dui-3The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains within it many basic rights for people who are on trial for alleged crimes. This is the Amendment from which the accused derives his right to present a defense at trial. That right to present a defense is very broad and significantly limits what the prosecution and/or the courts can do to keep out relevant proof that you think can strengthen your defense case. Recognizing what you can and cannot present in your defense, as well as making the arguments necessary to get that evidence in front of your jury, are just two of the countless critical areas where the experience and knowledge of a skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorney can pay invaluable dividends to you.

Take, for example, a DUI homicide case where you are the driver on trial. That state has evidence that your blood alcohol level was well above the legal limit. But, to convict you of the homicide crime, the state needs proof that you caused the crash, not just that you were driving drunk.

Now imagine if you had proof that the other driver involved was legally drunk, as well. Would not that piece of evidence be valuable to your defense?

social-image-logo-og-300x300Many people have heard about the protections the Constitution provides for people standing trial for alleged crimes. These include the right to a jury trial, the right to counsel and the right confront witnesses, among others. All of these are based on a more fundamental foundation of the American criminal legal system: the right to a fair trial. That fundamental foundation establishes several things that the prosecution cannot do as they try to convict you. Of course, one of the most critical ways to even the playing field is to exercise your right to counsel and arm yourself with representation from a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.

Unfairness in a criminal trial can happen in a lot of different ways. Look at this recent Sarasota case as an example. C.T. was on trial in Sarasota for a burglary charge and two sex crime charges. Those charges all stemmed from an incident where C.T. and a homeless friend entered the home of one of C.T.’s cousins to sleep at the home. The pair allegedly entered the home in the middle of the night uninvited by opening a door secured by a broken lock.

Just seven days before C.T.’s trial was supposed to start, the prosecution changed the list of charges it would pursue. Two days later, the state provided notice that it was amending its witness list – by adding three additional law enforcement officers who were going to testify about the alleged burglary. C.T. asked the judge to postpone the trial, arguing that he needed extra time to address these changes in the charges and these newly added witnesses. The judge denied the request and C.T. was convicted on the burglary charge.

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Currently, CCTV cameras are almost everywhere on the highways, in railway stations, bus stations, hotels, resorts, and residential buildings to keep crime at bay. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are commonly used in public places all over the globe. CCTV video has been used by law enforcement authorities to solve crimes and arrest criminals on several occasions. They’ve proved to be incredibly helpful in monitoring down criminals CCTV captures a truthful image of the events, and the Courts place a high value on its integrity due to its accuracy. The solar security camera is easy to mount without the need to connect electricity or cable. When it detects people, it will begin lighting the camera automatically, and it has local storage and privacy protection. Solar energy cellular surveillance cameras run on 3G/4G cellular data and are intended to function in areas with no hardwired Internet.

Authentication of CCTV Footage:

To be deemed admissible in the Court of law, digital evidence must be properly preserved, authenticated, and in compliance with each state’s different digital evidence policies. Furthermore, the applicability and relevance of the digital evidence to the case must be identified.

931789-Crimes-of-Violence-callout-08-20-10The world is constantly evolving, meaning that the law is evolving. New technologies may mean new avenues for obtaining the evidence you need to prove your innocence in a criminal trial. Getting that evidence, though, requires knowing how to engage in the legal processes properly and in a timely way. To do that, be sure you have representation from a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.

One of the modern technological gadgets many people have in their homes these days is a personal assistant device from Amazon or a competitor such as Google. Amazon’s devices come with the well-known “Alexa,” a voice-activated, cloud-based AI service. You can tell Alexa to do many things, from compiling shopping lists to tuning in a radio station to even mimicking the sound of human flatulence, and the Amazon device will perform that task.

Technology like this, as it contains the ability to “listen” and record what is said to the device, has the potential for some unexpected uses. In fact, in one case currently pending in a trial court in Kentucky, Alexa may hold the key to proving a woman’s innocence, according to her attorney. In that case, K.E. was on trial for the April 2020 murder of her mother in the small town of Elizabethtown, KY.

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dui-3The 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox baseball team was embraced by fans and given the affectionate nickname “The Idiots.” Unfortunately, one of the members of that team who grew up playing baseball in the Orlando area is in the news again, and he’s accused of doing something genuinely not very smart: driving under the influence of alcohol. While the criminal legal troubles of any person, including famous people, are no laughing matter, the mistakes they make can serve as teachable moments about what to do and what not to do. One thing this retired baseball star’s case teaches is the importance of taking the right steps if you’ve been stopped by the police. If you’re under suspicion of DUI in Florida, one thing you should do with all due haste is to reach out to a knowledgeable Saint Petersburg DUI defense attorney.

Law enforcement officers in an Orlando suburb stopped a black SUV shortly before 1:30 am early one morning in February. Inside were the former World Series champ and his wife. The officers asked if the retired outfielder had consumed any alcohol that evening. He replied “just a little bit” as he held his index finger and thumb in a gesture indicating the same thing. The police stated that the man’s speech was “extremely slurred,” according to News Channel 8.

The police asked the man to perform a field sobriety test. He accepted because, as he told the officers, “I’m a big boy,” Channel 8 also reported. At the police station, the man agreed to take a breathalyzer test, even though his wife advised him to refuse it. The two valid breath samples the police obtained yielded results of .294 and .300, according to a TMZ report.

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If you watch enough TV cop-and-lawyer shows, then you’ve likely heard one or more of the police characters talk about “the right to remain silent,” and the lawyer characters speak about “hearsay.” That’s because these are legitimately very big deals. If a piece of prosecution evidence qualifies as hearsay, then it is probably not going to be admissible under the rules of evidence. Similarly, if the police improperly coaxed a statement out of you after you invoked your right to remain silent, then the potentially incriminating things you said after invoking your rights may also be excluded. A skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney has extensive experience in making – and winning – these kinds of arguments on behalf of the accused.

These issues of hearsay evidence and improper police questioning were on display in a recent felony case from Charlotte County. According to a 911 call, the alleged victim (who was also J.T.’s ex-girlfriend) was hiding from J.T. inside a camper when J.T. decided to hitch the camper to his vehicle and start driving it down a rural Charlotte County road.

Law enforcement caught up to J.T., and the alleged victim told the officers that J.T. had sent her threatening text messages. A detective reviewed the messages on the alleged victim’s phone.

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One of the biggest things you can do to strengthen your defense position in a criminal case is to find ways to get the state’s evidence that was obtained from a search warrant thrown out. This evidence will probably be critical to the state’s case, so if you can get it suppressed, then you have a vastly better chance of obtaining an acquittal. This often means knowing how to attack your search warrant the right way. To give yourself the best chance of attacking a search warrant successfully, be sure you have an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney handling your case.

As an example, consider the case of D.G., a man suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography. The police’s suspicion arose after receiving a tip from an internet chatroom service, which reported that an image depicting child pornography had been uploaded to one of its chatrooms in October 2017 and that it came from a computer registered to D.G.’s home.

During their investigation, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office also learned that a similar anonymous tip about another single image of suspected child pornography from the same computer had been lodged in August 2016.

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When you’ve been accused of a crime, there are several things that can potentially make the prosecution’s case much weaker and your defense position much stronger. One of those is compelling evidence that the alleged victim or another of the state’s key witnesses has a very real reason to lie about you on the stand. If that’s a factor in your case, you need to make sure you have a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney advocating for you because the difference between getting an acquittal versus a conviction may rest on whether or not you get that evidence of bias before the jury.

Although there are limits to the evidence of bias you can use, the law generally gives you wide latitude in presenting this part of your defense. Recently, a man from Hillsborough County, V. A.-C., was on trial for sexual battery and believed he had strong evidence of bias. The man lived with several other people, including V. A.-C.’s girlfriend, the girlfriend’s sister and the sister’s boyfriend. The sister was also the alleged victim of the sexual battery.

At his trial, the accused man sought to put his girlfriend on the stand to testify about the accuser’s bias. The accuser had a former husband who had been jailed and later deported based on an allegation of sexual battery made by the daughter of V. A.-C.’s girlfriend. The accused man’s theory was that his accuser was bitter about that deportation and developed resentment and bias against her sister (a/k/a V. A.-C.’s girlfriend) and, by extension, V. A.-C as well.

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dui-3Here’s a troubling statistic: while drivers under the age of 21 only represent 10% of licensed drivers in the United States, they are responsible for at least 17% of fatal alcohol-related crashes. No wonder some parents install an interlock install device to keep their teens from driving while intoxicated.

Below are other sobering statistics you need to know before you hand over your car keys to your teenager:

  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), many young people abuse alcohol more than any other substance, with 12 to 20-year-olds accounting for more than 10% of the total consumption.

In Florida criminal cases, details matter. Sometimes, seemingly small details may make a big difference. That’s why you need to be sure you have legal representation from a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney. A skilled advocate can spot all those details, great and small, and make sure that you are protected from the harmful ones to the maximum extent possible, and that you are using all of the beneficial ones to your maximum advantage.

As an example, we can look at this recent case from the Keys. K.K. was arrested and charged in the break-in of a home in Islamorada. Among the items stolen from the home were four Rolex watches and “rare, historic jewelry from Tibet.”

At trial, K.K. faced a charge of grand theft over $20,000. That’s a very serious charge. Grand theft of more than $20,000 is a second-degree felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years and a $10,000 fine, and K.K. was convicted of that crime.

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