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Fort Myers Legal Issues Blog

Florida's penalties for domestic violence

It is not uncommon for people who spend a lot of time together to have disagreements. Spouses, dating partners, siblings and parents and their children can all butt heads over a variety of issues. Most often, these disputes end with harsh words and bitter feelings and the damage heals over time. In some instances, though, these disagreements turn into physical altercations. When this happens, allegations of criminal wrongdoing can be raised. Failing to aggressively defend one's self against such charges may result in the imposition of serious penalties.

An individual who is convicted of domestic battery can face not only serious penalties, but also multiple penalties. Of course, conviction can lead to time spent behind bars, whether in county jail or a state prison. Also, though, a conviction usually results in the imposition of mandatory participation in a 26-week batterer's intervention program. Failing to complete this program may lead to additional penalties.

Substance abuse can justify child custody modification

Child custody and visitation agreements are often the most prized and contentious items in family law. Most people love their children and will do anything to protect them. Issues can arise, though, when individuals differ over what they think is best for their child. When those differences can't be resolved through informal discussions, then the matter must be taken to court so that a judge can decide what type of arrangement supports the child's best interests.

Quite often here in Florida, these child custody cases revolve around substance abuse issues. Parental substance abuse can have a profound effect on a child. Children in homes where substance abuse occurs can be at an increased risk of being subjected to abuse or neglect, and these kids may also wind up experiencing housing instability and other familial financial issues like unemployment. These children can also face stunted emotional development, depression and anxiety, and even the onset of their own substance abuse issues.

Drunk driving conviction and the substance abuse course

Most Floridians know that a drunk driving conviction can result in serious penalties, including the suspension or revocation of one's driver's license, hefty fines, and even jail time. As severe as these penalties are, an individual can also be subjected to other, lesser known penalties, such as the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

Yet, the penalties don't stop there. Once convicted of drunk driving and serving any jail time, an individual will be placed on probation, which requires monthly reporting. In addition, an individual must complete a substance abuse course. This course must include a psychosocial evaluation, which could have recommendations with which the convicted individual must comply. So, if the evaluation recommends substance abuse treatment, then the convicted individual must seek out treatment and pay for all costs associated with that treatment.

Helping children of divorce secure emotional and mental stability

The end of a marriage is a difficult process, even for Florida readers who are amicable and committed to working through issues in a rational, thoughtful manner. No matter how easy a divorce may be, it will still impact the youngest members of the family. In fact, children often bear the scars of their parents' divorce years, even decades, after it was final. 

As a parent, it is logical to have concerns about how the decision to divorce will shape who your children become and how they function as adults. While the end of your marriage will affect your kids, there are things you can do that will minimize the negative impact and allow them to have a strong and stable future. One of the most important things you can do will be to keep your focus on the future for your children and what is best for them long-term.

Cape Coral man arrested on multiple drug charges

The law provides Floridians with a presumption of innocence until they are proven guilty of a criminal offense. This is no small thing. It shifts the burden to the state to present competent evidence that meets certain legal elements. Remembering this fact can give defendants the perspective needed to aggressively attack the prosecution's case, which may include limiting the prosecution's attempts to use an individual's criminal history as proof of guilt for a later offense.

One Cape Coral man may be in this situation now after being taken into custody on multiple drug charges. According to reports, authorities claim to have intercepted an international package that was destined for the man's residence, which they say contained a significant amount of ecstasy. Police then executed a search of the man's residence; they claim they found fentanyl, two guns, thousands of dollars in cash, and drug paraphernalia. These reports also pointed out the man's multiple prior felony convictions.

Prenuptial agreement can ease divorce tensions

Floridians going through a divorce can quickly find themselves overwhelmed. This is understandable. After all, there are a number of legal issues that must be addressed, and the outcome of each can have significant ramifications for an individual's future. If not handled correctly, property division can leave a person facing financial difficulty, alimony and child support matters can create an uncertain financial future, and child custody and visitation issues can have a tremendous effect on one's relationship with their children.

As stressful as these matters can be, many of them can be headed off before divorce is even contemplated. The best way to do this is to enter into a prenuptial agreement. These agreements, entered into prior to marriage, essentially serve as a contract, spelling out how certain legal issues will be addressed in the event of divorce. There are many advantages to a prenuptial agreement, including protecting one spouse from the other's debt, laying out an alimony arrangement if one party will be giving up a career, delineate the financial decision-making process throughout the marriage, and even protect inheritance rights of children from another marriage.

Florida's definition of drug paraphrenalia

When Floridians think about drug charges, they often envision those criminal offenses that are most obvious, such as possession and possession with intent to distribute. These drug crimes are common enough, and those accused of them need to vigorously defend themselves, but these offenses are not the only drug charges that can disrupt an individual's life. Instead, even seemingly minor crimes related to drugs can have a significant impact on one's life.

One such criminal offense is the possession of drug paraphernalia. A conviction based on the possession of drug paraphernalia can result in jail time, fines, and irreparable harm to one's reputation. Florida law has a very broad definition of paraphernalia, too, which means Floridians accused of this will have to be active in defending themselves if they hope to avoid harsh penalties.

Child custody and the child's best interest standard

Divorce is rarely an easy process to finalize, especially when there is a lot of animosity between the parties involved. However, the conflict often associated with divorce can be seen even in non-marital relationships, especially when children are involved. Many of these individuals will find themselves facing contentious child custody and visitation issues, the outcome of which may reshape their contact and relationship with their children. In other words, there is a lot at stake when dealing with these matters.

Couples that are unable to resolve child custody and visitation disputes on their own must litigate the matter in front of a family law judge. The judge will make a determination based on what they believe is in the child's best interests. To make this determination, a judge will consider a number of factors. The wishes of the child, if they are old enough, may play a critical role. Other considerations include any school and community adjustments that may affect the child, the relationship the child has with each parent, and the presence of any domestic violence or substance abuse issues on the part of the parents.

When is it necessary for fathers to seek a paternity action?

It can be difficult for Florida parents to work together on custody matters, whether they were never married or are going through a divorce. Custody, parenting time and parental rights are complex and emotionally charged issues, and it can lead to difficult disputes. If you are a father, you may find it particularly challenging to secure your rightful visitation time or custody rights.

Paternity is a factor in many cases involving fathers who want to seek time with their kids, especially if they were not married to the mother of the child. Issues such as presumed paternity and disputed paternity can be especially challenging and confusing for dads who simply want to protect the best interests of their children. If you are a father fighting for access to your kids, a paternity action may be necessary.

We know how to defend against drug charges

Recently on the blog, we discussed a raid the resulted in multiple drug charges being levied. The war on drugs has raged on for years, and many Floridians have found themselves the subject of criminal investigations as a result. The stakes are extremely high in these cases, as a criminal conviction can result in years or even decades behind bars.This is why those who have been accused of various drug crimes need to do everything they can to mount a successful criminal defense. There are many ways to do this. One common defense tactic is to assess whether or not the police acted in conformity with the law when discovering crucial evidence. For example, a traffic stop that had no legal basis could result in evidence of drug possession that was obtained after that stop being thrown out in court. This means that the evidence cannot be used against the defendant.There are many situations where evidence may be suppressed. Police may act without a search warrant or they may act beyond the scope of a legally obtained search warrant. Also, officers sometimes wrongly attribute drug possession to an individual when there are multiple individuals involved in the incident that led to arrest.With your freedom, reputation, money and future on the line, there is no option but for you to be aggressive in the way you approach criminal charges, particularly those involving drugs. The legal team at our firm has established a solid track record of success defending those who have been accused of these crimes.

With strong litigation skills, we are not afraid to take a case to trial. This leaves us in a strong bargaining position at the negotiation table. Therefore, we give our clients options so that they can make fully informed decisions that they think are in their best interest. Only then can they pursue a legal avenues that they feel will increase their chances of avoiding or beating the harshest penalties prosecutors are seeking to thrust upon them.

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Ian F. Mann, P.A.
1424 Dean Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Toll Free: 866-416-1488
Phone: 239-935-5935
Fax: 239-332-5242
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