798531-violation-of-probationA violation of your probation in Florida can be an extremely serious matter. If you’re found in violation, that can mean your serving many more years in jail than you otherwise would have without the violation. Given that many years of your freedom can be on the line, it is exceptionally important that you take a violation of probation matter very, very seriously. Be sure you have a knowledgeable Pinellas County probation violation attorney on your side to protect your rights and your freedom.

I.H. was someone who was out on probation but who did not stay out on probation. The state asserted multiple bases for violating I.H.’s probation. While I.H.’s probation was ultimately violated because he admitted in open court that he committed the crime of resisting a police officer without violence, his case still went before the Second District Court of Appeal. The part of that court’s ruling addressing some of the other alleged bases for violating I.H.’s probation offers some potential good news for others on probation.

In I.H.’s case, the state alleged he failed to pay court costs and failed to pay the costs of his drug testing. These were two of the “special conditions” of I.H.’s probation. A court may order a probationer to pay court costs and to pay for his drug testing as special conditions of probation, and violate that probationer’s probation if he doesn’t pay. The key thing is, though, that the trial judge has to explicitly include those conditions in the order of probation. If a condition (like paying court fees or drug testing charges) is not included in a person’s order of probation, the probation cannot violate the terms of his probation by failing to do it.

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86048012_s-300x215If you have been arrested for or convicted of a crime, there is a record of your arrest and subsequent consequences. This can affect many areas of your life, because everyone from banks to employers do personal background checks that will pull up these records. In order to keep one mistake from affecting your entire life, you may need to try to have your record expunged. There are certain situations in which this is possible.

If you were arrested but no charges were filed against you, or if you were found not guilty, you will be able to get your arrest record expunged in most cases. You do have to apply to have your record expunged, however. Just because you were found not guilty does not mean there is no record of your arrest. Make sure that no one can ever know about the incident by requesting to have the record expunged. Continue reading

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in Florida, you should know what’re facing. You’ll most likely be facing  knowledgeable and capable prosecutors who are well-versed in using the legal system to get the information they want in order to make their case. They know how to phrase the requests they file with the court and make arguments in ways that generally persuade judges.

In order to defend yourself fully, then, you need legal representation that also knows how make (or oppose) requests effectively and make (or oppose) arguments persuasively. You need to be sure you have an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney on your side.

Consider the case of L.L. Actually, it was, at first, the non-case of L.L. In 2018, the state asked a judge to issue a subpoena for L.L.’s medical records. At that time, L.L. was not facing any criminal charges. The state argued that it needed the records as it had reasonable suspicion that the records held “information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.”

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82453918_s-300x175If you are a first time offender and are facing a non-violent criminal charge, you could be eligible for a diversion program. Diversion programs exist to help people who have made a mistake turn a corner for the better. These programs are designed to change the behavior that led to the charge without causing undue hardship like a criminal record or jail time. Here’s more about these programs and how they can help you.

What Are Diversion Programs?

Diversion programs, also called pre-trial interventions, are a way for prosecutors to take your case out of the normal court system. If you qualify and it is approved by the state, you will complete a period of probation, usually some community service, and potentially counseling or substance abuse treatment as indicated by the crime you committed. In return, your case will never go to court, you will face no jail time, and you can apply to have your record expunged in most cases. Continue reading

798531-violation-of-probationIt can be easy to confuse probation and community control in Florida, but they are actually quite different. A person under community control can only leave his/her residence to go to work, to attend class (if he/she is a student), to perform public service, to attend medical treatment appointments or other activities (such as church attendance or completion of errands that the officer approves in advance.) In other words, one can think of community control somewhat like “house arrest.”

Probation and community control do have some things in common, however. One that the two are similar is that a violation can have extremely severe negative impacts, including having to go back to jail/prison for a period of many years. If you find yourself having been accused of a probation violation or a community control violation, make sure you act promptly to retain an experienced Pinellas County criminal defense attorney.

C.B. was an example of someone facing that type of major setback. He was out of prison on community control. However, the state charged with violating his community control by “failing to remain confined to his approved residence except as approved by his community control officer.”

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All of us make mistakes at various points in our lives. For some people, those mistakes may come with criminal legal consequences. If you find yourself in such a circumstance, one of the key things you can do to help yourself is resist the urge to take action that will actually only make your situation worse. In almost all situations, attempting to run from the police is one of those urges that, if acted upon, will only make your legal circumstances worse. Instead of running, take quick and decisive action by retaining the services of an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney to take on your case within the legal system.An example of how running from law enforcement can go badly took place recently in Seminole County. A ClickOrlando report indicated that three people were traveling in a white vehicle that allegedly had a stolen license plate on it. Local law enforcement officers began pursuing the vehicle. There was a problem for the occupants, though; the vehicle contained cocaine and several pieces of drug paraphernalia. The driver tried to outrun the police but eventually crashed.

The driver, J.Y., and one passenger, J.K., decided to make a run for it on foot, racing into a field. A police K9 caught J.Y. J.K., however, had a different pursuit to handle. A herd of cows detected the woman and began chasing J.K. Eventually, the cows cornered the woman in one corner of the fenced field, where law enforcement officers were waiting to apprehend her.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the “police didn’t say whether they would consider creating a bovine chase unit.”

By now, most people are familiar with the “Florida man” meme and Florida man’s exploits, which are often criminal in nature. Sometimes, these events are actually more tragic than funny, arising as the results of severe (and often untreated) addiction and/or mental illness.

If a person commits a criminal act while suffering from a mental issue, he may not be competent to stand trial or may be not guilty of any crime due to his mental state. If you need to present arguments and evidence about your mental state in your criminal matter, be sure you have an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney by your side handling your case.

This backdrop brings us to news reports about J.D. from Bay County. In May 2014, J.D. believed that his neighbor stole his dog. Reportedly, J.D. confronted the woman with a shotgun. First, he threatened to blow the woman’s kneecaps off. Then he threatened to kill her. A male member of the household came outside, and J.D. shot him. That man subdued J.D. with a hammer and police came and arrested J.D.

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798531-violation-of-probationSometimes, even a seemingly minor crime can (depending on your circumstances) create big problems for you. That’s especially true if you’re on probation, where even a misdemeanor conviction may trigger a revocation of probation. The revocation of your probation could mean spending years in jail that you otherwise would have avoided.

That’s why, when there’s a potential probation revocation on the line, don’t take risks. Instead, fight the charge aggressively and contact an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney about your case.

For an example of how all this can work, there’s the case of A.N., which began after police in Hillsborough County were called to a motel on the basis of a “domestic violence incident.” The police officers who responded spoke with the alleged victim, and then spoke to A.N. (the alleged perpetrator) through an open window. They told the man they intended to arrest him for domestic battery.

798514-burglaryThere’s something in the law called a “statutory inference” and, although you’ve probably not heard of it, it can be very important in your criminal trial. These inferences come from statutory laws and say that juries can infer certain things even without actual proof. Given what a big help that can be to a prosecutor’s case, one of the things you may need to do as part of your defense is to convince the judge that the facts of your case do permit the use of any statutory inferences. Doing this successfully often requires an in-depth knowledge of the statutes, case law and court rules. In other words, having a knowledgeable Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney can go a long way toward success in your case.

To understand a little more about how these inferences can work, the case of A.L. serves as a good example. The origins of A.L.’s case dated to early June 2017, when several items were stolen from several cars in Brandon. Eventually deputies came to search a bedroom in a home in pursuit of the stolen items. The bedroom was shared by A.L. and his brother. The brothers’ uncle gave permission to search the bedroom. In the room, the deputies found many of the items that residents had reported stolen.

Based on that evidence, the prosecution charged A.L. with several crimes, including five burglary counts, one count of grand theft, three counts of petit theft, and one count of criminal mischief. At the end of his trial, A.L. made several requests of the court. One was to deny the state’s ability use a statutory inference under subsection 2 of Fl. Stat. 812.022.

On your favorite TV courtroom drama show, the defense may often focus its arguments around the idea that the accused must be found “not guilty” because the evidence points to a specific other person as the real guilty party. In real life, your best defense in a criminal trial doesn’t always look like that, but sometimes that is exactly how to advance your strongest defense.

When that’s the case, you need to be sure you have skilled Pinellas County criminal defense lawyer on your side, because there is a specific way to get that evidence before the jury. Do it right and you may have very strong chance of an acquittal; do it wrong and the jury may not ever get to hear that powerful evidence at all.

R.N. was a man in need of that kind of defense in his case. R.N. was on trial for a home burglary and for battering the woman inside the home. The attacker broke into a Dunedin home in the middle of the night and jumped on the resident as she lay in bed. The woman eventually fought off her attacker.

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