Articles Posted in Robbery / Theft

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.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyA 40-year-old Jacksonville man was shot outside a Wells Fargo Bank while attempting to retrieve money from the ATM.

We all have the need for cash instead of credit cards that we are all accustomed to using. However, sometimes the situation calls for cash. Jacksonville Residents do not think twice about going to the local ATM and getting that much needed cash. However, those feelings and desires have changed following Monday night’s incident.

At or about 11:30 PM on Monday evening, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at the Wells Fargo Bank on Baymeadows Road. When the Officers arrived they met with the victim, who had been shot twice; once in the left arm and another shot to the stomach. The victim stated when he drove up to the ATM two masked men approached and shot him twice; one had a sliver gun.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyDuval is a large county, one of the largest for that matter, and with a large population size come an increase of Criminal activity. This does not mean Jacksonville and the surrounding areas are bad areas, its just the large population gives way to more criminal activity than a county with less of a population size. As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney I am constantly asked one question, What kind of penality/jailtime am I looking at? I hate to say the cliché Attorney, but it really does all depend upon your specific case and circumstances surrounding your criminal offense. However, with that being said, here are the statutorily defined penalties for both Misdemeanors and Felonies in Florida.

2nd Degree Misdemeanor

An offense listed as a 2nd degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or fines not to exceed $500.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyLocal Restaurant was destroyed by Fire this morning and the investigation into the cause is still underway. Wasabi Buffet located in Jacksonville’s historic Five Point Area. Besides the damage to Wasabi, three other businesses were also damaged (Firehouse Subs, Hot Wok, and a laundry). The fire was reported at approximately 3:30 this morning and fire marshal’s were able to get the fire under control before it spread too far into surrounding businesses.

In Florida, Arson is defined by Florida Statute § 806.01, which reads “any person who willfully and unlawfully, or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged: any dwelling…any structure…any other structure that he or she knew or has reasonable grounds to believe was occupied by a human being.” If convicted for Arson it is a Felony in the first-degree, which holds a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and/or up to a $10000 fine. In contrast, if you commit Arson against property of your own, it is a second degree-felony punishable by 15 years in prison and up to a $10000 fine.

Although this Fire investigation is still in its initial stages, if the homeowners are found to have intentionally set the fire, they could be facing a second-degree felony charge. If on the hand, someone else set the fire, they could potentially face a first-degree felony charge. Or it could just be an accidental fire and no charges will be brought.

Jacksonville Criminal LawyerWe all make mistakes, bad judgment calls, and are influenced by our peers. However, some these not so good decisions can result in Jacksonville Criminal Charges. When this happens you could be facing serious penalties for your actions. However, with the guidance and assistance of a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney they can fight the state and work to get you the best possible outcome of your case. Ultimately, you want the charges dropped but that is not always a viable option when negotiating with the State. However, if you Adjudication Withheld, you are in a position to have your record sealed.

Now that you have moved on from your Withhold of your Jacksonville Criminal Charge, do you have to disclose this information to potential employers? I get asked this question all the time. Clients are applying for a job and want to know how to answer the question, “Have you ever been convicted of felony?” The correct answer for this question is NO. If you received a Withhold for your Jacksonville Criminal Charge, you were never CONVICTED, therefore the correct answer to that question is NO.

However, just because adjudication was Withheld, does not mean it will not appear on a background check. Therefore, you are in a position in whether to tell an employer first or to wait for the employer to ask; if at all. Unfortunately, there is no correct answer to this question. Sometimes its better to take the proactive step and notify them ahead of time and explain the situation. But, that can lead to quick judgments. In contrast, if you wait, they may look at it as you are trying to hide something. So, one just has to feel their way through the process and determine what is the best plan of action for their individual case.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyA recent case before the 2nd DCA was ruled upon on June 1, 2012. The case, Shawn D. Almond v. State of Florida, reviewed the issue of delayed designation of the Defendant as a “sexual predator.” The Court waited over 12 years before filing the motion to designate the Defendant as a “sexual predator.”

The facts are simple. The Defendant was charged with sexual battery with force and burglary with assault back in 1996. In 1998, he plead out to the two charges and received 12 years incarceration and 5 years of probation. In 2010, Almond was released from State Prison. He was on probation for the following two years when the State filed a motion to designate him as a “sexual predator.” The Defendant was subsequently designated a “sexual predator” following a hearing. The Defendant now appeals that designation.

The issue before the court is whether the State can file such a motion after so much time has passed following the sentencing of the Defendant. Designation as a sexual predator is defined under Florida Statute §775.21 (4)(c)(1)(a). In this case, Almond clearly fits within the statutory confines as a sexual predator. However, Almond contends the delay in designation would therefore bar the state from filing such a motion. However, Florida Statute § 775.21(5)(a)(2) allows the State to bring such a motion when information obtains qualifies an offender as a sexual predator.

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