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Naples Legal Blog

Understanding Florida's implied consent laws

Some might think that the first step towards contesting potential drunk driving charges may be to refuse sobriety testing after having been pulled over by law enforcement officials in Naples. Many may be surprised at the consequences of such a decision. According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 1 million people were arrested in the U.S. for driving under the influence. Some of those arrests may have been the direct results of people refusing sobriety testing. Most believe that something as seemingly simple as inaction would not result in an arrest; how is, then, that one can be arrested for refusing a breath test? 

Florida has enacted legislation that empowers law enforcement authorities to enforce sobriety testing with the threat of an arrest. This is known as the state's "implied consent law"; its details can be found in Section 316.1932 of Florida's Uniform Traffic Control Code. Here, it states that by accepting the privilege of driving, one consents to submit to chemical or physical testing to prove whether or not they were operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Such an arrest is lawful of the law enforcement officer involved has reasonable cause to believe that the driver is drunk. 

Is it possible to settle your case out of court?

A serious car accident can have a ripple effect into various areas of your life. From your physical well-being to your financial stability, you may find it difficult to pick up the pieces and move forward from that point. If your accident was the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another Florida driver, you could have grounds to move forward with a civil claim.

You may not be certain if legal action is necessary, especially if you are also dealing with injuries and other accident-related complications. Seeking appropriate compensation does not necessarily mean you have to experience a stressful court battle – you may be able to settle your claim out of court. Before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company or move forward with negotiations, it can help to know what to expect and how to protect your rights.

North Port rollover crash kills teen

It may be difficult to realize in the moment, but people put a great deal of trust into the hands of those they agree to travel with as passengers in a vehicle. Some might argue that choice to do so is just that: a choice. They might also say, then, that whatever happens as the result of the driver's actions, responsibility still lies with the individual for agreeing to get into the vehicle. Yet while one can control the decision to ride in a car, they cannot control the actions of the driver of that car. Thus, there is no implied consent to whatever the driver chooses to do. 

When what the driver chooses to do is act recklessly, the results can be devastating. The community of North Port is currently having to deal with that devastation after a local teen was killed in a rollover crash. The girl was ejected from the SUV after it rolled following the driver's failure to safely negotiate a turn. Considering the circumstances of the accident, it seems a minor miracle that fewer people were not seriously hurt. Authorities reported that 13 people were traveling in the car, with some even hanging out the window when the accident occurred. Aside from the single fatality, only one other passenger was reported to have sustained serious injuries. 

Should you accept a plea deal for a drug charge in Florida?

The question of whether you should accept any type of plea deal for a drug charge in Florida is far from simple. In fact, you should probably avoid any general advice on the subject — only a specific review of the details could answer your question adequately.

You should probably exercise a high level of caution when approaching plea deals or any other offers to cooperate with law enforcement. As mentioned on FindLaw, the specifics of your case may allow a stronger defense than accepting a sentence. This is not always the case, but there are several indicators that it could be.

Healthcare provider liability in medicated driving accidents

The first thought that most may have when hearing that someone caused an accident in Naples due to driving under the influence of drugs is how could a person be so irresponsible. Yet what if said person was ignorant to the effects of driving while medicated. One who has been prescribed a medication by a doctor likely assumes the drug to not only be completely safe to use, but also to have no debilitating side effects. 

The American Automobile Association has compiled statistics on medicated driving to highlight just how serious a problem it truly is. Its data shows that a single dose of certain prescription drugs (such as diphenhydramine, a common ingredient of both cold and allergy medications) can impair one to a point comparable to that of a person whose blood-alcohol content is over the legal limit. Yet despite these dangers, only 28 percent of drivers believe that driving after having taken a medication is dangerous. 

Appropriate defense strategies when facing DUI charges

Conviction of a drunk driving charge in Florida can change your life, even if it is your first offense. If you are facing a DUI, there is a lot at stake for you, but with the right defense strategy, you can effectively confront the charges against you. No matter your previous criminal record, your future and freedom are always worth protecting.

The right approach for your defense depends on the details of your case and various other factors unique to your situation. There is no one-size-fits-all defense plan, and a conviction or guilty plea is never your only option. With much on the line, you will find it beneficial to seek guidance and experienced legal counsel regarding your defense options as soon as possible after an arrest.

How can I make sure my teen is safe on an ATV?

All-terrain vehicles (ATV) appeal to many Florida teens thanks to the off-road thrills they offer. However, there is a significant risk of injury for people who ride ATVs, and it’s up to parents to make sure their kids are properly protected. KidsHealth.org offers the following advice in this case, which may help your child avoid a serious accident or injury.

First and foremost, no children under 16 should ride an ATV, even if local laws don't entail an age restriction. Much like other vehicles, operating an ATV takes a level of skill that many younger kids simply do not have. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your teen take a safety course before getting on the vehicle. These courses provide information on safe riding, how to operate the ATV, and what to avoid to prevent a serious crash from occurring.

Will changing the law make the roads safer for Florida drivers?

If you are a driver in Florida, you probably know that texting and driving is a serious safety concern. You have probably been at a red light and looked over to see a driver putting on makeup. Maybe you have been driving down the interstate only to pass a person who is looking at his or her phone while also driving at least 70 miles per hour. Distraction is a major concern, and it places everyone at an increased chance of an accident. 

State lawmakers have been trying for a while to pass measures that could increase penalties for using a phone while driving. As texting and driving is one of the leading causes of distraction-related car accidents, lawmakers are hopeful this could reduce the overall number of accidents. Recently, a Senate committee passed a bill that could eventually ban all types of phone-related distracted driving.

How much is your pain and suffering worth?

When you suffer injuries in a Florida car crash, you have the right to sue the negligent person responsible for the crash. Among the various types of damages you can recover are those for your pain and suffering. But how much is your pain and suffering worth in Florida?

As FindLaw explains, your pain and suffering damages are part of your noneconomic damages; i.e., the ones to which no one can place a precise dollar value. Often such damages go by the name of general damages. Since, unlike your medical costs, the value of your pain and suffering cannot be determined due to its subjectiveness, the jury in your personal injury lawsuit will have to use its best judgment. It likely will consider factors like the following:

  • Your age at the time of your accident
  • The severity of your injuries
  • What, if any, ongoing consequences might your injuries cause you
  • What, if any, preexisting condition(s) you had prior to your accident
  • How much your economic damages; i.e., those to which a precise dollar value can be placed, total

Florida's evolving approach to drug sentences

Residents in Florida and around the country have experienced a variety of approaches to dealing with crimes involving drugs over the past few decades. Some politicians, legislators, advocacy groups and more have pushed for a harsher approach to people convicted of drug crimes. This often involved strict jail or prison sentences that may not always truly reflect the severity of an actual offense.

Now, however, there may be a significant change in the way Florida address some drug charges and their respective penalties. As reported by WFSU.org, a new piece of legislation called the Florida First Step Act has been introduced in the state legislature. If passed, the law would completely eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of drug trafficking offenses.

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