Leskovich Law Group, P.A. - Criminal Defense

Punta Gorda Legal Blog

Field sobriety tests: Are you legally obligated to take one?

If you're driving home and a Florida police officer pulls you over, you must stop. When the officer approaches your driver's side window, you should roll it down so he or she can speak to you. If the officer asks to see your driver's license and vehicle registration information, you must comply. If you don't have one or the other, you can bet that your situation is about to get a lot more complicated.

In certain circumstances, a traffic patrol officer might ask you to step out of your vehicle. This type of request usually means that he or she suspects you of a crime, like drunk driving. You can be sure that is the case if the next question is a request for you to take a field sobriety test. It's critical that you know your rights and how to protect them.

Spousal support during and after divorce

When people in Florida decide to divorce, there can be significant financial consequences. This is especially true when there are major financial disparities between the parties or when the marriage has persisted for a long period of time before the decision to separate. In some of these cases, spousal support may be an appropriate mechanism to allow the lower-earning spouse to adjust their lives after the divorce and avoid sudden poverty. However, spousal support is only one part of the total process; in many cases, it cannot be calculated until overall property division is dealt with.

State law formulas guide decisions about spousal support, even when the final agreement comes into play through a negotiated settlement between the parties. The factors that are used to calculate alimony or determine whether it is necessary at all include the need of the recipient spouse, the wealth and ability to pay of the paying spouse, the length of the marriage, the couple's lifestyle and both partners' age and health. For example, in a marriage that ends after 30 years with one partner a lifelong homemaker, that spouse is far more likely to receive alimony than one ending a five-year marriage in which one spouse is lower on the career ladder than the other.

How to think about child support in a divorce

When Florida parents get a divorce, arranging for child support may be necessary. It's important to remember that these payments are not taxable or tax-deductible. However, the parent who the child lives with more than half the time is usually permitted to claim a dependent on their taxes. This could result in some significant savings. Parents who share custody might agree to take turns with this claim.

Every state has a formula for calculating child support; although, most take similar factors into account. These include income and costs related to raising the child, such as education and health care, along with how much time the child spends with each parent.

How serious is a DUI?

From the time you were in high school and thinking about getting your driver's license, you probably heard warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving. Perhaps those warnings desensitized you to the problem. Maybe your friends convinced you that driving after drinking is no big deal and that a DUI is nothing to worry about.

If you think of a DUI as something similar to a speeding ticket, you are mistaken. An arrest for drunk driving is the beginning of a long and serious legal process. If it ends in a conviction, you will deal with the ramifications for years to come. When the circumstances that surround your DUI are more complicated, you may find your life is suddenly going in a direction you do not recognize.

Information is important when deciding on custody matters

Child custody is one of the most complex and difficult issues to address in a divorce. Whether you want to settle this matter through negotiations with the other parent or you believe that you will have to go court, it's beneficial to make sure you are fully informed and know about your rights and options. The final terms of your custody order will impact your family for years, and it's beneficial to proceed cautiously.

When considering your options regarding child custody, it's a good idea to think about what will work best long term. Your emotions and feelings are completely valid, but they are not necessarily the best indicators of what will be practical and sustainable. It is usually best to think about your kids' needs and interests above all else. 

Jailing defendants prior to trial undermines justice

The typical criminal investigation by police in Florida includes the arrest of suspects. Law enforcement officers jail these people, who must then hope that they qualify for bail. Even when judges approve bail to release defendants, many people cannot afford it. They then linger in jail, sometimes for long periods of time, awaiting trial. For low-level offenses, they might languish behind bars for longer than a sentence for the crime. This situation empowers prosecutors who can gain guilty pleas in exchange for release from jail.

Many people accept such deals even when they might have won their trials. Although people worn down by waiting in jail might be issued a minimal sentence along with their freedom, they now have criminal convictions on their records. Criminal records often interfere with people's ability to get jobs, qualify for professional licenses, obtain housing or go to school.

What to do with tech in a divorce

When Florida couples decide to get a divorce, they may want to take some steps to protect themselves online. Many couples share passwords, so the first step should be changing each account. There are services that can help choose secure passwords and keep them safe.

Whether or not they share passwords, many couples share devices. All personal information should be removed from these as well. Couples may want to reset these devices to factory settings once each of them has taken anything off that they want. Information that should be removed might include tax returns, bank statements, and private messages. People should also protect their social media accounts. Some people may want to delete them altogether and open new ones that are locked down for maximum privacy. They may also want to delete any old posts that could cause problems during the divorce.

Considerations in selling the family home during your divorce

Like many other Florida couples, you came to the painful realization that your marriage has reached it end. As you move toward divorce, you face numerous changes in your life. Some of those changes will be difficult and could leave you with tumultuous emotions.

Then, as you begin the divorce process, you and your future former spouse realize that selling the family home is the only way to handle this large asset. Neither of you can afford to handle the mortgage payments, taxes and repairs. Moreover, neither of you wants the constant reminder of what used to be. So, how do you proceed?

New study shows increase in young adult arrests

Younger Americans in Florida and across the United States are being arrested more often than older adults. The statistics come from a study done by researchers at the RAND Corporation using surveys from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Over 5,000 families were surveyed as part of the study; 35,000 of the study participants were over the age of 50.

Researchers found that the increases in both arrest rates and convictions were tied to lower hourly wages, fewer weeks of work, a decrease in the probability of being married and lower family incomes. Age, however, had the largest correlation with the arrest rate. The study found that Americans between the ages of 26 and 35 were almost four times as likely to be arrested than those over the age of 66.

A conviction can create a lifetime of struggle

A criminal conviction is more than a fine and time behind bars. You may think that once you have completed your jail sentence that your life will go back to normal. However, this may be far from the truth. Even a simple DUI conviction can result in lifelong challenges in many areas of your life. A conviction for a felony or federal crime may seem to place roadblocks wherever you turn.

If you are facing criminal charges, you would be wise to seek aggressive and skilled legal assistance as early as possible to ensure the defense of your rights. With the right representation, you will understand your options and potentially minimize the damage that may result from these charges.

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