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Vehicular homicide occurs when a person is driving a vehicle and fatally harms an individual or unborn child. If the unborn child dies, even if the mother of the unborn child survives, it can still be charged a vehicular homicide. The driver must be proven to be driving recklessly when the incident occurred. Florida courts define recklessness as behavior likely to cause death or great bodily harm, or willful disregard for the safety of others. Even if the individual does not die at the scene of the accident but succumbs to their injuries soon after, you can still be charged with vehicular homicide. Intent is not an element when being charged; prosecution will not care that you did not want to kill another person. They just need to prove that someone died, that you caused the accident, and you were behaving recklessly.

Many scenarios highlight a vehicular homicide charge. You could be turning right at an intersection and hit a person on the crosswalk during their right-of-way because you are trying to beat the red light. You could be driving excessively at 70 MPH in a 45 MPH zone and hit another person’s car, causing them to lose control and crash. You could be trying to pass another car in a “No Pass” zone and hit an oncoming car. In some cases where a person fell asleep at the wheel and killed another person when their car crashed have being convicted of vehicular homicide because they knew of their tired state but drove anyway, acting recklessly and putting others in harm’s way. All these scenarios come from Florida court cases where the defendant has a vehicular homicide charge because their reckless driving was endangering others.

Florida also has a charge for vessel homicide. Whereas a ‘vehicle’ is defined as a land motor vehicle, such as a car, a motorcycle, a semi, etc., a ‘vessel’ is defined under Florida Rules as a watercraft vehicle: an airboat, a barge, boat, canoe, commercial fishing vessel, and commercial parasailing. Vessel homicide follows the same requirements and charges as vehicular homicide.  The same as above, even if the individual does not die at the scene of the accident but succumbs to their injuries soon after, you can still be charged with vessel homicide.

If you are residing or traveling through another state and you have contact with law enforcement, which leads to a warrant showing up, you may be sent back or extradited to Florida. This often occurs on a result of a traffic stop and your driver’s license is checked. So, what started as a potential speeding ticket in, let’s say, Indiana, has now turned into your being arrested for a grand theft arrest warrant in Orange County, Florida and being held in a DeKalb County, Indiana jail. The next step is extradition back to Florida.

Extradition is the transfer of a person from one state to another state (called the demanding state) for crimes committed in the demanding state. That person is called a fugitive. Depending on if Florida is the demanding state or extraditing state, Florida State Attorneys will follow Florida State Statute 941.05 or 941.06, describing extradition protocol. Each state must also follow the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, which says the state must extradite the fugitive to the demanding state, but the implementation of the extradition guidelines is at each state’s discretion. In the example, the fugitive would be extradited to Orange County Police custody from DeKalb County Police custody for the grand theft warrant. By law, the fugitive must be extradited within 30 days of the arrest (except in extenuating circumstances).

In the extraditing state (our example would be Indiana), the fugitive arrested has three options.

Conspiracy does not just revolve around super-secret FBI or CIA government information, such as the movie, “All the President’s Men” (Nixon’s Watergate scandal) or conspiracy theories that Area 51 is holding an alien species. Being arrested for conspiracy to drug trafficking is an actual criminal offense. Florida law states that any person who agrees or conspires with another to commit a drug trafficking act prohibited by law will be committing a 1st degree felony. That felony carries the same punishable outcome as if that person committed the act. Therefore, drug trafficking and conspiracy to drug trafficking carry the same offense weight.
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The United States is currently in an uproar following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. There have been protests and riots across the country; citizens are exercising their rights against police brutality and racism. Some believe that the police are doing their jobs to keep themselves and everyone safe; others believe police officers target black citizens because of their race and they should have more training. As these protest and riots occur, people are getting arrested for violent acts in support of the cause. Still, U.S. citizens are taking action to spark a difference in police tactics and civil rights.

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As a parent or guardian, it can be stressful to see your child in handcuffs or get a phone call that your child is at the police station for allegedly breaking the law. Minors do have specific rights in the juvenile justice system that are important to know if the situation ever arises. A person is considered a minor in Florida if they are under 18 years of age.

If a minor is arrested, the police must read the minor their Miranda Rights, which means they have the right to an attorney and anything they tell the police can be used against them in court. If the minor is not read their Miranda Rights, any conversation between the minor and law enforcement will not be admissible in court as evidence. The minor may also have a parent present. If a minor requests their parents, the police must make a reasonable attempt to contact the parents and share the minor’s location, but police may still question the minor without a parent present. The minor has a right to an attorney, and either the parent may retain one or the minor will be assigned a court-appointed public defender. One exception to police questioning without an attorney is if the child is under 13 years of age and has been arrested for sexual assault or homicide, in which case the child may not be questioned at all without an attorney present.

After the minor is arrested and processed, a Juvenile Probation Officer will perform a risk assessment to determine if the minor is a flight risk. With that assessment, a Department of Juvenile Justice Officer will decide if the child may return home or should be held in a juvenile center before their detention hearing. If the minor’s risk level requires a juvenile center placement, they will be taken to either a Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Center or a Juvenile Assessment Center.

Client Reviews

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
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
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
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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