A lot of arrests start out as something smaller. It could be a traffic stop or an officer stopping someone on foot to ask them questions. The law in Florida says that the police must have a “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity before they stop you. If they did not, then an investigatory stop may be a violation of your constitutional rights and any evidence they procured from that stop may be subject to suppression if you have to go to trial. A skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer knowledgeable in Fourth Amendment law can enhance your chances of winning arguments about search-and-seizure violations, reasonable suspicion, probable cause, and more.

The Florida Supreme Court made news headlines last month with an important ruling about stops. The high court said that law enforcement officers may, while making a lawful traffic stop, permissibly command a driver to exit a vehicle to allow a K-9 officer to perform a sniff sweep of the automobile. Doing so, the court said, was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The court, in siding with the state, looked to a 1977 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, Pennsylvania v. Mimms. In that decision, the court said that “an exit command given by an officer during a lawful traffic stop is” not a violation of the driver’s constitutional rights.

Continue reading

You have certain rights when you stand trial in Florida, and the state has many procedural obligations. Full vindicating your rights means, among other things, knowing all of those prosecutorial obligations, correctly identifying violations when they occur, and taking the proper steps to act once a violation has been identified. That requires having diligent and detail-oriented counsel on your side. To ensure you are fully protected when you are on trial, you should speak to an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer about your case.

One place where parties have substantial obligations – and where violations can have significant consequences – is pretrial discovery. A recent burglary case from Tampa shows what should happen when the state doesn’t meet those requirements.

T.M., a juvenile, was on trial for the crime of “burglary of an occupied dwelling,” which is a felony. During the trial, the prosecution called two Hillsborough County Police officers as witnesses – the author of the police report and the officer to whom the juvenile allegedly confessed to the crime.

Continue reading

A lawsuit can be an intimidating affair that is full of emotional and legal difficulties. But with the appropriate strategy, it is feasible to overcome this difficult circumstance and come out on top. This article will go over five essential stages to help you get ready and improve your chances of winning a wrongful lawsuit.

Understanding the Allegations

Gaining a full understanding of the accusations made against you is the first step toward preparing to win a wrongful lawsuit. This calls for a thorough examination of the details of the claims and the underlying legal principles, not just a cursory perusal of court documents. Examine the allegations thoroughly, taking into account the circumstances surrounding their emergence and any possible driving forces. Acquiring a thorough comprehension of the accusations will enable you to design a sophisticated defense plan that aptly and concisely tackles every aspect.

Many Florida drivers have known the pain of seeing police lights in their rear-view mirror because they were speeding. Typically, the price is, at most, the fine associated with a basic speeding infraction. In some high-speed circumstances, however, Florida law has much more severe punishments. Whether you received an ordinary speeding ticket or your situation is more complex, a Tampa Bay traffic infraction defense lawyer can be essential to avoiding outcomes like the revocation of your driver’s license or jail time.

A 20-year-old man in greater Orlando recently was involved in one of those “high-speed” circumstances. According to The Smoking Gun, an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy began following a red Chevrolet Camaro that another deputy had observed participating in a street race. The second deputy clocked the Camaro going as fast as 199 mph on the turnpike, where the speed limit is 70 mph. (The driver may have been going faster (200+) when you consider that many speed detection devices “max out” at 199 mph.)

When the police accuse you or your loved one of going significantly over the speed limit, the state has an array of possible charges it can bring. Going 30+ (but less than 50) over the limit triggers steep penalties. Even for a first offense, the driver faces a mandatory court hearing (no resolving the issue by simply mailing in a check,) a possible fine of $400 or more, a four-point “hit” on their driver’s license, and no traffic school option.

Continue reading

People suspected of a crime or facing criminal charges may be familiar with the names of certain legal concepts and phrases but not truly understand their meaning and application. Many people have heard “ex post facto” or “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Few know exactly when these phrases apply to their cases and, if they do, precisely how to use them. An experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer, however, knows exactly how these and other concepts work and how to use them to your maximum benefit.

Arguments about ex post facto laws are an area where many pro se criminal defendants go wrong, raising the argument in circumstances where no ex post facto violation exists. A recent sex offender registry case from our south, however, is an example where the accused did have a valid ex post facto argument.

The defendant, A.C., was a Venice man convicted of a sex crime in 2016. At that time, the court sentenced him to incarceration followed by one year of probation. The sentence also required him to register as a sex offender. In the summer of 2019, while on probation, A.C. was arrested for another internet sex crime. Continue reading

Everyone has the right to be tried by a jury of their peers, and for that trial to be fair. The many protections enshrined in Florida law to protect a criminal defendant’s right to a fair trial exist to ensure justice; in other words, to make certain an accused person doesn’t receive a conviction or a punishment not supported by the evidence. Trials often become unfair when prosecutors overstep the bounds of what they can say to the jury. The potential for prosecutorial overstep is one reason among many why, if you’re on trial, you need a knowledgeable Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer advocating for you.

A recent drug case from our northeast is a prime example. The accused, A.S., had had multiple run-ins with law enforcement. In 2019, officers in Duval County executed a search warrant on the home where A.S. lived. They found drugs but the state did not charge the man after that search.

In 2020, officers executed another search warrant on the same home. Again, they found drugs. This time, the state charged the man with multiple drug crimes including trafficking in eutylone, which is a type of synthetic bath salt.

Continue reading

Felony battery cases are serious matters. Aggravated battery is a second-degree felony in Florida punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. People accused of felony battery crimes are entitled to put on affirmative defenses to overcome criminal liability. These include defenses like self-defense. When putting together a defense strategy, including affirmative defenses, in your felony trial, be sure your rights are protected by retaining representation from an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer.

Successfully arguing self-defense can be central to the accused person’s success in a battery case. To achieve that success, the accused needs to ensure that the judge properly instructs the jury about the law of battery and of self-defense.

When those instructions are erroneous, that may affect the accused’s ability to get a fair trial, as a recent battery case from Pinellas County illustrates.

Continue reading

A conviction on a theft charge can have serious ramifications. A Florida judge can suspend your driver’s license even if your conviction is only a misdemeanor. If you’re facing theft charges, a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer may have many options in your case. These could include challenging the value of the item(s) in question, arguing mistaken identity, or contesting your intent to deprive the owner of their property (among other possibilities.) With all these potential avenues out there, contacting an experienced lawyer about your case is well worth your while.

A well-worn phrase posits that it is “better to be lucky than good.” In one recent local theft case, the operative phrase arguably could have been: “If you’re not going to be smart, it is good to be lucky.”

The suspect in the case was M.K., a 33-year-old Clearwater man who traveled to a St. Petersburg tattoo parlor during the evening of Dec. 2 to obtain some new body art. A true aficionado of haute cuisine, the customer elected to get a five-inch-wide replica of the Waffle House logo tattooed onto his right calf.

Continue reading

Many procedural details go into the pretrial, trial, and post-conviction phases of presenting a defense. It is important to have a Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer who is fully immersed in the knowledge of all of these details, as any one of them may be the key you need to a dismissal, an acquittal, or a reversal of your conviction.

One area where that’s especially true is the rules regarding discovery violations.

As an example of how important a prosecutorial discovery violation can be, we have this recent drug case from Lee County.

Continue reading

Occasionally, this blog takes the opportunity to highlight potentially criminal situations where individuals demonstrated “what not to do.” For example, if you’re facing charges or under suspicion, running from the police is an example of what not to do. What you should do instead is get online or grab a phone and get in touch with a knowledgeable Tampa Bay criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

This blog also sometimes highlights people who have engaged in distinctly “Florida man/Florida woman” behavior. This blog post involves both. That is, a Florida man and someone illustrating “what not to do” when facing a particular predicament.

Per a Fox 13 Tampa Bay news report, that man was J.Y. from Lakeland, whom Polk County Sheriff’s deputies were seeking concerning possible crimes of aggravated battery, false imprisonment, and tampering. After receiving a tip, deputies traveled to a residence on West 10th Street. At the front of the house, propped in front of a window, was a white dry-erase board bearing a message declaring that J.Y. “does NOT live here!!”

Continue reading

Contact Information