| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

Habitual Traffic Offender Status Can Now be Removed and Overturned

It’s 2019, don’t you think it’s time to get your license back? Start the year off right. Public transportation in Florida is just not good enough. Having a valid driver’s license is a must, so listen up if you received a Habitual Traffic Offender notice. The Florida Supreme Court issued changes to the Florida Rules of Traffic Court starting January 1, 2019. These Traffic Court changes make the process and legal arguments for removal of a habitual offender status (HTO) much easier. If the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles labels you as a Habitual Traffic Offender, you will have a driver’s license suspension for 5 years. How Habitual Traffic Offender is Defined Florida Statute 322.264 defines Habitual Traffic Offender (3-strike rule) as any person who has accumulated three or more or the following offenses: Voluntary or involuntary Manslaughter Any Driving Under the Influence charge Any Felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used Driving While License Suspended Failure to stop and render aid as required by law in the event of a motor vehicle crash Driving a commercial vehicle when not qualified ****15 convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed may also result in Habitual Status The most common reason for issuance of a Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension is 3 convictions of driving on a suspended license. It does not matter if the DWLS (driving while license suspended) was with OR without knowledge. Prior to January 1, 2019, the Florida Rules of Traffic Court only allowed for a reduction in penalty for traffic court within 60 days. Florida Traffic Court Rule 6.490 Correction and Reduction of Penalty was changed on January 1, 2019 to include: Correction of Penalty. An official may at any time correct an illegal penalty. Reduction of Penalty. An official may reduce a legal penalty: Within 60 days after its imposition, or thereafter with good cause shown State of Florida v. Brandi Vessels, 26 Fla Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 868 (Fla. 18th Cir Ct. 2018) Challenging a Habitual Traffic Offender Conviction Attacking the conviction for a Civil Driving on a suspended License without knowledge can now legally be challenged after the 60 day time limit that was previously restricting some courts from making a modification. Good cause must be detailed and explained to the court for consideration. So, if you have 3 driving on a suspended license without knowledge convictions within a 5 year period, a motion must be filed with the court to overturn the conviction and change the sentence (withhold of adjudication). Once this is accomplished the order for the court must direct the clerk to notify the DMV of the sentencing change in order for the habitual traffic offender status to be removed. If you have a HTO suspension, call us at 407-377-0150. We may be able to have that suspension overturned.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Category Name

Law Firm SEO & Websites

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all. Children of the sun, see your time has just begun, searching for your ways, through adventures every day. Every day and night, with the condor in flight, with all your friends in tow, you search for the Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… wishing for The Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do ah-ah-ah, do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold. Top Cat! The most effectual Top Cat! Who’s intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity. Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang. He’s the boss, he’s a pip, he’s the championship. He’s the most tip top, Top Cat. 80 days around the world, we’ll find a pot of gold just sitting where the rainbow’s ending. Time – we’ll fight against the time, and we’ll fly on the white wings of the wind. 80 days around the world, no we won’t say a word before the ship is really back. Round, round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Mutley, you snickering, floppy eared hound. When courage is needed, you’re never around. Those medals you wear on your moth-eaten chest should be there for bungling at which you are best. So, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon. Howwww! Nab him, jab him, tab him, grab him, stop that pigeon now.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Category Name

Law Firm Marketing

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all. Children of the sun, see your time has just begun, searching for your ways, through adventures every day. Every day and night, with the condor in flight, with all your friends in tow, you search for the Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… wishing for The Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do ah-ah-ah, do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold. Top Cat! The most effectual Top Cat! Who’s intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity. Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang. He’s the boss, he’s a pip, he’s the championship. He’s the most tip top, Top Cat. 80 days around the world, we’ll find a pot of gold just sitting where the rainbow’s ending. Time – we’ll fight against the time, and we’ll fly on the white wings of the wind. 80 days around the world, no we won’t say a word before the ship is really back. Round, round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Mutley, you snickering, floppy eared hound. When courage is needed, you’re never around. Those medals you wear on your moth-eaten chest should be there for bungling at which you are best. So, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon. Howwww! Nab him, jab him, tab him, grab him, stop that pigeon now.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Category Name

Legal Marketing 101

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all. Children of the sun, see your time has just begun, searching for your ways, through adventures every day. Every day and night, with the condor in flight, with all your friends in tow, you search for the Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… wishing for The Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do ah-ah-ah, do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold. Top Cat! The most effectual Top Cat! Who’s intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity. Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang. He’s the boss, he’s a pip, he’s the championship. He’s the most tip top, Top Cat. 80 days around the world, we’ll find a pot of gold just sitting where the rainbow’s ending. Time – we’ll fight against the time, and we’ll fly on the white wings of the wind. 80 days around the world, no we won’t say a word before the ship is really back. Round, round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Round, all around the world. Mutley, you snickering, floppy eared hound. When courage is needed, you’re never around. Those medals you wear on your moth-eaten chest should be there for bungling at which you are best. So, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon, stop that pigeon. Howwww! Nab him, jab him, tab him, grab him, stop that pigeon now.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Drug Cartel Leader “El Chapo” Criminal Trial in NYC

Astounding security measures taken in the ‘El Chapo’ criminal trial Master escape artist Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera is the highest ranking drug cartel member to stand trial in America. Notorious cartel leader El Chapo pleaded not guilty to federal charges and is currently in trial in Brooklyn, New York. The 17 count indictment accuses El Chapo of operating a continuing criminal enterprise that included murder, conspiracy, other drug related crimes invoicing money-money- laundering and use of firearms. The allegations in the indictment date back to the 1980s. This long-awaited trial, which is estimated to last at least four months, began under astonishing security measures. There are reports that the Brooklyn Bridge shuts down each and every time Guzman is transported to and from his solitary confinement in the Manhattan federal lock-up. During the jury selection process, all prospective jurors were directed by the judge to not make any eye contact with Guzman. After a grueling 2 1/2 day jury selection process the selected jury panel will be anonymous and sequestered during the trial. Heavily armed federal marshals and officers with bomb-sniffing dogs stand guard outside the courthouse. If you are a non-witness or non- attorney on the case wish to enter the courthouse and watch the proceedings in person you will need to go through two separate security screenings. To enter the Brooklyn courthouse and the main courtroom each witness and spectator needs to go through an x-ray machine and then a metal detector. During the entire duration of the trial jurors will be transported to and from the courthouse by armed US Marshalls. The case against Guzman will be built mostly on the testimony of more than a dozen cooperating witnesses. Even those witnesses who may be in jail serving sentences or relocated by the US Government have remained unknown to Guzman’s defense team. Since the trial has begun the courtroom sketch artists are barred from drawing facial features or specific hairstyles of the witnesses on the stand. The judge in the federal trial along with the government prosecutors must review the sketches and authorize their release before the artist can distribute them to the public. These extreme security measures have been put in effect by Federal authorities because they believe that communications and contacts between ‘El Chapo’ Guzman and the witnesses could very much result in their death or serious bodily injury.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

If an Alleged Victim of Domestic Violence Doesn’t Testify in Court, What Happens to My Case?

Domestic violence cases often hinge on the alleged victim testifying. If he or she doesn’t, then the state usually has no case to bring against you. No matter what the state says, it really can’t compel someone to testify. Many alleged victims go missing as the court date approaches, which leaves the prosecutor with very little evidence to present to a jury. If this is your situation, you should carefully analyze how the prosecutor might respond. If There is Other Evidence of Battery, a Prosecutor Might Go Ahead In some cases, there might be witnesses to the abuse. No law states that a victim has to testify to a crime. (If this were the law, no one could be convicted of murder). Instead, the state can use other evidence, such as eyewitness testimony or video evidence. In these cases, the evidence might be unambiguous that you committed the offense. Questions often arise when a prosecutor has a 911 tape with the victim talking about alleged abuse. For example, your wife might call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you punched her. But what happens if your wife doesn’t show up to court to testify? In that situation, you might be able to get the audio tape excluded from evidence. Before you can gauge what the prosecutor will do, you need to know what other evidence the state has. This is a good reason to hire an Orlando criminal defense attorney, who can discover everything the state intends to introduce at trial. If There is No Other Evidence, a Prosecutor Might Drop the Charges The state has the burden of proving every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard. In Florida, to convict you of battery, the state must prove either: You actually and intentionally struck or made contact with another person against their will, or You intentionally caused bodily harm to another person The element of intent is important. You might have accidentally touched someone, but that is not enough. For this reason, introducing pictures of someone’s injuries probably is insufficient to sustain a battery conviction. After all, the pictures show someone was harmed; they do not show whether the harm was intentional. This issue was central to a 2007 case, Baker v. State. There, the state submitted pictures of bite marks and a 911 tape in which the alleged victim told the dispatcher her husband bit her. However, as the appellate court noted, the state failed to prove that the contact was intentional and that the victim did not consent to it. For this reason, they entered a judgment of acquittal for the defendant. Your prosecutor will face a similar quandary if the victim does not show up to testify against you. If the state lacks sufficient evidence, you can’t be convicted. Aggressive Criminal Defense in Orlando Domestic violence charges are serious and warrant a serious response, even if you are confident the alleged victim will not show up to court. At Moses & Rooth, we have years of experience practicing criminal defense, and we will do everything possible to help you reach a favorable resolution. For more information, please contact us today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Orlando News

Puerto Ricans Can Now Get Vital Documents Easier in Orlando

Catastrophic storms and an overall depressed economy have forced many Puerto Ricans to migrate to Florida. Over the past few years, over 100 people have made the journey to Florida every single day. The numbers might only be increasing. Once safely settled in the U.S. however, these residents often need vital records documents, such as birth certificates, which have proven hard to get from Puerto Rico. Fortunately, as the Orlando Sentinel recently reported, Puerto Ricans can now get their vital records at a new office that has opened: the Integrated Services Center (CSI) in Orlando. Typically, Puerto Ricans could only order their vital records by mail or online, and they often had to wait up to 45 days before the records arrived. Now, the records will be issued immediately, which makes things much easier. Why Might You Need Vital Records? Common vital records you might need include: Birth certificate Marriage certificate Death certificate Certifications of child-support payments There are many reasons you might need them. If you are applying for a job or government benefits, you will most likely need a birth certificate. If you are divorcing, you most likely need a copy of your marriage certificate. A death certificate can help you close financial accounts and handle a loved one’s assets. It might also be necessary to show that you are the true owner of property, if the deceased was once the owner. Also, if you are sued for failing to pay child support, you can use a certification to show that you have remained up to date. Without the documentation, a judge might enter an order against you for arrearages and garnish your wages. Where You Can Get Your Copies The CSI office is located at 6925 Lake Ellenor Drive, Suite 100. Its hours are Monday through Friday, 11:30am to 3:30 pm. To get a copy of your birth certificate, you must pay $5. You will also need to pay $10 for any additional copies of your birth certificate, as well as for all other vital records like death certificates and marriage certificates. You should be able to walk out with your records soon after paying. Before showing up, call ahead and ask about acceptable methods of payment (cash, check, credit card, etc.) The new CSI should make things much easier on our state’s new residents. Before, Puerto Ricans living in Florida had to travel back to the island or give a family member a power of attorney to request the documents. These options were impracticable for many people. Now, thankfully, Puerto Ricans can get reliable records in a timely manner. Need Legal Help? Contact Moses & Rooth We are a prominent criminal defense law firm located in Orlando and have represented hundreds of people involved in criminal matters in both state and federal court. If you have been accused of a crime, please reach out to us today. We offer a free consultation, which you can schedule by calling 407-377-0150. You have no time to lose.  

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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: < 1 minute | Firearm Crimes

Don’t Carry that Firearm at the Orlando Airport

For decades, law enforcement officials have been seizing firearms at the Orlando International Airport. Fortunately, these isolated cases were most likely related to individuals who simply forgot to remove the personal weapons from their carry-on luggage before entering the airport and passing through TSA screening. Even though it may have been an innocent mistake, law enforcement has a zero tolerance policy regarding the entering of dangerous weapons into the airport. This means you will be arrested even though you are in a rush to catch a flight. If you are one of these individuals – who has forgotten about the weapon(s) in their luggage and passed through TSA security and gotten arrested – you will need the help of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Immediately stating that it was a mistake will not make the potential criminal charges and/or penalties go away. Law enforcement has a number of different ways to proceed with criminal charges. The State Attorney’s office can file a felony charge under Florida Statutes §790.12(2) Carrying a concealed firearm or misdemeanor Florida Statutes §790.06(12) Carry a concealed Weapon into an airport. Another option is for the City Attorney’s office to file a city ordinance complaint for unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon at the airport. Furthermore, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will issue either a civil warning or notice of civil penalty for carrying the firearm into the airport. The State of Florida considers the entire airport terminal “off limits” to carry a firearm even for license holders. Since the most recent increase in weapons seizures, the Orlando International Airport has considered posting larger signs in the parking areas to remind passengers to leave the weapons behind – and for good reason.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Lack of Evidence Forces Appeals Court to Throw Out Drug Charges

To be convicted of a crime in Florida, the state must present proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Essentially, this means that jurors must have a firm conviction that you are guilty before they can vote to convict. This principle was central to a recent appellate court decision in Florida. At issue was whether the criminal defendant “possessed” drugs found at a gas station, and the state’s evidence was very weak. Although the defendant was convicted at trial, the appellate court reversed one of the convictions for lack of evidence. Facts of the Case While investigating a shoot-out that involved two vehicles at a gas station, police searched the station property and found a cocktail shaker cup lying next to a fence. The cup was stuffed with marijuana. On the other side of town, police stopped a car with three people inside that police believed had been involved in the shootout. One of the men, Darafeal McKire, was seated in the back seat. When he emerged, he was bleeding from a gunshot wound and was taken to the hospital. In the back seat of the car, police found a bag of cocaine with traces of blood on it near the location where Mr. McKire had been seated. Based on this evidence, police charged McKire with possession of cocaine and possession of marijuana. Security video at the gas station showed McKire emerging from a car at the gas station and dropping two objects on the ground before the shootout started. After one car departed, McKire got back into his vehicle, which then drove away. At trial, he was convicted of both possession counts. Legal Issue On appeal, the court overturned the conviction for possession of the marijuana found at the gas station. First, the court held that it was not clear from the video evidence that McKire had dropped a shaker cup with marijuana in it. Second, the location where he dropped his objects did not line up with the location where police found the shaker cup against the fence. The appellate court also rejected the government’s argument that McKire had possession of the objects simply because he was in close physical proximity to the marijuana. Indeed, the court noted that the defendant was not found anywhere near the marijuana and was not making any moves toward it. In fact, he was found across town, emerging from a vehicle while bleeding. For all of these reasons, the court overturned the conviction and acquitted him of the marijuana possession charge. His conviction for possession of the cocaine, however, still stands. Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney As this case shows, the state is very aggressive prosecuting drug crimes and often brings charges with very little evidentiary support. If you have been arrested, you need an aggressive drug possession attorney who can fight back against these charges. At Moses & Rooth, we have represented many defendants in drug cases, and we know how to win. For more information about whether we can help you, please reach out to us today. We offer a free consultation. All you need to do is call 407-377-0150.

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