Better than a Radar Detector…

For those of you who travel on the roadways in the State of Florida, especially the interstate, you must be aware that the Florida Highway Patrol still uses fixed wing aircraft for aerial speed enforcement. Everyday across the State of Florida, pilots, some with over 20 years of experience, fly their airplane in an oval race track format while clocking cars from the air. Troopers on the ground are then contacted by the aircraft pilot and will pull you over and issue you a uniform traffic citation for unlawful speed.

The Florida Highway Patrol Aerial Unit

The Florida Highway Patrol Aerial Unit

How do they do this? There are white lines in the roadway that are one quarter mile (1320ft) in distance from each other. The pilot in the air has a stopwatch, when you cross the first set of white lines the pilot will start the stopwatch and will then stop it when you cross the second set of white lines. The pilot’s stopwatch has a built in formula which determines your speed and the time it takes you to cross the white lines. The troopers on the ground will then issue you a uniform traffic citation for unlawful speed.

A screen shot of the FHP Aerial Unit locations on I-75

A screen shot of the FHP Aerial Unit locations on I-75

If you aren’t familiar with the app Waze, owned by Google, you should check it out when you travel along the interstate. As you see, other Waze users will usually notify you way in advance that the highway patrol has a saturation / aircraft detail going on, giving you more than enough time to get your speed down to the appropriate limit.

If you should receive a citation from the Florida Highway Patrol give us a call to go over the particular facts of your case at 1-800-Fight-It. In the meantime download the Waze app now!lawplacelogo-red-sm

4 Tips for Partying Safely this July 4th Weekend

Fourth of July, especially when it falls on a weekend, is one of the summer holidays that is tips for partying safely july 4th weekend 2014synonymous with barbecuing with friends and family and having a couple of cold beers while watching the fireworks.

However, Forth of July weekend can also be one of the most dangerous on Florida roads when it comes to drinking and driving accidents and deaths, leading police to crack down on all drivers.   Dozens of people die in traffic accidents during a Fourth of July weekend while hundreds more get arrested for driving under the influence and thousands get tickets for other driving infractions such as speeding.  Here are some ways that you can keep yourself safe on the road this holiday weekend.

1.  Plan Ahead – Make sure that you designated a responsible person to stay sober when you are out partying and have them drive home.  Always have a contingency plan in case your designated driver does not work out.  Have the numbers for a few taxi companies handy.  Many groups, such as the AAA for example, will offer free rides home to those who cannot drive because they have been drinking.  Research these options before you go out.

2.  Wear Your Seat belt – Wearing your seat belt is the law in Florida and can save your life if you are involved in an accident with someone.  Additionally, law enforcement usually steps up enforcement of seat belt laws during holiday weekends. And if you have had a few drinks and decide to drive…not wearing your seat belt gives police a reason to pull you over leaving you more susceptible to a DUI charge.

3.  Follow Traffic Laws – Don’t speed, run stop signs and red lights, or otherwise drive recklessly.  This is good advice for every time you are driving, but especially during holidays like the 4th of July when there are a lot more police officers patrolling the roads. You are way more likely to be pulled over and ticketed leaving you with a hefty fine and points on your drivers license. And those points on your license could lead to a license suspension and higher insurance premiums.

4.  Drive for the Conditions Around You – if it is raining or difficult to see, slow down.  It may take longer to get to your destination, but will keep you safer in the long run. Getting to your 4th of July party quicker isn’t worth getting into a car accident and potentially being seriously injured or injuring someone else.

If, by some chance, you are involved in an accident over this holiday weekend, are arrested for driving under the influence, or pulled over and issued a citation for a traffic violation, our attorneys are here for you.  With our experienced lawyers on your side, we will do everything in our power to try and get you the best possible result for your case no matter how big(DUI) or small(traffic ticket).

Prosecutors Will Not Move Forward With DUI Case against Sherriff’s Deputy

On January 12, 2014, Hernando County Sherriff’s Deputy Joseph Tibor was arrested under suspicion of DUI after being caught by law enforcement speeding.  According to the report of the arresting officer, Tibor had alcohol on his breath and bloodshot eyes after being pulled over for speeding, leading the officer to suspect Tibor was drunk.  Tibor also allegedly had difficulty handing the officer his driver’s license and had admitted to drinking 5 drinks.  According to the police report, Tibor then failed his field sobriety tests and was arrested. At the police station, Tibor refused to take a breathalyzer.

This week, prosecutors announced that they were not moving forward with Tibor’s DUI case because of apparent conflicting testimony and lack of evidence relating to his arrest.  Many eyewitnesses, both at the scene and at the jail where Tibor was taken claimed that Tibor did not have the smell of alcohol on his breath and did not show signs of being drunk.  Additionally, one eyewitness claims that Tibor never had a problem handing his license to the officer and did not say that he had been drinking that night.  Additionally, the arresting officer and another officer at the scene did not have dash cams and did not record the field sobriety tests and the recording which was supposed to be done of Tibor refusing to take the breathalyzer failed because of failure by law enforcement.  Many of the witnesses for Tibor were law enforcement officers.

Because of the number of apparent errors in the case, the prosecutor will not be going forward with the case, believing that it is too flawed for them to a successful outcome at trial.  Prosecutors claim that the fact that most of the eyewitness accounts which disputed the arresting officer’s claim had no effect on the outcome.  Despite the DUI charges being dropped, the other charge Tibor is facing, refusing the breathalyzer, is still active and Tibor is still on leave from his job while the outcome of that case is determined.

What Tibor’s case shows is that the outcome of a DUI arrest is not always a guilty verdict or a plea bargain, especially if the underlying case is flawed and evidence is missing.  Prosecutors have to prove any criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt, including DUI cases.  This means that when the evidence is flawed as it is here, it will make the case too weak to be successful.  Specifically the problems with Tibor’s case was the disputing evidence when it came to eyewitnesses in the case added to the fact that police could not back up their claims that Tibor was drunk with any video evidence of the field sobriety tests or of the refused breathalyzer.

Even though the DUI case against Tibor will not be moving forward, there is still a chance of the charge of him refusing a breathalyzer moving forward.  Prosecutors do not have to prove that a suspect was drunk at the time a breathalyzer was refused.  Under state law, someone must take one when requested by officers or risk penalties such as license suspension.  However, there are flaws in this case which may prove fatal as well, mainly the absence of any video recording of Tibor refusing to take the test, despite the fact that the normal procedure for this jail was to record breathalyzer tests.  Without this evidence, there is a chance that this charge could be dismissed as well.