.

While six years seems like a long time, the prison term Woods was facing had she not agreed to probation was over three times that amount. Woods was looking at 20 years in prison for her felonious activity, and so entered a plea agreement to avoid a lengthy jail sentence. Negotiating a plea agreement in exchange for probation does work, but only when the defendant follows the rules. Violating probation has serious consequences, as this case demonstrates. If you are facing criminal charges and are considering entering a plea in exchange for a probationary term, consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to learn what will be expected during your probation. Being prepared is the best defense, and we help our clients understand the terms of probation and work with them to help them stick to those terms!

If you have been arrested for a crime, including violation of probation, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. We offer aggressive representation for criminal charges. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

National Manhunt Ends In Florida

policeWhen you agree to resolve a criminal case by going on probation, you are expected to fully comply with all the terms of your probation. In most instances this means you cannot be arrested for any new crimes. An arrest for a new crime is not only a new arrest and new case, but also a violation of the probation terms of your old case. When this happens, you will now face punishment in both cases and the consequences can be severe.

Leaving town while on probation, and especially when there are other pending charges or an investigation, will lead to a search for you and a request that you be brought back to face the music. Richard Fero, the subject of a nationwide search, now sits behind bars in Florida. Fero:

● Fero’s time in a Florida jail will be for a violation of probation. When that sentence is complete, he will be transferred out of state to face other charges.

● The other charges include allegations of child abuse.

To be certain, the time spent in jail by Fero will be great. Violating probation can result in an increased punishment for the crime for which you were serving probation. To minimize the impact a probation violation has on your freedom, you must establish a solid defense. Some violations are technical, and may carry a lower range of punishment. Intentional violations, on the other hand, are taken more seriously. Qualified criminal defense attorneys know how to best present your case and reach satisfactory results.

If you’ve been charged with a probation violation, call an experienced criminal defense attorney for help. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Another Wrong Way Driver Faces DUI Charges

Yikes!This seems to be the year of the wrong way driver. Many drivers have been pulled over for driving the wrong way on I-275, and a good number of those have faced DUI charges in addition to traffic charges associated with driving the wrong way. In response, officials have beefed up their presence on the interstate, and the result has been more and more drivers are facing DUI’s.

In late October police narrowly avoided colliding with Josean Carrasquillo. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Carrasquillo was going the wrong direction when the near accident happened. The officer immediately turned around and made a traffic stop. At the time of the stop:

  • Carrasquillo had red eyes and slurred speech.

● Officers detected an order of alcohol.

● Two field sobriety tests were administered, both showing a BAC over the legal limit.

 

Whatever the circumstances that prompt the police to pull you over, if you are ultimately arrested for DUI you must act quickly. The ability to challenge field sobriety test results is greatly diminished the longer you wait to make the request to review the testing procedure and results. You also face possible loss of your driving privileges and if a request to maintain those rights is not timely made you may face mandatory suspension. Our DUI defense attorneys have experience helping people minimize the impact of a DUI, and know the proper procedure to undertake to challenge certain parts of your case. We fight for your right to keep your license and work to keep a conviction off your record.

If you have been arrested for DUI, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We represent people charged with crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.

Money Can’t Buy Freedom

heinkel oct 30 5thTwo years ago, in 2012, Polo Club founder John Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter. But, on further review that verdict didn’t stand because there was evidence of juror misconduct. So, the State took a second crack at the case. This time, the State got their conviction. Make no mistake though, this conviction will also be appealed. There are serious legal issues left unresolved, and the decision to question the jury’s verdict is sound.

Goodman’s defense team claims the verdict is subject to attack for the following reasons:

● Goodman’s vehicle was released from evidence before the defense had the opportunity to have tests performed on the vehicle’s possible malfunction.

● Errors in the blood testing were present, but the Judge denied the defense request to put on expert testimony supporting this claim.

 

In any criminal case it is necessary to go over all the evidence with a fine tooth comb. In DUI cases, the field sobriety or blood tests are often subject to attack. Being denied the chance to show the jury how the testing was done improperly severely prejudices the rights of the defendant. When your rights are infringed upon, the proper course of action to take is to appeal jury verdicts or the Judge’s decision from the bench. Goodman faces up to 16 years in prison, so it is important that the verdict was arrived at lawfully. This is true for any criminal case, where the freedom of the accused and other important rights are at stake. We aggressively fight for your rights, and for the right to a fair and proper proceeding.

 

For more information about DUI cases, call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We aggressively defend you so you can move forward with your life. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Additional Punishment For An Olympian With A DUI

man covering faceOlympic superstar swimmer Michael Phelps has had his fair share of legal troubles. A photo of the athlete smoking marijuana quickly went viral in 2009. The Olympic hero quickly recovered from that media frenzy, but is now in the spotlight again for actions outside the pool. Phelps has been arrested for DUI, and faces some pretty harsh consequences.

In addition to the legal battle that lies ahead, Phelps has also been disciplined by U.S. Swimming. Those punishments include:

  • A prohibition from competition meets for 6 months.

● A mandatory withdrawal from the 2015 world championship team.

● Giving up funding for the 6 month suspension period.

Phelps’ reaction to the punishment is a statement that he will use the break to attend an in house treatment program. This is the 2nd DUI case for the swimmer in the past ten years. Employment repercussions are a common consequence for those arrested for DUI. In the case of the average worker, this type of disruption of income has serious effects. To fight for your right to earn a living, call a qualified criminal defense attorney who can offer an aggressive defense to your case. Our team of skilled lawyers has experience obtaining results that work for you and your family.

If you have been arrested for DUI, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. We offer aggressive representation for criminal charges, while fighting to protect your job and good reputation. The first visit is a free initial consultation. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

You Can’t Sleep Off Too Much Alcohol In Your Car

woman drivingWhen you’ve had too much to drink, its best to find a designated driver or call a taxi. If those options aren’t available to you, it is wise to give yourself the time needed to “sober up” before taking the wheel of a car. Driving under the influence is a crime, and if convicted leaves a permanent mark on your criminal history and driving record. To avoid the negative consequences associated with DUI, you are well-advised to avoid driving in a drunken state. But, the one place you should not take shelter in while waiting out the effects alcohol has in your system is your car!

A Gainesville man learned this lesson, as he was arrested for DUI after being awoken in his vehicle. The report tells the story like this:

● The man was in his running car, at a McDonald’s.

● The store manager noticed the man and his vehicle, became concerned and called the police.

● When the police arrived the “driver” was passed out and upon being wakened exhibited signs of being intoxicated, but refused a breath test.

 

The police reacted to this situation by placing the man under arrest for DUI. Remember, just because the car isn’t in motion doesn’t mean you won’t be charged with DUI. In this case a good defense may include arguing there was no actual “driving”; which is a key element to the charge of driving under the influence. Your particular circumstances may include other factors that allow your attorney to put on a solid defense on your behalf. To find out how to best proceed with your DUI matter, call our office and speak with one of our experienced DUI defense attorneys. We investigate your case thoroughly and develop a defense strategy that fits your facts.

If you have been arrested for DUI, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We represent people charged with crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.

DUI Arrests Are Increasing

business graphThe number of DUI arrests is on the rise, which means drivers must be more vigilant than ever before. A DUI conviction has serious consequences, which impact your personal life and finances. Increased insurance rates and payment of hefty fines are common in DUI cases and this can really interfere with your monthly budget.

While DUI’s are up in nearly every part of the State, central Florida has been hit really hard:

● Arrest rates are up 4% over this time just one year ago.

● Common target areas for police include parts of town near colleges and universities.

 

The inclination to patrol college areas more heavily typically pays off for police. University campuses see their fair share of social activity, and most likely drinking is involved. With the rate of DUI arrest in central Florida increasing, you can bet police departments around the State will take a queue from the methods employed there, and begin implementing similar tactics. If you are arrested for DUI, call an experienced defense attorney for help. We work with you to minimize the negative impact a DUI arrest and/or conviction has on your life. Our goal is to reach a solution that is satisfactory to you, while providing a strong defense.

 

For more information about DUI cases, call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. We aggressively defend you so you can move forward with your life. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

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