Blog and News
"Current news and information concerning criminal law"
Barbara Blount-Powell has been a criminal defense attorney in Gainesville, Fl. since 1984 and became a partner at DeThomasis and Buchanan in 2001. She is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and has served as both President of the Eighth Circuit Chapter, and chapter representative to the state-wide board, of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Recently, I have heard from several people that they have been told by police officers that they had to answer an officer’s questions or face being arrested for “obstructing an investigation”? Is this true? In general, an officer may ask a lawfully detained person to identify him or herself. As with most legal questions, the full answer is not absolute and depends on specific circumstances, but, in general, it is not true that you must answer further questions, and an arrest would be unlawful. The law is far from crystal clear, and swirls around the definition and interpretation of the right to remain silent. A new case from the Florida Supreme Court has changed the law within our state as to the consequences of silence. Skip to the bottom for the short answer; read on for an explanation of how you get there…Continue reading
You have just been arrested for a first DUI and you are reeling with questions. Your driver’s license was taken by the arresting officer and you are faced with looming issues of how to manage work, school, and/or family care. Immediate legal advice is critical to maintain or maximize your ability to drive for work, educational, medical, and other necessary aspects of your life.Continue reading
There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but driving away may not be one of them if you have violated a number of non-driving laws/regulations in the State of Florida. It is reasonable to guess that violating civil or criminal traffic laws or using a motor vehicle to commit a crime might be cause to suspend one’s license, but many other reasons may provoke a revocation of one’s driving privilege.
The fear of terrorism and the rise of new police powers in the wake of 9/11 has resulted in the increasing militarization of local law enforcement, and the application of terrorism powers in the domestic "War on Drugs". The New York magazine and the Huffington Post examine this trend in current articles, finding a disturbing change in our domestic police culture from protect and serve to officer safety.
To read the full Huffington Post article click here.Continue reading
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of a Massachusetts district court that denied immunity from suit to police officers for arresting a man who video recorded their arrest of a person on the Boston Common. Given the public nature of their job and the public setting of the arrest that was being filmed, the federal appellate court spurned their claim that they should be immune from suit for arresting and jailing the videographer for a felony.Continue reading