Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

DUI, the 20 minute observation & DHSMV Hearings

After an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), if the driver is alleged to have refused to provide a breath sample or provided a sample resulting over .08, then the arrestee’s driver license is supposed to be automatically suspended. This suspension takes place after ten (10) days. A driver must apply to challenge the suspension at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) or DMV within those same ten (10) days. DHSMV blog.

Prior to collecting a breath sample for analysis, the machine operator is supposed to observe the arrested driver for twenty (20) minutes. This is designed to ensure an accurate sample by eliminating foreign objects, substances and things like regurgitation that can all affect the analysis of the sample. The required twenty (20) minute observation period is only one item that is subject to attack in the administrative license hearing.

At a hearing, the State must show competent substantial evidence to prove law enforcement conducted this observation period. Competent substantial evidence is evidence that will establish or cause the reasonable inference of a fact, such as whether the waiting or observation period occurred. Like many other aspects of criminal and traffic defense, the supporting documents can be vital to any challenge of the sample. There could be arguments based upon the lack of documents or based on the conflicts in the documents. The burden of proof at a driver license hearing is by a preponderance of the evidence, much lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt standard at the DUI trial.

Having a lawyer for these hearings is recommended because in any appeal of the Department’s decision, the Circuit Court will not reweigh evidence, nor to substitute its judgment for the findings of the hearing officer. Any review of the record determines whether the hearing officer’s findings were supported by competent, substantial evidence and whether the essential requirements of the law were applied.

DUI Defense is a technical area of practice; there are many avenues that are subject to attack. Every word used to communicate with the suspect can make a difference to what evidence is allowed to be presented to the jury. To hire a lawyer to assist in a DUI case of any kinds,please click, call, text (352) 371-9141 or fill out the form.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Alimony / Spousal Support in a Florida Divorce

In some divorce cases, alimony can be awarded to a former spouse that is in need of spousal support if the paying spouse has the ability to pay. Alimony is considered after equitable distribution. The court may grant alimony to either spouse. The requesting spouse must demonstrate a need for alimony and the ability of the other spouse to pay alimony.

The need and ability to pay are developed through the discovery process. Each party to a divorce has an ongoing discovery obligation and the right to obtain information about the opposing spouse’s income, assets, debts and relative financial circumstance.

Florida divorce law provides for rebuttable presumptions concerning the length of the marriage for purposes of determining alimony. A short-term marriage is a marriage of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage lasting greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

The divorce court will analyze the relevant factors to determine the proper type, duration and amount of alimony. There are four (4) types of alimony.

“Bridge-the-gap” alimony is to assist the receiving spouse transition from being married to being single and addresses short-term needs. There are limits as to the length and conditions of a bridge-the-gap alimony award.

“Rehabilitative” alimony is awarded to assist a spouse in establishing self-support through education, training or work experience to develop employment skills or credentials. Rehabilitative alimony requires a specific rehabilitative plan that places expectations upon the alimony recipient.

“Durational” alimony is when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate and lasts for a determined period of time following a short or moderate term marriage or a long term marriage when there is no ongoing need for permanent support. There are limitations as to the period of time and modifications of an award of durational alimony.

“Permanent” alimony provides for the needs and to some extent the lifestyle established during the marriage. The recipient should lack the financial ability to meet the necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. There are limits as to when a court awards permanent periodic alimony.

There is no formula and every case is unique unto itself. Everyone has rights and should know them and use them. To hire a divorce and alimony attorney, please click, call, text (352) 371-9141 or fill out the form. We will ensure there are no conflicts and charge a consultation fee prior to meeting with a lawyer.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529

Leaving The Scene Of Crash Involving Death – Actual Knowledge Required

The criminal traffic charge of Leaving the Scene of an Accident (LSA) or Hit and Run from a crash involving a death is a serious felony.

An appellate court considering a case of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, addressed the issue of whether the jury instructions should require that the driver had to have actual knowledge of the crash or should read that the accused knew or should have known about the crash. There is a big difference between the two.

Even though the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that actual knowledge of a crash is a required element, the driver in that case, did not dispute the fact that a crash had occurred. Instead, she claimed to have believed at the time that she had hit a traffic cone or barrel. Disputing what was struck means that she admitted having actual knowledge of the crash and then appealed claiming actual knowledge was an issue. This is another example that the only thing media has correct is that anything said or done will be used against the accused. She admitted the crash; the actual knowledge requirement was upheld but that didn’t help the Appellant who admitted knowledge of the crash.

The minimum penalty for hit and run or LSA with a death is four (4) years in prison and a three (3) year revocation of the driving privilege. The revocation period of the driver’s license does not start until the defendant is released from prison. (Read more about Hit and Run – Leaving the Scene of an Accident). These are serious cases. Normally, a person accused will also have to consider hiring an expert to reconstruct the accident. It is imperative that you hire a lawyer and expert with experience litigating or taking these accident cases to trial.

If you or a loved one is accused of leaving the scene, click, call, text (352) 371-9141 or fill out the form to hire a criminal traffic attorney.

Gainesville (352) 371-9141

Ocala (352) 694-4529