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The improper use of weapons or firearms in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County can result in tragic events. If you are facing firearms charges, contact a skilled Broward County gun crime attorney today. A recent appellate decision arose two men argued about whether a teen should be able to skateboard on a basketball court. A father and his child were playing basketball at the park. A teen was skateboarding. When the teen asked, the father told him he didn’t have a problem with his skateboarding.

A man who lived across the street yelled at the teen and told him he wasn’t allowed to skateboard. The father responded to the man across the street asking where the signs prohibiting skateboarding were since he’d just said it was fine to skateboard. The man went to his garage and then came out to the basketball court. The men argued. Then a couple at the park stopped playing to watch the argument. The man lifted up his shirt showing he had a gun and swore at the man. He started to walk away when the father grabbed him and tried to continue arguing. They wrestled. The man drew his pistol and shot when the father tried to grab it. The man died from the gunshot wound to the chest.

The man was charged with manslaughter, as well as improper exhibition of a firearm under section 790.10 and open display of a firearm under section 790.053. The case went to a jury. Both sides agreed to use standard jury instructions related to the defendant’s defense of justifiable use of deadly force. The instruction was that it would be a defense to the offense with which the defendant was charged if the death resulted from his justifiable use of deadly force, and that using deadly force would be justifiable only where a defendant reasonably believes the force is needed to stop imminent death or great bodily harm to himself while resisting someone else’s effort to murder him or an attempt to perpetrate aggravated battery on someone 65-years-old or older or aggravated battery on that person.

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Burglary is a charge taken seriously by Broward County prosecutors. There are different degrees of burglary. Recently, a plaintiff appealed his judgment and sentence. He appealed the judge’s denial of his motion to withdraw his nolo contendere plea. He claimed his plea was the result of bad advice or ineffective assistance of counsel, and should be treated as involuntary.

The case arose when the defendant was charged with burglary of a dwelling with a battery after reportedly trying to visit the mother of their son in order to convince her he should be able to visit the son. Burglary of a dwelling with a battery is a first degree felony for which you can face life imprisonment. The defendant was also charged with the first degree misdemeanor of domestic violence battery.

The victim claimed that the defendant came to her home, tried to force his way inside, ripped her clothes, grabbed her by the hair and tried to pull her out of the home. The surveillance footage also showed this. A no contact order was already in place from prior domestic violence episodes.

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If you are subject to an injunction related to domestic violence in Broward County, it’s important to follow the rules established by the injunction. Typically, an injunction for domestic violence includes restraints on the defendant’s communications with the victim. A domestic violence injunction may require you not to communicate at all with the victim, and to stay a certain distance away from her person, her home, her car, and her workplace. Failure to follow the mandate of the injunction can result in greater charges. In a recent Florida appellate decision related to aggravated stalking, the court considered whether text messages to the victim could be impeachment evidence. There had been texts between the defendant and his wife, who was the victim of his stalking before a domestic violence injunction had been put in place.

When trial started the defendant and the government talked about whether the texts should be admitted. The lower court found that texts couldn’t be admitted because the government had failed to file a timely notice to admit the texts as collateral crime evidence, but it found that they could be used as impeachment evidence by the defense or presented by the government during its rebuttal to the defense.

At trial, the government provided testimony that after separating from her spouse and getting an injunction against him for protection against domestic violence, the defendant had threatened his wife and her family with great bodily harm or death. He’d come to the victim’s workplace without invitation or notice. He’d called the victim’s office more than 100 times in an afternoon. He’d attacked the victim in a pharmacy parking lot.

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A DUI with bodily injury may be harshly punished in Broward County. In a recent appellate decision, the defendant had rear-ended a car while she was under the influence of unlawful substances. This caused serious bodily injuries to two passengers. With regard to each passenger the defendant was convicted of DUI with serious bodily injury as well as driving on a suspended license with serious bodily injury.

The defendant pled no contest to third degree felony charges and a second-degree misdemeanor charge for not carrying appropriate liability insurance. Five-year consecutive sentences were put in place for the felony counts.

Among other arguments, she argued that her convictions violated the constitution’s rule against double jeopardy. The appellate court explained the case was controlled by an earlier case involving a double jeopardy challenge to dual convictions for DUI with serious bodily injury and driving without a valid license for serious bodily injury, with both convictions arising from the same injury. In that earlier case, the defendant had argued the convictions shouldn’t be allowed because they penalized him twice for causing injuries to one victim with one act. For example, dual convictions for a single death that occurs because of a DUI are a double jeopardy violation. In this case, the defendant’s dual DUI convictions were similar to those in that case because put in place two punishments for a single injury to a single victim by one act of driving under the influence.

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Most people associate drug trafficking in Broward County with drug lords and kingpins. However, you can be charged with trafficking prescription drugs in Florida even if you do not see yourself this way, based simply on the quantity of drugs with which you were caught. In a recent case, the defendant and five others were charged with multiple crimes including trafficking in contraband drugs, conspiracy to traffic in contraband prescription drugs, organized scheme to defraud, and five counts of money laundering.

The defendant pled guilty to eight counts. In a plea colloquy, the court inquired about whether the defendant was under the influence or prescription medications, drugs, or alcohol. The defendant answered that he was and explained, upon inquiry from the court, that he took prescription drugs for his mental health for brain contusions after being in a coma. He explained that he’d been in an accident and had a lot of problems. The judge explained it was trying to determine whether he could make an intelligent and knowing waiver of rights and couldn’t make this finding because he couldn’t understand the answers. The defendant stated that his mental health symptoms weren’t affecting him at the time of the plea and that his medication was controlling those symptoms. However, he also noted he had multiple seizures every day, several times a day.

The defense attorney said he didn’t have issues with competency. The court inquired further and explained the rest of the standard plea colloquy. The defendant said he understood the plea and its consequences. The court accepted the guilty pleas as voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently entered.

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Broward County assault cases often come down to testimony. Sometimes there are videotape or audio recordings of what happened, but in other cases, eyewitness testimony is crucial to the case. There are also cases in which another witness’s testimony plays a crucial role; hearsay evidence is not admissible, however, unless an exception applies. In a recent appellate decision, the court considered a conviction for aggravated assault with a firearm. The case arose when the victim was driving home from work. The defendant pulled up behind him. The victim was driving over the speed limit, but braked suddenly. The defendant veered into a different lane. The defendant pulled his car alongside the victim’s car; the victim was a convicted felon. Both drivers had their windows down.

The defendant placed a gun on his car’s windowsill and spoke rudely to the victim. The victim said he had no problem, and the defendant drove on ahead. When traffic stopped, the defendant opened his car door and looked back at the victim. The victim drove in reverse, and the defendant sped off. The victim reported the license plate number to a 911 operator.

The police investigated. The victim described the gun as a silver automatic firearm. The defendant was arrested three weeks later and a gun that had a silver portion was retrieved from his car.

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Some people in Broward County do not realize that an injunction for domestic violence is a serious order. Violating an injunction can result in penalties. Even a temporary domestic violence injunction may be extended. However, certain rules need to be followed to get a temporary injunction extended. In a recent Florida domestic violence decision, a husband appealed the extension of his wife’s temporary injunction against domestic violence against him.

The appellate court explained that under section 741.30(6)(a), an initial injunction for protection against domestic violence can be obtained if someone is the victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to think she’s in immediate danger of being victimized by domestic violence. The injunction is supposed to last until it’s modified or dissolved. Either the person being restrained or the petitioner who obtained the injunction can make a motion to modify or dissolve the injunction and its terms at any time.

There are no specific allegations that must be made to get an injunction dissolved or modified. The relief can include not only dissolution or modification but also other criminal or civil remedies. It is also possible to extend an ex parte injunction by showing there is good cause to do so.

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There are two categories of theft that may be charged in Broward County: grand theft and petit theft. Grand theft can be charged if there is an intentional and unlawful taking of property and the property that has been taken is worth at least $300. The prosecutor must show that the defendant specifically intended to deprive the owner of his rights to the property at issue. There are three degrees of grand theft that may be charged in Broward County with first-degree grand theft being the most serious. Third degree grand theft is the least serious, but it is still a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment or probation and a $5000 fine. Reach out to a Florida criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your grand theft charge.

In a recent appellate decision, the defendant appealed from a judgment and sentences for third degree grand theft and burglary of a structure. He argued that he should have received a judgment of acquittal for the grand theft charge because the government didn’t prove the value of what was stolen.

In order to prove third degree grand theft under section 812.014(2)(c)(1), prosecutors need to prove that the property stolen was worth at $300-$5000. The value can be shown by providing direct testimony about what the fair market value is or by providing proof about the original market cost of the property, how the property was used, the quality and condition of the property and the percentage of depreciation of the property since it was bought. If the market value at the time and place of the grand theft can’t be determined, the prosecution can prove the replacement cost of the property. Value of the property is an element of the grand theft charge, so, like other elements of the charge, value needs to be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Sometimes detention is a mandatory enhancement for disposition of a Florida juvenile criminal matter. In a recent Florida appellate case, the government appealed a delinquency decision in which the lower court didn’t commit a minor to a mandatory 15 days in secure detention for committing armed burglary of a conveyance.

The case arose when a witness reported seeing four males in a parking lot. They were trying to open car doors. Officers came to the scene and set up a perimeter. A particular minor was arrested. While he was detained, the police officers found a handgun had been stolen from a vehicle burglaries by the four suspects. The minor told them he knew where the handgun was, and took them to retrieve it from a particular location.

Another suspect said that a third suspect had given him the gun and he’d hidden it in the bush where the police found it. However, he didn’t say who stole the gun from a car.

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Can you be required to give up the passcode to your phone in the course of a Broward County criminal investigation? A recent Florida appellate decision considered a case in which the government and the trial court agreed to compel a minor to give them two passcodes for his phone.

The lower court had determined that requiring him to provide passcodes was not testimonial since the authenticity, custody and existence of those passcodes was a foregone conclusion. The appellate court disagreed, explaining that the minor was being required to disclose his own mind’s contents in providing the passcode, as well as the password for his iTunes account.

The case arose when a minor was speeding and crashed. Passengers in his vehicle died as a result. The police performed a blood test that found his blood alcohol content was .086. The police obtained a search warrant and found two iPhones, one of which belonged to the passenger who survived. She told the cops that the whole group was drinking vodka earlier and she’d been talking to the minor on her iPhone. The other phone was believed to be the minor’s. The police sought and obtained a warrant to look through the phone for information. They also asked for an order compelling the minor to give them the passcode for the phone and the iTunes account.

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