Petition for Injunction Against Domestic Violence

If you have been served with a petition for a domestic violence injunction for any case in the Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough County or Pinellas County, contact an experienced domestic violence attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss possible ways to fight the case. Read more below about possible ways to fight the petitioner for injunction against domestic violence...

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If you are the respondent who has been served with a Florida Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, contact an experienced domestic violence attorney in Tampa, Florida to represent you for any case pending in Hillsborough County. Restraining orders are serious legal remedies that can have serious collateral consequences, including impacting your future employment opportunities and causing you to lose certain civil rights, including the right to carry a firearm.

Tampa Man's Habitual Traffic Offender Revocation

A Tampa man's prior conviction for driving while license suspended (DWLS) without knowledge under Florida Statutes 322.34(1) was set vacated and set aside on December 23, 2008 at the Traffic Court Division, Floriland Business Center, in Tampa, Florida.

The vacated ticket for DWLS without knowledge was one of the three offenses that had caused the Tampa man to receive letter entitled "Order of License Revocation, Suspension or Cancellation" from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Division of Driver Licenses. That letter from the DHSMV notified the Tampa man that his driving privilege was revoked be the State of Florida for a period of five (5) years because of Florida Statute 322.27(5), the Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Statute. This driver has previously represented himself in resolving several prior civil traffic infractions without completely understanding the legal consequences. By hiring an attorney he was able to lift that habitual traffic offender status, clearing the way for him to reinstate his license.

By vacating one of the underlying offenses for a driving while license suspended without knowledge ticket received in Hillsborough County, Florida, the man will now be able to reinstate his Florida driver's license without suffering under the five year habitual traffic offender suspension. After a habitual traffic offender suspension an individual must serve an entire one year of revocation (without any privilege to driver for any reason) before becoming eligible for a hearing on receiving a hardship license. Additionally, many auto insurance carriers classify a driver as high risk and require higher insurance premiums for at least the next 3 years after such a suspension.

If you have been arrested for driving while license suspended, contact a Tampa habitual traffic offender attorney at the Sammis Law Firm by calling 813-250-0500 for a free consultation to discuss your case before you go to court or pay the ticket. If you have already received notice from the DHSMV because of a driver license suspension, contact an Tampa criminal attorney to see if that suspension can be vacated or set aside so that you can clear the habitual traffic offender status.

Florida Trafficking in Cocaine and Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine Reversed because of Violation of Miranda Warning

One of the most serious drug offenses under Florida law is Trafficking in Cocaine because of the minimum mandatory sentences involved. If you have been arrested for Trafficking in Cocaine, or Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine, contact an experienced Drug Trafficking Attorney to discuss your case and potential defenses to the charges. At the Sammis Law Firm, we represent individuals charged with Trafficking in Cocaine and Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County, and Pinellas County. Whether you were arrested for Trafficking in Cocaine or Conspiracy to Traffic in Cocaine in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Bartow, Dade City, or New Port Richey, contact an experienced Tampa Drug Trafficking Attorney to discuss your case. Visit our main website for more information on Trafficking in Cocaine.

A recent decision from the Florida Fourth Judicial Court of Appeals demonstrates the types of motions that can be filed and successfully litigated in a case involving trafficking in cocaine or conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. In Kessler v. State, 991 So.2d 1015 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008), the Court reversed the Defendant's conviction for trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. The Fourth District Court of Appeals made the following rulings:

  1. The Detective's discussion with the defendant and request that the defendant reveal his drug supplier and call the drug supplier was part of his in custody interrogation which required Miranda warnings about his right to remain silent and right to have counsel present for any questioning.
  2. A tape recording of a phone call the defendant made to his drug supplier was incriminating testimonial communications that should have been excluded (or thrown out of evidence by the judge) because the Defendant had not been read his Miranda warnings; and
  3. The trial court made a mistake by allowing the State Attorney's Office to put into evidence a tape recording of the phone call between the Defendant and his drug supplier, and his mistake was harmful and required that the conviction be reversed.

This case demonstrates the type of motions that can be filed and litigated in cases involving trafficking in cocaine or conspiracy to traffic in cocaine in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, Manatee County, or Sarasota County. In many Florida drug trafficking cases, the arresting officers (and sometimes a DEA agents) will pressure the defendant to make statements to blame another individual for criminal wrongdoing in exchange for "a lighter sentence," "getting out of jail," "going easier on the case" or some other promised benefit. If the detective or DEA agent fails to read Miranda, or makes a promise of some benefit in exchange for a confession, that confession may be suppressed by an experienced Tampa Drug Attorney experienced in representing individuals on Drug Trafficking cases, including Trafficking in Cocaine.

If you have been arrested on any drug offense, contact an experienced Tampa Drug Trafficking Attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your arrest and prosecution today for CONSPIRACY TO TRAFFIC COCAINE, and TRAFFICKING COCAINE, Florida Statutes Section 893.135. You can schedule an office or phone consultation at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., at (813)250-0500.

Arrested for Driving on a Suspended License?

If you have been ticketed for driving while your license was cancelled, suspended, or revoked, either with or without knowledge of the suspension, call our office to discuss your case with an experience Tampa criminal defense attorney before you go to court. Call 813-250-0500 to speak with an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, Florida. We offer free consultations which can help you decide whether you need an attorney, what a conviction may mean for your privilege to drive and insurance premiums, and how you may be able to avoid a conviction for driving on a suspended license.


Depending on the reason why your driver's license was suspended, you may be eligible for a "clerk's withhold" which is process of avoiding a conviction before the case even goes to arraignment. If you are eligible for a clerk's withhold, however, you must resolve your case for this disposition before the arraignment or the first court date. In other cases, you may have a valid defense to the charge which can result in the entire case being dismissed.

The charge of driving while license suspended (either with or without knowledge) is serious. A conviction can cause a dramatic increase in your insurance premiums for years to come. Most importantly, entering a plea or paying the ticket can cause you to receive a five year suspension of your driver's license as a Florida "Habitual Traffic Offender" if you have three criminal or civil infractions within a five (5) year period.

If you received a citation anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Clearwater, contact an experienced Tampa suspended license attorney to discuss your case or visit our website for more detailed information on driving while license suspended or revoked.

We represent individuals charged with the Florida offense of driving on a suspended license in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, Mantatee County and the surrounding areas throughout central Florida. The Florida traffic laws are complex and can cause collateral consequences that can effect you for years to come. Before you try and represent yourself without understanding all of the consequences, contact a Tampa criminal attorney for a free consultation to discuss all of your options for resolving your case. For many people, hiring the right attorney can save them money that might otherwise be paid in fines and increased insurance premiums.

Call 813-250-0500 to speak with an attorney today about what options you might have to fight your ticket for driving while license suspended.

Hire a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney to Help You Petition Quickly to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Florida

Seal or Expunge Florida Criminal Record

Don't let a criminal record keep you from finding your dream job- start the process to seal or expunge your arrest and criminal record today. Many people in Florida suffer the consequences of having a criminal record even through they are eligible to have their record sealed or expunged. Want to know if you are eligible to seal or expunge your Florida Criminal Record? Visit our website for more information on sealing and expunging a criminal record throughout central Florida, including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, Sumter County, Sarasota County, Manatee County or any of the surrounding areas, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bartow, Plant City, New Port Richey, and Dade City. Call (813) 250-0500 today to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Tampa about the seal and expunction process.

Click here for more detailed information-sealing and expunging a criminal record.

After an arrest the police report and court information about the case can cause problems with finding employment or receiving a promotion. Whether all of your charges were completely dropped or whether you entered a plea for a withhold adjudication allowing you to avoid a conviction, the criminal record is still a public record that can be viewed by anyone with internet access or during a basic background check.

If you are eligible, sealing or expunging your criminal record (which includes all records related to the arrest such as any police reports, booking information, mug shot, charging document and other court documents) is the only way of putting the consequences of the arrest and prosecution behind you.

By hiring an experienced Tampa criminal attorney to file and litigate your petition to seal or expunge an arrest record you can make sure that you know up front whether you are eligible, that your the application is complete, that the prosecutor's office and FDLE complete their sections without delay, that the final paperwork is considered and signed by the court as quickly as possible. At the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., our goal is to make sure you experience no delay in obtaining the Florida sealing or expunction (expungement). Although you can file the Florida petition to seal or expunge your records without an attorney, many people find that having an experienced local attorney is a low cost way to find out about eligibility requirements, make sure the application is complete, avoid delays, and avoid having to personally appear for the final court hearing that must be scheduled in many jurisdictions in front of the judge in the case.

Having an experienced Tampa attorney file the paperwork to seal your record or expunge your record can save you time, worry, and delay, whether your petition needs to be filed in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pinellas County, Manatee Count, Pasco County, Sumter County, Hernando County and Sarasota County.

Pursuant to Sections s.943.0585 and s.943 .059, Florida Statutes, a Certificate of Eligibility to expunge or seal a Florida criminal history record can usually be issued if you can honestly answer "no" to the following questions:

  1. As a juvenile, were you ever "adjudicated delinquent" for any criminal charge?
  2. Have you ever been convicted or adjudicated guilty of any crime anywhere in the United States for any offense, including a misdemeanor, felony offense, comparable county ordinance violation?
  3. Have any of your adult criminal records ever been sealed or expunged before?
  4. Are you currently under any type of diversion program (such as MIP or PTI) or any court ordered supervision such as probation or community control?
  5. If you ever entered a plea and the court "withheld adjudication," is the offense for which you entered the plea one of the offenses on the list of disqualifying offenses that can be found below?
Topic: Seal Criminal Record in Hillsborough County, Florida, Seal Arrest Record in Hillsborough County, Florida, Seal Criminal or Arrest Record in Tampa, Florida, Expunge Criminal Record in Hillsborough County, Expunge Arrest Record in Hillsborough County, Seal and Expunction, Sealed and Expunged, Expungement, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, Florida.

Disqualifying Charges for Florida Expunction (Expungement) or Florida Sealing

A request for a certificate of eligibility for a Florida expunction or sealing of a criminal history record will be denied if the defendant was found guilty or pled guilty or nolo contendere, even if the adjudication of guilt was withheld, on any violation of the following offenses listed in S. 907.041, Florida Statutes, including:

  1. Any act of Domestic Violence as defined in s. 741.28 F.S., which would include a misdemeanor or felony charge;
  2. Stalking and Aggravated Stalking;
  3. Aggravated Assault;
  4. Aggravated Battery;
  5. Trafficking in controlled substances;
  6. Manufacturing any substances in violation of chapter 893;
  7. Burglary of a dwelling;
  8. Home-invasion Robbery;
  9. Robbery;
  10. Carjacking;
  11. Aircraft piracy;
  12. Kidnapping;
  13. Homicide;
  14. Manslaughter;
  15. Arson;
  16. Illegal use of explosives;
  17. Act of Terrorism as defined by s. 775.30 F.S.;
  18. Florida Communication Fraud Act(Scheme to Defraud or Organized Fraud, as used in s.817.034, F.S.);
  19. Offenses By Public Officers and Employees;
  20. Child abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse;
  21. Abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, or aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult;
  22. Sexual Battery;
  23. Lewd, lascivious, or indecent assault or act upon or in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years;
  24. Sexual activity with a child, who is 12 years of age or older but less than 18 years of age, by or at solicitation of a person in familial or custodial authority;
  25. Sexual misconduct with developmentally disabled person and related offenses;
  26. Sexual misconduct with mental health patient and related offenses;
  27. Luring or enticing a child;
  28. Sexual Battery and related offenses;
  29. Procuring person under 18 for prostitution;
  30. Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years of age;
  31. Voyeurism;
  32. Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in presence of elderly person or disabled person
    S.827.071, F.S.;
  33. Sexual performance by a child;
  34. Showing, selling, etc., obscene literature to minor;
  35. Computer pornography;
  36. Selling or buying of minors;
  37. Sexual misconduct with mentally deficient or mentally ill defendant and related offenses
  38. A violation of any offense qualify for registration as a sexual predator under s.775.21 or for registration as a sexual offender under s.943.0435; or
  39. Attempting or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes.

You are not eligible to seal your Florida arrest record, if your underlying offense is on this list or if you ever entered a plea to one of these offenses under Florida law, even if adjudication was withheld.

Call the Sammis Law Firm at (813) 250-0500 today to speak with an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney in Hillsborough County, Florida about sealing and expunging a criminal record in any county in Florida, including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, Manatee County, Sarasota County, Hernando County, or Sumter County, Florida.

Hernando County State Attorney and Sheriff's Office Turn on Alleged Victims of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence and Domestic Battery in Brooksville, Hernando County, FL

Hernando County Criminal Defense Attorney - Problems arise in domestic violence cases for the Hernando County State Attorney's Office and the Hernando County State Attorney's Office when the alleged victim in a domestic battery cases wants to drop the criminal charges.

An alleged victim can recant their story for any number of reasons. In many of these cases, one or both parties are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the allegations were motivated in part because of a desire to eject one party from the home, or because the police threatened to arrest both parties because the "primary aggressor" could not be determined causing an exaggerated accusation.

In other cases, the alleged victim is motivated to drop the charges after determining that the matter is personal and does not require court intervention. The alleged victim may also be motivated by a desire to reconcile with the person accused. In other cases, the alleged victim is motivated to end the prosecution because of concerns about financial matters or the devastating effect the arrest and prosecution will have on the accused person's future employment opportunities.

On at least three occasions in July of 2008, the State Attorney's Office in Hernando County has turned against the alleged victim who recants by filing charges for perjury or filing a false police report.

As a criminal defense attorney representing men and women charged with domestic violence and domestic battery crimes in Brooksville, Hernando County, FL, these types of tactics by the prosecutors in domestic violence cases can lead to unjust results when the alleged victim fears telling the truth - that the allegations are false or exaggerated.

In theses types of cases, the alleged victim may need to hire an attorney so that they can invoke their right to remain silent and not testify at trial when their testimony may tend to incriminate them.

If you have been charged with domestic violence or domestic battery, contact an experienced attorney that can help you fight the charges. Call 813-250-0500 to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney or visit our main website for more information.

Read more about the article by John Frank, Times Staff Writer discussing the problem Hernando State Attorney's Office Gets Tough on False Reports.

Lower Number of DUI Deaths in Florida

Florida Among States With Least DUI Deaths - Tampa Tribune
By VALERIE KALFRIN | The Tampa Tribune TAMPA -
Florida is among 10 states with the lowest percentage of deaths involving drunken drivers, according to an...Sobriety checkpoints and ignition-interlock devices – breath tests that prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has alcohol in his system – have helped reduce alcohol-related traffic fatalities, MADD says...

Libertarian Party's Solution to America's Epidemic of Violence Crime

Read more about the Libertarian Party's Solution to America's Epidemic of Violent Crime. Article makes the point that focusing on arresting, prosecuting and warehousing non-violent victim-less offenders in overcrowded prisons comes at the expense of releasing violent criminals back into our communities. Advocates protecting civil liberties of law-abiding citizens by allowing them the right to own firearms and the right to self-defense. Discusses the failed War on Drugs and advocates drug legalization as a means to decrease violence crime.

New Florida Marijuana Laws Aimed at Seizure and Forfeiture of Marijuana Grow Houses


Tampa Marjuana Attorney

Tampa Attorney for Marijuana

WARNING!

Under Florida law, if you are convicted of any drug crime, including possession of cannabis, then your driver's license will be suspended for a period of two (2) years regardless of whether you driving or not when the possession occurred.

Our attorneys are both members of the NORML Legal Committee. NORML stands for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Being on the NORML Legal Committee allows us to focus on recent changes in marijuana laws.

We understand that your arrest and prosecution for possession or sale of marijuana is serious. If you need a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney experienced in defending marijuana cases, contact us today to discuss the best strategy for fighting your cannabis charges throughout the Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Hernando County or Manatee County.

Any charge involving marijuana can have serious direct and collateral consequences, even if you are just charged with simple possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor offense under Florida law.

Florida has some of the harshest laws in the nation dealing with marijuana offenses. In 2008 the Florida Legislature lowered the threshold amount of marijuana plants required to prove "intent to sell or distribute cannabis"- a second degree felony offense. Florida law had previously set 300 plants as the minimum for a second degree felony charge which targeted the cultivation of marijuana. Federal law sets 100 plants as the threshold amount for intent to sell charges which makes Florida's laws even harsher than the federal legislation.

The new Florida legislation allows law enforcement to target marijuana grow houses for forfeiture. The home owner would have to establish that he had no knowledge that pot was being grown in the home to avoid Florida forfeiture laws. Under the new law, the owner of the cannabis grow house can also be arrested and prosecuted for a third degree felony if it can be shown that he knew the house was used to cultivate cannabis.

Florida also broadly defines a marijuana plant to include a cutting or seedling if any roots are present, even a few hair-like strands. So even an individual growing a small amount of marijuana in his own for personal consumption could be targeted under the new Florida marijuana laws.

Fighting Your Marijuana Case

In any drug case, including possession of marijuana, important defense can be raised in a motion to dismiss or a motion to suppress. Call us to discuss ways to defend your case.

Issues Leading to the Suppression or Exclusion of Evidence:

  • Was the search of your person, vehicle or home legally conducted or did the police violate your rights under the Fourth Amendment?
  • If the drugs were found in a vehicle, can the prosecutor prove that the drugs belonged to you, or does the case involve constructive possession through insufficient circumstantial evidence?
  • Was the marijuana found within plain view or was it hidden?
  • Did you or any co-defendant make any statement admitting ownership of the drugs?
  • Did anyone else have access to the drugs if they were hidden in your home or vehicle?
  • Did law enforcement read your Miranda warnings to you before asking you questions?

Possible Indirect Consequences of a Marijuana Conviction:

  • Losing your eligibility for a Bright Futures Scholarship in Florida;
  • Losing your eligibility for Financial Aid;
  • A ban on your eligibility to become a foster parent or adopt a child under Florida law for at least five years after a misdemeanor or felony marijuana conviction;
  • A possible ban for three years which would prevent you from moving into public housing;
  • Not being eligible for public employment with the state or federal government without seeking intensive drug treatment;
  • Not being eligible for certain state certifications, licenses, or permits without seeking intensive drug treatment;
  • Ineligibility for state licenses, permits or certifications without enrolling in a drug treatment program for any felony conviction;
  • Lifetime ban on the right to possess a firearm under Florida Statute Section 790.23 for any felony conviction.
Misdemeanor offenses:
  • Possession of Marijuana (less than 20 grams);
  • Delivery of Marijuana / Cannabis Less than 20 grams (without monetary exchange); and
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Felony offenses:

  • Possession of Marijuana (more than 20 grams);
  • Cultivation or Manufacture of Marijuana;
  • Trafficking in Marijuana;
  • Owning a Marijuana Grow House;
  • Living or Working in a Marijuana Grow House; and
  • Living or Working in a Marijuana Grow House with Minor Children.
Contact a Tampa Marijuana Attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the best way to fight the charges against you for possession, cultivation, delivery, manufacture or trafficking in marijuana for any case in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Bartow, Polk County, Dade City or New Port Richey, Pasco County, St. Petersburg or Clearwater, FL.



What is FR-44 Insurance?

After a DUI conviction, drivers in Florida must provide proof through their insurance company that they have higher liability limits over a three year period after the conviction. Most insurance agents estimate that monthly premiums can increase by 200-300 percent.

The higher limits required under FR-44 are 100/300/50. In addition, if the driver did not have those higher policy limits on the date of the DUI offense then the driver must pay a reinstatement fee of $150 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense.

The only way to avoid the higher and more expensive FR-44 insurance is to avoid a DUI conviction. Contact a Tampa DUI Attorney for more information about the true cost of a DUI.

Tampa DUI Attorney- DUI Checkpoint and Roadblock Cases

Driving under the influence (DUI) cases that occurred after a vehicle is stopped in a DUI roadblock or DUI checkpoint are the most scrutinized types of stops under the Fourth Amendment. In many of these cases, if the DUI attorney properly files and litigates a motion to suppress then the State's entire case can be thrown out.

The Florida Second District Court of Appeals recently reversed such a conviction in Guy v. State, _ So.2d_, 2008 WL 4276326 (Fla. 2d 2008). In this case the defendant appealed his conviction after the court denied his motion to suppress. The evidence at the motion to suppress hearing showed that the defendant was stopped by sheriff's officers who were conducting a Florida DUI sobriety checkpoint. After the stop, the defendant was arrested for driving on a suspended license as a habitual traffic offender, a felony offense punishable by five years in prison. On the day he was arrested he was also on probation for the charge of felony driving under the influence (DUI) with serious bodily injury. The trial court denied the motion to suppress, and the defendant entered a guilty plea to both of his pending cases- DWLS while HTO and Violation of Felony DUI Probation under Florida law. (The defendant entered the plea but reserved the right to appeal the court's denial of his motion to suppress).

The Second District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, and sent the case back to the trial court with instructions to reverse the Felony Suspended License conviction, and reinstate the defendant on the Felony DUI probation. The Guy court recognized the long line of Florida cases dealing with the constitutionality of DUI roadblocks or checkpoints including two Florida Supreme Court cases on the subject: State v. Jones, 483 So.2d 433 (Fla. 1986) and Campbell v. State, 679 So.2d 1168 (Fla. 1996).

In those cases, the Supreme Court of Florida found that before law enforcement officers can set up a DUI sobriety roadblock or DUI checkpoint they must issue a written set of guidelines that detail in advance all of the procedures to be used during the checkpoint. The rationale behind this requirement is that field officers on the scene of the roadblock should not be able to make judgment calls about which vehicles to stop while allowing other vehicles to pass through undisturbed. If field officers had such decision making power they could use that power to stop only older model vehicles, or stop only vehicle with drivers of some ethnic minority, or stop only vehicle with young male drivers.

The Constitution of the United States protects against such intrusions without probable cause or reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. In roadblock cases, the officers do not have legal cause normally required, but such stops are allowed only when strict compliance with pre-determined rules are followed.

The pre-determined rules must limit the decision making ability of individual officers on the scene to select which vehicles to stop. Even in those cases in which the guidelines are properly issued, the field officers that operate the DUI checkpoint must faithfully follow those written guidelines.

In the Guy case the written guidelines called for stopping every vehicle, but allowed the field officer supervisor to come up with a contingency plan if traffic backed up, such as allowing all vehicles to pass through or stopping every other vehicle or every third vehicle as traffic permitted. The Guy court found that this plan left too much discretion to officers in the field. The Guy court also found that the evidence at the suppression hearing showed that the officers did not comply with the flawed plan that had been issued because the officers considered the guidelines "fluid" and subject to modification as required on the scene. For instance, the officers ended the roadblock checkpoint early for a reason not contemplated by the written DUI checkpoint plan.

This DUI checkpoint case is important because it reiterates the scrutiny that must accompany any DUI checkpoint or roadblock case. Defending a DUI checkpoint or DUI roadblock case requires a complete investigation into every aspect of the roadblock, careful analysis of the written DUI checkpoint plan and guidelines, and the skillful cross-examination of the officers to show every mistake made by law enforcement in creating or following that plan. If you have been arrested for DUI, driving while license suspended, or any other offense after a roadblock stop, contact an experienced Tampa DUI attorney to discuss your case.

Tampa Forfeiture Attorney Added to "Forfeiture Endangers American Rights" Foundation's Attorney Directory

Tampa Forfeiture Attorney added to Forfeiture Endangers American Rights Foundation Attorney Directory. F.E.A.R. Forfeiture Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to reform of federal and state asset forfeiture laws to restore due process and protect property rights.

If your vehicle or other assets were seized by the police your attorney can file and litigate a motion for an adverse preliminary hearing which will take place shortly after the seizure and is often the best way to fight for the return of your property. Contact an attorney experienced in fighting forfeiture actions by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the Tampa Police Department or any law enforcement agency in Polk County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, or Sarasota County. If you need to discuss your forfeiture case, contact a Tampa Forfeiture Attorney.

How to Avoid a Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension



Find out how you can get your driver's license reinstated after getting the habitual traffic offender status removed from your driving record. Call the Sammis Law Firm at 813-250-0500 to speak directly with an attorney about your case.

If you have received notice of a Florida Habitual Traffic Offender suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles you must act quickly to preserve all of your rights to contest the suspension. An experienced Florida Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) Attorney can file a motion to remove one or more of the underlying offenses that caused your suspension, especially if one of those offenses was for Driving While License Suspended.

The ideal time to hire an attorney to attack the underlying offense that cause the suspension is within 30 days of when you plead guilty or paid the ticket. However, you can contest the suspension up to two years after you were found guilty of one of the underlying offenses that caused the suspension. Many individuals in Florida are suffering the effects of a five year Habitual Traffic Offender suspension needlessly. A Tampa criminal attorney may be able to "undo" that underlying offense allowing you to then obtain a valid driver's license.

A motion for rehearing must usually be filed within 30 days after the conviction occurred (or 60 days with the court's permission, which is usually granted). Even if you are outside of the 30 to 60 day time period for a motion for rehearing, a post conviction motion called a Rule 3 or Rule 3.850 motion can be filed up to two years after the underlying offense.

In some cases it is necessary to request an administrative records review hearing with the DHSMV within 30 days after the Order of Revocation is issued. For more information, visit our Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) website.

322.264 "Habitual traffic offender" defined.--A "habitual traffic offender" is any person whose record, as maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows that such person has accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses described in subsection (1) or subsection (2) within a 5-year period:
(1) Three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:
(a) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
(b) Any violation of s. 316.193, former s. 316.1931, or former s. 860.01;
(c) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
(d) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked;
(e) Failing to stop and render aid as required under the laws of this state in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another; or
(f) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified.
(2) Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in s. 322.27, including those offenses in subsection (1). 

Any violation of any federal law, any law of another state or country, or any valid ordinance of a municipality or county of another state similar to a statutory prohibition specified in subsection (1) or subsection (2) shall be counted as a violation of such prohibition. In computing the number of convictions, all convictions during the 5 years previous to July 1, 1972, will be used, provided at least one conviction occurs after that date. The fact that previous convictions may have resulted in suspension, revocation, or disqualification under another section does not exempt them from being used for suspension or revocation under this section as a habitual offender.
History.--s. 2, ch. 72-175; s. 21, ch. 73-331; s. 4, ch. 74-384; s. 8, ch. 84-359; s. 21, ch. 86-296; s. 21, ch. 89-282; ss. 11, 21, ch. 91-255; s. 13, ch. 97-96; s. 291, ch. 99-248.

Call an Tampa criminal attorney if you have been declared a Habitual Traffic Offender under Florida law for offenses that occurred in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, Sumter County, Lake County, Orange County, Manatee County or Sarasota County, call the Sammis Law Firm at 813-250-0500 to discuss the possibility of clearing your habitual traffic offender status so that you can reinstate your driver license.

Tampa Suspended License Attorney

If you have been arrested for driving with a license suspended, canceled or revoked contact an experienced Tampa driver license attorney to discuss ways to fight the case.

Under Florida Statute Section 322.34(2), in order to prove driving while license suspended, canceled or revoked with knowledge, the State must establish these elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

1. The accused knew that his license to drive was suspended, canceled or revoke,
2. While driving automobile on a public road within the State of Florida;

The issue of whether the accused had knowledge of the cancellation, suspension or revocation of the driver's license is a question to be determined by the jury from the evidence presented at trial.

Evidence that you knew that your Florida driver's license was suspended can include proof that the records of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) indicate notice of the revocation, cancellation or suspension was hand delivered to the accused.

Evidence that you knew your Florida's driver's license was suspended can include proof that the records of the DHSMV indicate that notice of the suspension, revocation, or cancellation was deposited in the mail and addressed to the accused at his last known address (but not in a case involving failure to pay a fine).

Evidence can include proof that the accused had previously been cited for DWLSR and his driver license had not thereafter been reinstated, then it may be shown that the accused knew of the suspension.

Evidence can include statements made by the accused that he knew his license was suspended, cancelled or revoked.

Clearwater Habitual Traffic Offender Attorney

If you received a notice that your Florida Driver's license is about to be revoke for five years as a habitual traffic offender, contact an criminal defense attorney that fights to remove one of the underlying convictions in the traffic courts in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa or Plant City. Read more about possible ways to reverse the HTO revocation...

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The best time to contact a Tampa habitual traffic offender attorney is as soon as you receive the Order of License Revocation, Suspension or Cancellation" from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Driver Licenses in Tallahassee. However, you may still be eligible to have a prior underlying offense vacated up to two years (24 months) after the conviction occurred under certain circumstances. Many individuals suffer under the habitual traffic offender suspension, not knowing that they can fight the suspension. Contact the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case. Call 813-250-0500 today to speak with a Tampa Habitual Traffic Offender Attorney.

Florida Probation Violation Attorney

If you believe that an arrest warrant has been or will be issued for your arrest because of a violation of probation, contact an Tampa probation violation attorney immediately. Whether you were place on probation in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County, Pinellas County or one of the surrounding areas, contact the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your case. Visit our Violation of Probation website for more information.

948.06 Violation of probation or community control; revocation; modification; continuance; failure to pay restitution or cost of supervision.--

(1)(a) Whenever within the period of probation or community control there are reasonable grounds to believe that a probationer or offender in community control has violated his or her probation or community control in a material respect, any law enforcement officer who is aware of the probationary or community control status of the probationer or offender in community control or any parole or probation supervisor may arrest or request any county or municipal law enforcement officer to arrest such probationer or offender without warrant wherever found and return him or her to the court granting such probation or community control.

(b) Any committing trial court judge may issue a warrant, upon the facts being made known to him or her by affidavit of one having knowledge of such facts, for the arrest of the probationer or offender, returnable forthwith before the court granting such probation or community control. In lieu of issuing a warrant for arrest, the committing trial court judge may issue a notice to appear if the probationer or offender in community control has never been convicted of committing, and is not currently alleged to have committed, a qualifying offense as defined in this section.

(c) Any parole or probation supervisor, any officer authorized to serve criminal process, or any peace officer of this state is authorized to serve and execute such warrant. Any parole or probation supervisor is authorized to serve such notice to appear.

(d) Upon the filing of an affidavit alleging a violation of probation or community control and following issuance of a warrant under s. 901.02, a warrantless arrest under this section, or a notice to appear under this section, the probationary period is tolled until the court enters a ruling on the violation. Notwithstanding the tolling of probation, the court shall retain jurisdiction over the offender for any violation of the conditions of probation or community control that is alleged to have occurred during the tolling period. The probation officer is permitted to continue to supervise any offender who remains available to the officer for supervision until the supervision expires pursuant to the order of probation or community control or until the court revokes or terminates the probation or community control, whichever comes first.

(e) The chief judge of each judicial circuit may direct the department to use a notification letter of a technical violation in appropriate cases in lieu of a violation report, affidavit, and warrant when the alleged violation is not a new felony or misdemeanor offense. Such direction must be in writing and must specify the types of specific violations which are to be reported by a notification letter of a technical violation, any exceptions to those violations, and the required process for submission. At the direction of the chief judge, the department shall send the notification letter of a technical violation to the court.

(f) The court may allow the department to file an affidavit, notification letter, violation report, or other report under this section by facsimile or electronic submission.

(2)(a) The court, upon the probationer or offender being brought before it, shall advise him or her of such charge of violation and, if such charge is admitted to be true, may forthwith revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or place the probationer into a community control program.

(b) If probation or community control is revoked, the court shall adjudge the probationer or offender guilty of the offense charged and proven or admitted, unless he or she has previously been adjudged guilty, and impose any sentence which it might have originally imposed before placing the probationer on probation or the offender into community control.

(c) If such violation of probation or community control is not admitted by the probationer or offender, the court may commit him or her or release him or her with or without bail to await further hearing, or it may dismiss the charge of probation or community control violation.

(d) If such charge is not at that time admitted by the probationer or offender and if it is not dismissed, the court, as soon as may be practicable, shall give the probationer or offender an opportunity to be fully heard on his or her behalf in person or by counsel.

(e) After such hearing, the court may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or place the probationer into community control. If such probation or community control is revoked, the court shall adjudge the probationer or offender guilty of the offense charged and proven or admitted, unless he or she has previously been adjudged guilty, and impose any sentence which it might have originally imposed before placing the probationer or offender on probation or into community control.

(f) Notwithstanding s. 775.082, when a period of probation or community control has been tolled, upon revocation or modification of the probation or community control, the court may impose a sanction with a term that when combined with the amount of supervision served and tolled, exceeds the term permissible pursuant to s. 775.082 for a term up to the amount of the tolled period of supervision.

(g) If the court dismisses an affidavit alleging a violation of probation or community control, the offender's probation or community control shall continue as previously imposed, and the offender shall receive credit for all tolled time against his or her term of probation or community control.

(h)1. For each case in which the offender admits to committing a violation or is found to have committed a violation, the department shall provide the court with a recommendation as to disposition by the court. The department shall provide the reasons for its recommendation and include an evaluation of:

a. The appropriateness or inappropriateness of community facilities, programs, or services for treating or supervising the offender;

b. The ability or inability of the department to provide an adequate level of supervision of the offender in the community and a statement of what constitutes an adequate level of supervision; and

c. The existence of treatment modalities that the offender could use but that do not currently exist in the community.

2. The report must also include a summary of the offender's prior supervision history, including the offender's prior participation in treatment, educational, and vocational programs, and any other actions by or circumstances concerning the offender which are relevant.

3. The court may specify whether the recommendation or report must be oral or written and may waive the requirement for a report in an individual case or a class of cases. This paragraph does not prohibit the department from making any other report or recommendation that is provided for by law or requested by the court.

(3) When the court imposes a subsequent term of supervision following a revocation of probation or community control, it shall not provide credit for time served while on probation or community control toward any subsequent term of probation or community control. However, the court may not impose a subsequent term of probation or community control which, when combined with any amount of time served on preceding terms of probation or community control for offenses before the court for sentencing, would exceed the maximum penalty allowable as provided by s. 775.082. No part of the time that the defendant is on probation or in community control shall be considered as any part of the time that he or she shall be sentenced to serve.

(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a felony probationer or an offender in community control who is arrested for violating his or her probation or community control in a material respect may be taken before the court in the county or circuit in which the probationer or offender was arrested. That court shall advise him or her of the charge of a violation and, if such charge is admitted, shall cause him or her to be brought before the court that granted the probation or community control. If the violation is not admitted by the probationer or offender, the court may commit him or her or release him or her with or without bail to await further hearing. However, if the probationer or offender is under supervision for any criminal offense proscribed in chapter 794, s. 800.04(4), (5), (6), s. 827.071, or s. 847.0145, or is a registered sexual predator or a registered sexual offender, or is under supervision for a criminal offense for which he or she would meet the registration criteria in s. 775.21, s. 943.0435, or s. 944.607 but for the effective date of those sections, the court must make a finding that the probationer or offender is not a danger to the public prior to release with or without bail. In determining the danger posed by the offender's or probationer's release, the court may consider the nature and circumstances of the violation and any new offenses charged; the offender's or probationer's past and present conduct, including convictions of crimes; any record of arrests without conviction for crimes involving violence or sexual crimes; any other evidence of allegations of unlawful sexual conduct or the use of violence by the offender or probationer; the offender's or probationer's family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, and mental condition; his or her history and conduct during the probation or community control supervision from which the violation arises and any other previous supervisions, including disciplinary records of previous incarcerations; the likelihood that the offender or probationer will engage again in a criminal course of conduct; the weight of the evidence against the offender or probationer; and any other facts the court considers relevant. The court, as soon as is practicable, shall give the probationer or offender an opportunity to be fully heard on his or her behalf in person or by counsel. After the hearing, the court shall make findings of fact and forward the findings to the court that granted the probation or community control and to the probationer or offender or his or her attorney. The findings of fact by the hearing court are binding on the court that granted the probation or community control. Upon the probationer or offender being brought before it, the court that granted the probation or community control may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or may place the probationer into community control as provided in this section. However, the probationer or offender shall not be released and shall not be admitted to bail, but shall be brought before the court that granted the probation or community control if any violation of felony probation or community control other than a failure to pay costs or fines or make restitution payments is alleged to have been committed by:

(a) A violent felony offender of special concern, as defined in this section;

(b) A person who is on felony probation or community control for any offense committed on or after the effective date of this act and who is arrested for a qualifying offense as defined in this section; or

(c) A person who is on felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a habitual violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(b), a three-time violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(c), or a sexual predator under s. 775.21, and who is arrested for committing a qualifying offense as defined in this section on or after the effective date of this act.

(5) In any hearing in which the failure of a probationer or offender in community control to pay restitution or the cost of supervision as provided in s. 948.09, as directed, is established by the state, if the probationer or offender asserts his or her inability to pay restitution or the cost of supervision, it is incumbent upon the probationer or offender to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he or she does not have the present resources available to pay restitution or the cost of supervision despite sufficient bona fide efforts legally to acquire the resources to do so. If the probationer or offender cannot pay restitution or the cost of supervision despite sufficient bona fide efforts, the court shall consider alternate measures of punishment other than imprisonment. Only if alternate measures are not adequate to meet the state's interests in punishment and deterrence may the court imprison a probationer or offender in community control who has demonstrated sufficient bona fide efforts to pay restitution or the cost of supervision.

(6) Any parolee in a community control program who has allegedly violated the terms and conditions of such placement is subject to the provisions of ss. 947.22 and 947.23.

(7) Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, whenever probation, community control, or control release, including the probationary, community control portion of a split sentence, is violated and the probation or community control is revoked, the offender, by reason of his or her misconduct, shall be deemed to have forfeited all gain-time or commutation of time for good conduct, as provided by law, earned up to the date of his or her release on probation, community control, or control release. This subsection does not deprive the prisoner of his or her right to gain-time or commutation of time for good conduct, as provided by law, from the date on which the prisoner is returned to prison. However, if a prisoner is sentenced to incarceration following termination from a drug punishment program imposed as a condition of probation, the sentence may include incarceration without the possibility of gain-time or early release for the period of time remaining in his or her treatment program placement term.

(8)(a) In addition to complying with the provisions of subsections (1)-(7), this subsection provides further requirements regarding a probationer or offender in community control who is a violent felony offender of special concern. The provisions of this subsection shall control over any conflicting provisions in subsections (1)-(7). For purposes of this subsection, the term "convicted" means a determination of guilt which is the result of a trial or the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld.

(b) For purposes of this section and ss. 903.0351, 948.064, and 921.0024, the term "violent felony offender of special concern" means a person who is on:

1. Felony probation or community control related to the commission of a qualifying offense committed on or after the effective date of this act;

2. Felony probation or community control for any offense committed on or after the effective date of this act, and has previously been convicted of a qualifying offense;

3. Felony probation or community control for any offense committed on or after the effective date of this act, and is found to have violated that probation or community control by committing a qualifying offense;

4. Felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a habitual violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(b) and has committed a qualifying offense on or after the effective date of this act;

5. Felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a three-time violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(c) and has committed a qualifying offense on or after the effective date of this act; or

6. Felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a sexual predator under s. 775.21 and has committed a qualifying offense on or after the effective date of this act.

(c) For purposes of this section, the term "qualifying offense" means any of the following:

1. Kidnapping or attempted kidnapping under s. 787.01, false imprisonment of a child under the age of 13 under s. 787.02(3), or luring or enticing a child under s. 787.025(2)(b) or (c).

2. Murder or attempted murder under s. 782.04, attempted felony murder under s. 782.051, or manslaughter under s. 782.07.

3. Aggravated battery or attempted aggravated battery under s. 784.045.

4. Sexual battery or attempted sexual battery under s. 794.011(2), (3), (4), or (8)(b) or (c).

5. Lewd or lascivious battery or attempted lewd or lascivious battery under s. 800.04(4), lewd or lascivious molestation under s. 800.04(5)(b) or (c)2., lewd or lascivious conduct under s. 800.04(6)(b), lewd or lascivious exhibition under s. 800.04(7)(b), or lewd or lascivious exhibition on computer under s. 847.0135(5)(b).

6. Robbery or attempted robbery under s. 812.13, carjacking or attempted carjacking under s. 812.133, or home invasion robbery or attempted home invasion robbery under s. 812.135.

7. Lewd or lascivious offense upon or in the presence of an elderly or disabled person or attempted lewd or lascivious offense upon or in the presence of an elderly or disabled person under s. 825.1025.

8. Sexual performance by a child or attempted sexual performance by a child under s. 827.071.

9. Computer pornography under s. 847.0135(2) or (3), transmission of child pornography under s. 847.0137, or selling or buying of minors under s. 847.0145.

10. Poisoning food or water under s. 859.01.

11. Abuse of a dead human body under s. 872.06.

12. Any burglary offense or attempted burglary offense that is either a first degree felony or second degree felony under s. 810.02(2) or (3).

13. Arson or attempted arson under s. 806.01(1).

14. Aggravated assault under s. 784.021.

15. Aggravated stalking under s. 784.048(3), (4), (5), or (7).

16. Aircraft piracy under s. 860.16.

17. Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb under s. 790.161(2), (3), or (4).

18. Treason under s. 876.32.

19. Any offense committed in another jurisdiction which would be an offense listed in this paragraph if that offense had been committed in this state.

(d) In the case of an alleged violation of probation or community control other than a failure to pay costs, fines, or restitution, the following individuals shall remain in custody pending the resolution of the probation or community control violation:

1. A violent felony offender of special concern, as defined in this section;

2. A person who is on felony probation or community control for any offense committed on or after the effective date of this act and who is arrested for a qualifying offense as defined in this section; or

3. A person who is on felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be a habitual violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(b), a three-time violent felony offender as defined in s. 775.084(1)(c), or a sexual predator under s. 775.21, and who is arrested for committing a qualifying offense as defined in this section on or after the effective date of this act.

The court shall not dismiss the probation or community control violation warrant pending against an offender enumerated in this paragraph without holding a recorded violation-of-probation hearing at which both the state and the offender are represented.

(e) If the court, after conducting the hearing required by paragraph (d), determines that a violent felony offender of special concern has committed a violation of probation or community control other than a failure to pay costs, fines, or restitution, the court shall:

1. Make written findings as to whether or not the violent felony offender of special concern poses a danger to the community. In determining the danger to the community posed by the offender's release, the court shall base its findings on one or more of the following:

a. The nature and circumstances of the violation and any new offenses charged.

b. The offender's present conduct, including criminal convictions.

c. The offender's amenability to nonincarcerative sanctions based on his or her history and conduct during the probation or community control supervision from which the violation hearing arises and any other previous supervisions, including disciplinary records of previous incarcerations.

d. The weight of the evidence against the offender.

e. Any other facts the court considers relevant.

2. Decide whether to revoke the probation or community control.

a. If the court has found that a violent felony offender of special concern poses a danger to the community, the court shall revoke probation and shall sentence the offender up to the statutory maximum, or longer if permitted by law.

b. If the court has found that a violent felony offender of special concern does not pose a danger to the community, the court may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or may place the probationer into community control as provided in this section.

History.--s. 26, ch. 20519, 1941; s. 2, ch. 59-130; s. 2, ch. 61-498; s. 1, ch. 69-71; s. 20, ch. 83-131; ss. 2, 3, ch. 84-337; ss. 8, 9, 38, 48, ch. 89-526; s. 13, ch. 89-531; s. 11, ch. 90-287; s. 2, ch. 91-225; s. 8, ch. 91-280; s. 23, ch. 97-78; s. 1687, ch. 97-102; s. 5, ch. 97-239; s. 13, ch. 97-299; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 1, ch. 2001-109; s. 50, ch. 2004-11; ss. 27, 28, 41, ch. 2004-373; s. 13, ch. 2005-28; s. 3, ch. 2007-2; s. 5, ch. 2007-210; s. 29, ch. 2008-172.

Florida Retail Theft or Shopliting Attorney

If you have been arrested for theft or shoplifting, contact an experienced Tampa theft or shoplifting attorney to discuss the case. Any theft, retail theft, or shoplifting charge is considered a "crime of dishonesty" under Florida law which can have serious consequences to your future employment opportunities. Defenses exist to fight this charge and many counties will consider dropping the charges if the client enters and successfully completes a diversion program. Find out what you need to do right now to protect yourself against an allegation of theft, retail theft or shopliting in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County or Sarasota County. Whether you have been arrested for shopliting in Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Clearwater, Florida.

Under Florida Statute Section 812.015(1) dealing with Retail Theft or Shoplifting the State must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

  1. the Defendant acted knowingly;
  2. with the intention to take away from the owner of the store the use, possession, full retail value of the merchandise; and
  • carried away the items or otherwise took possession of the merchandise;
  • removed or destroyed a retail tag or retail label from the merchandise; or
  • moved the merchandise to a different container.
"Merchandise" means any personal property, capable of manual delivery, displayed, held or offered for retail sale by a merchant.

"Merchant" means an owner or operator and the agent, consignee, employee, lessee or officer of an owner or operator of any premises (or apparatus) used for retail purchase or sale of any merchandise.

"Value of merchandise" means the sale price of the merchandise at the time it was stolen or otherwise removed depriving the owner of his lawful right to ownership and sale of said item.

Optional Definitions
"Knowingly" means with actual knowledge and understanding of the facts or the truth.

"Knowingly" means an act done voluntarily and intentionally and not because of mistake or accident or other innocent reason.

If you have been accused of Shoplifting, Petit Theft or Retail Theft contact a Tampa criminal attorney experienced in fighting theft charges. Call to speak with an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., today at (813)250-0500.

Florida DUI Attorney - Jury Instructions

Interested in the standard Florida jury instructions for DUI (drunk driving)? If you have been arrested for Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or a Controlled Substance ("DUI") in the Tampa Bay Area, including Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Manatee County, Polk County, Pinellas County or any of the surrounding areas, contact a Tampa DUI attorney to discuss your case.

Perhaps the best way to understand Florida DUI law is to read the standard jury instructions. If your DUI case goes to trial a similar instruction may be read to the jury in your case.

DRIVING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE, Pursuant to Section § 316.193, Fla.Stat.

To prove the crime of Driving Under the Influence, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. (Defendant) drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle.

2. While driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle (defendant)

Give 2a or b as applicable.
a. was under the influence of [alcoholic beverages] [a chemical substance] [a controlled substance] to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired or

b. had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

Definitions. Give as applicable.
"Vehicle" is any device, in, upon or by which any person or property is, or may be, transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

"Normal faculties" include but are not limited to the ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive an automobile, make judgments, act in emergencies and, in general, to normally perform the many mental and physical acts of our daily lives.

"Actual physical control of a vehicle" means the defendant must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether [he] [she] is actually operating the vehicle at the time.

"Alcoholic beverages" are considered to be substances of any kind and description which contain alcohol.

( ) is a controlled substance under Florida law. F.S. Chapter 893.

( ) is a chemical substance under Florida law. F.S. 877.111(1).

When appropriate, give one or more of the following instructions on the presumptions of impairment established by Fla.Stat. § 316.1934(2)(a), (2)(b), and (2)(c).

1. If you find from the evidence that the defendant had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.05 or less, you shall presume that the defendant was not under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired.

2. If you find from the evidence that the defendant had a blood or breath alcohol level in excess of 0.05 but less than 0.08, you may consider that evidence with other competent evidence in determining whether the defendant was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired; or

3. If you find from the evidence that the defendant had a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or more, that evidence would be sufficient by itself to establish that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired. However, such evidence may be contradicted or rebutted by other evidence demonstrating that the defendant was not under the influence to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired.

These presumptions may be considered along with any other evidence presented in deciding whether the defendant was under the influence of alcoholic beverages to the extent that [his] [her] normal faculties were impaired.

Give only if this defense is raised.
It is a defense to the charge of driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence if at the time of the alleged offense the vehicle was inoperable. However, it is not a defense if, while impaired, the defendant drove or was in actual physical control of the vehicle before it became inoperable. Therefore, if you are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the vehicle was operable at the time of the alleged offense, you should find the defendant not guilty. However, if you are convinced that the vehicle was operable at the time of the alleged offense, then you should find the defendant guilty if all the other elements of the charge have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reading the standard jury instructions for drunk driving or DUI charges under Florida law can give you a better idea what the issues in your case might involve. This general information is no substitute for speaking directly with an attorney about the facts of your case.

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Sammis Law Firm
1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 250-0500