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If you are questioned by a law enforcement officer on the street after being pulled over in a vehicle, it is not uncommon to be nervous. Depending on why you are being pulled over just may persuade how you will answer when questioned by police. Imagine driving on I4 enjoying your afternoon, then you see blue and red lights flashing behind you. You pull over to the side of the road and the police officer walks up to your side of the window. You begin panicking for various possible reasons; your license is suspended, you have a firearm in the car, a warrant out for your arrest, or you even have drugs in the car. Now, how you respond to the officers questioning may affect if you are charged with providing false information to law enforcement. A charge of providing false information to law enforcement results from lying to law enforcement.

Under Florida law, Section 837.05, states that “a person who knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.” If this is your first offense, for False Information it is a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, can result in penalties of up to 1 year in jail or 12 months of probation, and up to a $1,000 fine. A second offense for providing False Information is classified as a third-degree felony, with possible penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and up to a $5,000 fine. In addition, a person who knowingly provides false information concerning a Capital Felony commits a felony of the third degree and may result in penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.

In order to be convicted of providing false information to law enforcement the prosecution must establish two elements beyond a reasonable doubt. To establish that the accused provided false information the state must prove that the accused knowingly and willfully gave false information about an alleged commission of a crime to a law enforcement officer.

An officer walks up to you and tells you she has reasonable belief that you have drugs on your person. You allow her to search your pockets and she comes up with cocaine. She places you in handcuffs but when she asks you to sit on the sidewalk while she calls another officer, you refuse. She tells you again to sit on the sidewalk and you once again refuse. Regardless of your intentions on why you do not want to sit on the sidewalk, the officer charges you with possession of cocaine and resisting arrest without violence.

Law enforcement officers have protections strictly enforced regarding how individuals will react when getting arrested. Because officers are placed in unknown danger when arresting an individual, not knowing how a person will respond when stopped, questioned, or place in handcuffs, Florida created Statutes 843.01 and 843.02 to provide definitions and legal convictions should you be charged with resisting arrest without violence or with violence.

Under Florida Statute 843.02, resisting an officer without violence examples include: not obeying commands, refusing to be placed in handcuffs, refusing to sit on the ground when asked, or trying to escape being arrested. Even verbal actions, such as warning another person so they are not arrested is considered grounds for charging you with resisting arrest. If charged with resisting without violence, that constitutes a 1st degree misdemeanor, resulting in jail time or probation for up to 1 year and a fine up to $1,000.00.

You may wonder if you can still be arrested for possession of marijuana, even if you have your Florida medical marijuana identification card. The answer is yes. The following article will discuss and interpret the medical marijuana laws in Florida to guide you so you are aware of the limitations.

In 2017, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 8A, otherwise known as the Medical Use of Marijuana Act. Under Senate Bill 8A, residents of Florida may qualify for the use of medical marijuana if they have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition, such as cancer, PTSD, Epilepsy, etc., by a certified physician.  Upon approval, the physician will send a recommendation to the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use for you to be granted approval to use medical marijuana for treatment. If approved, you will set up a Medical Marijuana Use account, pay a small fee, and you will be added to the Medical Marijuana Use registry and issued a license. Only state-licensed Medical Marijuana Centers, also called dispensaries, are legally allowed to distribute marijuana.

Here lies the misunderstanding where people think its smooth sailing from here. In Florida, you are allowed to use medical marijuana if you comply with the following regulations:

Have you ever heard a police officer or special agent in a tv show, such as NCIS, Law and Order, or CSI say the words, “You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you,” or a version of that? Those are called your Miranda Rights or your Miranda Warnings, derived from the 5th and 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Your 5th and 6th Amendment rights are very important to know if confronted by a legal situation. For example, the police show up to your door and ask you what you know about a possible crime in the area. Do you have to answer their questions?

The simple answer is no, you can inform the police you do not want to answer their questions. Put yourself in this situation. At this point, you do not know if the police consider you a suspect or if they are only searching for information about a possible crime. Voluntarily choosing to not speak with the police about a criminal matter is not a crime.

Someone who has been convicted of a sexually related crime will be required by the court to register as a sex offender or sexual predator. Those crimes can include: child pornography, sexual misconduct, lewd or lascivious offenses with a minor, etc. A sexual offender and sexual predator are two different terms, depending on the number of convictions on your record. A sexual predator is typically the more dangerous of the two, having committed and been convicted of at least two 2nd-degree sexual felonies or at least one 1st-degree sexual felony.

The sex offender registry is a public list that displays your name, picture, address, and the criminal offense. In some cases, the list will also provide date of birth, weight, and height, among other things. This information is made available to the public on a law enforcement-managed website. All of this information is provided to your local law enforcement when you register, and when required to register, your name remains on that list for life. If you fail to register or re-register when required, you can be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable depending on the number of offenses. If your first offense, it is punishable with six months electronic monitoring by the police; a 2nd offense requires a one-year minimum of electronic monitoring; a 3rd offense requires a 2-year minimum of electronic monitoring.

Being charged and convicted with a sexually related criminal offense is not a situation you want to be in, but being placed on the registry after being released into the community will continue to have long-lasting, harmful effects. It may prove very difficult to find employment, you will have to follow state regulations on the distance you reside from schools and playgrounds, neighbors will be able to discover your crimes on the registry, and you can get in more legal trouble if you fail to update your registration yearly as required. In addition to being placed on the sex offender list, you will also be required to make the local police aware when in their county and to inform them with plans to travel to other Florida counties.

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I would like thank my attorney Thomas Luka. I knew from the beginning I had the right guy in my corner. While celebrating with family and friends at a Public Park in Seminole County, a fight broke out among various people. Myself, and a good friend, broke up the fight and the instigators left. Six months later, I was wrongly accused as the person who started the fight. The first attorney I hired could not even get a response from the State Attorney handling the case. Someone referred me to Tom and I felt comfortable at his demeanor and reactions.

After conversations with Tom, who knew I would settle for nothing less than a FULL DISMISSAL due to my innocence, I hired him. His firm of Adams and Luka did the due diligence by interviewing witnesses and the police who were on the scene, as well as starting a dialogue with the State Attorney. After gathering statements from witnesses, Tom was able to present a strong argument on my behalf to the State Attorney on why the case should be dismissed. If the State Attorney was not willing to dismiss the case, Tom was ready to take the case to trial.

The result by Thomas Luka: Case Dismissed.

I am 53 years old with a spotless record and glad to keep it that way thanks to the time, effort, hard work, and professionalism of the Adams and Luka and Tom Luka.

Earl from Mesquite
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Thomas Luka left a life-long great impression of lawyers. He was always professional, on time, and answered things honestly. From the start and during the 14 months it went on - Tom was very upfront and honest with me about the possible outcomes. The result was better than I had hoped for. Tom really over-delivered. HIGHLY RECCOMEND. Marcela Giorgi
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Adams and Luka were very professional and savvy in the courtroom. When you're in court with Mr. Luka you will think you have the best attorney there. I recommend this law firm. Pioneer Tech
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Rich Adams is an outstanding criminal attorney. I have had the opportunity to refer several friends and clients to his practice for handling of criminal matters, and on every occasion he has produced an excellent result. Rich practices with attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of the law, and a passion to defend his clients. I will continue to refer clients to Rich Adams, and would strongly recommend him for your legal needs. Brian Pink
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