Habitual Traffic Offender Law Case...Florida Supreme Court Opinion Published on September 28, 2017, State V. Miller, Docket Number SC16-1170
In State v. Miller, The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that possession of a driver's license is a prerequisite to a conviction pursuant to Florida State Statute 322.34(5), which provides a third degree felony penalty for "habitual traffic offenders" who drive with a revoked license under statute 322.264. In other words, Defendants who have never possessed a driver's license, may not be charged under Florida State Statute 322.34(5).
A third degree felony in Florida is punishable by up to five years in state prison plus court ordered sanctions. So if you are charged with driving as a habitual traffic offender, or merely have a suspended license that you wish to clear up, feel free to call the Law Offices of Russell D. Bernstein, P.A., The Legal Helpline-A Private Law Firm, at 855-FLA-TICKET for a free consultation.
State of Florida vs. (Name left blank for privacy purposes)
Action took place on the Treasure Coast, in Indian River County, Florida
The Defendant, a good citizen, who had to drive for her financial livelihood, unfortunately drove on a suspended license three times within five years, which eventually triggered a 5 year revocation of her driver's license. In other words, she had three convictions pursuant to Florida State Statute 322.34(1), for Driving on a Suspended License Without Knowledge. She received these convictions by paying her citations for Driving on a Suspended License Without Knowledge, in a good faith effort to pay off her tickets and get her license back. Instead, she unfortunately caused herself to lose her license for five years.
Within sixty days of her last conviction, I filed a Motion for postconviction relief, in Indian River County, asking the presiding Judge or traffic hearing officer to vacate this conviction, and withhold adjudication, so that my client can be free from a harsh 5 year driver's license suspension. This suspension is especially difficult because from the time the habitual status takes effect, you must wait twelve months to even apply for a hardship/business purpose only license. Fortunately for my client, the Judge showed extreme compassion based upon her financial and personal circumstances, vacated this conviction, and withheld adjudication potentially enabling my client to get her Class E driver's license back.
It always feels great when achieving a just result for a client who was only trying to do the right thing by paying her tickets and trying to get her license back.
As I have always said, before paying any traffic ticket or citation anywhere, you must know the consequences of your actions. You can always feel free to call me anytime at 855-FLA-TICKET or e-mail me at email@example.com to get free legal advice on how you should handle any ticket that you receive. We are here to assist all of your traffic, criminal traffic and criminal defense needs.
State of Florida vs.
This felony case in Broward county involves the interesting principle of Double Jeopardy, or being charged for the same crime twice. In the case at hand, the Defendant was charged by two separate municipalities within the state of Florida. One municipality was the City of Coral Springs which charged my client with one count of Disorderly Conduct/Fight/Brawl/Riot and one count of Disorderly Conduct/Resist/Obstruct Officer.
The other charging body was the State of Florida, which charged my client with Felony Battery Causing Great Bodily Harm, Battery, and Criminal Mischief.
Basically, the facts of this case entailed a bar fight with an alleged victim and my client then having an altercation with the Coral Springs Police Department. The alleged victim suffered a broken nose and some other injuries as well.
After the case was filed, the City of Coral Springs Prosecutor reached out with an offer. The City Prosecutor said, if your client is willing to pay a fine, we will go ahead and dismiss the case. My client accepted and the City dropped the charges against my client, or entered what is called a "Nolle Prosequi."
The State of Florida had absolutely no intention of resolving this type of case in such a manner, and their prosecution continued. The first issue that arose is the fact that my client was put in initial jeopardy by the Office of the City Attorney. The Defendant had to pay a fine to be able to obtain this dismissal, as the case wasn't just automatically dismissed by the City Attorney's Office. There was something given by the Defendant to earn this dismissal, and as a result, it can be ruled that this wasn't a straight nolle prosequi, but rather one that had to be earned, as the Defendant was put in jeopardy in the event that this fine wasn't paid. This would be a critical factor in the double jeopardy argument.
The next issue is the fact that these are two separate governmental bodies prosecuting the Defendant. In many circumstances, such as if it's a federal and state prosecution that's involved, it's deemed constitutional as the same body is not prosecuting you twice. If two different states are prosecuting you, that's deemed generally acceptable and constitutional as well. In the case at hand, however, it has been ruled by previous case law that a Municipal Prosecution falls under the guise of a State Prosecution and in essence, can be viewed as the same governing body performing the prosecution.
Also of note, if there are different offenses that require different elements of proof that each body is prosecuting you for, then it is a Constitutional Prosecution, even if the charges arise out of the same event. Therefore, in the case at hand, the pressing issue to discuss is are these charges basically the same charges that two separate prosecutors sought to bring against the Defendant.
In the case at hand, after filing a Motion to Dismiss, the trial Judge ruled that Double Jeopardy did apply and dismissed the State of Florida's case against my client, where he was facing prison time for the felony charge of Felony Battery Causing Great Bodily Harm due to the alleged victim's broken nose. The matter would later be resolved to my client's satisfaction without the imposition of any jail time assessed.
If you or someone you know feel like you have been put in Double Jeopardy for an alleged charge, do not hesitate to contact me directly at The Law Offices of Russell D. Bernstein, P.A., The Legal Helpline, at 954-752-2010 for your defense of any criminal or traffic matter.
State of Florida vs. DV (Broward County)
DUI traffic ticket law when an accident is involved is quite complex. There is a rule of law known as the "accident report privilege," which means that when there is an accident, solicited statements by law enforcement officers from the Defendant after the accident are generally inadmissible in Court. The issue then becomes, how important are these statements in the formation of probable cause for a DUI arrest and did law enforcement follow proper procedure?
When there is a Driving Under the Influence investigation and an automobile crash is involved, there is a certain protocol that must be followed by law enforcement in order for the arrest and DUI charge to be upheld. If the initial investigating police officer also ends up doing the criminal investigation on the case, the officer must clearly state that he or she is now "changing hats" when the criminal DUI investigation begins and that the accident investigation has terminated. If this process is not followed, then the statements given by the Defendant are likely to be inadmissible if the Defendant is questioned without being read his or her rights, which is known as the Miranda Warning.
In the case at hand, there was ample confusion as to which officer was performing what role in the investigation. Because protocol wasn't properly followed, and because probable cause was obtained by asking questions and investigating the scene without following the appropriate procedure, the arrest of the Defendant ended up being ruled as unlawful. As a result, along with an unlawful or illegal arrest comes a "tainted" or illegal charge of Driving Under the Influence, or DUI. Since the charge is now deemed tainted, the charge and all of the accompanying evidence must be ruled as inadmissible, forcing the Office of the State Attorney to drop the charges against the Defendant.
Case Result: Nolle Prosequi which means that the State Attorney chose to drop the charges against the Defendant.
If you have been charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, pursuant to Florida Statute 316.193, feel free to call the Law Offices of Russell D. Bernstein, P.A., The Legal Helpline-A Private Law Firm, at 954-752-2010 or toll free 855-FLA-TICKET for legal advice.
State of Florida vs. LS (Broward County)
The facts of this case are as follows: The Defendant hit a pole and a sign and was eventually approached by a police officer while in his vehicle with the keys in the ignition and the vehicle running.
When the officer approached the Defendant he noticed signs of impairment on the Defendant. The police officer initially only wanted to give the Defendant a traffic citation. The Defendant refused to sign the citation at which time the police officer began a DUI investigation. After the DUI investigation, the officer charged the Defendant with Driving Under the Influence Causing Injury or Property Damage, Driving Under the Influence, Refusal to Sign a Citation, and Improper Lane Change.
Upon taking the police officer's deposition, he revealed some very interesting information. He basically stated that he had no desire to give the Defendant a DUI citation and wasn't going to do so until the Defendant refused to sign a citation for careless driving. More importantly, he stated under oath that his sole purpose in coming out to the scene was to conduct an accident investigation and that he never "changed hats" when changing the course of his investigation from a civil traffic investigation to a criminal investigation. As a result, all of the statements that the Defendant made to the police officer during this investigation were solicited inadmissible statements due to the accident report privilege. These statements were used to establish probable cause to arrest the Defendant for the DUI charges.
In addition, the police officer asked the Defendant to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test at which time the only practical test that the officer should have asked for was a breath test. Therefore, the implied consent reading and implied consent forms were incorrect under these circumstances.
As a result of the foregoing, a Motion to Suppress the Arrest of the Defendant was filed due to a lack of probable cause since the inadmissible statements of the Defendant were used to establish probable cause for the Defendant's arrest. Within the Motion, it was also stated that the Defendant's refusal to take the breath test should be ruled inadmissible due to improper implied consent readings and requests.
After filing the Motion to Suppress, the arresting officer failed to show twice for the Hearings for this Motion. When the police officer showed the third time, the State Attorney realized the legitimacy of the Motion and decided to offer my client a breakdown of the DUI charge in exchange for a plea of no contest.
The result of the case was as follows:
The DUI charge Causing Property Damage or Injury was broken down into a RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE. Count Two which was a regular DUI charge, was dismissed in exchange for the plea, and there would be no conviction for Refusing to Sign a Citation and the Careless Driving citation would be dismissed.
The client was extremely satisfied being able to avoid a DUI conviction on his record after being charged with two separate counts of Driving Under the Influence.
State of Florida vs. PC (Broward County)
The facts of this case are as follows: The Defendant was charged four (4) times within twelve (12) months for the charge of Driving With a Suspended License. If you are convicted, or if adjudication is withheld for the criminal charge of Driving With a Suspended License three times within five (5) years, you will be classified as a habitual traffic offender and lose your driver's license for five years. In this case, the Defendant was looking at that harsh reality which would have devastated her financial livelihood.
In the case at hand, the undersigned counsel was able to negotiate plea offers with the State Attorney on all of these cases so that the Defendant would not lose her driver's license for five (5) years and not be labeled as a habitual traffic offender. The State Attorney changed the underlying charge to something else in order to avoid this harsh consequence.
The Defendant currently has her driver's license back and is driving legally without having the concern of the State of Florida notifying her that she is about to lose her driver's license for five years.
It is always extremely important to know what statute you are being charged with in these types of cases and to be aware of all of the consequences of your plea. Different license charges and violations carry different types of penalties and results.
At the Law Offices of Russell D. Bernstein, P.A., The Legal Helpline-A Private Law Firm, we make it a top priority to know your specific situation and make it our business to always protect your rights and driving privileges.
State of Florida vs. JCC (St. Lucie County-Circuit Court)
The Defendant was allegedly traveling at speeds of 126 miles per hour in a 70 mile per hour zone on the Florida Turnpike in St. Lucie County. The Defendant was also said to have been weaving in and out of traffic while shutting off his headlights, and driving on the shoulder of the Florida Turnpike with a State Trooper in pursuit.
The Defendant was initially charged with Obstruction of Justice, Resisting a Police Officer Without Violence, Violation of a Restriction of his Business Purpose Only License, Reckless Driving, and a slew of other serious traffic infractions.
Upon the Office of the State Attorney reviewing this file, they decided to upfile the charges and upfile the case from the initial Misdemeanor charges to a Third Degree Felony charge of Fleeing and Eluding a Police Officer. Their initial plea offer on this case was nine months in the county jail, along with many other Court ordered sanctions.
After the Discovery was received from the Office of the State Attorney, the arresting Trooper's deposition was taken shortly thereafter in Port St. Lucie. At the deposition, the Trooper testified that he could not say for certain whether the Defendant knew that he was being chased by law enforcement, since he could not see all of the Defendant's actions inside the vehicle. He also could not say for a fact that the Defendant wasn't using his license for business purposes, even though it was late at night.
In addition, the Trooper stated that he felt any type of jail sentence would not be necessary, since the subject would not be traveling on the roadways of St. Lucie County anymore, and that the Defendant had a very apologetic attitude at the time of the stop. In deposition, the police officer also said that he felt the case should not have been upfiled to a Felony.
At the docket sounding in Circuit Court, the Office of the State Attorney carefully reviewed the deposition of the State Trooper that was taken and realized that this case should have not been filed as a Felony.
The result of this Circuit Court Felony case was as follows:
RESULT OF CASE: COUNTS DISMISSED: FLEEING AND ELUDING A POLICE OFFICER, VIOLATION OF A BUSINESS PURPOSE ONLY LICENSE RESTRICTION, AND ALL FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR CHARGES
THE DEFENDANT PLEAD "NO CONTEST" TO A CHARGE OF RECKLESS DRIVING, AND LEFT ST. LUCIE COUNTY EXTREMELY THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL FOR NOT HAVING TO SERVE ANY JAIL TIME AT ALL
State of Florida vs. ML (Administrative Hearing)
The Defendant had his license suspended for a DUI violation. This DUI incident also involved a car accident.
The undersigned counsel on behalf of the Defendant applied for an administrative hearing, which affords the Defendant a hardship license if eligible, and gives the attorney an opportunity to discuss with the police officers specific aspects of the case.
At the Hearing, the police officers testified under oath that they were not able to place the Defendant behind the wheel of a vehicle. Therefore, they were unable to establish actual physical control of a vehicle by the Defendant.
In addition, the police officers did not read the Defendant his Miranda Warnings in a timely fashion, as the initial officer testified that he came out to conduct a crash investigation and not a criminal investigation. Therefore, any and all statements made by the Defendant in this specific incident would be deemed to be inadmissible.
It should also be noted that the DUI implied consent form was inaccurate with the way it was marked, and there were some real issues involved about whether or not the Defendant actually did refuse the breath test.
Based upon the foregoing, the Administrative Hearing Officer found insufficient probable cause to suspend the Defendant's driver's license, due to the various issues involved in this case, and gave the Defendant his driver's license back.
RESULT OF DUI ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING: DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSION SET ASIDE AND THE DEFENDANT WAS ELIGIBLE TO GET HIS REGULAR DRIVER'S LICENSE BACK FORTHWITH AT NO CHARGE
State of Florida vs. RA (Miami-Dade County)
The Defendant was charged with one count of Refusing to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test and one Count of Driving Under the Influence for a second time within five years.
The Defendant was faced with the potential consequence of an extended period of jail time and a loss of a driver's license for five years, along with other serious Court sanctions.
The result of this case was that the Office of the State Attorney eventually dropped both charges against the Defendant.
Result of Case: Case Dismissed.
State of Florida vs. RR (Miami-Dade County)
The Defendant was charged with one Felony count of fleeing and eluding a police officer and one count of Driving Under the Influence.
With the assistance of counsel, the Defendant was able to enter into a Diversion Program in order to have the Felony count dropped.
On the day of trial for the Driving Under the Influence charge, the State Attorney's Office ended up dismissing this charge against the Defendant.
With the advice and assistance of my law office, the Defendant was able to obtain a dismissal of both of these charges.
Result of Case: Case Dismissed.
State of Florida vs. SA (Broward County)
The Defendant was charged with one criminal count of Driving With a Suspended License With Knowledge. At the time of the stop, there was no illegal wrongdoing by the Defendant other than the fact that she was operating a motor vehicle in Broward County without a valid Florida Driver's license.
The police officer only stopped the Defendant after he ran the tag of the Defendant's vehicle which indicated that the Defendant had a suspended license.
The undersigned counsel filed the applicable Motion to Suppress Stop for this set of circumstances. After many resets by the Office of the State Attorney, the Prosecutor decided to amend this charge to a non-criminal charge of Failing to Display a Driver's License.
The Judge unilaterally decided to dismiss this traffic infraction.
Result of Case: Case Dismissed
State of Florida vs. SD (Broward County)
The Defendant was charged with one criminal count of Driving With a Suspended License With Knowledge. The Defendant had no idea that his license was suspended when he was stopped. In addition, the stopping officer stopped the Defendant solely because of a random tag check.
Based upon the fact that case law indicates certain requirements when stopping somebody after running a tag, coupled with the fact that the Defendant truly was unaware of his license suspension, the Office of the State Attorney changed the charge from a criminal to a non-criminal violation.
The client was extremely pleased with the result, as no conviction appears on his record, no criminal charge appears on his record, and the charge was changed to a civil traffic infraction to Driving With a Suspended License Without Knowledge.
State of Florida vs. CN (Broward County)
The Defendant was charged with one criminal count of Driving With a Suspended License With Knowledge. The Defendant's license was suspended due to a State accounting error pertaining to the Defendant's child support responsibilities.
Since the Defendant was truly unaware that his driver's license had been suspended, and since the State Attorney saw this technical error on behalf of the child support issue, the State Attorney decided to Nolle Prosequi the case.
Result of the case: Case Dismissed.
State of Florida vs. DH (Broward County)
The Defendant was criminally charged with one count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident With Greater Than $50.00 In Property Damage, and an Improper Lane Change. My client left the scene out of fear for his life. At trial, the Defense of Necessity was raised on behalf of the Defendant.
After cross-examination of the victim at trial, and being able to show inconsistencies in the victim's testimony such as identification and how the accident occurred, and after raising the Necessity Defense on behalf of my client, the Judge acquitted my client and found him Not Guilty as the Court felt that the charges of Leaving the Scene of an Accident With More Than $50.00 In Property Damage, and Improper Lane Change, were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Result of the case: Not Guilty.
State of Florida vs. AA (Broward County)
The Defendant was criminally charged with Operating a Motorcycle Without Having the Proper Endorsement, and for allegedly speeding at the rate of 100 mph in a 70 mph speed zone.
Based upon the State having issues and problems with their case on the day of trial, the undersigned counsel was able to avoid both convictions and points for these two violations.
The client was extremely satisfied with the results obtained, as his driving record was not damaged from these two very serious charges.
State of Florida vs. KO (Broward County)
The Defendant was charged criminally with one count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident With More Than $50.00 in Property Damage, Failure to Immediately Report an Accident, and Improper Change of Lanes.
As the undersigned counsel was only retained on the day of the Defendant's trial, it was noticed that there was a lack of a "wheel witness" present in Court. Due to this lack of a "wheel witness" present in Court, it would be difficult of the Office of the State Attorney to prove actual physical control of the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Based upon this critical information, the State Attorney's Office decided to nolle prosequi, or dismiss, the criminal charge against the Defendant.
At the end of the Hearing, the client was extremely pleased to know that the criminal charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident was dismissed by the State Attorney, and that adjudication would be withheld for his other two civil traffic infractions.
Result of case: Criminal charge was Dismissed, and there were no points or convictions assessed against my client's driving record for any of these alleged charges.
State of Florida vs. ME (Broward County)
The Defendant was charged with one Count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident, which is Florida State Statute 316.061(1). Upon review of the Discovery provided by the Office of the State Attorney, the undersigned counsel realized that my client never left the scene of the accident, and that there was also a Co-Defendant involved in this incident who was also charged with leaving the scene of the crash as well as a subsequent DUI charge.
Since it was virtually impossible to prove in this case that two separate Defendants could be charged with the exact same charge of Leaving the Scene of the Accident at the exact same time, a Motion to Dismiss was filed on behalf of my client.
Upon further review of these facts and circumstances by the Assistant State Attorney, he agreed with my conclusion. The conclusion was that my client never in fact left the scene of the alleged accident, and based upon the foregoing, the Assistant State Attorney ultimately agreed with my legal Motion to Dismiss.
The result of the case is as follows: Motion to Dismiss-GRANTED
Case-DISMISSED BY JUDGE
State of Florida vs. DM (Broward County)
The Defendant in this case was charged criminally with Driving With a Suspended License. The police officer stopped the Defendant because the Officer believed the Defendant's tag to be expired.
It was discovered that the Defendant's tag was valid, and not expired. Since the Defendant's tag was valid, the Officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant and subsequently run the Defendant's license to find out it was suspended.
As a result of this improper stop, a Motion to Suppress the Stop of the Defendant and dismiss the criminal charge of Driving With a Suspended License was filed by my office. At the Hearing for this Motion, the Office of the State Attorney agreed with the argument contained in the Motion, that the tag was valid and the stop was improper.
The State Attorney then agreed to change the charge from the criminal violation of Driving With a Suspended License With Knowledge, to a civil traffic infraction for Driving With a Suspended License WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE, which was accepted by the very satisfied client. The Defendant received no conviction on his record for this civil traffic infraction.
State of Florida vs. MM (Broward County)
The facts of the the case are as follows: The Defendant was charged with his third DUI outside of ten years and was also involved in a car accident.
Upon law enforcement arriving to the scene, the arresting officer did not read the Defendant his Miranda Warning when the Officer changed the course of his investigation from a civil traffic investigation to a criminal DUI investigation.
Since the Officer did not timely Mirandize the Defendant, the undersigned counsel filed a Motion to Suppress all of the statements that the Defendant made to the arresting Officer during the course of the investigation and asked the Court to suppress the arrest of the Defendant due to a lack of probable cause.
On the day the Motion was to be heard, the State Attorney conceded that the arresting Officer did not Mirandize the Defendant, and that the Motion to Suppress the Defendant's Statements may be granted.
At this time, the undersigned counsel explained the surrounding facts and circumstances of this Motion to the Judge, and the case was able to be resolved in a favorable manner for the Defendant. The Defendant did not receive any jail time upon the resolution of this case, when the original offer from the State Attorney's Office to resolve this case involved six months in jail.
In conclusion, the filing of this Motion to Suppress based upon the specific facts and circumstances of this case provided the Defendant an opportunity to resolve his third DUI charge with a disposition that was extremely reasonable and more than satisfactory.
State of Florida vs. MM (Broward County)
The Defendant was charged with Driving With a Suspended License and Possession of Marijuana. The facts of the case are as follows: The Defendant was driving his vehicle in Broward County when a local law enforcement officer randomly ran the Defendant's tag for no specific reason. Upon the running of the tag, the tag came back that the owner of the vehicle had a suspended driver's license.
The stopping and arresting Officer then briefly noticed the Defendant driving the vehicle, and decided to stop the vehicle, because the Officer believed that the limited physical description (age, sex and race), of the driver Defendant matched the physical description of the tag owner's driver's license. In other words, the Officer believed that the owner of this vehicle was driving this vehicle with a suspended license at this time.
The Officer then stopped the vehicle, had the Defendant step out of the vehicle, and then began searching the vehicle after he detained the Defendant for Driving With a Suspended License. When the vehicle was searched, the Officer discovered the suspect marijuana and charged the Defendant with Driving With a Suspended License and Possession of Marijuana.
Legally, the fact that the driver of the vehicle is the actual owner of the vehicle in this case did not make a difference. The Motion to Suppress was granted because the Court found that the stopping Officer did not have sufficient, articulable suspicion that the Defendant driver in this case was the same person who owned the vehicle and had a suspended license. This is based upon the fact that the Officer was only provided with the limited description of the birth, race and sex of the owner of the vehicle upon the running of the owner's driver's license. Therefore, with such a limited physical description, there was an insufficient nexus that the person driving the vehicle was also in fact the owner of the vehicle whose license came up suspended.
Therefore, since this was considered an illegal and unconstitutional stop, everything that happened after the stop, including the search of the vehicle and the subsequent charges of Driving With a Suspended License and Possession of Marijuana, are considered to be "fruit of the poisonous tree" and are tainted or inadmissible. When an illegal stop occurs, evidence that is gathered after that illegal stop is generally inadmissible, including, but not limited to, all evidence that is gathered as a result of an illegal search and seizure.
As a result, since the charges were inadmissible, the State Attorney's Office decided to dismiss all charges.
State of Florida vs. VR (Broward County)
The facts of the case are as follows: The Defendant was charged with speeding (95-65) and a DUI (Driving Under the Influence). Upon being stopped, the Defendant was asked to perform a series of roadside exercises which were recorded on videotape and performed by the Defendant to perfection under difficult circumstances.
Also, the Defendant's speech was not slurred and there was no indicia of impairment whatsoever.
Based upon these observations, instead of leaving the question of impairment up to a jury, a Motion to Suppress was filed on behalf of the Defendant, asking the Court to Suppress the arrest of the Defendant and dismiss all subsequent charges including the DUI charge, because no probable cause existed for the Defendant's arrest.
It is of utmost importance to remember that the breath test results received were taken after the Defendant was arrested, and if the arrest was made without probable cause, then it is deemed an improper and illegal arrest, making the breath test results inadmissible as well. In any event, since the breath test was taken after the arrest, the results could obviously not be used to establish probable cause at the time of the arrest.
Upon the Court's review of the videotape of the Defendant's roadside sobriety exercises and the totality of the circumstances, the Court found that no probable cause existed to arrest the Defendant, and the Defendant should have not been arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence.
As a result, the Office of the State Attorney dismissed all charges against my client, based upon the fact that the arrest and subsequent DUI charge was improper since there was insufficient probable cause to make this initial arrest.
State of Florida vs. RM (Broward County)
The facts of the case are as follows. The Defendant was being followed by an undercover police vehicle on a dark road. For the Defendant's safety, he kept traveling until he came to a well lit area. Upon stopping, the Defendant was subsequently arrested and charged with Failing to Obey a Law Enforcement Officer and a DUI.
The undersigned counsel was able to demonstrate to the Office of the State Attorney that the Defendant did not act in a willful manner in refusing to stop immediately, but rather acted in his own safety. In other words, the undersigned counsel explained how the Defendant did not in any way violate Florida State Statute 316.072(3), which is "Failure to Obey a Law Enforcement Officer."
Upon the undersigned counsel's explanation of the Defendant's reasonable actions under these difficult circumstances, the State Attorney's Office decided to nolle prosequi/dismiss the charge for Failing to Obey a Law Enforcement Officer.
The remainder of the case was resolved to the Defendant's satisfaction.
State of Florida vs. W.W. (Broward County)
In summation, Defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license. Counsel was retained after the fact for the Driving With a Suspended License charge.
The Defendant was faced with a five year driver's license revocation and the stigma of becoming a habitual traffic offender if the suspended license charge was not amended to another type of charge or dismissed completely.
Upon the taking of the stopping and arresting officer's deposition, the undersigned was able to determine that there was insufficient probable cause to stop and arrest the Defendant, and that the stop was a mere pre-textual type of stop. Based upon this determination, the undersigned filed a Motion to Suppress and asked the Court to suppress and dismiss the suspended license charge, due to the fact that this type of stop should be considered a pre-textual type of stop.
Shortly after the filing of this Motion, the Office of the State Attorney offered the Defendant a change of charge from Driving With a Suspended License to No Valid Driver's License. Although the charges sound the same, the ramifications are extremely different.
Due to this change of charge, the Defendant will not be faced with a five (5) year driver's license revocation, and the stigma of becoming a habitual traffic offender.
The undersigned counsel and the Defendant are both extremely satisfied with the result, as the Defendant, who has worked so hard to get a valid driver's license, will now be able to keep it.
State of Florida vs. J.S., (Broward County)
(Possession of Marijuana)
In summation, Officer pulls over Defendant and holds Defendant in vehicle for period of time until dogs come and perform an exterior sniff of the vehicle. Officer alleges that reason for the stop was because the Defendant ran a red light. Upon exterior sniff of vehicle by the drug dogs, Officer searches car and discovers marijuana in a backpack in Defendant's vehicle. Officer issues Defendant notice to appear in Court and charges him with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Upon cross examination, counsel (I) was able to show inconsistencies in arresting officer's testimony, (specifically pertaining to how long the Defendant was held before being read his rights and how long it was before the drug dogs came to perform an exterior sniff of the vehicle) regarding the facts of this case and how this incident occurred. Based upon these inconsistencies, the presiding Judge granted my Motion to Suppress Stop and Arrest of Defendant and All Evidence Contained Therein. As a result of this Motion being granted, the State Attorney's Office has since dismissed this case.
The State of Florida vs. T.M., (Broward County)
In summation, upon cross examination of the arresting Officer, the presiding Judge felt that there were not enough specific articulable facts to detain my client, not read him his Miranda Warnings, and still subsequently charge him with possession of marijuana. In essence, after my cross examination, the Judge felt that the arresting officer was on a "fishing expedition" when he charged my client, and because there was insufficient probable cause, the Judge granted my Motion to Suppress, and suppressed all evidence obtained against my client. This case is currently on appeal by the Office of the State Attorney.