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.

 

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

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