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What is a 'Look Back Period?"

The predetermined length of time in which older drunk driving arrests can be used against defendants in criminal cases is commonly referred to as the "look back period" or "washout period." The look back period is extremely important to alleged repeat offenders who have been recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) because prior convictions may lead to enhanced criminal charges for the most recent offense.

Under Florida Statute § 316.193(6), second convictions for DUI offenses that occur within five years of the dates of prior convictions or third convictions that occur within 10 years of the dates of prior convictions are subject to increased penalties. In State v. Beach, 592 So.2d 237 (Fla.1992), the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that an uncounseled conviction could not be used for enhancement if the defendant had a right to counsel in the prior proceedings and asserts under oath:

(1) that the offense involved was punishable by more than six months of imprisonment or that the defendant was actually subjected to a term of imprisonment;

(2) that the defendant was indigent and, thus, entitled to court-appointed counsel;

(3) counsel was not appointed; and

(4) the right to counsel was not waived.

DUI Attorney in Pensacola, FL

A second drunk driving arrest that occurs more than five years after a prior DUI conviction is punishable by up to nine months in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and the court will require the offender to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in any vehicle that he or she drives or owns.

A person convicted for a second DUI, outside of five years of the prior conviction, however, will also have his or her driver's license suspended for up to one year with no eligibility for a hardship license during this time.

If the second DUI arrest falls within the five-year look back period, however, the crime becomes a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and a minimum of 10 days up to nine months in jail. An offense involving a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher or the alleged offender being accompanied in the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense by a person under the age of 18 years is punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to 12 months in jail. An alleged offender's license will also be suspended for a minimum of five years with no restricted driving privileges being available for the first 12 months.

Third DUI offenses that occur more than 10 years after prior convictions can also be classified as first-degree misdemeanors. When a third offense occurred within 10 years of a prior conviction, the alleged offender could be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,000 up to $5,000. Third or subsequent DUI convictions involving BACs of 0.15 or higher or alleged offenders being accompanied in vehicles by a person under the age of 18 years are punishable by minimum fines of $4,000.

When a person is arrested for a second or subsequent DUI in Escambia County, it is critical to retain legal counsel for help possibly ensuring that prior convictions are not used to enhance criminal charges. Pensacola criminal defense lawyer John Terrezza defends residents of and visitors to Milton, Navarre, Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze, and several other surrounding areas of Escambia County.
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THC Concentrates Carry Bigger Penalties Than Marijuana

Cannabis concentrates, marijuana concentrates, or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrates—known colloquially as “wax," "shatter," or "budder"—come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and forms. Whether a person is using butane hash oil (BHO), CO2 concentrates, or propane hash oil, it is important to understand that criminal charges for possession of a THC concentrate are not the same as misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

In Florida, possession of any amount of a THC concentrate is a felony offense. Cannabis is defined under Florida Statute § 893.02(3) as “all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin.” Marijuana concentrates are high-THC resin extracted from cannabis.

Any THC naturally contained in a plant of the genus cannabis, the synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the plant or in the resinous extracts of the genus cannabis, or synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity are considered Schedule I controlled substances in Florida.

Florida Statute § 893.13(6)(a) makes it a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000 for a person to be in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance.
Lawyer for THC Concentrates Arrests in Pensacola, FL
Possession of a THC concentrate can become a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fine of up to $ 10,000 if an alleged offender possesses, sells, manufactures, delivers, or possesses with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver a marijuana concentrate in, on, or within 1,000 feet of the a defined list of certain types of establishments.

THC concentrates may be sold legally in other jurisdictions, but lawful purchases in other states will not justify or excuse possession of such controlled substances in Florida. Florida Statute § 893.101(2) further establishes that knowledge of the illicit nature of a controlled substance is not an element of any offense under Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, otherwise known as the Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.

Were you arrested for possession of a cannabis concentrate or any other marijuana crime in Escambia County? Pensacola criminal defense attorney John Terrezza aggressively defends individuals in Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze, Milton, Navarre, and many surrounding areas of Escambia County.

Find out more about THC concentrates and marijuana possession when you visit our website.
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What is 'Actual Physical Control'?

While it might go without saying that a person commits the crime of driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida if he or she is driving a motor vehicle while he or she is under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance, or has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more, an individual can also be arrested for drunk driving if he or she is in "actual physical control" of an automobile while allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

Florida Standard Jury Instruction § 28.1 establishes that actual physical control of a vehicle means the alleged offender must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether he or she is actually operating the vehicle at the time.

In other words, the theory of actual physical control allows a person to be charged with DUI even if he or she was not necessarily driving. As the Fifth District Court of Appeal noted in Lamore v. State, 983 So.2d 665, 669 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008), "there is a legitimate governmental interest in addressing the drunk driving problem by making it a crime to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while impaired — thereby allowing an intoxicated person to be apprehended before he "strikes;" deterring those who have been drinking from getting into their vehicles, except as passengers; and protecting the public from the danger of an impaired person who places himself behind the wheel and could at any time and with little difficulty start the car and drive away."

People who are arrested for DUI based on allegedly being in actual physical control of vehicles often have sensible explanations for their actions, such as attempting to sleep off possible intoxication instead of driving. In general, DUI charges in an actual physical control case can often be reduced to reckless driving.

Lawyer for Actual Physical Control DUI Arrests in Pensacola, FL

Certain factors can lead to DUI charges based on actual physical control being possibly reduced or even dismissed. An alleged offender may be able to argue he or she was not in actual physical control of the vehicle if he or she was not seated in the driver's seat or the vehicle was inoperable at the time of the alleged offense.

Florida Standard Jury Instruction § 28.1 states that it is a defense to the charge of DUI if at the time of the alleged offense, the vehicle was inoperable. Such a defense is not allowed, however, if the alleged offender was driving under the influence before the vehicle became inoperable.

Actual physical control cases can be much more challenging for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, which is why such cases are typically ripe for plea negotiations. John Terrezza is a criminal defense attorney in Pensacola who represents clients all over Escambia County accused of DUI offenses.

Learn more about driving under the influence in Pensacola, Florida, by visiting our website.
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Medical Marijuana in Florida

Eight states have now legalized use of both recreational and medicinal marijuana (the District of Columbia legalized limited recreational and medical marijuana possession and cultivation, but not sales). Florida is among the 21 states that have legalized medical marijuana. While some states have allowed residents to possess psychoactive medical cannabis, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 that Governor Rick Scott signed on June 16, 2014, legalized the low-potency strain of marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web,” which contains 10 percent or more cannabidiol (CBD, the compound that has significant medical benefits of marijuana but not the psychoactive effects) but 0.8 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the euphoric compound that produces the euphoric effects.

The legalization of Charlotte’s Web was limited only to a select group of patients, such as individuals with cancer or chronic seizures, but it prohibited administration by smoking—meaning use of Charlotte's Web was limited to pills, oils, or vaporization. In 2016, 71.32 percent of Florida voters approved the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, which authorized marijuana for a much broader swath of patients.

The Office of Medical Marijuana Use writes and implements the rules for medical marijuana, oversees the statewide Medical Marijuana Use Registry, and licenses Florida businesses to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients. Amendment 2 became effective on January 3, 2017, as Section 29 in Article X of the Florida Constitution, which states that "medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver in compliance with this section is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law."

People who do not qualify are individuals who have been diagnosed to have debilitating medical conditions (cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient) who have physician certifications and valid qualifying patient identification cards—can still face criminal charges for marijuana possession, even if they need it for medical purposes.
Attorney for Medical Marijuana Arrests in Pensacola, FL
When a person who needs cannabis for medicinal purposes is charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession or any other related criminal offense, that individual may be able to assert what is known as the necessity defense. Also known as the "lesser of two evils" defense, the necessity defense essentially argues that a person who was forced by circumstances beyond his or her control to pick between two "evils" chose the criminal act that was less severe than the alternative outcome.

Other defenses may be applicable for certain kinds of marijuana crimes. If you or your loved one uses marijuana for a medical condition and you were recently arrested for any kind of cannabis offense anywhere in Escambia County, it is in your best interest to immediately contact Pensacola criminal defense lawyer John Terrezza.

Visit Our Website to find out more about Marijuana in Florida
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Usually individuals will contact an attorney after they have been accused of one crime. Here's a story we found about a lady that committed quite a few of them around some states including: robbery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, vehicle theft, and home invasion

To learn more about Florida crime laws visit:
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