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Shalimar Legal Blog

When taking your medicine lands you in criminal court

When the topic of DUI charges comes up, most people think of drunk driving. They may be surprised to learn that, in Florida, a person can end up facing DUI charges without taking a single sip of alcohol.

In addition to forbidding drunk driving, Florida law also prohibits driving while under the influence of drugs, including prescription medication. So, DUI charges can come out of allegations of such behavior. If the court finds you took the drug and were impaired while driving, you may face conviction even if the drug in question was medication your doctor prescribed for you, and you took it according to instructions.

Getting through a divorce in Florida

Not all marriages are meant to last. In fact, the common refrain is that about half of all marriages will end in a divorce. While that estimation may be more or less accurate, the fact is that thousands of Florida residents will likely go through a divorce at some point in life.

Getting through a divorce can be challenging, but the challenges need to be met. For starters, any couple going through a divorce will need to address property and debt division. These financial aspects of the divorce can be among the thorniest of issues, as financial problems tend to be one of the reasons that couples end up getting a divorce to begin with.

Think you don't need a will? Think again

Most Florida residents know that they need to have an estate plan in place, yet the task of estate planning is routinely one that is pushed aside to be addressed later. But, no one knows what is going to happen to them today, tomorrow or anytime in the future. So, is it acceptable to just go through life without an estate plan, or at least a will? Probably not.

There are millions of Americans who do not even have a will drafted, let alone other documents to compile a comprehensive estate plan. When someone doesn't have a will in place, they are leaving the decisions about the distribution of their assets to state law. Do you think that you don't even have enough assets to worry about, and thus you do not need a will? If so, that is a tricky approach to the situation.

National news about Florida man who owed over $500,000 in support

For some people, child support is a financial burden that they are always looking for ways to get out from under. There are many honest reasons for why Florida residents get behind on child support payments: maybe they unexpectedly lost their job; maybe the initial order of child support was higher than they expected; or maybe other financial circumstances have changed for the worse. But, it is hard for a person to get nearly $550,000 behind on child support unless that person is willingly disobeying a court order.

By now, many of our readers have seen the news story that is making the rounds nationally about a Florida man who recently went missing while paddle-boarding near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When a person goes missing, that is definitely a news-worthy concern, but the big reason for national news coverage in this case is the amount of unpaid child support that the man owed: $549,000.

The evidence that can be used in your criminal defense strategy

When Florida residents are arrested and face criminal charges, their immediate thoughts will go to how the arrest will impact their lives. For some, family relationships will be strained. For others, they could lose their job. An arrest - even without a conviction - can have a significant impact on a person's life. However, in processing the arrest and the consequences, Florida residents will need to begin planning a criminal defense strategy.

As part of the process, Florida residents will need to think about the evidence that can be used in the case, specifically if the case goes to trial. There are four main forms of evidence: testimonial, real, demonstrative and documentary evidence.

Basics of child custody in Florida

If you face divorce when your children are still young, one of the first things you will wonder about is how custody works. Getting some basic facts can provide a framework for figuring out what you need to discuss when consulting your attorney.

Today, Florida law discusses time-sharing rather than custody and visitation. While, in practice, this distinction in terms does not change that much about the practical arrangements most people make, it represents a shift away from thinking of one parent as the primary or real parent and the other as the one that enjoys visits.

What are the most common field sobriety tests?

Most of our readers in Florida are likely to be familiar with one of the most common aspects of a drunk driving stop: field sobriety tests. But, what are the most common field sobriety tests that law enforcement officials put people through during a DUI stop?

There are three common field sobriety tests performed in Florida, as well as the rest of the country, when it comes to DUI stops. The first is known as the "horizontal gaze nystagmus" test. Our readers will likely be more familiar with this test as the "follow the tip of my pen" test. In these tests, the police officer will move an object, usually a pen, back and forth in front of a person's face and ask the person to follow the tip of the pen with their eyes only - not by moving their head. The police officer is looking for jerking movements in the person's eye movements, which can be an indication of intoxication.

What should Florida residents know about divorce after 50?

Couples getting divorced isn't a new phenomenon, but nowadays it is becoming more common to see couples who have been married for decades decide to the take the plunge and end their marriages. It is becoming so common that it even has a label: "grey" divorce. Unfortunately, older couples may encounter different challenges in a divorce than a younger couple. So, what should Florida residents know about getting a divorce after the age of 50?

Well, for starters, the recent article focused on those couples in which only one of the spouses makes a significant income - the other might be a "stay-at-home" parent or spouse. For the individual who is on the lower side of the earning spectrum, the job market can be a challenge. They may find that, as they try to test the employment waters, they lack the skills that employers desire in today's market. That can be challenging for a newly single divorced individual who needs to get a job to make ends meet.

The right approach to a criminal defense strategy

It is an unfortunate reality that thousands of Florida residents will be arrested each year. An arrest can have a significant impact on a person's life, potentially causing them to lose their job or even affecting child custody arrangements, among other potential consequences. But, the good news is that an arrest is not a conviction - every Florida resident has the constitutional right to present a criminal defense.

However, determining the right approach to a criminal defense strategy can be complicated. After all, no two arrests are the same - the factual circumstances are different, the number of people involved in the incident may vary and the amount of evidence that law enforcement officials have collected may vary as well. Based on the crime charged, one criminal defense strategy can look quite different from another.

The estate tax and its exemptions

There are a lot of considerations that have to go into estate planning. As we have discussed on this blog previously, individuals must consider whether wills and trusts will be beneficial to them and, if so, how best to craft them to meet their needs. While the focus of these legal instruments is often to protect assets from creditors and ensure asset distribution in accordance with an individual's wishes, there may be another major issue that needs to be considered: taxes.

Many Floridians have heard of the estate tax, a tax that many refer to as the "death tax." Under federal law, as of 2017, those who have an estate with a gross value of more than $5.49 million will be required to pay the tax, which can be quite significant. When determining the gross value of an estate, the government will consider everything from real estate and mortgages to stocks, cash and insurance policies. It is worth noting that the tax applies only to the amounts that exceed the estate limit, that being $5.49 million in 2017.

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