Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys have learned that on Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states and cities must allow citizens their Second Amendment rights. The 5-4 decision states that the right to have a handgun for self-defense “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”
During the 19th century, courts had ruled that the Amendment only applied to federal gun laws and should not impact local or state gun laws. That ruling has been overturned by this more recent decision, which legal experts say will no doubt lead to more firearms lawsuits.
In most states, residents (with the exception of those with a felony record or a history of mental illness) can possess a rifle or shotgun without a permit. But seven states forbid assault weapons or semi-automatic weapons. After the Supreme Court ruling, these restrictions may be challenged. We’ll be interested in seeing how the firearms laws impact South Florida.
Source: Supreme Court extends 2nd Amendment protection to state, local levels, South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 29, 2010 (more…)
File this under totally ineffective DUI defenses: A Florida truck driver arrested for DUI claims he drank a few beers to stay awake. Police apprehended the trucker on Interstate 75 near Gainesville after they noticed his tractor trailer swerving around the lane.
Two other drivers had already called the Florida Highway Patrol saying that a semi had almost forced them off the road. The 51-year-old truck driver’s blood-alcohol level was reportedly at .127. Florida’s legal limit is .08. He has been charged with two counts of DUI.
Our advice? Next time, consult a DUI attorney.
Attorneys at our Florida law firm have learned that the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy is organizing a drive to pass a proposed amendment about marijuana possession in Miami Beach. If passed, the amendment would make personal possession of marijuana a civil code violation punishable by a city-levied fine of $100.
According to Florida law, possession of less than 20 grams of pot is a misdemeanor. The current maximum sentence for possessing small quantities of pot is a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy has already succeeded in passing a similar ballot initiative in Massachusetts in 2008. Legal experts point out that even if Florida voters pass the pot initiative, it could get shot down at the state or federal level.
Source: Campaign under way to decriminalize marijuana in Miami Beach, Miami Herald, June 17, 2010 (more…)
Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys have learned that an ex-Royal Caribbean employee is charged with robbing the homes of almost two dozen South Florida residents while they were sailing aboard cruise ships. The 38-year-old women was arrested on burglary charges earlier this month and is being held on $70,000 bail.
According to Palm Beach County detectives, the former vacation planner gained access to traveler’s information when she was working at the cruise company’s Miramar offices. Authorities believe that she and her husband began robbing Royal Caribbean customers In 2009. The husband is also charged in this case and was being held at a Broward County jail on unrelated charges.
Royal Caribbean said it would not tolerate criminal activity, so the employee has been let go.
With an important election looming in August, a columnist for the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that Broward County judges are unusually testy. In recent years, Broward judges have jailed a court stenographer, a juror, and a defense attorney for contempt of court.
Perhaps it’s best not to test their patience, as one defendant did. During a recent hearing, this defendant reportedly made a crude remark to a Broward judge, who also happens to be running for circuit judge. The judge sentenced the defendant to 179 days in prison for contempt, and the defendant repeated the inappropriate remark.
Another defendant was sentenced to 120 days for contempt last December, but the judge reduced the sentence reportedly “in the spirit of the holidays.” These incidents all illustrate the importance of taking a court appearance seriously. Judges, especially those facing a difficult election, do not take kindly to vulgar remarks, disrespectful conduct, or inappropriate attire.
Florida Criminal Lawyers