Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

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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Florida man” is a social media meme that has rocketed erratically behaving Floridians to internet fame… or infamy. Many of these stories involve encounters with law enforcement; however, it is worth remembering that, just because a person is behaving erratically, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are breaking the law. Sometimes, whether you’re talking about the internet-famous “Florida man” or an average, ordinary citizen, the police may charge a crime when what actually happened does not match the elements that the law requires. When you’re charged with a crime you didn’t commit, you need a skillful legal professional on your side. You need the representation of an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.

D.K. was a man who allegedly was having a “Florida man” moment in Brevard County. According to witnesses, D.K. was standing in his driveway. And he was throwing rocks at vehicles as they passed by…. And he was naked. According to ClickOrlando.com, jail records reflected that the man was in jail for “exposure of sexual organs.”

That seems all pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it? D.K. was outside in his driveway and he was naked, so his “sexual organs” were “exposed,” right?

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798516-drug-offensesThere are several things that can happen in your drug crime trial that can make the process unfairly tilted against you. Things like a prosecutor’s misstatement of the law in closing arguments may confuse and/or prejudice the jury, thus entitling you to a reversal if you’re eventually convicted. However, it is possible that you could lose your opportunity to make that winning appeals argument if you don’t make the right objections during your trial. In other words, at every step during your criminal trial process, it is essential to know what to do and when. That is one of the many areas where it is invaluable to have a skilled Tampa Bay drug crime defense attorney on your side.

J.L.A.’s case is an example of an appeal that succeeded, in part, due to correct actions that were taken at trial. J.L.A. was on trial for drug trafficking. According to J.L.A., he was riding with his long-time friend, Malcolm, when a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled the pair over in a traffic stop. Malcolm allegedly handed his friend a bottle and said, “Tuck this.” J.L.A. testified that, as he hid the bottle, he though it contained marijuana.

The bottle did not contain marijuana. It contained more than 200 pills, including hydromorphone, oxycodone, and alprazolam. The deputy found the bottle and the pills after conducting a pat-down search.

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As of this writing (March 2020), the Coronavirus aka “Wuhan Virus” is understandably the world’s number one topic.  The purpose of this post is NOT to give health or social distancing advice, rather it is to help criminal defendants, witnesses, victims, et al in the Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee counties know what to expect with their cases the next several weeks.

To start, click on the county your case is in: Pinellas, Hillsborough or Manatee County.  Pasco and Pinellas are under the same judicial circuit so the same rules apply. Pasco is here, just in case.

To sum up:  Most courts are shut down for all cases but what is considered “critical matters”.  That means courtrooms will ONLY handle cases of new arrests and certain “in custody” matters where the case can be resolved and a person can be released from county jail, freeing up much needed space.

social-image-logo-og-300x300We all have certain fundamental constitutional rights in Florida. From time to time, law enforcement officers overstep their authority and infringe on those rights. Sometimes, they do it for well-meaning reasons… other times, not so much. Either way, officers are not allowed to do certain things, like taking law-abiding citizens into custody just because they think that is the best thing for all involved. And the state is not allowed to convict you of resisting an officer without violence if the arrest the officer sought to make was not a legal one. If you’ve been the subject of an illegal arrest, or wrongfully been taken into involuntary custody, don’t wait to protect yourself. Contact an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney right away.

L.L. was a woman in Lee County who found herself in that kind of trouble. Her case began with a concerned citizen’s call to EMS reporting “a woman lying in the grass on the side of the road.” Two EMTs found L.L. in the grass. She was responsive and cooperative. She explained that she was trying to find a house, had failed to find it and had decided instead to lie down in the grass and smoke a cigarette.

Is it what most of us would do in that situation? Probably not. However, responding to a situation in an unusual way is not necessarily illegal, and it is not automatically a valid basis for police to take you into custody. Yet, that’s what happened to L.L.

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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.

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