Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Crimes

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A Louisiana man and woman recently stripped of their parental rights are thought to have kidnapped their own children from the children’s maternal Grandmother early Wednesday. Joshua Michael Hakken and his wife, Sharyn Patricia Hakken are alleged to have broken into the Tampa residence of Patricia Hauser, tied her up, and kidnapped their biological children. Within the past few months the children were sent to live with Hauser after the Hakkens lost their parental rights over the children. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s investigators say Joshua Michael Hakken entered Hauser’s home at 6:30AM Wednesday, proceeded to tie up the children’s’ Grandmother and then fled in Grandma’s 2009 Toyota Camry.

The Tampa criminal attorney that gets this case might as well open up the criminal statute book and proceed to dump it out on his desk. There really doesn’t seem to be much Pops hasn’t done wrong in his kid caper. Burglary? Check. Kidnapping? Check. Grand Theft? Yes sir, we have that too! False Imprisonment shouldn’t be left out and really neither should battery. Again, lets dump this statute book out right here on the desk of Hakken’s selected Tampa criminal lawyer. So how does it all work and fit together? Grab a seat, this may take a while.
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A pantsless and shoeless Jonesboro, Arkansas woman is being charged with DUI after crashing her 2001 Pontiac Grand Am into a mobile home last week. Witnesses told authorities that Jamie Jeannette Craft, 28, then got out of her car and into a child’s Power Wheels truck and attempted to flee the scene of the crime. Despite the undoubtedly high speed chase that ensued the owner of the souped up Power Wheel truck’s father caught up to Craft and made her exit the vehicle. Craft then walked to her mother’s home where officers later found her to be irate, intoxicated, and disorderly. Upon arrest Craft was taken to jail and blew a very reasonable .217 just shy of three times the legal limit. It is unknown what the legal alcohol limit is to drive a Power Wheel while pantsless. Craft was ultimately charged with DUI and leaving the scene of the accident.

Whoa. This story has everything you could possibly want. Redneck? Check! No pants? Check, check! Ridin’ dirty in a damn Power Wheel!?!?! Yep, have that too! Despite all of her alleged wrongs, at least she looks beautiful in her mug shot… A Tampa DUI lawyer could tell you that the meat and potatoes of a DUI or DWI allegation are pretty much uniform from state to state with some unique differences. In Florida, under Florida Statute 316.193 the State could prove a DUI under Ms. Craft’s factual scenario by showing that she drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle and while driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle she had a breath alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Specifically because there was damage, should they charge her with being at fault for that damage they would have to make an additional showing that as a result of her operating her Pontiac, she caused or contributed to causing damage to the property of whoever owned the mobile home she so delicately nudged. In Florida generally an officer must see all elements of a misdemeanor in order to make an arrest. For a DUI there is an exception that a lay witness can testify as to a Defendant driving when there is a traffic crash amounting to a breaking to pieces of something on the vehicle or object hit. If your Tampa DUI attorney can show that there was no crash, he may be able to get your DUI dismissed on a pretrial motion as our Tampa DUI lawyers did for one of our clients. If one of these witnesses saw Craft behind the wheel and there was damage amounting to a crash, this case could be proven in Florida. If this case was proven in Florida, the Defendant would face enhanced DUI penalties because of the high breath test and would be liable for restitution for the damage caused.
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Brooksville, Florida man, Timothy Carr, was issued a DUI for driving through a Brooksville Walmart on a motorized shopping cart earlier this month. It is reported that Mr. Carr was quite intoxicated while cruising through the store drinking alcohol that he had plucked from the shelf while inside and also knocked several additional items from their shelves. When confronted by police, Mr. Carr told them that he had no money to pay for any of the items he was drinking and carrying in his cart. Police learned during questioning of Mr. Carr that he is homeless and has two prior arrests or convictions (the report was unclear) for theft. Based on police observations and their impression of his criminal history they have recommended that he be formally charged with disorderly intoxication, DUI and felony theft.

Unlike some other states, a person can receive a DUI in Florida so long as they are driving or in actual physical control of a “vehicle” as defined in Florida Statute 316.003(75). The motorized shopping cart driven by Mr. Carr fits the definition of vehicle as it is a “device in or upon by which a person or property may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except for devices travelling on stationary rails or tracks.” In other words, because a motorized shopping cart could be driven on a highway, Mr. Carr could be charged with a DUI. Of course conviction could be another story as field sobriety tests would likely need to be conducted and show impairment along with a chemical test or refusal of that test. If no other signs of impairment are present, a Tampa DUI lawyer could argue that Mr. Carr is simply not of sound mind or suffers from collateral medical issues, thereby preventing a shopping experience without incident. Would it work? Who knows. Tampa DUI charges, like other charges, are fact driven and unique. The short answer… It depends.
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Lindsay Lohan appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom again yesterday to answer to charges that she violated her probation stemming from a jewelry theft in 2011 in addition to the crimes alleged to have been the basis for her probation violation. Lohan currently faces charges for reckless driving, lying to police and obstructing police stemming from her claim that she was not behind the wheel of her car when it crashed into a truck in Santa Monica, California this past June. Lohan, who seemingly has been in and out of trouble since she’s been old enough to say “trouble” was at one time doubtful for attending her mandatory court date. Lohan, who recently fired her long time Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Shawn Holley had a letter submitted by her current attorney Mark Heller indicating that she was in poor health and wasn’t able to attend her hearing. It is thought that because several tabloids published pictures of her shopping over the past weekend and appearing in good health that Lohan changed her mind and elected to attend her hearing for fear of a warrant being issued for her arrest.

All States being a little bit different in their handling of criminal matters, were Lohan’s legal issues in Florida I don’t believe there would be an issue of whether or not she is going to appear in court consistently. In Florida if one is put on probation they are always subject to violating such probation by not complying with the requirements found in Florida Statute 948.03. Generally if they violate that probation through a technical violation a “no bond” warrant will be issued or if they violate by committing new crime amounting to arrest they will go to jail with a bond on their new case but no bond on the violation of probation. Since Lohan is accused of violating her 2011 probation by a new law violation, had this happened in Florida it is doubtful Lohan would have been granted a bond considering her inability to avoid getting in trouble while on probation. As a Tampa criminal attorney I can say that in our area if one had the track record of Ms. Lohan and was in a similar situation as her, I cannot think of any of our local Tampa Bay area criminal judges who would be willing to give her a bond.
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A Minnesota State Court of Appeals recently ruled that a two wheeled motorized transit machine called a “Segway” was more like a pedestrian than a “vehicle” for purposes of Minnesota’s DUI law, thereby throwing out a DUI charge against Mark Greenman, a two time contestant of the Segway DUI challenge. The Minnesota court ruled that a Segway, having a top speed of only 15 miles per hour, makes it much more like a human being and their movement than that of a car or other device considered to be a vehicle under Minnesota law. A common misconception just about anywhere you go is that one cannot get a DUI on a “device” that isn’t propelled by some type of motor, be it gas or electric. Because DUI is most often prosecuted in a State court, laws vary by state and some probably do adopt this notion. Florida may be a bit vague on this issue. Our Tampa criminal attorneys have long felt that Florida is very much a “Police State,” enacting and enforcing laws that reap a financial benefit for the State more so than those laws aim to punish. In Florida one can get a DUI on a bicycle, State v. Howard, 510 So.2d 612 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987), a lawnmower, while simply sitting in your car with keys nearby, on an ATV, or any other “device” considered a vehicle. Rest assured the definition is a broad one so as to encompass as many objects into the “vehicle” umbrella as possible. So what about a Segway? Electric Personal Assistance Mobility Devices are described in Florida Statute 316.003(83) as essentially being segways. Further, this section explicitly excludes them from being a “vehicle,” an issue very relevant for purposes of DUI in Florida. From the look of it, if the segway fits the description under this Statute, you likely are excluded from a DUI charge. Where this could get sticky is if there is a tandem wheel segway produced or ridden and the thing goes over 20 miles per hour.

In Florida in order to prove that one was driving under the influence contrary to Florida Statute 316.193, it must proven that the following two elements existed beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. Someone drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle.

2. While driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle, the individual was either;

a. under the influence of alcoholic beverages and/or a chemical substance and/or a controlled substance to the extent that his or her normal faculties were impaired.

or
b. had a blood/breath-alcohol level of .08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood/210 liters of breath.
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28 year old former Tampa Bay Rays player Elijah Dukes was arrested again Monday night on several outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court for past criminal charges. Dukes, a former major league baseball player with incredible talent but an inability to stay out of a criminal courtroom was also arrested on a driving while license suspended, cancelled, or revoked charge. Dukes is a native of Tampa and last played in the big leagues in 2009 for the Washington Nationals. This arrest is one in a long line dating from 2003 and ranging from domestic violence and obstructing a police officer to contempt of court arising from an alleged failure to pay child support.

Because Dukes is facing a new charge for driving while license suspended, cancelled, or revoked any relatively experienced Tampa criminal lawyer could safely presume that Dukes was pulled over for a routine civil traffic violation or officers ran his license plates revealing the registered owner, Dukes, had a suspended license and recognizing that the driver fit Dukes’ description. Either is a valid way for police to detain a Florida driver. Under Florida Statute 322.34(2), any person who is driving in Florida and knows that their driver’s license is cancelled, suspended, or revoked is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor on their first offense and first degree misdemeanor on their second offense. A third of subsequent conviction under 322.34(2) is a third degree felony.
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Cortnee Brantley, the girlfriend of Dontae Morris now awaits her fate as Middle District of Florida jurors deliberate in her Misprison of a Felony trial. Brantley was with Dontae Morris on June 29, 2010 during a tragic traffic stop where Tampa Police Department officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis were murdered by Dontae Morris. After Morris is said to have shot Officer Kocab and Officer Curtis, Cortnee Brantley fled the scene via car and Dontae Morris fled the scene on foot. At issue in the trial is whether Cortnee Brantley knew whether or not her boyfriend, Dontae Morris, was a convicted felon carrying a firearm. This case has gone to trial in one previous attempt, resulting in a hung jury when the empaneled jury at the time could not come to a decision after deliberating for nearly eight hours.

Ask any Tampa criminal lawyer with any Federal criminal court experience and you’ll likely be told that a misprison of a felony charge is rarely a crime charged directly. Just as a reckless driving charge is generally a reduction from driving under the influence, misprison of a felony is something we, as Tampa Federal criminal attorneys, use in an effort to convince the United States Attorney’s Office to reduce a more serious crime to. Frankly, misprision of a felony is an odd charge as it is not one typically found at the State court level. Federal in nature, misprision of a felony is an old common law charge held over from old English courts who used this charge to prosecute those for failing to report a crime. Even in England the charge was considered a misdemeanor and carried with it an exception for those who could be incriminated by divulging the subject crime. Like old England, the 5th Amendment to the Constitution prevents Brantley from being forced to report the subject shooting. Rather, the charges against Brantley are based on the United States Attorney’s allegation that she had a duty to report that Dontae Morris was a felon in possession of a firearm, contrary to Florida Statute 790.23. Per Federal Statute 18 USC 4 one who has knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
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In special remembrance of Elizabeth Macias and her 2011 Black Friday pepper spray incident, we’ll run through the dos and don’ts for the busiest shopping day of the year in the hope that you’ll stay out of a Tampa Bay area jail. As you may recall from last year, Macias was accused of unleashing a hellfire fury of pepper spray on other Black Friday shoppers in Porter Ranch, California. Initially police claimed Macias hosed down her shop mates over discounted X-Box gaming systems. After the “spray” settled Macias faced no felony charges and ultimately threatened to sue Wal Mart for inadequate security. At the end of the day the failure to file charges isn’t overly surprising if there was in fact a scrum around the X-Box’s and there was a risk of injury to her or her children. It would be tough for a prosecutor to show she wasn’t happily hosing others in self defense or defense of her kids. We hope you find the following tips helpful in avoiding Machine Gun Macias’ fate.

Don’t use pepper spray on other people. If you do in Tampa, Florida you will face at minimum, a battery charge and perhaps and aggravated battery if the spray causes permanent injury to another. All that is necessary to show a battery is that you intentionally touched or struck someone else against his or her will, OR intentionally caused bodily harm to someone else. No one I know enjoys being doused with pepper spray so chances are if you break out the water weenie full of pepper juice, you’re guilty of battery. For an excellent explanation of assault and battery check this Jacksonville criminal attorney‘s write up.

Where things could get really serious is if your pepper spray causes permanent harm to a third party. If you hit someone in the eye and said eye is permanently broken, you’re going to face second degree felony charges for a Florida aggravated battery. Aggravated battery charges generally mean prison time. I’ve never been to prison but I’ve been told the selection at commissary isn’t quite as nice as Target. Food for thought.

Don’t threaten someone whether you have pepper spray to back up your threat or not. In Florida, if you threaten someone by word or act and have the immediate ability to do so coupled with an overt act that leads them to believe you’re about to make bad dreams come true, you my friend, have committed an assault. Assault is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Possibly worse is the fact that your shopping day will be done.
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Waynesboro, Virginia Police smelled a little more than the odor of an alcoholic beverage when they pulled over and detained Efrain Moreno Alvarez earlier this week for suspicion of driving under the influence. The smell? Skunk. Not as in skunky, over the hill beer. Real skunk. Like, call in the Turtle Man to capture the rascal before he yucks up the neighborhood, skunk!

On November 11th Sgt. Brian Edwards, a member of the Waynesboro Police Department, witnessed an older Chevy Lumina strike a guardrail while travelling on Interstate 64. After a little more erratic driving Sgt. Edwards eventually detained the driver, Efrain Moreno Alavarez. This is there things went downhill in a hurry. When officers approached the vehicle Alvarez was travelling in, they were overcome by the unmistakable smell of skunk.

Somehow, some way, officers were able to smell an odor of alcohol on Alvarez. This, amongst other observed signs of impairment, led them to request field sobriety exercises which Alvarez failed leading to his arrest. Ultimately Alvarez submitted to testing which showed a blood alcohol content of .15. The legal blood alcohol limit in every state is .08.
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