J. Melanie Slaughter, P.A.

Ocala Criminal Defense And Family Law Blog

Babysitter involved in deaths had personal child custody issue

When Florida parents are looking for a babysitter to care for their children in their absence, they may seek a fellow parent who is used to caring for kids. Parents may feel as if someone who is currently raising his or her own brood is more understanding and informed of common situations that can arise when caring for little ones. Unfortunately, one cannot assume that a sitter with children is a good choice on that fact alone. Recently, after two children died on her watch, it was revealed that one woman was in a child custody battle of her own. 

The Florida woman was caring for two children when they died in her care. The daycare she ran from her home had a pool, and the children -- twins -- both drowned in the pool. Upon investigation into the deaths, it was revealed that the woman's own family had been so concerned about her questionable ability to care for children that they were fighting for custody of the woman's adopted sons. 

Driver misunderstood DUI laws

Florida drivers are likely aware that it is against the law to drink and drive. Though this is considered to be basic knowledge, many drivers may not truly understand the meaning of DUI laws. Even those who are not aware they are breaking the law can still be charged with a crime if law enforcement alleges they have violated the law. 

Recently, a Florida man was charged with DUI after police were called to a local drive-thru. A woman alleged he had tapped her bumper with his vehicle. Police claim that the man had an open alcoholic beverage while he was behind the wheel, and they arrested him for DUI. 

No contact orders help protect locals

Florida residents may be able to relate to situations in which a specific person makes them feel threatened. In many cases, these people choose to seek no contact orders. This type of court order prohibits a person from making contact with a person or family, and usually also prevents them from entering the property where the victim lives.. 

When a no contact order is put into place on behalf of a victim, it becomes legally binding. If a person violates a standing order, he or she is subject to immediate criminal prosecution. Law enforcement is able to act quickly to prevent further contact, and the penalty for violating a no contact order can include a jail sentence. 

3 drugs most commonly involved in crimes

Drugs are dangerous and often play a role in criminal activity. Anyone who faces charges due to an offense involving drugs needs to understand the charges and know how to build an effective defense. 

There are a range of different drug crimes, including possession, trafficking and manufacturing, and each differs in severity and potential sentencing. Any illegal activity involving drugs can result in felony or misdemeanor criminal charges. The following are three types of drugs that are commonly involved in such crimes. 

Establishing paternity can be an important step for parents

In the state of Florida, if a married couple has a child, the husband is presumed to be the father. In cases where parents are unmarried, or if there is any question as to who is a child's biological father, establishing paternity can be a bit more tricky. Several methods can be used to legally determine who has fathered a child. 

Even if parents are not married, the mother and father can both agree that a man is in fact the father when a child is born. By signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form, the parties are stating that they have no question that the man is the father of the child. This option is available any time after the birth until the child turns 18 as long as the mother was not married at the time of the birth. 

Violation of child custody orders can lead to serious charges

Florida parents would likely agree that when it comes to their children, they would do anything in their power to ensure that their children are allowed to lead happy, healthy lives. Often times, when two parents maintain separate households but have mutual children, the court will put a child custody order into place. A custody order explains the role of each parent where any mutual children are concerned. Sometimes, parents will share custody, while in other situations, a judge may decide that it is best for the children to remain in the sole custody of one parent. 

When a judge grants sole custody to one parent, the other parent may feel as if the child custody order is unfair. Judges may limit or forbid contact with a biological parent for myriad of reasons. Parents should be aware that child custody orders are legally binding, and even if a parent does not agree with such an order, he or she must obey it or he or she may face serious criminal charges.

Three things to do when facing criminal charges

Regardless of the circumstances, it is frightening to face criminal charges. Anybody in this situation knows what it feels like to have her or his future on the line, and indeed, there is a lot at stake when you are accused of committing a crime. If you are in this situation—whether it is the first time—there are a few things you should be certain to do to protect your future and avoid a conviction.

Below are three essential steps to follow that all criminal defendants should be aware of. Whether you have been charged with petty theft or a felony, follow these three tips to make the process easier and ensure your future is not jeopardized any more than it already has been: 

Asking for directions leads to DUI arrest

Florida residents can likely recall a few occasions when they found themselves in need of driving directions. It is always nice to come across a helpful individual who can point one in the right direction. Recently, a local man found himself unsure of how to reach his destination, and asked a police officer to assist him. Unfortunately, instead of heading to his destination, he was soon headed to jail, facing DUI charges. 

The driver spotted local police, who were pulled over at the time engaging another driver in an unrelated traffic stop. Likely thinking that a local police officer would be just the sort of safe person from whom to ask directions, he pulled over alongside. He inquired about the route he needed to take, but things quickly went south when the officer suspected the man might be under the influence of alcohol. 

Finding a parenting plan that works

Sharing parental responsibilities for your child after divorce can be a considerable challenge for any parent. Divorced spouses might distrust each other, dislike each other and may not take the same approach to parenting as each other.

That said, raising a child together under these circumstances is not impossible. Parents and their attorneys can create a parenting plan that fits everyone's needs and protects the child's best interests. There are multiple types of plans to consider.

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J. Melanie Slaughter, P.A.
2337 E. Silver Springs Blvd.
Ocala, FL 34470

Phone: 352-414-5945
Phone: 352-414-5945
Fax: 352-789-6969
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