Casey Anthony: A not-so-free woman after all?

We’ve spent months following the Casey Anthony case, and until this past Monday, we didn’t think there would be anything left to write about. Then news broke that Casey Anthony had 72 hours to report back to Orlando to meet her probation officer.

We still don’t know Casey Anthony’s current whereabouts, but if she is ordered to serve probation, she will be required to provide an Orlando address to her probation officer. In most cases, the parolee’s address is public record, but exceptions can be made and given the public’s opinion in this case, that exception may be considered.

Anthony is facing the possibility of probation for check fraud charges that she plead guilty to last year. The confusion lies in whether or not Anthony’s jail time counted towards that probation. Anthony’s criminal lawyer argues yes, but Judge Stan Strickland says no. According to anMSNBC article, “Strickland said at the time he had meant that Anthony — found not guilty of killing her daughter and released in July — should serve the probation order if and when she was freed.”

On Tuesday, Cheney Mason filed a motion to disqualify Judge Strickland. Today, the judge has recused himself and the matter has been reassigned to Chief Judge Belvin Perry, the judge who presided over Anthony’s first-degree murder trial.

We will see whether Casey Anthony will be required by Judge Perry to return to Orlando to serve probation and whether she will abide by the court’s order. If a bench warrant issues for her arrest for failing to return to Orlando, the fever to locate her will be heightened. Media and law enforcement from across the country will seek to capture her arrest and return her to Florida. The public spectacle surrounding Casey Anthony will surely continue.

What are the DUI laws in Florida?

In the state of Florida, if you are driving under the influence and have a blood/breath alcohol level of .08 or higher you will be charged with a DUI. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the penalties upon conviction are the same but depending on certain factors such as prior convictions or if there was a minor in the car, the suspect will face heavier consequences.

Referenced from the Department of Highway and Safety and Motor Vehicles, here is an outline of the consequences and suspension laws for a DUI in Florida.

First offense:

  • Pay a fine anywhere between $500- $1000.
  •  50 hours of community service is mandatory; you can either complete the community service or pay $10 for every hour that is required.
  • Probation (should not exceed a year).
  • You will not face more than 6 months jail time.
  • Your license will be suspended anywhere from 180 days to a year.
  • Mandatory DUI school before hardship reinstatement.
  • Your car will be impounded 10 days.

If it is your first offense AND you have a BAL of .15 or higher or have a minor in the car your sanctions will worsen. Your fines will increase to $1,000-$2,000 and you could face up to 9 months in jail.

Second offense:

  • A fine of $1,000- $2,000
  • You will not face more than 9 months of jail time.
  • If it is within 5 years of prior offense, license will be suspended for 5 years.
  • Mandatory DUI school.
  • Your car will be impounded for 30 days.

If you have a BAL of .15 or higher or a minor is present, your fines increase to $2,000-$4,000 and you can face up to 12 months in jail.
Third offense:

  • A fine of $2,000-$5,000
  • You will face at least 30 days of jail time but no more than 12 months.
  • If it is within 10 years of prior offense, license will be suspended for 10 years.
  • Mandatory DUI school.
  • Your car will be impounded for 90 days.

Again, if you have a BAL of .15 or higher or a minor is present, your fines increase to no less than $4,000.

The most important thing you can do after receiving a DUI is to contact a criminal defense attorney. Hillsborough County is one of Florida’s most active counties in cracking down on drunk drivers. Generally speaking, if you are pulled over for DUI questioning, you will be arrested. Unfortunately you must pay the price, but having a Tampa defense attorney present throughout your process will ensure that you are making the right decisions as you go forward. A Board-Certified attorney should know the DUI laws like the back of their hand, so they will be able to educate you on what happens next.

Sealing and Expungement- What you need to know.

The outcome of a case can end in many ways: paying fines, serving probation, spending time in jail or prison etc.,

Once you have been convicted or adjudicated guilty, your record is no longer clear. But what happens if your charge was never filed?

Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer, Lori D. Palmieri explains in this videothat although your charge was never filed, your record is still not clear and those charges will show if a background check is conducted.

“That is the reason why, despite having the good fortune of not having those charges filed against you, you still need to go back and go through the formal expungement or sealing process whatever the situation may be.”

The sealing and expungment process allows you to legally deny any arrests covered by the sealed or expunged record. You may only use this process ONCE in a lifetime though, so use it wisely.

The primary requirement for the two processes is that the applicant has never been convicted or adjudicated guilty no matter what state or country. Your record follows you anywhere you go.

There are different requirements for the expungement and sealing processes. Expungement requires that the charge was dismissed by the court/prosecutor while sealing requires that the applicant must serve probation.

However there are crimes that cannot be sealed regardless of the type of sentence. These crimes can include drug trafficking, robberies and aggravated batteries. For a longer list of crimes that cannot be sealed or expunged visit the sealing and expungement tab of the Palmieri site.

I’ve Violated My Probation- Now What?

Unfortunately, there are many ways one can violate probation or community control (house arrest).

When you are under either probation or house arrest, you are placed under demands that limit your freedom including confinement to your home, weekly meetings with a probation officer, random drug tests etc,. (full list of probation violations )

Probation is given either in replace of jail time or following jail time. During this time period it is important to demonstrate to the courts that you are staying out of trouble.

Generally, people violate their probation the follow two ways:

1.) you are charged with a new crime, or

2.) You are given a ‘Technical Violation.’

House arrest is similar to probation, the only difference being that you are confined to your home unless instructed by the courts. Simply put, if you are not home you are violating house arrest.

If you violate your probation or house arrest, it is important to contact a Board Certified criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the next step.

After the violation, your probation officer will issue a warrant for your arrest. At this time officials have the right to arrest you at any given time or you could opt for self arrest. There is generally NO BOND for probation violators but law offices like Palmieri Law can expedite the bond hearing to reduce the time spent in jail.

If you do violate your probation or house arrest sanction, the most important thing you can do is contact a criminal defense lawyer. If you are in the Tampa area, Board Certified criminal defense lawyer Lori D. Palmieri has over 18 years experience with probation violation.

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