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Fort Myers Legal Issues Blog

What is a child custody examination?

Child custody disputes are often hotly contested. In many cases, each parent believes he or she knows what is best for the child in question, but their visions don't always align. In fact, in many instances their beliefs about what are best for the child are completely opposite. When these child custody disputes can't be settled outside of court, the ultimate decision is left in the hands of a judge who knows very little, if anything, about the family. This is why a court, when requested by one of the parents, will sometimes order a child custody evaluation.

A child custody evaluation is the examination of each parent, and sometimes the child, in accordance with Florida Rules 12.360 and 12.363. These evaluations, which are usually conducted by mental health professionals, seek to gather information about the parents' physical and mental conditions, their parenting styles and any other issues that may be pertinent to the matter before the court, such as those relating to child abuse and neglect, domestic violence and substance abuse.

Drug crimes and the overdose defense

Drug overdoses are common reality in Florida. Sadly, fear of prosecution prevents many individuals from seeking help for themselves or others when an overdose is suspected. In fact, law enforcement officials often make arrests following an overdose. After all, there is usually ample evidence present at the scene of an overdose to prove that certain drug crimes have occurred.

Yet, Florida law provides protection to those individuals who, in good faith, seek out medical assistance for themselves or others who are experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose. Under the law, these individuals cannot be arrested or charged with a drug crime if the evidence was gathered as a direct result from an individual seeking help.

Divorce, property division and family businesses

Recently on this blog we discussed how marital homes can be dealt with during the divorce process. Dividing assets like the marital home can be challenging given the value and the emotions attached to them. Yet, an individual cannot let sadness or anger blur their vision when it comes to property division. If they do, then they may wind up on the losing end of an agreement, which can set them on poor financial footing when they start their post-divorce life.

Those who are dealing with a business during property division may want to be especially diligent in their efforts to achieve fairness, whatever that may look like under the circumstances at hand. The first step in handling a business in divorce is to consider whether it should be subjected to property division at all. If the business was started or acquired prior to a marriage with an individual's own funds, then it may be considered separate property that is exempted from divorce proceedings.

Was your child charged with DUI under zero-tolerance laws?

As a parent, you undoubtedly want to see your child thrive and do well in life. Now that he or she has reached adulthood -- albeit young adulthood -- you likely hoped that you would receive outstanding reports regarding grades in college, learn about awards and new friendships, and overall feel as if your child is on the right track.

What you may not have anticipated and were in shock to find out, however, is that an officer pulled over your child and charged him or her with DUI. Because he or she is under the age of 21, you may have felt dismayed that your child was consuming alcohol at all, let alone getting behind the wheel after drinking. 

Dealing with a marital home during property division

There are many legalities that must be addressed during the divorce process. Child custody, child support and alimony often take a lot of attention, but the outcome of property division can be crucial to one's financial position post-divorce. Although Florida recognizes equitable division of marital property, this does not mean that marital property has to be divided equally. This gives the parties to a divorce some flexibility to negotiate a settlement that fits their particular needs.

One of the biggest and most important assets that must be dealt with during the property division process is the marital home. While the marital home may hold a considerable amount of financial value, it can also possess a certain amount of sentimental value, too, which can make it hard for individuals to give up in a divorce.

Drunk driving conviction may affect professional license

Drunk driving allegations are serious. They cannot only threaten an individual with heavy fines, jail, prison and damage to his or her reputation, but they can pose significant professional consequences, too. Most professions conduct thorough background checks on applicants and newly hired employees, which means that many individuals with a DUI conviction are turned away by the jobs they seek. Although this can affect those who work in the retail and hospitality sectors, it can also affect professionals who are subjected to licensing standards.

As an example, let's look at the teaching profession in Florida. Under the profession's code of conduct, educators are required to self-report any criminal conviction, admissions of guilt, participation in pretrial diversion programs and no contest pleadings. These disclosures must occur within 48 hours. It is likely that those teachers who are convicted of drunk driving will be released from their position.

Long-term operation leads to many multiple drug crime arrests

In many cases, charges related to drug offenses are only brought against an individual after a prolonged investigation. Therefore, the authorities and prosecutors often believe that they have ample evidence to obtain a conviction. While this may be true in some instances, it is not always the case. In fact, sometimes police officers overstep their bounds and conduct illegal search and seizures, or they base their investigations on the word of witnesses who lack credibility. Even when the evidence seems stacked against an accused individual, strong criminal defense options may be available.

A number of Floridians may need to carefully consider those options now after the culmination of a three-month long investigation called Operation Triple Beam. According to reports, the Fort Myers Police Department cooperated with the U.S. Marshals Service, the Lee County Sheriff's Office, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to initiate well over 100 local arrests for drug crimes and weapons offenses. Apparently, as many as 90% of those arrests occurred in the Fort Myers area.

Drunk driving allegations can affect commercial drivers

It almost goes without saying that a drunk driving conviction can result in the imposition of serious penalties. Most people are aware that a DUI conviction can result in jail time and hefty fines, but they may not realize the damage that can be caused by an impounded vehicle, a suspended or revoked license or the mandatory implementation of an ignition interlock device. These penalties can wreak havoc on a Floridian's life, making it difficult for him or her to carry on with his or her normal daily tasks. In addition, it may become challenging or impossible to get to work, which can result in additional financial hardships that can have a severe ripple effect.

This may be especially true for those who drive a commercial motor vehicle for a living. These individuals are subjected to stricter standards, which means they must be aggressive when they need to protect their interests following DUI charges. The legal limit for those driving commercial motor vehicles is lower than it is for those driving standard automobiles. While the legal limit for those driving standard vehicles is 0.08%, the legal limit for those driving a commercial motor vehicle is 0.04%.

What property will you get to keep in your divorce?

One of the most common concerns people have when going through a divorce is what will happen to their personal property. It's frustrating to face the possibility that you could lose the things you worked hard for. You will find it beneficial to learn more about how property division works and how you can protect your future interests.

Marital property includes all of the things a couple accumulated over the course of the marriage. This includes real estate, retirement savings and more. All marital property is eligible for division between the two parties in a divorce, but separate property is not. Separate property includes certain things you owned before marriage or things to which your spouse does not have a rightful claim.

Fort Myers raids lead to multiple drug crime arrests

Drug crime convictions carry serious penalties. Those who are accused of these types of offenses therefore can be confronted with the very real possibility of years or even decades in prison as well as fines that can ruin their financial standing for life. Additionally, the criminal record that accompanies an individual who is convicted of a drug crime can negatively his or her life long after the individual pays his or her debt to society. Therefore, individuals accused of drug crimes need to aggressively fight to protect their interests.

Multiple individuals in Fort Myers may need to do just that after being taken into custody on numerous drug offenses. Reports indicate that an undercover investigation over the course of two months led to the search of two homes. Police allege that an undercover purchase of fentanyl led to the search of a home that resulted in the recovery of fentanyl, cocaine, oxycodone and Xanax. Two men at that residence were arrested.

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

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