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Frank Russo
1,674 followers -
St. Petersburg / Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney
St. Petersburg / Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney

1,674 followers
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Your Word Against The Cop: What Can Be Done?
There are “bad apples” in every profession. Nothing can be further from the truth than the systematic firing of deputies at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office over the past twelve months. Allegations of lying, cheating, stealing, lust, dereliction of duty, laziness and violence have taken on a surreal view of how we were once taught about the steadfast integrity of police officers. Today, the public seems far more sophisticated in their need to question the truthfulness of every witness, including police officers. #pinellas #criminal #lawyer #attorney #dui #arrest
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You could argue that many DUI cases amount to “Trial by Machine.” That is because under Florida law, the breath test evidence carries a “presumption of guilt” if the jury concludes that the driver was operating his vehicle at the time when his breath alcohol level was a .08 or above. Given the evidentiary weight afforded Intoxilyzer results, it is imperative that you have a qualified St. Petersburg DUI defense attorney scrutinize the testing protocol. It is of paramount importance to review the machine’s calibration and examine the credentials of those law enforcement officers involved in the breath testing process. #dui #pinellas #breathtest #stpetersburg #clearwater #lawyer #attorney
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Most people arrested for a DUI are first time offenders. However, it doesn’t get any less stressful for multiple offenders. Truth be told, a DUI arrest can be a nerve-wracking experience. Much of the anxiety comes from the unknown. There are potential driver’s license and insurance premium ramifications. Then there is the fear associated with exposure to a possible jail sentence.  If you have recently been arrested in Pinellas County for a DUI offense, your very first step should be to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney. Initial consultations are typically free. Don’t be too hard on yourself. After all, as this article points out, a DUI arrest can happen to anybody.
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Parents are famous for warning their offspring that “nothing good happens after midnight.” Perhaps there is a seed of truth in that old axiom when it comes to bars and night clubs. Fights with Bouncers or other bar patrons are common place. Bouncers are often looking for a good excuse to “break a few heads” and drinking customers are known to exercise poor choices after having “one to many.” But, the real problem comes when the police intervene. Unfortunately, Pinellas county law enforcement authorities are loath to do a thorough late night investigation. They are more interested in taking immediate action to quell the disturbance. As a result, there is often a rush to judgment that the person who was consuming alcohol is likely the guilty party. A pleasant night out on the town can quickly turn into an ugly arrest for battery, battery on a licensed security officer or a disorderly conduct charges. Having a lawyer quickly intervene after your arrest is paramount to your efforts in seeking the best possible outcome.
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Florida’s new mandatory $5,000.00 civil penalty for solicitation of prostitution cases has drawn renewed attention to the world’s oldest profession. It has also inspired the St. Petersburg Police Department to orchestrate new sting operations at 16th Ave and 34th Street North. Undercover female police officers pose as would be prostitutes, and are astute at making comments that are subject to multiple interpretations. Those caught in Law Enforcement’s snare can face an additional mandatory court cost obligation of $450.00 along with $50.00 “cost of prosecution.” They are also subject to paying “investigative costs” (approximately $50.00) that represent a reimbursement to taxpayers for the cost of the police investigation. But that’s only the beginning. There is a mandatory driver’s license revocation if the accused committed this law violation from a vehicle. If that vehicle was seized by the St. Petersburg Police Department, St. Pete Local Ordinance 20-122 will necessitate the payment of an additional $500.00 to get the car released from the impound lot. Don’t bother pulling out your calculator… I already did the math. We have now exceeded six grand. A bit excessive? After all, we are talking about conduct that never entailed a sexual act. For that matter, there was not even a real victim. In reality, this is an offense limited to spoken words between two adults… one of whom was play acting. 
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If you have violated your felony probation, your probation officer  may told you about the new “Alternative Sanctions Program.” No warrant, you avoid arrest and you don’t even have to appear in front of a judge. Does it sound too good to be true? Should I comply with my probation officer’s request to summarily sign an admission that I violated my probation? Or, should I ask for a brief period of time to speak first with a qualified Pinellas county criminal defense attorney? 
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DUI penalties are the “darling” of the Florida Legislature. Politicians love to vote for amendments to our DUI laws because they believe it suggests to their constituents that they are “tough on crime.” As a result, with almost every legislative session we see enhancements to Florida’s DUI laws. For example, the presumptive level of impairment was lowered from a .10 to a .08. A few years later, ignition interlocks became all the rage. Thereafter, mandatory enhanced penalties associated with higher breath alcohol levels were made more far reaching. In the past, it took a breath alcohol level of .20 or above to be subject to these tougher consequences. Whereas today, a driver’s Intoxilyzer results need only be a .15 or above and he is facing a higher fine and subject to increased incarceration. If a friend or relative suggests that you don’t need a lawyer, it is only because of their unfamiliarity with the subject matter. DUI cases are complex. They involve scientific evidence presented in a criminal court forum, administrative DHSMV hearings, driver’s license consequences. If convicted, you can also count on a cancellation of your automobile insurance policy, or at a minimum, a significant increase in the premiums you pay. The Law Offices of Russo & Russo offers free initial consultations for DUI cases arising out of Pinellas county.   #pinellas   #dui   #lawyer   #stpetersburg   #clearwater   #arrest  
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Alcohol or substance abuse treatment can sometimes play an important role in seeking the best possible outcome to a criminal charge. Your judge does not want the extra work created by you entering the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system. Addressing an underlying addiction problem is likely to keep you from being rearrested and at the same time lighten the judge’s workload. Voluntarily seeking counseling or treatment likewise sends a positive message to the judge. It means says that:

• You recognize that you have an addiction problem;
• You have voluntarily taken steps to address the problem;
• Your proactive efforts confirm that you have taken your  criminal charge seriously;
• You have respect for the judge and our system of justice.

Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers Frank Russo, Marc Pelletier and Tim Sullivan work closely with their clients in addressing addiction issues. Recently, the trio was honored by Operation PAR and named as one of the “45 Stars” who have contributed to the success of their counseling/treatment program over the past forty-five years. Operation PAR is well respected by our local judges. They have a proven record of helping people battle addiction and avoiding re-arrest. 
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If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Pinellas county, one of the first things your lawyer will do is to look in the Odyssey computer justice system to ascertain which particular judge has been assigned to your case. A rotation of judges can occur in both January and July of each year. The chief judge decides if a particular judge should remain in his or her courtroom division, or whether they should be rotated to a new division assignment. Knowing which Pinellas County Judge is assigned to your case can impact your lawyer’s strategy in formulating your defense. In fact, there are a host of intangible factors that need to be taken into consideration when considering possible solutions to your criminal charge. #pinellas   #attorney   #lawyer   #stpetersburg   #clearwater   #criminal   #arrest  
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It is often referred to a “legal lingo” or “legal jargon.” But in truth, what non-lawyers might view as “semantics” or “superfluous language” can in actuality have life changing implications. This is often the case when it comes to a general misunderstanding of Florida legalese such as “no contest,” nolo contendere” “adjudication” and “withhold of adjudication.” When you are facing a criminal charge in Pinellas county, these words can correlate to enormous differences in how your future is impacted. Such differences can amount to avoiding the stigma of being a convicted felon, saving your privilege to drive, being terminated from your job and protecting yourself from civil liability in a contemporaneous lawsuit. You only have one chance to get it right when you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense. It is imperative that you timely discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Lastly, don’t be afraid to interrupt him if he uses a word that seems foreign or for which your understanding is unclear.   #pinellas   #lawyer   #attorney   #criminal   #traffic   #stpetersburg   #clearwater   #nocontest   #withholdadjudication  
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