Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors At Law
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Jacksonville Florida Criminal Defense Blog

Can drunk driving charges keep me from traveling?

If a law enforcement official recently pulled you over and accused you of driving while under the influence, you may be facing a great deal of anxiety and have many questions. Unfortunately, these charges could cause your life to spiral out of control in many ways, which is why the charges have to be handled appropriately. For example, you may be fired or find yourself unable to successfully apply for a certain position in the future. If you live in Jacksonville, Florida, you should go over your rights immediately and be aware of the different consequences that come with DUI charges, such as potentially preventing you from traveling.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection states that people may not be able to visit Canada if they have a drunk driving conviction on their record. If you are hoping to head to Canada, for business reasons or simply as a tourist, you should realize that an immigration official in Canada may decide to deny your entry into the country if you are found guilty of driving under the influence. While many people recognize some of the more commonly-known consequences of DUI charges, such as prison time and financial penalties, some are unaware that this offense can restrict people from crossing the Canadian border.

How is intent to sell proven?

All of the drug offenses described in Florida’s state statutes carry with them significant criminal penalties. The potential for facing one such penalty after having been arrested in Jacksonville can be great. Can you imagine how much more so it may be if you are facing multiple drug charges? Often, a drug arrest may not result in just one charge for possession. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, an added charge of intent to sell may be added on.

The law detailing drug offenses found in Section 893.13(1)(a) of Florida’s statutes leaves little room for interpretation. It states that you may not ”sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver” any controlled substance found on the state’s drug schedules. What may be open to interpretation is how law enforcement authorities are able to determine that you indeed did have an intent to sell whatever substance you were allegedly found to be in possession of.

Incident at St. Augustine rest stop leads to drug arrest

Often, it is in the investigation of a certain event in Jacksonville where law enforcement officials may discover ancillary issues which lead to other seemingly unrelated criminal charges. While some may argue that one’s actions and behavior patterns would have eventually revealed the criminal activity that he or she was allegedly engaged in, people should still be able to expect a right to privacy and due process. Yet at times, circumstances may end up uncovering issues that officials may be prompted to act upon.

That apparently is what happened when law enforcement authorities were called in to investigate an incident that occurred near St. Augustine. They were responding to a child having been forgotten at a rest stop off of Interstate 95. A 6-year old boy claimed to have been traveling with his grandparents when they and the woman they were with drove off without him. When the three returned, officials stated that they appeared to be under the influence of drugs. A subsequent search of their vehicle revealed tar heroin, pills and other drug paraphernalia. The trio was arrested on charges of possession, while representatives from Child and Family Services took custody of the boy. Police later discovered that a search warrant had been executed on the Ohio address that the grandparents gave. The warrant was in response to several drug complaints made in relation to the residence.

Scharlette Holdman

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of our dear friend, Scharlette Holdman. Scharlette was an unstoppable force of nature, who did more to stop the death penalty than virtually any other individual in this country. We first met Scharlette 40 years ago, when she was working out of a tiny donated office in Tallahassee.

Dog Searches: Can Two Police Officers Do What One Cannot?

The use of dogs to sniff out contraband remains one of the most frequent methods by which police discover contraband in vehicles traveling on the highway. The Supreme Court has allowed such searches in limited circumstances, but only in those instances where there is not a delay between the stop and the dog's arrival. Anything beyond a brief delay constitutes a seizure, which requires probable cause to be lawful. This "time-limiting doctrine" was firmly adopted by the Supreme Court in Rodriguez v. United States.

How a plea negotiation works

Not all criminal cases in Florida end up in trial. Many end early thanks to plea bargaining. The purpose of plea negotiation and how it works are described below.

According to the American Bar Association, plea bargaining helps the court system be more efficient by not requiring the resources of a full trial for every criminal offense. From a practical standpoint, a plea bargain can be helpful for criminal defendants, too. It provides greater certainty on the outcome of a criminal case and allows criminal defendants to plan how to move forward with their lives.

Rooming Houses and the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment provides citizens with the most protection inside their own homes. A recent decision by the Florida Second District Court of Appeal-Davis v. State-addressed which areas in a rooming house constitute a Defendants' "home" for the purposes of such protection. Davis involved a defendant who stashed a pill bottle containing cocaine inside a lattice beneath the rooming house where he sometimes stayed. A police officer proceeded to remove the lattice and search the pill bottle. Davis's criminal defense attorney sought to suppress the results of the search. He argued that removing the lattice constituted an unlawful search of the defendant's home.

Is It a Crime for a Sex Offender to Use the Internet?

Thousands of sex offenders have been prosecuted for engaging in activity which most of us take for granted. In many jurisdictions, it is a felony for a registered sex offender to access the internet for any reason. Some statutes also prohibit offenders from creating Facebook profiles using LinkedIn, or using any forms of social media. These prohibitions make it virtually impossible for offenders to even own a smartphone. They create great hardship, preventing people from seeking jobs, places to live, or even from communicating with family members. The recent Supreme Court case of Packingham v. North Carolina makes it clear that such blanket prohibitions will no longer withstand judicial scrutiny.

Supreme Court Expands Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel for Defendants Facing Deportation

The Sixth Amendment guarantees defendants the right to effective assistance of counsel during all "critical stages" of a criminal proceeding. In the context of plea negotiations, this means that criminal defense attorneys must convey plea offers to their client in a timely fashion and give adequate advice about the consequences of accepting or rejecting the offer. The United States Supreme Court previously held, in a case called Padilla v. Kentucky, that this duty extends to advice about the immigration consequences of entering a plea. In an opinion rendered last week, Lee v. United States, the Supreme Court held that bad advice about immigration consequences can support post-conviction relief, even in situations where the defendant did not have any reasonable hope of winning at trial.

Field sobriety tests not fully accurate

Florida residents know that the state's laws on driving under the influence are tough. While certainly it is important to keep people safe, it is equally important to protect the rights of everyone including those who may be accused of criminal actions. For their part, defendants must try to remember that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction and therefore learning about their options for a defense after being charged with drunk driving is important.

Simply because field sobriety tests are administered by law enforcement officials and sanctioned for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not mean that they are completely foolproof. In fact, FieldSobrietyTests.org indicates that none of the three standardized tests used are completely accurate. The most accurate of the three tests is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test which evaluates the eye's natural jerking motion. This test is 77-percent accurate on its own.

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  1. Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Rated for highest level of Provisional Excellence 2016 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms US News 2016 American College of Trial Lawyers William J.Sheppard Best Lawyers Lawyer of the year 2014 The Florida Bar Board Certified Best Lawyers|Best Law Firms US News|Criminal Defense: White-Collor|Tier 1|Jacksonville|2017
  2. Best Lawyers Best Law Firms US News 2017 AV Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability Super Lawyers Best Lawyers Linking Lawyers And Clients Worldwide

Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors at Law.
215 N. Washington Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: 904-701-0589
Phone: 904-727-7191
Fax: 904-356-9667
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Regular office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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