According to, popular 1990s Rapper Vanilla Ice was arrested for burglary in Florida.  As a child, I was a fan of Vanilla Ice, whose real name is Robert Matthew Van Winkle.  Vanilla Ice is no longer captivating audiences with lyrics; most recently he has been the subject of a home renovation show on DIY Network.  The show chronicles the former rapper’s experiences as he buys and renovates houses.  A house located next to a house being renovated by Vanilla Ice was burglarized, and some of the stolen items was found inside Vanilla Ice’s house.  the items included furniture, a pool heater, and more.  Vanilla Ice claims that this is all just a big misunderstanding and that he will ultimately be cleared. He was arrested and released on bail.  Hiring the right criminal defense attorney can help make sure that things are resolved in the best way the facts of the situation will allow.  As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney that has represented many defendants charged with burglary, I know that the consequences of being found guilty of a burglary to a dwelling can be very serious.

150223_chain-863724-mFlorida Statute 810.02 states, “For offenses committed on or before July 1, 2001, “burglary” means entering or remaining in a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter or remain.”  The offense that a person intends to commit can be just about anything.  At its most basic form, a trespass plus ANY other crime, equals a burglary.  The most common offense that is coupled with a trespass to create a burglary is theft.  A burglary to a dwelling conviction is serious, because it scores a little over twenty (20) months in Florida State Prison.  This is regardless of whether the defendant has a criminal history.  It takes effort on behalf of your criminal lawyer to keep you out of prison.  A good set of facts help too.

Understanding the proof requirements and having the trial experience needed to fight for your rights in court can often lead to a better outcome early on in a case without the need for a trial.  At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, our experienced criminal lawyers can help you or a loved one work toward the best outcome in your case and help you make informed decisions.  Initial consultations are free.  Call us today at (904) 685-1200.

In July of 2014, an Arizona homeowner shot and killed one of two intruders who had entered his home in the middle of the night. The homeowner was eighty (80) year old Thomas Greer, who had been assaulted during the home invasion and suffered a broken collar bone, according to Later, When Greer spoke with reporters regarding the attack and the shooting of the female burglar, Mr. Greer made comments that weren’t the smartest of things to say. In fact, the forensic evidence showed that what Greer told reporters wasn’t even the true about what happened.

150202_black-and-white-gun-1409524-m.jpg What Greer told reporters is that the female told him she was pregnant and begged him not to shoot. He said that he shot her in the back as she ran out into his front yard in an attempt to escape. However, the the forensic evidence showed that the female intruder had been shot once in the chest and once in the knee. The evidence also showed that the woman had been shot inside Greer’s home, and later ran outside. The prosecution made its decision not to charge Greer with the shooting death based what the forensic evidence showed, but it could have easily turned into a situation where Greer could have been in need of a criminal defense lawyer himself.

Greer’s example comes to us from Arizona, but could have easily taken place anywhere in the State of Florida. Under Florida law, specifically Florida Statute 776.013, a person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force when an intruder enters a residence without permission. The law creates a presumption that the person using deadly force in this situation to defend his or home home was reasonable in his or her fear of imminent death or great bodily harm. The issue with Mr. Greer’s statements is that the statements have the ability to chip away at the legal presumption of fear of imminent death or great bodily harm.
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This weekend as I drove through my neighborhood, I noticed a street sign had been knocked down… it apparently, had been run over. I remember thinking, “Somebody in Jacksonville had a good time last night.” My criminal defense lawyer hat wasn’t quite on yet, but I did briefly start to think that someone could potentially be in need of a good DUI attorney.


I made a right turn and drove on after I snapped a quick picture of the sign. As I drove further down the street, I noticed that the pole with the flashing light that warns you to slow down in the school zone was also missing; it had also been mowed down. Just after passing the school, I made a left and discovered more signs had been run down. Tire tracks in the dirt made it clear that a vehicle had been used to destroy these signs. It was now obvious that the first sign I found was no accident, but part of an episode of criminal mischief, which is defined as willful and malicious destruction of property. Criminal mischief is a misdemeanor, as long as the damage is less than $1,000. Beyond the $1,000 threshold, criminal mischief becomes a felony offense. See Florida Statute 806.13.


The most troubling and potentially dangerous sign destruction was a downed stop sign that had been flattened at an intersection. This was an accident waiting to happen. I’m the father of for young boys, and I used to be a teenager not too long ago. I can remember how “fun” it used to be to destroy things… for no reason at all. However, in this situation, the danger that the community was subjected to was incredibly ridiculous and could land someone is a world of trouble. If you or a reckless loved one have a lapse in good judgement that lands you in the hot seat, the experienced jacksonville criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC can help. Call us today at 9904) 685-1200.


Take a look at the picture above. Is there anything that troubles you about this picture? I’m bothered by the distance between the adult and the two small children that are walking several feet behind the man. Even more troubling is the time and place that this occurs. This picture was taken about 8:20 a.m. near the intersection of Philips Highway and University Boulevard on a Monday morning as I drove to my office. By the time the man made it to the intersection, he did finally stop and wait for the children. However, I wondered if he would have simply kept going if traffic had allowed him to continue.

As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I sometimes find it hard to look at the world surrounding me and not break out into a legal analysis of situations that I encounter from time-to-time. When it comes to situations that involve children, I suppose I wear my father hat and my Jacksonville criminal defense attorney hat at the same time. I immediately began to consider all the reasons why what I was seeing was an incredibly bad idea. I was actually proud that my feelings as a parent dominated my thoughts as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer; my thoughts on how I could defend this man were second to my thoughts of “what in the [insert expletive of your choice here] were you thinking?”

Florida Statute 827.03 defines neglect as follows:

“Neglect of a child” means:
1. A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child; or 2. A caregiver’s failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.
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“Crime doesn’t pay.” I’ve heard this cliché over and over, but rarely in my capacity as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. The few times I did hear it as a criminal defense lawyer, it didn’t come from other Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers or from Jacksonville prosecuting attorneys for that matter. It always came from people that aren’t familiar with the details of what actually goes on. Most often it would be from parents or other family members who say that they’ve tried to counsel the client and advise him or her into doing something more positive in life.

141229_McCaully.jpegTampa thief, Malik McCaully would probably say that crime does in fact pay–in more ways than one. Recently, McCaully was over $2,000 in the green after stealing a wallet from D’Andre Rivers’ car that contained Rivers’ credit cards, identification, and social security card. Although criminal plots are never a good idea, it looks as if crime does, in fact, pay sometimes. However, “a fool and his money are soon parted.” A series of bad decisions leads to a severe beating and getting arrested. McCaully really didn’t know who he was dealing with.

McCaully allegedly went on a shopping spree, making over $2,000 worth of fraudulent credit card charges on Rivers’ card. Rivers, who has a criminal past himself, began to conduct his own investigation. Rivers tracked down a car rental agency where McCaully had used the stolen credit card to rent a car using Rivers’ identification. The car rental agency turned over the contact information that McCaully provided when MCCaully rented the car. Why McCaully provided his real contact information is a mystery. Rivers made contact with McCaully to set up a drug deal at the Westfield Brandon Mall in Tampa. If your first thoughts were, “What criminal receives a random call from a stranger about a drug deal, then agrees to meet with the caller?” you’re not alone. It’s unclear whether McCaully would be the buyer or the seller, but agreeing to meet a random caller for a drug deal is equally unwise either way.
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141215_lawyers-140579-m.jpgWhether you’ve hired a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, or you’ve had one appointed to you by the court, it is always a good idea to listen to the advice of your criminal defense lawyer. I’ve been a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer for a number of years, and in my experience I have often found that a person accused of a crime who ignores the advice of his or her lawyer will end up in unfavorable position more often than a client that listens. Communication goes both ways; your lawyer should always listen to your concerns and consider the goals that you wish to accomplish. Your lawyer is then responsible for explaining to you how the law applies to the facts in your case and advising you of the best way to proceed in order to put you where it is that you would like to be.

Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers are trained in the law, rules, and procedures that apply to your case. The experience that your criminal defense lawyer brings to the table is also invaluable. It’s a no-brainer that a criminal defense lawyer that is trained in the law and that has handled thousands of cases would know better than you… 9 out of 10 times anyway.

At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced criminal defense lawyers that can help guide you through the complex legal system and work with you to achieve the best outcome possible in your case. If you or a loved one needs representation, our lead Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer is available 24/7 through our emergency line at (904) 302-7629.

Non-violent drug offenders in Jacksonville and throughout Florida are being sentenced to much higher prison terms than before. I’ve witnessed this first hand as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. According to a recent study cited by, Florida inmates spent 194 percent more time in prison in 2009 than in 1990. The study, conducted by the Pew Center looked at trends in 35 states over the last couple of decades. Florida was one of the states where increased sentences were noted. In Jacksonville, non-violent drug crimes, particularly sales, are often targeted for prison time. Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers know that sales in Jacksonville are often recorded on audio or video equipment, which makes defending these types of crimes more difficult in most cases.

Selecting the right Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, one that is familiar with successful strategies in defending and negotiating sale of cocaine and related drug offenses, is critical. The success of any drug offense defense, or negotiations for that matter, put on by a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer is highly controlled by the facts of the case. Successful defenses or negotiations are the key to preventing a drug offense defendant from becoming part of Florida’s increased sentences statistics.

All sales of controlled substances in Florida are felony offenses, which are punishable time in Florida State Prison. Possession, of most controlled substances also will result in a felony. Florida law does not require prison in most drug offense cases, but the State’s position in most instances to push for prison time. The most important factor in whether a particular set of facts create weaknesses in the State’s case that can be exploited by a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. The next most important factor is the Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer that is handling the case and whether the criminal defense lawyer has the knowledge as skills necessary to recognize and take advantage of any available weaknesses in the State’s case.
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As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney, brazen acts committed in front of authority figures are like nails on a chalk board. Perhaps the only things that could be worse for a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney are videos of the offense and confessions. Recently at Jacksonville’s Wolfson High School, 18 year old Chynna Cinnamon Thompson allegedly attacked another student and the Dean of Discipline, Joshua Kristol, when he tried to intervene. According to, both acts took place in front of a school resource officer. Thompson was arrested for misdemeanor battery, as well as, battery on a school employee.

Battery occurs when someone intentionally touches or strikes another person against the person’s will or intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. Battery is typically a 1st degree misdemeanor, but under Florida law, when certain classes of people become victims of a battery, the offense is automatically reclassified as a felony. In the case of a school board employee, as we have here, the battery is reclassified a 3rd degree felony. Felony offenses, by definition, are offenses where a person can be imprisoned for more than one year. In these cases, hiring an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to defend you or loved one is important.

Battery on a school board employee is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison, while a simple misdemeanor battery can have a punishment up to one year in jail. This puts Thompson in jeopardy of spending up to six years behind bars. However, based on the limited information available to the public and the apparent lack of any serious injuries in this case, it is unlikely that Thompson will be sent to prison, but the boldness required to launch an attack in font of a school resource officer will most certainly be of great concern to the State Attorney’s Office and the presiding judge.
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As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney, I’ve represented my share of clients that suffered from mental illnesses. John McFarland, self-reported as schizophrenic, was arrested for aggravated battery after an unprovoked attack against a total stranger, according to

As Roger Chan waited in line to pay for his groceries, McFarland used a hunting knife to stab Chan in the back of the head, face, and neck. The injuries were described as lacerations. Police arrived on the scene and took McFarland into custody without incident. McFarland, who has a history of mental illness, has been arrested for violent offenses in the past, but found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Aggravated battery is a serious offense. It carries a maximum possibility of 15 years in Florida state prison. Based on McFarland’s history of mental illness, however, it is likely that he will end up in the state hospital again, rather than in prison. If it can be demonstrated that McFarland’s actions were a result of his mental illness, another not guilty by reason of insanity will be the likely result. McFarland could end up spending many years in state custody in a mental health facility.
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According to, Arnold Abbott, 90, of Fort Lauderdale, FL was recently arrested for the second time in less than a week. His offense? — feeding the homeless. Abbott is the founder of Feed Thy Neighbor, a nonprofit agency with a mission to feed the hungry.

As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I’ve encountered a few offenses that sent my mind racing to figure out exactly why it was a crime. However, this one tops the list. The Fort Lauderdale ordinance that led to Abbott’s arrest bans feeding the homeless in public.

At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we can help if you or a loved one has been arrested for a minor offense or something more serious. Call us today at (904) 685-1200 or on our 24-hour helpline at (904) 302-7629. Initial consultations are always free!

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