A felony charge in Florida is defined as a criminal act for which a judge may give probation, house arrest or a prison term of more than one year; whereas for a misdemeanor a judge may give probation or jail only up to one year. When officers conduct any criminal investigation or make an arrest for any type of criminal charge one’s reputation, freedom and future are always at risk.
When a felony is charged the risks become much graver, yet even a felony need not ruinsomeone’s life if the charge is handled in an effective manner.
Here are the best ways a clever criminal defense lawyer can work with you so that even a felony charge need not ruin your life.
- Attempt to have the charged felony dismissed. The facts of the case should be filtered thru any laws that may prosecution of the case impossible. For example, one defense to a felony aggravated battery charge would be self defense, which if successfully deployed could result in complete dismissal of the criminal charge. In an aggravated assault case a successful defense could in dismissal of the charges if facts establish that the victim was not in actual fear of immediate bodily harm from the alleged misconduct.
- Make every effort to have the felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. If the charge can be reduced then the criminal justice system is limited to control of a defendant’s life for a maximum time of one year. For example, in an aggravated battery the charge should be reduced to a misdemeanor battery if the victim’s injuries are not severe. In a felony grand theft case the charge could be reduced if the amount were proven to be under the felony threshold in Florida of $300.
- Make certain that if you plead to a felony charge you’re given a withholding of adjudication. In some felonies, such as third degree felonies or cases involving a juvenile, the judge may have the discretion to literally withhold adjudication of guilt, meaning that a defendant may later honestly claim to a future employer that he was not adjudicated for the felony.
- Reduce punishment so that you do not serve time in prison. When a criminal case is unlikely to be won because of significant evidence of guilt, then it may be necessary to reduce the punishment by persuading prosecutors that there is no justification for prison time. For example, it’s important to remind prosecutors that in most nonviolent crimes serving prison time for someone who has no prior record is unlikely to prevent further crime and in fact may have the opposite effect of making the person a hardened criminal.
- Help you articulate why the felony happened and why it will never happen again so that you can become a functional member of the community. If you can demonstrably understand the underlying causes that triggered the crime you’ll be much more effective in living a full life again. For example, in job interviews someone convicted of a felony can help assure a prospective employer by showing what was learned from the felony charge and punishment and why going thru that has made you a better person – a person more fit for the job than others who didn’t have that learning experience.
If you and your criminal defense lawyer work hard to reduce the consequences of any felony charges, then the criminal justice system in Tampa Bay, Florida need not ruin your life.
Here in Florida the summer heat can bake your parked car’s inside temperature to over 120 degrees in ten minutes. No wonder the hot cities of Florida often rank in surveys as the worst places for road rage incidents.
|Road Rage Coyote & Road Runner
All of us occasionally make mistakes while driving. When you see someone make a stupid driving mistake don’t rub it in their face nor even their hood. And if another driver accuses you of making a driving mistake, remember that the best rule of the road when confronted is not to let the finger pointing escalate to name calling or yelling. After all this if Florida where a retired police officer recently was accused of shooing an unarmed man at a theater for texting on his phone.
Here are five rules to help you avoid being involved in a road rage incident where you may be arrested for an alleged criminal act no matter who is really at fault.
1. You should assume that the other driver is armed with guns, knives and other weapons and act accordingly. If you think the other driver is armed then it makes sense to stay as far from his vehicle as possible.
2. You should assume that everything you say or do is being recorded in video and audio. Not only will other vehicles will have plenty of occupants with cell phone cameras ready, there are also cameras along many roads, at intersections and along the businesses by the road.
3. You should never pull your car over to have it out with the other driver. If the other driver pulls over in hopes of fighting it out, use the opportunity to get far away. Nothing is going to be accomplished other than risking the safety of everyone in both vehicles.
4. If the other driver is using his vehicle as a weapon in an aggravated assault by driving too close to you in a threatening manner, call 911 while trying to drive to the nearest police station or other area of apparent safety.
5. As soon as an incident occurs do your best to de-escalete the situation.
What are the possible criminal charges awaiting drivers involved in road rage? Criminal charges begin with any threat to the other driver using any weapon used during the coarse of the incident. Under Florida law the legal definition of weapon may include the vehicle itself if the car is used to threaten someone; for example, by pulling away just before a collision with the purpose of scaring the other driver which would constitute an aggravated assault.
If a car actually does touch or strike the other car, then depending upon the damage and injury to the passengers and driver, Tampa Bay police could charge either battery or aggravated battery. Clearly a weapon fired or thrown from a moving vehicle could also result in battery or aggravated battery charges as well as throwing a deadly missile charge. If there is a collision and the driver fails to remain at the scene to render possible aid charges of hit and run will likely be filed. Further, police and prosecutors have will bring charges of vehicular homicide if a death results or murder charges if there was heat of passion or sufficient time for premeditation before the death.
The problem in many of these cases is that both drivers may be viewed by law enforcement as being at fault for allowing a bad situation to escalated into something far worse where people end up being injured. Because of the significance of the aggravated felony charges, even someone without any criminal history could find himself not only arrested but also facing a possible long term of prison if criminal charges are filed. Therefore it’s always important to avoid road rage situations that could easily escalate ruining the lives of everyone in both cars.
Is it Sumo Wrestling or Aggravated Battery? How can you be certain of what constitutes a crime in Florida?
The Florida Criminal Statutes may seem difficult to understand for those who aren’t Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers as they often are even for those of us who are. The statutes are written in ways which may seem purposefully obscure and convoluted, not just so you won’t understand them, but with the hopeful intent that a well written law will narrow the breadth of a statute to capture only the acts which the Florida legislature actually intended to outlaw or at least make you hire an attorney or two.
|Sumo Wrestling or Battery?
The key to knowing the law is to find what is known as the elements of a criminal offense. The elements of a crime are a set of specific facts which must be proven for every Florida criminal violation of law. Many Florida trial lawyers find that the Florida Criminal Jury Instructions which have been approved by The Florida Supreme Court are a reliable way to find the actual elements of a crime which the prosecution must prove to convict. Jury Instructions are the actual instructions which a criminal trial judge gives to a jury before it deliberates on guilt or innocence in every criminal case. Because these instructions are given to citizen jurors, the language is as straight forward as possible with the goal of being easy to understand. Here’s an example of the Aggravated Battery instruction:
8.4 AGGRAVATED BATTERY 784.045, Fla. Stat.
To prove the crime of Aggravated Battery, the State must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The first element is a definition of battery.
[intentionally touched or struck (victim) against [his] [her] will].
[intentionally caused bodily harm to (victim)].
Give 2a or 2b as applicable.
2. (Defendant) in committing the battery
a. intentionally or knowingly caused
[great bodily harm to (victim)].
[permanent disability to (victim)].
[permanent disfigurement to (victim)].
b. used a deadly weapon.
Definition. Give if 2b alleged.
A weapon is a “deadly weapon” if it is used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
The statute might be difficult to understand but the jury instructions are simple. The State of Florida to prove an Aggravated Battery must first prove that the Defendant touched or struck someone against the victim’s will, a simple battery. Then further must show that the Defendant intentionally caused either great bodily harm, disability or disfigurement. If a deadly weapon was allegedly used then the Jury would be given the definition of deadly weapon. Effectively using the Florida Criminal Jury Instructions isn’t just for Clearwater Criminal Attorneys, it’s also for all the Sumo wrestlers wanting to know what constitutes crime in the State of Florida.
Stand your ground is the law in Florida. Recently in Tampa a man stabbed another man in the head with an ice pick after a traffic dispute leaving the stabbed man in critical condition. His defense was that he was standing his ground.
In Clearwater the police determined there would be no arrest of a man who shot his neighbor after a shouting match over putting out garbage.
In Hillsborough a jogger shot and killed
an unarmed man eight times, yet the jogger was not prosecuted after establishing that he’d been struck in the face first and believed the other man to be armed. But eight shots, you’d think he might have stopped at seven…
The Florida law gives people the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes or vehicles, no longer needing to prove fear for their safety, only that the person who is stabbed, shot with a firearm or even killed intruded unlawfully and forcefully. Thus making a defense to charges of aggravated battery
Previous Florida law and common law required that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. Now someone attacked in public, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.
The central innovation in the Florida law is in expanding the right to shoot intruders who pose no threat to the occupant’s safety. According to the International Herald Tribune, one professor of law noted, “In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill other citizens in defense of property.” At least the Florida Supreme Court
has ruled in its standard jury instructions
that the Defendant must actually believe that the threat and danger is real. Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
Members of the Florida Supreme Court rest after a hard day’s work in the Fields of Justice.
Florida’s statewide investigative agency has a “Wanted Persons Search” function which allows you to check the names of anyone you suspect may be a fugitive from justice. Is your babysitter wanted for Murder, Aggravated Battery, or even worse in Florida’s warped Criminal Justice System, the crime of Driving While License Suspended or Revoked?
This link looks to be a winning party game at your next get together with friends, neighbors and especially politicians; all in abject fear that maybe that long forgotten speeding ticket was never paid.
Below you’ll see that FDLE (Florida’s FBI) “cannot represent that this information is current, active or complete,” but no matter just for the hell of it, your government puts it out there anyway, riddled with errors or not….
And more about the database from your friends at FDLE:
The database contains Florida warrant information as reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement by law enforcement agencies throughout the state and authorized for release to the public. FDLE and the reporting agencies strongly recommend that no citizen take any individual action based on this information. This information is not to be used as a confirmation that any warrant is active, or as probable cause for an arrest. Information contained herein should not be relied upon for any type of legal action. FDLE cannot represent that this information is current, active, or complete. You should verify that a warrant is active with your local law enforcement agency or with the reporting agency. [Wanted persons may use false identification, which could cause the warrant to contain a name, date of birth, or other information not belonging to the subject of the warrant. Such false information may or may not be designated as an alias on the warrant.]
Here are some other FDLE LINKS of interest for your next neighborhood party:
And this, which from its name – STOLEN ARTICLES SEARCH – must be for finding a purloined article or two from this Blog or from say, The New Yorker…….no, I see, articles to FDLE means personal belongings, never mind then, just take what you want:
And for all the strange folks you meet at Publix or the public parks:
A history of prisons and punsishment: