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Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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If you are convicted of Internet solicitation in Florida, you may be sentenced to prison. However, under certain circumstances, a defendant in a Miami sex crime case may be sentenced to sex offender probation. There are specific rules that must be followed when the court imposes a sentence in connection with sex offender probation. In a recent Florida case, the court considered whether the lower court must orally pronounce every term of sex offender probation set forth under Florida Statute section 948.30 in situations in which there isn’t a conviction of an offense specified under the statute. The defendant had been charged under Florida Statute section 847.0135(3) with two counts of lewd computer solicitation of a child. He was also charged with traveling to meet a minor for illegal sexual activity.

He pled no contest and asked the court to depart downward when sentencing. Specifically, he hoped not to be sentenced to prison. Instead, he hoped to be put on sex offender probation with house arrest.

The lower court denied the motion and sentenced him to 48 months’ incarceration, after which he’d need to serve sex offender probation for the first count for a year. He also had to serve sex offender probation for 15 years that would run back to back, rather than concurrently, with the first count.

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The Youthful Offender Act was enacted to give lower courts sentencing alternatives for defendants who are under 21-years-old and meet certain eligibility criteria. If you meet these criteria in Miami, it may be possible to ask the court to sentence you as a youthful offender, and these penalties are less harsh than adult sentencing. A skillful Miami criminal defense attorney with knowledge of sentencing alternatives can help you make sense of your options. In a recent Florida case, an appellate court reconsidered an earlier ruling about its sentencing of a defendant previously deemed a youthful offender.

The case arose when a young man was charged with aggravated battery. His sentence was imposed pursuant to the Youthful Offender Act, which permits at most six years of incarceration for those treated as youthful offenders. Accordingly, the defendant’s sentence involved 479 days in prison plus 18 months community control and 18 months of probation. After the community control was revoked for a substantive violation, the lower court sentenced him to a mandatory minimum term of 20 years imprisonment under the 10-20-Life statute, section 775.087(2)(a).

The appellate court affirmed. Later the sentence was amended to state he retained his status as a youthful offender. He filed several challenges to his sentence. Among these challenges was a motion to correct an illegal sentence under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a). He claimed the mandatory minimum term was unlawful since was more than the most the court could impose for a youthful offender’s second-degree felony.

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According to the Florida Senate, eyewitness misidentification has been cited as the single greatest cause of all wrongful conviction in the State of Florida –accounting for more almost seventy-five percent (75%) of convicting that were later overturned.

While the Florida legislature is fully aware of the problem in eyewitness identifications, if passed, Senate Bill 643 will be the first bill that addresses the proper procedure for conducting live line-ups and photographic identifications.

If passed, Senate Bill 643 will take effect this year, October 1, 2017.

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Despite the January legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Florida, Miami appears to have made little adjustments to prepare for the legal distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Throughout the city of Miami, officials are still debating on the legality of medical marijuana distribution in the city.

Despite a 70 percent positive vote on the legalization of medical marijuana, and the possibility of an economic boost to Miami’s economy, Miami officials remain skeptical. Amendment 2, which legalized the sale of medical marijuana throughout the state of Florida, has left Miami officials at a standstill, and the City of Miami appears unprepared for the July 3rd deadline for Florida Legislators to make specific rules on the distribution of the drug.

Attorney for Drug Offenses in Miami, Florida

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On January 5, CBS Miami reported that a 30-year-old man and 38-year-old woman who were and awaiting sentencing for multiple burglaries were arrested after they were spotted allegedly attempting to burglarize another place. According to CBS Miami, the duo was out on bond for 40 alleged burglaries

Less than a week later, a 19-year-old Miami Beach man was arrested after three alleged robberies over the course of three months. Local 10 News reported that the alleged offender robbed juveniles of property that included cell phones and debit cards in three separate incidents between November 2016 and January of this year. 

The alleged offenders in both of these cases allegedly had the intent to deprive their alleged victims of property, so why are they facing different criminal charges? While robbery and burglary are often used interchangeably, the truth is that these are two separate and distinct criminal charges. 

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Have you been charged with murder? Are you not sure what to do? In Florida, it is the unlawful killing of a human being. In Florida there are different degrees of Murder depending on how the crime is committed.

In Florida, First Degree Murder is premeditated murder, felony murder and murder committed during drug related offenses.

  1. Premeditated Murder: To prove premeditated murder, the prosecution must show that the defendant prepared to commit the crime and had the intent to commit murder. Evidence must be shown that the defendant took steps to commit the murder and had a plan to commit murder.
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Have you been charged with disorderly conduct? Are you not sure what to do? In Florida, disorderly conduct is any act that corrupts public morals. So what exactly does this mean? Disorderly conduct is any conduct that a reasonable person would find to be indecent or to stir up trouble in the public. Some of these acts include loud arguments in public, being intoxicated in public or being aggressive with police. Disorderly conduct includes any act that affects the public peace or interferes with the public’s enjoyment of their quiet time while being in public.

In Florida, examples of disorderly conduct include:

  • Inciting a Riot
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One of the most violating experiences you can experience throughout your life is your property being stolen from you. No matter whether it is your car, jewelry or a priceless painting, your property being taken from you without your prior consent can cause severe stress and emotional anguish. In Florida, Grand Theft is considered any property valued over $300 that you have been permanently deprived of to use and enjoy. Florida has various degrees of Grand Theft that have an affect on the severity of the punishment. If you are ever faced with theft, it is important to know what your rights are and what you can recover if your property is lost indefinitely.

“Section 812.014 of the Florida Statutes defines Grand Theft as someone who is using the property of another with the intent to deprive them of the use of that property either temporary or permanently.” Any property valued over $300 falls under this statute. If someone enters your home and/or takes any of your property without your permission whether they plan on giving it back or permanently taking possession of it, it is considered Grand Theft if its value is over $300. Most individuals assume that because something lacks overall significance or isn’t expensive that it doesn’t warrant the importance to be considered punishable by law. Many victims of theft believe that they are helpless, but the statute was implemented to protect your property no matter how insignificant the object might be to another individual.

In Florida, the penalty for Grand Theft is determined by the degree of the penalty. The value of the property will determine how the crime is classified and which penalty the defendant will receive. The value of the property plays a key role on how the crime will be classified; because it will establish which penalty the defendant will receive.

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In a recent opinion, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal discussed the implications of discriminatory practices during the jury selection phase in a criminal trial. In Florida, potential jury members and the parties to a case are entitled to be free from discrimination during the jury selection process. Despite this, an attorney may believe that his or her client will receive more sympathy from a particular race, ethnicity, gender, or other group.

During the jury selection process, an attorney has a limited number of “peremptory challenges” that allow the attorney to exclude a particular tentative jury member from serving on the jury without having to give a reason as to why the attorney does not want that person serving on the jury. When an attorney uses his or her peremptory challenge to excuse a potential juror based on race, ethnicity, or gender, the attorney violates the Equal Protection Clause, denies the parties their right to an impartial jury, and denies the potential juror his or her right to serve on a jury. 

Initially, lawyers were prohibited from excusing potential jurors based on their race under the Equal Protection Clause. In a 1993 case, the State of Florida extended this protection to individuals of a particular ethnicity. In 1994, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the Equal Protection Clause also prevented attorneys from excusing potential jurors based on gender.

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It is usually sensational news when a celebrity is accused of or charged with a crime. It is somewhat less so but still a matter of media and public scrutiny when an attorney is accused of a criminal offense, especially one in which the lawyer has made his or her reputation as a criminal defense lawyer. Lawyers are as fallible as everyone else, but media attention was focused recently when criminal defense attorney William Abramson of West Palm Beach was arrested on a domestic violence charge made by his girlfriend.

According to news reports, police responded to a neighbor’s call regarding a disturbance at Abramson’s apartment and found the attorney yelling outside in the parking lot of his apartment complex. In the apartment, they discovered his live-in girlfriend on the floor and in tears. She informed police that Abramson had come home that evening and had assaulted her, prevented her from fleeing the apartment and then stomped on her knees and head. She also alleged that he had thrown her against a wall.

Attorney Abramson, who had a DUI in 2013, was arrested with bail set at $2000 and directed to have no contact with the alleged victim, to turn over any firearms, to refrain from drinking alcohol or taking any non-prescription drugs and to submit to random drug and alcohol testing. News reports of the incident did not indicate whether the alleged victim displayed visible signs of the attacks.

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