Articles Posted in Gun Crimes

Conceal CarryThe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (the Department) issues licenses to carry concealed weapons or concealed firearms in the State of Florida and they are good for 7 years.  Concealed weapons or concealed firearms are defined as a handgun, electronic weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie, but does not include a machine gun. You must carry the license at all times you have possession of the weapon or firearm and must display the license and valid I.D. upon demand by a law enforcement officer or be assessed a $25 fine for a violation.

According to section 790.06, Florida Statutes, the Department shall deny a license if the applicant has been found guilty of, had adjudication of guilt withheld for, or had imposition of sentence suspended for one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor, unless 3 years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled or the record has been sealed or expunged.  The Department shall revoke a license if the licensee has been found guilty of, had adjudication of guilt withheld for, or had imposition of sentence suspended for one or more crimes of violence within the preceding 3 years.

The Department shall, upon notification by a law enforcement agency, a court, or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and subsequent written verification, suspend a license or the processing of an application for a license if the licensee or applicant is arrested or formally charged with a crime that would disqualify such person from having a license until final disposition of the case. The Department shall suspend a license or the processing of an application for a license if the licensee or applicant is issued an injunction that restrains the licensee or applicant from committing acts of domestic violence or acts of repeat violence.

The Florida Supreme Court will take up a question about whether a 2017 change to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law should apply to older cases.  The 2017 change shifted the burden of proof from the defense to the prosecution.  Two appellate courts have split about whether the change in 2017 should apply retroactively to defendants who were arrested before the law took effect but whose cases were pending.

GavelThe case is Tashara Love v. The State of Florida, 3D17-2112 (Fla. 3d DCA May 11, 2018) a case that was heard by the Third District Court of Appeal.  Love’s writ of prohibition was denied, essentially denying her statutory immunity under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law, F.S. 776.032.  On November 26, 2015, Love and a group of women were involved in an altercation outside a Miami-Dade nightclub.  Love shot the victim, Thomas Lane, as he was about to hit her daughter.  Love was charged with one count of attempted second degree murder with a firearm and Love invoked the Stand Your Ground Law because she committed the crime while defending her daughter.

Before the date the immunity hearing was held, the Florida Legislature amended F.S. 776.032.  Prior to the amendment, the Florida Supreme Court held that defendants had the burden of proof in pretrial immunity hearings and they had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence their use of force was justified.  The amendment provided that once a self-defense claim of immunity from criminal prosecution was raised by the defendant, the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence is on the prosecution seeking to overcome the immunity. The State argued at her immunity hearing that the statute did not apply retroactively, and the trial court agreed and applied the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof.  The Third DCA ruled that the statute did not apply retroactively, and Love was not entitled to the shift in burden of proof.

The majority of criminal cases in Florida get resolved by plea agreements.  In the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 3.171 governs plea agreements.  The prosecutor has broad discretion in plea agreements.  The prosecutor may engage in discussions with the defendant’s attorney or, if the defendant is unrepresented, with the defendant himself as long as a record is made of the discussions.

question criminal issueThe prosecutor may ask the defendant to enter a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) to a charged crime or to a lesser or related offense in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing to any of the following:

1)  abandon other charges;

150923_harley-dogAccording to nbcnews.com, a Florida man is currently being investigated for possible animal cruelty charges after he was shot in the wrist… by a puppy.  It sounds unbelievable, but apparently it happened, and there are no charges pending against the puppy, and rightfully so.  Jerry Allen Bradford set out to shoot seven shepherd mix puppies, because he was unable to find them homes.  Apparently, turning the puppies over to the shelter was out of the question.  There can be a fee associated with turning animals in to shelters, but Bradford’s actions are not likely to be excused.  While Bradford held one of the puppies, the puppy squirmed and its paw hit the trigger. How is that for instant karma?  Bradford had already used the revolver to shoot three of the puppies, which were found in a shallow grave after authorities arrived. The other four puppies were unharmed.

As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I immediately began to think about possible defenses in this case if the puppy were to be charged with the shooting.  For Mr. Bradford, I’m pretty sure that animal cruelty charges will likely stick, but based on the language found in Florida statute 828.12, there may be arguments to be made in his defense also.  However, the puppy has a better case.

Self defense allows a person to respond to force with an appropriate amount of similar force.  In this case, deadly force is being used against the puppies.  The law will look to the reasonableness of responding to Bradford with deadly force.  The shooting in this case undoubtedly will be justified where the puppy has observed Bradford fatally shoot three of his puppy brothers.  In this instance, the puppy was reasonably in fear for its life.  Self defense law allows a person to come to the defense of others, just as much as it allows for one to protect himself or herself.  The puppy from this story managed to save four lives, one of those lives was his own, making him a hero in the eyes of many.  If you or a loved have been charged with a crime or are under investigation for any offense, including gun related offenses, the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC can help.  We have experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers and Jacksonville gun lawyers on staff ready to put their experience to work for you.  Call us today at (904) 685-1200 for a free initial consultation.

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.

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.

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.

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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