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Florida_cologne_police.jpgOur South Florida criminal defense attorneys have learned that the commander of the Broward Sheriff’s Office has banned employees from wearing cologne, perfume, or even deodorant. The new policy is aimed at accommodating employees who have sensitivities or allergies to airborne chemical irritants and only applies within the confines of the offices of the Division of Internal Affairs. It went into effect on March 1.

Of course, as temperatures rise this summer, the policy could prove counterproductive for law enforcement officials with less than perfect hygiene. According to NBC Miami, “the smell police” will warn and then discipline those whose personal hygiene leaves a little to be desired.

As lawyers who serve Broward County, we’ll be interested in seeing how long the policy lasts.

Source: New Rule Puts the B.O. in BSO, NBCMiami.com, May 13, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_troopers.jpgOur South Florida traffic lawyers read about a state trooper who was killed over the weekend after a driver ran into the back of his patrol car.

Although Florida passed the Move Over Law eight years ago, many Florida drivers still fail to move one lane over from emergency vehicles when the lights are flashing or drop their speed limit at least 20mph below the posted speed limit. Failure to do so could result in a $164 traffic citation.

In addition to Florida, over forty over states have passed similar Move Over Laws. Since 1999, more than 150 law enforcement officials have been killed by vehicles on United States highways.

Source: Trooper’s Death Reinforces Need for Move Over Law, NBCMiami.com, May 20, 2010 Continue reading

smiling_mugshot.jpgThe stereotypical mughost features an arrestee with a sullen scowl or perhaps vacant eyes. But a few inmates choose to smile or smirk in their photos. Jail officials don’t find these mugshots funny (in fact, it can make it more difficult for victims to identify suspects since they usually aren’t smiling when they commit a crime), but others get a kick out of them, thanks to online mugshot galleries like those on the The Smoking Gun.

There’s the irony of someone who’s just been booked on DUI or battery charges and chooses to pose for the camera, and there’s the sense that it’s a way of having the last laugh at the justice system, since that photo will follow the inmate through the system. Of course, many of these inmates may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and may not realize the seriousness of their situation.

While jail officials frown at these mugshots, they admit that there’s little they can do to prevent people from smiling in their photos.

Source: Mugging for the jail camera: What’s so funny about smiling mug shots?, Orlando Sentinel, 23, 2010 Continue reading

FL_child_neglect.jpgA 44-year-old Cooper City woman has been sentenced by a Broward County judge after she was accused of passing out drunk in her minivan while her two children wandered about a mile away.

The defendant pleaded no contest to two counts of child neglect, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and one count of DUI. She could have faced up over a decade of jail time, but the judge sentenced her to a year of house arrest.

According to the women’s defense attorney, she has attended a parenting program, substance-abuse counseling, and DUI school since the incident in September 2009.

Source: South Florida mom sentenced for child neglect, Miami Herald, May 13, 2010 Continue reading

Our South Florida criminal defense lawyers have read about a case involving a former Davie police officer charged with assaulting his pregnant wife. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the officer failed to show up for his first trial, then fled the country before the judge and jury could hear more serious charges in a second trial.

Two of the jurors involved in the first trial have come forward saying they wished they’d known about the other charges and the defendant’s history. Since prosecutors are not allowed to share background information or information about pending charges because it might prejudice jurors, they say they had no idea about the aggravated assault charges against the defendant.

The Davie Police Department fired the officer last month. The ex-wife said he had relatives in Switzerland and Serbia, so authorities suspect he may have gone there. His defense attorney says it’s doubtful that he’ll be found. Local agencies and federal FBI officers said they are not actively pursuing him.

Source: Jurors regret acquitting fugitive Davie officer, South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 9, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_accidents.jpgIn response to two fatal pedestrian accidents, Fort Lauderdale police officers are cracking down on traffic and pedestrian violations along Las Olas Boulevard. One of the deaths has been labeled a traffic homicide case, and authorities are still investigating.

Since the crackdown began on April 1, police have issued more than 400 tickets to motorists and walkers. Motorcycle officers are charging drivers with not yielding to people at crosswalks and street corners, while pedestrians are being charged with jaywalking. The fines ranged from $86 to $165, but can get even pricier if the driver is speeding.

The city of Fort Lauderdale is also considering lowering the speed limit in this area and installing cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. Storeowners concerned about safety have also suggested adding raised crosswalks and caution signs reminding drivers to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.

Source: Deaths lead police to crack down on traffic on Las Olas, South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 10, 2010 Continue reading

FL_drivers_license.jpgAccording to a recent article, Florida drivers say the new identification requirements at the DMV are proving to be a hassle. When a reporter visited a Fort Lauderdale branch of the DMV, he discovered a frustrated group of customers waiting in line with birth certificates, passports, citizenship diplomas, and other paperwork.

Some of these people would wait three to four hours or make return trips if they don’t bring proper documentation.

The new documentation requirements went into effect on January 1 and applies to those seeking a new driver’s license, a renewal, an address update, or replacements for lost or stolen licenses. It grew out of the 2005 Real ID Act passed by Congress. While states have until next year to comply, many have resisted and the requirements may eventually get scrapped.

Source: License to frustrate: Get-tough ID policies could snag all Floridians, South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 8, 2010 Continue reading

On August 24, Broward County residents will vote in what’s being called a “judicial tsunami.” Forty-two candidates are running in 20 different races. Interestingly, Broward County has 10 Circuit Court judges running with challengers, only nine other Circuit Court judges throughout the state of Florida are running opposed.

The surge of candidates running in the judicial election is creating scheduling headaches for community groups that allow candidates to speak at their meetings. Some candidates also worry that with so many options, even informed voters may cast “blind votes” based on gender or the order that the names appear on the ballot.

Since judicial candidates are not allowed to discuss party affiliate, political ideology, or how they would rule in cases, it’s already challenging for candidates to distinguish themselves.

Source: Broward voters to decide 20 judicial races in August election, South Florida Sun Sentinel, April 1, 2010 Continue reading

There are a variety of reasons an individual would need their fingerprints taken in Broward County. As a Broward County Criminal Defense Lawyer, the most common reason for fingerprinting is to seal or expunge a record.

fingerprint_0.jpgMost police agencies in Broward County have set times and schedules for fingerprinting. Click on the link below for a list of law enforcement agencies and their schedules for fingerprinting.

Fingerprint Locations in Broward County

Norwegian_pig_FL.jpgAccording to a police report, a 54-year-old woman dialed 911 about a 4-year-old male who was unable to breathe and may have choked on a marshmallow. When emergency responders arrived at the home, they discovered, not a 4-year-old child as they’d expected, but a 4-year-ol d pet pig.

The police chief said they had several crews at the scene and Lifeflight on standby because they assumed it was a child in distress. Initially, their reaction was one of relief, followed by disbelief. Had the caller been more specific about the circumstances surrounding the emergency, crews could have responded in a more appropriate manner rather than bringing so many crews.

The city prosecutor is looking at the case to decide the woman will be charged.

Source: Woman Calls 911 for Pet Pig, Fox 8, April 29, 2010 Continue reading

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