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Our Palm Beach County traffic lawyers have learned that the town of Juno Beach is working through contract disagreements with LaserCraft, the company that owns and maintains the van carrying red-light cameras in June Beach. Until then, the town has suspended the Safe Street Program, including the vans carrying red-light cameras.

These vans are part of a larger legal dispute over the legality of red-light cameras. Last month, a Miami-Dade circuit court judge ruled that red-light cameras in Aventura are illegal; however that ruling does not apply to Palm Beach County.

So far, Juno Beach has collected $743,000 in fines from the red-light cameras. Mayor Mort Levine says Florida drivers are still expected to pay their fines and abide by traffic laws, even though the vans were suspended. He also expects that LaserCraft and the town will work through their contract dispute and reinstate the cameras.

Source: Juno speed van taken off roads; dispute centers on who pays if town loses in court, Palm Beach Post News, March 19, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_jail.jpgOur South Florida criminal defense attorneys recently read about a Pew Center study examining prison populations around the country. While 27 states lowered their prison populations in 2009, Florida’s prison population actually increased by 1.5 percent, or a little over 1,500 inmates between December 31, 2008 and January 1, 2010. As of last week, Florida’s prison population was just over 100,000.

Although the percent of Florida’s increase was low compared to states like Indiana, which had a 5.3 percent increase, the actual number of inmates was the second largest in the country. Pennsylvania added the most inmates with 2,100.

Pew says the problem is a lack of consensus among Florida’s leaders. The Florida Department of Corrections released a statement recognizing the growth of Florida’s jail population but emphasizing that the growth was less than projected.

Source: Florida prison population rises as most states show declines, study finds, South Florida Sun Sentinel, March 17, 2010 Continue reading

iphone_app.JPGDrivers in Central Texas now have an easier way to find out about the location of speed traps and radar guns. By using the Trapster app on a 3-G phone or going online, motorists can potentially avoid a speeding ticket. The free iPhone app can also notify drivers about flooded roadways or accidents that might lead to delays; however, the primary focus of the app is radar detection.

It’s interesting to us that the sheriff’s office is actually encouraging this new technology, rather than shunning it. In fact, when Art Acevedo became Austin’s police chief, he eliminated daily news released that announced where the department was using radar. The current attitude is that the more information the public has, the safer the roads will be.

Our Traffic Ticket lawyers in Broward County will be watching to see if this new technology catches on elsewhere in the country, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Source: iPhone App may help you avoid speed traps, Kens5.com, March 4, 2010 Continue reading

According to 7 News, a Broward Sheriff’s Deputy is accused of intimidating a South Florida teen in court. The Broward deputy has over a decade of experience with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and was accused intimidating a teen earlier this month while the teen was on trial for cocaine charges.

The suspect’s mother apparently gave a court video of the incident to 7 News. In the video, the Broward Deputy can be seen walking past the family as he leaves the courtroom and he’s heard asking, “is that good enough questions for you, cuz?”

Following this incident, the Broward public defender’s office filed a letter of complaint with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, asking the office to discipline the Deputy for his unprofessional behavior. A spokesperson for the BSO said they are looking into it but that the public defender’s office should have contacted them first before going public to the media.

Source: BSO deputy accused of intimidating teen in court, WSVN.com, March 5, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_scooter.jpgOur Broward County DUI attorneys read about a new service that could help Broward drivers get home safely after heavy drinking without risking a DUI. Zingo Fort Lauderdale will send a driver via scooter to the location of a drunk driver. Then the driver stows the scooter in the trunk of the customer’s car and drives the car and the customer home safely before departing again on scooter.

This Broward County service could address one of the biggest objectives that people have against taking cabs home: that it’s inconvenient because they don’t want to pick up their car later. In that sense, it could reduce the number of people driving drunk in South Florida. Still, we’re not sure how potential customers will feel about having a stranger drive their car and if they’ll have the presence of mind to call for a driver or the patience to wait for them.

Already, Zingo Transportation has 23 branches around the country. The company was founded in 2005 in Atlanta.

Source: Packable scooter could be your way home after night of partying in South Florida, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 15, 2010 Continue reading

Florida-courtroom.JPGOur South Florida traffic attorneys have been following a story about former longtime federal prosecutor and current Palm Beach County Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes. As a judge Kastrenakes is relatively new but he’s already considered a local hero against corruption.

Kastrenakes was involved in an altercation with the Florida Highway Patrol on September 18 when he was ticketed for driving the wrong way in a travel plaza parking lot. He allegedly told the trooper she was a liar and that her ticket would influence his opinion of troopers in court.

The highway patrol waited five months to report the incident, but the state attorney’s office filed a motion last month to disqualify him from hearing a felony case against a man who was arrested by the highway patrol. Stating that “the public must have the perception of judicial fairness,” Kastrenakes granted the motion for disqualification.

In our opinion, Kastrenakes probably should not have lashed out at the trooper, but he’s human and we all have occasional lapses in judgment. In a way, it is good that a member of the Judiciary sees how an encounter with law enforcement is not always polite and professional.

Source: Judge Kastrenakes recuses himself from 7 FHP cases over traffic stop, Palm Beach Post, March 11, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_pill_mill.jpgAuthorities in Broward and Palm Beach say they anticipate a lengthy investigation of three South Florida pain clinics that are suspected of illegally distributing prescription meds, including the incredibly addictive oxycodone pills. Such clinics have been called “pill mills” by some Florida investigators.

All three clinics are owned by the same twin brothers. One of the clinics, called American Pain, had been operating for just five weeks before authorities raided the pain clinic, taking several boxes with them. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration and police from Broward and Palm Beach counties participated in the raid.

Documents from the 14-month investigation allege that the clinic attracted people from other states who would take pills back to their home state and sell them at a huge markup. The five doctors working full-time at the clinics allegedly distributed more than 2 million oxycodone pills last year. No criminal charges have been filed yet, but the investigation continues.

Source: Feds Raid Pain Clinics Suspected of Illegally Distributing Millions of Prescription Drugs, ABC News, March 8, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_driving_lawyers.jpgOur Miami DUI attorneys read that Will Allen, 31 a 31-year-old football player for the Miami Dolphins, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Miami Beach back in February. He had reportedly revved the engine of his Ferrari and refused to get out of his car at his police barricade.

The cornerback was later released on $1,000 bail, according to a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Corrections.

The Miami-Dade arrest affidavit states that police noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath and bloodshot eyes when they pulled him over. They also administered two Breathalyzer tests as mandated by Florida law. Allen’s tests showed a blood alcohol content level of 0.152 and 0.167, which is well over Florida’s legal limit of 0.08.

Source: Miami Dolphins’ Will Allen out on bond after DUI stop, Miami Herald, February 21, 2010 Continue reading

Last month, Broward County prosecutors announced that they would not file charges against Florida native and football legend Michael Irvin, who was accused of rape earlier this year. According to a memorandum, a lack of medical evidence and irregularities between what the accuser and others said were factors in the decision.

Although the woman passed a polygraph test which was reviewed by several experts, polygraph cannot be submitted as evidence in a criminal case. There was no medical evidence that the woman had been raped and she reportedly waited over two weeks to report the incident to police. The only legally admissible evidence was the woman’s statement and her apparently emotional state. A lawyer for Irvin has filed a civil lawsuit against the woman for allegedly trying to ruin the football player’s reputation and career.

Irvin’s prior legal issues include pleading no contest to drug charges in 1996. He and a teammate were also accused of sexually assaulting a woman, but the woman later retracted her story after an investigation proved she had made it up.

Source: Broward prosecutors decline to file charges against Michael Irvin, Miami Herald, February 25, 2010 Continue reading

traffic_light.jpgOn Monday, West Palm Beach reportedly began doling out fines to South Florida drivers using their controversial new red-light cameras. The cameras are located at four intersections (Avenue and Belvedere Road, Parker and Summit Boulevard, Australian Avenue and Banyan Boulevard, and at Australian and Belvedere) and a fifth camera, at Australian and 25th Street, will be added soon. The city and its private camera vendor plan to split the $125 fines.

These fines come after several months of “warnings” during which red-light cameras documented over 17,000 “events” and police approved over 5,000 warnings. That warning period began in November of last year and was extended after drivers argued that they had made safe right turns on red and that the camera flashes were distracting.

One West Palm Beach lawyer says the cameras are unconstitutional because they presume guilt and fine the car’s owner rather than the driver who ran the red light. This debate is playing out across the state, and our law firm will be watching with interest for the outcome.

Source: Red-light cameras: Violators in West Palm Beach run risk of fines, Palm Beach Post News, March 1, 2010 Continue reading

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