Credit Card Shock

September 17th, 2010


By Paul A. Meissner

Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.

Almost everyone carries and uses credit cards.  Some folks have a bundle of cards, not because they asked for them, but in response to a flood of unsolicited offers over the past several years.

Paul A. Meissner

We are accustomed to receiving offers and information regarding credit cards.  Most of the correspondence includes a small print-multi page document titled “Terms and Conditions”.  Until about September of last year, these documents were relatively benign, and routinely ignored.  Since September 2009, almost every card issuer has changed the terms and conditions of card usage in very substantial ways. Interest rates, annual fees, and other fees have been increased almost beyond belief.  Because of changes in Federal Law, you received these notices, and were given the right to opt out of the card (canceling), and pay off any remaining balance over time at old interest rates.

Most people didn’t read the notices, or, if they read, did not opt out.  The result, is that finance charges will increase and escalate in 2010 in accordance with the new rates and fees.  Carefully examine your credit card statements over the next several months, and pay particular attention to finance charges.  Many people will find it difficult to pay off balances, and will only be able to pay interest.  We all need to pay attention to the fine print of our card agreements, and explore ways to avoid interest rates that often exceed 20%.

Marauders Rib Fest

April 13th, 2014
Terri Cromley and Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett love the Marauders.

Terri Cromley and Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett love the Marauders.

Terri Cromley, a partner in the Law Offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, loves the Bradenton Marauders. Terri also loves ribs, and she, therefore, was at the Marauders tent at Rib Fest this Saturday.

Terri Cromley works with individuals in need of legal assistance with Social Security Disability cases and Workers’ Compensation claims. Jason Reid, also with the Bradenton office of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, helps people with all types of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense matters.

A great time was had by all as fans stopped by to say hello and find out about all of the exciting events the Marauders have planned for the Florida State League All-Star game on June 14th.

You can nominate an “All-Star Among Us” for recognition at the ALL-Star game.  Go Marauders and Go Ribs!

Taste of Pasco

April 12th, 2014
Rocky Billeter, Jake and Jack Donaldson (sons of attorney Matt Donaldson) are ready to hand out ice cream.

Rocky Billeter, Jake and Jack Donaldson (sons of attorney Matt Donaldson) are ready to hand out ice cream.

The Good Humor Ice Cream truck was filled with all sorts of Good Humor Ice Cream and was given to all the attendees at the 4th Annual Taste of Pasco today. Rocky Billiter, Matt Donaldson and his two sons Jake and Jack, and Todd Garrett were handing out the ice cream.

Matt Donaldson, an attorney with the Spring Hill Law Office of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett was present to answer any legal questions.

This fourth annual Taste of Pasco was hosted by Leadership Pasco Class of 2014 on April 12, 2014 from 4pm – 7pm at the Rotary Pavilion at the Concourse in Land O’ Lakes. 15325 Alric Pottberg Rd. , Shady Hills, FL 34610.

Proceeds will benefit the Runaway Alternatives Project and the West Pasco Pregnancy Center.

Information about the Good Humor Ice Cream Truck:

1969 Ford Good Humor Ice cream Truck

During the summer, the ringing of the bell along streets in many American towns and cities meant one thing–the Good Humor Ice Cream Truck. It all began in 1920, when Ohio ice cream parlor owner Harry Burt followed his son’s suggestion and put chocolate coated ice cream on a stick. Before long, Burt had a fleet of a dozen trucks making door-to-door deliveries of his new Good Humor ice cream products.

The fleet of Good Humor trucks saw rapid expansion during the 1950’s and 1960’s. One of the trucks that were part of that explosive growth period was this 1969 Ford ice cream truck, which was originally placed in service delivering Good Humor Ice Cream to neighborhoods in Boston, Massachusetts. When the Good Humor Company stopped using trucks to sell ice cream in 1978, the distributor restored and warehoused this rare surviving vehicle. It was purchased years later by a resident of Hull, Massachusetts whose original intention was to let his son start a business. The son soon lost interest, and the truck was used to cater events for several summer seasons. The last event he catered from the vehicle was associated with the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.Paul Meissner purchased this vehicle in 2004 and it has appeared ever since at various fund raising and charitable events. The Law Firm of Carlson & Meissner donates all of the ice cream distributed at these events.

Manatee County Bar Helps Turning Points of Bradenton

April 2nd, 2014
Terri Cromley and the team from Manatee County Bar Association

Terri Cromley and the team from Manatee County Bar Association

Terri Cromley, a partner in the Law Offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.,  joined other members of the Manatee County Bar Association this Saturday to help Turning Points move their donation center, the One Stop Center, to a new warehouse next door.

Turning Points, formerly the Community Coalition on Homelessness,  is headquartered in the Bill Galvano One Stop Center in Bradenton. This organization helps down-and-out people out on the streets. Most importantly, Turning Points helps some find a place to live and build a new life.

“Turning Points” does indeed express the goal of the organization. With a new heart-shaped logo that also states, “Where Compassion Takes Action,”

Turning Points is taking its commitment to Manatee County’s homeless to another level. The organization provides a variety of essential services to the homeless, expanding two key health programs over the past six months.

Terri is proud to be a part of an organization that donates not only their knowledge, time and money to local charities, but their sweat too.

Halt to Online Mug Shots a Boon for Arrested Citizens

March 25th, 2014

Every day, Florida citizens are rejected from jobs and denied credit due to their criminal history.  ThRejected from jobs due to an on-line mugshot?e Pinellas County Sheriff’ recently decided to stop posting online mug shots on its “Who’s In Jail” website and Kevin Hayslett, attorney with the Law Offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., believes this change is significant to persons arrested in Clearwater.

The ease with which potential employers and creditors can access evidence of arrests on,, and similar websites creates additional barriers for employment applicants, denying them an opportunity to explain that an action was dismissed or downplay minor offenses. The Pinellas County Sheriff Department’s recent move to eliminate mug shots from its “Who’s in Jail” website, effective Jan. 13, 2014 is a key step toward eliminating obstacles to employment, education and credit for people arrested in Clearwater and surrounding areas. Arrest photos had been publicly available on the website since 2005.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s decision was driven by his frustration with private companies, such as, mining the “Who’s in Jail” website for mug shots, posting the photos on their websites, then charging citizens exorbitant fees, ranging from $399 to $1700, to remove the mug shots. Sheriff Gualtieri wanted to do his part to stop the mug site mining websites from taking advantage of the citizens of Pinellas County, who in most instances could not afford to pay for removal of the photos.

The decision to end online mug shots is a win for citizens arrested in Pinellas County. It gives our clients one less issue to deal with when trying to move forward with their lives after being accused of a crime.

Suspension of a Drivers License after a DUI Arrest

February 13th, 2014


Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.

Our Team of Attorneys

Kevin Hayslett, attorney with the law offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., assists Florida drivers charged with DUI evaluate their options related to the administrative license suspension, and provides a strong defense in criminal proceedings.

There are procedures that became effective in Florida on July 1, 2013, regarding the reinstatement of a suspended drivers license after a DUI arrest.

In 2011, more than 55,000 people were arrested for DUI in Florida and more than 33,000 were convicted of DUI, or driving under the influence. A DUI conviction can permanently alter the course of one’s life. Because a conviction can stay on a criminal record for 75 years in Florida, it can have a serious impact on employment and school opportunities. DUI convictions can also result in a suspended drivers license and can significantly increase auto insurance costs.

Under Florida Statute, s.316.193, a person is guilty of “driving under the influence” if the person is driving, or is in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances or controlled substances that causes the person’s normal faculties to be impaired. A driver with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 is considered to be driving under the influence. DUI convictions are punishable by fine or imprisonment.

Florida drivers arrested for DUI must navigate both a lengthy administrative process before the Department of Motor Vehicles to regain their driver’s license, and face a daunting criminal proceeding in court to determine culpability on the DUI charge. These often occur simultaneously.

Effective July 1, 2013, under Florida Statute s.322.2615, the rules for administrative suspension of a driver’s license changed. Drivers charged with DUI in Florida now have the following options:

  1. Request a formal or informal review of the license suspension at the Department of Motor Vehicles; or
  2. Request a review of eligibility for a business purpose only license (also called a hardship license) at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The decision of which option to pursue must be made within the first 10 days after the DUI arrest when the notice of suspension is issued. This decision should be made with full knowledge of the potential consequences of both choices.

“We encourage everyone to stay safe. Utilize a designated driver or taxi cab, drink responsibly and never drive under the influence. If you have been arrested for DUI, your best course of action is to retain a skilled DUI attorney to mitigate potentially serious consequences.” said Mr. Hayslett.

For additional information on DUI and license suspension in Florida, consult the Florida statute at:

Paul Meissner Warns Fellow Floridians to be Aware of Identity Theft

January 17th, 2014
Paul A. Meissner, Jr., is the Senior Managing Partner of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.

Paul A. Meissner, Jr., is the Senior Managing Partner of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A.

Identity theft is causing financial nightmares for hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, and has been hitting communities throughout Florida particularly hard.

This is especially important this time of year following all our holiday shopping using credit cards both on line and on the internet. As reported by Fox News on December 23, 2013, Target Corp. said that the Department of Justice is now investigating the retailer’s credit and debit card security breach, as federal lawsuits are starting to trickle in from customers around the country. The investigation comes after Target revealed last week that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts were stolen between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Security experts say it’s the second-largest theft of card accounts in U.S. history, surpassed only by a scam that began in 2005 involving retailer TJX Cos. That affected at least 45.7 million card users.

Today, people give out personal information for various reasons, most necessary and justifiable – online purchases, medical forms or signing up for a new insurance policy. The use of personal information has completely permeated most of our society. While some people regularly share information on the internet to make purchases, others are much more hesitant.

According to the Consumer Sentinel Network, there were 69,795 complaints of identity theft filed in 2012. Since 2009, the highest number of identity theft complaints in the US come from Florida.

“While it’s impossible to be one-hundred percent safe from identity theft, there are certainly measures which can be taken to minimize your chances of having your identity stolen,” said Meissner. “This includes setting difficult passwords for accounts, not giving out personal information online unless you initiated the contact, shredding documents with personal information, and not carrying a lot of credit cards in your wallet if you don’t have to.”

Although these measures certainly help, it would not prevent thieves in institutions, such as the two convicted identity thieves who paid a respiratory therapist at South Miami Hospital for Social Security numbers. This is not a unique situation, and the result is that even the most diligent could be scammed, even when trusting a reputable institution.

“Nothing is foolproof, and, ultimately, you must keep an eye on your credit report to make sure your identity is not being misused. Once someone has stolen your identity, it can take months, or even years, to get everything sorted out.”

Kevin Hayslett Celebrates Another Anniversary On Radio IO

December 25th, 2013
Listen to Kevin Hsylett, of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, on Radio IO, every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.

Listen to Kevin Hsylett, of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, on Radio IO, every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.

Criminal lawyer and Attorney to the Stars, Kevin Hayslett, is proud to announce the expansion of his popular Kevin’s Law segment featured on internet radio

Tampa Bay’s notable criminal attorney, Kevin Hayslett, partner in the law firm Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., hosts the internationally successful talk radio show, Kevin’s Law. Streamed through RadioIO, Kevin’s Law has an audience of more than 300,000 loyal listeners worldwide and is growing rapidly. Due to popular demand for the informative legal material Mr. Hayslett covers, the show is doubling airtime and will now be featured weekly.

The producers of Kevin’s Law adopted a traditional talk radio format which allows Attorney Hayslett to discuss topics ranging from the New York City soda ban to the correlation between low parental involvement and instances of violence in children. Attorney Hayslett also takes questions from callers, via email and twitter, in addition to hosting live guests. What sets Kevin’s Law apart from the rest is the show’s palpable legal overtones, is Kevin Hayslett himself, a well-recognized Florida criminal attorney who is best known as being The Attorney to the Stars. Kevin’s Law aired bi-weekly until overwhelming interest prompted a dramatic increase in the show’s frequency. The two-hour talk show boasts a new schedule that has Mr. Hayslett streaming through speakers every week. Listeners can log-in to hear Kevin’s Law on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. EST.

Internet radio broadcaster, RadioIO, airs Kevin’s Law weekly to a worldwide listenership. RadioIO is one of the original radio webcasters and is home to the wildly popular Bubba the Love Sponge Show. To stream RadioIO, listeners must sign up for either the free or subscription- based version of the service. Fee-based subscriptions can be purchased monthly or annually for a low price. Once subscribers set up accounts, they can create and share channels. Listeners can stream RadioIO on their computers, mobile devices or internet-ready stereo systems by downloading the RadioIO app at: Android users can download the RadioIO app at:

Listeners are encouraged to call in with their legal questions or concerns and speak directly with Attorney Hayslett during a live Kevin’s Law segment. Callers should dial: 1-85-Live-On-IO or 1-855-483-6646. Questions and feedback can also be tweeted directly to Mr. Hayslett at Twitter handle: twitter @atty2thestars.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

October 7th, 2013
Terri Cromley and Jason Reid are Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Terri Cromley and Jason Reid are Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

We are proud to support Terri Cromley, partner with the Law Offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Haysett, P.A. in her work with the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She has been working with the Sarasota/Manatee Making Strides and has formed a team, “Friends Against Wicked Lumps.”

Terri is the Managing Partner of the Bradenton office of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, and works with clients in the areas of Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability. Jason Reid, an attorney at our Bradenton office, who defends the accused in Criminal matters, will be there also.

As Team Captain of  “Friends Against Wicked Lumps,” Terri is hosting a trivia tournament at Mckechnie Field, the home of the Marauders, located 1/2 mile West of Highway 41 on 9th Street West at 17th Avenue West, Bradenton, Florida on October 17, 2013, in an effort to raise money for this worthy cause.

Terri announced, “We are teaming up with “Dr. Whorf’s Chemo Buddies” who are sponsorong a Wiffle Ball Tournament there as well.”

Both Teams are walking for “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” on October 19, 2013.

The trivia is $10 per person for teams of up to 4 people.  The wiffle ball tournament is $50 for a team of 9 people.  There will be raffles, celebrity bartenders and a lot of fun.  Come out and test your knowledge against Terri Cromley and Jason Reid of “Team Awesome”.  The tiki bar opens at 5:30 p.m., ladies drink free from 5:30-6:30.  Wiffle ball starts at 6:00.  Trivia starts at 6:30.  There will be a food truck.  Contact Terri for more information.

TV Fox 13′s Ask A Lawyer Program

September 5th, 2013

Tony Viera on Fox 13 Ask A LawyerOn September 5, 2013, Antonio (Tony) Viera, an attorney with the law offices of Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, served as a panel attorney for TV Fox 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay Ask a Lawyer Program.  Tony answered calls from viewers and provided free legal advice from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.

This Lawyer Referral Service is provided by the Hillsborough County Bar Association through which a person is referred to a lawyer who is committed to providing and interested in participating in legal services on a basis that takes into consideration the client’s ability to pay and the type of legal problems presented.

All attorneys must be members in good standing of The Florida Bar to participate. They must be engaged in the full time practice of law and they must certify competency in any area of law in which clients will be accepted.

Getting ready to go on the air.
The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) coordinates the  Ask-A-Lawyer, a free legal advice services. Ask-A-Lawyer is a partner program with TV FOX 13. Every month, Tony Viera will be donating his time to serve on a phone bank at the FOX 13 television studio. The public is encouraged to call and receive free legal advice.   For more information on upcoming dates for Ask-A-Lawyer please call the LRS at 813-221-7780.

West Pasco Bar Association Installation Banquet

August 16th, 2013


Larry Hart and Sarah Raaymakers are installed as officers of the West Pasco Bar Association

Larry Hart and Sarah Barkley Raaymakers, of the Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A. New Port Richey office, were installed as officers of The West Pasco Bar Association.

The West Pasco Bar Association held its annual installation banquet at the Heritage Springs Country Club. New board of directors and officers were sworn in with Chief Administrative Judge Lowell Bray administering the oath of office to Amanda Colon, President; Nichole Alvarez-Sowles, President-Elect; Sarah Barkley Raaymakers, Vice President, Ryan Loddridge, Treasurer; and Lorie Cox, Secretary.

Serving as Board Directors are J. Larry Hart, Kris Hudson and Maurice Feller.

An award was also presented to retiring Judge Robert P. Cole for “exemplary service to the legal profession,” in recognition of Cole’s service as an assistant state attorney, attorney to Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and as county court judge.

The West Pasco Bar Association is an association of lawyers practicing in Pasco County. Its mission is to inspire and promote respect for the law and the justice system through service to the legal profession and the community.