Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

Habitualized the Hard Way

Almost every week I hear from people who have just been informed that they have been habitualized in the worst way. Apparently, ordinary people (not defense lawyers) trust the government and just pay a fine on a traffic ticket, especially when that fine is overdue. A common complaint will go something like this: “I just paid a ticket to get my license back and now I am being told that I am a Habitual Traffic Offender and my license is gone for five (5) years.” Almost always the ticket that was paid recently is for driving on a suspended license. 

What the court clerk will not or does not say is that paying your ticket is an admission of guilt meaning that you will have a conviction and points on your driving history. The conviction date is the date the citation is paid, not when it is received. Having three (3) convictions for listed offenses within five (5) years means losing a license for five (5) years and there is no hardship license available for one (1) year.

Practically speaking what happens is that a person attempts to reinstate the license that is suspended and in doing so makes sure that all outstanding tickets are taken care of and paid. Several callers just had their license reinstated, are holding a new license and do not understand why they were not warned that the consequence of merely paying a citation would be losing the license again. Worse, I have represented people who were told the completely wrong thing by the Clerk of the Courts or law librarian. In this instance the government is not your friend but they will take your money and suspend your license.

Acting quickly can mean a chance that to reverse the points and the corresponding habitual suspension. The longer a person waits, the worse the chances become at reversing anything.  We will likely have to purchase a lifetime or complete driving history in order to assist in the matter. There is no reason to just pay a ticket without talking to a traffic lawyer first. To learn if we can help please click or call for a consultation.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Solicitation of Prostitution Fine Found Constitutional

Solicitation of prostitution is illegal in forty nine (49) states including Florida. Florida Statutes section 796.07(2)(f) declares it unlawful to “solicit, induce, entice, or procure another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation”. The legislature recently enhanced the punishments for engaging or soliciting a prostitute and instituted a mandatory civil penalty of $5,000. 

Prior to the amendment, a first violation was a second degree misdemeanor which in Florida is the lowest degree offense. Normally, a second degree misdemeanor is punishable by sixty (60) days and a fine of not more than $500. This means that the supposed civil penalty was ten times the normal maximum. This increased penalty was attacked as a fine subject to the excessive fines clause and cruel and unusual analysis.

In December 2015, one appellate court found the civil penalty constitutional after analyzing it as fine. In February 2016, another appellate court found the penalty constitutional but also considered it a fine because it is punishment. Practically this means that no trial court would go against two appeal courts. Until the Supreme Court of Florida or the United States says something different, this relatively new fine for solicitation is here to stay.

This could mean that fighting an accusation of solicitation just became all that more worth the financial investment that a trial brings. Maybe there will be more deferred prosecution or pre-trial intervention agreements in our future.

Either way if someone is accused of soliciting a prostitute, they should not fight the government alone. Please click, call or fill out the form to speak to a criminal defense lawyer.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Florida Statutes section 796.07

State v. Cotton

State v. Jones

December 2015 blog regarding fine for solicitation

August 2014 blog regarding fine for solicitation

Arrested for DUI, 10 days for what?

Arrested for DUI? Before going to court, a driver’s license will be suspended 10 days after the DUI arrest if the person refused to give a breath sample or sumbmitted to the test and blew over a .08.   As to the license to drive, there are three options (1) request a hearing to reverse the suspension called a Formal Review Hearing, (2) request hearing for an immediate hardship license or (3) do nothing.  The choice to do nothing is a choice to accept a driver license suspension.  The deadline to file an election for a hearing at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is also the same 10 day period before the suspension is imposed. The DUI citation is a driving permit for those same 10 days. 

The automatic suspension and resulting drivers license proceedings have nothing to do with and are completely separate and apart from the criminal DUI case in the court house. To illustrate the different procedures, think of courthouse and the building where a person goes to get a driver’s license. Those buildings are usually completely separate buildings.  Because the proceedings are separate, the Public Defender’s Office will generally not represent people in driver’s license hearings.  Furthermore, waiting until arraignment or to meet a Public Defender before deciding to hire a private lawyer will almost always mean that the opportunity to have a DHSMV Hearing and reverse the suspsension is lost.

Do not do nothing. If nothing is done within 10 days after being arrested for DUI, then the license of the accused is automatically suspended. Sometimes these hearings are exremely beneficial to defending a DUI.  Even if the DUI arrest is beyond 10 days old, a lawyer can help.  Please click, fill out the form or call to hire a lawyer to defend your DUI.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529