150902_sex-1485587States, including Florida, often pass laws to protect children.  Statutory rape laws are intended to protect children from being victims of sexual advances by older people.  Florida Statute 794.05, entitled Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors, makes it a felony for any person 24 years old or older to have have sex with a child that is 16 or 17 years old.  The consent of the minor is disregarded by the law when the defendant 24 or older.  NoBullying.com gives insight into the thought process behind the rule that the minor cannot give consent in the eyes of the law.  Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers can sometimes be a bit flustered by this fact.  Especially when lack of knowledge of the victim’s age is not a defense to prosecution, according to Florida Statute 794.021.

Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers know that sex crimes, like statutory rape, are serious.  Most of the time, a defendant will be required to register as a sex offender.  In certain situations, your Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer may be able to argue that under the facts in your case, registration as a sex offender isn’t required.  One the most common arguments is referred to as the “Romeo and Juliet exception”.  When the defendant and the victim are no more than four years apart in age, the defendant can avoid the registration requirement.

When the victim is under 16, Florida Statute 800.04, which governs lewd or lascivious offenses, comes into play.  Sexual intercourse is not a requirement under this statute. It can be used to prosecute inappropriate touching of children under 16, as well sexual intercourse with children under 16.  The Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC has experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers on staff that can help you or a loved one  in your time of need.  Whether you’re looking to simply speak with a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer to know what your legal rights are or if you need a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer to defend you in a criminal case, case us today at (904) 685-1200.  We can help.  Click here to view our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog for more helpful information.

In general, a warrantless search at a person’s home will be considered unreasonable, unless one of five exceptions to the warrant requirement is met.  Evidence gained as a result of illegal searches can be suppressed by the trial court in a case.  Grounds for the issuance of a search warrant are governed by Florida Statute 933.02.   At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced criminal lawyers that can help if you or a loved one may have had your rights violated in a criminal case.  You can find answers to questions you may have by exploring our blogs on searches and seizures.  Initial consultations are free.  Call us today at (904) 685-1200 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. 

EvidenceRecently, the First District Court Appeal reversed and remanded the case of the State of Florida vs. Smith back to the trial court for further proceedings. The issue in the Smith case was whether the trial court was correct in suppressing evidence after a warrantless search. In my experience as a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, the issue of suppression evidence is one that clients are interested in pursuing, however, the circumstances that lead to evidence being suppressed won’t always be present in each case.  What are often viewed as illegal searches by average people are not looked at the same by Florida law. Continue reading

If you are a gun owner with thoughts of protecting yourself and/or your family, getting a concealed carry permit is an important task for you.  As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer and Florida gun rights lawyer, I can tell you that any situation where a gun is involved is one that is likely to be highly scrutinized and taken really seriously.  This applies to situations where crimes are committed with guns, especially if there is a shooting.    So why does this matter to people that lawfully own guns and use them for good?  Well, even shooting your gun in self defense can lead to you being in hot water under some circumstances.  Having a concealed carry permit will usually remove some of the questions from the minds of law enforcement when they conduct their investigation.

Gun PointChapter 776 of Florida’s statutes is called Justifiable Use of Force.  This collection of statutes gives guidance to when the use of force, including deadly force is okay.  Shooting your gun in self defense will always be deadly force.  Deadly force is described as force that is likely to cause great bodily injury or death.  After all, the purpose of firing is to eliminate any threat that is present.  If some properly, a firearm can help you to eliminate the threat against you and/or your family.  Gun owners must be careful in this regard.  You are only authorized by law to return the amount of force that is used against you.  Shooting a guy during a fist fight at the park will surely land a person in prison.  However, the law presumes that deadly force is appropriate in certain situations, for example when a stranger enters your home in the middle of the night without your permission.  Chapter 776 of Florida statutes allows you to presume that the would-be burglar is there to cause you great bodily harm.

Calling a gun rights lawyer should be the next call made after shooting your gun.  You should speak with an attorney prior to providing a statement to police.  In my experience, this annoys law enforcement a little, but I believe it’s worth protecting your future.  At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have the necessary experience and knowledge to help in these situations.  Call us today at (904) 685-1200 to find out more about your rights and about what should be done in the event of a discharge.

I recently read article entitled, “20 Celebrities You Never Knew Had Criminal Records.”   According to vh1.com, stars from Tim Allen to Will Smith have arrest records.  Al Pacino, was once arrested for suspicion of robbery.  Pacino and a friend were arrested after police came across the pair sitting in a car with black masks; a gun was found in the truck of the car.  Charges were later dropped when it was explained that the two were actors on their way to a “job”.  For the celebrities listed, their careers appear to be unaffected by their criminal records.  For others, it could be very important that you seal or expunge your criminal record.  This is more important when there is a crime of dishonestly or a crime of moral turpitude involved.  These are crimes that cast a negative light on a person’s character.  Offenses like theft and fraud fall into this category of crimes.
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Under Florida law, a person that has never been convicted of a crime can have charges associated with an incident sealed or expunged.  The difference between the two is slight, but important enough to seek expunction, if a person qualifies.  When a persons record is sealed, background checks by ordinary people or companies will yield no results.  Government agencies can still view the records, however.  When a person’s record is expunged, there is an added layer of protection- government agencies can still view the record, but will require a court order to do so.  Expunging records can only be accomplished when the charges were dropped or the person was acquitted.  If you plead guilty and received a withhold of adjudication, you are only eligible to have your record sealed.

Certain offenses cannot be sealed or expunged.  The Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC can help seal or expunge your criminal record where the law allows.  Call us today at (904) 685-1200 for a free consultation with one of our experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers.

As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have had many conversations with people who believe they may end up having a warrant issued for their arrest.  Sometimes, this conversation comes after law enforcement has completed an investigation; and other times this conversation happens during an active investigation.  Either way, contacting a criminal defense lawyer is a good move when there is the chance a warrant could be issued.  If you are contacted by law enforcement regarding an investigation, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC immediately at (904) 685-1200.  Our experienced criminal defense lawyers can help advise you of your rights and the necessary actions to protect yourself.  It is also helpful to get a case evaluation based on the facts as early as possible.

Handcuffs1Often, people who are being investigated want to talk to police to explain things.  They wish for the best and hope that they can remove the possibility of an arrest or a warrant being issued.  The truth is talking with the investigating detective or officer is almost always a bad idea, if you’re the target.  Florida law, under Section 901.15, controls situations that arrests can be made.  In general, an officer can only arrest a person for a misdemeanor if the officer sees it happen.  There are exceptions.  For felony crimes, officers can make an arrest without a warrant whenever there is probable cause.  However, in my experience, if officers don’t make an arrest at the time the alleged crime takes place or while in “hot pursuit” of a suspect, officers will usually pursue an arrest warrant.

Talking to a detective or an officer to explain yourself isn’t likely to change his or her mind about the investigation.  All too often I have seen situations  where the evidence that was used to convict a person was given to law enforcement while the defendant was trying to “explain things” to an officer.  Under the 5th amendment you have the right against self incrimination, which basically means you aren’t required to tell on yourself.  The right to remain silent incorporated in the Miranda Warning comes from this right.  The right to an attorney that you hear of in the Miranda Warning comes from the 6th amendment.  You should always exercise these rights.  Remaining silent is probably the most valuable right you have.  You should immediately tell law enforcement that you’d like to contact your attorney.

If you or a loved one is being investigated for a crime, call the law office of David M. Goldman PLLC today for more information.

 

Violation of injunction for protection against domestic violence is a crime under Florida statute 731.32(4)(a).  For some, it seems ridiculous that an act as harmless as sending flowers or a text message could result in a person being arrested.  However, this is the reality under Florida law, if there has been a valid injunction for protection against domestic violence put into place.  Ordinarily, these protective orders have language that orders one person not to contact or come near another person.

No ViolenceAs a Jacksonville lawyer, I’ve advocated on behalf of clients needing protection and on behalf of clients seeking to avoid an injunction against them.  In some cases, the injunction was probably needed, while in other cases- not so much.  If there is an injunction entered against you, whether you believe it is valid or not, you should follow the judge’s order not to contact the other person. Violation of an injunction for protection is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail or by probation up to one year. First degree misdemeanor criminal offenses, as here with injunction violations, can also be punished by fine.

The person who asks for or petitions the court for an injunction is called the petitioner. While the person who responds to the petition is called the respondent. Often, the respondent will be served with the initial temporary injunction and violate it immediately by calling or contacting the petitioner to find out what is going on. The temporary injunction is valid until a court has the ability to hear evidence and testimony from both sides. The testimony and evidence will be presented at a hearing. Based on the information provided, the judge will make a decision on whether the temporary injunction should be continued and made permanent or not.

Having an injunction is place is a big deal. It removes a person’s right to own and possess a gun or firearm, and it makes violating the injunction a crime. Injunctions for protection have their place and can be an important means of protecting victims or potential victims of domestic violence. However, they can be abused and used improperly. If you or a loved one need to file an injunction or have been served with an injunction, call the Law Office of David M. Goldman, LLC at (904) 685-1200 to speak with an experienced Jacksonville injunction lawyer that can help advise about what to do next. Initial consultations are free.

The second amendment is a staple in American constitutional law.  Gun rights lawyers and other second amendment advocates quote and cite it often.  After America fought and won its independence, our founding fathers knew that an armed militia was important to the survival of the new nation.  Nevertheless, there are those that still are weary of firearms and the destruction they can cause when not properly used or when guns fall into the wrong hands.

Gun3According to Jacksonville.com, a rash of stolen guns from unlocked cars has the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office concerned.  JSO noticed a spike in guns being stolen from cars.  In April, there were 69 guns stolen from cars; 41 of the guns stolen were taken from unlocked cars.  Guns can absolutely be useful for personal protection, but gun owners have a responsibility to keep them away from children and thieves.  Being careless enough to leave a gun in an unlocked car only gives ammunition to those who are adamantly against guns and wish to see more regulation.

Those that are anti-gun, can’t dispute the fact that guns save lives when used properly, just as guns take lives when used irresponsibly.  Take former CNN anchor Lynne Russell and her husband, former CNN reporter, Chuck de Caro for example.  The couple was recently accosted at gun point by a would-be robber when a gun was placed to Mrs. Russell’s stomach, and she was forced into her hotel room.  There was ultimately a shoot out between the would-be robber and de Caro, who was shot three times.  Return fire from de Caro hit and killed the would-be robber.

The moral of the story is that it is very important to exercise proper care as a gun owner to keep your gun secured.  Securing your guns keeps them out of the hands of those that are up to no-good, and it also keeps your guns ready and available for your protection.  For more information on gun rights, call the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC at (904) 685-1200 where we have experienced gun rights lawyers that can assist you or a loved one regarding your gun rights, even with restoration of gun rights if they’ve been lost.  We also have experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers that can help you reach the best outcome in your case if you’ve been charged with a gun crime.  Initial criminal consultations are free.

How to Receive a Temporary Driving Permit after a DUI in Florida.

In Florida, a person arrested for a DUI must face two separate cases: an administrative case and a criminal court case. While most people are familiar with the criminal consequences a DUI brings, there is also an important administrative process dealing with the person’s driver license.

When someone is arrested on suspicion of DUI, the arresting officer will normally take the driver’s license, which results in an immediate suspension of driving privileges. If the driver takes a breath test, and fails, the driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. If you refuse a chemical test (such as a blood, breath or urine test) for the first time, the driver’s license will be suspended for one year. If the driver has previously refused a chemical test the suspension lasts 18 months.

What happens after you are released from jail?

Once the driver is released, he or she should receive a traffic citation for DUI and any other charges related to the incident. If you have not received this citation, we urge you to contact the agency immediately to receive a copy, as without the citation the driver cannot request a formal review hearing. This is important because a formal review hearing allows the driver to make a defense against the DUI and a chance to have the license suspension dropped. The citation is also important because it serves as a temporary driver’s license for up to 10 days after the DUI arrest.

A driver only has 10 days after the arrest to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles Bureau of Administrative Reviews to request a Formal Hearing. An attorney can request this hearing on the driver’s behalf. This means a driver without an attorney must request this hearing on his or her own. To request this hearing, the driver must go to the DMV Bureau of Administrative Reviews in the county the arrest took place in. To obtain the hearing the driver must submit a copy of the DUI citation and pay a $25.00 fee.

During this time this driver will then receive a temporary driving permit. Once a person receives this permit he or she will be allowed to operate a motor vehicle for work related driving, driving for educational purposes, attendance at religious services, and for medical appointments. There may be other valid reasons that allow a person with a temporary driving permit to operate a vehicle, but a knowledgeable DUI attorney should be consulted first.

The temporary driving permit will only be valid for 42 days, during which this DMV will hold the driver’s Formal Review Hearing. If the driver wins this hearing, he or she will regain normal driving privileges.   If a driver fails to win the hearing, driving privileges will remain suspended upon the expiration of the driving permit. This remaining suspension can last up to 90 days, and the driver will not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle for any reason during this time. Once this suspension is over the driver may qualify for a hardship license, which will act in the same manner as the temporary driver’s permit.

Regardless of the outcome of the formal review hearing, the DUI case will continue in the criminal court system. For information on how to receive a temporary driver’s permit or a hardship license after receiving a DUI, contact the Law Office of David Goldman PLLC today at (904) 685-1200.

By Thomas Morrison, Juris Doctorate Candidate.

New Law will ban Florida Truckers from Texting and Driving

The federal government in recent years has made stricter laws to prevent accidents involving commercial drivers. In 2013, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that allows Florida truckers to be stopped and fined for texting while driving.  The highway safety bill HB 7125 now brings Florida law into compliance with federal regulations that ban truckers and other commercial vehicle operators from texting or talking on their cell phones without a wireless device such as a blue tooth.

truckThese new laws are significant because it makes texting while driving a primary offense for truckers and will also cause both truckers and their companies to face fines for violating of the law.

For initial violations, commercial drivers must pay a $500 fine and their companies must face a $2,750 fine.  Once a commercial driver has received a third violation or more, drivers would have to pay $2,750 and face a 120-day license suspension.  After a third violation by the same commercial driver, a company may be liable to pay up $11,000 in fines.

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fightingDepending on where and how you grew up, you may have been told as a child or heard someone else told, “If he hits you, hit him back!”  My neighborhood back home in southern Georgia  happened to be a place where such an attitude was common.  This type of advice is where many people are first introduced to the concept of self defense.  Florida law, under Chapter 776, contains a group of statutes that define the justifiable use of force, commonly known as self defense.  The law doesn’t mention anything about being able to “hit back” if someone hits you.  It’s a bit more refined than that.   Bouncers at a Florida bar could learn this lesson the hard way.

A brawl at a Saint Augustine Bar recently has people questioning whether bouncers went too far in breaking up a fight.  After two women began to fight, things were elevated by security at the Conch House in Saint Augustine, Florida. Much of the chaos was caught on video.  News4jax.com reported that the bouncers may have even thrown an unconscious person into the water.  Florida law allows you to defend yourself, even defend others, but there must be a reasonable amount of force used.

Florida Statute 776.012 states:  “A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.”  What this means is that you are allowed to use force to stop an ongoing attack against you.  Florida law allows a certain amount of force to be used in protecting your property, as well.

A Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer asked to comment on the brawl during the interview was spot on when he suggested that individuals are allowed to use force to keep themselves and others safe, but can’t go too far.  So when has self defense gone too far?  Well when the threat is eliminated, the force is no longer needed.  If the force used outweighs the threat, self defense or defense of another has likely gone too far.  At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced self defense lawyers that can help the law work for you if you or a loved one are in danger of being prosecuted for a crime when self defense is an issue in your case.  Call (904) 685-1200 today for a free initial consultation or to learn more about self defense and the use of force or deadly force.

 

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