Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage

Please remember, if you are driving and cause damage to another car or piece of property, you are required to stop and leave your name and contact information. If you fail to do this and leave the area where the accident occurred you could be charged with criminal traffic infraction under Florida law called Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage. This crime is a second misdemeanor in Florida and carries and maximum penalty of 6 months in county jail. Many times people will call my office who simply panicked after hitting another car and then left the area without contacting the other driver and leaving their information.  As a result, they are facing criminal prosecutor for a minor fender-bender.  If you or a family member have been charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage and have questions about your case please feel free to call my office in Orlando, Florida at (407) 415-9626 for a free case evaluation. I look forward to speaking with you.

What is Pre-Trial Intervention in the State of Florida and How does it Work?

In many Florida counties, the State Attorney’s Office operates several pre-trial intervention programs for  individuals with no criminal record or a very limited criminal record who have been charged with a crime. Basically, if you are accepted into a pre-trial intervention program you cannot be arrested or pick up any charges for a period of time, often six months to a year. The Pre-trial Intervention program in circuit court is for individuals facing a third degree felony criminal charge. During this time, you are often required to do community service and take a drug test. You may also be required to pay back any restitution that is owed to the victim in the case. When you successfully complete this program the charges are dropped against you.

The State Attorney’s Office in Florida also maintain a Misdemeanor Pretrial Intervention that is for misdemeanor cases in county court. Additionally, the State Attorney’s Office may, in some counties, also runs a criminal traffic intervention program for criminal traffic charges like Driving While License Suspended.  There is also a batterer’s intervention program for those who are charged with a crime involving domestic violence. This Domestic Violence Pre-trial Intervention program often requires a person to complete a number of classes on domestic violence in order to successfully complete the program.

So you have several different programs that allow for individuals  to have their charges dropped by the prosecutor if they are successfully completed. Basically, these programs work to reduce the number of people who have a criminal record. These diversion or PTI programs allow a person who makes a mistake and is charged with a crime to move on with their life without the stigma of a criminal record.

Please keep in mind that prosecutor’s office determines who is eligible for the Pre-trial Intervention. Florida law also requires that if a victim is involved that the victim approve of the Defendant being accepted into Pre-Trial Intervention.  If you have questions about your criminal case or about Pre-trial Intervention please feel free to call my office at 407-415-9626. My office is in Orlando, Florida and I also handle cases in Lake, Osceola, and Seminole Counties.

Is the Possession of Marijuana in Florida Considered Drug Trafficking?

possession of marijuana in floridaDrug trafficking is one of the most serious crimes a person can face in the state of Florida. You may be surprised to hear that in certain circumstances, possession of marijuana in Florida can be considered drug trafficking.

Trafficking cannabis or marijuana is a criminal charge, which carries the following minimum mandatory sentences:

·       3 years prison if convicted of trafficking more than 25 lbs. or 300 plants

·       7 year sentence for trafficking between 2,000 lbs.- 10,000 lbs.

·       15 year minimum mandatory prison sentence for trafficking an amount over 10,000 lbs.

The Jury Instructions for Trafficking in Marijuana require the State of Florida to prove that a person did one of the following:

·       Sold marijuana

·       Purchased marijuana

·       Manufactured marijuana

·       Delivered marijuana

·       Brought marijuana into Florida

·       Possessed marijuana

Additionally, the prosecution representing the government must prove that the substance was in fact marijuana. Lastly, they must prove that the marijuana either weighed more than 25 pounds or constituted 300 or more marijuana plants.

People often think they cannot be found guilty of trafficking if they were only in possession of marijuana in Florida.  However, Florida law says that if you possess a drug in large quantities (in the case of marijuana more than 25 lbs. or 300 plants) you can be charged under Florida’s trafficking statute. Additionally, it is important to know that Florida law defines “cannabis” to mean all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not. Therefore, a person in possession of a relatively small number of marijuana plants could face a very serious criminal charge from the State of Florida.

If you are charged with trafficking marijuana in Florida, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will help to ensure that your rights are not violated. This process will often involve reviewing how the marijuana that was seized and looking at the details of the case to ensure that your Constitutional rights have not been violated in any way, through an improper search or other means.

If you have questions about your Marijuana case, please feel free to call me at (407) 415-9626.

Photo courtesy of Torben Bjørn Hansen on Flickr.

 

How to Fight a Speeding Ticket

In many cases, it is in your best interest to consider your options before paying your speeding ticket or traffic citation. However most people don’t realize that this is an option.

Only 5% of drivers decide to fight tickets because they don’t think they have the power to contest the system or they don’t understand that it isn’t just about a $200 fine, according to John Bowman, the National Motorists Association’s communications director, interviewed in Investopedia‘s “How to Get Out of a Speeding Ticket“.

What many people don’t think about is what stays with you when you pay off a speeding ticket. According to the article, your insurance costs may be up to 30% higher for the next three years, and you’ll be tracked with points on your driver’s license in Florida.

“When you immediately pay a ticket, you’re automatically admitting guilt and will voluntarily pay the highest fine,” the article continues.

One of your options when you get a speeding ticket or traffic citation is to contact a lawyer to determine what steps you should take to avoid further punishment in the form of higher insurance premiums and harsher penalties on future tickets.

Hiring a lawyer to help you with something like this does not mean that you’ll go to court or trial. In fact many times, the case is closed in a relatively simple manner through a lawyer’s check to make sure all of the facts line up on the charge.

If you would like help with your speeding ticket or traffic citation in Florida, please don’t hesitate to contact me, and I’d be happy to help. You can call me at my office in Orlando, Florida at (407)415-9626 or simply write me an email with your question to Jeremiah@Jeremiahdallen.com

 

Want to Remove Your Florida Mugshot from mugshots.com?

Websites like mugshots.com have created a lot of controversy recently. These sites post published mug shots and include information about arrests. Unfortunately, they frequently fail to include any follow-up information, including whether a person was cleared of the charges. To make the matter even worse, they charge up to $1,000 to have the picture taken off the site.

As Daniel Solove talks about in his article, “Mug Shot Blackmail?,” this is a huge problem because the practice could be considered libel, or even extortion. Libel is a written, false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. Extortion is asking money in return for a favor—basically, it’s blackmail. Both of these are illegal in the state of Florida.

Solove quotes a story about a man named Christopher Jones, who was trying to start a new life when he discovered his Florida mugshot on the website. The site didn’t mention that Florida attorneys dropped the charges against him, and the site operator charged him $399 to remove the post. Because the site listed a false claim about Jones that could damage his reputation, it could potentially be considered libel. The charge to have the false post removed could also be considered blackmail.

Hallandale, Florida attorney Marc G. Epstein represents the owner of mugshots.com, according to an AP story on the issue by Adam Geller. ”The First Amendment gives people the right to do this,” Epstein is quoted in the article.

If you’re interested in speaking to an attorney about your Florida mugshot posted online, or if you’ve experienced a similar situation, and you feel your rights are being violated, please feel free to call me at (813)251-8200 or email Jeremiah@JeremiahDAllen.com.