D. Scott Rieth Criminal Defense Attorney
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Sarasota County Criminal Law Blog

Understanding a license suspension due to points on license

Floridians can lose their driving privileges for many reasons that go beyond an arrest and conviction for driving under the influence. The state uses a points system to penalize drivers who commit various violations. If there are enough points on the driver's license, there will be a license suspension. This can cause hardship to the person in many ways as they will not be able to legally drive. Fortunately, there are avenues of defense against allegations that lead to points on a driver's license. Understanding how and why points are given is key.

Convictions on driving infractions will assign various points to the driver's license. When a ticket is given, the person can pay it, go to driver improvement school to avoid points or take the matter to court to contest it. The points vary depending on what the driver is accused of doing. If he or she was cited for reckless driving, it will be four points. If there was a crash with greater than $50 in damage and the driver left the scene, it is six points. Careless driving is three points. Speeding is three points. Running a red light will accrue four points. There are many others.

Man charged after fleeing accident where teen was critically hurt

In Sarasota and the surrounding areas of Florida, there might be a misplaced belief that the only traffic incidents that can lead to an arrest involve driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, there are other traffic violations that can result in charges, even felonies. If a driver is in an accident and flees the scene, there can be an arrest and long-term problems including jail, fines and the loss of driving privileges. While many might not believe that traffic offenses are serious, having legal advice is imperative to avoiding long-term consequences.

A 24-year-old man was arrested and is charged with a felony after fleeing the scene of a crash that severely injured a 19-year-old driver of another vehicle. The accident occurred when the 19-year-old was driving an Audi and the 24-year-old was in a Kia Sedona. The Kia was making a left to enter a gas station and turned directly in front of the Audi. It hit the rear of the Audi and caused it to flip multiple times and end up in a hotel parking lot. It then hit a wall and two parked vehicles before stopping.

Are you eligible to enter the Sarasota DUI Court program?

If you appear in court on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, the judge might consider you as a candidate for the Sarasota DUI Court program.

This program is unique, one of only four in the state of Florida. The goal is to help drivers who are drug or alcohol dependent and lower the incidents of recidivism. Studies show that the program works. Are you eligible to participate?

Arrest for driving during a license suspension needs legal help

Bradenton residents can have their driver's license suspended for a variety of transgressions. That can be a drunk driving conviction, speeding, reckless driving and more. For some, they make the decision to drive even after their license has been suspended. When they are caught by law enforcement, they will be arrested and face a slew of other charges. This can have a negative impact on their lives for an extended period with penalties including jail, being charged with a felony and the license being suspended for a far longer time-period than it previously was. Having legal help is imperative when dealing with these charges.

When a person is driving during a license suspension, the license can then be suspended for five years. Those who are caught driving while their license is suspended three times over five years will also have the label "habitual traffic offender" attached to them. It is then that there can be the felony charges, imprisonment and more. Regardless of why there was the initial driver license suspension, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will inform the driver through the mail of the suspension.

Juvenile faces assault charges after attacking police officer

Allegations of assault in Sarasota and throughout Florida can have long-term consequences and substantial penalties for anyone, but these can be more serious if it is a juvenile who is dealing with these charges. Since young people often make the mistake of acting before they think about the ramifications, it is not unusual for there to be major legal issues that can negatively impact their lives for an extended period if not forever. When a juvenile is arrested on assault charges or other violent crimes, it is wise to have the advice and counsel of a qualified legal professional who has a history of helping those accused of criminal acts.

An off-duty law enforcement officer was assaulted by a 16-year-old boy and others when the officer tried to intervene as the teen and his friends were harassing a homeless man. The incident occurred at around noon. The officer was jogging when he saw what was happening and told the teens to stop. The group attacked the officer and hit him. He had minor injuries to his head. A witness identified the teen and he was arrested. He faces charges of battery on a law enforcement officer. The other teens are being sought.

Man arrested in Florida for DUI danced during field sobriety test

When Florida law enforcement sees a vehicle in which the driver is exhibiting signs of intoxication, they will investigate. This is true even if the vehicle is not in motion. Part of that investigation will frequently result in the driver being asked to take part in a field sobriety test and breath or blood tests to determine their blood alcohol content level. These tests are often unique depending on the situation. For people who are arrested after a DUI investigation and tests, it is important to remember that simply being arrested does not mean they will automatically be convicted. Having legal advice is key to crafting an effective defense.

A 33-year-old man was arrested when law enforcement found him sitting in his running vehicle, apparently asleep. The man's truck was at a gate by a business at approximately 1:23 a.m. Officers attempted to wake the man up and it took some time to do so. His foot was on the vehicle's brake. It was necessary for the officers to put the vehicle in park and turn it off so it would not roll. Eventually, the man got out of the truck. He was unsure of where he was, thinking he was in a different part of the state. He was given a field sobriety test where he was asked to walk in a line heel-to-toe. As he did so, he began doing what appeared to be dance moves. When he was given a breath test, it registered 0.28. That is more than triple the legal limit in the state. He was arrested.

When might an underage person face a license suspension?

For Florida teens getting their driver's license, it can be an exciting time. However, allegations of illegal behavior could result in a license suspension or a license revocation. Perhaps the underage person made a mistake with alcohol or drugs. Or there could have been a situation where they were in the wrong place at the wrong time with people who were violating the law with these substances. Facing penalties and losing driving privileges can be difficult. Understanding the law and formulating a defense is important when faced with these issues.

If the person under 18 gives alcohol to another person who is under the legal drinking age of 21, possesses alcohol, or commits a drug violation and that person is legally able to get a driver's license, the license can be revoked or the person can be prevented from getting a license for a minimum of six months and up to one year if it is a first offense and two years if it is a subsequent offense. The penalties are the same if the driver's license is already suspended or revoked or if the driver is ineligible to get a driver's license.

No, you probably cannot avoid a DUI checkpoint

Like most motorists on Florida roadways, you generally make it to your destination without seeing flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Even if you have to stop for police officers, you usually deal with the inconvenience and move along. If you have had too much to drink, though, a DUI checkpoint could put your future in jeopardy

Florida lawmakers take drunk driving seriously. For a first-time offense, you may receive up to six months in jail. You could also receive a hefty fine. While never driving after your blood alcohol content is above the legal limit is a winning strategy for avoiding a DUI, behaving correctly at sobriety checkpoints may keep you out of trouble altogether. Here are a couple suggestions: 

Woman faces drug charges after setting off alarm in home

Drug charges in Florida are often perceived as being lodged against those who are selling, manufacturing, trafficking and distributing them. However, that is not always the case. Often, these arrests are not due to an ongoing criminal enterprise, suspicious activity or complaints, but as a matter of circumstance. Law enforcement must make arrests in these cases just like any other, but there are many avenues for defense against a low-level charge of drug possession if the person was simply a marijuana user who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A 53-year-old woman was arrested on marijuana charges after law enforcement came to her home to investigate an alarm that had been tripped. The incident occurred at around 1 a.m. when the woman had gone into her garage and set off the alarm. When law enforcement arrived, the woman told them that it was a mistake and she had set off her own alarm. However, one of the officers smelled marijuana emanating from her residence. He asked her if she was smoking it and she responded that she had been. She asked the officer if he wanted the substance. He went to her kitchen and she gave him a plastic bag with the drug. She was using a soda can to smoke it. She was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sports car crash leads to DUI charges and breath test refusal

When Florida drivers are confronted with a traffic stop and an investigation related to driving under the influence, they will often not know what to do. If there is a request from law enforcement that they take a breath test and field sobriety tests, mistakes are frequently made regarding their rights to refuse. This, combined with the allegations that they were driving under the influence, can result in an arrest with the possibility of severe consequences including jail time, fines and a loss of driving privileges. These issues can impact anyone, even those who are driving expensive sports cars. Legal help is imperative to deal with these charges.

A crash involving a 2016 Lamborghini led to a woman's arrest for multiple charges including drunk driving. In the accident, the 30-year-old driver was with the owner of the vehicle, a businessman. She was trying to turn and allegedly doing so at excessive speed. The vehicle swerved off and then on the road. It almost rear-ended a vehicle, spun and hit two signs. A law enforcement officer in the area saw the incident as it happened.


D. Scott Rieth
9040 Town Center Parkway, Suite 103A
Bradenton, FL 34202

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