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Articles Posted in criminal defense

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If you’re arrested, you’re supposed to be taken before a judicial officer within 24 hours of arrest for a first appearance. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.131(b) requires the court at a first appearance to decide pretrial release conditions for eligible defendants, except where the State has moved for pretrial detention.

In a recent Broward County criminal appeal involving consolidated proceedings, the petitioners argued that pretrial detention without bond was not appropriate. The defendants were charged with felonies punishable by life. At their first appearance, the court found there was probable cause to believe they’d committed the crimes with which they were charged. It refused to set bond without first deciding whether a probable cause affidavit established proof of guilt was clear or the presumption was great. The petitioners argued the refusal to set bond or make requisite findings violated Florida Constitution Article I, section 14.

In order to hold a defendant without bond before an Arthur hearing, a first appearance judge needs to find that the probable cause affidavit shows proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great. The appellate court explained that at a first appearance, the court needed to make a finding about whether the probable cause affidavit or something else shown to the court established proof of guilt was clear or the presumption great as grounds to deny pretrial release without bond. When this very tough standard is met, and the court decides not to set bond, the defendant can later ask that the bond be set aside and ask for a full Arthur hearing. At a full Arthur hearing, a defendant can put forward evidence and ask the court to use its discretion to set bond.

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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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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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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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Being injured on the job can cause serious financial and resourceful hardship. These injuries can change your lifestyle, your method of enjoyment, and even your career path. Worker’s compensation was created to aide individuals who have been injured on the job, while performing their job duties.

Faking an injury or making a minor injury out to be more serious than it really is in order to obtain benefits can be tempting, but it will likely cause more headaches than it is worth.

Lying about an injury or pretending like an injury occurred at work when it did not can lead to serious legal consequences. Fraud is defined as a false representation. In the legal sense, it is a false representation of a material fact, whether by words or by conduct, that misleads or is intended to deceive another person so that she or she will act upon it to his or her detriment.

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Senate Bill Will Reduce Clean Hands

When a person is wrongfully accused of a crime, it can have absolutely devastating effects on their lives. Not only must you spend time in prison and are subject to fines, but you are forced to navigate society with the stigma “criminal.”

Being convicted of a felony offense makes it difficult for you to obtain employment, many professional licenses, or pursuing post-secondary education. Now, imagine being wrongfully convicted of a crime, and being subject to such drastic effects on your life.

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Before 1983, criminal defendant had no reliable way of determining what type of sentence they may be receiving following a criminal conviction. Florida lacked a clear set of guidelines for judges when determining an appropriate sentence for a criminal defendant. Felony convictions could carry a maximum penalty ranging anywhere from five years imprisonment to life imprisonment depending on the category offense. Due to the availability of parole for many convicted individuals, this policy resulted in varying amounts of time served for the same offenses.

The need for consistent sentencing structure lead to the eventual creation of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.992(a). These guidelines categorize offenses into differing levels based on the severity of the crime, violence towards any victims involved, the offender’s criminal history, legal status violations, use of firearms, and additional enhancements.

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.992(a)

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The mass shooting on January 6 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport resulted in the deaths of five people as well as six injured in the shooting and several others who suffered injuries in the pandemonium that occurred during the shooting. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel stated that suspected gunman Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, a military veteran, was arrested without incident.

Authorities said Santiago-Ruiz checked a 9mm semi-automatic handgun in his luggage and retrieved the weapon from his baggage after arriving in Fort Lauderdale. Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said on Twitter that Santiago-Ruiz went into a restroom to load his weapon and came out firing.

Following the shooting, airports across the nation announced intentions to boost their security. Alleged firearm offenses are some of the most common reasons that people are arrested at airports in Florida, as many visitors from other states or even local residents of the state fail to realize they are not authorized to carry certain weapons.

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In Tallahassee Terry Gorby was classified as a sex offender because he had consensual sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend. The mother of the victim found out and pressed charges against Gorby who was found guilty of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor.

Florida’s Romeo and Juliet laws were created in 2007 to address concerns about high school aged youth, consensually having sex with someone older than the age of consent, and being labeled sexual offenders as a result. Florida’s age of consent is 18 years old.

Romeo and Juliet laws are intended to protect young sexual offenders who were relatively close in age to the victim they had consensual sex with, from having to register as sex offenders.

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A protective order is a legal order issued by a state that requires one person to stop harming another. There are 2 ways an order of protection can be executed. One way is through the criminal justice system, the other is through a civil court.

A civil domestic violence action consists of someone asking the court to protect them from a person abusing them. You are not asking for the person to be charged with committing domestic violence against you but you are asking for protection so that they don’t commit the action again.

It is important to know that if the person you are getting the order against violates the court order, they may be sent to jail for that violation. In a civil case, someone brings a case against the abuser and most times you can release the protective order whenever you feel necessary.

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