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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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Sexual battery of a child in Fort Lauderdale can carry serious consequences. Sometimes the accused is not apprehended right away, and by the time a trial occurs in Broward County the victim is much older and lives elsewhere. Can a victim be compelled to come from another country to testify in a child sexual battery case? Does a victim testifying by satellite violate the Confrontation Clause? These are all questions a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale sex crimes attorney can help you answer.

In a recent sexual battery case considering these questions, the defendant appealed a judgment and sentence after being found guilty of sexual battery on a victim under age 12. He argued that the lower court had made a mistake in permitting the victim to testify by satellite.

Although the crimes were reported when they happened, the defendant fled and wasn’t arrested for more than ten years. The victim was an adult by the time there was a trial. Before the trial, the government asked that the victim be able to testify by satellite from where she lived in Australia. She applied for a return visa, but wasn’t approved at the time of the government’s request. She was worried about endangering her job and the financial hardship.

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In a recent appellate decision arising out of a Broward County court decision, the defendant appealed his withholding of adjudication and sentence for one count of possession of cocaine after a plea. The appellate court considered whether the cocaine was found as a result of an Florida illegal search and seizure.

The case arose when the police discovered crack cocaine in the defendant’s food container. Early one morning, two police officers were patrolling an area known for being a high crime area. An officer wearing a vest with the word “Sheriff” written on it was driving an unmarked SUV with the windows rolled down. As the police officer started to turn at an intersection, he saw two men standing at the corner of it. One of the men was holding a fork and a food container.

The defendant turned and looked up with a startled expression. He dropped his fork, as well as a yellow item that he tried to push down into the food container. The officer recognized that the item was crack. The police officer stopped. He took the container, which held grits. The items were pulled out of the grits and tested and found to be crack.

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Using a firearm while committing a felony is a serious charge in Florida. In a recent Florida gun crime decision, the defendant appealed his conviction for using a firearm while perpetrating a felony in violation of Florida Statutes section 790.07(2).

The case arose in connection with a drug deal that soured. The defendant had gone to the victim’s house to purchase marijuana and shot the victim. The defendant later argued he shot the victim in self-defense because the victim and another person tried to steal the money he’d brought to buy pot. The victim argued that the defendant shot him after trying to grab the pot without paying for it and running away.

The defendant was charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm. Although he was arrested for the use of a firearm while committing a felony, he wasn’t charged with it because the prosecutor thought this offense was combined in the other two counts. At trial, the jury found the defendant not guilty of armed robbery and lesser included charges. It couldn’t make a decision on aggravated battery.

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