(352) 593-4115

120 N Broad St #100
Brooksville, FL 34601

2017 House Bill 949 -Driving Under the Influence

2017 House Bill 949 entitled, “Driving Under the Influence,” was introduced by Florida State Representative Cord Byrd (R –Neptune Beach) and it passed the House Committee on March 22, 2017.

The 2017 House Bill 949 encourages first-time offenders, as a condition of probation, to voluntarily place an ignition interlock device (IID) on his or her vehicle for the first six (6) months of probation. If the person completes the terms of the IID placement successfully, then he or she may be able to have adjudication withheld on the DUI offense.

Fla. Stat. §316.193 Driving Under the Influence

Under Florida Statute § 316.193, a person may be found guilty of driving under the influence if the person is in physical control of a vehicle and has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more.

If a person is caught with a blood alcohol content level (BAC) higher than 0.15 percent or the offender’s BAC is under 0.15, but there is a minor in the vehicle, then under current law, a first-time offender must drive with an ignition interlock system for six (6) months.

The 2017 HB 949 will only apply to first-time offenders. The charge for a first offense DUI is a first-degree misdemeanor. For a DUI charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, the penalty is up to six (6) months in jail and up to $1,000 fines.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking over a certain amount. An IID looks and acts a lot like a breathalyzer. To operate it, you blow into it in the same manner as a normal breath test. If the amount of alcohol in a driver’s system is above a pre-programmed limit –likely 0.08—then the interlock system temporarily prevents the vehicle from starting.

According to the Florida DMV, a typical scenario with an IID goes as follows:

  1. you breathe into the IID to start the car;
  2. you wait about five minutes until the device beeps, and then you breathe into it again, and
  3. you breathe into this device approximately every 30 minutes.

The IID records the information each time you breathe into the device, and that information is transmitted to the Florida DMV.

What Will 2017 CS/HB 949 Affect?

The 2017 House Bill, if passed, will most certainly change the way DUI offenses are handled in Florida courts. Florida law does not allow DUI offenses to have adjudication withheld. An adjudication withhold is a sentence in which a judge orders probation but does not formally convict the offender.

If DUI offenses can now have adjudication withheld, then for some people who have no prior withholds, no prior convictions, and who have never sealed or expunged a criminal record, then he or she may be eligible to have their first offense DUI adjudicated withheld and eventually sealed.

Additional Resources

CS/HB 949 –Visit the official website of the Florida Senate to find the history of CS/HB 949 including voting information, when the bill was introduced and where it is in the legislative process. The Florida legislature also has a bill analysis with the fiscal effects of HB 949.

Find an Attorney for DUI Offenses in Brooksville, Florida

Having a DUI offense on your record in Florida follows you for the rest of your life if you are convicted. If you have been charged with a DUI offense, talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your next steps.

Ashley Aulls will explain your case face-to-face and fight for your best result. We take cases at

Call (352) 593-4115 for more information about CS/HB 949.

This Article Was Last Updated on Monday, March 27, 2017.

Florida Stand Your Ground Law

The 2005 Florida Stand Your Ground (SYG) law drastically changed the way Florida law handled self-defense. Self-defense is an affirmative defense that allows one to defend his or herself or another person from bodily harm. The most significant change to the self-defense law was the dramatic expansion of the “no duty to retreat” rule of the Castle Doctrine.

The Castle Doctrine is the common law rule that provides that when a person breaks into an individual’s home, the homeowner has no duty to retreat. Under the Castle Doctrine, the homeowner is allowed to use the force necessary, even deadly force, to prevent death or serious bodily harm.

Stand Your Ground is under Florida scrutiny once again. In Feb 2017, the Florida Senate proposed a few changes to SYG that could significantly change the way the law is implemented. In March 2017, SB 128 was passed.

Lawyer for Self-Defense Claims in Brooksville, Florida

Florida self-defense laws have come under harsh scrutiny in recent years. Stand your ground, specifically, has come under scrutiny, calling for changes in the way it is implemented. If you or someone you know has been charged with battery or any homicide charge for defending himself or herself, then call an attorney who will fight for your rights.

Being labeled a “defendant” does not mean that an individual is “guilty” under the law. Call an attorney who believes in the rights of defendants who will fight for your best defense.

Call (352) 593-4115 for more information about Stand Your Ground in Florida.

Self-Defense in Florida before SYG

The 2005 Florida Stand Your Ground law changed a number of common law and other laws on the books under the self-defense theory. Stand your ground had an effect on the following doctrines:

  • the Castle Doctrine
  • defense of self or others
  • defense of property

Moreover, the Stand Your Ground doctrine created immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action. A person who uses force in “justified” self-defense, therefore, cannot be arrested, detained in custody, or charged and prosecuted. Furthermore, a defendant to a civil action based on use of force is entitled to attorney’s fees, lost of income, court costs, and all expenses caused from defending the action if the defendant prevails on the immunity suit.

Stand Your Ground in Florida

Currently, the Florida Stand Your Ground law grants a defendant the right of immunity from criminal and civil liability if he or she is justified in using force.

Most notably, SYG took away the previous common law requirement that a person who was being attacked had to retreat to the best of his or her ability before using force. Under SYG, a person who is lawfully in a place may use force, even deadly force, if he or she is attacked.

Additionally, SYG expands the places in which no duty to retreat applies. Prior to SYG there was no law that allowed use of deadly force in defense of a motor vehicle. Stand Your Ground allows for a person to use deadly force if the defendant is attacked in his or her vehicle.

What Does Florida Senate Bill 128 Do?

When the Florida Legislature enacted SYG it did not provide procedural rules for determining a person’s immunity under SYG. Since the Legislature was silent, the Florida courts have attempted to fill in the blanks. One of the most recent Florida Supreme Court decisions, Bretherick v. State, 170 So.3d 776 (Fla. 2015), has set forth the procedure to grant immunity in court cases.

Florida Senate Bill Proposal 128 was introduced to create a procedure for granting immunity in SYG cases. Currently, under the majority opinion in Bretherick, a defendant claiming immunity must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she is entitled to immunity. The preponderance of the evidence standard means that is “more likely than not” that the defendant is entitled to immunity. Under the preponderance of the evidence standard, a defendant would only have to tip the scale, thus if a judge finds that it was 51% likely that the defendant was entitled to immunity, then the burden is satisfied.

Under Florida Senate proposal 128, the burden would no longer be on the defendant, but it would be on the State. With the burden on the State instead of the defendant, this means that the defendant would not have to prove anything. Additionally, the State would have a higher standard proof. Instead of “more likely than not, ” the State would have to show that the defendant is not entitled to immunity beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest burden of proof in criminal cases.

With the enactment of Senate Bill 128, the law has changed from the defendant having the burden of proof in pretrial to the prosecution having the burden. Further, the prosecution will have a difficult time proving that the defendant is not entitled to immunity because the standard will no longer be a preponderance of the evidence, as explained above, but beyond a reasonable doubt.

Additional Resources

CS/SB 128: Self-defense Immunity – Visit the official website of the Florida Senate to find out more information on the status of the upcoming changes to the Florida Stand Your Ground law sponsored by the Judiciary and Senator Rob Bradley (R).

Finding an Attorney for Stand Your Ground in Brooksville, Florida

As Florida law regarding self-defense changes, it is becoming more and more important that you understand the law and your rights under those laws. If you or someone you know has been charged with a battery, aggravated battery, or homicide in Florida and you were defending yourself, call attorney Ashley Aulls for help with your self-defense claim.

Attorney Ashley Aulls is an experienced criminal defense attorney who takes cases in Hernando County, Florida and in the surrounding counties of Citrus County, Sumter County, and Pasco County, Florida.

Call (352) 593-4115 for a consultation about your case.

Medical Marijuana Helps Patients With No Other Options

The video above features the parents of Rebecca Hyman, a young girl who suffers from intractable epilepsy. Rebecca’s mother, Danielle, says her daughter suffers as many as 200 seizures a day and you can see the tears in the eyes of her father, Seth, as he says, “We feel her saying to us, ‘Mom, Dad, when is this going to stop? Why don’t you, my parents, do something to help me?’ And we can’t.”

This heartbreaking advertisement was paid for by People United for Medical Marijuana, a Florida-based political action committee (PAC) seeking to legalize medical marijuana. The ad encourages Floridians to vote yes on Amendment 2, otherwise known the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which will be on the ballot Tuesday.

Intractable seizures cannot be controlled by traditional medication, but medical marijuana has been proven in some studies to treat these seizures. Charlotte’s Web—the strain of cannabis that is high in cannabidiol, the cannabinoid that has medicinal properties, but low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana—was named after a young girl who suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a rare, severe form of intractable epilepsy.

Governor Rick Scott legalized Charlotte’s Web when he signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, but its availability was limited to only a select group of patients and users were prohibited from administration by smoking. Amendment 2 would allow for medical use of marijuana by individuals with a broader range of debilitating medical conditions as determined by licensed Florida physicians.

Attorney for Marijuana Crimes in Brooksville, FL

Rebecca Hyman is far from being an isolated case. Many Floridians, young and old, have found that cannabis is the only real treatment for the pain and symptoms caused by their maladies.

People who rely on marijuana solely for its medicinal value do not deserve to be imprisoned. If you were arrested in Hernando County for alleged possession of cannabis that you needed for a medical condition, you will want to be sure to contact a Brooksville marijuana lawyer as soon as possible.

Resolving Retail Theft Charges in Hernando County, Florida


Stealing a pack of batteries from CVS or pocketing a pack of gum from the local Walmart may not seem like a huge travesty, but such criminal acts across America collectively cost retailers upwards of $32 billion dollars in 2014. One may think retail theft only affects the offender, however, this conduct adds to the store’s security expenses, costs consumers more for their goods, and it overburdens the police and local judicial systems.

For this reason, retailers willingly invest in deterrents such sensors, high-tech security cameras, and offer employees training to help identify customer theft and theft among other employees.

Retailers also hire loss prevention agents whose sole responsibility is to catch people committing theft.

In some cases, the loss prevention agent or team may apprehend an individual suspected of theft. Generally, the loss prevention agent will question the person suspected of theft and attempt to recover the stolen property. From there, the agent may contact the police and have the individual arrested. Shortly after the arrest, the company may present a request for repayment for the stolen merchandise.

Many people will pay the requested amount because they believe payment will resolve all aspects of the theft case. However, a letter showing payment does not resolve the criminal case? A letter showing payment only pays the restitution to the store for the items that were stolen. The criminal charge will remain until your attorney resolves it with the State Attorney’s office.

An individual facing retail theft charges needs an experienced theft criminal defense attorney to help them with their legal matter. If you have been charged with retail theft, petit theft, shoplifting, or any property offense in Brooksville, Masaryktown, Ridge Manor, Spring Hill, Weeki Wachee or any city in Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, and Pasco County, Florida, you need an experienced theft criminal defense attorney to assist you with your legal matter. Contact the Law Office of Ashley Aulls at (352) 593-4115 to schedule a confidential consultation.

What is Retail Theft Hernando County, Florida?

Theft is the act of knowingly obtaining, using, or attempting to obtain or use the property of another with the intent of depriving that person of the property or contributing the use of the property to someone else not entitled to use the property. Fla. Stat. § 812.014

Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.015(d), “retail theft” is

  1. Taking possession of or carrying away merchandise, property, money, or negotiable documents;
  2. Altering or removing a label, universal product code, or price tag;
  3. Transferring merchandise from one container to another; or
  4. Removing a shopping cart,
  5. With intent to deprive the merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value.

Petit Theft in Florida and Its Penalties

As defined by Florida Statute 812.014, theft of property valued more than $300 are charged as a Grand Theft offense. On the other hand, Petit Theft is when the item or items involved are of lesser financial value, and when certain aggravating circumstances are not present. In the State of Florida, theft of property valued less than $300 will generally be charged as a misdemeanor offense known as Petit Theft.

  • Petit Theft of the Second Degree
  • Person stole property valued at less than $100
  • Misdemeanor of the Second Degree
  • Imprisonment of not more than 60 days and a fine not to exceed $500
  • Petit Theft of the First Degree
  • Property stolen is valued between $100 and $300
  • Misdemeanor of the First Degree
  • Imprisonment not to exceed one year and $1,000 fine

A person convicted of petit theft of gasoline will subsequently have their driver’s license suspended for six (6) months for their first offense, and one year for repeat offenses.

If you have been charged with petit theft or any theft related offense in Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, and Pasco County, Florida, you need an experienced theft criminal defense attorney assist you with your legal matter. Contact the Law Office of Ashley Aulls at (352) 593-4115 to schedule your consultation.

Grand Theft in Florida and Its Penalties

Pursuant to Florida Statute 812.014, Grand Theft is the charge designated for theft of property that is higher in financial value, theft of specific property, of if certain aggravating circumstances are involved.

In the State of Florida, theft of property valued less than $300 will generally be charged as a misdemeanor offense known as Petit Theft. Theft of property valued between $300 and $20,000, or involved any of the following items:

  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Any commercially farmed animal, such as horses or aquaculture species (i.e. fish)
  • Citrus fruit, such as oranges, in excess of 2,000 individual fruits
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Firearm
  • Motor vehicle, when carjacking is not involved
  • Property from a construction site identified by proper signage
  • Stop sign
  • Will, as in last will and testament
  • Grand Theft of the Third Degree can be punished with up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.
  • Grand Theft of the Second Degree can be punished with up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
  • Grand Theft of the First Degree can be punished with up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

In some cases, theft charges may be “stacked”. After a third conviction for petit theft, the State can charge the individual with a felony—even if the alleged stolen property has a value of less than $300.

The Importance of an Experienced Attorney

A person convicted of a theft-related offense will forever have their credibility questioned. This is because theft, whether a misdemeanor or felony, is considered by the judicial system as a crime of “dishonesty or untruthfulness”. Being looked at as dishonest or untruthful person does not help that person’s disposition and it could possibly cause unfavorable treatment in both the courtroom and their job.

A person convicted of retail theft may find it challenging to find employment in certain fields, such as: accounting, real estate, law enforcement, or contracting. Certain jobs requiring the person to handle money, such as a cashier or bank teller, may not consider the person as a viable candidate for the position because they would be perceived as a dishonest or untrustworthy person.

If you have been charged with retail theft, petit theft, shoplifting, or any property offense in Brooksville, Crystal River, Dade City, New Port Richey, Spring Hill, or any city in Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, and Pasco County, Florida, you need an experienced theft criminal defense attorney assist you with your legal matter. Contact the Law Office of Ashley Aulls at (352) 593-4115 to schedule your consultation.

http://fortune.com/2015/06/24/shoplifting-worker-theft-cost-retailers-32-billion-in-2014/

Celebrate a Safe St. Patrick’s Day 2016 in & around Brooksville, FL

Happy guys with glasses of foaming beer spending time in pub

Although St. Patrick’s Day has religious origins in Ireland, it has evolved into a worldwide rite of spring that is often associated with the consumption of alcohol.

March 17 is a national holiday in Ireland and the date is celebrated in many countries across the globe. Many St. Patrick’s Day festivities involve eating Irish food and the drinking of alcohol, including green beer, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages.

Several locales in the U.S. (including Chicago, Indianapolis, and fountains at the White House in Washington, D.C. and in Savannah, Ga.), dye the water green on St. Patrick’s Day.

Tampa, Florida has been dyeing a downtown section of the Hillsborough River green since 2012. The Tampa Mayor’s River O’Green Fest expects to draw thousands of people to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park at 600 N. Ashley Drive in Tampa on March 19, 2016, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although the River O’Green Fest will take place two days after St. Patrick’s Day on the calendar, March 19 was selected by city officials as a date to maximize crowd participation.

Many people who live in Brooksville, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Spring Hill and the north Tampa suburbs of Hernando County, about 45 miles north of downtown Tampa, will attend the St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Tampa.

Other folks from Hernando may venture into Pinellas County, where a famed eatery on U.S. Highway 19 advertises 10,000 pounds of corned beef and cabbage, green beer, and live music all week long. Many other restaurants and bars throughout Tampa Bay have St. Patrick’s Day promotions.

Be Careful Out There

Law enforcement agencies are on the alert for impaired drivers before, during, and after St. Patrick’s Day events. It’s not New Year’s Eve crazy, but St. Patrick’s Day is nevertheless high on the police radar as a holiday when people tend to drink too much and then drive.

Even people who elect to stay close to home and attend Brooksville’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at Clover Leaf Farms (900 N. Broad St.) at 10 a.m. on Thursday should be aware that law enforcement will be extra diligent in identifying and pursuing drunk drivers on March 17 and the days surrounding St. Patrick’s Day.

In addition to drinking and driving, public intoxication is another alcohol-related offense that could have serious consequences after an arrest.

Florida Highway Patrol

As of March 16, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) had not indicated its intentions for St. Patrick’s Day enforcement actions. However, as recently as four years ago, the FHP issued a press release several days before St. Patrick’s Day in which it stated that it “would be on the lookout for impaired drivers during the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.”

FHP’s effort then was part of a national effort by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) called the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, focusing on impaired driving, failure to buckle up, speeding, and reckless driving.

“The Florida Highway Patrol continues to make DUI (Driving Under the Influence) enforcement a priority,” FHP Director Col. David Brierton said at the time. “We have a zero tolerance for impaired driving. Having a designated driver and planning ahead will make your trip safer.”

The FHP cited nearly 18,000 alcohol-related crashes on Florida’s roadways in 2010. Nearly 800 people died and more than 12,000 suffered injuries because of those crashes, according to the press release. “FHP encourages all residents of the state to drive carefully, and together we will make a difference,” the press release stated.

The FHP offered these “tips to make your St. Patrick’s Day and the week leading up to the holiday safer”:

  • Plan ahead
  • Use a designated driver
  • Dial *FHP (*347) on your cell phone to report an impaired driver
  • If you are impaired, use a taxi or call a friend or a family member to get you home safely

Private transportation services that can be accessed via a cellular phone app are also now available.

DUI Checkpoints

In addition to the actions of the FHP to eradicate drunk driving, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and the cities within the county also have the option to employ “DUI checkpoints” to catch drunk drivers. These efforts are more common around holidays when drinking is expected to escalate, including St. Patrick’s Day and the days surrounding March 17.

DUI checkpoints are a hot-button issue. Despite good intentions, DUI checkpoints, which were validated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990, have been criticized for violating rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Consequently, law enforcement officers must follow rigid standards at DUI checkpoints and should not detain anyone for an unreasonable amount of time.

Hernando County drivers who choose to imbibe during 2016 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations should be aware that a DUI checkpoint may be implemented at any time. Nighttime, when people usually drink more alcohol, is a likely period for a DUI checkpoint to occur.

Florida law enforcement agencies are required to publicize DUI checkpoints, but the agency may publicize the event with little advance warning, including on the day a DUI checkpoint is to be implemented.

Anyone concerned about DUI checkpoints should follow media reports in newspapers and on TV and radio, as well as social media outlets, to learn about reports of DUI checkpoints. You can also contact a law enforcement agency or visit a law enforcement agency’s web site to learn about DUI checkpoints.

It is legal to avoid a DUI checkpoint by turning around if turning around is done safely and carefully. It is also legal to enter a location (such as an open business) prior to coming to a DUI checkpoint.

Brooksville, Florida Attorney for St. Patrick’s Day Arrests

Whether you choose to venture out or stay close to home in Hernando County for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, you should drive carefully and arrive alive. If you do encounter trouble, remember that the Law Office of Ashley Aulls represents clients throughout Brooksville, Spring Hill, Inverness and nearby communities in and around Hernando County. Contact Ashley Aulls at (352) 593-4115 to schedule a consultation.

 

Do I Have to Submit to Sobriety Tests at DUI Checkpoints?

DrinkCarKeycropRecently, there has been a huge debate over the constitutionality over DUI checkpoints, specifically whether drivers have to interact with law enforcement at a DUI checkpoint.

These heated debates have caused many Hernando County drivers to ask, “Legally, what are my rights at DUI stops and DUI checkpoints?”.

DUI Stop v. DUI Checkpoint

In order for an individual to understand his or her rights at a DUI stop or DUI checkpoint, one must understand the difference between the two forced interactions with law enforcement.

DUI Stop: A law enforcement officer cannot stop an individual for no reason. In order to stop a person, the police officer must have “reasonable suspicion” based on articulable, objective facts that criminal activity is afoot.

Essentially, an officer must observe certain behavior that any reasonable person would have concluded criminal activity was possibly on-going or occurred. In DUI cases, the following behavior is usually sufficient to establish reasonable suspicion:

  • Speeding
  • Driving significantly below the speed limit
  • Swerving in other lanes or failure to maintain lane
  • Erratic or reckless driving

DUI Checkpoint: DUI checkpoints are temporary, pre-arranged locations at which law enforcement stop every driver that approaches the checkpoint. Reasonable suspicion is not required, because the officer indiscriminately stops each driver.

Field Sobriety and BAC Testing

At both DUI stops and DUI checkpoints, the officer may ask drivers, whom they suspect are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to submit to field sobriety tests or BAC tests. In the state of Florida, law enforcement may request the following tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus– Generally, the officer will ask the driver to step out of the vehicle. Then the officer will request the driver to follow an object, such as a pen or stylus, in a straight horizontal line with his eyes. The officer is looking for a nystagmus or eye twitching, which can occur for several reasons, including intoxication.
  • Walk-and-Turn– This is possibly the most identifiable test. The officer will request the driver get out of the vehicle and walk in a straight line, one foot in front of the other. Once the individual reaches the end of the line, he will be asked to pivot and walk back in a straight line, one foot in front of the other.
  • One-Leg Stand– The officer requests the driver old his foot approximately six inches off the ground with both hands by his sides.

With the aforementioned tests, law enforcement officers are granted considerable latitude. The officer can request the driver submit to more than one of the aforementioned test and also request the individual perform other tasks, such as counting or reciting the alphabet.

Another test an officer may perform is a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentrate) test or a chemical test. In the field, an officer will generally perform a breathalyzer test. The officer will request the driver blow into the portable breathalyzer machine. If the driver blows and has a BAC of 0.08 of higher, he or she may be charged with DUI.

Can I Refuse these Tests?

Knowing the difference between a field sobriety test and a BAC or chemical test is important when making a decision to refuse to take such test. An individual can refuse a field sobriety test. In most instances, it is actually recommended. The officer’s dash cam video and the officer’s testimony regarding the test can be introduced if trial is necessary. Refusal to take these tests takes away most of the prosecution’s evidence.

BAC or chemical tests are completely different. An individual may refuse to submit; however, refusal to submit has consequences. Florida is an “implied consent” state. This means that by virtue of driving on Florida’s roads and highways, an individual consents to chemical testing if suspected of DUI.

The first time an individual refuses a BAC or chemical test, his driver’s license is automatically suspended for twelve months, regardless of whether the individual is convicted of DUI. The driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months for subsequent refusals.

Whether you should refuse or submit to field sobriety testing depends on the individual facts of your case. On average, I would recommend to perform the field sobriety tests, but refuse the breathalyzer test if the driver has consumed alcohol.

Conclusion

Ashley Aulls is an experienced criminal defense attorney and managing attorney at The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. He aggressively defends individuals facing drunk driving and DUI charges, including first DUI, felony DUI, DUI manslaughter, Underage DUI, and Drugged DUI.

If you are facing criminal charges in Hernando County or the surrounding areas contact Attorney Ashley Aulls and The Law Office of Ashley Aulls at (352) 593-4115 to schedule a confidential consultation to review your case.

The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. proudly represents clients throughout Florida, including Hernando County, Sumter County, Citrus County, and the surrounding areas of Spring Hill, Brooksville, Timber Pines, and Homosassa Springs.

Juvenile Diversion Programs for Marijuana Offenses

teen crime - kid in handcuffsAccording to the Drug Policy Alliance, a national organization dedicated to drug legislation reformation, 700,993 arrests were made nationally for marijuana law violations. Eighty-eight percent or 619, 809 of those arrests were for possession of marijuana only.

Possession of 20 or fewer grams of marijuana in the state of Florida is considered a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. A conviction for misdemeanor drug possession—even marijuana possession, can have serious consequences, including but not limited to:

  • Expulsion from school or university
  • Loss or disqualification from scholarships
  • Bar of employment in certain fields
  • Bar from certain professional licensures

The aforementioned consequences can complicate any person’s life. However, for a teenager, especially an individual with graduation impending or just beginning college, these consequences can be devastating.

To shield young persons, who have made the mistake of possession small quantities of marijuana, Florida legislators have created diversion programs. Diversion programs allow juveniles under the age of 17 to avoid a misdemeanor conviction upon the completion of certain program requirements, including community service, counseling, and random urinalysis testing.

There are several juvenile diversion programs available in Florida. Every diversion program is not right for every child. For juveniles convicted of a misdemeanor in Sumter County, Citrus County, or Hernando County the following diversion programs are available:

  • Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program
  • Teen Court
  • Alternative to Expulsion Diversion

Each of the aforementioned diversion programs have different eligibility criteria and fulfillment requirements. However, the courts generally consider the same factors to determine whether juvenile diversion is appropriate, including:

  • History of delinquency;
  • Risk to reoffend;
  • Current offense; and
  • Court ordered assessment

If your minor child has been charged with a misdemeanor offense, such as possession of marijuana, it is crucial to contact an experienced marijuana defense immediately. An experienced marijuana defense attorney will have the knowledge and skill to successfully prove your child deserves to avoid a criminal conviction through a juvenile diversion program.

Conclusion

Ashley Aulls of The Law Office of Ashley Aulls is an experienced criminal defense attorney. He aggressively defends juveniles faced with criminal charges, including marijuana possession, possession of alcohol, and other related offenses. If you or your loved one has been charged with any criminal offense, contact attorney Ashley Aulls at (352) 593-4115 to schedule a confidential review of your case.

He proudly represents clients throughout Florida, including Hernando County, Sumter County, Citrus County and the surrounding areas. Contact The Law Office of Ashley Aulls for a confidential consultation.

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This website was created solely for general information purposes. It is not intended to provide official legal counsel for any situation. Only a licensed attorney in Florida can provide you with official legal guidance after learning the details surrounding your case. Contacting Ashley M. Aulls, P.A. through e-mail, fax, phone, or other medium, does not form an attorney-client relationship.