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October 24, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Talk to the Police Without an Attorney

Take Your Miranda Rights Seriously10 reasons why your should never talk to the police without an attorney

Most of us have seen plenty of police shows where the officer reads the suspect his or her rights—then the suspect proceeds to talk, giving the police all the information they need for an arrest (which they probably did not have before the suspect talked). If you are ever in a situation where you are being questioned by the police, it is extremely important that you take your right to remain silent very seriously. In many cases suspects are questioned aggressively to the point they give in and confess—even when they are actually innocent. A 2009 United States Supreme Court ruling addressed this issue in Federal cases after a robbery suspect was held and questioned for two days straight. The Court held that interrogation involving isolation and pressure can lead to involuntary confessions from truly innocent people.

The Court decreed that any person held for a federal crime cannot be held and questioned for longer than six hours unless they are brought before a federal Magistrate Judge. Even with these additional safeguards in place, six hours is a very long time to be questioned by police, and the rules in non-federal cases are often blurry at best. While states are not obligated to follow Federal guidelines, local police departments may choose to err on the side of caution in bringing a suspect before a judge sooner rather than later if only to avoid the possibility of having a coerced confession thrown out—or they may not.

It is always in your best interests to simply give your name and address politely then refuse to answer another question until your attorney arrives. Once you have requested an attorney, the police may no longer continue questioning you. You may feel—like many people—that there is little harm in answering questions asked by the police, particularly if you are truly innocent, but there are many issues to consider before agreeing to speak to police officers. Remember there are serious legal outcomes associated with being persuaded to confess to a crime, and it is always preferable to speak with an attorney first. Even a seemingly harmless, joking comment, made in an attempt to ease the tension with the police officer will be documented and can later be taken out of context, misquoted or misconstrued. Should you require additional proof as to why you should never talk to police, consider the following:

  1. There are virtually no scenarios in which talking to a police officer will actually help you. If you have been brought in for questioning, it is important that you realize that the police officers believe you have committed a crime and that they have almost enough evidence against you to arrest you. It is highly likely the officers are working under the theory that if they get you to talk, you will give them additional evidence against you. It is probably fair to say that no one has ever talked their way out of an arrest; if you deny that you had any part in committing the crime in question it is highly unlikely you will be believed—after all, the police believe all suspects are guilty and that you will lie to get yourself out of trouble. There are many, many, people who believed they were eloquent or well-educated enough to convince a police officer they had no part in committing the crime in question, yet many of those people are currently sitting behind bars. Remember: There is absolutely nothing to be gained by talking to the police—it will not stop the police from arresting you and, in the end, will only hurt your case and your future.
  2. Perhaps you actually are innocent, yet make a misstatement when talking to police, leading them to believe you are guilty. Even the most innocent person can inadvertently tell what seems to be a harmless, little white lie when trying to convince the police of their innocence. Unfortunately, once the police know you have denied even the most insignificant fact, they will assume everything you have said is a lie. Further, the misstatement you made will be used at trial to shred your credibility. Consider this scenario: You are brought in for questioning regarding a burglary in the area. You deny you were in the area on the night in question, you deny owning a car similar to one witnesses describe and you deny that you now own or have ever owned a gun. The police then find out that you did, in fact, own a gun over two decades ago. Even if you truly believed that fact was irrelevant to what you were being questioned about, and even if you don’t currently own a gun (and haven’t in a very long time), your credibility is now suspect in the eyes of the police. That tiny white lie could land you in jail or prison for a crime you actually did not commit.
  3. If you are innocent and don’t have any discrepancies in what you are telling the police, you may still inadvertently give the police a detail which could be used to convict you. Many innocent people can be telling the absolute truth—to a fault. Perhaps you knew the victim of the crime and tell the police that while you had nothing to do with the crime against the victim, you never really like that person anyway. Suddenly, the police have motive they did not have before you opened your mouth—you didn’t like the victim, therefore you must have committed the crime against him. If you are not talking, then you can’t say something that will reflect badly against you at trial.
  4. If you are innocent and don’t tell a white lie or give the police a detail they can use against you, what if the police officer you are speaking to doesn’t remember your statement with 100% accuracy? Police are only human, and unless you are being recorded while speaking to the police, they may remember what you said one way while you remember it entirely differently. They may also take a portion of what you said out of context, making it sound like you said something you actually did not mean. Of course you will have the opportunity at trial to tell the jury that you did not say what the officer stated, however in the real world juries are just much more apt to believe a police officer over the person on trial. They will assume that you will lie in order to avoid being convicted of a crime. It may not be fair, or right, but this is the world we live in.
  5. Perhaps the police officer doesn’t just misstate what you said, maybe he or she will flat-out lie. Of course we want to believe that police officers are held to a higher standard and that they would never tell a blatant lie in order to solve a crime. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Solving crimes can be hard work, and for the detective interrogating you, there may be a temptation to “solve” the case by inventing evidence by claiming you made incriminating statements you actually never made. If you don’t talk at all, there is no way the officer can say you said something you actually did not say.
  6. You are totally innocent of the crime, tell the truth and provide no information that can be used as evidence against you, however a witness claims to have seen you in the area where the crime was committed. There can be a number of factors at play in this scenario, the first being that the witness has misidentified you as the person they saw in the area. According to the Innocence Project, eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in a whopping 72% of convictions which have since been overturned through DNA testing. Unfortunately, eyewitness testimony is extremely persuasive to judges and juries, despite decades of social science research proving it unreliable. When presented with eyewitness identification, you may feel compelled to defend yourself, stating you were nowhere near the area where the crime was committed. Now there exists a conflict between your statement and the statement of the witness, and, once again, you will be assumed to be the person lying.
  7. Even if you are the most honest person on the planet, it is extremely difficult for anybody to tell a story in exactly the same way multiple times. As human beings, it is normal for us to forget what we said, or remember something we did not remember the first time. The more times the police ask you to tell your story, the more likely they are to find some tiny discrepancy that allows them to question your overall credibility.
  8. Okay, so now suppose that you really did commit the crime and think the police will go easier on you if you just ‘fess up. The only thing a confession will garner you is the stiffest penalties associated with your crime. What you must remember is that you will have lots of time in the future to plead guilty—with a highly qualified attorney by your side who can negotiate a deal in response to your guilty plea. If you don’t have an attorney by your side when you confess, it is very unlikely you will receive anything in return for your guilty plea. The only thing you get in return for telling the police you are guilty is the harshest sentence. Wait until your attorney arrives before you say anything, and particularly before you confess.
  9. It is important that you understand that the police have no authority to make a deal with you in return for your statement. Of course they may imply they do have such authority, but only the district attorney’s office can offer you a legitimate deal. Police are well-known for telling suspects that “it will be much easier on you, if you just tell me what happened.” This statement is never going to be true, so don’t believe it.
  10. It is equally important that you understand that if a detective calls and says he just wants to “talk to you and ask you a few questions,” this is exactly the same thing as an interrogation. The police may cloak their request in milder language in order to lull you into thinking there is no reason you shouldn’t talk to them, but police officers are highly trained to extract as much information from a suspect as possible, using any tactics necessary—even if that includes blatantly lying to a suspect.

 

The police are likely to arrest you, no matter what you say, if they believe there is evidence to prove your guilt, and once your attorney tells them they are no longer allowed to question you, that is probably exactly what they will do. Don’t panic—and don’t let the trauma of an arrest push you in to talking, either. Remember: remain silent, other than stating you will not talk until you have a lawyer physically present. (“Talking” includes not writing anything down, as well as watching your body language.) Should you feel the need to confess, make that confession to your lawyer—no one else. Communications with your attorney are privileged and confidential, and that urge to confess to the police will pass, so keep your lips sealed until your attorney arrives. Once your attorney arrives, he or she will consult with you, then inform the detective that you are represented by counsel and the detective may no longer question you.

Other information you may find helpful:

-The Supreme Court has ruled that so long as a police officer does not force you to do something, then the assumption is that you are doing it voluntarily. This means that even when a police officer intimidates and bullies you into talking because you are scared, the court will nonetheless rule you talked voluntarily (because no physical force was used).

-The Supreme Court has given police officers the right to lie to you, and most police officers are highly trained at lying, twisting your words and manipulating you into a confession.

-Caution your teenagers to never speak to a police officer until they have called you and you are present. The officer is trained to build trust and put your child at ease, and could use that trust to convict your child of a crime he or she did not commit.

-Police officers do not have to read you your Miranda Rights following an arrest if you agree to talk to them voluntarily.

-If you are jailed, resist the temptation to speak to another inmate about your case. The only person you should speak to about the facts of your case are your lawyer—no one else.

There are an estimated 10,000 people in the United States who are wrongly convicted each and every year. Think about it—that number is huge, not to mention terrifying. It is likely that many of those people talked to the police officer who just wanted to “ask a few questions.” They may have felt they had nothing to hide, therefore there was no reason not to talk. They may have felt they could “explain” to the officer what really happened, then they would be allowed to go home. Whatever the reason the person talked to the police the outcome of these wrongful convictions might have been far different if they had refused to talk until their attorney arrived.

If you are ever in a situation where you are being asked to talk to a police officer—don’t. Call an experienced Florida attorney from the firm of Finebloom, Haenel and Higgins and remain silent until the attorney arrives. Our attorneys are highly skilled and knowledgeable regarding Florida laws and will assess your case after hearing what you have to say, then determine the best way to proceed. You can trust an attorney from Finebloom, Haenel and Higgins; we will aggressively defend your rights and look out for your future.

October 23, 2014

Former Olympic Champion Oscar Pistorius is Sentenced to Serve 5 Years Behind Bars

The verdict, just in, for former Olympic star Oscar Pistorius, has left the world astounded. From the US to the UK, from Africa to South Korea, speculation surrounds yet another bizarre tribulation for the acclaimed sprinter. It appears that this Oscar Pistorious new updateathlete’s life (like the lives of so many athletes) has been riddled with unfortunate circumstances.

Pistorius, an amputee, was deemed the fastest man on no legs when he swept the competition in race after race, donning a set of prosthetic legs that critics would later call an unfair edge over the competition. Controversy over the legless runner raged on both sides, with comedian Kat Williams and other outspoken celebrities quickly coming to his defense. In May of 2008, Oscar Pistorius was named one of the top 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. The legless runner quickly became an international hero — living proof that one individual can challenge the odds and win. Pistorius took home a multitude of bronze, gold and silver medals. Then on February 14th of 2013, his heroic status was challenged yet again, this time with an even darker controversy in the form of a murder accusation.

The Case of Reeva Steenkamp’s Murder

There is no question as to whether the world’s beloved Oscar Pistorius fatally shot his then girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He immediately admitted to committing the crime. His side, however, describes a shattering incident based on a misunderstanding. Throughout his trial, Pistorius has maintained the stance that he fired his weapon under the illusion that his girlfriend was an intruder. No other justifiable reason was referenced or uncovered, yet the athlete was sentenced anyway.

Why Pistorius was Found Guilty and Sentenced to Five Years of Incarceration

A psychological evaluator claimed that while Pistorius did suffer from an anxiety disorder, his particular disorder didn’t alleviate his culpability. This is often the case with psychiatric patients. In fact, mental illness runs rampant in prisons, an issue that has been addressed by popular publications like the New York Times and PBS. Criminal responsibility issues often arise in cases of mental instability.

Pistorius’s Sentence to be Carried out in South Africa’s Notorious Pretoria Central Prison

Friends and family are already voicing opinions regarding the athlete’s safety in what some are referring to as unsavory prison conditions. Many claim that five years spent in the infamous South Africa prison could pose a myriad of unimaginable threats such as rape, AIDS, harassment and gang violence. Will Pistorius be the likely target of possible future prison assaults? More importantly, would he have been safer in an American prison? That seems to be the underlying question reluctant loved ones are attempting to ask after all. Let’s review the facts and find out.

Crimes and Punishments — South Africa vs. the US

In South Africa, Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide, reckless endangerment and one firearm charge. His sentence for the above mentioned crimes was a maximum of five years. Had Pistorius been found guilty of the same exact crimes in the state of Florida in the US, his maximum sentencing would have been significantly longer. Culpable homicide, which is most comparable to involuntary manslaughter, sometimes referred to as culpable negligence, is an act that is considered a felony. When a culpable negligence incident involves a firearm, prison minimums in the 10-25 year range are often implemented. Under these standards, the potential for Mr. Pistorius to spend a significantly longer time in a prison cell is definitely evident. In the United States, would Pistorius, if convicted of the same charges, be locked up amongst AIDS patients, violent offenders, gang members and the likes? Absolutely.

The Question of Culpability

Accidents are called accidents for a reason. The reason is the fact that they are not intentional acts. Under US law, defendants can exercise their right to use the Mistake defense in a situation such as this, possibly evading prison altogether. This is why the criminal defense system is such an important part of American justice.

October 21, 2014

Lee County Sheriffs Arrest Fourteen in Unlicensed Contractor Sting

A recent sting operation which targeted unlicensed contractors, resulted in fourteen arrests. Along with charges of unlicensed contracting, some of those arrested were also charged with failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The unlicensed contracting sting operation in lee county flsting operation included Lee County Sheriff’s Department officers from the Economic Crimes Unit, agents from the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud, officials from the Florida Contractor Licensing and Code Enforcement Division, officials from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and members of the Lee County Dept. of Community Development. A family home was used in the sting, with undercover agents contacting those advertising as builders on Craigslist or Porch.com. The suspects met with undercover officers, many agreeing to do work which required a Florida contractor’s license and carry valid worker’s compensation insurance. Those arrested were issued civil citations for unlicensed contracting along with a notice to cease and desist offering building services.

Potential Charges and Consequences of Unlicensed Contracting

Should the prosecutor be able to prove the charges against those arrested, a first-time conviction for contracting without a license is considered a misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to a year in jail and a fine as high as $1,000. Those who have a prior conviction for contracting without a license could be charged with a third-degree felony. If convicted, penalties could include as many as five years in prison, and fines up to $5,000. Depending on the individual circumstances of each case, the builder may have to pay the costs of the investigative sting. For builders charged with contracting without a license (apart from the recent sting), restitution could be ordered in cases where the homeowner alleges substandard work was performed or sub-standard materials were used, either or both of which resulted in loss. If the unlicensed contracting occurred during a period when the Florida governor has issued a state of emergency, even a first time offender could face third-degree felony charges.

Unlicensed Contracting Defenses

There are a number of defenses your attorney may be able to implement on your behalf if you have been charged with unlicensed contracting. Perhaps you truly did not represent yourself to the homeowner as a licensed contractor, and, in fact acted in a very limited scope on the job in question. You may well fall under one of the exemptions provided in the Florida Statutes such as:

-You sold or installed finished products, materials or articles which do not become a permanent fixture of the home (such as awnings).

-The owners of the property acted as their own contractor and provided direct, onsite supervision of all work not performed by a licensed contractor.

-You performed work of a casual, minor or inconsequential nature in which the total contract price for labor and materials is less than $1,000.

-Your construction work consisted of the repair or construction of irrigation or drainage ditches.

There are a total of eighteen exemptions listed under Chapter 489.103; your building activities may well fall under one of those exemptions. The ultimate outcome of your case will depend on your prior criminal history and the amount of money involved. Because the potential penalties for unlicensed contracting are very severe, it is important that you take the charges seriously and speak to a skilled, reputable Florida unlicensed contracting attorney. Our experience will work in your favor, as we are extremely capable of examining the work performed in order to provide evidence casting you in a favorable light. When appropriate, we may attempt to negotiate a period of probation, along with some level of restitution. The benefit of this withholding of adjudication is that your record will not show you received a conviction for unlicensed contracting. Before you consider pleading guilty to the crime of unlicensed contracting, it could be very beneficial for you to speak to a qualified lawyer who will assess your case and clearly explain your options.

October 8, 2014

Magnate del Polo a la espera de nuevo juicio

El multimillonario de Texas, John B. Goodman, se encuentra todavía en las primeras fases de su segundo juicio, pautado para el 3 de Marzo, por la muerte en Febrero de 2010 de Scott Williams, un estudiante universitario de 23 años. Goodman fue declarado culpable de homicidio involuntario por DUI y homicidio vehicular en el 2012 y sentenciado a 16 años de prisión y una multa de $ 10.000. Sin embargo, la sentencia fue posteriormente revocada por el Juez Colbath debido a que un miembro del jurado no dio a conocer a la corte que su ex mujer había sido detenida en una oportunidad por conducir bajo la influencia (DUI) – mala conducta del jurado. Goodman fue puesto en libertad con una fianza de $ 7 millones y ha estado desde entonces bajo arresto domiciliario.

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Los fiscales afirman que el día del accidente, Goodman estaba conduciendo su Bentley ebrio y procedió a ignorar la señal de Pare, lo que causo una colisión contra el auto de Scott Williams, empujando el mismo hacia un canal, donde el estudiante murió ahogado. De acuerdo con la policía, Goodman huyó de la escena del crimen.

El proceso de selección del jurado comenzó el lunes en Tampa. Una vez seleccionado el nuevo jurado, viajarán a Palm Beach para el nuevo juicio.

“Estamos listos para el juicio”, dijo el Fiscal General Asistente del Estado Alan Johnson después de la audiencia del viernes. “Queremos concluir este asunto. ”

El Juez Colbath también anunció durante una de las audiencias que el jurado tendrá la oportunidad de escuchar la evidencia acerca de la sangre extraída de Goodman dos horas después del accidente. Según los investigadores, su nivel de alcohol en la sangre estaba muy por encima del límite legal en la Florida. Los abogados defensores de Goodman inicialmente trataron de que esta pieza de evidencia fuese retirada alegando que violaba su cuarta enmienda por falta de una orden de registro, sin embargo, el juez lo rechazo.

La fiscalía está buscando una segunda condena, mientras que el equipo de la defensa está buscando que el Juez Colbath sobresee el caso debido a cuestiones relacionadas con la evidencia.

En Florida, si una persona que conducía bajo la influencia del alcohol o cualquier otra sustancia controlada provoca un accidente que causa la muerte de un individuo, la persona conduciendo puede ser acusada de homicidio involuntario por DUI. Este es un delito muy grave en la Florida, y puede acarrear una condena de hasta 15 años de prisión y/o una multa de $ 10,000. Más aún, si la persona que provocó el accidente huye de la escena del crimen sin reportarlo a las autoridades correspondientes o no trata ofrecer algún tipo de ayuda, se convierte en un delito grave de 1er grado, punible con una multa de hasta $ 10,000 y / o 30 años de prisión.

Este no es un cargo que debe ser tomado a la ligera, ya que tiene el potencial de cambiar su vida en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Usted quiere contratar el mejor equipo legal que hay que evaluará las circunstancias de sus cargos y el accidente y le dará el mejor asesoramiento jurídico y opciones de defensa disponibles. En Finebloom, Haenel y Higgins, nuestros abogados calificados están listos para luchar por su caso. Si usted o alguien cercano a usted ha sido acusado de homicidio involuntario vehicular u homicidio vehicular por DUI, llámenos hoy para una consulta gratis. ¡No espere ni un minuto más!

November 20, 2013

George Zimmerman Arrested for Aggravated Assualt

Orlando resident George Zimmerman is in trouble once again – only months after being acquitted for the second degree murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager in a gated compound near Orlando. This time, Zimmerman is accused of aggravated assault, battery and criminal mischief. The charge relates to an alleged attack against his girlfriend earlier this month. The aggravated assault charge is a third degree felony while the other charges are misdemeanors.

Zimmerman’s brushes with the law have been headline news most of the year, particularly the high profile trial of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman insisted that he shot the teenager in self-defense. His acquittal in July this year was met with strong public criticism from many in the black community who felt that Zimmerman had profiled the teenager by race and that his acquittal was an attack against the black community in general.

Zimmerman’s problems did not stop with the decision in his favor. His wife, who had apparently been loyal to him throughout the lead up to the murder trial, filed for divorce and then accused her husband of punching her father on the nose, destroying her iPad with a knife and attempting to threaten her and her father with a weapon. She rang 911 after the incident, but has not pressed any charges against Zimmerman. The incident is still being investigated by police.

When interviewed by the NBC during a “Today” program, Shellie Zimmerman said that despite still believing George’s innocence in the killing of Martin, she was not as convinced as before and felt that the incident earlier this month was an eye opener.

The current allegations against Zimmerman have been made by his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe. She has claimed that he locked her out of her own house after a fight. Scheibe rang 911 to say that Zimmerman had pulled a gun on her and smashed a coffee table before forcing her out of the house. Zimmerman was also reported to have rung 911 himself saying that his girlfriend was “acting crazy” and that he did not point a gun at her.

When police arrived on the scene, they were able to enter Scheibe’s rented house with a key which she provided and push past a series of blockades, after which they arrested Zimmerman who apparently did not resist.

The latest incident follows an alleged attempt to choke Samantha Scheibe by Zimmerman a week or so ago. The alleged choking was not reported to the police at the time, but was brought up by the prosecution in Zimmerman’s first court appearance this week.

Zimmerman was released on a $9,000 bail under the condition that he did not carry firearms, did not go anywhere near his girlfriend’s residence and wear a monitoring device. His next court appearance is in January next year.

The murder trial and current violence charges are not George Zimmerman’s only dealings with the law. He has apparently been in trouble in the past for a number of traffic offenses as well as having to take anger management classes after allegedly attacking an undercover police officer who was in the process of arresting his friend.

According to the judge who made the decision to release Zimmerman on bail this week, Judge Fred Schott, none of the other allegations or charges laid against him affected the decision.

Zimmerman’s defense attorneys believe that he will be acquitted of the current charges when the trial takes place next year.

One of the difficulties faced in defending George Zimmerman will be the fact that his previous trial was so controversial and his actions and personality were discussed in the media constantly in the months that led up to the trial. In Zimmerman’s favor will be the fact that domestic violence accusations like the current ones are particularly hard to prove. They often rely heavily on events that go on behind closed doors. Both the accusations by his ex wife and his girlfriend follow acrimonious arguments about separation and with emotions so highly charged it is difficult to separate fact from fiction.

October 29, 2013

Halloween a Reminder to Life Long Effects of Sex Offense Convictions

With Halloween just around the corner, there have been at least a couple of strong reminders to those convicted of sex offenses around Tampa that they are subject to life long public attention.

This is particularly true of those people who have been convicted of sex offenses against children. One of the penalties that may be faced by any one who has been convicted of a sex offense in the past is that they are put on a registry of sex offenders. This is available for the public toview. It means that even well after any other aspect of a sentence has been completed like imprisonment or probation that the personal punishment continues.

In Tampa, police have taken to the streets and have been distributing leaflets to known sex offenders and sexual predators throughout the region before the Halloween celebrations begin. The idea is to ensure that registered offenders and predators are actually living where they have said that they were living and to remind them of responsible behavior during trick or treat activities leading up to Halloween. In particular, they have been told not to attract minors in any way by offering candy or putting up decorations which might attract children to their homes.

Detective John Guzina of the Tampa Police Department has been working on the latest police initiative. He was reported as saying that one of the reasons for the flyer distribution was to keep track on where registered sexual predators and offenders were living in case a child disappeared over the Halloween period.

Detective Guzina said that there were around 800 on the sex offenders register in and around Tampa and of these, about 230 had committed sex offenses against children. It was these individuals that were the subject of their concern.

In a separate, but related incident, well known radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge has also been in the limelight in the period leading up to Halloween. He has been revealing the whereabouts of people he thinks are registered “sexual predators” independently of any actions by the Tampa Police.

Bubba has been reported as having made up personally prepared posters warning members of the public that a “sexual predator” was living at a certain address. He had got the original information from radio listeners who telephoned or e-mailed him the names and addresses of candidates for his action. He said that he had confirmed the names and addresses with the Florida Law Enforcement Agency and then decided to plant the posters in front of the houses of those that he had chosen.

It looks as if Bubba wasn’t discriminating between those people that had had convictions as “sex offenders” and those that were convicted “sexual predators” by putting up posters that labeled them all the same way. Predators and offenders, according to Florida statutes are treated differently, with the charge of sexual predator being the more serious of the two and may involve felony offenses against adults as well as minors.

Sex offenses are an emotional subject amongst the public and potential sex offenders and predators can expect to be harshly treated by the criminal justice system as well as society at large as can be witnessed by the events taking place in Tampa at the moment. Any one who has been charged with a sex offense is entitled to fair and just treatment by the law. No one is guilty of any criminal offense, however heinous it appears to be, unless proof of the offense beyond reasonable doubt is available.

If you have been accused of a sex offense of any nature, you will need an experienced sex offense attorney to help you prepare an adequate defense. A lifetime of being constantly in the spotlight is one of the worst punishments that a conviction might result in. It is not worth trying to represent your self when it comes to being charged with a sex offense in Florida.

October 24, 2013

Ceelo Green Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Drug Charge

A judge for the popular NBC TV series “The Voice” and singer in his own right, Ceelo Green, will appear in court on November 20th to answer a charge of supplying a controlled substance to a woman last year. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, but could face four years in prison if he is convicted at next month’s trial. He is presently out on bail, set at $30,000.

Mr. Green has had a second charge of rape dropped after the prosecution decided that there was insufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.

Green was charged with the offenses after a meeting he had with an unidentified woman last year in a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles. The woman later accused him of supplying her with Ecstasy or MDMA, as well as sexually assaulting her. She claimed that she woke up naked next to Green in her Luxe Hotel bed without any idea how she got there.

Green has been very cooperative with the prosecution, so far, according to his defense attorney. He has encouraged a full investigation of the allegations and has been quietly confident that the Los Angeles County Attorney’s Office would reject the charges once the full facts were known. He was reported to be glad that the rape charges were dropped by the prosecution and said he was unafraid of appearing on the drug charge, despite the potentially serious consequences.

Both of the charges that Ceelo Green has faced are very damaging, even if he is cleared completely. He has a high profile job on the TV show and has an established and successful singing career. Accusations like those that have been leveled at him, whether they are true or not, are very hard to either prove or disprove. This is especially so if they have been made some time after the event was supposed to have happened. In many such cases, the prosecution only has the hearsay of an individual witness to go on.

Both of these charges, if they led to convictions, are considered felony charges in California where the trial is taking place, as well as here in Florida.

Ecstasy or MDMA, which are the initials for the chemical name for ecstasy, is classified as a class 1 drug on the controlled substances schedule. It is not considered a drug which has any medical benefit, so  it is in the same category as heroin, LSD and cannabis. In Florida, the penalties for the use and distribution of ecstasy depend partly on the amount which is involved. Even small amounts of ecstasy can lead to a three to seven year jail sentence, as well as a fine of $50,000 and loss of your driver license.

A charge of rape, which has now been dropped in the case of Ceelo Green, is even more serious in the circumstances that were alleged by the woman involved. It would have been considered a felony in the first degree if Green was convicted of rape when the victim was unable to resist because of being supplied by a drug. The conviction could have led to a prison sentence of up to 30 years and possibly a fine as well.

Fortunately for anyone who is accused of these sorts of offenses, there are many opportunities for an experienced defense attorney to throw doubt on the charges involved. The prosecution must be able to supply evidence which is sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that either of these offenses actually took place.

If you have been accused of a drug or sexual assault offense, you will need a determined and aggressive defense attorney to help defend you against a charge that can alter your life as you know it forever.

June 2, 2012

Expungement In Florida Criminal Cases

We all know how tough things are right now in the United State as far as the economy is concerned. Getting a job in Florida has become very difficult and highly competitive. If you have any sort of criminal record, that could be the difference between you finding work and being unemployed. Did you know it is possible to have your Florida criminal record expunged?

If you were charged with a crime and those charges were dismissed or if you received a withhold of adjudication and you have no convictions on your criminal record, we can help. You have one chance to expunge or seal one crime. How does it work? Is my crime eligible for expungement? We have the answers. Read about how a Florida expungement works or call our office at 1-800-FIGHT IT (1-800-344-4848).

October 25, 2010

Pinellas Drug Charges – St. Petersburg Lawyer Arrested On Charges Of Trafficking In Oxycodone

Florida Oxycodone Trafficking

A Pinellas County lawyer has been arrested in Clearwater on drug charges for allegedly attempting to smuggle the painkiller Oxycdone into the Pinellas County Jail. The lawyer was arrested Friday at a Clearwater gas station where he was set to make an exchange with undercover deputies. The investigation began following a tip to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s.

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the sheriff’s received a tip on Thursday that the lawyer was bringing illegal substances into the jail. At that point detectives reached out to the lawyer to and set up a deal where the lawyer would take 50 oxycodone pills into the jail in exchange for 20 of the painkillers for himself. The attorney was arrested at the time of the exchange. The arrest took place at a Mobil gas station located on the 4800 block of Ulmerton Road.

The 31-year-old suspect has been charged with trafficking in oxycodone and possession of a controlled substance. A former Hillsborough County assistant state attorney, the current defense lawyer has been a licensed attorney in Florida for five years. He came under heavy criticism by Hillsborough County Judge William Fuente in 2008 for his defense of a shooting suspect. The trial involved David Rolon who was accused of shooting his neighbor in Sulphur Springs. The judge granted a motion for a new trial based on his in adequate representation of his client. There are no disciplinary actions on record against the man with the Florida Bar despite that judge’s ruling in the case.

In August the man was arrested on spousal battery charges that were eventually dropped. He is currently in the Pinellas County Jail on $105,000 bail on his current Florida felony drug charges. According to another newspaper report the investigation into the attorney is on-going and more information could be forthcoming.

September 30, 2010

Florida DUI News – World Series Champion Yankee Ready To Face DUI Manslaughter Charges

Florida DUI charge

One of the legendary clutch hitters in World Series and New York Yankee postseason history is facing the fight of his life on a Florida DUI charge that could result in a long DUI prison sentence. Former Yankee catcher Jim Leyritz is getting ready to be tried on a DUI manslaughter charge in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom stemming from a 2007 crash.

According to prosecutors as reported in a blog post on CNN.com, Leyritz was out celebrating his 44th birthday when he decided to get behind the when of his Sport Utility Vehicle after a “alcohol-fueled” celebration. He allegedly ran through a red light and crashed into Fredia Veitch. The 30-year-old mother of two died in the crash. It was determined following the crash that Leyritz was driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.14.

The reason the case could be problematic for prosecutors is that court records show Veitch was also intoxicated at the time of the crash. Her blood-alcohol level was higher than Leyritz’s at 0.18. The defense is going to use the fact that the woman was drunk, along with alleging that she was distracted on her cell phone, speeding and driving with her lights off and they will also challenger the fact that Leyritz ran a red light claiming it was yellow at the time he went through the intersection.

The case will revolve around the seconds leading up to the fatal crash that lead to the DUI manslaughter charge. Leyritz’s DUI defense lawyers will have their accident reconstruction experts battle those from the state and that may be where the case is decided. There has also been an issue with discovery in the case. The prosecutors admitted a violation but said that it occurred before the trial ever started but the defense has been granted a hearing on that issue, which CNN reported as a minor victory for the lawyers defending Leyritz.

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