Law

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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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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Can Law Enforcement Search My Vehicle Without A Warrant?

Can Law Enforcement Search My Vehicle Without A Warrant?Q. Can law enforcement search my vehicle without a warrant?

Police are able to search your vehicle if they have probable cause that a crime is being committed.  The typical situation arises when an officer smells marijuana in the in vehicle or sees, in plain view, something illegal such as drugs.  Additionally, if you are arrested, the police are permitted to search your vehicle for an inventory of the items within the vehicle. The police can seize any illegal items found during the course of that search. Remember, if something is found in your vehicle, it is best not to admit that it is yours. Instead, contact the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii immediately.  We are on call 24 hours a day to handle your Tampa criminal charge.

Q. Can police search other intimate personal property such as cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices without a warrant?

Generally, police need a warrant to search cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices.  However, if law enforcement believes evidence on the device will be immediately destroyed, they may conduct a search without a warrant.  If you police have illegally searched your items, contact Tampa criminal attorneys Attorney Andrew Shafii, Esq. and Mustafa Ameen Esq. as soon as possible. They are former state prosecutors with the experience to help you defend your Tampa criminal charge.

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Florida Habitual Offender or “3 Strikes Law”

Florida Habitual OffenderQ. Does FL have a habitual offender or “3 Strikes Law?”

Yes, Florida has a very harsh habitual traffic offender rule.  There are multiple ways you can become a Habitual Traffic Offender and lose your license for 5 years.

Q. How does it work?

A. If you receive any combination of three driving while license suspended charges and/or driving under the influence within 5 years your license will be suspended for 5 years.  For example, if you receive two driving while license suspended charges and one driving under the influence or if you receive three driving while license suspended charges within 5 years you will lose your license for 5 years.

Q. If charged as a habitual offender what should I expect?

A. If you have been charged with a third offense you should not plea to the charge because you will lose your license for 5 years.  There are ways to convince the State Attorney to amend or reduce the charge to prevent the 5 year suspension.  If this is your fourth offense and you have already been classified as a habitual traffic offender and lost your license for 5 years, we may be able to go back on a prior case to reduce or remove that charge.  This will cause the habitual traffic offender status to be removed and you will be able to reinstate your license.  There are several conditions and requirements to do this, so it is best to contact The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii to discuss your specific case.  We are former prosecutors and Tampa criminal defense attorneys who have handled thousands of habitual traffic offender cases and can get you back on the road. Call 1-800-436-HELP today for your free consultation.

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Pulled over for a DUI?: How Refusing to take the Breath Test Can Affect You

dui-123rfWhen pulled over for a DUI, the officer may ask you to submit to a breath test designed to indicate whether your Blood Alcohol Concentration is above the legal limit of .08. Technically, this test is optional in Florida and law enforcement can’t force you to comply without your consent. If you are aware of this fact, you may be inclined to refuse a breathalyzer after you’ve had a few drinks. However, it is important to consider the lesser known consequences of initial and subsequent refusals in the state of Florida.

While saying “no” to the breathalyzer deprives prosecution of tangible evidence of your intoxication, it does not guarantee you won’t be convicted of a DUI after the fact.  Your choice can be used against you in court where the State may claim your refusal indicated you were in fact, under the influence.

Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer in Florida can breed serious consequences. For instance, saying no to the test after getting pulled over for a suspected DUI the first time can result in getting your license administratively suspended by the DMV for up to one year. Second refusals result in 18 month license suspensions by the DMV. These suspensions are routine and separate from any sanctions the courts can impose if you’re found guilty of a DUI charge.

If you’re arrested for a DUI and refused to take a breath test in Tampa, you need to hire an experienced DUI attorney who can protect and defend your rights. Andrew Shafii, Esq. and Mustafa Ameen, Esq. are skilled former State prosecutors who gained useful knowledge of how the prosecution in Florida interprets evidence in DUI cases. Call The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii at 1-800-HELP (4357) for your free consultation today.

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Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

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The Fourth of July is right around the corner and for most people that means celebrating with friends and family, getting away from work and other responsibilities over the holiday weekend, and traveling to and from destinations. This is a memorable, leisurely time of year, but if your celebrations involve alcohol there are a few things you should remember. Holiday weekends increase the prevalence of DUI checkpoints and subsequently—the amount of those charged with DUIs all over the United States. The experienced DUI attorneys at The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii want you to have a safe, stress-free holiday weekend. Here are a few helpful tips from Attorney Andrew Shafii regarding how you can avoid getting into legal trouble this holiday weekend:

#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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Arrested for a Tampa DUI, how you can beat the case.

DUI attorneyBeing arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) can have a devastating effect on your family, career, and future.  Recently, Florida House of Representative Dane Eagle resolved his DUI charge and was able to get the DUI reduced to a lesser charge of reckless driving.  Because he was able to get a reduction, he was able to avoid a DUI conviction on his record, a 6 month license suspension, and other court sanctions.

A Tampa DUI lawyer like Ameen & Shafii can help reduce or eliminate these consequences.  We conduct a throughout investigation of the police report to identify inconsistencies and mistakes.  In addition to the report, many Tampa DUI cases have videos from the officer’s vehicle.  An experience Tampa DUI lawyer like Ameen & Shafii have watched thousands of videos and know what the State Attorney is looking for and what the defense should identify as weaknesses in the case.  If you took a breath test, we will also analyze the machine and pull monthly logs to determine if it was ever out of service or had testing issues.  Hiring the lawyers at Ameen & Shafii, who are experienced former prosecutors, to defend your Tampa DUI case can be the difference between winning and losing your case.

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