| Read Time: 4 minutes | Drug Charges

DUIs and Marijuana in Florida

Being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana can be frustrating. Attitudes about marijuana are changing across the country. But in Florida, cannabis is still illegal for recreational use. Medical marijuana is legal, but you are still not allowed to drive while high. You can get a DUI for weed, even if you have a prescription to use it.  But don’t assume an arrest equals a conviction. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we’re here to fight for you and your freedom. Whether you or a loved one is facing DUI marijuana charges, give us a call at 407-720-8507 to set up a free, confidential consultation.  Can You Get a DUI for Being High?  Yes, you can be convicted of a drug DUI if you are caught driving while high. Florida’s driving under the influence law, Florida Statutes section 316.193, says you can be punished for driving or being in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any chemical or controlled substance that’s impaired your normal faculties.  While you may have thought you could only get a DUI for having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher, the truth is that you can get a DUI for being intoxicated by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.  All a prosecutor has to do is prove:  You were impaired because of a substance, and You were driving or in control of a vehicle.  Call our Orlando DUI defense attorneys as soon after an arrest as you can. There are ways to defend yourself, but you shouldn’t go down this road alone.  How Can a Police Officer Detect Marijuana?  A police officer can pull you over if they have a reasonable suspicion that you’re committing a crime. For example, they might see you commit a traffic violation like rolling through a stop sign or speeding. They might suspect impaired driving if they see you driving erratically, such as randomly slowing down and speeding up, crossing lane lines, or weaving in and out of traffic without using your signals. Another possibility is that the officer witnessed you or a passenger smoke something that looked like a joint or pipe.  Once the officer’s pulled you over, they’ll observe several things:  Whether they smell cannabis; Your appearance, including whether your eyes are red or bloodshot, and Whether your speech appears delayed or slurred when you answer their questions.  Call a defense attorney right away if you believe the officer didn’t have any reason to suspect that you were high.  Chemical Testing and Implied Consent in Florida  If the officer notices signs of intoxication, they may ask you to blow into a roadside breath test or get out of the vehicle to perform field sobriety tests. You are not legally obligated to do any of these things.  You can politely decline to take a roadside breath test or perform any field sobriety tests. However, that won’t stop an officer from arresting you.  If the officer arrests you for a marijuana DUI, they can ask you to submit to a urine or blood test. Under Florida Statutes §316.1932, Florida’s implied consent law, by accepting the terms of your driver’s license you’ve already agreed to submit to chemical testing if the police arrest you for a DUI.  If you refuse to take a urine or blood test, you can face civil and criminal consequences. A refusal causes a one-year driver’s license suspension, and a second refusal leads to an 18-month suspension. A prosecutor also can charge you with a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail.  What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana?  The potential punishment depends on whether you’ve been convicted of one or more DUIs before. It doesn’t matter whether you’re facing a DUI based on alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.  First DUI (Misdemeanor) Penalties Up to six months in jail; Fines between $500 and $1,000; License suspension between six months and one year; 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and 10-day vehicle impoundment.  Second DUI (Misdemeanor) Penalties Up to nine months in jail; Fines between $1,000 and $2,000; Ignition interlock device; License suspension between 180 days and one year; One year of probation; A psychosocial evaluation; 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and 10-day vehicle impoundment.  Third DUI (Misdemeanor or Felony) Penalties Up to one year in jail (Up to five years for a felony); Fines between $2,000 and $5,000; Ignition interlock device; One-year license suspension (Up to 10 years for a felony); One year of probation; and A psychosocial evaluation; 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and 90-day vehicle impoundment.  Fourth DUI (Felony) Penalties Up to five years in prison; Fines up to $5,000; Permanent license revocation; 50 hours of community service (or a buyout option); and 90-day vehicle impoundment. Whether this is your first DUI or you’ve had multiple DUI offenses, you should have an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you. You deserve a vigorous defense to pursue a dismissal, acquittal, or lenient sentence.  Defending Against a Florida Marijuana DUI  There are several possible DUI defenses, including arguing:  The officer didn’t have a valid reason to perform the traffic stop; The officer conducted an illegal search and seizure; The prosecutor lacks sufficient evidence to prove you were impaired, including chemical test results; You have a valid prescription for medical marijuana use and were not impaired at the time; Despite a chemical test showing trace amounts of THC, the prosecutor lacks evidence of impairment; or The prosecutor can’t prove you were in control of a vehicle at the time.  We encourage you to call an Orlando DUI defense lawyer to talk about your options.  Call Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law Today  If you were recently arrested for a marijuana DUI in Orlando or Orange County, FL, let us handle your DUI case. We bring years of trial experience to the table. And because we believe representation should...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | DUI

How Much Does a DUI Lawyer Cost in Florida?

The Cost of a DUI Cannot Be Measured in Dollars Alone. Florida’s DUI law permits a sentencing judge to send a person to jail for a first-time DUI, even if you have no other criminal record. Notwithstanding, most people convicted of a first-offense DUI do not go to jail unless they were sentenced for DUI manslaughter or causing a severe injury. However, a conviction for a DUI charge in Florida will have serious consequences that will follow you forever. Despite the severe implications DUI convictions carry, people still question whether hiring a qualified DUI defense attorney is worth the expense. Everyone wants to know, How much does a DUI cost? The costs of a conviction far exceed the initial expense of hiring an experienced and dedicated Florida DUI defense lawyer to help you avoid the long-lasting consequences of a DUI conviction. The Cost of a DUI Depends on What Type of Case You Have DUI lawyer fees usually depend on the complexity of your case. A high-quality Florida DUI lawyer will not answer the question, How much does a DUI cost? without going over your case in detail first. A skilled DUI defense attorney understands that each case turns on its details. Before answering any questions about DUI lawyer fees, a seasoned attorney will spend some time with you going through your case moment by moment. A successful DUI lawyer knows that the smallest detail could mean the difference between an acquittal and conviction. Topics a Top DUI Lawyer Will Discuss  A winning DUI defense attorney will want to discuss several topics before answering how much does a DUI lawyer cost, like: Your previous criminal record, if any; If there was an accident that led to your DUI arrest and, if so, whether someone was injured or killed; Whether you took a chemical test, and if you asked for an independent test; Why a law enforcement officer pulled you over; If you made any statements to the police; Whether you took any field sobriety tests; If you have any relevant medical history that might affect how you perform on a field sobriety test or chemical test; Whether the officers involved informed you of your Miranda rights before asking you any questions other than the standard booking questions; The names and addresses of witnesses who were with you in the car or who were with you before you started driving; and How you want to handle the case. These are just some examples of the topics a trained Florida DUI attorney may discuss with you. Your lawyer should also discuss with you the applicable laws, the potential punishments you face if convicted, and possible defenses. All these issues figure into answering the question, How much is a DUI lawyer? Self-Representation Is Not Cost-Effective Understandably, most people who ask us, How much does a DUI lawyer cost? are concerned about the financial expense of hiring a lawyer. Taking the prosecution on without representation can cost you more than DUI lawyer fees. Taking a quick plea deal does not save you money either. DUI convictions are costly. Even if you do not go to jail, you may face financial penalties such as: $500 court costs; $300 for DUI classes; Community service hours valued at $500; $200 or more for alcohol evaluation and treatment; Up to $1,900 to install and maintain an ignition interlock device; $400 for vehicle impound and storage charge; and At least $350 license reinstatement fee for a work permit. These costs are simply associated with a conviction for a first-offense DUI. The fines you face depend on the type of offense brought against you. DUI fines in Florida can range from $500 to $1,000 for a first offense with a BAC under 0.15%. However, the minimum fine increases from $1,000 to a maximum of $2,000 for a first offense DUI if your BAC exceeds 0.15%. The fines also increase as the severity of the crimes alleged increases. Hidden Costs of a DUI Conviction in Florida The foremost concern for the majority of folks arrested for DUI is whether they will go to jail and what other punishments they face. The focus is on the penalties the criminal justice system imposes. Many folks often forget about a DUI conviction’s hidden costs when they ask us, How much does a DUI lawyer cost? The law enforcement officer who arrested you probably suspended your license administratively. You also face additional license suspension if a court convicts you of a DUI charge. Another revocation period could severely hamper your ability to work. Additionally, you will impose a greater burden on your family to drive you around until your suspension is over. Significantly, your auto insurance rates will soar by up to 50%.  You must also be aware that DUI convictions remain with you forever. You will face enhanced penalties if you are arrested again for DUI. A Florida DUI conviction also follows you around the country. Strict DUI laws in most states allow the prosecution to use out-of-state convictions to bring more serious charges against you. By engaging a savvy DUI lawyer to evaluate your case, you may be able to avoid these harsh and unforeseen consequences of a DUI conviction in Florida. Talk With an Experienced Florida DUI Lawyer to Learn More About How Much Does a DUI Cost The Florida DUI defense attorneys with Moses & Rooth have the experience you need to defend your DUI successfully. We understand that you face an uncertain future.We also know that money is a big concern. That is why we offer free consultations and flexible payment plans. We want you to receive the justice you deserve. Call Moses & Rooth today at 407-337-0150 or visit our website to learn more about how much does a DUI lawyer cost.

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Criminal Defense

A Legal Guide for Florida Spring Breakers: Know Before You Go

CC image by Ekaterina Vladinakova at Flickr If you’re heading to Florida for spring break in 2019, the sunshine and warm water may not be all that you encounter. In fact, spring breakers are notorious for getting into legal trouble – typically for things like underage drinking. Before you go, here are a few laws and safety tips that you should review to reduce the risk of an accident and keep you out of legal trouble– Staying Safe – Avoiding the Four Ds As a mnemonic device to help you remember safety and the law when you’re on spring break, consider the four Ds that you should always avoid: Drunk driving Drugged driving Distracted driving Drowsy driving All four of the above are, first and foremost, extremely unsafe. When you drive drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted, you significantly increase your risk of causing a motor vehicle accident. You may also have legal consequences if you are apprehended for drunk or drugged driving, and even texting while driving is against the law in the Sunshine State. Alcohol For those who are traveling for spring break, alcohol typically presents the biggest temptation, and of the biggest health, safety, and legal risks, too. While our law firm does not condone underage drinking, we do want to remind you that if you do drink–whether of the legal drinking age or not–to never get behind the wheel after you’ve consumed an alcoholic beverage. CC image by Image Catalog at Flickr In addition to staying clear of drunk driving, remember that it is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol within the car, as found in Florida Statutes Section 316.1936. Remind your passengers that if they want to drink, they can’t do it while your vehicle is in operation. Find a Designated Driver Avoiding the four Ds means finding a designated driver if people in your group have been drinking or using drugs. You should also find another driver if those in your group are overly-fatigued; studies show that fatigued driving has the potential to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. When you’re assigning a designated driver in your group, do so smartly. Characteristics of a designated driver that are important include that the driver has/is: A valid driver’s license and auto insurance; Responsible; and Able to resist the temptation not to drink, even when hanging out with friends. It’s always a good idea to select a designated driver before you hit the bars or are exposed to alcohol. If there is no one in your group who makes for a safe designated driver, take a cab, use a rideshare, or find another way home. Know Your Limits If you will be drinking on this spring break, make sure you do so safely – which means more than just avoiding the driver’s seat. It’s also important that you set and know your limits – how much can you personally consume safely? Don’t drink more than you can handle, and try to stick to the general rule of no more than one drink per hour, coupled with a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. (Note that depending on who you are, the one-drink-per-hour rule may be very inaccurate.) When drinking, be sure to always pair your alcohol consumption with plenty of food and water, too. It’s also important that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and keep an eye out for anyone in your group who may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. The American Addictions Centers lists a few of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning as vomiting, hypothermia, seizure, loss of bowel or bladder control, irregular pulse, and blue-tinged skin. If you suspect that anyone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, you should seek emergency medical care/dial 911 immediately. Alcohol Ban on Beaches The car is not the only place that you can’t have an open container of alcohol in Florida; alcohol is also prohibited on many of the beaches, too. Refer to the Orlando Weekly for a list of beaches in Florida where you can legally drink alcohol, and note that Panama City Beach has banned alcohol on the beach as an “emergency measure” for this year’s spring break. Other Important Laws It’s also important that, in addition to alcohol-specific laws, you also review the rules regarding using a fake ID and public intoxication. As an added safety tip, we also recommend getting vaccinated before coming to Florida, which may offer protection from bacteria and viruses that are often rampant in large gatherings, like those that are found during spring break. Be Smart About Sexual Assault, Rape, and Other Violent Crimes CC image by freestocks.org at Flickr Spring break is no longer just an opportunity for young people to celebrate a reprieve from the grind of university life and get in a little sunshine; it is also a time where many people, spring breakers and otherwise, commit serious crimes, including rape, sexual assault, theft, and assault. During spring break, adhere to the following safety tips: Don’t leave a drink unattended – date rape drugs, including GHB and Rohypnol, could be placed in your drink while you’re distracted; Travel with a buddy – don’t go to unfamiliar places alone, especially in areas where drugs and alcohol are present; Have a plan, including knowing where you’re going and when, and how to get there; Don’t give out your information, including where you’re staying while on spring break, to strangers; Tell someone where you’re going before you leave and when you plan to be back; Keep your belongings close to avoid pickpocketing and theft; and If things get heated between you and another spring breaker, walk away – an assault can be dangerous, and could result in criminal charges if you’re involved. Dos and Don’ts of Interacting with the Police CC image by Alex Smith at Flickr If you are pulled over or otherwise stopped by police while on spring break this year, it’s important that you know how to respond to protect...

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

To Blow or Not to Blow? That is the Question

When an officer pulls you over for DUI, they should have probable cause that you are operating the vehicle while legally intoxicated. For example, the officer might have seen you swerving on the road or drifting into a lane—behavior that is consistent with someone who is drunk. However, the state would also like some scientific proof that you are legally impaired, and the officer who pulls you over will probably ask you to blow into a breathalyzer. This machine will test your blood alcohol concentration, or “BAC.” In Florida, a BAC of 0.08 or higher creates a presumption you are intoxicated. Of course, you have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer or consent to a blood or urine test. But should you blow nonetheless? Below, we analyze the pros and cons. Reasons Not to Give a Breathalyzer The primary reason not to take the test is strategic—you are gambling on the state not having enough evidence to convict you of driving under the influence (DUI). The easiest way to prove you are guilty would be to introduce a breathalyzer test with a BAC of 0.08 or higher. However, if you refuse to blow, the state can’t identify your BAC. Of course, you need to realize that the state can still convict you of DUI without knowing your BAC. The officer and other people can testify that they saw you driving erratically, and witnesses can also testify that they saw you drinking before getting into your vehicle. An officer can also testify that your breath stank of alcohol, your speech was slurred, and that you could not walk on your own. Depending on the circumstances, this evidence might be enough to convict you. Also, the state can introduce evidence that you refused to take a breathalyzer test as some proof that you were probably intoxicated. In fact, many jurors will probably come to that conclusion themselves. However, if the state does not have strong evidence that you are impaired, it might make sense not to blow. If you are someone who drinks a lot, your BAC might be over the limit, but you could still be in full control of your physical and mental faculties. It’s a gamble not to blow, but not an entirely unreasonable one. Reasons to Give a Breathalyzer There are many reasons to give a breathalyzer. First, if you really aren’t intoxicated, then a result below 0.08 could help you. Second, you can lose your license simply for refusing to take a breathalyzer. Driving is a privilege, not a right, in Florida; and all motorists give implied consent to take a chemical test if pulled over for DUI. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer, you will lose your license for at least a year. Each subsequent refusal to take a test results in longer suspension—18 months. Third, refusing to take a breathalyzer is also a misdemeanor if you have previously refused to blow. So you can be convicted of DUI and also have a misdemeanor conviction—doubling the trouble you are in. Speak to an Orlando DUI Attorney Today Whether to take a breathalyzer or not is an individual decision. At Moses & Rooth, we have helped countless motorists picked up for DUI. Remember, an arrest is not a conviction, and there are ways you can fight the charges. For example, the police might have stopped you without probable cause, or the breathalyzer machine might be defective. To better understand your options, please reach out to us today. We offer a free consultation, which you can schedule by calling 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | DUI

What Do I Need to Know if I Get a DUI?

Hundreds of people are arrested for drunk driving each year in the Orlando area. In Florida, driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to serious criminal and administrative penalties. With that in mind, here are a few things you need to know about how DUI laws work in Orlando. What Is Considered “Drunk Driving” in Florida? The most common definition of DUI is operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. A person’s BAC is normally determined through the use of a Breathalyzer or similar device administered to the driver by law enforcement. But it’s important to note that BAC is not the sole method of establishing drunk driving. A person is guilty of DUI anytime their “normal faculties are impaired” while behind the wheel, which may be established by other evidence, such as testimony that the defendant was driving erratically. DUI Is Not Just About Alcohol Although we normally associate DUI with alcohol, in fact the law refers to driving under the influence of any “chemical substance” or controlled substance specified in state law. This can include anything from marijuana to nitrous oxide. Again, the key is whether or not the person was impaired due to the use of the chemical. You Can Go to Jail for DUI–Even a First Offense If you are charged, tried, and convicted of DUI for the first time in Orlando, the judge has the discretion to fine you between $500 and $1,000–as well as send you to jail for up to 6 months. Jail is not mandatory mind you, but it is a possibility. And if you are in court for your second DUI, the penalty range increases accordingly: a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and up to 9 months in jail. There Are Additional Factors That May Enhance Your Sentence Two things that will make a DUI charge worse: Having a BAC of 0.15 percent or greater, or having a minor in the vehicle with you at the time of your arrest. Either of these factors will effectively double the range of fines listed above. Your Driver’s License Will Be Suspended The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is required to suspend a driver’s license for at least 180 days following a first DUI conviction. This suspension may last up to one year. And if the DUI resulted in “bodily injury” to another person, the minimum suspension period goes up to 3 years. Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Has Consequences Florida is an “implied consent” state. This means that if Orlando police have probable cause to arrest you for DUI, it’s presumed you consent to a blood, breath, or urine test to determine your BAC. You can still refuse the test, but it will result in an automatic 1-year suspension of your driver’s license if this is your first offense. You Need to Call an Orlando DUI Defense Lawyer Although a drunk driving charge may seem like no big deal at first glance, it is a criminal matter and must be treated as such. This means you need to work with an experienced Orlando DUI defense attorney who understands the local legal system and can advise you on the appropriate steps to take. Contact Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today. Call (407) 377-0150.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | DUI

Florida Drivers are No Longer the Worst in the Nation

We have good news for our fellow Floridians. We are no longer the worst drivers in the nation! Unfortunately, Florida drivers still rank very near the bottom of a new survey of states that graded them on the safety of their drivers. As reported by the Sun Sentinel, Florida ranked eighth in this survey—a minor improvement over the previous year, when Florida was ranked as the worst state. Although we applaud the baby steps, there is plenty of room to increase driver safety. The Study Financial website SmartAsset looked at all 50 states and graded them according to four metrics: The percentage of drivers lacking insurance The number of DUI arrests per driver The number of fatalities per mile driven The number of time state residents searched Google for speeding and traffic tickets We’re not sure these are the best metrics for ranking driver safety, but these are the ones chosen by SmartAsset. In any event, Florida’s numbers are not great—which should not surprise anyone given that we still ranked worse than 42 other states. According to Smart Asset, only 73% of Florida drivers have insurance, meaning over one quarter of our state’s motorists are on the road without insurance. Seeing that insurance is required to register a vehicle, this is surprising news. Also, Florida had around 2 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers—again, not terrific. Florida managed to edge ahead of Mississippi, Tennessee, California, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas in this survey—so be sure to brag the next time you visit one of those states. Massachusetts, however, ranked as the best state, with about 94% of its drivers insured. We guess they need something to be proud of given their terrible weather. What this Means for You Given the high number of uninsured vehicles, Florida motorists should make smart decisions when purchasing insurance. In particular, you should buy uninsured motorist coverage, which will kick in if an uninsured driver hits you. Throw in underinsured motorist coverage as well, which you can tap if you exhaust the insurance benefits of the driver at fault for the accident. If you do not have this coverage, then chances are you will lack sufficient resources if you get into a crash. There will be no insurance policy to cover lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. Also consider buying “stackable” UM coverage, which will increase the amount of compensation available. For example, if you have three vehicles under one UM police for $25,000, you can stack them and immediately have $75,000 available in the event of a crash. Arrested for DUI? Call Us Today As a leading Florida criminal defense firm, Moses & Rooth is well acquainted with Florida’s driving under the influence laws. Our attorneys are former prosecutors who have handled countless DUI cases and can pinpoint weaknesses in the state’s case that might allow you to receive a favorable plea or beat the charges altogether. To schedule a free initial consultation with an Orlando criminal defense lawyer, please call 407-377-0150 or contact us online.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

Florida’s Zero Tolerance for Underage DUI

Drunk drivers cause considerable damage on Florida’s roads. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, over 5,000 crashes were caused by drunk drivers in 2016. These wrecks caused 461 deaths and over 3,000 injuries—staggering numbers that cost the state millions of dollars a year. Because those under 21 cannot legally consume alcohol, Florida unsurprisingly has a zero tolerance policy for underage DUI. If you or a loved one has been picked up for driving while intoxicated, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Legal Limit Under Florida law, drivers must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.08. If your BAC is higher, then you have committed a DUI. Drivers under 21 have an even lower maximum BAC: any score of 0.02 or higher qualifies. This means that a single drink can render a young driver legally intoxicated. Punishments are serious for those who are under 21: You will lose your license for six months in an administrative suspension if this is your first offense. If it is a second offense, then you will lose your license for a year. If you refused to take a roadside test, your license will be suspended for a year. If this is your second or subsequent refusal, your license will be suspended for 18 months. If your BAC was 0.08% or higher, then you will receive the same punishments as an adult would. You can pay a fine of $500-1,000, have your license suspended for 180 days to 1 year, perform 50 hours of community service, and spend up to 6 months in county jail. The state can also impound your vehicle. If you were picked up for DUI and are under the age of 18, then you will lose your license for six months and must undergo a mandatory evaluation or complete an alcohol education program. Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction Losing your license for 6 months and doing some community service might not sound like stiff punishments. You might even get your parents to pay your fine for you. However, criminal convictions have repercussions that can last a long time and can make it hard for young adults to establish themselves. With a criminal record, you might experience the following: It can be harder to get an apartment It might be harder to obtain a job Your preferred college or university might reject you You might not qualify for scholarships You might not gain acceptance into the military For these reasons, you must take any arrest for under-21 DUI very seriously. At Moses & Rooth, we can review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and identify your strongest defense. Charged with an Under-21 DUI in Orlando? DUI is no laughing matter. The costs can be considerable and long-lasting. By contacting one of our Orlando DUI attorneys, you can give yourself the best chance of a favorable outcome, whether that involves a generous plea deal or fighting your charges in court. To learn more about how we can help you, please call 407-377-0150 to schedule your free consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | DUI

State of Florida Launches $5M Ad Campaign to Warn Against “Driving Baked”

Although marijuana has gained greater social acceptance in recent years–particularly as a medicinal drug–it remains a dangerous controlled substance under federal and state law. And while Florida voters approved the limited manufacture and use of medicinal cannabis as part of a statewide constitutional amendment, that does not mean you can simply smoke a joint in public whenever you feel like it. To the contrary, it remains illegal to smoke marijuana in public–or to drive a car while under the influence of any cannabis-containing product. Raising Awareness of Impaired Driving Laws “Driving baked” may not get as much attention as traditional drunk driving. But according to Florida law, a person is just as guilty of a DUI if they are under the influence of a “controlled substance…when affected to the extent that a person’s normal faculties are impaired.” This means that you can be charged with DUI if police officers have proof that you are “driving baked” or even simply impaired because you took too much cold medicine. As part of the implementation of the medical cannabis constitutional amendment, the Florida Legislature directed the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to implement a “statewide impaired driving education campaign to raise awareness and prevent marijuana-related and cannabis-related impaired driving.” The Legislature set aside $5 million in Florida’s 2018 budget specifically for this education campaign. The campaign itself includes conducting surveys to evaluate “awareness” of Florida laws related to impaired driving, as well as traditional mass-media advertising. With respect to the latter, the Department released its first television ad in April 2018. The 30-second commercial, narrated by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper, reminds drivers to think about their fellow passengers, other motorists, and bicyclists before getting behind the wheel while impaired. The ad ends with the Trooper warning drivers, “You’ll answer to us. Drive baked, get busted.” According to a January 2018 report prepared in connection with the launch of the campaign, the priority for these ads is to “make clear and direct links to the negative consequences for marijuana-impaired driving in a memorable and conversational way to create true behavior change.” The report noted the target audience for the ads includes younger drivers between the ages of 18-34. The Department also plans to conduct follow-up surveys beginning in July to assess overall statewide awareness of impaired driving laws as they relate to marijuana and cannabis. Get Help with a Drug-Related DUI Charge in Orlando Drug-impaired driving cases are often much more complicated than traditional DUI, since law enforcement cannot simply rely on a breath-analysis to determine impairment. So if you are pulled over by a DHP trooper or an Orlando police officer on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance, remember you have the right to remain silent and speak with a qualified Orlando criminal defense lawyer. Call Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, at (407) 377-0150 to speak with a DUI lawyer today.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

When Did the First DUI Charge Occur in the United States?

Drunk driving has been around as long as there have been cars. In the early morning hours of September 10, 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi cab driver named George Smith was charged by local police with “being drunk when in charge of a motor car.” A constable observed Smith operating a “four-wheeled electric cab,” when he suddenly “swerved from one side of the road to the other, and ran across the footway into 165, New Bond-street, breaking the water-pipe and the beading of the window,” according to a contemporary report in the London Morning Post. A Brief History of DUI Laws As far as anyone knows, Smith was the first person ever charged with a DUI in any country. But it would take another 13 years before the first DUI laws were adopted in the United States. In 1910, the New York legislature became the first to prohibit “driving while intoxicated.” It is not clear who the first person charged under that law was. Keep in mind, in 1910 it was not possible for police officers to chemically test the alcohol content of a driver’s blood. And even if such a test existed, the original DUI laws did not establish a specific threshold for intoxication. It was therefore left to the discretion of individual officers to determine when a DUI charge was warranted. It was not until 1936 that the forerunner of the modern Breathalyzer–known as the “Drunkometer”–was patented by Dr. Rolla N. Harger, a professor of biochemistry at Indiana University. Two years later, in 1938, Harger was part of a National Safety Council committee that, together with the American Medical Association, recommended states adopt a 0.15 percent blood-alcohol content (BAC) as the standard for DUI. Most states quickly followed this advice. But by the 1980s, there was increased public and media attention paid to DUI accidents. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which formed in 1980, pushed for the adoption of a stricter DWI standard of 0.08 percent. Today all states have a 0.08 standard for drunk drivers over the age of 21. And many states, including Florida, have a “zero-tolerance” standard for drivers under the age of 21, meaning they can be charged with DUI if their BAC is as low as 0.02 percent. Taking Drunk Driving Seriously in Florida Despite more than a century of data regarding the harms of drunk driving, alcohol impairment remains a significant cause of accidents and fatalities in Florida. According to a 2015 fact sheet published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 8,500 people were killed “in crashes involving a drunk driver” in Florida between 2003 and 2012. Indeed, Florida’s drunk-driving death rate is about 12 percent higher than the national average for that same period. This is why Orlando-area law enforcement and prosecutors take drunk driving cases extremely seriously. If you are charged with a DUI, even for the first time, do not assume the law will go easy on you. It is imperative you work with a qualified Orlando drunk driving defense lawyer. Contact Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, at (407) 377-0150 if you need to speak with a lawyer today.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | DUI

Traveling with a DUI Conviction on Your Record

A DUI conviction can affect your life in many ways. It can cause you to lose your driver’s license and spend time in jail. Even if you avoid jail time, you may be placed on probation. You may also have to pay a fine and be ordered to take alcohol education classes. In addition, you may lose your job, and your DUI conviction may even affect your relationship with friends and family members. One thing you might not have considered, however, is how a DUI conviction might affect your travel plans. If you engage in frequent foreign travel, a DUI could put a wrench in your next vacation. This is certainly something to think about before booking a ticket across the border. Not all countries treat a DUI conviction the same. Some don’t care. Some are very strict. Some are in between and treat crimes on a case-by-case basis. In any case, if you’re planning to leave the country in the near future, it’s a good idea to know which countries you can travel to and which ones you’ll have to avoid. To be sure, according to USA Today, the following is a short list of the countries that treat foreign DUIs in various ways; of course, the limitations may depend on the visa regime of the country, as well, and whether or not you need to apply for a visa beforehand or can simply travel to the country with only your passport. Ultimately, it also is important to remember that international law may be constantly changing or applied differently than at home. As such, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local lawyer for more information. Mexico Mexico’s immigration laws are strict on those who have committed certain crimes. The country considers a DUI a felony offense. Indeed, if you have been convicted of a DUI within the past 10 years, you may not be allowed to enter Mexico pursuant to the law. Canada Our neighbor to the north is notorious for being strict with DUIs. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered a felony there, so if you have been convicted of a DUI at home, you may not be able to enter the country. However, there are some exceptions. If you were convicted of a DUI but never spent time in jail and have an otherwise clean record, you may be able to get around the ban for a $200 fine. Also, you can enter Canada once it’s been 10 years since your DUI conviction if the crime has been expunged from your record. However, note that if your DUI has been diverted or deferred, you may not be able to enter Canada until you complete the program. New Zealand If you have been convicted of a DUI, you likely will still be able to travel to New Zealand unless the charges were serious. For example, if you served a prison sentence of five years or longer or served a sentence of 12 months or longer in the past 10 months, then you may face difficulties getting into the country. China/Japan/Malaysia These countries often ask about misdemeanor charges and will likely run background checks in order to obtain more information. Dubai/Persian Gulf DUI convictions are not necessarily condemned, but alcohol-related crimes are looked at negatively, especially within the country. Entry may be on a case-by-case basis. Contact an Orlando Attorney for More Information As is now clear, a DUI conviction in Florida can even affect your ability to travel. This can ruin your future vacation plans, especially if you have friends or family members you want to visit in a specific country. This is why if you are ever pulled over for suspected DUI in Orlando, you should seek legal help right away. Contact the aggressive Orlando, Florida criminal defense lawyers at Moses & Rooth. We can assess the situation and reduce your charges. We might even be able to have your DUI charge dropped altogether. Schedule a consultation with our office today by calling (407) 377-0150. You can also contact us online.

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