To blow or not to blow, that is the question

April 26, 2017
As a Drug and Alcohol attorney who helps individuals and families navigate the legal system to take advantage of the Marchman Act (Florida’s involuntary commitment statute for drug and alcohol disorders), I also represent people that have been arrested for drug or alcohol related offenses. One of the offenses that I most frequently get retained on is DUI.  As such, the question I get asked more often than any is whether or not the client should or should not have taken the breath test.  Based on my twenty-two (22) years of experience handling these cases, this is my personal opinion, other attorneys may have a different opinion.  This only applies to Florida DUI cases, the laws may be different in other states. Before I share my thoughts with you, let me say that you should never drink and drive, period.  There is no excuse for having a drink, even one drink, and getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  With the advent of Uber and Lyft, a safe ride home is just a click away.  There is no excuse for endangering your life or the lives of others when you’ve had a drink and plan to get behind the wheel.  Ditto if you’re under the influence of drugs or medication that affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle (most prescription meds warn about the dangers of mixing meds and alcohol).  As someone who’s had a family member killed by a drunk driver, I say this in the strongest terms possible.  Nevertheless, I take my oath of attorney very seriously and we always do the best job possible for our clients. If you are stopped by the police, you have an absolute right to remain silent and not answer any questions about how much you’ve had to drink or where you’ve come from.  This applies even though the officer will likely not tell you that you have the right to remain silent (the US Supreme Court has ruled that a person stopped for an “ordinary” traffic stop is not in custody for purposes of Miranda).  So, be polite, tell the officer(s) you intend to remain silent on the advice of counsel and produce your documents when asked to do so. If the officer smells booze on your breath, I can pretty much guarantee that you’re taking a ride downtown to the local county jail (you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride).  As such, it is likely that you will be asked to perform roadside sobriety tasks/exercises as part of the officer’s evidence gathering process.  You have an absolute right to refuse to do the tasks, although you will not be told that is the case.  Do not perform the roadside tasks, ever.  You’re almost certainly being arrested anyway. Subsequent to your “lawful” arrest, you will be asked to submit to a breath test.  The sanction for either blowing over the legal limit or refusing to take the breath test is outlined below.  Keep in mind that this is purely an administrative sanction and is separate and apart from the criminal sanctions you face for

DUI and pills don’t mix

January 27, 2017
Roger David Hyman Posted: 1:29 p.m. Tuesday, January 17, 2017 A Palm Beach man was arrested early Monday on charges of driving under the influence and felony drug possession, according to Palm Beach police. Roger David Hyman, 61, was pulled over after an officer noticed his vehicle swerving frequently and driving over the curb at one point, a police report said. The officer started following Hyman’s vehicle at 5:05 a.m. Monday in the 200 block of North County Road. The report stated that when the officer pulled him over, Hyman was lethargic and his T-shirt was inside out. The report said several loose Oxycodone and Xanax pills were found in the vehicle and in a cigarette carton that Hyman had in his pants. Hyman is charged with possession of a Schedule IV drug and possession of a Schedule II drug, both felonies, in connection with the pills, the report said. He also is charged with misdemeanor DUI. Hyman was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on $3,000 bond shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. He could not be reached for comment. His court date has not been scheduled, according to court records.  

Two Suicides in 24 Hours in Flagler as County Officials Seek Renewed Focus on Mental Health

January 27, 2017
FLAGLERLIVE | JANUARY 11, 2017     On Tuesday, Steven J. Fortier, a 27-year-old resident of Spruce Street in Bunnell, was found dead at 5060 Walnut Avenue in the Mondex, also known as Daytona North. A Waste Pro truck driver making his rounds in the area reported to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office that while picking up garbage at the intersection of Walnut and Papaya, he noticed what appeared to be a man hanging from a tree, and was unsure whether it was a mannequin or a person. He’d been at that intersection earlier in the day. He decided to go to the sheriff’s office in Bunnell, where he reported what he’d seen because, according to an incident report, it had been “bothering him all day.” Deputies responded to the area at 3 p.m. and confirmed the death of Fortier at 3:02 p.m. “Under him was a ladder that was knocked over. His hands were bound loosely in front on him with blue rope,” the incident report stated. Mark Strobridge, the sheriff’s office’s chief spokesperson, who was at the scene with Sheriff Staly later in the afternoon, said “there appears to be no indication of any type of foul play at this point.” There were two vehicles in the driveway, neither of which belonging to Fortier, who usually drove a 1997 Chevrolet. Deputies found what the incident report describes as “a large dog” in the house on Walnut, but no other residents, and no sign of struggle in the house. “However the dog had begun to rip through trash and other items,” the incident report states. Fortier on Dec. 19 had posted on his Facebook page that he had a new dog, whom he called Rocky and whose picture he posted. “While clearing the residence I observed a note stating the dog’s care instructions located above the kitchen island counter in a cabinet. On the counter under the note was a manila envelope that had a name and address and stated ‘confidential’ on it,” the deputy reported. The incident report does not detail the contents of the envelope. Fortier, according to his Facebook page, worked at Oceans Fences and Rail in Bunnell. The Medical Examiner arrived at the scene around 5:30 p.m. Police responded to the second suicide this morning at 244 Ocean Palm Drive in Flagler Beach, where 73-year-old William Dessing was reported to have killed himself by gunshot. Dessing was found by his wife, a gun in hand. She told authorities that he’d been in a lot of pain recently with back problems. He was pronounced dead at 8:48 a.m. The Medical Examiner removed the body at 1 p.m. Staly briefly referred to the suicides this morning, attending his first meeting of the Public Safety Coordinating Council as sheriff. Staly talked about the Crisis Triage and Treatment Unit grant he’d helped secure for Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare as undersheriff more than two years ago, a grant that allows deputies in Flagler to take individuals who meet the criteria of

Man flees from officer trying to initiate a Marchman Act detention

January 26, 2017
Man Dies After Fleeing Deputy On Foot A 29-year-old Palm Harbor man was struck by a Ford Escape after fleeing from a deputy on foot Wednesday night. He died Thursday morning. By Sherri Lonon (Patch Staff) – January 26, 2017 1:18 pm ET ShareTweetGoogle PlusRedditEmailComments Man Dies After Fleeing Deputy On Foot PALM HARBOR, FL — A Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy’s attempt to save a man believed to be impaired from harm Wednesday night didn’t turn out as expected. According to the agency, the man fled the deputy’s custody, was struck by a Ford Escape and died Thursday morning from injuries he sustained in the crash. The incident that led to Matthew Lindley’s death began around 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25. According to the sheriff’s office, Deputy Ian Collman was on patrol when he spotted a dark SUV stopped in the road on U.S. 19 North, just south of Tampa Road. Collman, who was heading southbound, made a U-turn to investigate the vehicle stopped in the northbound lanes, an email from the sheriff’s office said. As Collman was approaching, Lindley got out of the vehicle and its driver drove away. Collman approached Lindley, 29, and determined he “he had been drinking and he was impaired to the extent that he was a danger to himself or others,” the email said. Collman tried to take Lindley into protective custody under the Marchman Act, but “Lindley resisted the deputy’s efforts and a struggle ensued.” Deputies say Lindley pulled away from Collman as he tried to put handcuffs on him. “Deputy Collman grabbed Lindley’s T-shirt to regain control of Lindley, but Lindley broke free by pulling off his T-shirt and ran westbound into traffic on U.S. Highway 19 N.,” the email said. Get free real-time news alerts from the Palm Harbor Patch. SUBSCRIBE At that time, a 2010 Ford Escape driven by Malcon Suttie, 82, of Tarpon Springs was heading north on U.S. 19. Deputies say Linley ran into Suttie’s path and was struck. Lindley was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. Deputies say he had an active warrant out for his arrest for failure to appear in court on drug paraphernalia charges and also an active writ related to child support. Lindley’s Thursday’ morning death was announced by the sheriff’s office around 1:10 p.m. Jan. 26. No charges related to the crash were announced.

The Affect Of The Drug Overdose Epidemic Is Felt Nationwide

October 11, 2016
The Department of Justice designated the last week of September as National Heroin and Opioid Awareness week. The Obama Administration also announced a “week of action” to raise awareness about the rising public health crisis caused by drug overdoses. On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer hosted a Town Hall meeting at Lynn University. “The heroin and opioid epidemic is the most urgent challenge that we face in the public health arena,” Ferrer said, “this is not a fight one agency can face alone.” WATCH THE VIDEO LINK BELOW: WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT THIS EPIDEMIC IN PALM BEACH FL? In addition to the Events like the one at Lynn University that helps raise awareness, Palm Beach County is also making efforts to directly combat this rise in overdose deaths by partnering the Health Care District of Palm Beach County — the taxpayer-supported safety net for medical services — with first responders to help addicts in crisis. It’s a big first step for the district that runs the Trauma Hawk air ambulance, Lakeside Medical Center in Belle Glade and primary care clinics and school nurses, among other services. The district last week applied for a $10 million state grant over five years from the Department of Children and Families that would allow it initially to provide services to addicts at their most vulnerable: right when they overdose and are taken to hospital emergency rooms. The district will partner with Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, as well as hospital emergency rooms. The first stage of the plan is to get addicts in crisis who have been stabilized to an open bed at a local detox or drug recovery center. The Health Care District is not just focusing on poor and homeless drug abusers, but aims to help any community drug users who need to navigate the drug rehabilitation and insurance industries to get treatment, as well as providing those without means an avenue for recovery. Property owners across the county finance the district. The district’s CEO Darcy Davis says the second phase of the plan will establish a “centralized receiving facility” that would not only provide treatment for addicts but also mental health services. “We recognize the opioid crisis is significant and we need to act as quickly as possible to respond,” she said. “And you have to start somewhere. It’s a huge problem. We feel like we need to get involved.” Responding to the needs of illicit drug users is part of a push by the district to provide more mental health services, Davis said. An additional $3 million is allocated in the district’s $200 million budget to invest in behavioral health by hiring psychologists and licensed clinical social workers in the clinics. “This is a public health crisis. It is not just a law enforcement issue,” Ferrer said at a town hall meeting last month at Lynn University in Boca Raton. “The response has to be very holistic in

National Report Shows Less Underage Drinking & Smoking But Overall Substance Use & Mental Illness Levels Remain Constant

September 15, 2016
NATIONAL REPORT SHOWS LESS UNDERAGE DRINKING & SMOKING But Overall Substance Use & Mental Illness Levels Remain Constant Due To The Increasing Misuse of Prescription Pain Relievers Some forms of substance use, such as adolescent (aged 12 to 17) underage drinking and alcohol use among young adults (aged 18 to 25), continued to drop according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) latest (2015) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report released this month. Other substance use levels among youth and young adults, including marijuana and heroin use, remained relatively stable over the past few years. The report also finds that mental illness levels among adults aged 26 and older generally remain steady, but there is a slight rise in the levels of major depressive episodes among adolescents and young adults. “These findings offer hope that marijuana and heroin use may be slowing down,” said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto. “And more American youth are rejecting alcohol and tobacco. This is great progress. But our nation still faces a public health crisis of untreated mental and substance use disorders. In 2015, one out of five adults in America met criteria for a mental illness or substance use disorder and only 39 percent of them received services. These are potentially life-threatening, disabling conditions. Our country must redouble its efforts to provide evidence-based prevention and treatment services in every community to ensure all Americans get the help and hope they need to lead healthy and productive lives.” “We know that evidence-based prevention efforts are the most effective way to reduce drug use and to support the roughly 90 percent of American youth who do not use illicit drugs,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “However the data also show that too many people don’t get the treatment they need for their substance use disorders. That is why the President has repeatedly called for $1.1 billion in new funding for States to expand access to treatment. Every day that passes without Congressional action to provide these additional resources is a missed opportunity to save lives.” The report shows that there continues to be a significant treatment gap for mental and substance use disorders. For example in 2015, an estimated 21.7 million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment, but only 2.3 million received treatment at a specialty facility. The President’s Budget called for $1.1 billion in new funding to expand access to treatment to address the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic ( At this time, Congress has not provided this funding. The Report features more comprehensive information on prescription psychotherapeutic medications including tranquilizers, stimulants, sedatives and pain relievers (including those containing opioids). This report shows that among people aged 12 and older 6.4 million people currently (in the past month) misuse psychotherapeutic medications. About three-fifths (59.3 percent) of this current misuse consists of the 3.8 million people currently misusing prescription pain relievers. The report also shows that most people who used prescription

"Cover 2 Resources" – How Families of Opioid Addicts are Helping Fight Addiction

September 8, 2016
COVER 2 RESOURCES How Families of Opioid Addicts are Helping Fight Addiction When Sam McNeil lost his battle with heroin addiction in October, his grieving family declared war on the epidemic. They would wage their assault from the Internet. It all started with an online obituary that explained how Sam, 28, died. It quickly blossomed into a national podcast aimed at arming addicts and families with resources and information to help people struggling with opioid addiction — resources that the McNeils knew little about during Sam’s battle. Launched in May, the podcast is called “Cover2 Resources” a phrase borrowed from a popular football defense — and not just because Sam was a huge Cleveland Browns and Ohio State Buckeyes fan. The name also fits the struggle waged by Sam’s family as he fought addiction, which started during his recovery from a beating he received when he was trying to defend a woman at a party in 2007. FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE WHOLE STORY AND THE VIDEO: wit/nsQWR/?icmp+pbp%20internallink%20referralbox%20free-to-premium-referral The Drug and Alcohol Attorneys Blog always has the latest news and facts on legally defending your DUI, Professional License Dispute, Marchman Act Case, Drug Possession Arrest, Code of Conduct Defense, or Title IX Defense.  As practicing drug defense attorneys, and drug defense lawyers, we also believe it is important to continuously highlight Industry Leaders in treating substance abuse and addiction. If you have any questions, please call one of our attorneys at 561-419-6095, or visit us online at Save

What is Recidivism? And How Do We Stop It?

September 3, 2016
WHAT IS RECIDIVISM? And How Do We Stop It? Recidivism is defined as the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend.  According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) and their study drawing on data on more than 25,400 former prisoners, almost half (49.3%) had, within the next eight years, been arrested again, whether for a new offense or for violating conditions of their parole. Among the offenders released or paroled, during the same period nearly a third (31.7%) had been re-convicted, with 24.7% of them also re-incarcerated. The research also showed that re-offenses typically occurred fairly quickly, generally within the first two years after release or parole (the average interval was about 21 months). And among serious offenses, the more frequent crimes for re-arrest were offenses against public order, drug trafficking, and larceny. SO WHAT DO WE DO…enter LEAP Workshop, founded in Florida 3 years ago, with a primary purpose to build better, stronger and safer communities through helping ex-offenders transform mentally, emotionally and physiologically; thus making the transition back into the community a significantly more successful experience. In addition to the self-work, coaching and mentoring, these returning citizens have the opportunity to participate in computer coding programs, employ-ability training and small business/entrepreneurship programs and workshops. Participants develop their own incantation for individual change, learning, understanding and applying the power of the following key strategies: The Science of Achievement The Art of Fulfillment Extraordinary Psychology Belief Language Use Patterns of Physiology Connecting Quality-of-Life with Quality-of-Emotions The Workshop has helped several ex-offenders upon release who are now living productive lives, and are not only contributing and tax paying members of society, but some are even running their own small businesses, hiring other ex-offenders from the Workshop.  To Learn More Please Visit: . The Drug and Alcohol Attorneys Blog always has the latest news and facts on legally defending your DUI, Professional License Dispute, Marchman Act Case, Drug Possession Arrest, Code of Conduct Defense, or Title IX Defense.  As practicing drug defense attorneys, and drug defense lawyers, we also believe it is important to continuously highlight Industry Leaders in treating substance abuse and addiction. If you have any questions, please call one of our attorneys at 561-419-6095, or visit us online at Save Save

Alcohol Related DUI Arrests Are Down… DUI Drug Arrests Are on The Rise

August 30, 2016
ALCOHOL RELATED DUI ARRESTS ARE DOWN IN FLORIDA “But The Number of DUI Arrests For Driving Under The Influence of Drugs…Are On The Rise” As the numbers of alcohol-related DUI arrests decline, the number of DUI arrests for driving under the influence of drugs continues to rise. A lot due to the fact that many people are unaware they can get arrested for driving under the influence of their lawfully prescribed medications. Thanks to state and federal anti-drinking and driving campaigns, the number of alcohol-related DUI arrests has decreased in recent years while the number of drug-related DUI’s has continued to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over the last 10 years, the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription medication within the past month rose from 44% to 48%, and the use of two or more drugs rose from 25% to 31%, and the use of five or more drugs increased from 6% to 11%. According to the CDC, the most commonly used drugs included: asthma medications for children, central nervous system stimulants for teens, and antidepressants for middle-aged adults. The CDC also says that those Americans with health insurance were nearly twice as likely to have used at least one prescription in the past month as compared to those who don’t have health insurance coverage, and as ObamaCare provides affordable health insurance to 44 million uninsured Americans, the number of Americans on prescription medications will likely increase dramatically. So, what does affordable health insurance have to do with a Florida DUI? Under Section 316.193 of the 2012 Florida Statutes, a person is guilty of driving under the influence or being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle when they are under the influence of medications. A lot of people are familiar with driving under the influence as it pertains to alcohol, but most people have no idea what kind of trouble they can get into if they drive under the influence of controlled substances, both legal and illegal. As health insurance becomes more affordable, Americans need to be made aware of the consequences of driving under the influence of any controlled substance, even lawfully prescribed medications. While the list is quite extensive, some of the more commonly known controlled substances include: codeine methylbromide, heroin, morphine, cannabis, mescaline, peyote, GHB, opium, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine, testosterone, Dronabinol (synthetic THC), and many more. Anyone can be arrested and convicted of DUI if they are caught driving under the influence of a controlled substance, providing it can be proven that the drug, or combination of drugs and alcohol impaired their ability to drive. In Florida, the penalties for a first DUI conviction include fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. Because prescription drug use has increased so quickly over the past decade, this is still a relatively new area of law. Unlike an alcohol-related DUI where the effects of alcohol have been scientifically tested to the point where it has become criminalized