Yes, it is still legal to make or receive phone calls on your cell phone while driving in Florida. You are not required to use a handsfree device to talk on the phone while driving and you are not required to be stopped at a stop light to make a phone call. It is also legal to send or receive text messages while driving if you use voice technology or a handsfree device to send the message or read the message aloud. That being said, it is illegal for drivers to use any type of handheld device to send or receive a text message, or to view any data, while driving in Florida. That means that drivers are prohibited from using any phone, iPad, tablet, Kindle, notebook, laptop or electronic game to view anything, including but not limited to, emails, photos or updates from social media while they are driving a car (however, it is legal to use a handheld device to text or view data while the car is stopped at a light, stop sign or on the side of the road). Confusing? Here are a couple of other rules you should be aware of if you are using your cell phone while driving in Florida.
- It is illegal for drivers to use their cell phone to talk on the phone or send a text message while traveling in a school zone in Florida, even if they have a handsfree device;
- It is illegal for a driver in Florida to enter information into a GPS system while driving; and,
- Drivers in Florida cannot wear headphones, Air Pods or headsets over both ears while driving; however, one Air Pod or headphone can be worn over one ear while allowing traffic noises to be heard through the other ear.
What happens if you are pulled over for texting while driving? Texting while driving is a primary offense in Florida, which means an officer can pull you over if they have reasonable suspicion to believe you are texting while driving in violation of the statute. Texting while driving is a civil infraction, meaning you can receive a traffic ticket for it. Unfortunately, traffic stops oftentimes lead to arrests for other reasons, so keep your rights in mind if you are stopped by the police for texting and driving.
If a person has been pulled over for texting while driving then they should contact the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams to determine whether or not the traffic stop and/or the officer’s actions were legal. Law enforcement cannot seize your phone or search your phone solely because they stopped you for texting while driving. In fact, §316.305 and §316.306, Florida Statutes, specifically state that law enforcement must advise you of your right to decline a search of your phone if they pull you over for texting while driving. While an officer can claim they saw you holding your phone while driving, they will have a difficult time proving that you were actually using your handheld device to text, enter GPS data or view social media unless you make an admission, so don’t make any statements without speaking to your lawyer. And make sure you say “NO” if they ask you to search your phone.
At the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams, we can discuss your case with you and explain your rights as it relates to the traffic stop and any potential motions we can file on your behalf. Depending on the facts of your case, we may be able to file a motion to suppress unlawfully obtained evidence. In certain instances, we can also have the infraction or charges dismissed based on the unlawful traffic stop. There are many other benefits to retaining a lawyer after you were arrested or cited after being pulled over for texting while driving. Matthew Williams and his legal team focus primarily on criminal defense matters and they take pride in obtaining great results for their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let law enforcement, prosecutors, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his clients the outcome they deserve. He obtains justice for his clients and he’ll do the same for you, so give The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams a call to find out how he can seek justice for you today.
Negligent security cases involve an injured person suing a business or property owner for injuries sustained on the owner’s property as a result of a crime committed by a third party. For example, someone who is shot by a stray bullet in their apartment complex can sue their apartment complex for neglecting to provide adequate security; a woman who is sexually assaulted while inside of a nightclub bathroom can sue the club for neglecting to provide adequate security; or someone who is robbed while walking to their car in the parking lot of a hotel may sue the hotel for neglecting to provide adequate security. These cases are based on the idea that the crime could have been prevented, or at least made less likely, if the property owner put appropriate security measures in place. In all three of those situations, the business or property owner can be held liable for neglecting to provide adequate security even though the crime was committed by someone completely unrelated to the business.
Businesses and property owners have a duty to protect their visitors from foreseeable harm. All businesses, including apartment complexes, shopping centers and nightclubs, have a duty to protect visitors from reasonably foreseeable crime. The same is true for other entities, like colleges and universities, who provide living accommodations for college students that reside or take classes on campus. The same is also true for residential property owners, but their duty may be different than that of business owners depending on the situation. Generally, when a business or property owner knows, or should know, that there is a likelihood that someone may become a victim of crime on their property then that business owner has a duty to take reasonable steps to protect visitors from that harm. If no steps are taken by the business to protect their customers from foreseeable harm, then that business may be held liable for injuries a customer sustains as a result.
Unfortunately, businesses will try to save money by cutting corners on costs and expenses, and in most cases one of the first costs they get rid of are security costs. Innocent people have become the victim of crimes like robbery, rape, assault and even murder during acts that likely would not have been committed if security was in place, but a lot of businesses make an intentional, financially driven decision not to provide security knowing it’s necessary. They will also spend more money paying lawyers to defend their case then they will spend trying to protect you from harm in the first place.
If a you have been shot, assaulted or seriously injured on someone else’s property then they should contact the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams to determine whether or not they can move forward with a negligent security case. We can discuss your case with you and explain your rights as it relates to filing a negligent security claim. Depending on the facts of your case, we may be able to hold the property owner, business owner or property manager accountable for failing to warn you about or protect you from harm that was reasonably foreseeable based in large part on the crime in the area. In certain instances, we can also hold a third-party vendor like a security company accountable as well.
There are many benefits to retaining a lawyer after you were injured on somebody else’s property. Matthew Williams and The Law Office of Matthew Williams focus primarily on negligent security matters and they take pride in having a personal relationship with their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let adjusters, defense lawyers, or big insurance stand in the way of getting his clients what they deserve. He obtains results for his clients and he’ll do the same for you, so give the Law Office of Matthew Williams a call to find out what your case is worth today.
A warrant is a legal document issued by a judge or a Grand Jury after probable cause, or some other legal standard is met. A warrant authorizes law enforcement to engage in some activity or process that would violate your constitutional rights under any other circumstance. Here are the differences between an arrest warrant and a search warrant:
An arrest warrant authorizes law enforcement to detain you and keep you in custody. It can be issued when law enforcement convinces a judge or a Grand Jury that there is probable cause to believe that something illegal has happened or is happening and that the subject of the arrest warrant was involved. An arrest warrant is usually based on sworn testimony or an affidavit submitted by an investigator or some other sworn law enforcement officer. The officer’s testimony can be based on their own observation or something another witness told them. Still, the officer’s testimony will always include the reason why the officer believes an arrest warrant should be issued. Any judge or Grand Jury reviewing the officer’s affidavit or listening to the officer’s testimony must believe that the totality of the circumstances indicate the facts contained in the officer’s testimony are valid and that an arrest warrant should be issued.
An arrest warrant is different than a search warrant, but if someone is arrested, then they can be searched incident to that arrest. That means the police can search a person after arresting them but before taking them to jail. However, neither having an arrest warrant nor the fact that someone got arrested gives law enforcement the authority to search the person’s home, car* or anything else (*there are a few legal exceptions that would allow law enforcement to search your car if you were in the car at the time of your arrest). If the police ask to search your home or car while you are being arrested, then you have the right to say no.
A search warrant authorizes law enforcement to search a specific location for specific evidence. It is obtained using the same process as an arrest warrant. For a search warrant to be issued, law enforcement officers must convince a judge or Grand Jury that a crime has been committed and that there is probable cause to believe evidence related to that crime is likely to be found in the target of the search warrant. Search warrants must describe, in detail, the specific location to be searched and the specific items to be recovered. The language contained within the search warrant can use no generalities, and it can leave no room for guessing or assumptions. If it does, then the application for the search warrant should be denied by the judge.
If the police come to your house with a search warrant, then you have the right to see the warrant before law enforcement conducts a search. You should always ask to see the warrant to make sure it is specific and includes your name, your address, the name of the judge that issued the warrant, the name of the agency conducting the search, a detailed description of the place to be searched, and a detailed description of the items being searched for. If the search warrant is missing any of these items, then you need to contact an attorney immediately because the search warrant may be invalid.
It’s important to note that law enforcement does not always need a warrant to arrest you or to search you. If a police officer witnesses you commit a crime, then they can arrest you without a warrant. Likewise, if an officer develops probable cause to believe you are in possession of illegal contraband, then they can search you without obtaining a search warrant. In fact, most arrests and searches do not involve a warrant.
If an officer obtains a warrant that was not based on probable cause, or if an officer conducts an arrest without probable cause, then someone’s constitutional rights may have been violated. At that point, their attorney can file pleadings with the appropriate court, either attacking the warrant or seeking the suppression of any evidence found during an illegal search. There are many more benefits to hiring an attorney if you feel your rights have been violated, and it’s important for you to choose the right attorney. Matthew Williams and the Law Office of Matthew Williams focus primarily on criminal defense and civil rights matters in the North Florida area, and they take pride in having a personal relationship with their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let law enforcement, state attorneys, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his clients the justice they deserve. He obtains the best results for his clients, and he’ll do the same for you. Give the Law Office of Matthew Williams a call now.
Car accidents are unexpected, scary, and they have the potential to be life-changing. Anybody who is injured in a car accident may find themselves filing a personal injury claim. When you meet with a lawyer, your lawyer should go over the facts of your case. They should take the time to explain the process of pursuing a personal injury claim. They should answer any questions you have about filing a claim after a car accident. The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams helps car accident victims recover compensation for their injuries. We can help you understand what steps to follow after a car accident.
Your number one priority should always be your health, so make sure you call 911 and receive immediate medical care if necessary. Receiving medical treatment is frequently the most crucial step in healing and getting back to some normalcy after sustaining an injury in a car accident. Make sure you receive treatment as recommended and follow up with your chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic specialist as recommended. It’s also important to continue receiving treatment if you still have symptoms. Insurance companies frequently look at a lack of treatment as an indication that you are no longer injured.
Your attorney will begin requesting copies of your medical records and billing while receiving treatment for your injuries. The length of your treatment will depend on the extent of your injuries and the number of specialists that you are referred to. Still, the treatment phase usually lasts around three months to five months. Once your condition has stabilized enough for your doctors and specialists to draft final reports detailing their opinions regarding your injuries and your future medical care, they will send the final report to your attorney, and your attorney will draft a settlement demand.
The demand for settlement is a settlement offer to resolve your personal injury claim. It will include your doctor’s reports, medical bills, and the amount of money your attorney predicts you will need for future medical bills. The insurance company oftentimes responds back with a counteroffer, and both parties negotiate back and forth until the case is resolved or negotiations come to a stalemate. At some point, a final offer will be received, and it will be your decision as to whether you accept that offer or reject the offer and move forward with a lawsuit.
If the case is not settled, then a lawsuit will be filed (in some cases, your attorney will file the lawsuit and forgo the pre-lawsuit negotiations). Once a lawsuit is filed, the discovery process is initiated. Discovery allows both parties to question the other side about the incident or any factors surrounding the incident. The discovery process includes interrogatories, requests for copies of documents, and depositions, and it can last for months and sometimes even years. Both parties have to produce some of the most common items during a lawsuit, including copies of their driver’s license, tax returns, medical documents, treatment records, mental health records, and employment records. This is because all of that information may become relevant when filing a claim involving bodily injury, lost wages, or mental anguish.
Before your case gets to trial, the court will order both parties to participate in mediation. Mediation is a dispute resolution process where the mediator, a neutral third party, facilitates a discussion between you and the other side in an attempt to reach a voluntary settlement. In many cases, a voluntary mediation occurs at some point during negotiations before a lawsuit is filed. Even when that happens, most courts will require both parties to go back to mediation at some point after the lawsuit is filed but before trial to try to reach an agreement to resolve the matter. Your attorney will sit with you in a room during the mediation, and the attorneys from the other insurance company will be in another room. The mediator will go back and forth between rooms negotiating the case. No mediator can order a settlement between the parties, but a majority of cases resolve at mediation.
While most cases resolve at mediation, if the case does not resolve, then the case will proceed to trial. A trial can take more than a year to take place, and the burden is on your lawyer to prove that the other driver was negligent. Your lawyer will also have to prove the amount of damages you are owed. At trial, you, the other driver, police officers, or doctors who examined you may testify, and the defense will be entitled to put on their case as well. After presenting evidence, a jury will decide whether or not the other driver was negligent and whether their negligence caused your injury. The jury will also decide what amount of damages are appropriate.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, call the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams. We can represent you in your car accident claim and answer any questions you have about the process of filing a personal injury claim in Florida. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case. He refuses to let adjusters, defense lawyers, or big insurance stand in the way of getting his clients what they deserve. He obtains results for his clients, and he’ll do the same for you, so give The Law Office of Matthew Williams a call to find out what your case is worth today.
The Law Office of Matthew Williams is headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida, and focuses primarily on the North Florida areas.
Most people think a police officer needs “probable cause” to conduct a traffic stop, but an officer only requires “reasonable suspicion” to pull you over. Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard created by case law and discussed for the first time in 1968 in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). For a traffic stop to be lawful, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you either just committed a crime, you are committing a crime, or you are about to commit a crime. The officer’s reasonable suspicion must be based on articulable facts that tend to show criminal activity is afoot (an officer also needs reasonable suspicion to stop someone on the street or pat down a person they believe is armed).
For example, an officer merely saying “I had a feeling that the driver was committing a crime,” would not amount to reasonable suspicion. The officer has not articulated facts that support why the officer believed criminal activity was afoot. Contrarily, an officer saying “I had a feeling that the driver was committing a crime because I saw the driver did not have on a seatbelt,” would amount to reasonable suspicion. The officer has articulated why he believed the driver was committing a crime. The officer’s traffic stop would be unlawful in the former situation since it was not based on reasonable suspicion. On the other hand, the traffic stop based on failure to wear a seatbelt would be lawful.
Probable cause is a legal standard that was established by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is required to make an arrest, conduct a search, seize property, or obtain a warrant. It can be established by something an officer sees, hears, smells, or receives information about. Probable cause can also be based on witness testimony, records/recordings, or anything else that tends to show a crime may have been committed. It’s a higher legal standard than reasonable suspicion in the sense that it requires more than just suspicion, but probable cause does not require anything near absolute certainty. The standard is mentioned in the Fourth Amendment, but it was not defined, so courts have been the sole source for defining probable cause over the years. Illinois v. Gates, 462 US 213 (1983), is a landmark case in the evolution of probable cause and search warrants, but probable cause is essentially evidence that provides a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed.
If an officer conducts a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, an arrest without probable cause, or a search without probable cause, then someone’s constitutional rights were probably violated. At that point, that person should retain an attorney to file pleadings with the appropriate court, either seeking their release, dismissing a criminal case, or financial compensation. There are many more benefits to hiring an attorney if you feel your rights have been violated, and you need to choose the right lawyer. Attorney Matthew Williams and the Law Office of Matthew Williams focus primarily on criminal defense and civil rights matters in the North Florida areas, such as Tallahassee and surrounding areas. They take pride in having a personal relationship with their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case. He refuses to let law enforcement, state attorneys, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his clients the justice they deserve. He obtains the best results for his clients, and he’ll do the same for you. Give the Law Office of Matthew Williams a call now.
Yes, you can carry a firearm in your vehicle without a concealed weapon permit in Florida. That is the simple answer. That being said, every state has different gun laws, and it’s essential for you to be familiar with the laws of the state in which you plan to carry a gun. Florida is a very gun-friendly state, but there are a few things that you should be aware of before you carry a firearm in your vehicle in the sunshine state.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the law as it relates to possessing a firearm in Florida. To be clear, there is no “three step rule” in Florida, there is no rule requiring the firearm to be unloaded, and there is no rule limiting the size or capacity of a magazine that you can carry.
There is also no rule requiring you to keep your firearm separate from your ammunition; however, there are laws governing where you can store your firearm in your car if you do not have a concealed weapon permit. Section 790.25(5), Florida Statutes, allows anyone 18 years or older in Florida to possess a firearm in their vehicle without a license as long as the firearm is securely encased and not readily accessible for use (securely encased is defined as being in a glove box, whether locked or not; snapped in a holster; in a gun case, whether locked or not; in a zippered gun case; or in a closed box or container which requires a lid or cover to be opened for access). That means it is illegal to carry a firearm under your seat if you don’t have a concealed weapon permit, and it’s also illegal to carry a gun in your purse without a concealed weapon permit. If you are caught carrying a handgun in your vehicle, and it is not securely encased, then you can be charged with carrying a concealed firearm, which is a third-degree felony.
There is one major exception to this rule. Section 790.25(5), Florida Statutes, also allows you to carry any firearm other than a handgun anywhere in a vehicle without a concealed weapon permit as long as the firearm is lawfully possessed. Meaning, a long gun (rifle, shotgun, etc.) can be carried openly in your back seat.
If you are arrested and charged with carrying a concealed firearm, and you believe the firearm was securely encased, contact an attorney at The Law Office of Matthew Williams in Tallahassee, Florida to go over the facts of your case and any possible defenses you may have. You can also contact The Law Office of Matthew C. Williams if you have any questions about possessing a firearm in general.
There are many more benefits to hiring a private attorney if you are charged with carrying a concealed firearm, so you need to choose the right lawyer. The Law Office of Matthew Williams focuses primarily on criminal defense matters in the North Florida area, including Tallahassee and surrounding areas. They take pride in having a personal relationship with their clients.
Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case. He refuses to let law enforcement, state attorneys, or the criminal justice system stand in the way of getting his clients the justice they deserve. He obtains the best results for his clients, and he’ll do the same for you. Give the Law Office of Matthew Williams a call now.
You should always contact a lawyer after you’ve been injured in a car accident. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, you should still call an attorney to discuss the accident, your injuries and your rights when dealing with insurance companies.
The first benefit of having a lawyer is the actual relationship you have with your lawyer. When you meet with a lawyer, your lawyer should go over the facts of your case. They should take the time to explain the process of pursuing a personal injury claim. They should answer any questions you have about pursuing your claim. The relationship you have with your lawyer is significant. Once you establish that relationship, there is a good chance that you will feel more confident and comfortable pursuing your personal injury claim.
The second benefit is the experience and knowledge your attorney brings to the table. Your insurance company has adjusters and lawyers who begin working on your case immediately. Their adjusters and lawyers are trained by the insurance company, and they work hard to minimize your claim and any potential money they owe you. They have years of experience handling car accident claims, and they’ll be able to take advantage of your lack of training when negotiating a resolution to your case.
The insurance company will often reach out to you and offer you a small payment for your injuries in the days immediately following the car accident. In most cases, if you accept the payment, you will waive your right to pursue any further claim. You need to speak to a lawyer before you accept any payments or settlements from an insurance company. Having a lawyer levels the playing field. In almost every case, having a lawyer increases the compensation you are offered by the insurance company.
Suppose your medical bills exceed the coverage limits of your policy. In that case, you may be required to seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. Their adjusters and lawyers are also well trained. Having an attorney to represent you through the bodily injury claim process in Florida can help you receive a higher settlement and protect you from costly mistakes and help obtain a faster payout. An attorney can help with the accident investigation. They can help with your records’ organization for presentation to the insurance company, and your attorney can use their expertise to help determine your case’s value. Your attorney’s understanding of negotiations and experience with the rules of evidence, courtroom procedures, and the local jury pool’s characteristics can also play a major factor in the amount of compensation the insurance company is willing to offer you.
There are many more benefits to retaining a lawyer after your car accident. Still, it’s not just important to choose any lawyer; it’s essential for you to choose the right lawyer. The Law Office of Matthew Williams, in Tallahassee, Florida, focuses primarily on personal injury matters in the North Florida area. They take pride in having a personal relationship with their clients. Attorney Williams treats his clients like family because he knows what they are dealing with is always more than just a case, and he refuses to let adjusters, defense lawyers, or big insurance stand in the way of getting his clients what they deserve. He obtains results for his clients, and he’ll do the same for you, so give The Law Office of Matthew Williams a call to find out what your case is worth today.
A great criminal defense lawyer knows the ins and outs of the legal system, and Attorney Matthew Williams is ready to hit the ground running with his new law office