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Our South Florida traffic attorneys have learned that the Florida Highway Patrol will bulk up its patrols on July 30 and 31 in an effort to reduce driving hazards on the Florida Turnpike and interstate highways. Troopers will be cracking down on drivers who tailgate, speed, run traffic lights, change lanes without warning, violate the Move Over Law, or drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Troopers will use RADAR, VASCAR, LASER, video cameras, and unmarked patrol vehicles as part of this special enforcement campaign called Be Smart, Drive Smart Florida! In addition, the Florida Highway Patrol will use its aircraft to watch for potentially unsafe drivers. Enforcement will be focused on Florida’s Turnpike, every interstate, and other major state roads in Florida.

Although there are no additional fines or points for aggressive driving, when a trooper stops someone for aggressive driving, the driver receives a traffic citation for the offenses committed and the troopers checks an “aggressive driving” box on the citation. Judges may impose higher fines or require the defendant to enroll in an aggressive driving course if they see the box checked on the citation.

Press Release: Florida Highway Patrol Cracks Down on Aggressive Driving, July 29, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_sexting_crime.jpgSexting, sending sexually explicit photos via text message, is a growing problem among Florida teens. The results can be embarrassing to teen girls, but it can also result in criminal charges for both the sender and the recipient.

Under Florida law, the each image is a felony punishable by up to five years behind bars. Both sexes are equally culpable under the law. Sexting is considered a child pornography case, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office detective. A 2007 Orlando case involving an 18-year-old boy and his 16-year-old girlfriend brought the issue to the attention of Florida law enforcement officials. The boy emailed nude photos of his girlfriend to people out of revenge and is now listed on the state sex-offender registry.

Prosecutors in the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office say that the office is drafting a policy to address sexting, since it has become such a widespread problem. Miami-Dade County schools hopes to have an anti-sexting initiative in place by the time school starts in August.

Sexting: Both sender and receiver can face charges, Sun Sentinel, July 27, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_beer.jpgAccording to the Florida Times-Union, the number of DUI accidents have remained more or less consistent between 2000 and 2007. That number fluctuates between about 22,000 and 24,000 each year, according to recently released stats. However, DUI-related deaths have been increasing by more than 19 percent. In 2000, there were 979. Last year, that number had increased to 1,169.

Attitudes towards drunk driving have shifted since the 1970s for several reasons. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was formed in 1980, insisting that law enforcement officials and the public take DUI more seriously. The national drinking age increased to 21, and 0.08 blood alcohol level became the standard across the country.

A nationwide roadside survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1973 found that 7.5 percent of drivers had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. That figure fell to 2.2 percent in 2007. The executive director of MADD of North Florida said that future efforts to prevent drunk driving may focus more on education, rather than tightening the laws.

Florida DUI arrests hold steady,, July 19, 2009 Continue reading

Our South Florida traffic attorneys recently read about a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper with a 12 year history of service who says he was terminated for not writing enough traffic tickets. According to Bay News 9, former trooper Chris Maul left for six months and was put on a routine probation period when he returned.

In May, Maul made 44 arrests, including four for DUI. Despite getting a positive review during his quarterly evaluation, Maul was later told that d his level of activity wasn’t going cut it. He was terminated in June.



Florida statutes prohibit the FHP from setting up a quota system for citations. Bay News 9’s calls to the Florida Highway Patrol were not returned.

Former FHP trooper: I was fired for not writing enough tickets, Tampa Bay News, July 15, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_DUI_teens.jpgA Florida woman faces charges in the deaths of two teens who were killed after leaving a party in her home. The woman allegedly hosted several parties in her home and participated in illegal activities alongside the party guests, many of whom were under the legal drinking age of 21. The parties had reportedly been happening for several months until they ended in a fiery car crash.

Two teens died in a DUI accident on January 12 just minutes after leaving one of the women’s parties. The teen driver’s blood-alcohol level was 0.18 percent. Both of the teens tested positive for drugs, according to a report.

The mother who hosted these parties has been indicted on two counts of manslaughter and four counts of holding open house parties and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If the d and the woman is convicted and the conviction is upheld in any possible appeals, then case could become a new precedent for Florida prosecutors.

Party host faces charges in DUI deaths of teens, Orlando Sentinel, July 16, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_car_accident.jpgDespite the fact that Florida drivers were given the option to include emergency contact information for two people on their driver’s license starting in 2006, law enforcement officials say many drivers are not using this option simply because they don’t know about it. Of Florida’s 15.5 million registered drivers, only 2.3 million of them have taken part in the program.

Florida state troopers, deputies, and police always try to notify the families of car accident victims as soon as they can, but sometimes they cannot track down next-of-kin for hours or even days because the information in not available or up-to-date. They often try to find relatives using license plate or driver’s license numbers to look up the address of the injured person and sometimes this information is out-dated, costing the police officer (and the family) valuable time.

Tiff’s Initiative was named for Tiffany Olson, who was killed in a December 2005 motorcycle crash. Officer’s could not notify Olson’s family for several hours because there was no contact information. This information could also be useful in instances where the victim cannot speak or where the victim has Alzheimer’s and cannot provide accurate contact information.

For more information on registering your emergency contact information to Florida’s database, check out the Florida Highway Patrol website.

Drivers aren’t making next-of-kin contact information available, South Florida Sun Sentinel, July 15, 2009 Continue reading

In previous blog posts, Broward County Juvenile Lawyer Brian S. Leifert has explained how to manage a criminal record and given general background on criminal records in the United States. In this post, our South Florida criminal attorneys will discuss special forms of criminal records.

For instance, the United States justice system handles the criminal records of juveniles differently than the records of adult offenders. Most states, including Florida, treat anyone under the age of 18 as a juvenile offender. As long as the juvenile offender has not committed another crime, their records are usually sealed once the person reaches 18 years of age so that the person can get a fresh start as an adult rather than having their juvenile records follow them throughout their lives. The record can be kept open if there are additional crimes committed.

However, juvenile offenders are sometimes tried as an adult, and if the defendant is convicted, then the crime is entered on their record as if they were an adult. The person would then have to follow the same process as other adults if they would like to get their record sealed.

Another distinction is when a juvenile is convicted of a sexual offense such as rape, sexual assault, or inappropriate touching. All sex offenders, regardless of age, must register with the state sex offender registry in addition to having the offense added their record. The registries are accessible by anyone so that parents can be aware of registered sex offenders living in their area.

Special Forms of Criminal Records, Continue reading

Florida_battery_charges.jpgIn South Florida, former Yankees player Jim Leyritz, 45, was arrested on domestic battery charges last Thursday. The arrest occurred two months before he was scheduled to stand trial on a DUI manslaughter charge. That trial is scheduled to start on September 14, and police allege that Leyritz was drug when he caused a fatal car accident in December 2007.

A Florida judge ordered Leyritz to stay in jail because his arrest on domestic battery charges violated the conditions of his earlier release on bail.

According to the police officer who responded to a domestic disturbance at Leyritz’s home in Davie, Florida, the pro athlete’s wife gave inconsistent reports of what happened. Initially, she told police that Leyritz hit her in the face and pushed her to the ground during an argument over child support. Later, she told police that her ex-husband had dragged her out of bed and pushed her against the wall.

Leyritz told police that his ex-wife had hurt herself as revenge for his attempts to evict her from their shared house. His defense attorney says he plans to ask the judge to rethink the decision on Leyritz’s bail.

Leyritz, Awaiting Trial, Is Charged With Battery, New York Times, July 3, 2009 Continue reading

Last Friday, we gave some background information on criminal records, so this blog post will cover more specifics on managing a criminal record. The good news is that criminal records only include information on crimes or arrests for crimes, not traffic violations. If you’ve paid all your traffic tickets, you won’t have a criminal record unless there are other incidents in your past such as DUI arrests or other crimes.

Many clients are also reliever to hear that it is sometimes possible to have your criminal record sealed or expunged. Once your record has been expunged, you can legally state that you do not have a criminal record, although the information is still accessible to law enforcement or government officials.

The rules for having a criminal record expunged vary by state, but a judge is most likely to grant an expungement if the record consists of a minor first offense. The judge also considers the type of crime committed, the length of time that has elapsed since the arrest or conviction, and whether the person has been arrested or convicted since that incident.

Managing a Criminal Record, Continue reading

Florida_driver.jpgOver Fourth of July weekend, as residents celebrated with cookouts and fireworks, police officers across Florida were busy busting reckless drivers and boaters.

According to statistics released by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, seven law enforcement agencies from Palm Beach County issued 66 marine citations, 143 warnings, and handled six crashes or water rescues. They also caught five underage drinkers and one person piloting a boat under the influence of drugs of alcohol.

Traffic offenses were not separated by county or region, but Florida Highway Patrol troopers issued 4,548 speeding tickets, 1,928 seatbelt-related offenses, and made 98 DUI arrests between Friday, July 3 and Sunday, July 5. In addition, troopers reportedly helped over 2,000 motorists.

Fla. law enforcement cites 4,548 speeders, 1,928 seatbelt tickets, 98 DUI arrests on July 4th weekend, Palm Beach Post, July 8, 2009 Continue reading

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