Lawyer DUI setup: The Florida Bar alleges Three Florida Attorneys set up opposing counsel with a DUI.  The Florida Bar has finished up its case today in an ethics trial against three Florida attorneys accused of using a Tampa police officer and an office paralegal to set up a rival attorney with a DUI in an attempt to derail the case.  The alleged setup stems from a defamation trial two years ago that pitted two morning radio shock jocks against each other. So far this case has engrossed the local legal community with the accusations of dirty scheming and flirtation to win the case.

844621_speed_1The Florida Bar supports the version of events as told by attorney Phil Campbell. Campbell was charged with a DUI two years ago. He alleges that attorneys Adam Filthaut, Robert Adams, and Stephen Diaco orchestrated his DUI charge by using an office paralegal and a local police officer to derail the trial.

The alleged event occurred in January 2013, when the three attorneys represented the well known radio host Bubba The Love Sponge Clem in a defamation lawsuit brought by a rival radio personality, Todd Schnitt. Schnitt claimed Bubba made derogatory remarks about him and his wife on his radio show and induced his fans to harass him.

Campbell represented Schnitt in the case. After the second day of trial, Campbell went to a local steak house for dinner. He claims that as he was about to leave, a woman named Melissa Personius sat next to him and preceded to flirt with him and buy him shots. Unbeknownst to Campbell, the woman was actually a paralegal for the opposing council’s firm. Personius told Campbell that she didn’t want to leave her car, and Campbell volunteered to drive the vehicle to a parking lot near his home. Moments after he started to drive, Campbell was stopped by a police officer and was charged with driving under the influence.

Investigators later discovered the police officer was a family friend of one of the three attorneys and records show all three attorneys and the paralegal had exchanged phone calls and texts that night.

After an internal investigation, the police officer was fired and Campbell’s DUI charge was dropped. Police officers are not infallible, but are required to adhere to certain principals and procedures. A police officer’s misconduct or other action’s that violate citizen’s rights can be used as a defense to a DUI charge. If you believe you are a victim of police misconduct or have been charged with a DUI in Florida, contact the Law Office of David Goldman, PLLC today at 904-685-1200.

A Florida teenager is wanted in connection with a shooting at a Jacksonville bus stop.  16 year Edgar Robles is still not in custody.  A $3,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Roble’s arrest.  The teenage is wanted for two counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting deadly missiles, according to news4jax.com.  Robles brought a handgun to the bus stop to confront other students on the bus; Robles, at 16, is not quite old enough to exercise gun rights.  Two teenage girls that were passengers on the school bus were hit by gunfire during the shooting.  One of the girls was struck in the back of the head, while the other was shot in the cheek.  Both girls are reportedly in stable condition.

GunWhenever anyone shoots a gun at a bus stop, there is likely to be a lot of attention focused on the incident.  In this case, all of the people involved are children– everyone from the shooter to the victims and witnesses.  These types of unfortunate stories put Florida gun rights in jeopardy over time by showing guns in a negative light.  In this instance, Mr. Robles is a 16 year kid who can’t legally own a gun.  Requirements to purchase a firearm can be found by visiting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website.  To purchase a long gun or rifle, a person must be at least 18 years old.  A person must be 21 to purchase or own a handgun.  Even with age requirements on purchasing and owning guns, State Attorney Angela Corey stated that more and more children are attempting to solve their issues with guns.  Florida law has continued to aim laws at deterring gun violence.  Florida law creates minimum mandatory sentences for crimes that involve guns.  It is commonly referred to as “10-20-life” law.

Stories like this more are sad and outrageous.  They help spread the message that more regulation is needed.  More gun regulation creates more possibilities for law abiding gun owners to become ensnared by laws that were never drafted with them in mind in the first place.  Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PPLC today at (904) 685-1200 for more information on Florida gun rights.  We also have experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers that can help if you or a loved one have been charged with a gun crime or other offense.  Initial consultations are free.

A Virginia man was arrested for robbing a bank, but he says that he politely asked for the bank’s money and the teller complied, which, in his opinion, means that he did not commit a robbery.  According to abcnews.go.com, twenty-three year old  Dominyk Antonio Alfonseca walked into a Virginia bank and handed a teller a note that said, “I need 150,000 Bands Right NOW!! Please Police take 3 to 4 minites to get here, I would appriceate if you Ring the alarm a minute after I am gone… Make sure the money doesn’t BLOW UP ON MY WAY OUT:-)”.

moneyIn my experience as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I haven’t encountered very many robberies where the alleged robber actually used a note to ask for money.  What makes Alfonseca’s situation even more unusual is that he recorded the robbery, then posted the video and his robbery note on Instagram.  Alfonseca’s Instagram post allowed police to track him down and arrest him.  According to Alfonseca, there is no evidence of a robbery.  He says that he asked politely for money, and the teller gave him the money.  He doesn’t believe that he has done anything wrong, but the bank teller may have made a mistake.  Alfonseca pointed out that he didn’t want the teller to get into any trouble. Continue reading

Gun3Gun rights are near and dear to the hearts of many Americans. The second amendment to the United States Constitution protects our right to arm ourselves to the delight of many gun enthusiasts. The States routinely regulate the way people can exercise their gun rights, even though the U.S. Constitution protects against those rights being infringed. In the debate over guns laws throughout the years, anti-gun factions have been in support of more regulation concerning the way guns can be owned and possessed. I imagine that this is where legislation comes from that makes it a crime to carry concealed weapons, and makes it a more serious crime to carry a concealed gun than to carry some other concealed weapon.

Florida law, specifically Section 790.01 Florida Statutes, makes it a third degree felony to carry a concealed gun or firearm, while carrying other concealed weapons without a permit is only a misdemeanor. This shows the strong stance the State of Florida takes against gun crimes. Carrying a concealed firearm is punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison.  As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney, I have represented clients charged with Possession of a Concealed Firearm on many occasions. Most often, my client had come into contact with law enforcement after a traffic stop, which under some circumstance or another ends up with the car being searched.

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Gun PointExercising your Florida gun rights can turn into “gun wrongs”, if you don’t know what to do and what not to do.  Last week I received a call from South Florida.  On the other end was a panicked young concealed carry permit holder; we’ll call him “Eric”, which isn’t his real name for obvious confidentiality reasons.  Eric had been arrested for pulling his gun to stave off a would-be road rage incident.  As Eric drove, there was apparently something about his driving that ticked off another driver.  The other driver began to drive erratically, darting in and out of traffic to catch up with Eric.  Once the other driver caught up to Eric, the other driver rolled down his own window and began to yell at Eric.  Believing things were about to escalate into a bad situation, Eric pulled his gun to encourage the angry driver to back off.  Eric was subsequently arrested for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, pursuant to Section 784.021, Florida Statutes.

Florida law defines an assault as “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.”  Aggravated Assault with a Firearm carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in Florida State Prison under chapter 775, specifically Section 775.087.  I imagine that you are starting to see the importance of knowing what not to do as a gun owner.  This is not a very pleasant position to be in.  Making a claim of self defense may not be a viable option here.  Key to a self defense claim is that a person uses the same amount of force that is used against the claimant.  It also has to be a reasonable amount of force under the circumstances.  As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I’ve represented people that have been in Eric’s position.  The majority of them were law abiding citizens and good people that made a poor choice in a stressful situation. Continue reading

Recently, there have been a series of shootings in Jacksonville.  In some instances, there were people that were struck by gunfire.  These violent stories regarding crime circulate quickly because of the shock value associated with them.  Florida’s 10-20-life sentencing scheme also make these stories stand out.  However, in my experience as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, the average criminal case is not the one that makes the news.  The defendant is not a scary person behind the trigger of a gun, but a normal, average Joe type that has made a bad decision in a single moment.  Other times, it’s someone who hasn’t done a single thing wrong, but is instead the unfortunate victim of circumstance.  Whether the crime is  Racing/Reckless Driving; Assault/Battery;  Possession of Marijuana; or Theft, anyone could find themselves in need of a criminal defense lawyer.

A criminal defense lawyer is important for someone that doesn’t have a history of being in trouble just as much as it is for the repeat offender.  In some instances, a criminal defense attorney is able to point out circumstances that show clearly that a client is innocent and convince the State that no charges should be filed.  Having charges thrown out without ever being filed is the best outcome, but is more likely to happen  when your criminal defense lawyer has been brought in very soon after arrest.  Other times, when the facts are against you, a good criminal defense attorney, with enough experience to properly evaluate your case, can help present mitigation and negotiate the best possible outcome for your situation.

At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have criminal defense lawyers with years of experience that can help you or a loved one in your time of need.  Initial consultations are always free.  Whether you have traffic tickets, or something more serious, call us today at (904) 685-1200 to find out how we can help.

baseball-bat-toy-990124-mWhen Jimmy Morris discovered that his daughter’s boyfriend had beaten her bloody in front of her children, Mr, Morris took matters into his own hands before police arrived.  Witnesses who were present at the scene reported that Morris took a baseball bat from his truck and hit his daughter’s abusive boyfriend with enough force to crack the bat.  Top Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers immediately begin to think of ways to defend against potential aggravated battery charges after hearing the facts in this case.  Morris’ best hope of a legal defense lies in the principle of self defense, which includes defense of others, being applied to Morris’ case.  So what is the likelihood that Morris could be saved by the principles of self defense?

Under Florida law, a battery is simply a harmful or offensive touching of another; this offense is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail.  Section 784.045 elevates a simple battery offense up to aggravated battery  when great harm is done to the victim, when the victim is permanently disfigured or disabled, or when the defendant uses a deadly weapon; aggravated battery is a second degree that can land a defendant in prison for up to fifteen (15) years.  Whether an object is a deadly weapon depends on the way that it is used.  Taking a bat to an individual’s head is absolutely enough to qualify the bat as a deadly weapon.

Applying a self defense theory to Morris’ defense may prove difficult in this situation.  Self defense does not mean what I’ve found that the average person thinks it means.  You hit me– I hit you back.  Or in Morris’ case… You hit my daughter– I crack your skull.  Self defense (or defense of others) applies when a certain amount of reasonable force is used to stop unlawful force from being used against you (or the person you’re defending).  Simplified, it boils down to what needs to be done to get the attacker off you or someone else while the attack is happening.  Hitting his daughter’s boyfriend after the boyfriend beat her, rather than while he was attacking her, creates a problem.   Continue reading

According to nbcnews.com, 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 ammoland.com. 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.

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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.

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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.

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