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Fort Myers Criminal Law Blog

Understanding Florida’s ignition interlock device laws

If Florida authorities stop you and suspect you have been drinking, they will likely ask you to take a breath test. The results of that breath test may lead to a driving under the influence charge and, ultimately, a conviction. A Florida DUI can bring with it substantial penalties. One such penalty may involve having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a predetermined period.

An ignition interlock device, per the Florida Safety Council, is a device you have installed in your car or truck that prevents you from starting the vehicle until you provide an adequate breath sample. Whether you will ultimately need to install one on your car after a DUI depends on the details of your conviction, but many people with DUIs in Florida wind up having to use one.

Drug charges and other crimes filed after gang-related arrests

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service led an operation along with Lee County Sheriff's Office and the police departments of Fort Myers and Cape Coral in an effort to reduce gang-related violence. They called it Operation Triple Beam, and after three months, it led to the arrest of 120 individuals. Along with drug charges, other charges were filed for a range of high-profile crimes.

The target of the operation was criminal offenders and violent fugitives that were sought for violent crimes such as felony assault, homicide and sexual assault. Furthermore, arrests were made for arson, robbery, illegal distribution of drugs and illicit possession of firearms. Law enforcement says they seized drugs worth over $100,000, 45 firearms and cash exceeding $18,000.

Does Florida have a public intoxication law?

Laws prohibiting public intoxication vary from state-to-state. Certain states do not even have any laws against such behavior. However, Florida specifically outlaws disorderly intoxication. 

If you appear drunk in public, you may face criminal penalties, including fines and jail time. Here are some important facts to know about Florida's public intoxication statute. 

Juvenile crimes: Teen accused of murder might be charged as adult

The Florida juvenile justice system aims to rehabilitate teens younger than 18 years. The courts work with various other authorities to establish rehabilitation plans instead of punishing perpetrators of juvenile crimes. However, exceptions exist, and prosecutors are allowed to charge minors in adult court under circumstances that involve specific felonies.

It is still unsure whether a 17-year-old Florida teen will be charged as an adult when he faces second-degree murder charges for allegedly beating his grandfather to death. According to authorities, the teenager and his 69-year-old grandfather disagreed about a TV program. The argument became violent, and the juvenile admitted to using his fists along with a variety of objects to beat his grandfather.

Fraud allegations lead to investigation of roofing company

Individuals and business owners in Florida who learn that they are being investigated might be unsure of how to proceed without jeopardizing their rights. A judgment error or being misled by another person might lead to allegations of fraud. The circumstances could even involve false accusations, and the investigation might lead to an arrest. For this reason, criminal defense counsel from the outset is crucial.

Retaining a lawyer would likely be what a roofing company owner in Cape Coral did when he became aware of an investigation that was launched into his business affairs. The Florida State Attorney's Office announced that complaints about the roofing company led to a consumer protection investigation. Reportedly, one of the claims involves the repair of hurricane damage to the roof of a house on Marco Island.

WWE star Jimmy Uso charged with drunk driving

In the early morning hours of a recent Thursday, an off-duty officer traveling along Interstate 10 noticed a vehicle speeding at more than 100 mph while weaving in and out of his lane. The Florida officer suspected a case of drunk driving and reported it to the county's sheriff's office. Deputies were informed that the driver pulled into a parking lot, but left before deputies arrived.

Reportedly, the driver was later pulled over after he turned onto another highway and nearly missed colliding with another vehicle as he allegedly traveled at 86 mph in a 45 mph zone. According to the arrest report, the driver was identified as Jonathan "Jimmy Uso" Fatu, a WWE performer. The deputy says the wrestler's eyes appeared watery and bloodshot, and his pupils were dilated. Further notes indicate that his speech was slurred and he struggled to present his vehicle information and license.

Drug charges: Many unanswered questions about CBD and hemp

On July 1, it became legal in Florida to use CBD and hemp products that contain small amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol, generally referred to as THC. It is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. The language of the legislation sets the maximum limit of THC at .3 %, but law enforcement has no way to determine the percentage of THC in these products. Until it can be accurately measured, people who committed no crimes might face drug charges.

One such a case involves a man from another state who was a passenger in a car that was traveling home from Miami after showing various hemp products a wellness expo. When their car was pulled over, the man says he had no reason for concern because he knew his products contained CBD but little or no THC. However, deputies tested the products and detected the presence of THC.

Drinking laws college students need to know

School will be starting again soon, which means college students will be back in the watchful eye of local law enforcement and campus discipline. It is important to know relevant laws to avoid getting into trouble that can cause you to lose scholarships, extracurricular privileges and even enrollment.

One area to be most aware of concerns drinking, as partying is a huge part of college life. Make sure you know these laws and how they can affect you.

Is your child facing juvenile crimes charges?

When parents in Florida learn that their teenage child is arrested and accused of taking part in criminal activities, they will naturally be concerned. They will likely have questions about the law and the proceedings that will follow. They might find comfort in learning that, when the Florida justice system deals with juvenile crimes, the aim is to rehabilitate instead of punish the children. This is a collaboration between juvenile courts, law enforcement, defense attorneys and prosecutors, along with the Florida Department of Children and Families.

These entities collaborate to devise rehabilitation plans that will help children who have had run-ins with the law to learn from their mistakes. The aim with rehabilitation is to help troubled juveniles to rejoin their communities as productive citizens without having to deal with the harm that they might have suffered if they were incarcerated. Upon arrest, juveniles have similar rights to those of adults, but their parents must be advised and allowed to be present during questioning.

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