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How high school reenactments can teach valuable DUI lessons

For our source article today, we chose a random DUI reenactment story from a high school outside of the state of Florida. The location isn't particularly important, nor is the content of the reenactment all that illuminating to most people who aren't teenagers. However, the trend of these reenactments is the real point of this post. You can search Google right now and find hundreds of stories about DUI reenactments on high school campuses.

The intent of these performances is to shock teenagers into understanding the terrible impact drunk driving can have on their lives and the lives of others. In many cases, it appears these reenactments fulfill that intent -- they make teenagers see DUIs as the danger they truly are.

Don't sit in your car if you're too drunk to drive

A lot of Florida drivers do not know that they don't have to be driving their vehicles to get charged with a DUI. In fact, if you're merely sitting in your vehicle, and parked on the side of the road without moving, you could be cited with a DUI violation if police suspect you are intoxicated.

Many drivers, for example, believe that they are being responsible by stopping and pulling over when they realize that they are too drunk to drive. Of course, this is one of the most responsible actions that anyone can take if he or she is too intoxicated to drive. However, the next course of action should be to exit your vehicle and call a taxi to take you home.

Police conduct, investigations are key parts to criminal charges

What often gets lost in the conversation about criminal charges is the role police play in the charge. So much focus is placed on the accused individual (or individuals), and a lot of attention is paid to the "horror" of the crime. Outrage is an easy feeling to conjure up when crimes are discussed. However, where is the outrage over police officers that use excessive force? Where is the outrage when investigators mishandle evidence? Where is the outrage when evidence testing labs taint evidence or alter the course of an investigation?

These things happen too, just like the crimes that shock the public at large all the time. The handling of evidence during the course of a criminal investigation is a key part of the case. How the prosecution obtained that evidence is an equally important question about the case.

Punishing nature of the law is a drag on society

Defending people who have been accused of a crime has a stigma attached to it. Many people will immediately think that anyone accused of a crime must be guilty. It is just how some people think of the world. Of course, not everyone accused of a crime is guilty of the charges they face, just as people who may be guilty of committing an offense don't necessarily deserve the full force of the law (or the full list of potential consequences) to affect them.

For example, if someone has never committed a criminal offense, and then they are accused of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level that was 0.085, should they be treated as a ruthless criminal that is akin to a three or four time DUI offender?

Boating under the influence carries serious penalties

"Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol" is a phrase that will immediately generate images in your mid of drunk people driving cars or trucks. However, operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol -- or, for that matter, drugs -- is not reserved to just motor vehicles on the roads. As many Floridians know, people often operate boats and other water vessels while they are drunk or intoxicated in some way.

In the state of Florida, the laws relating to blood alcohol levels and boating under the influence (BUI) are the same as DUI laws. The state defines an intoxicated boater as someone with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. In addition, the state of Florida has a law that targets minors who operate boats under the influence of alcohol. In these cases, the BAC limit is 0.02.

New report shows drugged driving on the rise

Drunk driving is a major safety issue, but the charge also has serious implications for the people who are accused of the crime. Sure, they allegedly did something wrong, but they also face the specter of a lifetime of dealing with a criminal history. And sometimes, a DUI happens by mistake. Good people are often wrapped up with this offense.

You may think, given the prevalence of DUI charges in the news, that it is the most common intoxication factor in fatal motor vehicle accidents. But a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility found that drugged driving is now more common in fatal car accidents than drunk driving.

2 questions about getting a criminal record sealed or expunged

Having a bad mark on your criminal record in Florida could prevent you from getting a job. It could also interfere with your social relationships if someone decides to run a criminal background check on you. The effects can even haunt you for decades. At a certain point, however, you might be able to get your criminal record expunged or sealed so that your past doesn't follow you anymore.

The process of getting your records expunged or sealed may not be entirely straightforward to the average Florida resident, especially if you don't have legal training and experience. For this reason, many seeking criminal history expungement seek the assistance of a qualified criminal law attorney. In the meantime, though, you probably have a couple questions about sealing and expunging records.

Discussing assault and battery charges

Assault and battery charges are two distinct crimes that refer to similar things. Assault is when there is the threat of violence. Battery is when actual contact and physical harm is committed. These are the definitions in Florida -- they are slightly different in Alabama, where three different degrees of assault can be charged by the police.

Assault and battery are two criminal charges that can inflict serious penalties on the people who are accused of committing the crime. However, even if physical contact is made and harm is inflicted, there are arguments to be made for the defendant. Maybe they didn't intend to harm the individual. Maybe they were acting in self-defense or out of necessity. There are mitigating circumstances that could be involved in a battery case.

Misdemeanors: serious crimes despite the perception

Being convicted of a crime is a massive blow to anyone's future. You may think that a state or federal felony are the only "serious" crimes that you need to worry about, but that simply isn't true. Even misdemeanors can have a profound effect on a person's life, and it is important for anyone accused of a crime to take the matter seriously.

Consider for a moment that you are an employer, and you have a stack of resumes on your desk to look over. Eventually you whittle the stack down to three candidates, all of whom are promising. But when you run background checks on the candidates, you notice that one of the three has a past criminal offense. Do you think or care whether that offense is a misdemeanor or a felony? Probably not. You would almost certainly scrap that person's resume, simply because of the past criminal conviction.

Drunk driving charges carry massive penalties

Getting behind the wheel of a car after you have consumed alcohol can lead to an arrest. The charge of drunk driving is a serious one, and it can claim many of your liberties and cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. From license suspension to increased insurance costs, and a criminal record to court fees and jail time, there are simply far too many consequences to a DUI.

But sometimes people make mistakes -- good people who have never made a mistake before. Unfortunately, the law doesn't care if you haven't made a mistake before. The violation you committed can still lead to punishment. Specific to DUIs, if you think that refusing to take a breath test will get you off the hook, then you are wrong. In Florida, refusing a breath test actually result in its own criminal charge.

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