Articles Posted in Robbery / Theft

            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.

What Are the Potential Costs?

When an individual is charged with theft or shoplifting in Florida, he or she faces potentially serious penalties.  This can affect one’s ability to secure a job because such a crime is classified as a crime of dishonesty.  This is significant even though a misdemeanor is typically considered relatively insignificant.  When a potential employer performs a background check and finds a conviction for such a crime in a candidate’s history, it may disqualify the candidate depending on the type of job.  The penalties for shoplifting or retail theft include jail, fines, civil penalties, restitution, court costs, and attorney’s fees.  In the event one is convicted a Grand Theft in Florida, they may be sentenced a prison.

How Does Florida Law Define Retail Theft?

Burglary in Florida is defined as entering a dwelling, 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.

F.S. § 810.02(2) indicates that burglary is a felony of the first degree if the offender assaults or batters another person or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance, with explosives or a dangerous weapon.  It can also be a first-degree felony to use a motor vehicle as an instrument to assist in committing the offense and damaging the dwelling or structure or to cause damage in excess of $1,000.00.

BurglaryF.S. § 810.02(3) indicates that burglary is a felony of the second degree if, during the offense, the offender does not assault or batter a person and is not or does not become armed with a dangerous weapon or explosive.  It will also be a second-degree felony if the offender enters or remains in a dwelling and there is or is not another person in the dwelling and the offender enters or remains.

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;

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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