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In Florida, most DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) cases involve the police requesting the defendant take a breathalyzer test at the jail. This test is normally offered only after the police make the DUI arrest. Therefore, if the defendant has a low score on the breathalyzer, or even a 0.00 result, the defendant is still arrested for DUI. In many cases, the police will then request a urine or blood sample to test for other substances. The police do not admit error after making an arrest, and once the police effect the DUI arrest, there is no going back.

There are times when the police can draw blood and send the blood to the lab for testing of blood alcohol content. The police are not allowed to obtain a blood draw when a breath test is viable and reasonable, as in most DUI cases in Florida. However, the DUI suspect can request one, and there are other situations where the blood draw is permissible. This often comes up in DUI cases that involved serious accidents.

In Florida, when a person is involved in a serious accident and has a serious injury that requires a trip to the hospital, it may not be practical to obtain a breath sample from the DUI suspect. In those cases, the police may be allowed to obtain a blood sample at the hospital for testing. The police cannot do it in any situation where there is an accident and the suspect is taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The police need reasonable and sufficient evidence that the suspect was impaired while driving. However, it seems as if that standard is pretty low when serious accidents are involved.

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One sad fact about elections and political movements- they are expensive, and the costs seem to increase each year. As more and more states realize there is a medical benefit to marijuana and it is ridiculous to have it on the list of Schedule I drugs along with substances like heroin, more states are moving to legalize medical marijuana. Additionally, as more and more states realize what a complete waste of taxpayer money and government resources it is to have police arresting marijuana users and sellers and have prosecutors bring criminal cases against them, more states are seeking to legalize marijuana completely.

Marijuana legalization efforts are finding their ways on ballots all over the country. As a result, there are campaigns for and against marijuana legalization. Any such campaign needs to be well financed for success. Do you know one of the primary groups funding the effort to keep marijuana illegal and to keep taxpayer money going towards the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of marijuana users and sellers? Not surprisingly, it is the pharmaceutical industry. The reason is obvious. When people decide to treat their pain, anxiety, seizures, depression, PTSD and many other afflictions naturally with marijuana, they are not paying the exorbitant prices required to treat those same medical problems with synthetic drugs. And that results in less profit for pharmaceutical companies.

According to a new study published in HealthAffairs, in the seventeen states that have authorized medical marijuana as of 2013, fewer prescriptions for synthetic painkillers and other drugs were written. For instance, the average doctor in those states prescribed 265 fewer doses of anti-depressants, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication and 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers each year. A more thorough summary of the results of the study can be found in this Washington Post article.

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In Florida, a person who gets sentenced to jail might be able to take advantage of a work release program for inmates if the jail offers such a program. For instance, in Jacksonville, the Duval County jail allows certain inmates to leave the facility to go to an approved job during normal work hours. The inmate must have the job and the company pre-approved by the people running the work release program. Once approved, the inmate is allowed to leave the jail in the morning, work all day and return to the jail in the evening after work. It is a great way for an inmate to keep his/her job while incarcerated and also to spend a good portion of his/her jail sentence outside of the jail.

There are risks to entering such a program. An inmate who does not follow the rules of the work release program can be charged with escape, which is a serious felony crime in Florida. Hopefully, if the inmate is late to work or late getting back to the jail every now and then due to traffic, the bus schedule or some other legitimate reason, there are no adverse consequences. However, if an inmate in the work release program commits a more serious and intentional violation, it could result in a more serious penalty.

When a person is in the work release program and at his/her job, that person is still considered an inmate under Florida law, and the time at work is still considered confinement. Any person who escapes confinement or does not stay within the limits of his/her confinement is guilty of escape in Florida.

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In Florida, the crime of burglary involves a person breaking into or entering a place with the intent to commit a theft or other crime inside. The crime of burglary in Florida can get a little complicated based on the type of place that is entered, where the defendant was and what happened once inside. However, what is clear is that a person does not have to break in to be guilty of burglary. Simply going into a place without permission to steal something or commit certain other crimes inside is normally sufficient for a burglary conviction.

However, under Florida law, it is not a burglary if a person enters a place to commit a crime that is open to the public. In a recent burglary case near Jacksonville, Florida, the defendant entered a 7 Eleven store during normal business hours and stole money after threatening the cashier with a gun. The prosecutor charged him with several crimes including burglary with a weapon (the penalties for burglary with a weapon are more severe in Florida than a burglary without a weapon). The defendant was convicted of this charge, but the criminal defense lawyer appealed.

The conviction for burglary was reversed. It is a defense to burglary in Florida if the place that was entered was open to the public. That was the case here. Since the defendant walked into the store just as any customer would be permitted to do and stayed in an area where customers were allowed to be, it was not a burglary. This looks like a case where the prosecutor overcharged the defendant and wasted state money and resources on an extraneous charge as the prosecutor clearly had other serious charges to file that also come with severe penalties.

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The federal government maintains a list of Schedule I drugs. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, these are substances that they have determined have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical benefit. You do not have to look far down the list to see how much of a sham it is considering that heroin, bath salts and marijuana are on this same list. One of these is not like the others. We were hoping that the government would come to its senses and remove marijuana from the list, for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is prescribed for medicinal purposes all across the country now, by actual doctors who have learned about medicine in school and in practice. Unfortunately, as is often the case, we continue to wait for the government make a rational decision here that actually helps people.

So, marijuana remains on the list. And a new substance has been added. A substance called kratom is now a Schedule I drug according to the DEA. Kratom is a plant from Southeast Asia that people use to treat pain. Many people use it to avoid taking pain pills, which of course are perfectly fine to be sold en masse to people in the United States. The DEA has added kratom to the Schedule I drug list because of two substances found in the plant- mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Kratom has similar effects to pain pills, which is why people use it instead of pain pills. Apparently, it is addictive, like pain pills, but unlike pain pills, it is not something that people overdose on, for the most part. The percentage of kratom related deaths compared to kratom use is extremely low, and significantly lower than overdoses and deaths relating to painkillers.

While decisions such as these create more laws and more government, they also serve to push people to more dangerous pharmaceutical products. For substances that are not particularly dangerous and/or are much less dangerous than prescription drugs used for similar purposes, these rules and laws and clearly counterproductive. However, given that these rules and laws increase government, increase the need for prisons and increase profits for pharmaceutical companies, you have to wonder what exactly the real purpose is.

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Does a police officer in Florida have the right to arrest a person who commits a crime outside of his/her jurisdiction? It depends. The general rule is that police officers have no authority to arrest people for crimes outside of their jurisdiction. However, there are exceptions. Some neighboring cities and counties have agreements that allow a police officer to make an arrest for certain crimes in the other jurisdiction. Also, there is such a thing as a private citizen’s arrest, and police officers have the same right to effect a citizen’s arrest in a different city or county as private citizens do. Private citizens in Florida are allowed to arrest another person if that person commits a felony or breach of peace in his/her presence.

In this case, the police officer received a call about a vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway. When the police officer arrived, he saw that the vehicle was over the city line. He approached the vehicle and saw that the driver was passed out with the car running. The police officer woke the driver, started a DUI investigation and ultimately arrested the driver for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The criminal defense lawyer filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the DUI claiming that the police officer did not have authority to pursue a DUI arrest since the incident occurred in a different city. There was no evidence of an agreement between the police departments in the two cities. The court agreed with the criminal defense attorney for the most part.

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While we certainly agree that having less government in our lives is a good thing, not every government agency shares our sentiments. Specifically, as it relates to the war on drugs, “small government conservative” politicians and law enforcement continue to expend limited resources and money to detain and arrest people far marijuana crimes. We are happy to see states come to their senses and legalize marijuana, but those legalization efforts have come with unfortunate ramifications for people from those states, even people who do not use the Cannabis plant.

Some police departments near legal marijuana states like Colorado are taking it upon themselves to conduct pretextual traffic stops based on the fact that the vehicle has a license plate from a state where marijuana is legal. For instance, when police officers or highway patrol see a vehicle on the highway driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit, they conduct a traffic stop for speeding if the vehicle has a license plate from a legal marijuana state. They might pull a Washington state driver over for changing lanes without using a blinker when they would never make such a traffic stop for someone else. This is referred to as license plate profiling.

One Colorado driver was not happy with this particular form of government excess and sued the Kansas Highway Patrol. The driver was pulled over because he had a temporary tag from Colorado that was allegedly difficult to read. There was nothing illegal about that, and the Kansas police gave him a warning. Thereafter, the Kansas police asked the driver if they could search his vehicle. He refused, but the police called a drug dog to the scene. The drug dog went around the vehicle, but no illegal drugs were found. The driver sued the Kansas Highway Patrol for violating his constitutional rights based on the illegal search and seizure.

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In Florida and elsewhere, people have privacy rights in their vehicles. This means that the police generally cannot search a person’s vehicle for drugs or other evidence of criminal activity without consent from the owner or a search warrant. There are some exceptions to this general rule, but the police cannot just go into a person’s vehicle and search it in almost any situation.

Vehicles are more advanced now, and rather than having the traditional key that is placed into the lock to open a vehicle like a regular door, many cars come with key fobs that can open a vehicle by pressing a button. Additionally, many key fobs have a button that can be pressed that will cause the vehicle to honk so the owner can find it in a crowded parking lot.

In a possession of cocaine case south of Jacksonville, Florida, the defendant was arrested for a public disturbance. The police officer searched the defendant after the arrest. Police officers are allowed to search people immediately after an arrest to make sure a person going to jail does not have any weapons or anything else that would be a threat to the police officer or anyone else. When the police officer searched the defendant, he found a key fob. The police officer pressed a button on the key fob, and the defendant’s vehicle’s alarm went off. The officer went to the vehicle and saw a bag of cocaine on the seat. The officer was able to see the cocaine in the vehicle by looking through the window. The bag of cocaine was ultimately seized, and the defendant was arrested for possession of cocaine.

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For any type of drug possession case, there are two ways the state can prove the crime in Florida. The easiest way is with an actual possession case. Actual possession is what it sounds like. If a person is holding the drugs or has drugs in his/her pocket or is actually possessing the drugs in any other way, that is an actual possession case that is likely easy to prove. However, even if a person does not have actual possession of the drugs, the state can still prove a drug possession case. The other form of possession is called constructive possession. This can be proven when the state establishes that the defendant knew of the drugs and had some ability to control the drugs. For instance, I have constructive possession of the sunglasses in my car even though they are nowhere near me. I know they are there, I have the keys to the car and I am the only one who drives my car.

Constructive possession cases get difficult for the state when there are multiple people who have access to the drugs. For instance, in a possession of Methamphetamine case near Jacksonville, Florida, police responded to a suspicious person call at a hotel. They went to one of the rooms and knocked on the door. A man and a woman were inside. The police got consent to search the room and found Methamphetamine in a pocket of a jacket in the room. It was not clear if the jacket belonged to the man, the woman or someone else. There was also a syringe presumably used to shoot the drugs in the room. The police asked the woman if her DNA would show up on the syringe, and she said yes. She was arrested for possession of Methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

This case was ultimately thrown out. The state could not prove that the woman had knowledge and control over the Methamphetamine to the exclusion of the other guy in the room or anyone else who could have been in the room before the police arrived. The state lacked evidence that the jacket belonged to the woman. It could have belonged to the man or someone else. The state did not get any statements tying the woman to the Methamphetamine or the jacket. There was no other meaningful evidence connecting the woman to the Methamphetamine or the jacket that was sufficient to prove possession. In other words, the state did not have enough evidence to prove that any one person possessed the drugs as opposed to any other person. In these situations, constructive possession cases fail. If the police had obtained a statement from the woman or a witness or fingerprints or something indicating the jacket belonged to the woman, they would have had a stronger case. However, if multiple people have access to the drugs and the evidence does not specifically point to one of those people, the constructive possession case will likely fail.

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Many states have laws that allow the police and other law enforcement agencies to take a person’s property with very little evidence of criminal activity. In fact, it is not uncommon for the police to obtain ownership of a person’s property, referred to as forfeiture under Florida law, without ever even charging the property owner with a crime. It is also possible for the state to forfeit a person’s property when the state does charge the person with a crime related to the property, but the defendant wins the case either by having the criminal charges dropped or winning at trial.

When the government makes the laws, the government makes the laws very favorable to themselves.

The forfeiture laws in Florida give the police and other law enforcement agencies a lot of authority to take the property of people they suspect are involved in criminal activity. The forfeiture laws are also set up to provide property owners few quick and efficient options to retrieve their seized property even when the evidence supporting the seizure is weak.