Insurance After a DUI Conviction

There are many significant consequences that come with a DUI conviction, in addition to the typically associated probation, jail time, and fines. One such consequence that many people do not think of is the insurance rate hike you will undoubtedly face in the State of Florida.

In Florida, Florida’s No-Fault Law requires vehicle owners to maintain minimum coverage of $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP), $20,000 per occurrence, and $10,000 Property Damage Liability insurance. However, if you are convicted of a DUI, the State of Florida will require you to have FR-44 insurance before you can reinstate your license (in addition to other reinstatement fees), which can increase your insurance rates 200%-300%. The insurance companies will flag you as “high risk” and may have the option of cancelling your policy or refusing to reinstate altogether.

FR-44 (financial responsibility insurance) requires a driver to purchase and maintain additional increased liability insurance for a period of 3 years when the driver is found guilty, or enters a plea of guilty or no contest, for DUI. The increased requirements are 100/300/50:  $100,000, bodily injury or death liability insurance per person, $300,000 for similar liability for two or more persons in any one crash, and $50,000 property damage liability.

Anyone who is facing DUI charges in in Palm Beach County, Florida, whether it is the first time DUI charge or a second DUI charge or more, should contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in Driving Under the Influence charges to explain the full ramifications that you may be facing and review the case for any possible defenses.

Casey Reiter is an attorney at Greenspoon Marder Law in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense, Family Law, and Appellate Law.

 

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Florida Death Penalty – House Bill 139

An important piece of Death Penalty legislation is being considered in Florida: House Bill 139.

This proposed legislation would require a unanimous jury vote to recommend a death sentence. Currently, a jury can recommend the death penalty in Florida by a vote of 7-5 (it is important to note that the Judge is the ultimate decision-maker who can choose to override the jury’s recommendation). The proposal would also require the judge to instruct jury that, in order for jury to recommend to court that death penalty be imposed, the jury must find that sufficient aggravating circumstances exist which outweigh any mitigating circumstances; that each aggravating circumstance must be proven beyond reasonable doubt by unanimous vote; and that the judge shall provide a special verdict form for each aggravating circumstance.

It would seem that this legislation is a long time coming. Of the 32 States that impose death penalty sentences, Florida is only 1 of 2 states in the union that does not require a unanimous decision (Alabama requires a 10-2 supermajority). Compare that to the fact that a unanimous jury verdict is required to convict a defendant of a misdemeanor offense, which carries with it a max punishment of only up to one year in jail. An interesting contradiction, to say the least.

For ease of reference, the specific language of the bill proposes:

Effective for an offense committed on or after July 1, 2015, an advisory sentence of death may be made only by a unanimous recommendation of the jury. The court shall instruct the jury that, in order for the jury to recommend to the court that the death penalty be imposed, the jury must find that sufficient aggravating circumstances exist which outweigh any mitigating circumstances found to exist. The court shall further instruct the jury that each aggravating circumstance used to support the jury’s recommendation of death must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and be made by a unanimous vote. The court shall provide a special verdict form for each aggravating circumstance found.

The full text of the proposed bill can be found here: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2015/0139/BillText/Filed/PDF

Casey Reiter is an associate attorney at Stuart R. Manoff & Associates, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and Family law.