In the Florida legislature there is a legal difference between repeat violence, sexual violence, and dating violence. These terms are defined in statute 784.046.
According to the statute, the term violence in Florida is defined as any of the following:
Repeat Violence means 2 incidents of violence committed by a single person within 6 months of each other.
Simply put, sexual violence is any act defined as “violence” committed in a sexual context. Specifically, sexual Violence includes any of the following:
Dating violence includes any violent act between 2 people who are in a romantic relationship. In order to be charged with dating violence, there are several qualifying characteristics:
Basically dating violence has to involve 2 parties who are or have recently been in a significant romantic relationship. This type of violence does not apply to people in casual social relationships.
Being pulled over by a police officer is a terrifying experience. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, it is still nerve wrecking.
Here are a few quick pieces of advice to follow if you are ever pulled over for drunk driving in Florida:
Follow these tips if you have been pulled over for DUI in Florida. They may just help you avoid a drunk driving charge.
On Saturday the George Zimmerman trial officially ended with a verdict of “not guilty.” Since then, there has been a lot of noise from every corner or the media regarding the verdict.
The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial signifies neither a travesty of justice nor a waste of taxpayer money. It was simply, as occurs across this nation every day in various courtrooms, the jury finding reasonable doubt in the state’s case. Period.
As a citizen and a Floridian, I was admittedly disheartened that an all white jury acquitted a white man in the killing of an unarmed black youth. I am bothered by the fact that the jury was selected from a very conservative rural white slice of Florida. However, as an attorney, officer of the court, and a lawyer educated and experienced in American jurisprudence, I certainly accept the jury's finding. Sometimes there is simply more to the evidence than its aroma and that would appear to be what happened in the rendition of this particular verdict.
Both Al Sharpton and Sean Hannity need to pipe down and as President Obama decreed, all Americans white and black, liberal and conservative, rich and poor, old and young need to continually observe the racial divide in our society as evidenced
by the many emotions elicited by this trial. We must resolve to do better, march forward and reach out. For Pete's sake we need to replace hating and baiting with teaching and reaching.
My mother Helen Hobson, now 92 who was widowed in 1971 and subsequently raised nine children by herself, used to tell me that a smile is the same in any language.
Now let’s get back to the important stuff like Pakistan.
In Florida, if you a police officer pulls you over and suspects you of drinking and driving, they will likely ask you to perform one or more field sobriety tests. These are physical and mental tasks that the officer uses to determine whether or not you are intoxicated.
The most common field sobriety tests are:
The problem with field sobriety tests is that they are incredibly subjective. A person’s performance on these tests can be impacted by environmental conditions (if it’s really windy, it will be more difficult to balance on one leg), or a person may simply have poor balance.
One has the power but not the right to refuse to take these tests in Florida. While some think that the less evidence against you, the stronger the evidence for probable cause, the prosecution will always argue consciousness of guilt in all refusals.
The trial of George Zimmerman moved into week two of testimony this week.
Last week, Judge Nelson granted a defense motion, which sought to exclude the testimony of two witnesses who were prepared to testify that screams heard in a 911 call belonged to Trayvon Martin. This was a huge blow to the prosecution. The screams allegedly were screams for help. The testimony would have helped the prosecution because if Trayvon Martin were screaming for help, Mr. Zimmerman could not have believed that he himself was in danger, thus negating his self-defense argument.
The two witnesses the State sought to examine at trial are experts in the field of voice recognition. They would have testified that they performed scientific tests on the 911 recording and were able to determine as a result of those tests that the screams were those of Trayvon Martin. The defense objected that the tests used to analyze the recordings are not techniques which are generally accepted within the scientific community. The Judge agreed.
The Frye Rule
Known as the Frye Rule, the rules of evidence provide that expert witnesses may testify about tests performed only if the tests are those which the scientific community accepts and uses. The Judge noted in her decision that there are currently three employed methods of voice identification:
The Judge ruled that the tests had not been “sufficiently tested and accepted by the relevant scientific community” and that testimony about these tests would therefore confuse issues and mislead the jury.
This week Zimmerman is supposed to recount his description of the events to the jury. We will be tracking this case as it progresses.
Joseph T. Hobson is a Criminal Defense attorney specializing in DUI charges in Clearwater, Florida.