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

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

Florida Statute 827.03 defines neglect as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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