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Drunk Driving/DUI

What to do If You Get Pulled Over?

I’m getting pulled over! Oh Crap! There are blue lights flashing behind you indicating that you need to pull over.  What should you do?  The blue flashing lights are directed at you.  What do you do if you get pulled over by the police?

Be calm. Stay in your vehicle.  Above all else, be calm. You should notify someone that you are being pulled over, (preferably a sober friend or parent who can come to the scene if necessary). You can also record the encounter with a law enforcement officer. Florida law says you can always tape record a law enforcement officer while he or she is in the performance of his/her duty (which I highly recommend for everyone’s safety). Most importantly, remembe—be calm. Stay in your vehicle.

Remember, answer no questions other than your name, date of birth, address, and place of residence. It is also important to note that signing a ticket is not an admission in Florida.

The officer who approaches is focused on who and what is in the car but most importantly, everyone’s hands.  Keep your hands where the officer can see them at all times, this will work to your advantage.

Regardless of the officer’s demeanor, you are always respectful, polite and attentive.  You are going to need three things, a driver’s license, valid registration, and valid proof of insurance.

One of the reasons that the officer asks for these items is compliance. The officer may also be looking for anything that might indicate another crime.  On the compliance side, the officer is going to run your information to see if there are any summons, warrants, or restrictions against you.

If you have an active warrant against you, it is imperative that you call an experienced criminal defense attorney. I, fortunately, provide those services. Call Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 for an initial consultation about your case.

Have your registration and proof of insurance along with your driver’s license neatly together, (not all crumpled in a wad of confusion), and hold them outside the window awaiting the presence of the officer.  This will show the officer that you are prepared, squared away and showing compliance.

Stay in your vehicle.  Unless you are ordered out of the vehicle, you are safer inside.  Remember, there are other cars out there flying by. While Florida’s move over law is a good law, it doesn’t matter, for your safety stay in the car

Although I admittedly live in a town with a regional airport, I do have a thriving criminal defense practice.  There are a lot of people who get pulled over and arrested in Tallahassee, Florida.

Parents teach your children how to handle a traffic stop, roleplay a traffic stop (some police agencies will even sponsor mock traffic stops) and be safe. I hope this has helped Tracey, our girls, my Dad and anyone else who reads what to do in a traffic stop.

Find an Attorney for Being Stopped by Police in Leon County, FL

If you or someone you know has been arrested or detained by the police, then call an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney.

Our office is located in Tallahassee, and we take cases throughout Leon County, FL.

Call (850) 681-7777 now for more information about your case.

This Article Was Last Updated on Thursday, March 30, 2017

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2017 CS/HB 949 Driving Under the Influence

The 2017 House Bill 949 entitled Driving Under the Influence was introduced by State Representative Cord Byrd (R- Neptune Beach) in the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on March 7, 2017. On March 21, 2017, the bill passed the House and is currently pending review of CS under Rule 7.18(c).

The 2017 CS/HB 949 amends Fla. Stat. § 316.193(2) to provide that, in addition to other the other penalties provided, as a condition of probation, notwithstanding Fla. Stat. § 316.656, if a person is convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor DUI, and it is the first offense, then he or she may be permitted to place an ignition interlock device (IID) voluntarily on his or her vehicle in exchange for an adjudication withhold. If the offender voluntarily receives an IID, then the court will withhold adjudication as long as the person does not have a prior withholding of adjudication or an adjudication of guilt for any other offense.

If the individual fails to comply with the full terms of the order for IID placement, then that may result in an adjudication of guilty, among other penalties.

Criminal Penalties for DUI in Florida

The criminal penalties for a DUI conviction can vary depending on the number of prior DUI convictions and the offender’s blood alcohol content (BAC), among other factors.

The first DUI conviction is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six (6) months in jail and up to $1,000 fines. A first DUI conviction may also include up to 50 hours of community service, up to a year of probation, and mandatory vehicle impoundment.

The court, in its discretion, may also order an IID installation on an offender’s vehicle.

Enhanced Penalties for DUI in Florida

Blood alcohol level or having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense can result in enhanced penalties for a DUI conviction. If a first-time offender has a BAC of 0.15 or higher, then the penalties may be enhanced. Additionally, if a first-time offender is DUI and has a minor in the vehicle, the penalties may be enhanced.

In Florida, enhanced penalties for first-time DUI offenders can include up to nine (9) months in jail, mandatory IID installation on all vehicles jointly or individually owned or leased, and up to $2,000 fines.

Being able to have such penalties expunged or sealed can substantially change an offender’s ability to get a job.

Effects of CS/HB 949

The 2017 House Bill 949 is extraordinary because Florida law currently does not allow DUI offenses to have adjudication withheld. An adjudication withheld outcome means that, if an individual has no prior withholds in DUI cases, no prior convictions, and has never sealed or expunged a criminal record, then he or she may be eligible to have their criminal record sealed.

If the 2017 HB 949 passes then this could open up an avenue for some people with first-time DUI charges to have the record eventually sealed.

Effect of a Seal of a Criminal Record

If a Florida court allows an offender to seal his or her criminal record, several entities must forward copies of the seal order to relevant persons or entities.

The arresting agency must provide the seal order to any entity that had previously disseminated the criminal record. The clerk of the court must provide the seal order to the state attorney or statewide prosecutor and any entity that received the criminal record.

Lastly, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) must provide the seal order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The FDLE must maintain the record, but it is protected as confidential and is exempt from any public disclosure requirements under Fla. Stat. § 943.0585(4).

A person who has had a record sealed may deny or fail to report the arrest that was sealed, except in the following circumstances:

  • the person is seeking a position with a criminal justice agency;
  • the person is seeking a license from the Division of Insurance or the Department of Financial Services;
  • the person is seeking to be appointed as a guardian;
  • the person is seeking a position within an agency that is responsible for the protection of vulnerable persons such as children, disabled persons, or elderly persons;
  • the person is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
  • the person is petitioning for an additional expunction or sealing of a criminal record or an offense as a victim of human trafficking; or
  • the person is applying for admission to a state bar such as The Florida Bar.

Conclusion

If 2017 CS/HB 949 passes, some people with a first-time offense DUI will have an avenue to have adjudication withheld and ultimately have that offense sealed. Having a record sealed means that the record still exists, but no one may view it without a court order.

Find an Attorney for DUI Offenses in Tallahassee, Florida

Having a DUI on your public record can follow you for the rest of your life. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Tallahassee, Florida, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to find out what action can be taken to preserve your reputation.

Schedule an appointment with Pumphrey Law to speak one-on-one with a criminal defense attorney. Pumphrey Law takes cases in Leon County, FL, and the surrounding counties including Jefferson County, Wakulla County, Gadsden County, and Liberty County.

Call (850) 681-7777 for a no obligations consultation.

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DUI Ignition Interlock in Florida, All about DUI’s?

blog-interlock-620

“Make no mistake there is always money attached to legislation that moves toward expanding or developing or implementing any device”, says Don Pumphrey, Jr., Owner and Founder of the Pumphrey Law Firm located in Florida’s Capital City, Tallahassee. This is a campaign that’s being pushed for mere safety?  One random company touts preventing over 4 million “illegal” starts since 1992 yet in the same paragraph give a disclaimer that nothing is 100%.

“Here is the straight.  The ignition interlock is a deterrent or a safety device?  Most persons who are required to use the ignition interlock device have been driving for days, weeks, months without the ignition interlock device, only to have it statutorily mandated as punishment?  These DUI ignition interlock laws and devices have been around for quite some time, where is the new research?    If it truly has the backing of safety and not monetary gain, I am all for anything that benefits each of us in society.”

Why isn’t there a marketing campaign pushing these devices on the largest group of our society that is immature, has a drivers license (or ability to apply for one) and is at highest risk?  This group would be persons ages 16-28 or the new “Uber Generation.”  “Who in the DUI world does the interlock truly benefit?  Show me the numbers. Show me it is about reducing drinking related traffic incidence.  I’m all ears.” adds Pumphrey, Jr. “Maybe we should look to current experts in the areas of human factors and look for your information from www.nhtsa.org  even better yet, request an opinion from an expert like Don Fournier, a licensed engineer and expert in reconstruction with Forensic Engineering Technologies. Reach out to someone like Dr. Justin Morgan at F.E.T. and see if they can point you to an opinion as to whether this is indeed a reliable safety device given any empirical research provided.”

The ignition interlock in Florida is a measure for money not for safety.  There may be collateral safety attached sufficiently to shoot the locks off the wallet of the legislature, but the real reason for the device is financial. In the end, it is my humble opinion is that the manufacturer is pushing a product to make money on DUI’s, not preventing DUI’s.

Penalties for DUI in Florida

Whether people were celebrating victories or wallowing in bitter defeats of College Football, socializing with friends, or simply grabbing a drink after work, arrests for alleged drunk driving  can turn fun into months of incredible stress. Convictions can result in serious penalties, even if it is your first criminal offense.To avoid costly fines, having your driving privileges suspended, and the possibility of time incarcerated, you need the assistance of an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney with experience litigating DUI offenses on behalf of clients throughout various areas of Florida, including Leon County and Jefferson County.

Resources

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=ignition+interlock+site:nhtsa.gov&*&spf=612

Studies About the Ignition Interlock: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=ignition+interlock+site:nhtsa.gov&*&spf=612

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Florida Lawmakers Seek to reduce Penalties for Juvenile Offenders through Citations

CuffedBackSweater

As of February 2, 2017, Senate Bill 196 is circulating Florida’s Senate. Senate Bill 196 aims to provide a less stringent alternative for juvenile offenders charged with minor or first-time offenses. Under Senate Bill 196’s proposed penalties for eligible misdemeanors, juvenile offenders found committing any of the offenses provided under this Bill will be provided with a citation in lieu of an arrest and subsequent jail time.

Some of the eligible offenses provided under Senate Bill 196 include theft, trespassing, loitering and prowling, disorderly conduct, possession of cannabis in the amount of 20 grams or less, underage alcohol possession, and a host of other misdemeanors.

In a similar vein, sixty (60) counties throughout Florida have adopted some form of a citation program replacing arrests with citations for eligible offenses. However, despite eligibility for these programs, only a fraction of affected juveniles were provided with a citation instead of an arrest. Florida lawmakers hope to create a uniform system for this citation program, thus introducing the possibility of an alternative to incarceration centered penalties.

After modifications have been made to comply with the Florida House’s wishes, Senate Bill 196 is expected to be up for a vote.

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney

Are you a juvenile offender or the guardian of a juvenile offender who has been charged with a criminal offense? If so, contact the Pumphrey Law Firm at 850-681-7777 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options under Florida law.

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The Day The President Said My Client Wouldn’t Die In Prison

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Brian Tannebaum attorney

Attorney Brian Tannebaum


In my estimation, there are five things that are icing on the cake for any lawyer who practices criminal defense. 1. An acquittal in a death penalty case; 2. A reversal of a death sentence on appeal; 3. An invitation to argue before the United States Supreme Court; 4. A declaration of the client’s innocence after conviction; and 5. A Pardon or Clemency from either a Governor or President of the United States.

All five are rare occurrences, and a lawyer can go through their entire career, never doing any of the five, and have the reputation as one of the best.

President Obama wanted to review the sentences of federal prisoners who were given lengthy sentences for non-violent offenses, mainly drug offenses. (No, I’m not interested in a debate over whether drug possession or sale is a violent offense.) As a result, Clemency Project 2014 was created.

This was an “all hands on deck” operation. In the end, 16,000 petitions for Clemency were reviewed by the Pardon Attorney, and as of today, a little over 1300 have been granted. Clemency is not always a Pardon, in fact in most cases it is a commutation, meaning a reduction in sentence. The conviction remains, it’s just that someone sentenced to life, may instead serve 15 or 20 years. Under President Obama’s grants, some had to enter drug rehabilitation.

Although it’s a fear-mongering argument made by the ignorant, clemency is not about letting violent criminals back on the street. President Obama’s Clemency Project 2014 had strict parameters including: the offense for which the defendant is in prison can not be a violent offense, there can be no prior significant violent offenses, the defendant must have served at least 10 years, and must have good behavior in prison.

I’m not going to name my client here, but he is on the list of 209 commutations granted today, January 17, 2017. I just want to tell the story of my participation in the Clemency Project.

In August of 2015 I was asked if I would take on “one of these” Clemency Project 2014 cases. I was told it was a matter of obtaining the client’s Pre-sentence Investigation Report, filling out a form, preparing an “Executive Summary” and gathering whatever information I could about the client’s family and conduct in prison. I would have to watch some videos and certify that I had been “trained.” Seemed fairly organized and cookie cutter.

I had to get the client to agree to allow me to represent him, which took no effort. I didn’t imagine someone serving life in prison, sentenced to die in a cage, would have any issue if a lawyer, for free, was going to try and get him out.

That was the last easy part of the representation.

The Government is not big on handing out Pre-sentence Investigation Reports, and so that took some “higher-up” conversations. Once I got it, I realized there were issues that required documents from old files. There were questions to be asked of the client (made easy due to email access to federal prisoners).

While I worked on the Petition, in came pictures of the client’s family, and letters attesting to his good conduct in prison. After realizing there was a mistake in his prior convictions that had been corrected by a gracious state court judge, I had to make sure this was explained in the Executive Summary, basically a closing argument of why the client deserved Clemency.

What made this case more difficult, was understanding the odds. My client qualified for Clemency. He had served 10 years of a life sentence, was a model prisoner, had no violent past – on paper, he was perfect. But the odds. The President was getting thousands of these, why would he grant my client a second chance at life, outside prison?

As required, I submitted my Petition, and everything else to the Clemency Project.

Due to a technical issue, after completing my work, I could not get the Clemency Project to accept my Petition. The process was that the Project would review the Petition and supporting materials and forward it to the Office of the Pardon Attorney.

Fearful I would not get the stamp of approval of the Clemency Project, I contacted the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), another partner in the Project.

I was blessed to be able to reach the Executive Director, Norman Reimer. My hope was that Norman would put me in touch with someone at the Clemency Project to review my submission and propose edits. Instead, Norman said “I’m going to work on this with you.” Norman made corrections, suggested edits and more work, and after a few days of work with Norman, my Petition was submitted to the Clemency Project.

It then went to the Pardon Attorney.

A couple times while the Petition was pending, my client emailed me and asked if I “heard anything.” Of course there were only two things to hear, and I had heard neither. The Office of the Pardon Attorney has a website where they list every Clemency grant, and denial. Every time President Obama granted a bunch of Petitions, my heart sank. That meant there would be denials.

I kept checking, I kept searching lists by last name – occasionally finding the last name of my client on the denial lists, but..whew… a different first name.

I was told a few days ago that there were some recent denials, on January 13. I checked the list. He had to be on that list.

Nothing.

I knew I was going to get an answer this week, and before Friday when we inaugurate our next President. I was only told one thing – that the Office of the Pardon Attorney calls with the news.

Today I was out of town, having lunch with a long-time public defender friend, telling him that I hoped President Obama would decide today on his last grantings of Clemency, as I was nervous about the decision coming too close to the inauguration. That was at 1:30 p.m.

At 2:50 I received an email from my office. Attorney Sarah Black from The Office of the Pardon Attorney called and my client was granted a commutation. I was to call her back ASAP.

I called her back….and got voicemail.

A few minutes later she called me back, not knowing that I got the news, and so she told me as if I didn’t know. She was happy. I was in complete shock. She asked me if I could inform my client. I said “of course, you want me to email him?” And in a first-class move, she said “well actually, we’ve arranged for you to be able to call your client at 3:30 today and tell him. We have a number that he will be waiting at for your call. Is that a good time for you?”

Considering I had never had a client given an Order of Commutation from the President of the United States, I told her that “yes, I can call him at 3:30 p.m.” She said something to the effect of “I know this is a great day for you and your client, thank you for your work, and please call me if you need anything else.”

I’m not used to having these types of conversations with lawyers from the federal government.

What was I going to say to my client? I had just called my wife and could barely get through the conversation with her, now I was going to tell him he wasn’t going to die in prison because of Barack Obama? This was way too much for me.

So like Luca Brazi, I practiced. “I’m calling to tell you that President Obama….” “I have been advised….” No. “I have good news for you.” No.

The clock said 3:29. Was it 3:30 at the prison and they were taking him back to his cell because “your lawyer didn’t call on time?”

Then it was 3:30. I dialed, got the recording. The call disconnected. Oh no.

Two more times, recording, disconnected.

Third time, recording, dialed extension… “This is Delores.”

“Hi Delores, this is Brian Tannebaum, I am…” “Oh yes, how are you Mr. Tannebaum?” Not a typical greeting from someone at a federal prison.

With a little chuckle I said “I’m doing great.” “I bet you are,” she said, “let me get your client, he’s right here.”

“Hi, It’s Brian Tannebaum.”

“Hi Brian, how are you doing today, how is everything?”

Such an odd, typical question. More odd than typical because I was about to tell him that he wasn’t going to die in prison.

“I’m fine, I have some news for you.”

“President Obama has ordered your sentence commuted.”

He dropped the phone.

Delores came back on and I could hear her saying “get up, get over here, you have to talk to him.”

He came back on and expressed the type of emotion you can only imagine from someone who was just told that the President of the United States has given him a second chance.

Can you imagine? Me neither.

Tonight I imagine he has told his family that he will be coming home sooner than at his death.

I have received many congratulatory messages this afternoon, and I appreciate all of them. But I have to tell you that nothing is more meaningful to me than the fact that my client was the benefit of the grace of the leader of the free world.

Yes, I filled out some paperwork, put a package together, became the messenger. But my client will be free because the Federal Defender of the Southern District of Florida, Michael Caruso, thought to ask me to take this case, because Norman Reimer at NACDL helped me, because the Office of the Pardon Attorney recommended my client be freed, and because President Obama nodded his head “yes.”

If I never again have an experience like this in my career, (and statistically I won’t), I can feel a great sense that someone is freed from the chains and cages of a federal prison, when he spent the last 11 years there thinking he would die there, because some stellar members of the Bar thought to assist me in asking the President to set him free.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Ethics and Criminal Defense. He is the author of The Practice

Pumphrey Law Firm

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Pumphrey Law Scholarship: Spring 2017 Winning Essay

Pumphrey Law Scholarship Essay

Lauren Sumners Pumphrey Law Scholarship Spring 2017 Essay Winner Tallahassee Florida Criminal Defense Florida State University

Lauren Sumners and Don Pumphrey, Jr.

One of my professors at Florida State University ends every class by pleading his students to do just one thing –“Please, do not drink and drive. Be safe.” This professor has taught thousands of students and boasts an impressive and long career. Every time I hear him say these words, I can’t help but imagine the things he must have seen throughout his many years of teaching. Has he had to deal with the loss of students due to drunk driving? Has he had to deal with grieving parents? Has he had to deal with a loss in his own family? I do not know the story behind his plea (or if there is one at all), but I do know his efforts stem from a sincere concern for his students’ safety and well-being. As a professor, he desires success for his students above all else. As his students, we have learned how to think critically in the classroom and are well aware of how our academic choices can alter our futures. I imagine this is his small way of encouraging his students to think critically outside of the classroom as well and understand that those choices are just as important. Through his simple words, he challenges his students to be proactive and choose responsibility in order to ensure a life after college.

Choosing to drive while drunk is a selfish act. It is entirely devoid of all responsibility and consideration. Not only does drunk driving endanger oneself, it endangers the lives of so many others including friends, loved ones, and complete strangers. While the majority of students are well aware of the consequences of drunk driving, many choose to ignore them. Due to the nature of the party scene, especially in college, it is easy for students to be tempted into making bad choices, such as thinking they can drive when they should not. It does not take much convincing by one’s friends or even oneself to think, “I’m probably fine” and get behind the wheel after drinking. In those moments, intoxicated and without the familiarity of their own home, many students do not choose responsibility; they choose selfishness. As a young woman living on a college campus, I am very aware of this temptation to act irresponsibly; I see students make the choice to act dangerously all of the time. It is not uncommon to see a drunken student stumbling along the street or getting rowdy at a bar only to then get in their car and swerve out of sight. Because of this, I am always on alert when driving, especially at night. Not only is the life of the drunk driver at risk when on the road, but so is mine and those around me. While I wish all students would act responsibly and understand how truly selfish it is so drive when drunk, I understand that this is not reality. These students who carelessly drink and drive are ignoring the negative impact it has on their lives and on the lives of others. They are ignoring the hard work of their families to provide and secure for them an education. They are ignoring the hopes of other students who are pursuing their futures and academic careers at Florida State. They are even ignoring the sanctity and dignity of their own lives.

Simply put, drunk driving destroys. Aside from destroying lives, it destroys families, friendships, academic careers, and futures. For those who have been impacted by the dangers of drunk driving, they have felt the acute pain of loss and know all too well just how far its sobering effect spreads. As a student who has valued the opportunity to receive a good education throughout my life and understands what a sacrifice it is financially for my family to send their children off to college to receive higher education, I made a pledge to myself at a young age to never take that for granted. Though I have failed at times, I have always tried to pursue my education with passion and dedication in an effort to respect what a gift it truly is. If I were to choose not to act responsibly when drinking, I would be turning my back on the sacrifices my loved ones have made for me. Unfortunately, I do not have a surefire solution to prevent drunk driving. I cannot control the actions of those around me nor can I make them understand the selfish nature of their choice to drink irresponsibly. However, I can set an example. I do not believe any one person is too insignificant or too powerless to make a difference. The positive, responsible actions and choices of each individual contribute to the well-being of their community in ways far greater than they may ever understand. By choosing not to drink and drive, I honor my family, friends, and community who love and value me. By choosing not to drink and drive, I uphold my university and acknowledge what has been given up in order to give me an education. By choosing not to drink and drive, I protect the shared opportunity to learn and work toward achieving academic goals with my peers, signifying that I believe my own selfishness is never enough to threaten or take that opportunity away from anyone.

 

Author: Lauren Sumners

Florida State University

Lesumners152@gmail.com

 

www.pumphreylawfirm.com

http://www.pumphreylawfirm.com/resources/pumphrey-law-scholarship/ 

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High School: Another Day, Another Temptation

Author: Lourdes Valenzuela: : Leon High School senior and Pumphrey Law Firm intern

Pumphrey Law Firm Intern and Leon High School senior Lourdes Valenzuela

Lourdes Valenzuela

The average age for a first alcoholic drink in the United States is 13 years old. One may be thinking: “Why so young?” As a senior at Leon High School in Tallahassee, Florida, I will attempt to answer that troubling question. For a high school student, the need to feel accepted is fundamental in our everyday lives. This helps us understand peer pressure better and how it relates to drinking.

The psychological reasoning behind peer pressure is that everyone wants to feel accepted due to a fear of rejection. Psychologists have deduced that being part of any group helps anyone feel safe, protected and connected. There is an interesting connection between those who give into peer pressure and people who suffer from social anxiety. These individuals tend to navigate through their days with the fear of being socially rejected so in order to avoid exclusion, they feel the need to please most people.

Even if a person doesn’t intend on associating themselves with alcohol, they could still be surrounding themselves with temptations. Temptations could be health, family and even environmental factors. From a health standpoint, an inclination towards drinking could point to mental health issues. Alcohol only alleviates the symptoms temporarily; alcohol is not a healthy remedy or solution. Family could have an impact. If a family member drinks, since a majority of time is spent at home with family, the student is in the position of being influenced, surrounded by temptation.

Alcohol is portrayed in television shows and soap operas as a means to “relax”. A person that has an abnormal amount of stress oftentimes turn to alcohol, again to temporarily reduce the amount of stress they seemingly cannot cope with anymore. This is a temporary solution and alcohol often enhances the real, underlying problems.

Alcohol abuse can potentially create a domino effect on a young adult’s life. Since alcohol can take charge of the brain and health, it can have a negative impact on the person’s education. The student will soon find it difficult to remember important things, will have trouble concentrating in the classroom environment, and will spend less amount of time in the classrooms because of health issues. The majority of high school dropouts have had some involvement with alcohol or illegal drugs[1].

Alcohol is able to penetrate the brain barrier therefore being able to touch the actual brain cells. Alcohol is not only a depressant that influences the part of the brain that controls inhibitions but it is also a factor that negatively affects brain development. Alcohol inhibits awareness, clouds judgment, causes a loss of consciousness, and leads to clumsiness. Since the brain doesn’t stop developing until the mid 20s, drinking at an early age can cause the brain to not develop properly, especially for the duration nature intended.

When alcohol begins to have a negative impact on someone’s daily life, many serious health problems can develop. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety and even cancer are just a few of many. [2] Excessive and irresponsible alcohol consumption is responsible for 88,000 deaths in the U.S. [3] Alcohol abuse has its own social consequences; drinking and driving, violence, suicide and sex crimes and if a person is not educated on it or mature enough, it can take control of their life.

-Lourdes Valenzuela

Intern at Pumphrey Law Firm

Leon High School class of 2017

[1] Dallas, Mary Elizabeth. “Drug, Alcohol Abuse More Likely Among High School Dropouts.” HealthDay. N.p., 19 Feb. 2013. Web.

[2]“Fact Sheets – Alcohol Use and Your Health.” CDC. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 July 2016. Web.

[3] Alcohol-Impaired Driving.” NHTSA’s, 2014. Web.

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College Football is Back and So Are Aggressive DUI Arrests

With football season in full swing at major educational institutions in Tallahassee such as Florida State University and Florida A&M, the Tallahassee Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol are seeking out intoxicated drivers, willing and ready to make driving under the influence (DUI) arrests. If you have been arrested for DUI after leaving a tailgate, a football watch party, a local bar, or an actual sporting event anywhere in Leon County, it is in your best interest to have an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney review your case.

DUI Laws in Tallahassee, Florida

Consuming alcohol before driving is not illegal in Florida, however, overindulging to the point you create a public safety hazard is. Under Florida Statute § 316.193, an alleged offender can be charged with DUI under the following conditions:

  • The individual is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state of Florida;
  • The person is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance; and
  • The individual’s normal faculties are impaired due to the consumption of a controlled substance; or
  • The person had a blood alochol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above and their normal faculties were impaired.

Types of DUI Offenses in Leon County, Florida

As with many other states, the state of Florida has multiple DUI offenses an individual under the influence can be charged with, depending on the circumstances surrounding their particular case. Some of which impose enhanced penalties, contingent on the individual’s BAC being above .15, a minor being in the vehicle, or the offense resulting in bodily injury or property damage.

Pursuant to Florida law, the different DUI-related offenses an individual can be charged with in Florida include:

  • Felony DUI;
  • DUI with Serious Bodily Injury;
  • DUI Manslaughter;
  • Aggravated DUI;
  • DUI with Property Damage;
  • Commercial Vehicle DUI;
  • Boating under the Influence (BUI); and
  • Juvenile and Under 21 DUI.

Penalties for DUI in Florida

Whether people were celebrating victories or wallowing in bitter defeats, arrests for alleged drunk driving following football games can turn weekend fun into months of incredible stress. Convictions can result in serious penalties, even if it is your first criminal offense.

To avoid costly fines, having your driving privileges suspended, and the possibility of time incarcerated, you need the assistance of an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney with experience litigating DUI offenses on behalf of clients throughout various areas of Florida, including Leon County and Jefferson County.

 

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Pumphrey Law Offers Scholarship for Florida Students

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Pumphrey Law is proud to offer a $1,500 scholarship to an accredited college or university. The scholarship is open to high school students accepted to college and current university students of all classifications. To qualify for the scholarship, the applicants must write an 800-1,000 word essay on the dangers of drunk driving and the impact it can have on a student and academic career.

Don Pumphrey, Jr., owner and partner of Pumphrey Law, started the scholarship because he believes the youth need investment. When asked about the Annual Pumphrey Law Scholarship Don said the following:

“Florida has some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the country. We, at Pumphrey Law, want to invest in current college students and college-bound students and help them achieve their dreams. “

The scholarship is open to current college and university students, as well as students who have been accepted to an accredited college or university. Applicants must be Florida residents; however, funds from the scholarship can be used to cover tuition and educational costs at any accredited university or college in the United States.

The Annual Pumphrey Law Scholarship is awarded once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester each year. Access the following link to apply for the Annual Pumphrey Law Scholarship.

For more information about the Annual Pumphrey Law Scholarship contact Taylor Kutz, Digital Marketing Specialist of Pumphrey Law, at Taylor@donpumphrey.com.

About Pumphrey Law

Pumphrey Law is a Tallahassee-based criminal defense firm. The team of attorneys at Pumphrey Law strongly defend individuals charged criminal offenses in Florida, including drunk driving (DUI), domestic violence, drug crimes, and marijuana offenses.

In addition to defending clients in Florida criminal courts, the attorneys of Pumphrey Law have years of experience representing students in university disciplinary hearings.

With attorneys on call 24/7, Pumphrey Law is always there to proudly serve the needs of individuals throughout Florida, including Leon, Bay, Jefferson, Wakulla, Gadsden, Gulf, Liberty, Calhoun, Washington, Jackson, and Franklin Counties.

Contact Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 or toll-free at (888) 384-3661 for a confidential case review.

 

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No Warrant, No Blood Draw in Florida

The Impact of the Birchfield Decision on DUI Blood Draws in Florida

A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court chips away at the so-called “DUI exception” to the Constitution. The case makes clear that law enforcement officers in Florida will not be able to take blood in a DUI related case without either a valid warrant or voluntary consent.

The Search-Incident-to-Arrest Exception Doesn’t Apply to a Blood Test

In Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), the United States Supreme Court concluded that the Fourth Amendment allows breath tests under the “search-incident-to-arrest” exception to the warrant requirement, but refused to recognize that exception in blood draw cases.

The court concluded that: “Nothing prevents the police from seeking a warrant for a blood test when there is sufficient time to do so in the particular circumstances or from relying on the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement when there is not.”

An Unconscious Person Can’t Give Free and Voluntary Consent

The Birchfield case continues to strengthen one strong message to law enforcement officers: If you want blood, then get a warrant. This message was very clear when it comes to a person rendered unconscious (usually because of a crash). Court from other jurisdictions have generally found that, under McNeely, implied consent of an unconscious suspect is insufficient to satisfy the Fourth Amendment. The Birchfield decision solidified that conclusion.

Although none of the petitioners in the Birchfield decision were unconscious, the Court espoused:

It is true that a blood test, unlike a breath test, may be administered to a person who is unconscious (perhaps as a result of a crash) or who is unable to do what is needed to take a breath test due to profound intoxication or injuries. But we have no reason to believe that such situations are common in drunk-driving arrests, and when they arise, the police may apply for a warrant if need be.

Id., slip op. at 35 (V) (C) (3).

The Supreme Court also stated, “A blood test, unlike a breath test, places in the hands of law enforcement authorities a sample that can be preserved from which it is possible to extract information beyond a simple BAC reading. Even if the law enforcement agency is precluded from testing the blood for any purpose other than to measure BAC, the potential remains and may result in anxiety for the person tested.”

In Birchfield, the Court rejected the alternative argument of implied consent, as the state statutes at issue went further than imposing civil penalties and evidentiary consequences on motorists who refused to comply and imposed criminal penalties. Id., slip op. at 36 (VI).

Because Florida’s implied consent warning also threatens criminal penalties for a second refusal, the same issues exist in Florida.

Even if the State had probable cause to arrest the Defendant for driving under the influence, the State must now show that exigent circumstances existed to take the blood from a person unable to give free and voluntary consent, which would include an unconscious person. In other words, implied consent is not the same as free and voluntary consent required for any exception to the warrant requirement. Other than consent, exigent circumstances are the only other exception that could apply to a blood draw after Birchfield.

The exigent circumstance doctrine generally provides that when probable cause has been established to believe that evidence will be removed or destroyed before a warrant can be obtained; a warrantless search and seizure can be justified.

Many of these cases, however, involve the situation imagined by the McNeely Court “in which the warrant process will not significantly increase the delay before the blood test is conducted because an officer can take steps to secure a warrant while the suspect is being transported to a medical facility by another officer.” 133 S. Ct. 1552, 1561 (2013).

In light of McNeely, if the officers take a person’s blood under Florida statute 316.1932, Florida’s implied consent scheme would be insufficient to satisfy the Fourth Amendment without a warrant, free and voluntary consent, or exigent circumstances.

Exigent Circumstances in a Blood Draw Case in Florida

The case acts as a follow up Missouri v. McNeely, 569 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013), which announced the following test when determining whether exigent circumstances apply:

“In those drunk-driving investigations where police officers can reasonably obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search, the Fourth Amendment mandates that they do so.”

The decision is made by looking at the totality of the circumstances and the prosecutor has the burden under a clear and convincing standard of proof.

Conclusion

Criminal defense attorneys across the State of Florida will continue to file and litigate motions to suppress forced blood draws taken without a warrant or consent.

If the proper motions are filed, any claim of exigent circumstances must be proven by the prosecutor by clear and convincing evidence under a totality of the circumstances. These recent Supreme Court decisions send a strong message to prosecutors and law enforcement officers in the field: If you want a blood draw then get a warrant.

If you were charged with DUI after submitting to a forced blood draw, then contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Pumphrey Law, in Tallahassee, FL. We can begin your defense today.

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Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr.

Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.

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The information provided on this site is for general information purposes only. The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your own individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Use of this website or submission of an online form, does not create an attorney-client relationship.

The hiring of a criminal defense attorney in Leon County or surrounding areas is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements, informational videos, a blog, or an internet website. Before you decide which attorney to hire for your case, ask us to send you free additional written information about our qualifications and experience. Contact us today for more information.

Principal office located at: 553 E. Tennessee St., Tallahassee, FL 32308