Texting and Driving? – Think Again.

Injured car passenger calling an ambulance, in the background unconscious car driver.

We have all heard the message that texting and driving don’t mix. It’s common knowledge that the practice is extremely dangerous, but what are the legal ramifications if a Florida driver does choose to text while behind the wheel? You may be surprised to learn that the Sunshine State’s texting ban is considered weak compared to most of the country.

The most glaring difference is how the ban is enforced. Let’s say you’re driving down a city street and you quickly respond to a text from your mother about dinner tonight. After all, you can’t wait to tell her you want steak instead of chicken, right? There’s a police cruiser next to you, and after your press ‘send’ you and the officer lock eyes. Unless another reason exists to pull you off the roadway, that officer may not do so. Another infraction must be visible first.

This is a blessing for text-happy drivers – but it’s also a curse that can make them more complacent and lead to safety concerns. According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, a car traveling 40 miles per hour will travel 290 feet in a mere five seconds. Stare at the phone for that amount of time, and you will lose all perspective of what is happening on the road. Should a child or animal run across the street, it’s likely you will not brake in time to avoid them – and loss of life is never worth a text.

Phone records aren’t usually examined unless a serious accident occurs. However, if you are caught speeding in a school zone and the officer also witnesses you tapping away at the phone, two points will be added to those incurred by the primary offense. Be involved in a crash caused by texting, and expect six extra points on that license. As you can imagine, adding texting to an existing offense can quickly lead to the loss of a license. While the first offense leads to just a warning, if you are caught again the points could be even higher.

Whether Florida will crack down further on texting remains to be seen. There is definitely some uproar in the legislature regarding the relative ease of penalties levied to those texting and driving in Florida. Proponents of a tougher ban argue that the mere act of texting while behind the wheel should be cause for enforcement. Indeed, most other states agree and have passed tougher laws.

What will it take to keep text-happy fingers away from phones while in transit? Consider the ultimate cost when you are tempted to answer that message: loss of life. It could be yours or another person’s life that hangs in the balance – all because you absolutely could not wait to press ‘send.’

For answers to questions about texting and driving and for legal advice, contact the Coleman Law Group at 727-214-0400. Their attorneys offer a free consultation and will explain your legal options.

“We want Prenup!” Don’t Wait – Until It’s Too Late!

Conflicted husband and wife during divorce consultation with lawyer

The topic of Florida prenuptial agreements naturally gets tossed around our Tampa law office often – after all, love is always in the air, and as everyone knows, love can make you blind. Kanye and Jamie Foxx have a whole song about the dangers of these rose-colored glasses. Their iconic prenup anthem Gold Digger is basically a family law cautionary tale to the max.

Our legal advice to couples who come to us for marriage preparation is much tamer than Kanye’s take on the matter. We’re not suggesting you’ve got a gold digger situation. Still, here are a few instances that inspire our clients to enter the office and yell, We want prenup! We want prenup! (Ok, there is never any yelling of this. We had to get some lyrics in this post somewhere).

When should you have a Tampa lawyer draw up a Florida prenuptial agreement for you and your intended? 

In short – the earlier it’s planned before your marriage, the better. Consider these instances:

You have read the statistics and are a realist. ‘Happily ever afters’ are possible, of course. Our lawyers happen to believe this wholeheartedly on a personal level. However, the Florida divorce rate is high. By both parties understanding what is at stake if divorce does happen, the details will be laid out for the least painful dissolution of your Florida marriage if you have a prenuptial agreement.

You don’t want any surprises, money-wise. Kanye raps about the ‘you’re not the father’ scenario, where it’s revealed after 18 years that a child is not biologically the offspring of the person who financially supported him. Your reasons for a Florida prenuptial agreement need be much less dramatic. If one or both parties bring children to the union, it is to their benefit that you agree upon ‘what if’ scenarios ahead of time.

Consider this scenario: Junior is about to go away to college when his parents file for a Florida divorce. All of a sudden, that Ivy League education his stepdad promised to fund seems like a sub-par investment. The future graduate is left to scramble for loans to fulfill his educational aspirations because there was no prenuptial agreement signed. Concerned about protecting an inheritance? -Opt for the prenup.

There are other instances where a prenuptial agreement is advisable, of course, and none of them are mentioned in the rap song (though we believe they should be because that would be fabulous and educational). If you and your partner are interested in learning whether a prenuptial agreement is right for your unique situation, contact our compassionate Florida lawyers at the Coleman Law Group who can explain the benefits of the document at www.TheColemanLawGroup.com or (727) 214-0400.

Trust us, you’ll want to work with a caring professional who at no time in the planning process will stop, point his/her finger at one of you, and yell, “Gold Digger!” Most Florida prenups aren’t about people marrying for reasons other than love. Just as with most things in life, it’s just comforting to know what the future will hold if a certain outcome is to occur. Now go tell that to Kanye.