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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled new technology last week that safety advocates claim could eventually prevent motorists from drinking and driving.

The technology, knows as Drive Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), could become a standard feature in automobiles and would either passively measure a driver’s breath for the presence of alcohol or would do so via touch such as a thumbprint.
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Our drunk driving defense attorneys in Palm Beach frequently report on the ever-increasing penalties faced by drunk drivers. For now, the technology is most likely to be required for those convicted of drunk driving.

Florida DUI Law currently requires ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level of .15 or higher or for those who had a child in the car at the time of arrest. The devices may remain on the vehicle for up to six months. Those who face a repeat conviction under the state’s DUI law may have the device installed for two years or longer.

This new technology could be the first step toward requiring offenders to have less intrusive technology in place for much longer. “The technology we are seeing here today could quite simply signal a new frontier in the fight against drunk driving,” said NHTSA Administrator Strickland.

The constantly increasing penalties and lower thresholds for DUI conviction is just one reason we encourage all motorists to fight the charges. First offenses are frequently beatable, while repeat offenses carry the substantial threat of jail time, lengthy license suspensions, mandatory treatment and intrusive requirement of probation, which can lead to additional legal problems.

As we reported recently on our Florida Criminal Lawyer Blog, 63,019 motorists were charged with drunk driving in Florida in 2009.

That’s 173 people every day!

Yet only 36,972 were convicted of drunk driving that year.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates the average cost of a DUI at as much as $20,000, including fines, court costs, DUI school, monitoring, license reinstatement, impound fees, prison, probation, ignition interlock devices and increased insurance premiums. Spending several thousand dollars to hire an attorney to fight the charge could be the best money you’ll spend.
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A 20-year-old Belle Glade man is facing a murder charge in Palm Beach in connection with the killing of a 15-year-old boy, the Palm Beach Post reported.

A veteran Palm Beach criminal defense attorney must always be called to handle such cases. Whether juvenile charges in Broward or Palm Beach, or whether a teen or young person is charged as an adult, the outcome will impact the rest of a young person’s life.

The Post reports a 17-year-old also faces first-degree murder charges. Both defendants were arrested and charged Thursday with the killing of a South Bay teen. The 15-year-old victim was found shot to death on Sunday in the yard of a residence on Northwest 11th Avenue.

Witnesses reported the boy was walking in the area and attempted to flee when the defendants began shooting from a Toyota Camry. Both defendants were arrested by gang unit detectives.

The teen was booked into the Juvenile Assessment Center. No court appearance has been announced.

An experienced juvenile defense attorney in Palm Beach may be able to help this teen prevent this case from resulting in decades behind bars. A thorough and independent review of the evidence should be conducted before deciding upon any course of action. Challenging evidence found as a result of search warrants is one avenue of defense that will be thoroughly evaluated.

Determining the extent of his involvement will go a long way toward determining whether the charges should be fought in court or whether his interests will be best served by negotiating with prosecutors. Frequently investigators will charge each defendant in a case, knowing those who were less involved will likely be successful in seeking a reduction or dismissal. However, a defendant does not have to pull the trigger to be charged and convicted of murder. Participation in the crime, even passive participation, is often enough for prosecutors to win a conviction.

Such charges frequently lead to defendants who point the finger at one another. Having a veteran attorney on board from the earliest stages of a case is the best bet for protecting your rights.
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A 62-year-old man is facing drug charges in West Palm Beach after authorities arrested him at a senior living community in connection with federal drug charges filed more than 30 years ago, according to the Miami Herald.

The defendant is accused of being a member of the infamous Black Tuna Gang, the biggest marijuana-smuggling operation of its time, when he skipped out on his federal trial. He was charged along with 13 others as part of the biggest pot importation case in the nation’s history.
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Our West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers have seen an increase in the number of cold-case prosecutions in recent years. In large part because of the advent of DNA databases (to which many convicted felons must contribute a sample, thereby matching defendants to old crimes that would otherwise never be solved.) These cases often result in arrest and prosecution years or even decades after the fact.

In many cases, defendants mistakenly think statutes of limitations will prevent them from being prosecuted. This is often not the case. In this case, in which the defendant had already been charged but escaped prior to conviction, the government convicted him anyway. In other cases the government will often argue that time stopped, until such time that the defendant can be located and returned to face the charges. In cases that involve new charges, as when a defendant is newly identified after a lengthy period of time, lawmakers continue to pass laws permitting prosecution even after the statute of limitations would otherwise have passed.

Such cases create a significant hazard for a defendant: Witnesses are often dead or unable to be located and evidence is frequently lost or destroyed. Exercising your right to remain silent, and consulting with an attorney at the earliest opportunity, is usually the best course of action for protecting your rights.

In this case, the Herald reports the judge is still on the bench and the defendant was convicted in absentia of racketeering, possession and distribution charges.

A joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation took down the gang in 1979; members were accused of smuggling more than 500 tons of marijuana into the country during a 16-month period.

Following his arrest, the defendant was released on $25,000 bond and took part in his trial for more than a month before disappearing. Authorities had information that he was living under an assumed name in Chile in 1993. He was later believed to be in Germany. In 2001, he was believed to be renting a New York penthouse for $10,000 a month.

Late last year, authorities discovered he had been issued a Florida driver’s license under his own name.
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The Sun-Sentinel reported recently that many motorists are successfully getting traffic tickets in Fort Lauderdale dismissed by using a legal argument of Palm Beach Defense Attorney Robyn Rappaport Weiss, an associate at Leifert & Leifert.

Rappaport argued West Palm Beach officials should have to produce a certificate to prove the cameras were installed in accordance with state law. The judge accepted the argument, much to the satisfaction of about 20 defendants waiting in the courtroom, all of whom became instant winners.
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Motorists continue to beat the tickets in large numbers. The program was established last year as a way to improve intersection safety while pouring some much-needed revenue into city coffers in West Palm Beach and Palm Springs. The Sun-Sentinel reports the score, for those who have challenged the tickets since October, stands at 198 rulings in favor of the motorist, and 56 in favor of the government.

We encourage motorists to fight most traffic citations. Red-light violations are a serious moving violation, which will result in a $264 fine and can substantially increase your car-insurance rates. Additionally, a serious moving violation on your record can substantially increase the potential penalty for future violations and can even result in the loss or suspension of your driving privileges.

The red-light camera program is off to a rough start. Numerous instances in court reveal citations are often erroneously issued to motorists. Some have proven they were out of town or even out of the country at the time the citation was issued. Others have been issued tickets while running a light as part of a funeral procession. Still others have used the videotape to prove their innocence as the tape used to issue the citation clearly show they did not run the red light.

Meanwhile, American Traffic Solutions, the company providing the cameras, is busy blaming the judge for upholding the rights of motorists. “Out of all of the judges in Florida that have heard these cases, it’s unfortunate that this judge refuses to adhere to the clear guidelines established in the legislation,” a spokesman was quoted as telling the Sun-Sentinel.
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Broward Criminal Traffic Attorney
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What is a Business Purpose Only License in Florida?

A business purpose only license in Florida is a designated a “C” restriction and is defined a s follows:

Any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, driving to and from work, and any necessary on-the-job-driving, driving for educational purposes and driving for church and for medical purposes.

What is an Employment Purposes Only License in Florida?

An employment purpose only license in Florida is designated as a “d” restriction and is defined as follows:
Driving to and from work, and any necessary on-the-job-driving.

A violation of the above restrictions may result in a traffic criminal charge and may also jeopardize a driver’s ability to keep their license for the balance of the suspension/revocation period.
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A 59-year-old man is facing gun charges in Fort Lauderdale after an incident at the Broward County Courthouse. He was released on bond over the weekend, on conditions that he get a psychological evaluation and surrender all firearms.

A criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale should always be called to handle defense against gun or weapons charges. Such charges can leave a convicted defendant unable to own firearms and can be particularly devastating to police officers, members of the military, or others who use firearms as part of their job.
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Certainly in the wake of high profile cases like the recent tragedy in Arizona, local law enforcement may carry zero tolerance policies too far, thereby trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners. When you combine public-safety concerns with the ever-expanding rights to keep and bear arms, and clashes are bound to occur.

Always remember, the government can charge you with whatever it wants — it’s only what you are convicted of that matters.

In this case, police claim the Broward resident was distraught over a child abuse case and threatened to shoot himself. The Sun-Sentinel reports the defendant works as a security guard, and told the judge if he loses his job he will lose his house.

He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, improper exhibition of a firearm and carrying a concealed firearm.

Authorities say he was late for a contempt hearing in connection with $5,500 in back child support when he entered the courthouse lobby doors through a pair of exit doors, triggering a 30-minute standoff.
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Our Coral Springs criminal defense attorneys noted the weekend arrest of a Broward County elementary school principal on drug charges.

The Palm Beach Post reported the 60-year-old woman was charged with felony drug possession and taken to the Broward County main jail in Fort Lauderdale. The case originated with the arrest of her 18-year-old son, who police say was in possession of 126 grams of marijuana. He faces a charge of possession with intent to deliver.
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In this case, police say they found 20 grams of pot and drug paraphernalia in the principal’s bedroom, according to the arrest affidavit. Police therefore charged her with direct possession of the drugs, as well as several pipes and rolling papers.

A Broward County defense attorney will review the facts and circumstances of this case, including the legality of the search. If police lacked a search warrant, if the warrant was not properly issued, or if police overstepped the boundaries of the warrant, evidence in the case could be dismissed. A reduction or dismissal of the charges often results in such cases.

The defendant is principal at Coral Park Elementary in Coral Springs. A spokesperson for the Broward County school system said administrators were searching for an interim principal. Fair or not, school teachers are held to a higher standard. Defending yourself against criminal charges becomes all the more critical if you work in a school, as a law enforcement officer or in other positions of trust.

A not guilty verdict, or an agreement that reduces the charges and disposes the case in a manner that is in your best interest, can go a long way toward protecting your rights, your freedom and your current and future financial well-being.
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The Florida Highway Patrol issued more than 40,667 traffic tickets during its holiday enforcement effort, including 474 arrests for drunk driving. State statistics show that local police and sheriff’s offices typically make three times more drunk driving arrests than the patrol.

Thus, as many as 3,000 motorists were likely cited for driving under the influence of alcohol during holiday enforcement efforts.
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Happy New Year!

“Our troopers worked hard to help our residents and visitors have a safe and enjoyable holiday period,” said Patrol Col. John Czernis. “Motorists who operate their vehicles in an unsafe fashion are a danger that puts innocent lives at risk. The men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol did their part to identify the unsafe drivers and take the steps necessary to decrease that risk.”

If you are charged with drunk driving in Broward County or in Palm Beach County, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after arrest.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports the 19-day holiday enforcement period included troopers who typically work administrative detail, as well as reserve and auxiliary troopers. This is one of the reasons that enforcement crackdowns often lead to marginal or questionable arrests. Frequently, when a law enforcement officer lacks the proper training or experience to conduct DUI stops and to administer field sobriety testing, a reduction or dismissal of the charges is possible.

An experienced Palm Beach DUI defense attorney can review your case and advise you on the best course of action for protecting your rights. A reduction or dismissal of the charges is often possible as a result of unlawful traffic stops, poorly administered field sobriety tests, problems with breathalyzer examinations, and issues involving enforcement blitzes, sobriety checkpoints and other efforts by law enforcement.

In fact, a statistic that authorities would rather you not know is that only about half of those charged with drunk driving in Florida are convicted of the charge in any given year. In 2009, 63,019 motorists were charged with drunk driving and 36,972 were convicted.

Under Florida drunk driving law, a first-offense conviction can result in a $1,000 fine, 50 hours of community service, probation, alcohol treatment, up to six months in jail and the loss of your driver’s license for up to one year.
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How do I Obtain a Restraining Order for
Domestic / Repeat / Dating / Sexual Violence in Broward County?

For information and procedures on obtaining a Restraining Order in Broward County, call the Family Intake Unit at 954-831-5520 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are located at the Broward County Courthouse, 201 S.E. 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301, Room 248.

You may obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in Broward County against a husband, wife, ex-husband, ex-wife, blood relative residing in the same household or any other person you are, or were, residing with as if family. You may also obtain a Restraining Order in Broward County against a person with whom you had a child, whether you are living together or not.

However, for an act of Repeat Violence in Broward, you may file for a Restraining Order against anyone. There must have been two (2) occurrences or acts of physical or sexual abuse, and one (1) occurrence must have been in the last six (6) months. The Domestic Violence Judge may require you to furnish the police reports as filed.

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A dating violence restraining order may be filed by individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The dating relationship must have existed within the past 6 months.

A sexual violence restraining order may be filed for any one incident of sexual battery, lewd or lascivious act committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 tears of age, luring or enticing a child, sexual performance by a child or any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.

To obtain a Restraining Order for Domestic Violence in Broward County, you must appear in person, in the Domestic Violence Division in Room 248 of the Broward County Courthouse, 201 Southeast 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Bring your photo I.D. and any relevant police reports.
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