Articles Posted in Bail Bonds

Police frequently conduct searches of individuals based on a reasonable suspicion.  A brief investigative detention based on a reasonable suspicion is called a “Terry Stop”.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion is a term that is used to refer to a police officer’s reasonably justifiable suspicion that a person had committed a crime or was in the process of committing one, or was about to commit one.  Where the officer believes that a crime may have been committed or is about to be committed, he or she may make a temporary detention of the suspect and may proceed to pat them down.

In the state of Florida, a person who has any alcohol in his or her body is prohibited from being in physical control of a motor vehicle.  F.S. 322.62.  The penalties for violation of this law result in being placed out of service immediately for a twenty four hour period.  If one has a blood alcohol level of .04 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or a breath-alcohol level of .04 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, he or she is exposed to additional penalties that are enumerated in F.S. 322.61.  The ramifications could result in adverse effects on one’s livelihood with restrictions on the operation of a commercial vehicle.

What Are the Possible Ramifications of a Single Drink?

A single drink can result in fulfilling the first element of proof required to prove a DUI charge.  The next element required to meet the definition of a DUI in Florida is proof that an individual was driving a motor vehicle within the state of Florida.  The last element required to prove a DUI case is that the offender’s normal faculties are impaired.  The last element may be proven by an officer’s belief that the driver was impaired and or by the smell of alcohol on his or her breath, slurred speech, difficulty standing, walking in a straight line, based on a field sobriety test.  This is a non inclusive list.

Is There a Warrant Issued in My Name?

There are numerous warrants issued for almost every type of crime that occurs in Florida.  The warrant system is used to apprehend criminals and those accused of a crime.  Despite the belief that warrants expire, they do not.  Additionally, warrants can be executed at anytime.  Just because you may not be located within the territory of the state that issued a warrant, you are not safe from exposure to arrest.  It is common for warrants to be issued for both felonies and misdemeanors in Florida.  A warrant will be active until it is served, the individual dies, or the judge recalls the warrant.  It is important to resolve a warrant promptly, so one does not have to deal with a multitude of problems unexpectedly.  Your arrest could result from the most minor traffic stop for a tailgate light.

The FDLE has a database which usually lists active warrants and may be found online at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/.  You can select “search wanted persons” and you will be taken to a search screen.

            The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that:

            In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

            The Constitution does not define what a speedy trial means.  There is a Speedy Trial Act governing federal criminal charges and in Florida state trials there is a criminal rule of procedure that addresses speedy trial.  The Florida rule provides for Speedy Trial without Demand which requires defendants to be brought to trial within 90 days from the arrest on a misdemeanor, or 175 days from the arrest for a felony.  There is also a provision for Speedy Trial Upon Demand this provides that every person charged with a crime by indictment or information shall have the right to demand a trial within 60 days by filing a pleading entitled “Demand for Speedy Trial”.  These provisions can be found in Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 3.191.

When Should You File a Post Conviction Relief Motion in Florida?

A motion for post conviction relief is a motion that is filed after an individual is convicted of a crime where the court is being asked to relieve a person from their conviction.  The following grounds may be used as the reason for filing:

  1. The sentence imposed was illegal or violates the Florida or United States Constitution.

The Anti-Murder Act in Florida requires violent felony offenders or other certain types of offenders who violate probation or community control to remain in jail until the court determines whether the individual poses a danger to the community.  This law was established in March 2007.  The Florida Department of Corrections will designate those offenders as Violent Felony Offenders of Special Concern or “VFO” on the violation of probation or community control affidavit.

Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.790(b)(3) indicates that except when the alleged violation of probation is based solely on the defendant’s failure to pay costs, fines, or restitution, the defendant shall not be granted bail or any other form of pretrial release prior to the resolution of the probation or community control violation hearing.  The court shall not dismiss the probation violation warrant pending against a defendant without holding a recorded violation hearing at which both the state and the accused are represented.  At that hearing, the court shall make a written finding as to whether the defendant poses a danger to the community.

The court bases its findings on one or more of the following factors:

Navigating through Florida’s complicated labyrinth of criminal law is a task best left to the trained professional– someone that speaks the language and can even walk the walk when it comes down to it. In the area of criminal law, knowing the rules regarding what is supposed to happen and when it is supposed to happen is a very valuable tool to possess. A criminal defense attorney that is knowledgeable of the rules will prove to be your greatest ally in the unfortunate event that you are arrested.

gavel-2-1409592-m.jpgFlorida law, under Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.133, requires a nonadversary preliminary hearing within 48 hours of a person being arrested; this is commonly referred to as “first appearance”, since it is typically the first time that a person appears before a judge after being arrested. At this hearing, the presiding judge will determine whether there is probable cause to believe (1) that a crime has been committed and (2) that the defendant is the person that committed the crime.

The amount of a bond required is usually set during the first appearance. It is important to immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to advocate on your behalf to help ensure that a reasonable and appropriate bond amount is set. Moreover, if it can be demonstrated that no probable cause exists, a defendant can be released without a requirement to post a bond. Another situation that could lead to release without a bond requirement is where the hearing is not held within the time frame that is required by Florida law, which is 48 hours; however, in extraordinary circumstances two separate 24-hour extensions may be applied.
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Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAccording to a report by WFTV, four out of every 10 Florida drivers stopped by police for suspected drunk driving refuse to submit to breathalyzer tests. Something that many people may not be aware of is how severe the penalty can be just for refusing to take the breath test.

Florida’s current law regarding breath tests, known as Florida’s Implied Consent Law, states that any motorist who simply accepts the “privilege… of operating a motor vehicle within this state is… deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to… [a] test of his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic content of his or her blood or breath.”

The condensed version of the law means that if you choose to drive in the state of Florida, you have already consented to a breathalyzer test and if you refuse to take one then you can and will be punished. The punishments can be quite severe as well; with a first refusal punishable by a suspension of a driver’s license and a second refusal being considered a first-degree misdemeanor and a criminal offense.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyThe Supreme Court recently held that it is cruel and unusual punishment to send a young murderer to life in prison if a judge has not first weighed whether he deserves a shorter prison sentence due to his youth and the specific nature of his crimes. The 5-4 decision struck down laws on the books in some 28 states – including Florida – that say life sentences without parole for juvenile murderers are acceptable.

Officials in Florida law enforcement say it will take some time for the state to assess the impact of the ruling. Most experts in the state say that the number of state prisoners affected by the Supreme Court ruling is around 250, but the data are not all in yet.

It’s clear that Florida’s laws will have to be rewritten thanks to the recent ruling. Florida’s judiciary is bound by the state’s 10-20-Life law, passed in 1999, which says possessing a gun while committing some felonies brings an automatic 10-year minimum sentence, that when a gun is fired in the commission of a crime, the minimum sentence is 20 years, and if someone is shot the sentence goes up to life. It’s important to note that the decision does not mean it’s unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison, only that statutes that make such sentences mandatory are no longer acceptable. In Florida, if a juvenile who is certified as an adult is convicted of first-degree murder, the only option is life without parole.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyJacksonville Arrests occur all the time and when you caught off guard and arrested by the Jacksonville Police, you may not know what to do or say. That is where the advice and counsel of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer could prove to be invaluable. In Jacksonville, first appearance court (also known as bond hearing), most Criminal Defendants will not be represented by a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer. This can prove to be a mistake if the Defendant has a record or the offenses are serious. They could be denied bail and remain in jail until their court date.

Under Florida law, a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant is entitled to appear before a judge within 24 hours of his arrest. Due to this Florida law, Duval County first appearance court is held twice a day, every day.

I have seen many Jacksonville Criminal Defendants stand before a judge without representation. Although there is a Jacksonville Public Defender present in the room, this is only one Defense Lawyer to represent all the Jacksonville Criminal Defendants for day. It is not possible for a Criminal Attorney to zealously and adequately represent that many Jacksonville Criminal Defendants at one time.

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