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Fort Myers Criminal Law Blog

Officers respond to driver reporting his own drunk driving

Driving under the influence is not typically a laughing matter. However, some people might have been amused by a Florida driver who called 911 on New Year's Eve to report his own drunk driving. The sheriff's office in Polk County revealed that this 39-year-old man's arrest brought the total number of drunk driving arrests for December to 30. He is now facing several DUI-related charges.

According to a report by the 911 operator, the driver called and reported that he had been driving around drunk all night. When asked where he was, the man apparently replied that he had no idea of his location, but he mentioned that he was driving on the left side of the road. The operator said the driver would not provide his name when she asked him to identify himself. Reportedly, she asked him to park in a safe place until the arrival of law enforcement. However, he allegedly chose to park in the middle of the road.

Florida woman faces credit card fraud charges

Any Florida resident who is accused of white collar crimes may realize the significant challenge of defending him or herself against such charges. A 71-year-old man filed a report with Brevard County Police last October, and a credit card fraud investigation was launched. The man claimed that someone had stolen his credit card and was charging purchases on it.

The man said that he was unaware of the missing credit card until a note from the card company provided information about debts valued at more than $13,000. He alleged that the card was used for several transactions from September through November. Furthermore, he claimed that all those purchases were unauthorized.

ATM client shows criminal mischief charges not only for juveniles

What most people can only dream of happened to a man in Florida. While he withdrew cash from an auto teller at a Wells Fargo branch in Cocoa, there was no end to the money that the ATM provided. His reaction, and what followed, is proof that it is not only juveniles that can be charged with criminal mischief.

Reportedly, the 23-year-old man became angry when the ATM continued spitting out money. Police say he then took his aggravation out on the machine by punching the touch screen. Reportedly, his actions were recorded by the video surveillance camera. It is uncertain whether he managed to stop the stream of money, but he allegedly caused damage to the value of $5,000.

Florida man faces DUI charges after allegedly causing crash

Charges of impaired driving in Florida are best taken seriously. The consequences of DUI convictions can be severe and life-changing. Along with stiff fines, loss of driving privileges and license suspension, an accused driver may face jail time and end up with a permanent criminal record. A man who was recently arrested after allegedly causing a crash with injuries will likely explore the available options of defense.

According to a police report, a 45-year-old Cape Coral man with one passenger in his car failed to yield for another vehicle when he entered the roadway as he was leaving the premises of a business on a recent Sunday afternoon. Law enforcement says it was at approximately 5 p.m. when the man pulled out and put his vehicle directly in the way of a 23-year-old oncoming driver. A collision followed that sent the other car onto the center median before it rolled over and struck a tree.

Tainting teachers' smoothies -- criminal mischief or not?

Teachers at a middle school in Florida have had two incidents in which students poured chemical substances into their smoothies. The three students that were allegedly involved have been suspended, and their enrollments at the school have been canceled. Authorities are still figuring out whether these were acts of criminal mischief or more serious juvenile crimes.

The first incident occurred in October when two teenage girls laced a teacher's smoothie with a chemical cleaner. The teacher says she noticed the beverage had bubbles, and she smelled the ammonia odor of the chemical and became ill shortly afterward. The girls were placed in a juvenile detention center in November after they admitted to pouring the substance into the smoothie to get some laughs and make the teacher sick.

Start the year with a good DUI defense

The start of a brand-new year in Fort Myers is often when people say goodbye to bad habits and start anew. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the opportunity to start over with a party. But when alcohol and driving are also involved, the beginning of a new year could mean fighting a DUI charge

You may find yourself enjoying some extra days off from work, with more time on your hands to sip on your favorite alcoholic beverages. There is also the possibility that you will consume more alcohol than you normally do because you have friends and relatives who are still visiting from out of town. The last thing you want is to have a fresh criminal conviction on your record. If you end up with a DUI charge, ignoring it will not make it go away. 

Man's arrest follows alleged use of recreational drugs

A man in Florida was taken into custody after reportedly committing a drug crime and neglecting a child. His arrest came after authorities said a toddler, 2, ended up testing positive for cocaine. However, anyone facing charges related to recreational drugs, such as cocaine, cannot be convicted unless prosecutors can prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

The chain of events leading to the man's arrest started on a recent Monday. A woman reportedly took the child to the hospital because she was worried about how the baby was acting. Following several tests, medical staff determined that cocaine was in the child's system. Police said the woman told them that she had picked up the child from the arrested man's home earlier in the day and noticed that the toddler was lethargic.

Drug crimes: What constitutes an unlawful arrest?

Any person who is unfamiliar with criminal law procedures in Florida may not know his or her constitutional rights during a search or arrest. The criminal justice process usually starts with an arrest, whether for alleged drug crimes or other criminal offenses. This is the process that involves a police officer exercising his or her authority over a suspect, and that person's submission -- voluntary or involuntary.

For an arrest to be legal, it must meet specific standards. The officer must have personally observed a person committing a crime, or seen illegal substances in the suspect's possession. Failing such observation, the arresting officer must have another form of probable cause. An example is an officer who receives a description of a suspect that committed an armed robbery and then sees somebody matching the description. If that person is searched and found in possession of significant amounts of cash and a weapon, the officer might have probable cause for an arrest.

White collar crimes: 70-year-old man pleads guilty to fraud

Along with 11 others, a Florida man pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a $63 million fraud scheme. Authorities say these white collar crimes were conducted between Jan. 2006 and June 2012. The scheme involved a mental health clinic in Miami that no longer exists.

The 70-year-old Boca Raton man admitted in court that he referred individuals in Miami Dade to report to the mental health clinic. He admitted that these people did not need the treatment for which he referred them. He further admitted to receiving money in exchange for these referrals -- the total estimated to be between $9.5 and $25 million. 

How police can overstep their boundaries during traffic stops

Sirens in your rearview mirror make your heart jump, and fortunately, many times, they are meant for another driver. However, once in a while, you could be the one who gets pulled over.

Police pull drivers over for many reasons, including a broken light, suspected speeding or unsafe driving. Sometimes, these stops proceed as they should, but other times, police overstep their boundaries. Here is a look at several ways how. 

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