Tampa Police Department Video Shows a Softer Side

The Tampa Police Department has a video that has gone "viral" with 45,000+ views. TPD seems really proud of this if you read the comments on the TPD YouTube channel.

Maybe TPD wanted to show a softer side after its military-like occupation of downtown Tampa during the 2012 RNC convention. A few weeks before the convention a TPD officer told me that he was told to expect 70,000 anarchists with baseball bats.

Although that prediction was thankfully wrong, the police force in place could have probably handled 70,000 anarchists with baseball bats. The entire downtown was shut down. Downtown businesses, schools, and the courthouse were all essentially closed. Downtown Tampa looked like a ghost town except for a massive police presence marching around the empty downtown area in military formation. Law enforcement officers outnumbered the protesters several times over. Ten foot fences were erected to keep the protesters within confined areas. It was massive overkill.

The Republican National Convention was suppose to bring a lot of money to the Tampa Bay area. That benefit is greatly diminished when law enforcement shuts down the city for a week.

But now that the RNC is gone, the Tampa Police Department is in the limelight again. This time the TPD officers are all dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe."

Update: Apparently no one watches TPD videos unless the officers look ridiculous. So TPD made another video. The first one was kind of funny, but at some point they need to spend their valuable resources doing actual work.


Florida's Court Appointed Criminal Defense Rates Unchanged for 30 Years 



As we approach the 50th anniversary of the landmark right to counsel decision in Gideon v. Wainwright we should take a close look at the funding of the criminal justice system.

The rates for court appointed attorneys in criminal conflict cases has remained largely unchanged for 30 years. What are Florida's current mandated conflict counsel fees in criminal cases? Those fees are set out in Florida Statute Section 27.5304, F.S. and the General Appropriations Act which I listed below.



Let me give you one example - the attorney is paid $2,500 for a first degree murder case not involving the death penalty. Yes, you read that correctly - two thousand five hundred dollars for a first degree murder case.

The Office of the State Courts Administrator (OSCA) is required by the 2012 General Appropriations Act to conduct a study of the reasonableness of the current mandated conflict counsel fees in criminal cases. According to an e-mail sent out by Derek Byrd, FACDL President, the study will be submitted to the Florida Legislature by January 15, 2013.

What are the Statutory Maximum Fees for Court Appointed Counsel in Florida?

The statutory maximum fees are outlined in Florida Statute 27.5304.  The maximum allowable fees pursuant to the General Appropriations Act are contained in Ch. 2012-118 Line Item 829. Florida Statute Section 27.5304 (5)(a) provides that the compensation for representation by an attorney in a criminal proceeding shall not exceed the following: 
  1. For misdemeanors and juveniles represented at the trial level: $1,000.
  2. For noncapital, nonlife felonies represented at the trial level: $2,500.
  3. For life felonies represented at the trial level: $3,000.
  4. For capital cases represented at the trial level: $15,000. For purposes of this subparagraph, a “capital case” is any offense for which the potential sentence is death and the state has not waived seeking the death penalty.
  5. For representation on appeal: $2,000.
CH. 2012-118, LINE 829 of SECTION 4 - CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND CORRECTIONS provdies that 
the maximum flat fee to be paid by the Justice Administrative Commission
 (JAC) for attorney fees for criminal conflict cases is set as follows:

          POSTCONVICTION - Rules 3.850 and 3.800, Fla.R.Crim. Proc. - $1,000

    
          CAPITAL - 1ST DEGREE MURDER (LEAD COUNSEL)- $15,000

          CAPITAL - 1ST DEGREE MURDER (CO-COUNSEL)- $15,000

          CAPITAL - 1ST DEGREE MURDER (NON-DEATH)- $2,500

          CAPITAL SEXUAL BATTERY- $2,000

          CAPITAL APPEALS- $2,000

    
          CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS- $400

    
          CRIMINAL TRAFFIC- $400

    
          EXTRADITION- $500

    
          FELONY - LIFE- $2,500

          FELONY - PUNISHABLE BY LIFE- $2,000

          FELONY 1ST DEGREE- $1,500

          FELONY 2ND DEGREE- $1,000

          FELONY 3RD DEGREE- $750

          FELONY OR MISDEMEANOR - NO INFORMATION FILED- $400

          FELONY APPEALS- $1,500

    
          JUVENILE DELINQUENCY - 1ST DEGREE FELONY- $600

          JUVENILE DELINQUENCY - 2ND DEGREE- $400

          JUVENILE DELINQUENCY - 3RD DEGREE- $300

          JUVENILE DELINQUENCY - FELONY LIFE- $700

          JUVENILE DELINQUENCY - MISDEMEANOR- $300

          JUVENILE DELINQUENCY - DIRECT FILE OR NO PETITION FILED- $300

          JUVENILE DELINQUENCY APPEALS- $1,000

    
          MISDEMEANOR- $400

          MISDEMEANOR APPEALS- $750

    
          VIOLATION OF PROBATION - FELONY (INCLUDES VOCC)- $500

          VIOLATION OF PROBATION - MISDEMEANOR (INCLUDES VOCC)- $300

          VIOLATION OF PROBATION (VOCC) JUVENILE DELINQUENCY- $300

What can you say about a system that pays $2,500 for a first-degree murder case?
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/06/23/2863493_p2/new-fee-rules-rile-south-florida.html#storylink=cpy

Too Pretty for Sex Offender Probation?

Remember when the Honorable Wayne S. Timmerman, Circuit Court Judge in Hillsborough County, granted a motion for early termination of Debra LaFave's probation? That order was recently reversed by a higher court meaning that Debra LaFave will go back to court where her original sentence will be reinstated and she will be back on probation.

Debra LaFave was given a huge break at every stage of her prosecution from the original negotiated sentence to the early termination of probation. Her attorney suggested that she was too pretty to go to prison. Did the fact that she was an attractive female and new mother of twins also lead to the highly unusual ruling when it came to terminating her probation early?

Early Termination of Probation was Deemed a "Gross Miscarriage of Justice"

Florida law provides that a order terminating probation cannot be appealed by the State. Not to be deterred by this well-settled principle, the State took the matter of to a higher court through a petition called a "Writ of Certiorari." Ultimately, the Second District Court of Appealed sided with the State and remanded the case back to the trial court with instructions that Debra LaFave's probation be reinstated under the original terms and conditions.

The Second District Court of Appeals granted the State's petition for writ of certiorari in order to "correct a departure from the essential requirements of the law resulting in a gross miscarriage of justice." The court goes on to made the following findings:
  • Judge Timmerman's order terminating probation early constituted a violation of the negotiated plea agreement. 
  • The order was "extremely prejudicial" to the State.
  • Reviewing the case in a writ of certiorari was crucial "to the fair administration of criminal justice” and necessary “to correct an erroneous and highly prejudicial ruling.”
The Negotiated Sentence - "No Early Termination of Probation"

Debra LaFave was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious battery pursuant to Florida Statute § 800.04(4)(a). Under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code (often called "the score sheet") her lowest permissible sentence was 15.1875 years in Florida State Prison.

In order to avoid a prison sentence, Debra LaFave entered into a negotiated plea agreement with the State that provided for a "downward departure." Under the terms of the negotiated plea agreement, Debra LaFave would avoid prison and would instead be sentenced to three years of community control to be followed by seven years of sex offender probation. As part of the negotiated plea, the Defense and the Prosecution agreed that Debra Lafave would serve her entire community control and probation sentence and would not seek early termination of probation.

Avoiding a prison sentence or any jail time for such charges is relatively rare. Many people were critical of the prosecutor's lenience in the case and believed it was because the perpetrator was a women, an attractive women. Men charged with having sex with a fourteen year old female (particularly in a case involving a student/teacher relationship) typically receive harsh prison sentences.

Read more about what lead up to the negotiated plea in an article called "Anyone She Wanted: The Sexual Offense of Debra Lafave." 

Motion for Early Termination of Probation in Debra LaFave's Case

After six years of her ten year probation term, LaFave filed a motion for early termination her probation. The request to terminate probation went against her plea agreement to not seek early termination of probation. Although the prosecutor objected, the court nevertheless agreed to terminate the probation.

Consequences for Other Motions for Early Termination of Probation

Although the courts are extremely reluctant to terminate probation early in sex offender cases, such motions are routinely granted in other types of cases from misdemeanor DUI cases to other types of felony cases such as grand theft. Occasionally when negotiating the plea agreement the prosecutor will demand a stipulation that there will be "no early termination of probation."

Prior to this decision, it was assumed that such stipulations were not enforceable because the Court had a duty to consider what was in the "interest of justice" at the time of the hearing on the motion for early termination.

This case makes it less likely that the judge would terminate the probation early when the terms of the negotiated plea stipulated that no early termination would occur. The opinion itself seems to limit its holding to cases in which the plea agreement involved a downward departure and the "no early termination of probation" provision was part of the negotiated plea. Nevertheless, this case may have some impact on early termination of probation cases in a wider set of circumstances when trial courts become reluctant to risk a ruling that could be deemed a gross miscarriage of justice.

Accidentally Bringing a Gun to the Airport, the Arrest and TSA Civil Penalty




What happens if you accidentally bring a knife or a gun in your carry-on bag? If you don't realize the mistake until you go through the screening process then under Florida law you can face criminal charges for:



  • carrying a concealed weapon with a permit in a restricted area (a second degree misdemeanor); or 
  • carrying a concealed firearm (a third degree felony). 
  • carrying a firearm into an airport terminal, in violation of section 790.06(12), Florida Statutes, a second degree misdemeanor under § 790.06(12)(d), Fla. Stat. (2011).
    All three of these offenses have a knowledge or "mens rea" element that requires the prosecutor for the State of Florida prove that you knew that you were in actual or constructive possession of the weapon. In many of these cases, the person immediately explains to the TSA official or airport security that he or she did not know the weapon was in the carry-on luggage.

    For an arrest at the Tampa International Airport in Hillsborough County, bringing a weapon or firearm to the airport will usually result in an arrest even if it is clear the person did it on accident. In other words, in many of these cases, the evidence is overwhelming that the individual did NOT realize that the weapon was in the luggage. Although such arrests are common, that individual may have a valid defense to any criminal charge if he or she did not "KNOW" that the firearm was in the luggage.

    Over the years, we have represented dozens of clients charged with carrying a concealed weapon or firearm at Tampa International Airport. We fight these cases aggressively. If our client didn't know that the weapon or firearm was in the carry on luggage, then we take depositions of all witnesses and file motions to dismiss the criminal charges. Call us at 813-250-0500 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

    TSA Notice of Violation and Civil Penalty Assessment Order

    Not only will you face the criminal charges, but the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has also started issuing notices of violation and civil penalty assessment orders in such cases. Because the regulations are civil and not criminal in nature, no knowledge requirement generally exists as an element of the violation.

    The TSA provides that not all alleged violations result in a civil penalty assessment order. Instead, some violations will trigger only a "warning notice" or "letter of correction" or "no action." 

    In many cases, the first correspondence from the TSA is Notice of Violation that advises the individual that the TSA proposes assessing a civil penalty in an amount which does not exceed $10,000.00 for a violation of the Transportation Security Regulations (hereinafter "TSR").  If the TSA is unable to resolve the Notice of Violation by reaching an agreement with the individual who allegedly violated the regulations then the TSA will propose a civil penalty amount after reviewing all of the relevant facts and evidence contained in the investigative file.

    For cases involving bringing a gun through the security screening area, the regulation violation is 49 C.F.R. Section 1540.111(a) of the TSR which provides that an individual may not have a weapon, explosive or incendiary on or about the individual's person or accessible property when performance has begun of the inspection of the individual's person or accessible property before entering a sterile area, or before boarding an aircraft.

    Click here to read the Transportation Security Regulations and select Title 49, Section 1503. 

    Paying the Civil Penalty or Requesting a Formal Review Hearing

    After the individual receives the Final Notice of Violation and Civil Penalty Assessment Order for a TSR violation such as 49 C.F.R. Section 1540.111(a) for bringing a gun, firearm or other weapon to the airport, the individual must take action within 15 calendar days of the date of that order.

    The individual must take the appropriate action as specified in the notice which might include:
    1. Pay the full civil penalty amount proposed in the Final Notice of Violation and Assessment Order that states the amount of the civil penalty; or
    2. Submit a civil penalty amount that is otherwise agreed upon by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security NOV Program Office (TSA-801) as documented in a separate Order Assessing Civil Penalty; or
    3. Request, in writing, a Formal Hearing to seek review of the basis for, or amount of the civil penalty.
      • The individual must file a typewritten or legible handwritten "Request for Hearing" with the Enforcement Docket Clerk which is dated and signed by the individual in accordance with 49 C.F.R. Section 1503.16 of the TSR;
      • The individual must mail the request for a hearing to the appropriate ALJ Docketing Center, Attn: Enforcement Docket Clerk, U.S. Coast Guard, 40 S. Gay Street - Room 412, Baltimore, MD 21202-4022;
      • The individual must also mail a copy of the "Request for Hearing" to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), NOV Program Office (TSA-801), 601 S. 12th Street, Arlington, VA 20598-6801.
    Look at your notice carefully and talk with an attorney in order to determine what the options might be in your particular case. For many individuals, the proposed penalty is excessive given their economic circumstances. It might be possible to negotiate with the NOV Program Office for a substantially lower penalty. Other direct and indirect consequences attach, including enhanced penalties for a subsequent violation.

    TSA's Enforcement Sanction Guidance for Bring Weapon to Airport

    In determining the amount of the civil penalty, the TSA will consider certain aggravating factors including:
    1. Artful concealment; 
    2. Number of weapons, or volume of explosives and incendiaries; 
    3. Type of weapon, explosive or incendiary;
    4. Display or use of weapon, explosive or incendiary; 
    5. Past violation history of violator;
    6. Experience level of violator (e.g., airport/air carrier employees are trained and experienced).; 
    7. Evidence of intent to interfere with operations (e.g., testing the system with a prohibited item, attempting to enter sterile area with prohibited item after previously being allowed to leave in order to divest); and
    8. Attitude of violator.
    The TSA will also consider certain mitigating factors such as:
    1. Disclosure by violator;
    2. Inexperienced flyer; 
    3. Violator is a juvenile; and
    4. Other penalties assessed by federal, state, or local law enforcement.
    A. Security Violations by Individuals for Prohibited Items Discovered at Checkpoint/Sterile Area/Onboard Aircraft - Applicable TSA Regulation: 49 C.F.R. § 1540.111(a)

    Weapons
    • Firearms
    i. Loaded (or accessible ammunition) - $3,000 - $7,500 Plus Criminal Referral
    ii. Unloaded - $1,500 - $3,000 Plus Criminal Referral
    • Other weapons (this category includes sharp objects, club-like items, and other prohibited items, other than firearms, that may be used as a weapon. - $250 - $1,500
    • Disabling chemicals - General penalty range - $250 - $1,500
    • Incendiaries - General penalty range - $250 - $1,500
      • Explosives 
      1. Blasting Caps, Dynamite, Hand grenades, Plastic explosives & All other “high explosives” - $6,000 - $10,000 Plus Criminal Referral
      2. Ammunition (note: See exception for ammunition in Checked Baggage, 49 C.F.R. § 1540.111(d)), Fireworks, Flares in any form, Gunpowder (note: volume over 10 ounces standard package justifies use of Penalty Range A.)- $250 - $1,500
      B. Security Violations by Individuals for Prohibited Items Discovered in Checked Baggage - 

      Applicable TSA Regulation: 49 C.F.R. § 1540.111(c)

      Weapons
      • Firearms
      1. Loaded (or accessible ammunition) - $1,000 - $2,000 Plus Criminal Referral
      2. Unloaded - and undeclared/not properly packaged - $500 - $1,000
      • Incendiaries - General penalty range- $250 - $1,500
      • Explosives
      • Blasting Caps, Dynamite, Hand grenades, Plastic explosives and all other “high explosives- $6,000 - $10,000 Plus Criminal Referral
      • "Ammunition (note: See exception for ammunition in Checked Baggage, 49 C.F.R. § 1540.111(d)), Fireworks, Flares in any form, Gunpowder (note: volume over 10 ounces standard package justifies use of Penalty Range A.)- $250 - $1,500
      C. Other Security Violations by Individuals or Persons

      1. Interference With Screening (49 C.F.R. § 1540.109 )
      a. Physical contact - $1,500 - $5,000
      b. Non-physical contact - $500 - $1,500
      c. False Threats- $1,000 - $2,000
      2. Entering Sterile Area Without Submitting To Screening (49 C.F.R. § 1540.107) - $1,000 - $3,000

      3. Tampering or interfering with, compromising, modifying, attempting to circumvent, or causing a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure. (49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)) - $1,000-$3,000

      4. Entering or being present within a secured area, AOA, SIDA, or sterile area without complying with the systems measures or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas. (49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)(2)) - $2,500-$6,000

      5. Improper use of airport access medium. (49 CF.R. § 1540.105(a)(3)) - $1,000-$3,000

      6. Fraud and Intentional Falsification (49 C.F.R. § 1540.103) - $2,500-$6,000 Plus Criminal Referral

      7. Failure to allow inspection of airman certificate, Authorization, or FAA license. (49 C.F.R. § 1540.113) - $1,000-$3,000

      Conclusion

      If you have been arrested or given a notice to appear after being accused of a weapon or firearm charge at Tampa International Airport, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. Call us at 813-250-0500 to discuss fighting the criminal charge and resolving the TSA's notice of violation and civil penalty assessment order that will follow.

      We also represent clients after their money or other property is seized for forfeiture by an agent with the Department of Homeland Security in Tampa, FL, and the surrounding areas.

      Call an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm at 813-250-0500 to discuss your case today. 


      Fifth DCA Rejects Shelton Case: Finds Florida Drug Laws Constitutional

      In Carreras v. State issued on March 2, 2012, Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to the facial constitutionality of Florida's drug statutes under the reasoning used by a federal judge in Shelton v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 23 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. D11 (M.D. Fla. July 27, 2011).  In the Shelton decision, a federal judge found Florida's drug laws to be unconstitutional because they did not contain a mens rea element. Florida's First District Court of Appeals reached a similar conclusion in Flagg v. State, 74 So. 3d 138 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).


      The same issue raised in this case is currently pending before the Florida Supreme Court in State v. Adkins, 71 So. 3d 117 (Fla. 2011). Now we wait for the decision from the Florida Supreme Court. A the federal level, the Shelton case is currently on appeal to the Eleventh District Court of Appeals.

      IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA
      FIFTH DISTRICT JANUARY TERM 2012

      ARTHUR CARRERAS,
            Appellant,
      v.                                                            Case No. 5D11-1777

      STATE OF FLORIDA,
      Appellee.
      ________________________________/
      Opinion filed March 2, 2012

      Appeal from the Circuit Court
      for Osceola County,
      Scott Polodna, Judge.

      James S. Purdy, Public Defender, and
      Nancy Ryan, Assistant Public Defender,
      Daytona Beach, for Appellant.

      Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General,
      Tallahassee, and Megan Saillant,
      Assistant Attorney General, Daytona
      Beach, for Appellee.

      PER CURIAM.

      Arthur Carreras ["Carreras"] appeals his judgment and sentence for tampering with physical evidence, possession of twenty grams or less of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He argues that his conviction for possession of twenty grams or less of cannabis, and for possession of drug paraphernalia, should be vacated because section 893.101, Florida Statutes (2009) has been held to be facially unconstitutional in Shelton v. Secretary, Dep’t of Corrections, 802 F. Supp. 2d 1289 (M.D. Fla. 2011).

      Testimony was presented during the trial that on November 5, 2010, a pick-up
      truck took a turn too close, causing the driver's side exterior mirror of the pick-up truck to hit the driver's side exterior mirror of a patrol vehicle.  The law enforcement officer driving the patrol vehicle observed a white male with a beanie cap in the driver's seat of the pick-up truck, and a black male in the passenger's seat of the pick-up truck. The officer followed the pick-up truck and observed the pick-up straddling two lanes. When the officer put on the patrol vehicle's emergency lights to effect a traffic stop, the pick-up truck began to erratically brake and swerve. The officer observed objects simultaneously being thrown out of the driver's side and passenger's side window. The object thrown out of the driver's side window appeared to be larger than that thrown out of the passenger's side window, and was released by a white hand. A second law enforcement officer, who was following the first officer, observed an object being thrown out of the driver's side and passenger's side window of the pick-up truck. While the first officer was effecting a traffic stop, the second officer immediately stopped and retrieved the thrown objects, which were two bags. The second officer took the bags to the site of the traffic stop and gave them to the first officer who, upon visual inspection of the bags, recognized the substance in each to be cannabis. The contents of each bag field tested positive for cannabis. The first officer identified Carreras as the driver of the pickup truck.

      At trial, Carreras raised lack of knowledge of the illicit nature of the controlled substance as an affirmative defense to the charge of possession of twenty grams or less of cannabis and the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. The trial court instructed the jury on the affirmative defense with respect to each of the said charges. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on each of the counts.  We do not credit Carreras' claim that the statute under which he was convicted is facially unconstitutional. To the contrary, this case is an illustration of the logic and propriety of section 893.101, Florida Statutes. We have already rejected the reasoning of the Shelton case.  See Flagg v. 
State, 74 So. 3d 138 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).
      1
      We find no merit on the other issues raised by Carreras and decline to address them.

      AFFIRMED.

      GRIFFIN, TORPY and LAWSON, JJ., concur.

      Florida Senate Bill SB 864 - Gutting the Right to Contest the DUI Administrative Suspension

      UPDATE on March 19, 2012: SB 864 has since been watered down and amended to delete the provisions pertaining to the administrative suspensions. Now the bill focuses on requiring either a 10 day vehicle immobilization OR a three month ignition interlock requirement as a minimum mandatory condition. 

      Florida's DUI laws already allow the court to order the ignition interlock for up to six months. Read more about the amended bill - "Ignition Interlock Devise in all Florida DUI cases? HB 681 and SB 864"


      If it becomes law, Florida Senate Bill SB 864 would make some radical changes to the rules governing administrative suspensions after a DUI arrest.  SB 864 was introduced on Tuesday, January 10, 2012. 

      The Florida House has begun the process to introduce an identical bill, HB 681 by Baxley and co-sponsors Harrell. 

      Click here to read Senate Bill 864, by Senator Thad Altman, in its entirety. The provisions related to administrative review hearings are listed below.  


      What changes if the bill becomes law?
      1. After a DUI arrest, the officer will still issue the drive a notice of suspension, however, the notice will also contain a notice to appear which will require the person arrested to appear at the appropriate FHSMV's Bureau of Administrative Review Office. 
      2. When the individual appears at the Bureau of Administrative Review Office and is eligible, the person can elect to obtain restricted driver's license called a "Business Purpose Only" license and pay the appropriate fees, however, by doing so the person must waive their right to contest the suspension in a formal review hearing. The advantage for the driver is that he or she does not suffer with a 30 day or 90 day hard suspension if they are unsuccessful in challenging the suspension during a formal review hearing. (The term "hard suspension" refers to the time during which the driver cannot drive for any reason). The disadvantage for the driver is that any opportunity to contest the suspension during a formal review hearing must be waived.  
      3. If the person fails to appear within 10 days, the person waives any right to review and the suspension remains in effect.  The department can extend the 10 day time limit if the driver shows good cause in writing.
      4. The time periods for the suspension remain the same: 
        • If the individual submitted to a chemical test but had a breath or blood alcohol concentration of .08, then the suspension is for 6 months from the date of the arrest or notice of suspension (whichever occurred later); 
        • If the individual refused to submit to a chemical test of his breath, blood or urine then the suspension is for one year from the date of the arrest or notice of suspension (whichever occurred later);
      5. The bill also provides that if the driver does not apply for a restricted driver license then the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall notify the person in writing of his right to review the suspension which shall include notice of the following rights: 
        • The driver can elect to have a formal review hearing or an informal review hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice; 
        • If the driver elects to have a formal review hearing the driver is deemed to have waived his right to a restricted license except that if the suspension is upheld, the driver can request a business purpose only or employment purpose only license after a 90 day hard suspension for a refusal case or a 30 day hard suspension for a breath or blood alcohol concentration over .08 case.
      6. At the formal review hearing the hearing officer may permit witnesses to testify telephonically. The witnesses that testify telephonically shall be sworn by a "notary public," "certified court reporter" or law enforcement officer. 
      7. It appears that the new bills provides that the driver or his attorney can appear in person or attend the hearing telephonically.
      So what impact do you think these changes might have if they become law? Do you see any problems or unintended consequences with the way the statute is written?
      _________________________________________________________________________________
      W


      Florida Senate - 2012                                     SB 864  
             
             By Florida Senator Thad Altman, Republican
       24-00717-120201864
      288         Section 2. Section 322.2615, Florida Statutes, is amended
        289  to read:
        290         322.2615 Restriction or suspension of license; right to
        291  review.—
        292         (1)(a) Notwithstanding whether an arrest is made for any
      
        293  criminal offense, a law enforcement officer or correctional
        294  officer shall, on behalf of the department, suspend the driving
        295  privilege of a person who is driving or is in actual physical
        296  control of a motor vehicle and who has an unlawful blood-alcohol
        297  level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, or of a person
        298  who has refused to submit to a urine test or a test of his or
        299  her breath-alcohol or blood-alcohol level. The officer shall
        300  issue to the person the notice of suspension and notice to
      
        301  appear. The person shall appear at a designated department
        302  office within 10 days after receipt of the notice. The notice of
        303  suspension and notice to appear serve as take the person’s
        304  driver’s license and issue the person a 10-day temporary driving
      
        305  permit if the person is otherwise eligible for the driving
        306  privilege and shall issue the person a notice of suspension. If
        307  a blood test has been administered, the officer or the agency
        308  employing the officer shall transmit the such results to the
        309  department within 5 days after receipt of the results. If the
        310  department then determines that the person had a blood-alcohol
        311  level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, the department
        312  shall suspend the person’s driver driver’s license pursuant to
        313  subsection (3).
        314         (b) The suspension under paragraph (a) shall be pursuant
        315  to, and the notice of suspension and notice to appear shall
        316  inform the driver of, the following:
        317         1.a. The driver refused to submit to a lawful breath,
        318  blood, or urine test and his or her driving privilege is
        319  suspended for a period of 1 year for a first refusal, or for a
      
        320  period of 18 months if his or her driving privilege has been
        321  previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit to such
        322  a test; or
        323         b. The driver was driving or was in actual physical control
        324  of a motor vehicle and had a an unlawful blood-alcohol level or
        325  breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher and his or her driving
        326  privilege is suspended for a period of 6 months for a first
        327  offense, or for a period of 1 year if his or her driving
        328  privilege has been previously suspended under this section.
        329         2. The suspension period commences shall commence on the
        330  date of issuance of the notice of suspension and notice to
      
        331  appear.
        332         3. The driver may request a formal or informal review of
        333  the suspension by the department within 10 days after the date
        334  of issuance of the notice of suspension.
        335         3.4. The temporary permit issued at the time of suspension
        336  expires at midnight of the 10th day following the date of
        337  issuance of the notice of suspension and notice to appear.
        338         5. The driver may submit to the department any materials
      
        339  relevant to the suspension.
        340         (c) A person whose driving privilege has been suspended
        341  pursuant to this subsection or subsection (3) shall appear at a
        342  designated department office within 10 days after receipt of the
        343  notice of suspension and notice to appear. If the person fails
      
        344  to appear as required, his or her license will remain suspended
        345  and all rights of review as provided in this section will be
        346  waived.
        347         (d) If it appears that the person whose driving privilege
      
        348  has been suspended meets the requirements of s. 322.271 and is
        349  otherwise eligible for the driving privilege and if the person
        350  wishes to obtain a restricted driver license, the department
        351  shall, upon payment by the person of the appropriate fees to the
      
        352  department, reinstate the person’s driving privilege restricted
        353  to business purposes only, as defined in, and pursuant to s.
        354  322.271. The department shall issue a replacement driver license
        355  with the applicable restrictions. The department may extend the
      
        356  time for a person who qualifies for a restricted driver license
        357  to apply for the restricted license upon good cause shown in
        358  writing.
        359         1. The restrictions on a person’s driving privilege under
      
        360  this paragraph shall be in place for:
        361         a. One year, if the driver refused to submit to a breath,
        362  blood, or urine test requested pursuant to this section; or
        363         b. Six months, if the driver was driving or was in actual
        364  physical control of a motor vehicle and had an unlawful blood
      
        365  alcohol or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
        366         2. A person who accepts the reinstated driving privilege
        367  restricted to business purposes only as provided in this
        368  paragraph is deemed to have waived the right to a formal review
      
        369  of the suspension of his or her driving privilege. Such a waiver
        370  may not be used as evidence in any other proceeding.
        371         (e) The department shall notify the person whose driving
        372  privilege has been suspended in writing of his or her right to
      
        373  review the suspension if the person has not applied for a
        374  restricted driver license pursuant to s. 322.271.
        375         (f) The notice of the right to a formal or informal review
        376  of a suspension shall inform the driver of the following:
      
        377         1. The driver may request a formal or informal review by
        378  the department within 10 days after the department notifies the
        379  person of the right to review. A person electing to seek a
        380  formal review of the suspension is deemed to have waived his or
        381  her right to a restricted driving privilege except as set forth
      
        382  in subsection (10). Hearings may be conducted telephonically.
        383  Witnesses shall be sworn by a notary public, certified court
        384  reporter, or law enforcement officer pursuant to s. 117.10.
        385         2. The driver may submit to the department any material
      
        386  relevant to the suspension. The driver or his or her counsel
        387  must provide a telephone number where he or she can be contacted
        388  for the hearing. A person who does not appear at a designated
      
        389  department office as required by paragraph (c) waives his or her
        390  right to submit materials to the department.
        391         (2) Except as provided in paragraph (1)(a), the law
        392  enforcement officer shall forward to the department, within 5
        393  days after issuing the notice of suspension and notice to
      
        394  appear, the driver driver’s license; an affidavit stating the
        395  officer’s grounds for belief that the person was driving or was
        396  in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the
        397  influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled
        398  substances; the results of any breath or blood test or an
        399  affidavit stating that a breath, blood, or urine test was
        400  requested by the a law enforcement officer or a correctional
        401  officer pursuant to this section and that the person refused to
        402  submit; the officer’s description of the person’s field sobriety
        403  exercise test, if any; and a copy of the notice of suspension
        404  and notice appear. The failure of the officer to submit
        405  materials within the 5-day period specified in this subsection
        406  and in subsection (1) does not affect the department’s ability
        407  to consider any evidence submitted at or before prior to the
        408  hearing. The officer may also submit a copy of the crash report
        409  and a copy of a videotape of the field sobriety exercise test or
        410  the attempt to administer the exercise such test. Materials
        411  submitted to the department by a law enforcement agency or
        412  correctional agency shall be considered self-authenticating and
        413  shall be in the record for consideration by the hearing officer.
        414  All materials may be submitted in electronic form.
      
        415  Notwithstanding s. 316.066(5), the crash report shall be
        416  considered by the hearing officer.
        417         (3) If the department determines that the license should be
        418  suspended pursuant to this section and if the notice of
        419  suspension and notice to appear has not already been served upon
        420  the person by the a law enforcement officer or correctional
        421  officer as provided in subsection (1), the department shall
        422  issue a notice of suspension and, unless the notice is mailed
        423  pursuant to s. 322.251, a temporary permit that expires 10 days
        424  after the date of issuance if the driver is otherwise eligible
        425  for the driving privilege.
        426         (4) If the person whose license was suspended requests an
        427  informal review pursuant to subparagraph (1)(b)3., the
        428  department shall conduct the informal review by a hearing
        429  officer employed by the department. The Such informal review
        430  hearing shall consist solely of an examination by the hearing
      
        431  officer department of the materials submitted by the a law
        432  enforcement officer or correctional officer and by the person
        433  whose license was suspended, and the testimonial presence of the
      
        434  an officer or any other witness is not required.
        435         (5) After completion of the informal review, notice of the
        436  department’s decision sustaining, amending, or invalidating the
        437  suspension of the driver driver’s license of the person whose
        438  license was suspended must be provided to such person. The Such
      
        439  notice must be mailed to the person at the last known address
        440  shown on the department’s records, or to the address provided in
        441  the law enforcement officer’s report if the such address differs
        442  from the address of record, within 21 days after the expiration
        443  of the temporary permit issued pursuant to subsection (1) or
        444  subsection (3).
        445         (6)(a) If the person whose license was suspended requests a
        446  formal review, the department must schedule a hearing to be held
        447  within 30 days after the such request is received by the
        448  department and must notify the person of the date, time, and
        449  place of the hearing.
        450         (b) The Such formal review hearing shall be held before a
        451  hearing officer employed by the department, and the hearing
        452  officer may shall be authorized to administer oaths, examine
        453  witnesses and take testimony, receive relevant evidence, issue
        454  subpoenas for the officers and witnesses identified in documents
        455  in subsection (2), regulate the course and conduct of the
        456  hearing, question witnesses, and make a ruling on the
        457  suspension.
        458         (c) The party requesting the presence of a witness is shall
      
        459  be responsible for the payment of any witness fees and for
        460  notifying in writing the state attorney’s office in the
        461  appropriate circuit of the issuance of the subpoena. If the
        462  person who requests the a formal review hearing fails to appear
        463  and the hearing officer finds such failure to be without just
        464  cause, the right to a formal hearing is waived, and the
        465  suspension shall be sustained. The hearing officer may authorize
        466  witnesses to the formal review hearing to appear telephonically.
      
        467         (d)(c) A party may seek enforcement of a subpoena under
        468  paragraph (b) by filing a petition for enforcement in the
        469  circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the person
        470  failing to comply with the subpoena resides or by filing a
        471  motion for enforcement in any criminal court case resulting from
        472  the driving or actual physical control of the motor vehicle
        473  which gave rise to the suspension under this section. A failure
        474  to comply with an order of the court shall result in a finding
        475  of contempt of court. However, a person is not in contempt while
        476  a subpoena is being challenged. The department may not be a
      
        477  party to any subpoena enforcement action.
        478         (e)(d) The department must, within 7 working days after the
        479  a formal review hearing, provide send notice to the person of
        480  the hearing officer’s decision as to whether sufficient cause
        481  exists to sustain, amend, or invalidate the suspension.
        482         (7) In a formal review hearing under subsection (6) or an
        483  informal review hearing under subsection (4), the hearing
        484  officer shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence
        485  whether sufficient cause exists to sustain, amend, or invalidate
        486  the suspension. Notwithstanding s. 316.1932, the hearing officer
      
        487  may not consider the lawfulness of the arrest and shall limit
        488  the scope of the review shall be limited to the following
        489  issues:
        490         (a) If the license was suspended for driving with a an
        491  unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or
        492  higher:
        493         1. Whether the law enforcement officer had probable cause
        494  to believe that the person whose license was suspended was
        495  driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in
        496  this state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or
        497  chemical or controlled substances.
        498         2. Whether the person whose license was suspended had a an
      
        499  unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or
        500  higher as provided in s. 316.193.
        501         (b) If the license was suspended for refusal to submit to a
        502  breath, blood, or urine test:
        503         1. Whether the law enforcement officer had probable cause
        504  to believe that the person whose license was suspended was
        505  driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in
        506  this state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or
        507  chemical or controlled substances.
        508         2. Whether the person whose license was suspended refused
        509  to submit to any such test after being requested to do so by a
        510  law enforcement officer or correctional officer.
        511         3. Whether the person whose license was suspended was told
        512  that if he or she refused to submit to such test, his or her
        513  privilege to operate a motor vehicle would be suspended for a
        514  period of 1 year or, in the case of a second or subsequent
        515  refusal, for a period of 18 months.
        516         (8) Based on the determination of the hearing officer
        517  pursuant to subsection (7) for both informal hearings under
        518  subsection (4) and formal hearings under subsection (6), the
        519  department shall:
        520         (a) Sustain the suspension of the person’s driving
        521  privilege for a period of 1 year for a first refusal, or for a
      
        522  period of 18 months if the driving privilege of the such person
        523  has been previously suspended as a result of a refusal to submit
        524  to such test tests, if the person refused to submit to a lawful
        525  breath, blood, or urine test requested pursuant to this section.
        526  The suspension period begins commences on the date of issuance
        527  of the notice of suspension.
        528         (b) Sustain the suspension of the person’s driving
        529  privilege for a period of 6 months for a blood-alcohol level or
        530  breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, or for a period of 1
        531  year if the driving privilege of the such person has been
        532  previously suspended under this section as a result of driving
        533  with a blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or
      
        534  higher an unlawful alcohol level. The suspension period begins
        535  commences on the date of issuance of the notice of suspension.
        536         (9) A request for a formal review hearing or an informal
        537  review hearing does shall not stay the suspension of the
        538  person’s driver driver’s license. If the department fails to
        539  schedule a requested the formal review hearing to be held within
        540  30 days after receipt of the request therefor, the department
        541  shall invalidate the suspension. If the scheduled hearing is
        542  continued at the department’s initiative, the department shall
        543  issue a temporary driving permit that is shall be valid until
        544  the hearing is conducted if the person is otherwise eligible for
        545  the driving privilege. The Such permit may not be issued to a
        546  person who sought and obtained a continuance of the hearing. The
        547  temporary permit issued under this subsection grants a driving
      
        548  privilege restricted to employment purposes shall authorize
        549  driving for business or employment use only, as defined in s.
        550  322.271.
        551         (10) A person whose driver driver’s license is suspended
        552  under subsection (1) or subsection (3) may apply for issuance of
        553  a license for business or employment purposes only if the person
        554  is otherwise eligible for the driving privilege pursuant to s.
        555  322.271.
        556         (a) If the suspension of the driver driver’s license of the
        557  person for refusal or failure to submit to a breath, urine, or
        558  blood test is sustained, the person is not eligible to receive a
        559  license for business or employment purposes only, pursuant to s.
        560  322.271, until 90 days have elapsed after the expiration of the
        561  last temporary permit issued. If the driver is not issued a 10
        562  day permit pursuant to this section or s. 322.64 because he or
        563  she is ineligible for the permit and the suspension for failure
        564  to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test is sustained not
      
        565  invalidated by the department, the driver is not eligible to
        566  receive a business or employment license pursuant to s. 322.271
        567  until 90 days have elapsed from the date of the suspension.
        568         (b) If the suspension of the driver driver’s license of the
        569  person relating to unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath
        570  alcohol level of 0.08 or higher is sustained, the person is not
        571  eligible to receive a license for business or employment
        572  purposes only pursuant to s. 322.271 until 30 days have elapsed
        573  after the expiration of the last temporary permit issued. If the
        574  driver is not issued a 10-day permit pursuant to this section or
        575  s. 322.64 because he or she is ineligible for the permit and the
        576  suspension relating to unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath
        577  alcohol level of 0.08 or higher is sustained not invalidated by
        578  the department, the driver is not eligible to receive a business
        579  or employment license pursuant to s. 322.271 until 30 days have
        580  elapsed from the date of the suspension.
        581         (11) A The formal review hearing may be conducted upon a
        582  review of the reports of a law enforcement officer or a
        583  correctional officer, including documents relating to the
        584  administration of a breath test or blood test or the refusal to
        585  take either test or the refusal to take a urine test. However,
        586  as provided in subsection (6), the driver may subpoena the
        587  officer or any person who administered or analyzed the a breath
        588  or blood test. The hearing officer may permit witnesses at the
      
        589  formal review hearing to appear telephonically.
        590         (12) The Formal and informal review hearings hearing and
      
        591  the informal review hearing are exempt from the provisions of
        592  chapter 120. The department may adopt rules for the conduct of
        593  reviews under this section.
        594         (13) Pursuant to s. 322.21, a person may appeal any
        595  decision of the department sustaining a suspension of his or her
        596  driver driver’s license by a petition for writ of certiorari to
        597  the circuit court in the county in which the wherein such person
        598  resides or wherein a formal or informal review was conducted
      
        599  pursuant to s. 322.31. However, an appeal does shall not stay
        600  the suspension. A law enforcement agency may appeal any decision
        601  of the department invalidating a suspension by a petition for
        602  writ of certiorari to the circuit court in the county in which
        603  wherein a formal or informal review was conducted. For
      
        604  telephonic hearings, the law enforcement agency shall file the
        605  petition for writ of certiorari to the circuit court in the
        606  county in which the law enforcement agency is located. This
        607  subsection does shall not be construed to provide for a de novo
        608  appeal.
        609         (14)(a) The decision of the department under this section
        610  or any circuit court review thereof may not be considered in any
        611  trial for a violation of s. 316.193, and a written statement
        612  submitted by a person in his or her request for departmental
        613  review under this section may not be admitted into evidence
        614  against him or her in any such trial.
        615         (b) The disposition of any related criminal proceeding
      
        616  proceedings does not affect a suspension for refusal to submit
        617  to a blood, breath, or urine test imposed under this section.
        618         (15) If the department suspends a person’s license under s.
        619  322.2616, it may not also suspend the person’s license under
        620  this section for the same episode that was the basis for the
        621  suspension under s. 322.2616.
        622         (16) The department shall invalidate a suspension for
        623  driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol
        624  level imposed under this section if the suspended person is
        625  found not guilty at trial of an underlying violation of s.
        626  316.193. If the person obtained a license restricted to business
        627  purposes only pursuant to paragraph (1)(c), the department shall
        628  remove the restriction from the person’s driver license.
        629         Section 3. Subsections (5), (7), (12), and (14) of section
        630  322.2616, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
        631         322.2616 Suspension of license; persons under 21 years of
        632  age; right to review.—
        633         (5) If the person whose license is suspended requests an
        634  informal review under subparagraph (2)(b)3., the department
        635  shall conduct the informal review by a hearing officer employed
        636  by the department within 30 days after the request is received
        637  by the department and shall issue such person a temporary
        638  driving permit for business purposes only to expire on the date
        639  that the such review is scheduled to be conducted if the person
        640  is otherwise eligible. The informal review hearing must consist
        641  solely of an examination by the department of the materials
        642  submitted by the a law enforcement officer or correctional
        643  officer and by the person whose license is suspended, and the
        644  testimony presence of the an officer or witness is not required.
        645         (7)(a) If the person whose license is suspended requests a
        646  formal review, the department must schedule a hearing to be held
        647  within 30 days after the request is received by the department
        648  and must notify the person of the date, time, and place of the
        649  hearing and shall issue the such person a temporary driving
        650  permit for business purposes only to expire on the date that the
      
        651  such review is scheduled to be conducted if the person is
        652  otherwise eligible.
        653         (b) The formal review hearing must be held before a hearing
        654  officer employed by the department, and the hearing officer may
        655  administer oaths, examine witnesses and take testimony, receive
        656  relevant evidence, issue subpoenas, regulate the course and
        657  conduct of the hearing, and make a ruling on the suspension. The
        658  department and the person whose license was suspended may
        659  subpoena witnesses, and the party requesting the presence of a
        660  witness is responsible for paying any witness fees and for
        661  notifying in writing the state attorney’s office in the
        662  appropriate circuit of the issuance of the subpoena. If the
        663  person who requests a formal review hearing fails to appear and
        664  the hearing officer finds the failure to be without just cause,
        665  the right to a formal hearing is waived, and the suspension is
        666  sustained. The hearing officer may permit witnesses at the
        667  formal review hearing to appear telephonically.
        668         (c) A party may seek enforcement of a subpoena under
        669  paragraph (b) by filing a petition for enforcement in the
        670  circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the person
        671  failing to comply with the subpoena resides. A failure to comply
        672  with an order of the court constitutes contempt of court.
        673  However, a person may not be held in contempt while a subpoena
        674  is being challenged. The department is not a party to any
      
        675  subpoena enforcement action.
        676         (d) The department must, within 7 days after the a formal
        677  review hearing, provide send notice to the person of the hearing
        678  officer’s decision as to whether sufficient cause exists to
        679  sustain, amend, or invalidate the suspension.
        680         (12) The formal review hearing may be conducted upon a
        681  review of the reports of the a law enforcement officer or
        682  correctional officer, including documents relating to the
        683  administration of a breath test or the refusal to take a test.
        684  However, as provided in subsection (7), the driver may subpoena
        685  the officer or any person who administered the a breath or blood
        686  test. The hearing officer may permit witnesses at the formal
      
        687  review hearing to appear telephonically.
        688         (14) Pursuant to s. 322.31, a person may appeal any
        689  decision of the department sustaining a suspension of his or her
        690  driver driver’s license by a petition for writ of certiorari to
        691  the circuit court in the county in which the wherein such person
        692  resides or in which the wherein a formal or informal review was
        693  conducted under s. 322.31. However, an appeal does not stay the
        694  suspension. This subsection does not provide for a de novo
        695  appeal. 
      696         Section 4. Subsections (6) and (7) are added to section
        697  322.2715, Florida Statutes, to read: 
      698         322.2715 Ignition interlock device.—
        699         (6) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 322.271 and
      
        700  322.28(2), upon a second conviction for a violation of the
        701  provisions of s. 316.193, the convicted person may elect to
        702  install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that are
        703  individually or jointly leased or owned and routinely operated
      
        704  by the convicted person, in lieu of the 5-year license
        705  revocation required by s. 322.28(2). The ignition interlock
        706  device must be installed for a period of 2 consecutive years,
        707  and must be followed by a third consecutive year, during which
      
        708  the convicted person is entitled to a driving privilege
        709  restricted to business purposes only, as defined in s.
        710  322.271(1).
        711         (7) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 322.271 and
      
        712  322.28(2), upon a third conviction for a violation of the
        713  provisions of s. 316.193, the convicted person may elect to
        714  install an ignition interlock device on all vehicles that are
        715  individually or jointly leased or owned and routinely operated
      
        716  by the convicted person, in lieu of the 10-year license
        717  revocation required by s. 322.28(2). The installation of an
        718  ignition interlock device under this subsection may not occur
        719  until the convicted person has served a 1-year license
      
        720  revocation period. The ignition interlock device must be
        721  installed for a period of 3 consecutive years, and must be
        722  followed by a period of 2 additional consecutive years, during
        723  which the convicted person is entitled to a driving privilege
        724  restricted to business purposes only, as defined in s.
      
        725  322.271(1).
        726         Section 5. Section 322.64, Florida Statutes, is amended to
        727  read:
        728         322.64 Holder of commercial driver driver’s license;
        729  persons operating a commercial motor vehicle; driving with
        730  unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level; refusal to
        731  submit to breath, urine, or blood test.—
        732         (1)(a) A law enforcement officer or correctional officer
        733  shall, on behalf of the department, disqualify from operating a
        734  any commercial motor vehicle a person who, while operating or in
        735  actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, is
        736  arrested for a violation of s. 316.193, relating to unlawful
        737  blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level, or a person who has
        738  refused to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test authorized
      
        739  by s. 322.63 or s. 316.1932 arising out of the operation or
        740  actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle. A law
        741  enforcement officer or correctional officer shall, on behalf of
        742  the department, disqualify the holder of a commercial driver
        743  driver’s license from operating a any commercial motor vehicle
        744  if the licenseholder, while operating or in actual physical
        745  control of a motor vehicle, is arrested for a violation of s.
        746  316.193, relating to unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath
      
        747  alcohol level, or refused to submit to a breath, urine, or blood
        748  test authorized by s. 322.63 or s. 316.1932. Upon
        749  disqualification of the person, the officer shall take the
        750  person’s driver driver’s license and issue the person a 10-day
        751  temporary permit for the operation of noncommercial vehicles
        752  only if the person is otherwise eligible for the driving
        753  privilege and shall issue the person a notice of
        754  disqualification. If the person has been given a blood, breath,
        755  or urine test and, the results of the test which are not
        756  available to the officer at the time of the arrest, the agency
        757  employing the officer shall transmit such results to the
        758  department within 5 days after receipt of the results. If the
        759  department then determines that the person had a blood-alcohol
        760  level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, the department
        761  shall disqualify the person from operating a commercial motor
        762  vehicle pursuant to subsection (3).
        763         (b) For purposes of determining the period of
      
        764  disqualification described in 49 C.F.R. s. 383.51, the
        765  disqualification under paragraph (a) shall be treated as
        766  conviction.
        767         (c)(b) The disqualification under paragraph (a) shall be
        768  pursuant to, and the notice of disqualification shall inform the
        769  driver of, the following:
        770         1.a. The driver refused to submit to a lawful breath,
        771  blood, or urine test and he or she is disqualified from
        772  operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 1 year, for
        773  a first refusal, or permanently, if he or she has previously
        774  been disqualified under this section; or
        775         b. The driver was driving or was in actual physical control
        776  of a commercial motor vehicle, or any motor vehicle if the
        777  driver holds a commercial driver driver’s license, had an
        778  unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or
        779  higher, and his or her driving privilege shall be disqualified
        780  for a period of 1 year for a first offense, or permanently
        781  disqualified if his or her driving privilege has been previously
        782  disqualified under this section.
        783         2. The disqualification period for operating a commercial
        784  vehicle begins vehicles shall commence on the date of issuance
        785  of the notice of disqualification.
        786         3. The driver may request a formal or informal review of
        787  the disqualification by the department within 10 days after the
        788  date of issuance of the notice of disqualification.
        789         4. The temporary permit issued at the time of
        790  disqualification expires at midnight of the 10th day following
        791  the date of disqualification.
        792         5. The driver may submit to the department any material
      
        793  materials relevant to the disqualification.
        794         (2) Except as provided in paragraph (1)(a), the law
        795  enforcement officer shall forward to the department, within 5
        796  days after the date of the issuance of the notice of
        797  disqualification, a copy of the notice of disqualification
        798  issued to the person;, the driver driver’s license of the person
        799  disqualified;, and an affidavit stating the officer’s grounds
        800  for belief that the person disqualified was operating or was in
        801  actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, or holds
        802  a commercial driver driver’s license, and had an unlawful blood
        803  alcohol or breath-alcohol level; the results of any breath, or
      
        804  blood, or urine test or an affidavit stating that a breath,
        805  blood, or urine test was requested by the a law enforcement
        806  officer or correctional officer and that the person arrested
        807  refused to submit; a copy of the notice of disqualification
        808  issued to the person; and the officer’s description of the
        809  person’s field sobriety test, if any. The failure of the officer
        810  to submit materials within the 5-day period specified in this
        811  subsection or subsection (1) does not affect the department’s
        812  ability to consider any evidence submitted at or before prior to
      
        813  the hearing. The officer may also submit a copy of a videotape
        814  of the field sobriety test or the attempt to administer such
        815  test and a copy of the crash report, if any. Notwithstanding s.
        816  316.066, the crash report shall be considered by the hearing
        817  officer. All materials may be submitted in electronic form.
        818         (3) If the department determines that the person arrested
        819  should be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle
        820  pursuant to this section and if the notice of disqualification
        821  has not already been served upon the person by the a law
        822  enforcement officer or correctional officer as provided in
        823  subsection (1), the department shall issue a notice of
        824  disqualification and, unless the notice is mailed pursuant to s.
        825  322.251, a temporary permit that which expires 10 days after the
        826  date of issuance if the driver is otherwise eligible.
        827         (4) If the person disqualified requests an informal review
        828  pursuant to subparagraph (1)(c)3. (1)(b)3., the department shall
        829  conduct the informal review by a hearing officer employed by the
        830  department. The Such informal review hearing shall consist
        831  solely of an examination by the department of the materials
        832  submitted by the a law enforcement officer or correctional
        833  officer and by the person disqualified, and the presence of the
      
        834  an officer or a witness is not required.
        835         (5) After completion of the informal review, notice of the
        836  department’s decision sustaining, amending, or invalidating the
        837  disqualification must be provided to the person. The such notice
        838  must be mailed to the person at the last known address shown on
        839  the department’s records, and to the address provided in the law
        840  enforcement officer’s report if the such address differs from
        841  the address of record, within 21 days after the expiration of
        842  the temporary permit issued pursuant to subsection (1) or
        843  subsection (3).
        844         (6)(a) If the person disqualified requests a formal review,
        845  the department must schedule a hearing to be held within 30 days
        846  after the such request is received by the department and must
        847  notify the person of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
        848         (b) The such formal review hearing shall be held before a
        849  hearing officer employed by the department, and the hearing
        850  officer may shall be authorized to administer oaths, examine
        851  witnesses and take testimony, receive relevant evidence, issue
        852  subpoenas for the officers and witnesses identified in documents
        853  as provided in subsection (2), regulate the course and conduct
        854  of the hearing, and make a ruling on the disqualification. The
        855  department and the person disqualified may subpoena witnesses,
        856  and the party requesting the presence of a witness is shall be
      
        857  responsible for the payment of any witness fees. If the person
        858  who requests a formal review hearing fails to appear and the
        859  hearing officer finds such failure to be without just cause, the
        860  right to a formal hearing is waived. The hearing officer may
        861  permit witnesses at the formal review hearing to appear
        862  telephonically.
        863         (c) A party may seek enforcement of a subpoena under
        864  paragraph (b) by filing a petition for enforcement in the
        865  circuit court of the judicial circuit in which the person
        866  failing to comply with the subpoena resides or by filing a
        867  motion for enforcement in any criminal court case resulting from
      
        868  the driving or actual physical control of the motor vehicle that
        869  gave rise to the disqualification under this section. A failure
        870  to comply with an order of the court shall result in a finding
        871  of contempt of court. However, a person is shall not be in
        872  contempt while a subpoena is being challenged. The department is
      
        873  not a party to any subpoena enforcement action.
        874         (d) The department must, within 7 working days after the a
        875  formal review hearing, send notice to the person of the hearing
        876  officer’s decision as to whether sufficient cause exists to
        877  sustain, amend, or invalidate the disqualification.
        878         (7) In a formal review hearing under subsection (6) or an
        879  informal review hearing under subsection (4), the hearing
        880  officer shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence
        881  whether sufficient cause exists to sustain, amend, or invalidate
        882  the disqualification. Notwithstanding s. 316.1932, the hearing
      
        883  officer may not consider the lawfulness of the arrest and shall
        884  limit the scope of the review shall be limited to the following
        885  issues:
        886         (a) If the person was disqualified from operating a
        887  commercial motor vehicle for driving with a an unlawful blood
        888  alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher:
        889         1. Whether the arresting law enforcement officer had
        890  probable cause to believe that the person was driving or was in
        891  actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, or any
        892  motor vehicle if the driver holds a commercial driver driver’s
      
        893  license, in this state while he or she had any alcohol, chemical
        894  substance substances, or controlled substance substances in his
        895  or her body.
        896         2. Whether the person had a an unlawful blood-alcohol level
        897  or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
        898         (b) If the person was disqualified from operating a
        899  commercial motor vehicle for refusal to submit to a breath,
        900  blood, or urine test:
        901         1. Whether the law enforcement officer had probable cause
        902  to believe that the person was driving or was in actual physical
        903  control of a commercial motor vehicle, or any motor vehicle if
        904  the driver holds a commercial driver driver’s license, in this
        905  state while he or she had any alcohol, chemical substance
      
        906  substances, or controlled substance substances in his or her
        907  body.
        908         2. Whether the person refused to submit to the test after
        909  being requested to do so by the a law enforcement officer or
        910  correctional officer.
        911         3. Whether the person was told that if he or she refused to
        912  submit to such test, he or she would be disqualified from
        913  operating a commercial motor vehicle for a period of 1 year or,
        914  if previously disqualified under this section, permanently.
        915         (8) Based on the determination of the hearing officer
        916  pursuant to subsection (7) for both informal hearings under
        917  subsection (4) and formal hearings under subsection (6), the
        918  department shall:
        919         (a) Sustain the disqualification for a period of 1 year for
        920  a first refusal, or permanently if the such person has been
        921  previously disqualified from operating a commercial motor
        922  vehicle under this section. The disqualification period begins
      
        923  commences on the date of the issuance of the notice of
        924  disqualification.
        925         (b) Sustain the disqualification:
        926         1. For a period of 1 year if the person was driving or was
        927  in actual physical control of a commercial motor vehicle, or any
        928  motor vehicle if the driver holds a commercial driver driver’s
        929  license, and had an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath
        930  alcohol level of 0.08 or higher; or
        931         2. Permanently if the person has been previously
        932  disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle under
        933  this section or his or her driving privilege has been previously
        934  suspended for driving or being in actual physical control of a
        935  commercial motor vehicle, or any motor vehicle if the driver
        936  holds a commercial driver driver’s license, and had an unlawful
        937  blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
        938  
        939  The disqualification period begins commences on the date of the
        940  issuance of the notice of disqualification.
        941         (9) A request for a formal review hearing or an informal
        942  review hearing does shall not stay the disqualification. If the
        943  department fails to schedule the formal review hearing to be
        944  held within 30 days after receipt of the request therefor, the
        945  department shall invalidate the disqualification. If the
        946  scheduled hearing is continued at the department’s initiative,
        947  the department shall issue a temporary driving permit limited to
        948  noncommercial vehicles which is valid until the hearing is
        949  conducted if the person is otherwise eligible for the driving
        950  privilege. The Such permit may shall not be issued to a person
        951  who sought and obtained a continuance of the hearing. The
        952  temporary permit issued under this subsection grants a driving
      
        953  privilege restricted to employment purposes only, as defined in
        954  s. 322.271 shall authorize driving for business purposes only.
        955         (10) A person who is disqualified from operating a
        956  commercial motor vehicle under subsection (1) or subsection (3)
        957  is eligible for issuance of a license for business or employment
        958  purposes only under s. 322.271 if the person is otherwise
        959  eligible for the driving privilege. However, such business or
        960  employment purposes license does shall not authorize the driver
        961  to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
        962         (11) The formal review hearing may be conducted upon a
        963  review of the reports of the a law enforcement officer or a
      
        964  correctional officer, including documents relating to the
        965  administration of a breath test or blood test or the refusal to
        966  take a breath, blood, or urine either test. However, as provided
        967  in subsection (6), the driver may subpoena the officer or any
        968  person who administered or analyzed the a breath or blood test.
        969  The hearing officer may permit witnesses at the formal review
        970  hearing to appear telephonically.
      
        971         (12) The formal review hearing and the informal review
        972  hearing are exempt from the provisions of chapter 120. The
        973  department may is authorized to adopt rules for the conduct of
        974  reviews under this section.
        975         (13) Pursuant to s. 322.31, a person may appeal any
        976  decision of the department sustaining the disqualification from
        977  operating a commercial motor vehicle by a petition for writ of
        978  certiorari to the circuit court in the county in which the
        979  wherein such person resides or wherein a formal or informal
      
        980  review was conducted pursuant to s. 322.31. However, an appeal
        981  does shall not stay the disqualification. This subsection does
        982  shall not be construed to provide for a de novo appeal.
        983         (14) The decision of the department under this section may
      
        984  shall not be considered in any trial for a violation of s.
        985  316.193, s. 322.61, or s. 322.62, and a nor shall any written
        986  statement submitted by a person in his or her request for
        987  departmental review under this section may not be admitted be
        988  admissible into evidence against him or her in any such trial.
        989  The disposition of any related criminal proceeding may
      
        990  proceedings shall not affect a disqualification imposed pursuant
        991  to this section.
        992         (15) This section does not preclude the suspension of the
        993  driving privilege pursuant to s. 322.2615. The driving privilege
        994  of a person who has been disqualified from operating a
        995  commercial motor vehicle also may also be suspended for a
        996  violation of s. 316.193.
        997         Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.
      
      

      2012 Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Florida?


      What are the chances that Florida will take steps to legalize medical marijuana in 2012? The chances increased late last year after State Senator Larcenia J. Bullard of Miami, filed Senate Joint Resolution 1028. Florida House of Representative Jeff Clements of Lake Worth, Florida, filed companion legislation, HJR 353.

      Update 3/26/13: This legislation died in committee last year. Read more on legislation introduced in 2013 and efforts to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November of 2014 to legalize medical marijuana in Florida

      Although this is the second consecutive year that such legislation has been filed by the Florida legislature it is the first time that medical marijuana bills were filed in both chambers. The joint resolutions propose legalizing marijuana in Florida for medicinal purposes. Efforts to legalize marijuana are picking up steam in Florida. Many believe it will only be a matter of time before some form of medical marijuana legislation is passed in Florida.

      The battle to get the medical marijuana bill on the 2012 ballot begins. The joint resolutions would allow for medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries to operate in Florida. The bills would also allow for individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use cannabis as a treatment with the recommendation of a medical doctor. Read more about Joint Resolutions for Medicinal Use of Cannabis (SJR 1028 and HJR 353).
      What Would it Take to Get the Medical Marijuana Legislation on the 2012 Ballot?
      Before the issue of legalizing medical marijuana would come up for a vote on the 2012 ballot, both the Florida State House and Senate would have to pass the bill by a three-fifths margin. If the bill passed by that margin then the legislation would qualify for the November 2012 ballot. 
      Getting the legislation on the ballot is the hard part. Polls show that a majority of Florida citizens favor legalizing medical marijuana. If the legislation was approved by the voters, then medical marijuana would become legal in Florida on July 1, 2013.

      Prohibition Doesn't Work
      Many individuals favor the legalization of marijuana because it would bring in considerable revenue to the state from the regulation and taxation of cannabis. Currently that money is enjoyed by drug traffickers who benefit directly from prohibition. Additionally, the cultivation of marijuana in Florida would eliminate the market for marijuana which is smuggled over the boarder from Mexico. Even the DEA estimates that one-half of profits for the Mexican drug cartels result from the importation of marijuana. Eliminate the market for marijuana from the Mexican drug cartels in the United States and you drop their profits over night. Many also expect that decrease in drug trafficking to radically reduce violence at the boarder associated with drug trafficking. 
      Regulation would also decrease the availability of marijuana by children. Many argue that high school children have a much easier time buying marijuana then alcohol. The taxation and regulation of marijuana would largely eliminate the black market and availability of cannabis to under aged individuals. 
      Get Involved in the Debate over Legalizing Medical Marijuana in Florida

      Various groups in Florida are asking citizens to sign petitions demanding that the Florida legislature take a vote on the medical marijuana bill that was filed in the House and Senate. One petition from an unnamed group has more than 7,000 signatures asking the legislature to "sign a discharge petitioner to permit a floor debate...." That petition can be found here - petition to vote on pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.

      Another organization, People United for Medical Marijuana is attempting to collect enough signatures on a petition to bypass the Republican legislature and force the issue on the November 2012 ballot. According to their website, as of Oct. 29, 2011, PUFMM had only gathered 29,922 signatures which is roughly 4% of the signatures needed.

      Are you in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida or opposed to the idea? Should advocates for decriminalizing possession of marijuana  avoid the "medical marijuana" debate entirely and focus on the more transparent approach that cannabis should be legal for all adult consumers including healthy ones?

      Let us know what you think of the proposed legislation or the best way to get involved in the debate. We welcome your comments below.

      Update on January 9, 2015: Download the Florida petition to legalize medical marijuana in 2016.
      Florida Senate - 2012                                   SJR 1028
             
             By Senator Bullard       
             
             39-00857-12                                           20121028__
          1                       Senate Joint Resolution                     
          2         A joint resolution proposing the creation of Section
          3         28 of Article X and the creation of Section 32 of
          4         Article XII of the State Constitution to allow the
          5         medical use of cannabis by citizens, allow the
          6         Legislature to implement these provisions by general
          7         law, and provide an effective date.
          8  
          9  Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
         10  
         11         That the following creation of Section 28 of Article X and
         12  the creation of Section 32 of Article XII of the State
         13  Constitution are agreed to and shall be submitted to the
         14  electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next
         15  general election or at an earlier special election specifically
         16  authorized by law for that purpose:
         17                              ARTICLE X                            
         18                            MISCELLANEOUS                          
         19         SECTION 28. Medical use of cannabis.—
         20         (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (g), (h),
         21  and (i), a patient or primary caregiver charged with a violation
         22  of the state’s criminal laws related to the patient’s medical
         23  use of cannabis has an affirmative defense to such allegation
         24  if:
         25         (1) The patient was previously diagnosed by a physician as
         26  having a debilitating medical condition;
         27         (2) The patient was advised by his or her physician, in the
         28  context of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, that the
         29  patient might benefit from the medical use of cannabis in
         30  connection with a debilitating medical condition; and
         31         (3) The patient and his or her primary caregiver were
         32  collectively in possession of amounts of cannabis only as
         33  permitted under this section.
         34  
         35  This affirmative defense does not exclude the assertion of any
         36  other defense by a patient or primary caregiver who is charged
         37  with a violation of state law related to the patient’s medical
         38  use of cannabis.
         39         (b) It is not a violation of the state’s criminal laws for
         40  a patient or primary caregiver to engage or assist in the
         41  medical use of cannabis pursuant to this section, except as
         42  otherwise provided in subsections (g) and (i).
         43         (c) It is not a violation of the state’s criminal laws for
         44  a physician to:
         45         (1) Advise a patient whom the physician has diagnosed as
         46  having a debilitating medical condition about the risks and
         47  benefits of the medical use of cannabis or that the patient
         48  might benefit from the medical use of cannabis, if such advice
         49  is based on the physician’s contemporaneous assessment of the
         50  patient’s medical history and current medical condition and a
         51  bona fide physician-patient relationship; or
         52         (2) Provide a patient with written documentation, based on
         53  the physician’s contemporaneous assessment of the patient’s
         54  medical history and current medical condition and a bona fide
         55  physician-patient relationship, stating that the patient has a
         56  debilitating medical condition and might benefit from the
         57  medical use of cannabis.
         58  
         59  A physician may not be denied any rights or privileges for
         60  engaging in acts authorized by this subsection.
         61         (d) Notwithstanding subsection (a), subsection (b), or
         62  subsection (c), a person, including a patient or primary
         63  caregiver, is not entitled to the protection of this section for
         64  his or her acquisition, possession, manufacture, production,
         65  use, sale, distribution, dispensing, or transportation of
         66  cannabis for any use other than medical use.
         67         (e) A property interest that is possessed, owned, or used
         68  in connection with the medical use of cannabis or acts
         69  incidental to such use may not be harmed, neglected, injured, or
         70  destroyed while in the possession of state or local law
         71  enforcement officials who seized the property in connection with
         72  the claimed medical use of cannabis. Such property interest may
         73  not be forfeited under any provision of state law providing for
         74  the forfeiture of property other than as a sentence imposed
         75  after conviction of a criminal offense or entry of a plea of
         76  guilty to such offense. Cannabis and paraphernalia seized by
         77  state or local law enforcement officials from a patient or
         78  primary caregiver in connection with the claimed medical use of
         79  cannabis shall be returned immediately upon the determination of
         80  the state attorney or his or her designee that the patient or
         81  primary caregiver is entitled to the protection contained in
         82  this section, including, but not limited to, by a decision not
         83  to prosecute, the dismissal of charges, or acquittal.
         84         (f)(1) A patient may engage in the medical use of cannabis
         85  with no more cannabis than is medically necessary to address a
         86  debilitating medical condition. The legislature may, by general
         87  law, establish a maximum amount of cannabis or cannabis plants,
         88  possession or use of which, or any lesser amount, is presumed to
         89  be medically necessary.
         90         (2) For quantities of cannabis in excess of an amount
         91  legislatively presumed to be medically necessary, a patient or
         92  his or her primary caregiver may raise as an affirmative defense
         93  to charges of violation of state law that such greater amounts
         94  were medically necessary to address the patient’s debilitating
         95  medical condition.
         96         (g) A patient may not:
         97         (1) Engage in the medical use of cannabis in a way that
         98  endangers the health or well-being of any person; or
         99         (2) Engage in the medical use of cannabis in plain view of,
        100  or in a place open to, the general public.
        101         (h) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(1), a patient under
        102  eighteen years of age may not engage in the medical use of
        103  cannabis unless:
        104         (1) Two physicians have diagnosed the patient as having a
        105  debilitating medical condition;
        106         (2) One of the physicians referred to in paragraph (1) has
        107  explained the possible risks and benefits of medical use of
        108  cannabis to the patient and each of the patient’s parents
        109  residing in this state;
        110         (3) Each of the patient’s parents residing in this state
        111  consents in writing to permit the patient to engage in the
        112  medical use of cannabis;
        113         (4) A parent residing in this state consents in writing to
        114  serve as the patient’s primary caregiver;
        115         (5) The patient and primary caregiver collectively possess
        116  amounts of cannabis no greater than an amount authorized under
        117  subsection (d); and
        118         (6) The primary caregiver controls the acquisition of such
        119  cannabis and the dosage and frequency of its use by the patient.
        120         (i) No later than May 30, 2013, the legislature shall
        121  define such terms and enact such legislation as may be necessary
        122  for implementation of this section, as well as determine and
        123  enact criminal penalties for fraudulent representation of a
        124  medical condition by a patient to a physician or state or local
        125  law enforcement official for the purpose of avoiding arrest and
        126  prosecution.
        127         (j)(1) A health insurance provider may not be required to
        128  be liable for any claim for reimbursement for the medical use of
        129  cannabis.
        130         (2) This section does not require any employer to
        131  accommodate the medical use of cannabis in any work place.
        132         (3) A person may not be denied custody of or visitation
        133  with a minor for acting in accordance with this section and
        134  legislation implementing this section unless the person’s
        135  behavior creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be
        136  clearly articulated and shown by substantial competent evidence.
        137         (4) A person may not be denied any right or privilege and
        138  is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner,
        139  including, but not limited to, a civil penalty or disciplinary
        140  action by a business, occupational, or professional licensing
        141  board, for providing a qualifying patient or primary caregiver
        142  of such a patient with cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia or for
        143  any other act done in accordance with this section or
        144  legislation implementing this section.
        145                             ARTICLE XII                           
        146                              SCHEDULE                             
        147         SECTION 32. Medical use of cannabis.—Section 28 of Article
        148  X providing for medical use of cannabis and this section shall
        149  take effect July 1, 2013.
        150         BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be
        151  placed on the ballot:
        152                      CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT                     
        153                        ARTICLE X, SECTION 28                      
        154                       ARTICLE XII, SECTION 32                     
        155         MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS.—Proposing an amendment to the
        156  State Constitution to provide a patient or primary caregiver
        157  charged with a violation of the state’s criminal laws related to
        158  the patient’s medical use of cannabis, also known as marijuana,
        159  with a defense to the charge if the patient has a debilitating
        160  condition and the physician, in the context of a bona fide
        161  physician-patient relationship, determines that the patient
        162  might benefit from the medical use of cannabis. The amendment
        163  provides that a physician may advise a patient with a
        164  debilitating condition about the medical use of cannabis and
        165  document the patient’s need for this use. The amendment
        166  specifies that it does not authorize any nonmedical use of
        167  cannabis. The amendment provides that property seized as a
        168  result of an arrest in connection with a claimed medical use of
        169  cannabis may not be harmed unless the charge results in a
        170  criminal conviction. The amendment provides that a patient may
        171  engage in the medical use of cannabis with no more cannabis than
        172  is medically necessary and that the Legislature may establish a
        173  maximum amount of cannabis or cannabis plants, possession or use
        174  of which, or any lesser amount, is presumed to be medically
        175  necessary. The amendment provides that a patient may not engage
        176  in the medical use of cannabis in a way that endangers the
        177  health or well-being of any person or in plain view of, or in a
        178  place open to, the general public. The amendment provides
        179  additional restrictions on the medical use of cannabis by
        180  persons under 18 years of age. The amendment requires that, by a
        181  specified date, the Legislature must define such terms and enact
        182  such legislation as may be necessary for implementation of the
        183  amendment and enact criminal penalties for fraudulent
        184  representation of a medical condition by a patient to a
        185  physician or state or local law enforcement official for the
        186  purpose of avoiding arrest and prosecution. The amendment
        187  provides that a person may not be denied custody of or
        188  visitation with a minor for acting in accordance with this
        189  amendment unless the person’s behavior creates an unreasonable
        190  danger to the minor which can be clearly articulated and shown
        191  by substantial competent evidence. The amendment provides that a
        192  person may not be denied any right or privilege and is not
        193  subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner,
        194  including, but not limited to, a civil penalty or disciplinary
        195  action by a business, occupational, or professional licensing
        196  board, for providing a qualifying patient or primary caregiver
        197  of such a patient with cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia or for
        198  any other act done in accordance with the amendment. The
        199  amendment is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013. 
       
      Related Links: 
      Marijuana Laws in New York 

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      Tampa, FL 33602
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