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The Law Office of Hoot Crawford is located in Panama City, Florida.  Our attorney, Hoot Crawford has handled thousands of criminal cases in both the Florida state court system and in the United States District Court of North Florida.  We primarily practice in Bay County and the surrounding counties of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.  Our criminal law experience includes numerous misdemeanor and felony cases in the areas of: traffic violations, DUI, battery, assault, driving with a suspended license, robbery, possession and sale of controlled substance, burglary, sex crimes, and juvenile offenses.

Being arrested is a disturbing experience.  Early intervention by an experienced attorney could make a difference in the outcome of your situation.  We are experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys who are tenacious advocates for our clients. We always seek a resolution that is in the best interest of the client.  We are zealous advocates for our clients and strive for good results.

Hoot and staff understand the issues and emotions inherent with criminal law.  We work to reassure and educate individuals and their families.  When individuals come to our office for the first time, they are typically uncertain, scared, and overwhelmed.  During the free initial consultation, we take the time to explain how the criminal process works and explain what the individual can expect in pre-trial hearings and during the trial.  When individuals leave our office, they feel more confident about their case and their situation because of the information and support we provide.

Personal attention and client service are areas that set us apart from other law firms.  A person is always available to answer your call, and our attorneys are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Our firm also offers flexible payment plans and accepts both Visa and MasterCard.

Two Sheriff’s Dept. Officers Suspended After Stopping Judge

Macon, Ga. — Two deputies with the Bibb County Sheriff’s office were suspended without pay after stopping a local judge at a checkpoint.

The Sheriff’s Department say the officers stopped Judge Howard Simms, a Bibb County Judge on September 22 during an operation called “Rolling Thunder” for a license check.

The deputies allowed the Judge to drive home even though his breath test showed his alcohol level was above the limit.

A Captain and a sergeant were suspended for 3 days.

Simms, a former district attorney and current Superior Court judge said in a statement that he was entering an in-patient alcohol addiction treatment facility.  He was not charged with DUI.

Drunk On Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Bicycle Rider Strikes Police Cruiser

Donald Munoz might want to consider drinking real lemonade instead of Mike’s Hard Lemonade before jumping on his bicycle next time. Cops said he drank three bottles of the hard stuff and was then busted when he crashed it into a police cruiser in Gresham, Ore.

Munoz, 32, ran a red light at around 1:30 a.m. on September 31, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

The Dash cam video from the police cruiser shows the collision. Luckily, no one was injured.

The officer whose vehicle he hit found an open container of the beverage on his bike and Munoz admitted to being drunk on Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

He was charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants, arrested and taken to jail.

Operating any vehicle while you are under the influence of an intoxicant is never a good idea.  If you find yourself charged with such an offense, contact the Law Offices of Hoot Crawford, or another reputable attorney immediately.  Hoot Crawford serves the Bay and the surrounding counties.

DUI Riding Horse, Man Arrested

BUNNELL, Fla. — Police have released a video showing a pursuit of an intoxicated man on horseback.

The incident began when an officer received a report of “an intoxicated male riding a horse. “Charles Larkin Cowart, 29, was arrested just after the incident.

Police did not immediately give chase, fearing harm to the public or the horse. At one point, a train slowed down as he crossed over a set of railroad tracks. The officer activated his lights to stop traffic while Cowart crossed a street, but he refused orders to dismount and, rearing the horse back, took off on the animal.

Cowart continued riding, stirring a crowd of witnesses to emerge from their homes.

About 30 minutes later, when the horse became exhausted, Cowart fled on foot and was soon captured.

His charges include disorderly conduct, cruelty to animals and resisting arrest without violence.

5 DUI’s Result In 45 Year Prison Sentance

Stephen Andrew Hall
A New Jersey man has officials frustrated by their inability to keep a man from driving after being arrested five times in a five week period for driving under the influence

Perhaps they will follow the example of Texas courts.

In Fort Worth, a county judge sentanced a man to serve 45 years in prison after he was convicted for 5 DWI’s.

Stephen Hall, 59 was convicted in four minutes during his latest case, in which his blood alchohol content was .18, which is more than twice the legal limit.

Mr. Hall will be required to serve a minimum of 11 years, as reported byTime Magazine. Hall chose to have the judge determin his sentence, which according to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office, he called “pretty weak”

It will be a long time before Mr. Hall will be driving again.

Anderson Sotomayor, of Vineland, New Jersey, has 2 prior convictions for DUI, and five DUI arrests in the past five weeks. Those cases are still pending trial. Sotomayor’s license has been suspended 23 times.

Public Has The Right To Record Police In Public Places

A Boston lawyer was arrested won a victory today with a federal appeals court ruling that states officers can not claim “qualified immunity” while performing their jobs.  Simon Glik was arrested under a Massachusetts state law that prohibits audio recordings without both parties consent.

Glik is suing the city and police officers who arrested him because he used his cell phone to record a drug arrest.  The courts ruling, which will allow Simon Glik to continue with his lawsuit said the way he was arrested and his phone seized under a wiretapping law violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights.

The First Amendment issue here is, as the parties frame it, fairly narrow: is there a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public? Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, answer that question unambiguously in the affirmative. It is firmly established that the First Amendment’s aegis extends further than the text’s proscription on laws “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” and encompasses a range of conduct related to the gathering and dissemination of information. As the Supreme Court has observed, “the First Amendment goes beyond protection of the press and the self-expression of individuals to prohibit government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” …

Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.”

The court noted that past decisions on police recording had involved full time reporters, but said the First Amendment does not apply just to professional news gatherers.

Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw. The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.

Former Cop Pleads Not Guilty To “Dirty DUI” Charges

Steven Tanabe - Accused Dirty CopDANVILLE — A former Danville police officer entered a not guilty plea Friday to new charges that he committed wire fraud by allegedly texting with a private investigator to coordinate drunken-driving arrests known as “dirty DUIs.”

Stephen Tanabe, 48, appeared in federal court in Oakland, where prosecutors added charges to existing counts of fraud, conspiracy, and extortion under color of official right.

Prosecutors say Tanabe worked with Christopher Butler, 50, a private eye hired by women allegedly seeking to have their husbands set up for drunken-driving arrests. The men were usually in divorce or child custody battles, prosecutors said.

In May, Butler pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts and said he had paid Tanabe with cocaine and a handgun to make three arrests on his behalf.

In the new indictment, prosecutors said Butler and Tanabe had exchanged text messages to coordinate two arrests and had discussed Tanabe’s compensation in a third.

Prosecutors said Butler’s phone showed that minutes before the Jan. 9, 2011, arrest of a man outside a Danville bar, the private eye texted Tanabe, “They are up + heading for the door.”

Tanabe’s attorney, Tim Pori, said prosecutors were using an obscure law usually applied to politicians who use the telephone to accept bribes. According to the indictment, the server for Butler’s phone is located in Kansas and the allegedly illegal communications with Tanabe crossed state lines, making the exchange a federal crime.

“This kind of prosecution is esoteric and this is not the way the statute is normally used,” Pori said.

Tanabe resigned last year from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, which employed him as a Danville officer. The charges against him carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine.

DANVILLE — A former Danville police officer entered a not guilty plea Friday to new charges that he committed wire fraud when he allegedly exchanged text messages with a private investigator to coordinate drunken-driving arrests later dubbed “dirty DUIs.” Stephen Tanabe, 48, appeared in federal court in Oakland, where prosecutors added charges to existing counts of fraud, conspiracy, and extortion under color of official right. Prosecutors say Tanabe worked with Christopher Butler, 50, a private eye hired by women allegedly seeking to have their husbands set up for drunken-driving arrests. The men were usually in divorce or child custody battles, prosecutors said. In May, Butler pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts and said he had paid Tanabe with cocaine and a handgun to make three arrests on his behalf. In the new indictment, prosecutors said Butler and Tanabe had exchanged text messages to coordinate two arrests and had discussed Tanabe’s compensation in a third. Prosecutors said Butler’s phone showed that minutes before the Jan. 9, 2011, arrest of a man outside a Danville bar, the private eye texted Tanabe, “They are up + heading for the door.” Tanabe’s attorney, Tim Pori, said prosecutors were using an obscure law usually applied to politicians who use the telephone to accept bribes. According to the indictment, the server for Butler’s phone is located in Kansas and the allegedly illegal communications with Tanabe crossed state lines, making the exchange a federal crime. “This kind of prosecution is esoteric and this is not the way the statute is normally used,” Pori said. Tanabe resigned last year from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, which employed him as a Danville officer. The charges against him carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine.

Read more Here  This article originally appeared in The San Fransisco Chronicle

Jenna Jameson Arrested On DUI Charges

Around 1:30 a.m. Friday morning Porn Star Jenna Jameson got a ride to jail after she reportedly his a pole. She sustained minor injuries, however she refused medical treatment.

After showing signs of intoxication and failing a field sobriety test, she was booked into a local detention facility.

If you are arrested on DUI or any other charge, call the law offices of Hoot Crawford immediatly.

Warning Motorists of Speed Traps A 1st Ammendment Righ

Sanford Florida, which has seen a lot of bad press lately due to the Treyvon Marting shooting is in the news again, only this time in a more positive note.

A Sanford judge rules that a Lake Mary driver was exercising his First Amendment right when warning other motorists about a speed trap a deputy had set up nearby.

Current Florida Statute states that:

(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as a means of indicating a right or left turn, to change lanes, or to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the ghighway or except that the lamps authorized in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4) AND (9) AND S. 316.235(5) are permitted to flash.

Circuit Judge Alan Dickey had earlier ruled that this law does not apply to people who use their headlights to communicate, and with this ruling goes a step further, in this behavior is protected under the U.S. Constitution.

A Man, A Zebra And A Parrot . . .

DUBUQUE, Iowa — An Iowa man stopped outside a Dubuque bar with a small zebra and a parrot in his truck has been charged with drunken driving.

KCRG-TV reported that officers arrested 56-year-old Jerald Reiter of Cascade on Sunday in the parking lot of the Dog House bar, where people had been taking photos of the animals.

Reiter says the zebra and macaw parrot are pets and like riding in the truck. Reiter claims he sometimes takes the animals into the bar, but the owner says they’re not allowed inside.

Officers gave Reiter a field sobriety test and charged him with drunken driving. Reiter disputes the arrest. He says he was about to let a passenger, a person, begin driving.

He says he thinks someone who came to see the animals called police.


Reprinted from Charleston Daily Mail
Do not drink and drive, especially with children or animals in your vehicle. For representation in the Bay County Area, call the law offices of Hoot Crawford.