toolsWhen it comes to criminal law, there are many things that the law says that the state must prove before an accused person can be convicted. Regarding many crimes, the law requires proof of two essential elements, described in the Latin terms actus rea and mens rea. The first of those two means that you must have committed some type of overt act. The second means that you must have intended to commit that act. These elements, especially the intent one, can provide an opportunity for an accused person to mount a successful defense. However you choose to pursue your defense, it helps to have skilled Florida criminal defense counsel working for you.

A recent case from Miami, in which the defendant’s appeal was successful, shows the importance of intent. Carl, the defendant in this case, was a carpenter who did cabinetry work. One of Carl’s satisfied customers referred him to the customer’s aunt. Carl and the woman agreed to a deal, with the woman paying him $2,250 as a 50% deposit. The check was cashed the same day. Carl was supposed to complete the work in two weeks’ time. After several weeks, he stopped returning the woman’s calls. She eventually hired another carpenter to do her custom cabinetry work.

This might sound like the factual background of a civil lawsuit. The state, however, charged Carl criminally with third-degree grand theft and contracting without a license. The defendant asked the court to issue an order of acquittal in the case, but the judge denied that request. Carl was convicted and received a sentence of 60 months.

herbicideIf you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, there may be multiple different methods for defending against those accusations. One type of defense is to prove that you didn’t do it, or at least to cast doubt on the state’s case that you did do it. Another type of defense is persuading the court that, whatever you did or did not do, your actions could not constitute the crime that the state has charged you with committing. Whichever type of defense you mount, it helps to have a detailed knowledge of the law, which means it pays to have a knowledgeable Florida theft crime attorney on your side.

One case in which the defendant succeeded based upon the latter of the two types of defenses discussed above was the case of Pedro from Hendry County. Pedro offered to sell a man “discount” farm supplies. What Pedro didn’t know was that his would-be buyer was cooperating with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. Thus, when Pedro made his offer to the man, the man gave Pedro’s name to law enforcement, and they set up a controlled sale of stolen herbicide between the man and Pedro. Pedro made the purchase, and that sale got Pedro arrested for dealing in stolen property.

At his trial, the state brought forward evidence that Pedro bought the herbicide and that he planned to use it on his farm. The prosecution specifically argued that Pedro made a phone call to trigger the start of the chain of events, which included the acquisition of the herbicide, and that Pedro bought the herbicide with the intent to use it.

What Are Some Common Reasons To Approve Or Deny A Nebbia Hold In Florida?

Nebbia Hold would stay in place if there is no proof of any legitimate sources of income. If a family or friend or a client cannot come up with financial records to prove that they have a legitimate source of income that is going to be very difficult to overcome the burden. If they have not had a job in years, they do not own any property, have any retirement savings, they do not own a vehicle or have any assets, it is going to be hard for them to prove that the money that they now came up with for bond, is from a legitimate source. Oftentimes, if you have the proof and it is sufficient that that is what it takes to accomplish lifting a Nebbia Hold.  But if you do not, it is going to be very difficult because the judge is going to assume that if you do not have any assets. For example, the judge may consider  how did you come up with $100,000 for bail?

Is A Nebbia Hearing A One Shot deal Or Can It Be Appealed?

handcuffsIf you enjoy “Law and Order” or other police dramas on television, the chances are you’ve heard the words:  “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.” This statement is known commonly as a Miranda warning (because it originated from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of Miranda v. Arizona). In real life, the issue of a criminal suspect’s receipt of a Miranda warning can be a very important part of the case. An experienced Florida sex crime attorney can help analyze your case and determine if your rights have been violated and what that can mean for you.

One recent Tampa Bay area case in which the Miranda warning was critical was a case of the alleged molestation of a young girl. The girl told her father that her former stepfather had sexually assaulted her multiple times at a home in Palm Harbor when she was nine years old. Law enforcement in Pinellas County brought in the alleged abuser for an interview.

A detective began the interview by giving the man his Miranda warning. He went through each element of the warning, and the suspect said he understood every part. However, the man also observed, “I can’t afford a lawyer anyhow.” Without doing any more inquiry regarding whether the man understood that he was entitled to have an attorney provided to him at no cost if he wanted, the detective simply went forward with the questioning.

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How Long Does It Usually Take To Get A Decision?

Generally it happens right away. Once the court reviews the documents, generally a decision is made on the spot as to whether the financial records are legitimate or not. Oftentimes, the court may require additional proof and then usually an experienced criminal defense attorney like Blake & Dorsten will get a quick reset. Obviously time is of the essence because the client is in jail and  unable to bond out so we generally like to get a reset within a few days, oftentimes less than a week. Once the hold is removed  the client can bond out right away, usually within a few hours.

Can Someone Handle A Nebbia Hold By Themselves In Court?

barOne of the protagonists from a famous 2009 movie encouraged others to “enjoy the little things.” In the law, it is less about enjoying the little things than it is about paying keen attention to the little things because sometimes the little things can make a huge difference in your criminal case. That was the case for one defendant who was facing sexual assault charges and who won a reversal of his conviction because the trial court, in issuing jury instructions, misstated the crime with which the state had charged the man. These and other minute but highly important details are examples of the types of areas in which experienced Florida sex crime attorneys can help you.

In the case, recently decided by the Fifth District Court of Appeal, the defendant was accused of trying to take advantage of an inebriated woman. Specifically, the defendant, the victim, and several of the defendant’s co-workers had spent the night drinking, and the victim ended up passed out in a field next to the bar’s parking lot. Eventually, several of the group got the unconscious woman to a van owned by one of the group. Even though the victim was “essentially non-responsive,” everyone except the victim went back inside the bar. After that, the defendant went back outside, purportedly to check on the victim. Then, sometime after that, the van’s owner went out to check. She discovered the victim, still largely not responsive, in a “half-naked” state and the defendant, with no pants on, standing over her.

At trial, the jury heard replays of phone calls, made by the victim but recorded by the police, during which the defendant “admitted that he attempted and probably did try to have sex” with the victim. Eventually, the case went to the jury, and the jury convicted the man. With facts like these, the case against the defendant might seem, to a layperson, to be ironclad. However, in many aspects of the law, from contract law to criminal defense, the difference between a favorable and an unfavorable outcome can be the smallest of details and knowing how to present those details to the courts. Additionally, even with alleged facts that are offensive and potentially triggering for some, the law still requires that all defendants receive a trial that comports with all of the fundamental elements of fairness.

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A new article from the Tampa Bay Times discusses new changes that makes getting a DUI in Saint Pete even more costly.

Just passed by the city council, a new ordinance now calls for a $500 fine plus towing/storage costs for drunken drivers if they want to get their vehicle out of the impound lot post-arrest.  The SPPD will need additional training in this matter before they start enforcing this new rule.  It is not known when it will go into effect.  Also not known? If a person who is later found to be not guilty or not under the influence at the time will be able to have their money refunded.

A city council member remained unmoved. “Difficult consequences to poor decisions is what changes behavior. “Call Uber, call a taxi, save a whole lot of money and probably a life. There’s just too many easy ways to save the $500.”

With this ordinance, Saint Petersburg becomes the first city in the Tampa Bay area to add a fine to get your car back from impound.  Hillsborough and Pasco officials both denied wanting a similar law in their area.

With over 445 dui arrests in Saint Petersburg so far this year, members hoped this new law will make tipsy drivers think twice before getting behind the wheel.  City council voted 6-2 on this new law with the two members who voted against the ordinance stating worries about due process and an extra burden on certain driviers who could not afford the additional expense.

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Is There An Amount Of Bail That Encourages A Nebbia Hold To Occur?

It is the type of crime that generally warrants the Nebbia hold, so obviously a fraud case where it is alleged that hundreds of thousands of dollars have been taken, the court wants to know that those illegal takings are not being used to then bond the person out, or similar to the drug trafficking cases. They want to be sure that if you can imagine someone like drug dealer Pablo Escobar, he just had just garbage cans full of money and so it is easy for him just to bond it out with cash.

Since it was so easier for him to bond out, he is not going to have any incentive to come back to court or to face these charges because he has so much illegal money that he did not get from a legitimate source that if the court takes the bond money, he or she does not care and they will not come to court because all the money came from the alleged crime itself.

jail cellsIf you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Florida, there are many things with which you’ll likely need to concern yourself. However, one thing that you likely won’t expect to have to address is being found in criminal contempt of court unless you engage in some very improper behavior. In the case of one man facing drug charges, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed a contempt finding against him because he neither disrupted nor embarrassed the trial court. For all of the twists and turns of your criminal case, it is important to have an experienced Florida drug crime lawyer defending you at every step along the way.

The case began when Ulysses was arrested in Hillsborough County on multiple drug charges, including cocaine possession, marijuana possession, and drug paraphernalia possession. On the morning of the man’s scheduled hearing, the man’s lawyer asked the court to “pass the case” (meaning to delay it briefly) because he and the prosecution were working on a plea deal, and he needed to discuss the terms with his client. Eventually, Ulysses’ attorney informed the prosecutor that he couldn’t ethically go forward with discussing plea deal terms with the defendant because the lawyer was concerned that the defendant was impaired.

The judge called the lawyers to the bench, where the defense lawyer acknowledged, under questioning from the judge, that he smelled alcohol in the vicinity of the defendant. The judge then put the defendant under oath and asked him if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ulysses said no. The judge then ordered the defendant taken into custody and tested for drugs or alcohol.

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What Is A Nebbia Hold In Florida?

A Nebbia Hold or a Nebbia requirement are bail source hearing as it is often called is the ability for the court to inquire the source of the bail money. It oftentimes happens in drug trafficking cases where the accusation is for a large quantity of drugs with a large quantity of payment.  The rationale behind it is that the court feels that if you have a lot of money and it is easy to bond out that you will not come back for your court appearance. So the state attorney’s office often places a Nebbia Hold on the client and the client cannot bond out until a Nebbia Hearing has been scheduled.

At that Nebbia Hearing, it is up to the defendant to prove to the judge that a source of the bail money is from a legitimate source. The term Nebbia came from a court case, it is called U.S. vs. Nebbia and it is cited at (357 F.3d 303, it is at 2nd Circuit 1966). Essentially it involved several kilos of heroin and the judge ruled that because there was such a large amount of money that the defendant may not appear to court until legitimate sources of funds be used. So the name comes from a court case that basically dictated that the court does have the authority to inquire the legitimate source of bail money.

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