January 22, 2015

Tampa police take down multiple car thefts, drunk driver all in one night

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Bay News 9 has a brief write up about recent events in Tampa that sound like a great Lethal Weapon montage scene...

Two seperate police pursuits in Tampa with two stolen vehicles equal four grand theft auto arrests yesterday.

Per police reports, four theft suspects were seen stealing a Lexus in South Tampa. Police attempted to stop the suspects but they fled with the police in pursuit.

At the same time a Jeep that was stolen out of St. Petersburg ended up along Adamo drive in Hillsborough.

Facing hot pursuit, the Lexus crashed near 34th and Adamo. Moments later, the jeep had a roll over on 50th and Adamo!

The final kicker? As police were still securing the scene an unrelated driver, in a work truck, crashed into a cruiser as he was distracted by the lights. The man was found to be intoxicated and was arrested for DUI.

Besides the aforementioned driving under the influence, police also charged four of the men with auto theft and the two drivers with fleeing and eluding as well as multiple traffic infractions.

As of this writing, one theft suspect is in the hospital and three others remain in jail.

Continue reading "Tampa police take down multiple car thefts, drunk driver all in one night" »

January 15, 2015

Woman gets DUI because of vanilla extract?

Clearwater DUI defense attorney.bmp From People magazine, a woman shows that driving under the influence arrests aren't always because of beer, wine or spirits.

We had previously written about a man arrested for DUI who claimed he smelled of alcohol because of the beer-battered fish he consumed. Well in Wayne County, New York a woman has upped the stakes in DUI follies.

Police in upstate New York were called out to a Walmart onreports of erratic driving. Once there they found the driver, 46-year-old Carolyn Kesel in a stupor. After noticing signs of impairment and failing field-sobriety exercises, she was arrested for DUI.

At the police station, she blew and had a BAC of .26%, move then three times the legal limit! Even more shocking was the discovery that Carolyn became intoxicated by drinking two bottles of vanilla extract.

While vanilla extract, a common baking ingredient, often has alcohol added to it, this particular brand had an impressive 41 percent alcohol level- comparable to most hard liquors.

The lady was arrested and a check showed that she had at least one prior DUI. Because of her priors she was charged with a felony DUI.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

It has been mentioned both on this blog and elsewhere many times before the facts about intoxication. It is no defense that this was not beer, wine or hard liquor. As she had intentionally drank the vanilla extract and she was found to be under the influence of alcohol while driving she was rightfully charged with a DUI. There has been DUI convictions for drinking mouthwash, rubbing alcohol, cooking wine and even nail polish remover.

Likewise, it is possible to receive a DUI for taking prescribed prescription drugs. Remember a doctor prescription does not relieve you of the responsibility to ensure that you are not intoxicated when you are driving a vehicle.

Continue reading "Woman gets DUI because of vanilla extract?" »

January 8, 2015

Former "Saved by the Bell" star charged with battery

pinellas violent crimes attorney.jpg From ABC news. Dustin Diamond, aka "Screech" of Saved by the Bell fame, was arrested in Wisconsin. His charge? Battery with a deadly weapon.

The 37-year-old actor stabbed a man in a Wisconsin bar in where he claimed he was defending his fiance. In addition to the battery complaint, he was also charged with disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.

The actor and his fiance were both arrested after the bar fight in Port Washington, Wisconsin. She was charged with disorderly conduct and released. He was released on bail after posting a $10,000 bond.

Details are still coming out but Screech's criminal defense attorney has made a brief statement to the news: "Dustin has absolute faith in our legal system. We are confident that the truth will ultimately prevail ... Dustin appreciates and respects the work of the Port Washington Police Department and its efforts to keep the community safe."
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Police were called out to a bar late Thursday after receiving reports of a man stabbing another man and then leaving the bar. A folding knife with an almost 4 inch blade was recovered in Dustin's car the next day.

While being interviewed by the police, Dustin kept changing his story. He would either claim a pen or a knife was in his hand. He told the police that there was a large group of intoxicated people that were being rude. He then claimed that his girlfriend got into a fight with another woman and he had to defend her from a large group of people. He then said that he never intentionally stabbed anyone but was only defending his girlfriend.

Dustin, who had a court date inearly January, was arrested after police spoke with the bartender, multiple witnesses and the victim, who was stabbed in the armpit.

After "Saved by the Bell" went off the air in the 90's, Dustin's career has suffered. He starred in a few spin-offs of the show as but he had alienated his co-stars after publishing a negative book about the behind the scenes shenanigans. He has most recently been linked to drugs and his ill-fated porn video "Saved by the Smell".

Continue reading "Former "Saved by the Bell" star charged with battery" »

December 29, 2014

REALLY bad Santas...meet some arrested during holiday cheer

St. Petersburg criminal defense.jpg From the Washington Post, this holiday season brought out the Christmas spirit in many criminals. Meet a few bank-robbing Santas, drunk driving elves and other Xmas bad guys...

Santa robs a bank

In Memphis, TN Santa got a start on his post-Christmas break by robbing a bank. The man, who has not been caught, made off with a large amount of money in a duffel bag. Described as between 35-40 and under 200 pounds, it sounds like Santa has dropped some weight.

Another Santa-based crime took place in San Francisco when another man dressed as jolly old St. Nick, walked up to a teller, handed her a note and made off with a large amount of cash. To give this crime a bit of an Ocean 11 feel, the robbery took place during Santa Con, an event where 1000s of people dress up like Santa in the area. It looks like this Santa also made a clean get away.

Santa is packing heat, defends Ms. Claus in a shoot-out

A Santa in Detroit shot two men at a gas station and claimed he was defending Mrs. Claus. Santa got involved in an arguement over his girlfriend (dressed as the you know who). One of the victims ran to who car and Mr. Claus opened fire, hitting both men. Police chased him down and he was charged with two counts of aggravated battery, and assault.

An elf gets a DUI

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It isn't just Santa who has all the trouble. A Christmas elf from New Jersey was arrested for a DUI after police found him passed out behind the wheel. Brian Chellis, 23, was found in a Target parking lot by police responding to a call. His engine, lights and music were on but Brian was fast asleep.

Police woke him up and after failing a breathalyzer and field sobriety exercises, the "Elf on a Shelf" was charged with driving under the influence.


A town's Santa is arrested on firearm charges

55-year-old Mack Gardner from Elwood, Indiana voluntarily stepped down from his role as town Santa after he was arrested on a felony firearm charge.

He was arrested after he gave a gun to a known felon who just happened to be his cousin. So far Mr. Gardner is pleading his innocence but more facts continue to come out.

Continue reading "REALLY bad Santas...meet some arrested during holiday cheer" »

December 22, 2014

His story sounds fishy...DUI or battered fish?

St. Petersburg DUI defense.bmp So many people had follow up questions about an earlier post from the smoking gun that here is a follow up.

10th DUI's the charm? A Wisconsin man who was recently pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, has a history of DUI's...and creative excuses!

John Przybyla, who has nine prior DUI convictions, was pulled over by local police when they saw the 75-year-old motorist swerving between lanes. John, who was driving on a suspended driver's license, had several signs of impairment.

Police noticed a scent of alcohol coming from his breath, bloodshot, watery eyes and an open can of beer next to him.

When police asked him how much he had to drink and pointed out that he was caught straight up, the suspect didn't hesitate. Despite an open, cold can of beer in the car, John denied drinking anything. Rather he admitted eating a large portion of beer-battered fish for dinner!

Despite that rock-solid excuse, police eventually arrested him after he failed field sobriety exercises. At the station, the man blew a .062. That is below the legal limit of a .08 but under Wisconsion law he was not allowed to drive with any B.A.C. above a .02 because of his numerous priors.

Przybyla was arrested on numerous charges including felony DUI, DWLSR and traffic infractions. His next court date is in January.
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LEGAL ANALYSIS

In Florida a DUI is usually a misdemeanor but can be bumped up to a felony under certain circumstances. DUI manslaughter or DUI with serious bodily injury are both felony charges. Three DUIs within 10 years of four plus overall DUIs also would amount to a third-degree felony. This means the defendant could serve up to five years in prison as well as having an enhanced fine.

In this particular case with these egregious facts, John would almost certainly be looking at a very lengthy prison sentence if this happened in Florida. His felony DUI is punishable by up to five years and if his DWLSR is a felony as well, he could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison!


Continue reading "His story sounds fishy...DUI or battered fish?" »

December 10, 2014

A male "black widow"? Man may be charged with killing his two wives

harold-and-toni-henthorn1 Pinellas violent crimes defense.jpg Once is a tragedy but is twice murder? Colorado prosecutors think so and is charging a man with the death of both his first AND second wife. A local CBS story has more information.

58-year-old Harold Henthorn is accused of pushing his wife off a cliff in Rocky Mountain park in Colorado. Prosecutors now think he also murdered his first wife 17 years earlier under similar circumstances.

"We don't believe it was his first murder," the Assistant U.S. Attorney told the judge. "He committed an earlier murder of his first wife in remarkably similar circumstances."

The Judge appeared to agree with the prosecutor and ordered the suspect to be held without bond. The state had requested the hearing, calling Harold a "flight risk" with a large amount of disposable income he could use to flee.

So far Henthorn has only been charged with the murder of his second wife, pleading not guilty to the charge.

Per the police, the suspect is accused of pushing her off a 140 foot cliff in a remote part of the trail back in September of 2012. Ironically, he had taken the victim on a surprise trip to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary!

There were no other witnesses to the fall other then the suspect himself. Family members of the victim becam suspicious and contacted the police. After an extensive police investigation, including an asset check showing the defendant was living off millions of his dead wife's money, a grand jury indicted him on her murder.

Henthorn's story unraveled under further investigation of his assets. He told multiple people that he was a professional fundraiser but his tax return found no information of employment. Most experts found this very unusual.

The Judge agreed: "To have ready access to $1.5 million in cash is very troubling in a case of this kind because it means the defendant has the means to flee," Also disturbing, the judge mentioned, were recent transfers of large amounts of money into accounts belonging to Henthorn's brother. That is a sign of someone hiding money for a nest egg for a sudden flight.

Toni's family members also found other evidence. Toni was a well-off doctor in Mississippi when she met Harold. Harold convinced her he was wealthy and together they moved to Colorado. Once there, the "wealthy" man became controlling and obsessed with money according to the deceased's family.


It was only after their daughter's death did her parents realize that she was covered by three different types of life insurance totaling almost five million dollars. The first claim came in only a few days after she died.

This was not the suspect's first go-around with life insurance. In 1995 he collected $500,000 in life insurance from the death of his first wife. Sandra Henthorn was killed when a car slipped off a jack while she and Harold were changing a flat tire. That first death is still under investigation but police and prosecutors noticed many similarities between the two "accidents" involving Harold's wives.

Ironically, the suspect had no prior criminal record other then a theft charge involving underwear back in the 90's.

Continue reading "A male "black widow"? Man may be charged with killing his two wives" »

December 5, 2014

Sarasota teen sets up high school prostitution ring

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Didn't Tom Cruise star in an 80's movie with this same plot? Per USA Today two Florida teens were arrested for their part in a local "Risky Business" prostitution ring in Sarasota...

Venice, Florida police made two arrests, a 17-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, who are considered the "leaders" of a prostitution ring which involved three Sarasota high schools.

Per the police, the crime started in August when the two students formed the criminal enterprise. They used fellow students, all female in a scheme that involved multiple high schools and cities.

The two teens have been charged with human trafficking. Why did they do it? "The motive behind it: money and alcohol. Trading money and alcohol for sex," says a police spokesman.

Police began their investigation in the fall after several students tipped off the school resource officer to the prostitution ring.

The police, using a search warrant, got on the Sarasota student's facebook account and found a rudimentary business plan. Their were prices set up for various acts along with set rules. For instance, their was an agreement that the prostitutes got 40 percent!

The facebook account also showed the partners writing to themselves, often showing no regard for the young girls they were prostituting. "Why pimp out old hoes when I have fresh young hoes I can give up for money?" the female Sarasota High student wrote in a Facebook exchange to her business partner. She continued, "As long as I'm getting paid I'm trafficking all these (expletive deleted)."

The students used facebook accounts to set up meetings with the "Johns". This led police to 21-year-old John Mosher. Mosher (pictured), was charged with sexual battery on a victim older then 12. The police claim he paid a 15 year-old $40 and a bottle of alcohol for sex.

During police interviews, students admitted that at least three prostitution deals got done by using facebook and snap chat accounts. School administrators were not commenting other then saying no sex acts took place on school property.


Continue reading "Sarasota teen sets up high school prostitution ring" »

November 24, 2014

Sealing or expunging your record

798528-sealing-and-expungement.jpgPeople make mistakes, and sometimes we make mistakes that have consequences we are not able to comprehend or appreciate at the time frame. It does not matter if it was a minor drug crime or theft. However, the mistakes we made years ago should not continue to haunt us in the future. In addition, having a conviction record or an arrest as part of your history can make it difficult to obtain grants for schooling, it can hinder a number of employment opportunities, it might make it difficult to find housing, and it has a wide variety of other drawbacks.

Yet even those with a checkered past will be happy to note that there is a legal procedure that can help you get your records expunged. Even though this may not work for all criminal records, it is possible to expunge certain felony and misdemeanor charges from your record.

The benefits of getting your records expunged

The truth is that it takes considerable time and effort to have your criminal record expunged, but there are many different advantages that make it worth the effort. Remember that you can have a criminal record in your name, whether you were arrested for a DUI or a minor charge.

Regardless of how minimal the charge was, you might find that it costs you a great deal of opportunities and potential finances for the foreseeable future. To help make it even clearer why you should get your records expunged, we have listed some of the most important benefits benefits.

1. Your arrest is no longer a public record

Before we get into any of the other benefits, the biggest benefit of having your records expunged is the fact that your record is no longer available to the public. This means that legally you are allowed not to bring up your arrest in a job interview. Additionally, even though this is not automatic, the mere possibility of liability is often enough to ensure that private companies will remove your information, as well.

2. Easier loans and college grants

If you have a criminal record, chances are that you will have a hard time applying for college grants or getting a loan. Having a criminal record expunged means that you will have a much easier time getting both of these benefits. Then, you can pursue your education with more ease and convenience.

3. Better job opportunities

Whether you consider it fair or not, few employers accept candidates who have past arrest records. Perhaps the primary reason that people seek to expunge their records is that they want to find good paying jobs. Unfortunately, they find that their criminal records makes it virtually impossible for them to do so. Especially now that jobs are at a premium, a thorough background check has become the norm. As a result, if you have your records expunged, you will be able to say "No," the next time a potential employer asks you whether you have ever been convicted of a crime before.

4. Better housing prospects

Unfortunately, employers are not the only individuals who will run a background check before going into business with you. If you want to live somewhere, property owners are going to look at your criminal record history before approving you. In many different states, routine background checks have become the standard.

What the court has to do

If you have your records expunged, the Clerk of Court will have to remove all access to your record. This means that the Clerk of Court will no longer have to provide access to your record, whether it would be available for inspections at the Clerk's office or available for search on the Clerk's website. You can also request a Record History Check after you have your records expunged. This certified letter (which you are able to keep) indicates that no record exists.

What law enforcement must do

The county's Sheriff's Office and arresting agency will have to remove all access to the files that are to be expunged. A case becomes a public record after law enforcement ends an investigation. If you are able to have your records expunged, it means that the agency will have to destroy any physical record of your arrest. If they receive a sealing order, it means that it is no longer a public record, meaning all records have to be made confidential. In both cases, the information cannot be disclosed to third parties.

Get the ball rolling

If you have found the information here interesting and believe in the benefits of having your own records expunged, get a professional criminal defense lawyer to help you take the right steps in doing so. As you can see, the benefits far outweigh the financial costs or lengthy time that it might take.

This content is sponsored by SEOservicecrew.com a SEO company specializes in marketing for law firms.

November 19, 2014

Seeking Justice after Being Injured on the Road

Florida car accident attorney.bmpIn 2012, there were over 10,600 road-related deaths in the US for every 100,000 of the population. This meant that there were 33,561 deaths in total and 2.36 million injuries linked to the road. In fact, it's said that there is a road accident every 14 seconds on average in the US. The most common reasons for road crashes include alcohol, (driving under the influence), speeding and using cell phones while driving.

Reasons for Accidents and Fatalities

While many people are injured or killed as a result of their own actions, many people die or are injured on the road due to no fault of their own. If you are the victim of an accident due to someone else being reckless and not taking enough care and attention while driving you maybe be able to make a claim against them to get the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have sustained. Personal Injury lawyers like us here at Blake & Dorsten P.A from Florida and Thomson Snell and Passmore from Kent in the UK specialise in automobile accidents and can both help you if you need to make personal injury claims.

There are many steps that you can take in order to stay as safe as possible while out on the highway however. These include driving at a sensible speed and paying respect to signs, not driving when you're tired and using caution whenever necessary. Distractions such as cell phones are often the cause of road-related deaths and injuries, so you should give your full attention to the road.

Safety Advice

It's also advisable to take a break when you need to. Driving can be tiring and our ability to control a car can be compromised greatly if we don't take regular breaks. If you are driving with a passenger who is legally permitted to get behind your wheel, think about swapping roles every now and again. Don't have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel and make sure that your vehicle is well maintained. Use your lights effectively and if you do need to stop due to a suspected fault with your car, make sure your vehicle is as far away from the traffic as possible.

When Not to Drive
Pinellas personal injury lawyers
Find out what the state of play is regarding traffic and weather before you embark on a long drive. Many deaths have occurred after people started journeys against advice from the authorities. The amount of alcohol-related road deaths has decreased significantly over the decades, falling by 26% per 100,000 people across the United States between 1991 and 2006. However, the National Safety Council recently found that one-in-four road accidents in the US could now be linked to cell phone use. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that speeding can be linked to around a third of fatal crashes.

Contact Legal Professionals

Nonetheless, if you have been the victim of a car accident that wasn't your fault, help is at hand. Personal injury lawyers can help you to bring the perpetrators to justice. You may be able to make a claim against a driver if they caused you to be injured via neglect and recklessness. When you're looking for lawyers, you should shop around until you feel you have found someone with a proven track record who you can trust. Anyone who has been involved in car accidents that weren't their fault can contact a lawyer for help. If you are looking for legal help or guidance please contact us here and we may be able to help you.

November 13, 2014

Hazing or murder? Florida man guilty of manslaughter

Florida violent crimes defense.jpg From an Orlando news station, a former Florida A & M bandmember has been convicted of manslaughter for his actions in the hazing death of another man.

Former FAMU percussionist Dante Martin was found guilty of manslaughter and multiple counts of hazing in what the prosecutor is saying sends a powerful message.

"I hope this scares people enough to stop it and to realize it's not tworth it and to just find better ways to show you belong than hitting people ...or endangering their lives" he said outside the courtroom.

After the verdict of "guilty", Martin, who faces up to 22 years in prison and will be sentenced January 9, showed no emotion. Their were audible gasps in the courtroom including from the victim's parents.

Martin's criminal defense lawyers made no statement but said they planned to appeal on behalf of their now 27-year-old client. He was made out to be the ringleader of the band group that performed the deadly hazing ritual aboard the team bus in Orlando.

The trial consisted of three days of testimony, four hours of arguements from the state and defense and ended in a guilty verdict after a mere two hours of deliberations.

The Florida A&M band was well known throughout the state and has performed at Super Bowls, Grammys and presidential inaugurations. The death of one of their own had riled the band, including their tradition of hazing new members.

The victim, a FAMU student for seven years, volunteered to be hazed in a particular ritual known as "crossing bus C" on November 19, 2011.

This particular ritual consisted of him crossing the front to the back of the bus while being pummeled by fellow band members. He was allegedly hit more then 100 times by fists and drumsticks.

The vicitm cooapsed soon after the ritual, which followed the Florida Classic game between FAMU and Bethune-Cookman University. At the trial, the jury heard the cause of death: hemorrhagic shock as a result of the beating.

The defense tried to claim that this was not hazing, rather it was a character competition that had been in place for generations. The jury clearly did not agree.

Martin, who did not testify on his behalf, was also convicted of two misdemeanor counts of hazing two other students, both of whom were not injured.

10 other band members have previously received community control and probation sentences for their participation in the hazing. Three other students are currently awaiting trial and one man received a year in jail.

The school itself has not escaped blame. FAMU is being sued for wrongful death with the plaintiffs saying this "culture of hazing" has been encouraged for decades.

Continue reading "Hazing or murder? Florida man guilty of manslaughter" »

November 6, 2014

What next for marijuana in the Tampa Bay area?

Clearwater marijuana defense.jpg This past Tuesday, America went to the polls. In Pinellas County and throughout Florida, amendment two was on the ballot. This allowed for the legalization of medical marijuana. Supporters claimed it was compassionate and the right thing to do. Opponents said it was full of loopholes and was a backdoor to legalization. As it was a constitutional amendment it needed 60% support to pass. It fell short at just over 57%.

While the TampaBay Times did not support this amendment, it did a series of articles showing both positive and negative aspects of marijuana legalization. While we wait for 2016 and perhaps another try, individual human stories often don't get told.

For Pasco jail inmate Amanda Gould, it was another day, another violation of probation. She had already spent 60 days in jail for her VOP. She felt confident that the judge would release her.

Two months prior, Ms. Gould had violated her DUI probation for failing a drug screen by smoking marijuana.

On her court date, the probation officer recommended she continue on probation. The judge examined her medical records and disagreed. He saw her extensive drug history (both prescription and non-prescription) and thought her staying on probation was a waste of time and taxpayer money.

Her criminal defense lawyer disagreed. He claimed that she was chronically ill and all her drug use was related to her sickness. The lawyer even argued that her marijuana use was part of her self medication. Her attorney further argued that she would be a prime candidate for medical marijuana.

The judge disagreed and was looking at sending her to prison (confinement for over a year).

Doctors have diagnosed 36-year-old Ms.Gould with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, Sjogren's syndrome and two dozen more illnesses. She has been prescribed oxycodone and other addictive drugs. These prescriptions caused her to throw up and changed her personality. When she found marijuana, she noticed no side effects.

She was doing fine until she picked up a driving under the influence charge six years ago. She was pulled over, found to be drinking and had a zanax pill in her pocket. She was charged with DUI, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and introduction of contraband into a detention facility (a third-degree felony).

Due in part to her medications and her illnesses, she was not found competent to stand trial until 2013. She accepted a plea bargain of two year's probation, and 50 community service hours for the DUI and marijuana possession.

Her health continued to deteriorate. She was now on more medications and often confined to a wheelchair. Due to her drug screens, she was no longer allowed to smoke marijuana.

One night, she felt extra sick and smoked a joint. Her drug tests came up positive and her probation was violated. For most probation violations in Pinellas, your bond is revoked and you sit in jail until your court date.

Ms. Gould was not an exception, sitting in jail all this time. She tried to stay positive and was happy that jail made her kick her prescription drug addiction. She also started thinking of moving to Colorado, where marijuana is legal.

A few days after this article was first published, the court heard her case and decided to keep her on probation. The judge gave her one year of drug offender probation with the condition of NO prescription drugs or marijuana.

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LEGAL ANALYSIS

While everything appeared to have worked out for Ms. Gould in this particular case, she was very fortunate. There is no marijuana legalization coming until at least 2016.

Possession of marijuana, found under Florida statute 893.13, is a first-degree misdemeanor. This means that she can be sent to jail or put on probation for up to 12 months.

Prescription pill offenses, found under the same Florida statute number, are considered third-degree felonies. Those pills, if no prescription, are considered the same as cocaine or heroin under Florida law.

A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years prison or probation in Florida.

Continue reading "What next for marijuana in the Tampa Bay area?" »

October 30, 2014

Halloween party-goer arrested for DUI twice in three hours

St. pete DUI defense lawyers.jpgFrom the smokinggun website, it looks like this zombie should have had more bra-ains and less sho-ts...

26-year-old Catherine Butler donned her make-up and prepared to have a great time at a halloween party. A few hours later, the sloshed zombie was facing two DUI charges that took place a few hours apart!

Ms. Butler was first arrested around 2 a.m. after police noticed that she did not have headlights on while driving. After giving her a traffic citation, they performed a DUI investigation where it was determined that she was under the influence of alcohol. She was arrested and taken to jail.

The police made a mistake when they released her to a friend. A few hours later, at 5 a.m., she was again pulled over for swerving on the road. Another DUI investigation led to another driving under the influence charge for the unlucky party girl.

LEGAL ANALYSIS
In Florida, a first time DUI is a first degree misdemeanor. Even though she received two DUIs, her criminal defense lawyer should be able to plea them concurrently to avoid extra penalties. Unfortunately, the DMV will most likely treat it as her second DUI and she may receive a longer driving suspension.

Typical punishment for her DUI(s) will most likely consist of a large fine, probation, a suspended driver's license, alcohol evaluation and treatment if needed, community service, no drinking (obviously) and she will not be allowed in bars.

Continue reading "Halloween party-goer arrested for DUI twice in three hours" »

October 23, 2014

Impaired driver hit cop car, had a gun

Pinellas battery defense.jpg Mark this under things NOT to do if you are trying to avoid police attention...

43-year-old Tina Wishnevski faces multiple criminal counts after hitting a police car whil intoxicated. Duting their investigation, police found a loaded handgun and ammunition in her car. Ms. Wishnevski is not allowed to own a firearm.

The suspect was arrested and charged with DUI, multiple traffic infractions, firearm charges, and resisting an officer without violence. As of this writing she has not been charged with battery on a law enforcement officer despite the fact that she hit a patrol car with the policeman inside.

The police were called to Ms. Wishnevski's seperated husband's house after midnight because he was complaining that she was outside his home. He told police that she was breaking his windows and was brandishing a gun! Her two sons and her ex-husband were alone in the house at this time.

When she heard police, she got in her car and fled. She hit a patrol car and lead police on a brief chase. As an officer came up to her car, she made such a fuss that he had to hold her at gunpoint until backup arrived.

When questioned by the police, her story was not helpful. She claimed that her ex-husband had called her to come. When she arrived, he was the one with the firearm and he began to beat her. She was unable to tell the police how she came into ownership of the gun however, nor could she explain why she was driving drunk and hitting the police.

At the time of this writing, it was unknown if she had posted bail nor what type of criminal sentencing she was facing.

Continue reading "Impaired driver hit cop car, had a gun" »

October 16, 2014

Dallas Cowboy running back arrested for shoplifting

Pinellas theft crimes defense.jpg From a local CBS news affiliate, a NFL running back was arrested for shoplifting under $500 in small items in a department store.

Running back Joseph Randle was arrested by store security in a Dallas store for the theft of underwear and cologne.

"The items that were stolen were underwear and cologne," Lt. Jason Jenkins told a radio station. This seemed to be confirmed by online gossip site TMZ which reported that the Cowboy had allegedly stolen Gucci cologne, as well as a pair of Polo underwear. At least this shoplifter is a classy sort.

A local sports station confirmed that the NFL player cooperated and did not attempt to run. He was booked into the Frisco City Detention Center and released early the next morning on bail.

Ironically, this man can definitely afford underwear and cologne. The reserve running back is making just under $500,000 this year and is signed to a four-year, $2.35 million dollar contract! He just had his best game of the year, rushing for over 50 yards on just 5 carries. As far as any discipline coming from his team or the NFL, at the time of this writing there has been no word.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

Unlike Texas, in Florida there are only two types of misdemeanors and three types of felony charges for theft. Theft charges can be found under Florida Statute 812.014.

Depending on the value of the items stolen and/or any prior theft convictions for Mr. Randle in Florida this case could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If this was his first theft offense and the items were worth under $300 (as seems likely), this would be a mere misdemeanor. If the items were worth over $300 or he has prior theft convictions, it is possible that the shoplifting would be elevated to a third-degree felony. That is punishable by up to five years prison!

If Mr. Randle has no priors, he would seem to be a prime candidate for a Florida pre-trial intervention program ("PTI"). This would consist of a series of things he would have to do (such as community service and a shoplifter's awareness class) that if succesfull, his charges would be dismissed.

As for now, it will be interesting to see what decision he makes and how it affects his professional future.

Continue reading "Dallas Cowboy running back arrested for shoplifting" »

October 8, 2014

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office sets up DUI checkpoint, 8 nabbed

dui 3.png From the TampaBay Times, a DUI checkpoint in Kenneth City last weekend nabbed multiple arrests. While we have previously discussed some irregularities that can take place with Florida DUI checkpoints, this one seemed less about controversy, nabbing eight arrests.

Before bad weather struck early Saturday morning, Pinellas CountySheriff deputies managed eight arrests at their DUI checkpoint.

Starting at 10 p.m. Friday and lasting until 2:45 a.m. Saturday near the Kmart at 66th street in Kenneth City, the checkpoint over 25% of the cars passing through.

Per Sheriff's records, out of 774 vehicles, 216 were pulled over for additional scrutiny by the police.

The eight arrests resulted in multiple charges such as traffic infractions, a no valid driver's license, a DWLSR, two counts of cocaine possession, a possession of marijuana and a possession of alcohol by persons under 21.

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