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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;

alibi crimeYou may find yourself arrested for a crime that occurred at a time you were somewhere else completely at the same time the crime was being committed!  There is a special procedure to handle this situation in Florida criminal courts and its important that those procedures are followed or it could result in your evidence not being used at trial.

In Florida pursuant to Rule 3.200, Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, upon the written demand of the prosecuting attorney, a defendant in a criminal case who intends to offer evidence of an alibi in their defense must file a Notice of Alibi with the Court and serve it on the prosecutor no less than 10 days before trial.

The demand from the prosecutor will include the place, date and time of the commission of the crime charged as is known to the prosecutor.

negligence_500-288x300Second chances are a precious commodity in the world. Second chances in the criminal justice system are even more precious. Oftentimes, the opportunity to be given a break in the criminal justice system comes in the form of diversion programs.  They give people the opportunity to say, “oops”, and try again.  Diversion programs can be referred to by different names, but in general will give a person a chance not to be prosecuted as a result the offender’s participation in a program, typically aimed at addressing some sort of issue.  For instance, a person that is caught shoplifting may be required to attend a theft class as part of diversion.  Community service and fines are also common, since there is normally a fee attached to participating in the program.  Some other terms used are Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) or Deferred Prosecution (DP).

Florida Statute 948.08 gives state prosecutors discretion to use PTI programs.  In the case of  State of Florida vs. Michael Board, the defendant complained after the State revoked the PTI program due to alleged violations of the agreement by Mr. Board.  The trial court agreed with Mr. Board and required to the State to request permission from the trial court before being allowed to revoke PTI.  The State appealed and the appellate court sided with the State, pointing out that Florida law gives all discretion regarding PTI to the prosecution agency.

In many cases where the defendant has no prior record and the case does not involve a violent offense, the State will use its discretion to send the defendant to PTI.  The benefits of PTI lie primarily in the fact that the case will be dropped upon successful completion of the program.  Being able to apply to have your record sealed or expunged after completion is another nice benefit of PTI.  The programs may involve things from community service on the one hand, to classes being taken on the other hand.  In many cases, there are multiple requirements, but having the case dropped usually makes the program worth any trouble associated.  In many cases, the sooner you can have an attorney working on your behalf to convince the State that PTI is appropriate, then the better your chances of getting into PTI.  To speak an experienced Jacksonville criminal lawyer about your case, call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Things that you don’t know can, and oftentimes, will hurt you.  Under Florida’s criminal law, it appears to not be widely known by the average person that crimes committed by another person can get you into trouble under some circumstances.  Florida Statute 777.011, entitled Principal in the first degree, states “Whoever commits any criminal offense against the state, whether felony or misdemeanor, or aids, abets, counsels, hires, or otherwise procures such offense to be committed, and such offense is committed or is attempted to be committed, is a principal in the first degree and may be charged, convicted, and punished as such, whether he or she is or is not actually or constructively present at the commission of such offense.”  In short, you can be charged if you commit the crime or if you help or assist in anyway.

Jacksonville criminal defense lawyerAs a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I have encountered the surprise of clients and family members, typically parents, who are puzzled how a person who was not present ends up being charged with a crime.  For example, let’s say Jon Doe is a seventeen year old you man just a few weeks away from his eighteenth birthday.  John knows of a house where there is a gun collection.   John tells his friend, who has a history of burglarizing houses, where the house is located and how to find the guns inside the house.  The friend later breaks into the home and steals the guns while John is at work.  The friend has committed an Armed Burglary, which is a burglary committed when an offender is armed or becomes armed during the commission of a burglary.  Here, John’s friend becomes armed when he steals the guns from the house.  Can John be charged with Armed Burglary?  The answer is “yes”.  The horrible news for John is that Armed Burglary is an offense that is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.  John’s age makes it likely that he will be charged as an adult under these circumstances.

Remember when a person aids or counsels another regarding the commission of a criminal offense, the person may be charged whether or not the person was present at the time the offense is committed.  In the example used here John has certainly aided his friend with the Armed Burglary.  At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers that can help you or a loved one in your time of need.  We can help protect your rights and help you reach the best outcome under the circumstances in your case.  Initial consultations are free.  Call us today to schedule your consultation with a qualified Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer.

141215_lawyers-140579-m.jpgWhether you’ve hired a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, or you’ve had one appointed to you by the court, it is always a good idea to listen to the advice of your criminal defense lawyer. I’ve been a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer for a number of years, and in my experience I have often found that a person accused of a crime who ignores the advice of his or her lawyer will end up in unfavorable position more often than a client that listens. Communication goes both ways; your lawyer should always listen to your concerns and consider the goals that you wish to accomplish. Your lawyer is then responsible for explaining to you how the law applies to the facts in your case and advising you of the best way to proceed in order to put you where it is that you would like to be.

Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers are trained in the law, rules, and procedures that apply to your case. The experience that your criminal defense lawyer brings to the table is also invaluable. It’s a no-brainer that a criminal defense lawyer that is trained in the law and that has handled thousands of cases would know better than you… 9 out of 10 times anyway.

At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced criminal defense lawyers that can help guide you through the complex legal system and work with you to achieve the best outcome possible in your case. If you or a loved one needs representation, our lead Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer is available 24/7 through our emergency line at (904) 302-7629.

According to, Arnold Abbott, 90, of Fort Lauderdale, FL was recently arrested for the second time in less than a week. His offense? — feeding the homeless. Abbott is the founder of Feed Thy Neighbor, a nonprofit agency with a mission to feed the hungry.

As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I’ve encountered a few offenses that sent my mind racing to figure out exactly why it was a crime. However, this one tops the list. The Fort Lauderdale ordinance that led to Abbott’s arrest bans feeding the homeless in public.

At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we can help if you or a loved one has been arrested for a minor offense or something more serious. Call us today at (904) 685-1200 or on our 24-hour helpline at (904) 302-7629. Initial consultations are always free!

As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney, I have observed over the years the criminal justice system’s failure with regard to mentally ill defendants. Answers, far too often, were geared toward locking these defendants away, rather than attacking the root cause of the problem. However, as a Jacksonville citizen, I am pleased and excited that there are those that wish to change the climate regarding the way the system deals with mentally ill individuals. According to the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville is looking to emulate some of the methods employed by Miami-Dade that have led to success over the years with regard to issues relating to the mentally ill.

Derek Gilliam of the Times-Union writes, “Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge Karen Cole organized the delegation that traveled to Miami because she believes the area’s court system could be better when dealing with the mentally ill. She said in Jacksonville mentally ill defendants, especially ones charged with low-level misdemeanors, aren’t identified by the courts or directed to services.” Miami-Dade has managed to save millions of dollars and decrease recidivism among mentally ill defendants by focusing on treatment and training officers how to deal with these individuals. Police related shootings involving the mentally ill have dropped drastically, as well.

If you have a family member that suffers from a mental illness and is also charged with a crime, the Law Office of David M. Goldman PLLC has experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers that can help. Call today at (904) 685-1200 for a free initial consultation to learn how.

Jacksonville Traffic TicketsWere you caught going too fast? Did you attempt to pass someone only to find a Florida police officer waiting for you? Was your cruise control set, but still issued a citation for speeding? If you answered, “YES” to any question previously listed or if you have received a Speeding Ticket in Florida, I may be able to help.

As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, I represent many clients in counties throughout Florida. Through my representation I petition the court to prevent points on your license and to stop the negative impact on your insurance. My most recent cases have been in the following counties:

Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsen, Gulf, Hamilton, Hardee, Hernando, Holmes, Jacksonville, Lee, Liberty, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Union, Volusia, Walton, Washington

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyA recent report of a home in Jacksonville being damaged by fire leaves me with the question on my mind of Arson. The report states that Fire and Rescue were dispatched to a Florida home after smoke and flames coming from within the home. Although the fire was extinguished rather quickly, the resulting damage was extensive. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. But leads me to question whether this is a case of Arson or not.

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.

PorscheRecently, a 19 year old St. Augustine Beach resident, Chase Cameron, has been arrested and charged with Stealing a motor vehicle and burglary after a morning full of mischief. According to police reports the suspect stole the Porsche early Sunday morning and sometime after decided to burglarize a local Christmas Tree lot.

Mr. Cameron stole a 1998 yellow Porsche Boxster and was caught at a local fast food restaurant after someone called the police because he was acting “nervous and irritated.” However, much to the police’s surprise, inside the vehicle was evidence of another crime, burglary. Located inside the vehicle were tools, the cash register, the credit card machine, and candy canes, all belonging to a local Christmas Tree lot.

The suspect, Mr. Cameron is currently being held in St. Johns County jail on a $18,000 bond.

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