Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

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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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.

When you’ve been accused of a particularly salacious crime, yours can be an especially difficult uphill battle. Sometimes, people may want to look more closely at the nature of the charges against you, as opposed to the actual, admissible evidence against you. Fortunately, in this state and country, you are entitled to a fair trial(regardless of the charges asserted) consisting of only that evidence that was obtained in a manner that did not violate your constitutional rights, including your right to be free from most warrantless searches and seizures. To make sure you get the fair trial and the vigorous defense you deserve, be sure you’ve contacted and retained a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney.

A.P. was a man who found himself in the type of scenario laid out above. He was on trial for 15 counts of video voyeurism. According to the state, A.P. had installed a camera in a bedroom wall in his home and used it to maintain a live video feed of the woman who lived in the room, including capturing her in “various states of undress.” The case was extremely serious for A.P., because the Florida legislature had recently upgraded the crime of video voyeurism to a felony, and the accused man faced as much as 380 years in prison if he was convicted on all charges.

The state believed it had strong evidence, as it had multiple videos taken from A.P.’s computer that appeared to depict exactly the sort of secret surveillance that the state alleged. The state, however, had one major problem, which the defense was ultimately able to use in its favor: the police didn’t have a warrant, and they also didn’t have valid consent, when they searched the computer and seized the video files.

Whether you’ve dealt with the criminal justice system or you simply watch crime-themed television programs, you are probably familiar with a person’s Miranda rights. These rights are a very important part of a criminal suspect’s constitutional rights. A suspect has the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. If the suspect agrees to talk to police without an attorney present, then the suspect is considered to have “waived” his right to remain silent, as well as his right to counsel (during the questioning).

Obviously, one of the major keys to any successful criminal defense is keeping out evidence that is harmful to the defense case. One way that can happen is if the defendant made a statement or confession to police after waiving his Miranda rights, but that waiver wasn’t valid. A valid waiver must be “knowing,” “voluntary” and “intelligent.” There are many ways that a defendant’s waiver can be invalidated, including proof that he was confused, was intoxicated, or that he lacked the intellectual capacity to give a valid waiver. What all this establishes is that, even if a defendant confessed to the police, the defendant may still have options and opportunities to obtain an acquittal. That’s why, if you or a loved one are facing charges, don’t give up and don’t go without counsel; retain an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney to handle the case.

An example of this was on display in a recent case that originated in Polk County. J.W. was, at the time of his arrest, an 18-year-old man with cognitive delays. Two deputies from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office questioned the teen regarding an unsolved sex crime. A sergeant read J.W. his rights and he said he understood. He also signed a waiver form.

 

Per the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, “Operation flush out”, an undercover unlicensed contracting sting, was a smashing success…

Taking place between Saturday, August 4 to Monday, August 6, this secret operation took place on 54th avenue near 27th street in Saint Petersburg, Florida.  The deputies put out advertisements asking for contracting help.  When the operation was over, 29 people were arrested for over 60 counts including  unlicensed specialty contracting violations, worker’s compensation fraud, and various other criminal charges unrelated to unlicensed contracting such as drug possession and outstanding warrants.

What is unlicensed contracting?  It is exactly what it sounds like.  After the local newspaper  wrote a 2017 expose on the practice of painters, roofers and other construction practices working on people’s homes without the proper license, the Sheriff was quick to get involved.  This has been his third sting since last October and he claims that south Pinellas is a hotbed for this illegal activity.

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Sometimes, Florida can be famous – or infamous – for news stories with strange twists. While some of those twists might elicit a chuckle or two, the possible legal consequences for the subjects of those news articles can be profoundly serious. If you are facing arrest, it’s no joke. Make sure you retain a skilled Tampa Bay defense attorney.

One possible takeaway from a recent South Florida news story is this: if you are going to cut off someone in traffic in Miami-Dade County, make sure it isn’t a law enforcement officer. One man made that mistake and found himself the subject of a traffic stop, according to a recent Miami Herald report. Once the police initiated the traffic stop, they found several things they deemed suspicious inside the man’s car. These included six guns, several bottles of strong cough syrup (without a prescription), suspected marijuana oil and nearly $20,000 in cash.

The Herald report also noted that the police proudly touted the bust on a local TV station. “It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” the police told CBS 4. There was one not-so-small problem: it wasn’t a “good” bust.

Are you a military veteran with court costs, fines or even warrants?  Then this Saturday, April 14, 2018 may be for you!  The annual VA stand down event is taking place at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd, Bay Pines Fl 33744.  This event is from 8:30 a.m.-1:00p.m.

You must register via phone at 727.464.6446 or email pdvastanddown@wearethehope.org before April 11, 2018.

What is this event?  This once a year program helps veterans by reducing/eliminating certain court costs/fines and they may be able to get minor warrants dropped completely!

By reducing/eliminating tickets, court costs or warrants, many veterans will be able to get their driver’s license back, avoid jail/arrest and may be free to start job hunting again. Continue reading

In a criminal case, there are many technical and procedural rules that can affect your case. Sometimes, those rules may serve as an impediment to your case, but, at other times, those rules (and the proper utilization of them by your Florida drug crime attorney) can be massively beneficial to your case. For one man facing drug charges in DeSoto County, the rules related to determinations of mental competence and plea bargains gave the defendant a renewed opportunity in his criminal case to escape from the plea deal he’d previously made.

The defendant, George, was arrested in December 2013 and charged with multiple crimes related to drugs and to resisting police officers. Eighteen months later, George was determined to be not competent to proceed. Some time later, two doctors determined that the defendant was competent. The court set a trial date, and, on the day of trial, the defendant agreed to a plea deal. He pled guilty to four charges and received a sentence of 36 months plus 24 months’ community control.

The defendant later sought to invalidate his plea agreement. The defendant noted to the court that, although two doctors had found him to be competent, there had never been a court order entered in which the judge declared him to be legally competent, so his plea deal was involuntary. The trial judge rejected these arguments and declined to void the plea agreement.

There are a lot of things anyone should understand when being questioned by the police. First and foremost, when the police are asking you questions, they’re often not there to help you; they’re seeking to obtain information that will help secure an arrest in a criminal matter. That’s not intended as an insult to those who wear the uniform, but it’s just a statement of fact –- that it is the job of the police to investigate potential crimes and, when appropriate, make arrests. Thus, unless the officer who approached you did so because your car has a flat tire on a busy highway, the chances are that the “helpful” officer talking to you is actually trying to get useful information relevant to a case on which they are working.

Also, be aware that whatever you say is likely to be regarded with suspicion by an officer, even if they give no outward signs of that or even appear empathetic. As the main protagonist of a popular TV show set in Florida once opined, “spies spend their lives telling lies, [while] cops spend their careers listening to them.” All that is to say that, when you find yourself being questioned by law enforcement officers, your first instinct should be to protect yourself legally, and that means getting a lawyer. A recent Fourth District Court of Appeal ruling in a South Florida case provides a useful example of this.

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In criminal cases, jury trials demonstrate the “human element” that comes with involving a group of everyday people who come together to serve as jurors. On the opposite side of that sometimes unpredictable “human element” are the rules of procedure. Sometimes, in dealing with juries, a judge may make a mistake that runs afoul of these rules. Part of pursuing the strongest possible defense is making sure that, when this type of mistake occurs, you ensure that the mistake does not unfairly harm your rights.

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