Entries by Stephanie Pawuk

Can school administrators strip search my child? Juvenile Strip Search

Juvenile Strip Search

When you send your kid off to school in the morning you’d like to think they were safe, treated fairly, and that school officials were reasonable.  Although juvenile strip searches are rare in school, they can happen.

But can school administrators strip search my child?  Like all legal things – it depends.

In a recent federal case out of Georgia, a middle school boy was taken to the principal’s office because he … Read More

Arrested for a Probation Officer’s Mistake

You may not believe this, but people do get arrested for a probation officer’s mistake – sometimes with no bond.

An Example:

The other day I was in court in Pasco County, Florida; and a young guy was asking for termination of his probation because he was done with all the conditions and had paid all his fines and costs.  He had receipts and banks statements showing deposits in JPay right on his phone.  (JPay … Read More

DUI Video: Everything you say and do is recorded

DUI Video

One of the less pleasant events in defending a DUI is when I watch the DUI video.   In most cases, I have heard a fairly long and detailed explanation of what happened at the time of arrest.  Most times, my client advises me that they performed very well on the Field Sobriety Tests and that they were not drunk at all.  Sometimes, they are even aware of the fact that most of the … Read More

How do I get my adult child out of my house? Ejectment!


Many parents let their adult children live in their homes during difficult times.  Sometime these “children” take advantage, and the parents want them out.  But since there’s no lease agreement, and usually no other agreement, written or verbal, it’s difficult.

How do I get my adult child out of my house?

You can:

  1. File an Ejectment action in the Circuit Court
  2. File an eviction if there’s a written or oral lease with specific terms.

Read More

Felony Battery: What’s the difference between a felony or misdemeanor battery?

Felony Battery

If you have been charged with Felony Battery  or in the state of Florida, one of three things must have happened.  You touched or struck someone against their will and either:

  • Caused great bodily harm
  • Caused permanent disability, or
  • Caused permanent disfigurement
  • Or you’ve had a prior misdemeanor battery conviction. (that means adjudication)

To be charged with a misdemeanor battery, you simply need to touch or strike another person against their will.  … Read More

Criminal Punishment Code: How many points do I score?

Criminal Punishment Code

The Florida Criminal Punishment Code gives each felony crime a certain number of “points”. All felony crimes are assigned a “level”.

For example a 3rd degree felony grand theft is a level 4 felony – which counts for 22 points.

Every felony crime that someone pleas to or is found guilty of counts on the score sheet.  The highest crime goes first.

Every felony and misdemeanor crime you ever committed – even … Read More

Restitution: Why do I owe so much money?


If you were convicted of a crime which involved injury to another person or damage to their property, the court will most likely order that restitution be paid as part of your sentence.  This restitution order can be imposed whether the damage was directly or indirectly caused by you.  The law states that the injury or damage, however, must occur “as a result of the offense” and this can become a point of contention … Read More

Public Records: What Can a potential employer really see?

Public Records


Many people contact our office to discuss whether their prior criminal cases are public records and if they can be expunged.  But what happens in a case where an individual has not been arrested or charged with a crime.  What if they were merely, “investigated”, by police?

For example, they may have been a witness or a suspect in a crime, and were ultimately never charged with a crime, never … Read More

Destroyed Evidence

Destroyed Evidence

The laws regarding destroyed evidence are not as favorable to the accused as you may think.  Many times this issue comes up in DUI cases because police failed to preserve a video tape of field sobriety tests.  It has also come up in the case of missing blood samples and even breath samples.  But if it happens, it is a major issue in every case from drug possession to murder, and … Read More

Crime and Judgment: Hot Car Death in Palm Harbor, Florida

The judgments we make about those who are accused of crimes is interesting.  During an exercise class yesterday, I overheard two women talking about the recent death of a child left in a hot car, in Palm Harbor, Florida. They were saying how horrible it was that the father had been arrested. How no punishment the government could give would ever be more than he punished himself.  (One of the women knew the man).   Also, … Read More

Alternative Sanctions Program Violations of Probation

Quite simply, the alternative sanctions program allows people to avoid court if they violate felony probation for a minor rule.

In the past, a violation of felony probation meant a sure trip to jail.  Not anymore.  In both Pinellas and Pasco Counties, you may be eligible for the Alternative Sanctions Program for Violations of Felony Probation. It only works for a minor, or “technical” violation. (Make sure you scroll down to the last page of … Read More



Individuals attempting to become U.S. citizens through naturalization often believe that there are only a few requirements.  This may be true in many instances, but an experienced Pasco County Immigration attorney can make sure that you don’t have something in your background that causes your application to be denied.

For example, most people know that before becoming a naturalized citizen, you must first be eighteen years of age and a lawful permanent resident (… Read More

Crime Involving Property Damage

Crime Involving Property Damage

In Florida, when you commit a crime involving property damage it is called criminal mischief.  You may think that getting mad at your neighbor after a few beers and keying his car is not that big of a deal, but it is.  If the damage is over $1,000 then you have committed a third degree felony.  If it is over $200 but under $1,000 it is a first degree Read More