Tallahassee Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Attorney
Zelman Law is a Tallahassee personal injury and criminal defense law office devoted to providing the highest quality of advice and representation in the areas of criminal defense, DUI, personal injury, and other civil legal matters. The focus at Zelman Law is centered around protecting the rights of individuals, whether they have been accused of a crime, injured in an auto accident. When you need an Tallahassee criminal defense or personal injury attorney to help you through difficult times, Zelman Law is here to stand up for you and give you a voice in the legal process.
Tallahassee Criminal & Personal Injury Attorney Working Hard to Get Results
Joshua Zelman, the founder and principal attorney at Zelman Law, has over ten years experience in the practice of law. During that time, he has earned an AV rating from renowned legal publisher Martindale-Hubbell, reflecting achievement of the highest levels in legal ability, ethics and professionalism, as judged by his peers. He has also earned Superb 10.0 ratings in Tallahassee Criminal Defense, DUI and Personal Injury from the popular Avvo legal directory. Joshua Zelman’s legal knowledge and ability, combined with his strong work ethic and commitment to excellence, ensures that Zelman Law delivers an extraordinarily high quality of representation to every client in every case.
Josh Zelman represents Tallahassee personal injury victims of many types of accidents and injuries, including:
- Tallahassee Criminal Defense
- Tallahassee Personal Injury
Tallahassee Criminal Defense, DUI & Personal Injury FAQs
Zelman Law is pleased to provide the following answers to frequently asked questions in the areas of Florida criminal defense, DUI and personal injury. If you have other questions or need advice and representation in a particular legal matter, contact our office to speak with an experienced Tallahassee attorney who is eager to help you.
Q. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
A. Criminal offenses are classified as felonies or misdemeanors based upon the severity of punishments which can be inflicted on a convicted offender. A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to sixty days in the county jail and a fine of up to $500. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Felonies are punishable by imprisonment in state prison for a year or more, or by death for capital offenses. There are three different degrees of felonies with different minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment, as well as capital felonies and life felonies.
Q. The police pulled me over and asked me to open the trunk of my car. Why would they do that? Do I have to open it for them?
A. Any time the police have an opportunity to conduct a search that may turn up evidence of a crime, they will take it. The police are required in most instances to have probable cause to conduct a search, and in many cases they need a warrant. However, they may simply ask for your permission to search, assuming you will agree out of fear or intimidation, because you think you don’t have anything to hide, or because you do not know you can legally refuse. If the police are ordering you to open your trunk or telling you they can search an area, you should not resist them. But if they are asking your permission or consent to conduct a search, it is nearly always in your best interest to politely refuse.
Q. I haven’t been arrested for anything, but the police want to talk to me about something. What should I do?
A. As with searches above, police questioning is only done for one reason, to turn up evidence that can be used against you. Law enforcement officials are expertly trained in getting you to make incriminating or contradictory statements which they can use against you in court, or to pressure you into making a statement, signing a confession or pleading guilty to some offense. Whenever the police want to question you for any reason, the wisest approach is to firmly state your desire to speak with an attorney first. In Tallahassee, contact Zelman Law for a free, confidential consultation.
Q. Can I refuse to take a breath test?
A. As a condition of obtaining a driver’s license, you have given your implied consent to submit to an approved breath test of your blood alcohol concentration or a urine test for drugs when pulled over by the police. If you refuse to take the test when required, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year, if this is your first refusal. In addition, your refusal will be used as evidence against you in court.
Q. What is the legal limit for DUI?
A. The legal threshold for DUI in Florida is having a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or .02% for a person under 21 years old. You can be arrested for DUI with a .08% BAC even if there is no other evidence that your driving was impaired, assuming that police had reason to stop and test you in the first place.
Even if your BAC is below the legal limit, it is still possible to be arrested for reckless driving or another charge if the police have other evidence that your driving was impaired, such as if you were weaving or drifting out of your lane or ignoring traffic signals.
Q. Does DUI apply to any intoxicated or impaired driving?
A. The charge of Driving Under the Influence can apply to driving while under the influence of alcohol or a chemical substance or controlled substance.
Q. Is DUI a felony or a misdemeanor?
A. DUI is generally charged as a misdemeanor, even if a person driving causes personal injury or property damage while driving under the influence. However, if a person causes serious bodily injury while driving under the influence, he or she can be charged with a third degree felony DUI. Having a third DUI conviction within ten years or any fourth or more DUI is also a third degree felony. A person can also be charged with a second degree felony such as DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide if a death is caused while driving, or a first degree felony if the person is also guilty of leaving the scene. Any DUI arrest should be taken very seriously, as even a misdemeanor conviction can have long-lasting and far-reaching negative consequences.
Q. How do you recover compensation from a car accident under Florida law?
A. Florida has a complicated system of no-fault and fault-based insurance. With no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, your insurance company will cover 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages, but only up to a total of $10,000. Worse, unless you can prove that you were promptly treated for an “emergency medical condition,” you will be limited to collecting only $2,500 from your PIP coverage.
Your insurance company pays PIP benefits without regard to who was at fault in the accident. However, if your injuries were severe, you can sue the at-fault party in civil court for pain and suffering and other damages. Having a serious injury under Florida law means that you suffered a significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability.
Q. If I was partly to blame in causing the accident, can I still recover compensation from the other negligent party?
A. Yes, but any award you receive will be reduced in proportion ot the percentage of fault assigned to you. So, for example, if a jury awarded you $100,000 but found you to be 40% at fault, you would only receive 60% of the award, or $60,000. Insurance companies know this and do everything they can to convince the jury that you were to blame in causing the accident, so they can minimize what they have to pay or avoid any liability at all if they can. An experienced personal injury attorney working for you will fight to make sure you are not unfairly assigned any of the blame for the accident and that you receive the full amount of compensation due to you.
Q. What is Wrongful Death?
A. Wrongful death is a type of legal action, meaning that you can sue somebody for causing the death of another through negligence or other wrongful conduct. Under Florida law, a wrongful death action can be brought by the personal representative of the deceased for the benefit of the spouse, children or parents of the deceased, as well as other relatives who depended on the deceased for services and support. Compensation can be recovered for damages such as funeral and burial expenses; certain medical expenses; the loss of earnings, support and services to the household; the loss of companionship; and the mental pain and suffering experienced by the spouse, children or parents.
Get Help Today with Your Tallahassee Legal Needs
Zelman Law is here to serve you. Our office is conveniently located in downtown Tallahassee near several highways and just minutes from the Leon County courthouse. Our office is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with weekend or evening meetings available by appointment. Call 850-765-5948 to speak directly to Mr. Zelman, or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense & personal injury attorney who works hard and gets results.