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Frequently Asked Questions

Personal Injury

It is in your best interests to provide only your contact information to an insurance company until you consult with a lawyer. The more significant your injuries, the more imperative it becomes to seek legal counsel before providing any statement.

It depends on your case. Most personal injury cases are settled prior to trial.

Every case addresses three issues:

  • Liability — establishing someone’s negligence
  • Damages — the amount that will fairly and adequately compensate you for your injuries
  • Source of collection — insurance or other assets from which damages can be recovered

No. Personal injury settlements are based on the details of your case.

At Payas, Payas & Payas, LLP, our experienced Florida personal injury lawyers review and interpret your case information to determine the appropriate value for your claim based on:

  • Incurred medical bill amount
  • Future medical bills
  • Loss of past income
  • Your age
  • Any permanent limitations caused by the injury
  • Impact on future earning capacity
  • Activities you can no longer do
  • Activities you can do but do not enjoy as much
  • Prognosis for further problems
  • Strength of lay witness testimony

The goal is fair and adequate compensation for your injury and our experienced attorneys know what a reasonable jury may award. The strength of lay and expert witness testimony may influence the amount you receive.


“Wet reckless” is formally known as reckless driving involving alcohol. The charge does not require proof that your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit, simply that you were driving dangerously after having consumed alcohol. Prosecutors are sometimes willing to accept a plea to this reduced charge when the defendant is sympathetic and/or the proof of DUI is tenuous. DUI defendants who accept a plea bargain to wet reckless receive lesser punishments and can retain their driving privileges. It’s advisable to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to bargain down to a lesser offense.

Florida belongs to the interstate Driver License Compact, an agreement among the majority of states to honor all the participants’ court decisions with regard to license suspensions and revocations. Out-of-state drivers convicted of DUI in Florida lose their home state licenses until they fulfill Florida’s requirements for reinstatement. The same is true of Florida drivers who commit traffic offenses in states that belong to the interstate compact.

When drivers convicted of DUI lose their licenses, they can petition the court for a restricted license allowing them to drive for the limited purpose of commuting to work or school. The court has great latitude to decide whether the convicted driver is a good risk for a restricted license.

Drivers under the age of 21 are not permitted to consume alcohol, so when they drink and drive, they face higher scrutiny. The “zero tolerance” policy for underage drinking and driving allows police to arrest young drivers with a BAC of just .02 percent. Penalties for baby DUI are not as serious as for standard DUI, but that is true only if the driver’s BAC is below the standard level of .08 percent.

Criminal Defense

If you are accused of a crime, you have certain rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, including:

  • The right to avoid self-incrimination
  • The right to competent legal representation
  • The right to reasonable bail
  • The right to a fair and public trial
  • The right to be informed of the charges against you
  • The right to be confronted with the witnesses against you and to gather witnesses of your own
  • The right to a speedy trial
  • The right to face your accusers

Under U.S. law, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means the prosecutor has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the criminal act. You do not have to do anything or say anything to prove you are innocent.

If you have been arrested, you should answer all questions about your identity, such as your name, address and birth date. Keep in mind that while you have the right to refrain from answering self-incriminating questions, lying is never a good idea. Giving officers a hard time during the arrest process is also not beneficial and makes things tougher on you.

If a loved one has been arrested, it is important to get as much information as possible about the arrest. Write the information down and then call an experienced attorney like the criminal defense attorneys at Payas, Payas & Payas, LLP. The following information may be helpful:

  • Name, birth date and Social Security number of the arrested person
  • Crime with which he or she has been charged
  • Name of the law enforcement agency that made the arrest
  • Location where the arrested person is being held
  • Whether bail has been set and, if so, the amount

Competent legal representation is so important that the U.S. Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to an attorney. An experienced criminal attorney knows the laws and court customs relevant to your case and can apply this knowledge to protect your rights and freedom. Regardless of your legal situation, a criminal lawyer can help you more than you can help yourself by going it alone. Most judges will not even consider a plea bargain from a defendant without legal representation.

Sentencing can vary depending on the location of the case, the crime, the judge, the jury and other specifics of the case. Punishment for a particular crime may be governed by the federal sentencing guidelines, and the judge does not have a big impact on determining the punishment. In other cases, the sentence is up to the judge’s discretion. In those cases, the judge considers several factors when determining a punishment. The most common punishments for a criminal conviction include:

  • Jail, prison or other detention facility sentence
  • Punitive fines
  • Restitution or compensation to the victim
  • Probation
  • Community service

Real Estate and Wills & Testaments

Real estate is the term for land and things attached to land. Residential real estate deals include the house and the land on which it is located. Commercial real estate may include factories, warehouses, equipment and other facilities associated with the land. Resources such as minerals and gas that are located on the land are considered part of the real estate. Some of these real estate components can be sold separately.

If you are selling property, you must complete a disclosure statement detailing certain defects and other information about the property. The disclosure statement must then be provided to the buyer.