Florida’s standard ground law still confusing in light of Markieis Mcglocklon case

William R. Moore on Deadly Force and use of firearm to defend one' self

The recent Markeis Mcglocklon arrest is the latest long-line of controversial cases involving deadly force which is claimed to have been used in self-defense.

Criminal law used to require a person to retreat from a threat

The use of deadly force to defend oneself has always existed, however, under common law, the defender first had an obligation to retreat prior to asserting any type of legal justification. Florida’s standard ground law eliminated this duty to retreat which raised concerns as to vigilante justice throughout the state of Florida.

Two scenarios under Florida’s “stand your ground” law

Justification for the use of deadly force is presumed where such force take place in a person’s home or automobile. This fueled the fire in that many

An individual may use deadly force in any other place that they have a legal right to be where that person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to either himself or others, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

Threat of death or great bodily harm

I think we’re seeing here is either a misunderstanding or a loose definition of the “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” claims William R. Moore

Florida courts have defined this as a justifiable belief that:

The assailant was attempting to murder them,

commit and aggravated assault upon them,

burglarize them,

a forcible felony,

sexual battery

etc.

False sense of security among Florida gun owners?

Florida has some of the most liberal concealed carry laws in the nation and it is been argued that the stand your ground law has created a somewhat false sense of security with regard to when you can draw a firearm.

You perceive a threat, doesn’t matter if your public, the law says that you’re justified in meeting force with force. If you justifiably fear great bodily harm then you can take a step further and use deadly force such as killing the assailant with firearm.

What about situations where you can’t justify a fear of great bodily harm or death?

What then of situations where someone is in fear of being pushed rather than being severely beaten or killed? How is the use of a firearm viewed under Florida law in that circumstance

There are many ways that you can use a firearm. Understanding that you should never pull a firearm unless you’re prepared to use it, you can still tell an assailant that you have a gun and that you’ll use it if necessary. You can show them that you have a gun and can actually pull that firearm. You can even take another step in point that gun at your assailant. All of these things can be done without firing a shot.

It’s interesting though that Florida’s standard ground of law doesn’t mention firearms in the statute rather only the term deadly force. This of course includes firearms, however:

What if someone fears that they are in danger of being battered but not justifiably to the extent that they are in danger of serious bodily harm, such as being pushed to the ground?

Can you draw a gun?

Florida courts have held that simply drawing the gun is not in itself considered the use of deadly force. Pointing a gun at someone does not in itself constitute the use of deadly force. Marty v. State in 2016, Rivero v. State,

This would seem to suggest that an individual can draw a firearm when they have a justifiable fear that any unlawful force is to be used against them no matter how slight. This would also allow for the drawing of a firearm to prevent a trespass on twins property.

Drawing a gun and firing it in the air as a warning shot does constitute the use of deadly force under Miller v. State. Florida’s standard ground law was amended however to allow the firing warning shot.

 

Uber Crime and Insurance

William R. Moore Explains Uber Coverage

 

Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have been credited with reducing traffic/criminal offenses such as DUI throughout the nation despite data which suggests that it’s the fact varies greatly depending on the state and jurisdiction.

Various crimes involving rideshare companies reported on regularly

Allegations of crimes and nefarious deeds seem to be all the rage when it comes to reporting on news involving companies such as Uber. Everything from Russian spying to a Driver’s urinating into a bottle when his passenger wasn’t looking have made headlines. More serious cases involving road rage and murder have also been popping up with some regularity.

Recently, criminal offense attorney William R. Moore sat down with personal injury attorney Chris O’toole to discuss steps taken by at least one rideshare company to protect its client passengers.

Uber provides insurance to it’s riders based on 3 scenarios

As of now, Uber provides insurance coverage to its patrons. The policy amounts which range from $50,000 to over $1 million depending on one of three scenarios:

Where a driver was on the clock but did not have a passenger in its car, such as in driving to pick passenger up; where a driver has a passenger in his or her car and gets into an accident (and/or) where an Uber driver comments on intentional or grossly negligent act resulting in harm to a passenger.

It is unclear at this time as to whether Uber provides coverage to its drivers for intentional acts committed against them.

Avoiding a prison sentence through restitution

William R. Moore Criminal Sentencing

Criminal offenses such as DUI Manslaughter almost always include a civil lawsuit seeking damages from the offenders insurance company. In many instances however, the maximum policy limits do not fully compensate the victim’s family. Sometimes the offender didn’t carry automobile insurance at all.

Establishing that restitution to the victim outweighs the need for a prison sentence

Under Florida Statute § 921.0026, the judge can consider during a motion for a downward departure that the need for payment of restitution to the victim outweighs the need for a prison sentence.

A defendant serving a mandatory prison sentence obviously will not be able to make restitution payments to the victim’s family. Where this is an issue, the victims loved ones may be willing to testify that a defendant would better serve them on probation where they can work and make amortized payments over the length of their probationary sentence.

Negotiate with the attorney representing the family

Discussing options with the civil attorney representing the victim’s family may provide an avenue for a criminal defense attorney to file a motion for downward departure and either avoid or reduce the time of incarceration sentence. At the very least effort should be made to communicate with counsel for the victims loved ones to determine if this may be a viable option.

For more information about this article contact attorney William Moore at 954-523-5333

Things that you don’t know about Restraining Orders

Injunctions in Broward County

We see a lot of cases where a business owner is being maliciously defamed online by someone who has a personal vendetta against them. The loss of revenues due to false reports about someone’s business certainly causes great emotional distress and entitles them in most cases to get an injunction preventing a respondent from continuing such an attack.

The court may order an offender to remove all derogatory social media posts

Most people don’t realize that in addition to preventing a perpetrator from continuing malicious information about an individual or the business, they may actually be directed to remove all prior posts. Restraining order judges in Broward County Florida have held in certain cases that an offender not only refrain from further malicious activity but also that they remove all prior posts directed against a petitioner. The argument is that prior posts through electronic means, such as social media, are effectively rebroadcasted and are in essence a violation of a court order restraining order. Judges have found that the respondent who fails to remove prior post within a reasonable period of time may be subject to criminal prosecution and incarceration.

A restraining order judge may require a respondent to provide funds to his or her spouse and minor children

Many restraining order cases involve situations where a spouse cut off all finances to their significant other and minor children. Even where an action has not been filed in Family Court such as divorce, restraining order judges have ordered that an income producing spouse provide finances to the family lest they be in violation and subject to criminal prosecution.

More information about restraining orders can be obtained by contacting attorney William Moore at 954-523-5323.

.05 Legal Limit & Uber Rideshare Impact on DUI

Fort Lauderdale DUI changes due to Uber?

NHTSA seeks lower DUI limit as part of it’s Zero Alcohol Impaired Driving Fatalities campaign

The National Highway traffic Safety Association is pushing to reduce the legal limit from .08 to .05 nationally over the next 10 years. The “Vision Zero” campaign seems to rival even MADD’s assault aimed at toughening drunk driving laws over the past few decades. Ironically Mother’s Against Drunk Driving has publicly refused to assist NHTSA in this regard. Currently only one state has passed the .05 BAC law, although it will not actually be implemented until December 2018. Other states have indicated a willingness to follow suit. Florida has not shown an interest in lowering its legal limit.

“We’re actually seeing some leniency over the past few years in South Florida when it comes to “Driving Under the Influence.” This leniency, born out of necessity, is the direct result of MADD’s success in directing any conceivable resource in our criminal justice system toward Impaired Driving, which happens to be an incredibly expensive offense to police. Even the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles has lightened their administrative rules over the past decade as they pertain to obtaining a hardship permit following an arrest. Requests for administrative review hearings had bogged down department’s ability to function throughout the state. Eventually the department just said “fine, you can drive for business purposes following an arrest without having to go through any “hard time” (time without any form of driving). It was a major change that favors the offender here in Florida.

South Florida Drunk Driving policing and prosecution is questionably inconsistent

An examination of the Tri-County area with respect to arresting and prosecuting impaired drivers raises some significant questions. At the same time that Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County were implementing diversion programs to deal with the sheer number of arrests, Broward County all but did away with the DUI task force and has seen less DUI arrests than ever. Broward County is the only of the tri-Counties to have no diversion program and despite its unexplainable decrease in apparent impaired driving offenders, its neighboring counties still continue to allow first offenders an opportunity to participate in a program another case dismissed. Diversion programs are frowned upon by groups such as MADD in that offenders know that they get one free bite at the apple and are not deterred from having a few drinks and getting behind the wheel.

It is estimated that .05 Legal Limit will be implemented Nationally within the next 10 years in that the federal government will likely deny road and highway funding to states that refuse to lower their blood alcohol content statutes. It is also claimed that a uniform national .05 limit will save 1,800 lives annually although just how these numbers were calculated is somewhat suspect considering all of the factors that could influence changes one way or another.

“Logic would dictate that the increasing popularity of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft would naturally result in a decreased number of DUI related accidents. What we are seeing however is a radical inconsistency among major US cities with reference to Ridesharing and the number of impaired driving incidents.

Could it be that NHTSA’s Aggressive Zero DUI Fatalities campaign is designed to siphon credit from growing Rideshare popularity?

Makes you wonder.

Leaving the scene of an accident: Can I leave a note?

Leaving the scene of an accident

If you hit a parked car and are unable to find the owner, most people understand the law to require that the driver at fault leave a note with his or her contact information. Under Florida law, however, this isn’t quite enough as Florida statutes require that the accident be reported to the local police department.

Attorney William R. Moore also cautions that it is always a good idea to report a fender bender to the local police even where the other party does not wish to do so. We have seen many cases where the so-called victim agreed that the damage was nonexistent or so minor that an accident need not be reported only to find that they later contacted their insurance carrier and reported a hit-and-run.

Remember, if you are involved in an accident that does not involve injury, you must stop your vehicle at the nearest safe location. Information such as your name, address and registration number must be provided. Always contact law enforcement as well.

Should I submit to roadside sobriety exercises?

If you are pulled over and suspected for DUI in Broward County Florida, the investigating officer will undoubtedly ask used to submit to roadside sobriety exercises. Many people unknowingly attempt to perform the one leg stand, finger to nose and heel-to-toe exercises despite there being no legal requirement to do so. These sobriety exercises are always recorded either at the scene via in car cam or at the breath alcohol testing facility in Broward County.

DUI roadside exercises can be powerful evidence.

According to DUI attorney William R. Moore, videotaped field sobriety exercises are often the most powerful piece of evidence that can be used by prosecutors to convict a DUI defendant. If performed correctly however, the value of this evidence shifts completely to the defense and is often used to acquit. It all comes down to how well the individual performs and to what extent it contradicts the written observations in the corresponding police report prepared by the investigating police officer.

DUI roadside sobriety exercises are completely voluntary.

Most people are not aware that roadside sobriety exercises are completely voluntary and that they do not have to submit. Police officers are clever when investigating a suspect in the manner in which they “ask” an individual if they wish to perform. Specifically, the language used is often something to the effect that the suspected driver may be able to dispel the officer’s belief that he or she is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

The truth, however, in 99% of all cases is that the officer, already having probable cause to believe that a DUI is been committed, is going to make an arrest and their reason for requesting roadside sobriety exercises is to enhance the likelihood of obtaining a conviction down the line.

Roadside sobriety exercises are extremely difficult to perform even by those who are completely lucid.

Roadsides are divided attention tests that have no resemblance to any physical activity performed naturally in a person’s life. They are not only unfamiliar by vast majority of people they are also difficult. Police officers make them look easy when demonstrating as they have practiced them thousands of times in anticipation of submitting them to suspects. This is not to say that they cannot be performed successfully. Attorney William Moore has seen thousands of videos whereby defendants, previously arrested for DUI, performed excellently. These cases almost always result in an acquittal regardless of accompanying intoxilyzer evidence to the contrary.

Should you submit to roadsides?

This answer depends solely on a suspects coordination, level of impairment, if any and their ability to follow instructions and ask questions if needed. If you don’t believe that you will successfully be able to perform the tests (exercises under the law) it is often best to decline, obviously. If you are of the opinion however, that you will be able to avoid an arrest by dispelling the officers belief after submitting to roadsides, remember that 99% of the time, the officer has already made the decision to arrest you and will do so regardless of your performance.

To blow or not to blow, that is the question in Florida DUI investigations

Florida chemical testing in DUI investigations

Criminal defense attorney William R. Moore discusses how changes to Florida law regarding DUI investigations and license suspensions may affect a drivers decision to submit to chemical testing when being investigated for driving under the influence.

A driver’s decision whether or not to submit to the Intoxilyzer when under investigation for DUI in Florida may be different now than it was a few years ago.

Avoid giving prosecutors evidence needed to convict you

Evidence of impairment by alcohol obtained by a certified breast testing instruments such as the Intoxilyzer 8000 is powerful evidence that can be used by prosecutors to convict the defendant. Provided that you have never refused in the past, it may be advisable not to produce a chemical sample in light of the fact that as of 2013, persons arrested for DUI may receive an automatic hardship license by waving their formal review hearing. There is no longer a 90 day “no license” for those who refuse.

Do not refuse a second time

It is never advisable to refuse a second time if suspected of misdemeanor DUI as this is an independent and more severe criminal offense in Florida.

Changes to Florida DUI Hardship License Requirements

Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer | William R. Moore

Obtaining a hardship license in Florida following an arrest for DUI used to require either 30 or 90 days of what was termed “hard time.”  this term did not refer to incarceration rather to the amount of time that the Florida driver was prohibited from having any form of license whatsoever.

Under the previous administrative laws, every DUI, the offender would be forced to endure either one month or three months of absolutely no driving at all. The penalties for driving on a DUI suspension in Broward County, Florida are severe as a matter of procedure. Judges issue at least 15 to 30 days in the Broward County Jail as a sentence  for anyone found guilty of committing such an offense.

Obtaining a DUI Hardship License

DUI offenders may now easily obtain a hardship license by waving their right to a formal review hearing.  According to Broward County criminal defense attorney William R. Moore, waving your right to this formal hearing is much more advisable than it was in years past.  the days of overturning a licensor suspension due to an officers non-appearance are over. Currently the Department of Motor Vehicles gives the arresting officer for an unlimited amount of chances to come in and perfect a DUI suspension.

 

DUI arrests continue to decline in Broward County Florida

Contact DUI Lawyer William R. Moore in Broward County Florida

DUI arrests are fewer than ever claims Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Attorney Bill Direnzo. This isn’t due to fewer impaired drivers but rather the reduction of enforcement officers by BSO.

See the recent episode of “State of Arrest” where Broward County DUI task force is discussed.

DUI Task for dwindles to fewer than 4 officers

The number of DUI Task force enforcement police officers in the jurisdiction of Broward County has been reduced to 4 officers, possibly even fewer according to Criminal Defense Layer William Moore. This is a fraction of how many special DUI trained investigators are employed by other jurisdictions of similar size and population. The few police investigators assigned to Broward’s DUI task force appear to be new officers as most of the veteran 20 to 30 year special driving unit detectives have retired.

DUI investigations take longer than the investigation of other offenses

The time that it takes to investigate, arrest and book a suspect who has been accused of driving under the influence far exceeds the length of time generally needed to investigate Domestic Violence, Possession of Drugs, Shoplifiting or even violent crimes claimed Attorney Moore.

DUI only a misdemeanor

Despite being a mere misdemeanor, Driving Under the Influence investigations require highly trained officers less they risk being thrown out of court. Skilled DUI lawyers have a arsenal of legal challenges that can cause a DUI to get tossed out of court due to the slightest deviation from the law that governs the manner in which evidence is to be collected in such criminal offenses.

Questions about this article or the State of Arrest show should be directed to:

The William R. Moore Criminal Defense Law Firm, 1 Financial Plaza, Fort Lauderdale Fl 33394, or by calling 954-523-5333.