Simple Assault v. Aggravated Assault

Simple Assault v. Aggravated Assault Q. What is the difference between a simple “assault charge” and an “aggravated assault charge”?

A. The difference between these two charges is separated by what act or acts characterize the assault, and what means are used to carry it out. “Assault” is defined as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act, to do violence to another person coupled with the apparent ability to do so, and the doing of some overt act that creates a well founded fear in the victim that such violence is imminent. [Florida Statute 784.011]. ” Aggravated assault” is an assault committed with a deadly weapon.. [Florida Statute 784.021].

Q. What types of charges and sentencing are associated with these crimes?

A. In the State of Florida, a simple assault charge is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty days in jail and aggravated assault is a third degree felony that punishable by up to five years. Other circumstances associated with this crime, however, may substantially increase that sentence.

If you or someone you know has been charged with any form of assault, you need an aggressive criminal attorney that will defend your rights. Andrew Shafii, Esq., and Mustafa Ameen, Esq. are former prosecutors who are knowledgeable about these crimes and are dedicated to helping you face the serious consequences associated with them. Call 1-800-436-4357 for a free consultation.

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How Many Drinks Does It Take?

How Many Drinks Does It Take?    When planning an evening out with friends, it is important to always appoint a designated driver to take you from point A to point B if alcohol is involved. You may predict that one beer won’t impair your judgment or significantly increase your Blood Alcohol Level, but the way your body absorbs alcohol varies depending on a variety of factors.  These factors range from your body weight to how much food you’ve eaten on a particular day.  Moreover, when people estimate of how many drinks it takes to become intoxicated or impaired, they tend to think that more drinks cause less damage than they actually do.  See the chart below.

So what Blood Alcohol Level can land you in trouble? It depends on your age and occupation. If you are over the age of 21 and legally able to drink, you will receive a DUI if you receive a breath test which reveals a Blood Alcohol Level of .08 or above. If you operate a commercial vehicle and have a commercial driving license, the threshold for a DUI is even lower. In other words, if you are caught operating a commercial vehicle with a Blood Alcohol level of .04 or above, you are likely to receive a DUI.  Lastly, it is common knowledge that if you are under the age of 21, you are not legally permitted to consume any amount of alcohol. Therefore, a breath test which reveals a Blood Alcohol level of .02 more in a minor driver, will likely result in a DUI charge for that individual.

BLUE = Impaired Driver RED = Legally Drunk Driver

Weight Number of Drinks
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
100 0.032 0.065 0.097 .0129 .0162 0.194 0.226 0.258 0.291
120 0.027 0.054 0.081 0.108 0.135 0.161 0.188 0.215 0.242
140 0.023 0.046 0.069 0.092 0.115 0.138 0.161 0.184 0.207
160 0.020 0.040 0.060 0.080 0.101 0.121 0.141 0.161 0.181
180 0.018 0.036 0.054 0.072 0.090 0.108 0.126 0.144 0.162
200 0.016 0.032 0.048 0.064 0.080 0.097 0.113 0.129 0.145
220 0.015 0.029 0.044 0.058 0.073 0.088 0.102 0.117 0.131
240 0.014 0.027 0.040 0.053 0.067 0.081 0.095 0.108 0.121

This table is provided as a reference and it should not be relied upon to determine whether you are capable of operating a motor vehicle. Always keep in mind that there are a number of variables that can influence whether you are legally qualified to drive.

    If you or someone you know has received a DUI charge, you need to consult with an experienced DUI attorney like Mustafa Ameen, Esq., or Andrew Shafii, Esq. They are former prosecutors who are committed to defending your rights. For your free consultation, call the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii today at 813-436-4357.

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Traffic Infractions: A Minor Infraction that May Affect YOU in a Major Way

Traffic Infractions: A Minor Infraction that May Affect YOU in a Major WayReceiving a traffic infraction can be expensive and time-consuming. Depending on the severity of your infraction, you can receive fines for up to $500 or mandatory court appearances in front of a judge. Aside from dealing with deadlines and the threat of facing a suspension if you do not meet them, there are lasting consequences that can affect the way your insurance company treats you following  receipt of a traffic infraction.

Florida law assigns point values for each moving violation you receive, depending on the severity of your violation.  For example, lesser infractions such as violating a right of way are associated with low point values and stay with you for only a short period of time.  More serious moving violations such as Careless Driving are associated with higher point values and may remain on your record permanently.  So, how do points affect the way you are covered?

Points on your license affect your driving record and help your insurance company determine whether you are a low, moderate, or high-risk driver. Low-risk drivers have lower premiums, while moderate to high-risk drivers are considered more expensive to insure. This is because insurance companies view moderate to high-risk drivers as more likely to get into accidents and cost them money. As a result, rates tend to increase with a high number of minor traffic tickets or one or more severe traffic infractions.

Because you can’t predict exactly how your insurance rates will be affected based on your infraction, it helps to hire an experienced traffic attorney who will attend court on your behalf and fight for a reduced fine and no points on your license. If you receive a traffic ticket, do not admit to guilt. Call the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii at 1-813-436-4357 to defend your rights and keep your insurance premiums at a low rate.

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Probable Cause in a DUI Investigation: How is it determined?

Probable Cause in a DUI Investigation: How is it determined?Imagine you are about to make your way home from your favorite hang out after an evening of visiting with some friends. You have 3 or 4 drinks over the span of an hour or so and feel slightly buzzed, but decide to drive home instead of calling a sober friend or taking an expensive taxi. To avoid smelling like alcohol, you spray some cologne, pop a piece of gum in your mouth and begin to drive away—but if you think that eliminating the smell of alcohol eliminates an officer’s probable cause to conduct a DUI investigation—think again.

Even without the strong or obvious smell of alcohol emanating from your vehicle, an officer may garner probable cause from an array of other circumstances. For instance, if you are exhibiting other signs of intoxication such as blood shot eyes, slurred words, difficulty following conversation, or any combination of these or other red flags, an officer may be able to establish probable cause for a DUI investigation based on “the totality of the circumstances”. In other words, all an officer needs to run a valid DUI investigation is the sufficient exigent evidence to establish reasonable grounds for it.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, or Sarasota County, call the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii at 813-436-4357 for your free DUI consultation. Andrew Shafii, Esq., and Mustafa Ameen, Esq., are experienced DUI attorneys and former prosecutors who can answer any questions you may have about your rights as well as possible defenses you may have to your charge.

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Have You Been Charged With Theft in Tampa? Call the Law Office of Ameen & Shafii Today!

Have You Been Charged With Theft in TampaQ. Have You Been Charged With Theft in Tampa? Call the Law Office of Ameen & Shafii Today!

Have you or someone you’ve known been charged with theft in Tampa, Florida? This charge can have a far-reaching impact on the rest of your life in terms of your livelihood, housing qualifications, and how society perceives you in general. When facing a charge like theft, it is important to know the laws where one will be prosecuted and how one can defend his case. For example, penalties for theft vary depending on the degree of the charge. Degrees are determined largely by the property value of the items allegedly taken. For stolen property between $100 and $300, Florida will prosecute a first time offender with petit theft, which is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty days of prison and a fine up to $500. Other factors can increase the severity of penalties incurred by the defendant, if convicted. For instance, if the property is taken from a premise other than a home, the charge will elevate to a theft charge in the first degree. More serious grand theft charges are felonious in nature.  The prosecution pursues felony theft charges against defendants accused of stealing property valued at or above $300. Differences in penalties arising under misdemeanor and felony theft charges vary drastically depending on the degree of the alleged crime and the criminal history of the offender. If you or someone you know is facing a theft charge of any type, contact the Law Office of Ameen & Shafii to begin fighting your charge. Andrew Shafii, Esq. and Mustafa Ameen. Esq. are former prosecutors who have the experience and knowledge to help you defend your case. Call us today at 813-236-4357 for your free criminal consultation!

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When convicted of a DUI, what is the average sentencing for a first-time offender?

When convicted of a DUI, what is the average sentencing for a first-time offender?Q. When convicted of a DUI, what is the average sentencing for a first-time offender? 

A first-time DUI offender will not be sentenced to more than 6 months of jail time. Keep in mind the average sentencing for a first time offender will increase with exacerbating factors. For example, factors such as having a minor in the vehicle or a Blood Alcohol Level of .15 can land a first-time DUI offender a maximum sentence of 9 months.

Q. What are the sentencing averages for a second-time DUI conviction? How does this change if the DUI convictions are in close range of one another?

Second-time DUI offenders will not serve more than 9 months in jail. Exacerbating factors will increase this type of sentence to up to one year. If the second DUI conviction is received within a 5-year- span, imprisonment of at least 10 days is mandatory.

When appropriate, DUI sentences can be served alternatively in a rehabilitation facility at the court’s discretion. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, call the experienced former prosecutors at the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii at 813-436-4357 today for your free consultation.

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The Holidays Are Right Around The Corner

The Holidays Are Right Around The CornerThe holidays are right around the corner. During this memorable time of time of year, most people are traveling from destination to destination to visiting friends and family.  This is a busy, exciting time of year, but if your celebrations involve alcohol there are a few things you should remember. DUI checkpoints are more prevalent during holidays and subsequently—the amount of those charged with DUIs all over the United States increase. The experienced DUI attorneys at The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii want you to have a safe, stress-free holiday season. Below are a few helpful tips from Attorney Andrew Shafii, Esq. advising how you and your loved ones can avoid getting into legal trouble this holiday season.

#5. BE COOPERATIVE WITH THE POLICE IF YOU ARE STOPPED.

Police officers serve a purpose. Ultimately, their aim is to keep you safe and keep the peace. Be respectful and responsive to their questions, but remember to protect your own rights as well.

#4. DO NOT VOLUNTARILY OFFER INFORMATION.

Answer questions and be polite, but DO NOT offer information about your activities. This includes telling the officer how many drinks you’ve consumed. This is not necessary, so keep it brief.

#3. KEEP IN MIND THAT ALL INTERACTIONS WITH THE POLICE MAY BE AUDIO RECORDED OR VIDEO TAPED.

This works to your advantage and disadvantage. This ensures that police officers are working within the scope of their authority and not unnecessarily violating you in any way. However, audio and video recordings can be used against you to pursue charges. Speak and act accordingly.

#2. DO NOT ALWAYS REFUSE THE EXERCISES OR BREATH TEST. SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT REFUSALS IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA CONSTITUTE A CRIMINAL OFFENSE AND COULD RESULT IN YOU SUBJECTING YOURSELF TO MORE TROUBLE THAT NECESSARY.

This tip directly correlates with number 5, which advises you to cooperate with police officers if stopped. Avoid confrontation and any behaviors that could be interpreted as insubordinate.  If you fear that the results may incriminate you, sort out the details with an experienced DUI attorney.

#1. LIMIT YOUR CONSUMPTION AND APPOINT DESIGNATED DRIVERS!

Have a few beverages in moderation and avoid compromising your reputation, freedom, and occupation.  Maintaining your ability to exercise good judgment is crucial! If you feel like you’ve had too many drinks, then appoint a trusted friend to get behind the wheel.  Don’t risk your livelihood over a weekend of fun! Enjoy your holiday.

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Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage and How It Can Benefit You

UM ArticleUninsured or Underinsured Motorist insurance is a coverage option designed to protect you and your family in the event you get struck by a driver who has little or no insurance. This type of coverage is important because it lessens the financial burden that arises if you or others covered by your insurance policy get into a serious car collision that results in severe injury. At times, drivers overlook the benefits of Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist insurance. This is because most drivers have Bodily Injury coverage or insurance which pays for wage loss, medical expenses, and future pain and suffering for parties injured as a result of their negligence. However, while this type of coverage is encouraged, it is not required for drivers to obtain Bodily Injury insurance under Florida law.  As you may be aware, the medical bills that accrue following serious accidents are expensive and difficult for injured drivers to handle without proper insurance. Even if the other party involved in a motor vehicle accident has Bodily Injury coverage, their policy limits may be insufficient to cover your expenses. Opting for Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist insurance is a proactive means of ensuring that you and your family are covered if you are involved in a serious accident. If you have recently been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii at 813-436-4357. Mustafa Ameen, Esquire, is an experienced Tampa Bay Personal Injury Attorney who is ready to handle your case today.

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Domestic Battery Charge

Domestic Battery ChargeQ. I’ve been charged with domestic battery for the first time. What should I expect and what measures should I take to protect myself?

In most circumstances, the Judge in your case has issued a no contact order.  This means that you are not allowed to contact the alleged victim in the case by any means, in person, call, text, email or through a third person.  This can create a problem in situations where you and the alleged victim have children in common or need to communicate to resolve some issue.  If the alleged victim does want to communicate with you or attempts to contact you, DO NOT contact them back.  Get in touch with our office and we can get the Judge to modify the no contact order.  This will allow you to legally communicate with each other.  If you violate the no contact order, the Judge can hold you in contempt of court and/or revoke your bond and take you back into custody.  There is a specific court division that handles domestic violence cases.  Mustafa Ameen was assigned there as an Assistant State Attorney and understands the complexities of these kinds of cases.  Contact Ameen and Shafii, former prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys from Tampa to discuss your case further.

Q. Are there any viable defenses to a domestic battery charge?

There are several defenses and technicalities that can defeat a domestic battery charge.  The most commonly used is self defense.  A common misconception is that If the alleged victim does not want to go forward with the case that the Assistant State Attorney will dismiss it.  This is not the case.  The decision to go forward or dismiss the charge is up to the Assistant State Attorney, not the alleged victim.  However, if the alleged victim does not want to go forward with the case, here at Ameen and Shafii we know how to frame the case to get a dismissal.  We are experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys and will fight your domestic violence charge.

Q. How will a charge of this nature affect my future?

Having a domestic violence charge on your record is a serious matter.  Employers will see that you have a propensity for violence and will be very reluctant to hire you.  The best thing to do is to fight your Tampa domestic violence charge by calling The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii at 813-436-4357.  We have helped thousands of clients fight their Tampa criminal charges and have the experience and passion to defend you.

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What Can I Expect if I am Stopped by Law Enforcement While driving on a Suspended License From a DUI Charge

I am Stopped by Law Enforcement While driving on a Suspended License From a DUI ChargeQ. What can I expect if I am stopped by law enforcement while driving on a suspended license from a DUI charge?

If you get caught driving on a suspended license from a DUI charge in Hillsborough County, you are likely to face a mandatory 10 day jail sentence if convicted. Surrounding counties usually impose more severe penalties which guarantee anywhere from a mandatory 30-60 day jail sentence for driving on a suspended license incurred from a DUI charge. Attorney Andrew Shafii, advises, “Do not drive yours or anyone else’s vehicle while your license is suspended as a result of a DUI. Consequences are severe and include jail time in most cases.  Multiple convictions for DUI and Driving with Knowledge of Suspended License (DWLS) charges also lead to enhanceable penalties and will have a lasting impact on an individuals ability to operate a vehicle in the future. These additional criminal charges will only compound the problem and may lead to a defendant becoming a habitual traffic offender.”

Q. How does one become a habitual traffic offender and what are the consequences?

Any combination of 3 DUI or DWLS convictions within a 5 year period will result in a habitual traffic offender label, and a mandatory 5 year suspension of one’s license will follow. If you or someone you know is facing multiple criminal traffic charges in Tampa, call the experienced former prosecutors at the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii today at 813-436-4357.

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