Entries by Stephanie Pawuk

Recuse a Judge for Facebook “friends” – What makes a judge unfair?

Can you recuse a Judge for Facebook “friends”?  Some Florida courts say that you can. Some say you can’t.  Like all things legal – it depends on the facts.

Thinking about your own Facebook account, how many  “friends” do you have?  How many are really your “friends”?  If you’re like most people, you have hundreds of Facebook “friends” who you never hang out with, call, or even see.


Believe it or not, Florida courts … Read More

Jail Time for Domestic Battery

Governor Scott just signed HB 1385 into law and it requires jail time for Domestic Battery charges.  UNLESS, your lawyer can get the State or the judge to agree not to send you to jail.

Previously, if someone was convicted of domestic battery, and any harm was caused, the judge could sentence the person to 5 days in jail. I rarely see this happen.  And it’s never happened to one of my clients.

Jail time

Now, … Read More

Jail or Treatment

If an individual is charged with a second or subsequent DUI, they should know that the minimum jail sentence required can be satisfied by jail or treatment in a residential facility.  For example, if you are charged with a third DUI within ten years there is a mandatory thirty day jail requirement as part of your sentence.  However, if the court approves, all or part of this sentence may be served in a residential Read More

Crime and Punishment

I recently attended a continuing legal education seminar on issues of Law and Politics from the perspective of historical political philosophers which reminded me that Crime and Punishment was not just some old book.  Some of the thinkers we discussed were Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Francis Bacon, Emerson and Plato.  The ideas of other great writers and thinkers such as John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, and even Russian greats such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, were interwoven in the … Read More

Unlawful Detainer

There are many circumstances when a home owner needs to remove an individual living in their property by filing an Unlawful Detainer action because there is no lease.  Here’s how it works.  If there is an oral or written agreement which spells out a rental amount to be paid or work to be exchanged for living arrangements, then a lease has been created and this counts as a residential tenancy. It means that you … Read More

Juvenile Detention – Top 10 things to do if your child is Arrested

The question of what to do if your child is arrested is one I answer almost every day.  Depending on the crime, and the juvenile’s prior criminal record, a juvenile can be held in secure juvenile detention for up to 21 days.  And that’s BEFORE he or she is ever found guilty.

Here are the top 10 things to do:

  1. If you get a call from the police that your child is being

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Diabetes and DUI: Legal Defenses for Diabetics charged with DUI

Diabetes and DUI are complicated legal and medical issues. If you have diabetes and are arrested for DUI, you may have a defense.  Especially if you took a breath test and blew over the legal limit. Contact our experienced Trinity DUI defense attorneys to discuss your defenses.

Most people think breath tests are accurate.  Breath tests are not always accurate, especially if you have certain medical conditions. Diabetes can significantly affect the accuracy of the … Read More

Can the police search social media profiles? YES and they do

Can the police search my social media profile?  Yes and they do. Police regularly search social media for evidence of crimes, to see who you associate with, to see if they can get you to admit to crimes.   CNN reports that 4 out of 5 police have used social media during an investigation.  That number is probably higher than anyone wants to admit.

Why are the police looking at your pictures and posts on … Read More

DUI Eye Tests – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

When you are stopped for suspicion of DUI, the officer may give you a DUI eye test, called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus or HGN.  It’s one of the ways police officers use to determine a driver’s sobriety. You may have seen this where the officer holds a pen light up to your eye and tells you to follow it without moving your head.

One of the more popular exams is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) … Read More

Arrest Warrant – Do the police need a warrant to come into my house?

Do the police need an arrest warrant to come inside a house in order to arrest someone?  Most people think of warrants they think of search warrants where the police come into a house and search for drugs.  But what if the police come to a home to arrest a person?  Do they need a warrant?

Usually.  But there are exceptions which depend on the facts of your particular case.  If the police have … Read More

Negligent Homicide

Many have heard the term Negligent Homicide in cases involving DUI or discharging of a firearm causing death. There is a specific term used in Florida criminal statutes known as Culpable Negligence that defines what kind of behavior can be criminally prosecuted if the negligent behavior causes death. The actual charge would be Aggravated Manslaughter, a first  degree felony, and the State would have to prove that you caused the death of another acting … Read More

Will I go to jail for DUI?

Many times a client comes into my office asking: “Will I go to jail for DUI?”

Most times, the person has a prior conviction and has some knowledge of the law.

They know that if they have a:

  • second conviction within five years there is a mandatory 10 day jail sentence.
  • that a third offense within 10 years carries a minimum 30 day jail sentence or can be filed by the State Attorney’s Office as

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Cell Phone Searches – When can the Police search my Phone?

Cell Phone Searches are common in all criminal cases today. If you are arrested, especially for a drug charge, the police will want to search your phone. Why?  Because they think they’ll find evidence of who you sell to or buy from.

But can they?  No.

In order to search your cell phone – UNLESS YOU GIVE CONSENT – the police must have a warrant.  Warrants are much easier for the police to get … Read More