Articles Posted in Robbery / Theft

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 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

“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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A Tennessee power company’s investigation into a neighborhood’s power shortage issues led to a large drug bust in the Tennessee countryside. Beneath the average looking countryside home was a million dollar “pot cave”. Marijuana was being grown in buckets, with an elaborate water and light system in place to maintain the plants, according to secretsofthefed.com. (Read the story here.) A secret entrance through the garage led to a cave that went back 50 yards into the hills the house was built against. The entrance was protected by a steel door, which was operated by a hydraulic motor.

The men that were running the marijuana operation had spliced into power lines, and stole an estimated $61,000 worth of electricity. In, Florida, this drug bust would have led to Grand Theft and Trafficking in Cannabis charges, among other things. Florida law calls for minimum sentences that apply in Trafficking cases, with three years being the lowest minimum that applies and fifteen years as the highest minimum. The maximum sentence allowable under Florida law is 30 years in Florida State Prison. Mandatory fines range from $25,000 to $200,000.

With these kinds of punishments as possibilities, finding the best criminal defense attorney available is a must. If you or a loved one have been arrested for a criminal offense in the Jacksonville area, experienced criminal defense lawyers are available for a free consultation at the Law Office of David M. Goldman. Call us today at (904) 685-1200.

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.
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Jacksonville Criminal LawyerIn Florida, anyone accused of committing a felony is permitted to take depositions of the prosecution’s witnesses. On misdemeanor charges the judge has to decide if there is a good reason to allow depositions before they will go forward. The judge can even allow depositions of people not listed as witnesses if it is proven that they have something relevant to say about the charges or the defense.

Depositions are part of the discovery process, which is the process by which the parties in criminal cases gather facts about the case from each other. The deposition itself is like a question and answer session that is being recorded by a court reporter. The defense lawyer can ask pretty much any question that could get to information that would help the defense theory or help impeach the witness and this is a pretty big umbrella.

Depositions are very useful for many reasons; to get the witness’s story on the record so they can’t change it later, to find out more information about the witness, to find holes in the prosecutions case and to let everyone know you are serious about defending the case.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyGiven that the crime is seen as vastly safer to engage in than the drug trade, experts are pointing out that identity theft has become increasingly popular for Florida criminals. Though it can be difficult to hunt down the culprits, when people are apprehended for identity theft in Florida, they face lengthy prison terms and punitive fines.

The Federal Trade Commission says that Florida is at the epicenter a recent identity theft crime wave sweeping the United States, most likely because of its large senior citizen population. Since 2008, the IRS reports some 500,000 taxpayers have alleged wage or identity tax fraud. The cases reported continue to climb, exponentially, tripling between 2009 and 2011.

Given the increasing number of victims of identity theft, the major federal law enforcement agencies including the FTC, IRS and FBI are launching more rigorous theft investigations. All the agencies are under pressure to put a stop to the crime and the RISA reported that in 2011 alone it was able to prevent more than $1 billion in false tax returns from being filed.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyFlorida State University criminologist Bill Bales knew Florida’s crime rate, like that of the nation, had been dropping for years but he had no idea just how much. Once he sat down to crunch the numbers he was shocked to discover how safe the state has become. Bales said, “I was astonished by the consistency of the decline and the magnitude of the decline.”

The decline was far from statistically insignificant. His results indicate that the level of safety of citizens and tourists in the state over the past 20 years has improved by a whopping 52%. What he labels a “remarkable” figure. His analysis indicated that crimes rates in Florida fell dramatically since the peak year of 1991 across all seven categories of crimes tracked by the FBI: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

What’s the reason for such a steep drop? Bales and other criminologist say there’s no one answer. A variety of factors such as state demographics, deployment of law enforcement resources, unemployment rates and poverty all likely played a part. The only significant correlation the study found was with increased imprisonment rates. He found that from 1980 to 2010, as crime rates went down, Florida’s prison population ballooned nearly 170 percent. However, he emphasizes that that alone does not explain the overall trend.

Jacksonville Criminal Defense LawyerWhether you are a Florida resident or simply visiting the area for summer vacation, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with two of the most commonly charged criminal offenses in the state.

The following article will help you better understand what these crimes entail, the penalties associated with them, and the ramifications of been charged with them.

Drug Offenses

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyJacksonville has a growing population and with this increase of residents also comes an increase in juvenile crime. I am not saying all children are prone to commit criminal activities. But, as a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney I am aware that the theory of probability is when you have more and more people crime is inevitably going to increase. One such incident occurred in Jacksonville last November involving 16-year-old Zachary Lambert.

Lambert was a troubled teen, but generally was a good kid. However, one day in November 2011 he decided to steal a pickup truck and go for a “joy-ride.” When the police located Lambert he fled the police. At the intersection of San Pablo and Beach Blvd. he ran the red light and struck another vehicle. The collision killed the other driver, Christopher Thompson (22) who was on his way to work at the Mayo Clinic. Lambert was subsequently charged with 3rd degree murder, vehicular homicide, aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement office, and grand theft auto.

After many discussions and negotiations between the State and the Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, Lambert decided the best course of action would be to arrange a plea deal with the state instead of proceeding to trial. A fact that many might not know is approximately 90% of criminal cases never make it to trial and are resolved through plea agreements. On Monday, Lambert plea guilty to vehicular homicide, aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement office, and grand theft auto. Although he has not been sentenced, scheduled for August, he could face up to 35 years in prison.

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