January 9, 2014

Injunctions For Protection and Technology: How Unintentional and Inadvertent Contact Through Social Media May Land You In Jail.

Through the evolution of technology, people no longer communicate the way that they used to. Where as most business and social interactions used to always take place face to face, in today's tech world that is no longer the case. Now a substantial amount of social interaction and business interactions are through email or social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. Although this has been great in many respects, there have also been many downfalls for clients in the legal system. This has been extremely true for people who have had domestic violence injunctions or restraining orders issued against them.

In years past when an alleged victim took out an injunction for protection in Florida, the prohibited conduct was normally clear. Do not call the victim. Do not go within 500 feet of certain addresses. If you called the person, there was a record of the call, which would mean that you violated the terms of the injunction and would go to jail on a misdemeanor violation of injunction. This is no longer the case. With the inventions of social media sites, violating an Injunction or commonly known as a restraining order has become more complicated and potentially more dangerous for the person who has an injunction against them. As a result, there have been allegations that a person may violate an injunction and not even know it.

Just this week it was reported that a Google+ invite to a former girlfriend landed a man in jail. The police reported alleged that an ex girlfriend had just broken up with the man and obtained a restraining order against him. Shortly after receiving the injunction, the girlfriend discovered an invitation to join one of his Google+ circles. She called the police and they arrested the man for this one act. Upon first look many people would think this is no different than the woman who was arrested for violating an injunction for a "poke" on Facebook. In the Facebook case the evidentiary issue was whether it could be proved that it was actually the woman herself or her involvement that caused the poke or had another person had access to her computer.

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December 26, 2013

River City Marketplace Brawl Could Lead to Numerous Charges

Photo credit: taliesin from morguefile.com

On Christmas night at river city market place, chaos erupted when teenagers began fighting, jumping on cars and even rushing an off duty police officer. Jacksonville.com reported that hundreds of people became involved and approximately 62 police officers were called in to handle the unruly crowd.

Five people, aged 19 and younger were arrested on misdemeanor charges of "fighting". "Fighting" is a local crime under Jacksonville Municipal Code Section 614.123 entitled "affray." The affray ordinance makes it illegal to engage in a fight or mutual combat with another person in a public place. As a result, unless these teenagers hire a good criminal defense attorney who can either persuade the state to drop the charges or allow them to enroll in a pre-trial diversion program, they are beginning their young adult lives convicted of a crime.

Since the investigation is still active, more arrests and charges are possible such as assault and criminal mischief. When a person is charged with assault, they are being accused of unlawfully threatening someone by word or act and having the ability to act on the threat, which is a violation of Florida Statute 784.011. An assault is an intentional threat by word or act to do violence to someone. The person threatening must have an apparent ability to commit the violence, which results in creating a well-founded fear in the other person that violence was imminent. An assault in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor. This means if you or a loved one are convicted of a simple assault in Florida, you or your loved one will face up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

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November 14, 2013

Stand Your Ground Law Still Intact despite a vote to Repeal

gun-close-up-940614-m.jpgThis week the Florida the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Subcommittee heard testimony and argument on a bill that wanted to repeal the law self-defense law in Florida called "Stand Your Ground" which allows an individual to defend themselves instead of being forced to retreat when confronted by an attacker and use deadly force when the person believes that their life is in jeopardy.

Although 22 states currently have some form of the stand your ground law, Florida's Stand Your Ground Law received national attention during the Trayvon Martin case, despite the defense never being asserted by his Zimmerman's defense counsel. In Florida, Florida Statute 776.032 grants immunity from criminal and civil prosecution to individuals who exercise their right to use force in defense of themselves or others.

Specifically, Florida Statute 776.032 provides that "a person who uses force as permitted in Florida Statutes 776.012, 776.013 or 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force." This is the statute that has been termed the "Stand Your Ground Law."

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November 6, 2013

How shoplifting a present during the holidays will cost much more than the amount of the item.

As a criminal defense attorney, each year around the holidays, I have seen a rise in the amount of people arrested for shoplifting. Often times, these people succumb to the pressure that the holiday brings. Their loved ones see the commercials of shiny new toys and presents and beg their parents for the items. In this economy when there are so many people unemployed or underemployed, there is simply no money to spare and faced with disappointing their loved ones, they attempt to shoplift the item and as a result end up in jail.

Continue reading "How shoplifting a present during the holidays will cost much more than the amount of the item. " »

November 4, 2013

How finishing that one drink can result in DUI

Driving Under the Influence or (DUI) is a crime that knows no bounds and affects everyone from ordinary citizens, politicians, celebrities and athletes alike. Almost all of us know or have known someone who has driven under the influence of alcohol at some point in his or her life. Driving under the Influence is a type of crime that does not discriminate on who you are in order for you to be arrested or commit the offense. As a matter of fact, we often hear of famous people committing these crimes, nationally the list of celebrities charged with the offense is substantial. Celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Charles Barkley, Heather Locklear, FloRida, Kiefer Sutherland, and the list goes on.

So what does Driving Under the Influence (DUI) mean? In Florida if you have a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or more and operate a motor vehicle, you are considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol and you will be arrested. So what does .08 mean and how much do I have to drink to reach .08?

That is where the problem lies. Your blood alcohol level is affected by many factors besides the amount of alcohol you consume. Factors such as your gender, how much you weigh, whether or not you take prescription drugs, how long it takes you to consume the alcohol and whether you drink on an empty stomach or have eaten a full meal, all contribute to your body's blood alcohol level. The only way to be truly safe is not to consume alcohol at all, which can be difficult given our culture of happy hours and bars.

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November 1, 2013

Don't Let a Day At The Florida-Georgia Game Lead to a Night in Jail on Assault, Battery, Disorderly Conduct charges or worse

Every fall millions of Americans avidly cheer for their favorite College or NFL team and boo their opposition. With the Jacksonville landing hosting Florida-Georgia activities this weekend, we are reminded of last year's incidents during Florida-Georgia weekend that resulted with one person in the hospital and landed another fan in jail charged with aggravated battery.

Last year's incident at Florida-Georgia was not uncommon. Back in 2011 a pre-season game of the Raiders and 49ers resulted in two fans being shot and another beaten. Last October a fan was stabbed on the way to a football game betwee49ers versus New York Giants game. Then again during the playoffs in January during the NFC Championship game an Atlanta Falcons fan was stabled in the neck right outside of the Georgia Dome. Back in February three teenagers were stabled when attending the Ravens victory parade. I bet not one of these fans thought they would end up in jail or the hospital that day.

Unfortunately the violence between fans and of fans continues. Just last weekend four fans at the Jets v. Patriots game allowed their team spirit to turn into violence against fans of the opposing team. This led three Patriots fans, and one Jets fan to be charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct. A verbal conflict is alleged to have escalated into a physical altercation when the Patriots fans kicked and punched the Jets fan. The Jets fan in return punched one of the Patriots fans. Most commentators are focusing on whether or not self-defense is a valid legal defense in that case. The Jets' fan's attorney stated, "it is clear that Kurt was defending himself, his mother and his friends from an attack."

Self-defense statutes vary from state to state. In Florida, a defendant can claim self-defense in a non-deadly incident such as this, if the defendant reasonably believed that such action was necessary to defend himself or herself against the other's imminent use of unlawful force.

However self-defense is an affirmative defense, which means that the person charged has to assert and demonstrate facts supporting self-defense at trial. A person who does not have a lawyer may not understand how to properly and legally assert self defense which may cause them to lose their case. A conviction for simple assault could get you 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. However the circumstances in the Jets v. Patriots incident, if it happened in Florida, may also have led to additional charges such as misdemeanor battery. If a person is charged with misdemeanor battery, that offense carries up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine.

Any time you or a loved one is charged with a criminal act in northeast Florida, it is important that you seek a Jacksonville Criminal Defense attorney immediately. As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who has represented hundreds of clients charged with assault and battery, I can fight to protect your rights and aggressively represent you.

If you would like to schedule a free consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, you can contact the Apple Law Firm at (904) 685-1200.

October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat and Sex Offenders

Trick or Treating is not the same as it used to be. Now added to the list of concerns parents have when trick or treating, is their fear of people designated as sex offenders or predators.

Sexual predators and sexual offenders are different classifications based on certain criteria under the Florida Statutes. Through the Public Safety Information Act of 1997, Florida began listing sexual offender information available through a 24 hour a day hotline and on the Internet. Both sex offenders and sexual predators must register with the Florida department of Law Enforcement and their names, addresses and picture are posted on the sexual offender database.

The holiday of Halloween not only brings special concern to parents but also to offenders. In Florida, there are special requirements on Halloween for sex offenders and sexual predators, such as not being able allowed to display Halloween decorations, distribute candy or leave their outside lights on. However many state restrictions only apply to those individuals who are currently on supervised probation. As a result, many counties have stepped in by imposing different additional requirements on Halloween. These requirements vary by each county and each year there are changes so sex predators and sex offenders need to make sure they know the rules in the county in which they reside.

Jacksonville.com reported that in Duval and Saint johns county during Halloween sex offenders and predators are required to post a sign in their yard stating that they have no candy or treats at this residence, nor can they have on any outside lights or participate in any activities.

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November 3, 2012

What Would I have to Do to Get my Record Expunged in Florida?

Jacksonville Criminal LawyerWhat would I have to do to get my Criminal Record Expunged in Florida? This question is presented to my numerous times a week and unfortunately, there is not a simply, straightforward answer. So as the cliché attorney answer, "it depends."

As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney who handles Florida Record Seals and Record Expunges, the first step is determining if an individual is eligible. This eligibility balances on the adjudication of the offense in question. If you were convicted, you are NOT eligible for a Record Seal or Record Expunge. If your charges were dropped, you would potentially be eligible for a Record Expunge. If your case ended with Adjudication being Withheld, then you would potentially be eligible for a Record Seal.

After determining the Adjudication of your offence, the next step, in my opinion, would be to contact a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney to discuss the process in moving forward. Until then, I will briefly explain the process. First you must get the criminal record from the Clerk of Court in the County in which the offense occurred. Then you must submit the required paperwork to the FDLE who will evaluate your case and make a determination as to your eligibility. If approved, you will be sent a letter of eligibility. At this point, you will have to petition the Court to have your Record sealed or expunged. In my personal experience in dealing with these matters, the process takes between 4 to 6 months.

Although this process can be completed without getting an attorney involved, I would suggest at least consulting an Attorney before setting out on this journey alone. If you have any questions please contact my office and I will be more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have. In addition, I offer FREE consultations for most cases. So don't wait, Call right now!

If you would like more information regarding Florida Record Seals and Expunction, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200.

October 29, 2012

Georgia-Florida Fight lands one in Jail another in the Hospital

Jacksonville Criminal Defense LawyerAs I entered the Office this morning after a wonderful weekend of my Georgia Bulldawgs' win. I was shocked to read in the paper about this fight that occurred during the Game on Saturday. This unfortunate event left one fan in jail and the other in the hospital.

According to the sporadic reports, due to the high volume of partying going on, the full details of the fight are unclear. However, what is apparent is 21 year old William Ross Cesery III was taken to the hospital for injuries he sustained during this altercation. What is not apparent is the cause, instigation, and amount of alcohol or other drugs involved that made this incident occur. Furthermore, 20 year old Colby was arrested for AGGRAVATED BATTERY.

Aggravated Battery is defined under Florida Statute § 784.045, which reads "a person commits aggravated battery who, in committing battery: Intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement." Also, it is a second-degree felony. Therefore, Colby could be facing up to 15 years in prison and/or $10,000.

As a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer, I evaluate every single case as a neutral, non-bias party. Normally, I can see both sides of the case and zealously represent my clients. However, in this matter, I cannot determine where the State is coming from in bringing these charges. It was a minor altercation. Emotions were high. Alcohol was probably involved. Not to mention, Colby, upon notice of William's injuries stopped and pulled him from the water. Aggravated Battery? I think not. Simple Assault and Battery; probably.

Without representation Colby could be facing a severe punishment for this incident. In addition, his criminal record may hinder his ability to find gainful employment, loans, rental agreements, etc. However, under the guidance and assistance of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense lawyer, I can work diligently to put the Client in the best position give the circumstances. Additionally, I will strive to get my client in a position where we can either seal or expunge their record following this case. This will allow them to move forward in their lives without the constant reminder of their past mistakes.

If you would like more information regarding Florida's Criminal Laws, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200

October 18, 2012

I got a speeding ticket in Florida. Now what?

Jacksonville Traffic TicketsWere you caught going too fast? Did you attempt to pass someone only to find a Florida police officer waiting for you? Was your cruise control set, but still issued a citation for speeding? If you answered, "YES" to any question previously listed or if you have received a Speeding Ticket in Florida, I may be able to help.

As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, I represent many clients in counties throughout Florida. Through my representation I petition the court to prevent points on your license and to stop the negative impact on your insurance. My most recent cases have been in the following counties:

Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsen, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Holmes, Jacksonville, Lee, Liberty, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Union, Volusia, Walton, Washington

So, before you pay that Florida Traffic Ticket, Call a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney to determine if I can help you. Lastly, did you know that paying the fine listed on the citation was an admission of Guilt? That means points incurred and potential insurance increases. Again, before you pay, call me today.

If you would like more information regarding Florida Traffic Tickets, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200.

October 8, 2012

I have a Conviction on my Florida Criminal Record. Can I have it Sealed or Expunged?

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAs a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, I receive numerous calls from potential clients wanting to get their Criminal records sealed or expunged. Potential clients want their records sealed or expunged for any number or reasons, however, the most common are: jobs, loans, education, and career advancement. Unfortunately, if you have a CONVICTION for any criminal offense you record cannot be sealed or expunged.

Another question or misunderstanding I hear all the time is regarding the extent of having one's record sealed or expunged. Many clients have call and have the desire to get their entire criminal history expunged or sealed. However, that is not how it works. Florida only allows one arrest to be sealed or expunged. Meaning, you can have multiple offenses sealed or expunged if they all occur within the same incident. In contrast, if you have multiple arrests, you are potentially only eligible to have one arrest sealed or expunged.

I hope this blog will clear up any initial concerns or questions one my have regarding a
Florida record seal or expunge. If you still have additional questions or would like an attorney to begin the sealing process, contact my office at 904-685-1200.

If you would like more information regarding Florida Record Seals and Expunction, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200.

September 26, 2012

What is a Jacksonville Arson?

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyA recent report of a home in Jacksonville being damaged by fire leaves me with the question on my mind of Arson. The report states that Fire and Rescue were dispatched to a Florida home after smoke and flames coming from within the home. Although the fire was extinguished rather quickly, the resulting damage was extensive. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. But leads me to question whether this is a case of Arson or not.

In Florida, Arson is defined by Florida Statute § 806.01, which reads "any person who willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged: any dwelling...any structure...any other structure that he or she knew or has reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by a human being." If convicted for Arson it is a Felony in the first-degree, which holds a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and/or up to a $10000 fine. In contrast, if you commit Arson against property of your own, it is a second degree-felony punishable by 15 years in prison and up to a $10000 fine.

Although this Fire investigation is still in its initial stages, if the homeowners are found to have intentionally set the fire, they could be facing a second-degree felony charge. If on the hand, someone else set the fire, they could potentially face a first-degree felony charge. Or it could just be an accidental fire and no charges will be brought.

A Jacksonville Arson charge is a serious criminal offense with serious penalties. The advice and counsel of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer could prove invaluable. If you are facing a Jacksonville Arson charge or any other Jacksonville Criminal Offense, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss your case and to make sure you and your rights are being protected.

If you would like more information regarding Florida's Arson Law, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200.

September 24, 2012

Batman Theatre Shooter Appears in Court

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyJames Holmes the man responsible for numerous deaths after he opened fire upon the crowd at a late night showing of the new Batman shooting appeared in Court again. This time Holmes was sporting a new look. He had short brown hair and appeared not be completely comfortable with the situation. This is a vast contrast from his initial appearance with dis-shoveled orange hair and a demeanor that is best described as unusual.

This Court appearance was to handle the debate over the admissibility of the Notebook Holmes sent to his old doctor before the shooting. Prosecutors had sought to review the notebook, but the Defense claims patient and doctor privilege. The prosecution still rebuts that argument. However, if they continue to argue over this point there will be a delay in trail, something they do not want. So, the attorneys came to an agreement where the prosecution will drop the argument to see the notebook. However, if the Defense puts up the defense as to sanity it will immediately become available to the prosecution.

Also, at this court appearance the Prosecution by adding 10 new attempted murder charges and amending an additional 17 charges. That puts the total at 142 attempted murder charges.

This case is still in the initial stages and as time comes to pass we will see how the defense team mitigates the offenses and works diligently to get their client the best possible outcome given the circumstances.

If you would like more information regarding Florida Criminal Laws, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200.

September 21, 2012

I want my Criminal History Sealed, How do I do that?

Jacksonville Criminal LawyerAs a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney I get calls all the time regarding a desire to seal or expunge their criminal past. However, few really know or understand the process and limitations that are involved with getting your Florida Criminal Record Sealed or Expunged. Therefore, I have decided to create this brief Blog to help clear up some initial misunderstandings. However, for the most clarity and understanding scheduling a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney is advisable.

One questions I get all the time is clients was to seal their ENTIRE criminal history. Meaning expunge all their arrests and criminal violations. However, this is not permissible under Florida Statutes. In Florida, a person is potentially applicable to have sealed or expunged ONE criminal arrest. To clarify, a Florida record seal will only handle ONE case you had before a Florida Court. Now, with that being said, if you had multiple charges in that ONE case, you can have all those charged sealed. This is best explained by example. Lets say, John smith has been arrested twice in his life. He calls a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney for a Consult. He wants his ENTIRE record sealed or expunged. This cannot be done, he will have to choose which arrest to deal with. His next question is regarding his arrest, it was for multiple offense, but all related to the one arrest. This is OK, a Florida record seal or expunction allows for ONE arrest to be sealed even if the arrest has multiple offenses.

Another question I get all the time is am I applicable for a Florida Record Seal or Expunction. Well, that answer depends on multiple factors. First and foremost is what was the adjudication of the offense you want sealed or expunged. This is important because if you have been CONVICTED of any offense you are not eligible for a record seal or expunction. Furthermore, if the adjudication was WITHHELD you are only eligible for a record seal. In contrast, if the charges were dropped you could be eligible for an expunction. Many clients do not know or remember the adjudication of their offense, that is OK, give a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney a call and we can find our for you.

In closing, if you have a criminal past that is effecting your future, give a Jacksonville Attorney a call. I can evaluate your case, make the proper determinations, and move forward in a manner that is beneficial to you and your future.

If you would like more information regarding Florida Record Seals and Expunction, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200.

September 19, 2012

Amanda Bynes makes Headlines Again!

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAs a Jacksonville Traffic Attorney I cannot stress enough to my clients NOT to drive once their license has been suspended or revoked. Monday I reported about Ms. Bynes recent run in with the law and how her license would be suspended. I find it hard to believe she would be unaware of the status of her license and therefore, when she was pulled over recently she was cited for driving on a suspended license and her vehicle was impounded.

This incident with the law follows her two pending counts of hit-and-run. Although she has a some hurdles to cross before she can put all this behind her, the advise and assistance of her Attorney could prove to be invaluable in her case.

As a Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, I handle all sorts of traffic violations; speeding, careless driving, DWSL, etc. Therefore, if you find yourself with an unwanted traffic citation, contact a Jacksonville Attorney who can review your citation and make the proper determinations in moving forward.

If you would like more information regarding Driving violations, check out Apple Law Firm PLLC's website. If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation with a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, contact my office directly at 904-685-1200.