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South Daytona Legal Blog

What is a commercial driver's duty to other drivers?

If you survive an accident with an large commercial vehicle, you have a number of issues to address. First, it is wise to take a moment and consciously acknowledge that you're alive, so things could definitely be much worse. Commercial trucks are devastatingly deadly when they collide with consumer vehicles. Even in gratitude, however, you must take great care to keep your rights protected as you fight for a fair resolution to the accident.

Many consumer drivers seem to think that the commercial driver is to blame any time they experience a car accident involving a large commercial vehicle. While this is true in many, many instances, it is not always the case. Just as both drivers may share liability in the event of a standard car accident, you must prove three points in your claim against the commercial driver.

Watch what you say to another driver after a car accident

In the aftermath of a car accident, with adrenaline pumping and the disorientation that often come with such an experience, it is easy to speak carelessly and cause yourself unnecessary trouble. Whether you believe you're responsible or not, you don't want to claim liability prematurely. The other driver may also believe that he or she is actually liable, but may jump at the chance for you to take legal and financial responsibility for the wreck and the associated costs.

Similarly, you may not know all the facts of how the wreck occurred. Even if you think it's an open and shut case, it is wiser to wait and let the dust settle before stepping up to claim liability too soon.

A DUI felony in Florida can ruin your career

If you live in Florida, you might think that the state's reputation as a vacation destination might imply that law enforcement is generally less aggressive about enforcing drinking laws. However, DUI charges are actually very common and are nothing to take lightly. Even if it is your first offense, you may face serious fines or other punishments, but if you face DUI charges more than once or if you cause serious property damage or harm to another person in your first DUI accident, these can quickly graduate to felony charges.

Felony charges can drastically affect the kind of job you are allowed to hold in Florida. Surprisingly, many of these professions are not very closely related to drinking and driving at all. It is understandable that a DUI conviction may carry consequences for a taxi driver, but is it really necessary to deny job applicants or licensees in pest control? Yes, pest control.

Facing criminal charges as a tourist

Any time that people face criminal charges, they may find themselves overwhelmed and not know how to respond appropriately. This is even more common when people facing criminal charges are tourists in an area or state where they do not live, placing them outside of the home field advantage.

Unfortunately, the way that people respond to criminal charges may greatly affect how those charges get resolved. If you or someone you love recently received criminal charges while outside of your hometown, you may have some significant issues to resolve and may not know where to start.

What might affect the validity of a field sobriety test?

Whenever a police officer stops a driver on suspicion of drunk driving, it is very likely that the officer will choose to employ a field sobriety test to demonstrate the sobriety or inebriation of the driver. However, these tests are not magically perfect, and many factors may affect them, producing undependable results. In many cases, an experienced attorney may identify grounds on which to challenge the accuracy of a field sobriety test.

Depending on the nature of the tests used and the evidence that the prosecution claims against the driver, an attorney may choose to challenge the validity of the results. For instance, if an officer does not properly administer the test, the results may prove undependable. Similarly, if the officer administers the test using equipment that is not properly maintained and calibrated, the results also may not hold up to scrutiny.

Is a DUI your surprise souvenir from a Florida vacation?

When you scheduled your Florida vacation, you probably hoped to come home with an incredible tan. Instead, you ended up in legal trouble and came back with pending charges in another state. That can be an incredibly scary situation. One of the most common legal issues for tourists involves driving under the influence charges. While Florida has similar legal limits for alcohol when compared with other states, it's easier to make bad decisions when you're kicking back on your vacation.

Maybe you didn't realize you'd had too much to drink. Perhaps the sun had left you dehydrated and more susceptible to the alcohol. Whatever the reason, you need to take those criminal charges seriously. The state of Florida has a very strict approach to DUI offenses. Failing to defend yourself against these charges could have severe consequences for you.

Traveling with firearms across state lines

Traveling from state to state is often more complicated for gun owners. Different states maintain separate firearm ownership laws, and may or may not recognize the ownership and carrying permits issued by another state, among other things. If you're hoping to travel to Florida from another state with a firearm, be sure to take several precautions.

First, be sure that you have the proper permits to own and carry firearms in your home state. Without these, it is difficult to build a legal defense of your right to carry a firearm across state lines. Also, you should look to see if Florida honors the permits you obtain from your home state. In some instances, Florida may accept a permit from another state, while in some instances it may not.

Who is liable for a commercial truck accident?

Accidents involving large commercial trucks are often more complicated than other kinds of car accidents, and one of the primary reasons is that a victim may have a number of distinct lawsuits to navigate. Depending on the nature of the relationship between the driver and the shipping company using the truck, a victim may file lawsuits against a number of different parties.

If, for instance, the driver of the truck is actually an employee of a shipping company, and definitely not an independent contractor, the victim may have grounds to bring an injury suit against the shipping company itself. In some cases, the driver or shipping company may claim that they have one type of relationship when they should legally have another. For instance, an employer may claim that a driver is an independent contractor because this designation relieves it of some duties to the driver and liability in accidents. However, if the shipping company controls too many aspects of the driver's job performance, the driver may qualify as an employee anyway.

Public intoxication can mean real criminal charges

Daytona enjoys a rich reputation as a party city that welcomes tourists to come enjoy the diverse nightlife it has to offer. However, some tourists may find themselves on the wrong side of the law if their nightlife (or daytime) activities lead to public intoxication. As a tourist in Daytona, do you really need to worry about public intoxication charges?

Practically speaking, yes. Public intoxication charges can result from a number of different circumstances, and in some ways may serve as a broad net to catch a variety of individuals who let the party get a bit out of hand. Of course, like all tourism-dependent cities, public intoxication is usually a situational call for the law enforcement officer issuing the charges.

Is a DUI checkpoint a violation of my constitutional rights?

Drinking and driving is never a good move, but sometimes people get behind the wheel believing that they are good to drive, only to find themselves caught in a police checkpoint. DUI checkpoints may save many lives, but some legal experts contend that they are not actually legal, constitutionally speaking.

Practically, this breaks down to a state-by-state issue. Some states do not allow law enforcement to conduct DUI checkpoints, either because it violates the state constitution or because the laws of the state do not grant enforcement agencies the authority to conduct them.

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