Assault and Battery
In Florida, an Assault is a criminal offense described as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent. A simple assault without any aggravating factors is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 60 days Jail, $500 fine or both.
A Battery is the actual intentional touching or striking of a person against their will. Or, intentionally causing bodily harm of another. A simple battery is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine or both.
Assault and Battery form the foundation of more serious crimes that involve in criminal threats or actual acts of violence. For example, an aggravated assault is a simple assault that involved an aggravating factor like a weapon. Similarly an aggravated battery may be based on the use of a weapon. If the unlawful touching is sexual in nature, that may form the basis of a Sexual Battery or other Sex Crimes.
Regardless of whether you are charged with an Assault or a Battery or both, it is important to secure the services of an experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
Possession of Drugs fall into two broad categories. Possession for personal use and Possession with Intent to Distribute.
There is discretion that a law enforcement officer has regarding the determination that a person is in possession of drugs in an amount that is consistent with personal use. Once law enforcement determines that this is not personal use, the charges are more severe and carry more significant penalties. Also the type of drug is significant in what kinds of charging you will be facing. Possession of any amount of Heroin is a felony, while possession of Marijuana (less than 20 grams) is a misdemeanor.
Simple Possession of Marijuana is a misdemeanor where an officer has discretion in whether to arrest or not. And even if charges are brought, there are more options for a favorable resolution on case like this. If law enforcement believes that the amount is consistent with commercial activities the charges and penalties are significantly greater. If found guilty of trafficking in narcotics in Florida, the law requires a three year minimum mandatory stay in Florida State Prison.
If the particular drug has a reputation as being particularly dangerous or has recently led to more deaths as a result of use of that drug. The penalties for use and possession for that drug will increase in that community. This is especially important to recognize in the current Heroin epidemic. If you are found to be trafficking in Heroin or, especially Fentanyl expect that the Government will be more adamant about giving more severe penalties.
Possession of small amounts of drugs, are often charged as misdemeanors and in some jurisdictions, are not treated as criminal violations at all, you may not be arrested and merely issued a citation.
Domestic Violence is any violent conduct against another when the victim of said violence is a family member, or co-habitant of your residence. If charged with domestic violence, the defendant is often removed from the residence and issued a “stay away” order from the victim. A stay away order is an order issued by the Judge presiding over the criminal case that requires no contact by the defendant with the victim.
Domestic Violence is a crime of morale turpitude. That means that the Federal Government and many similar agencies and employers views a conviction of Domestic Violence negatively. Indeed, Domestic Violence can be grounds for deportation, loss of certain licenses. A conviction for Domestic Violence cannot be sealed or expunged.
If you are charged with Domestic Violence in South Florida, it is very important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer review your case before you take any independent action.
Theft is the unlawful taking of another’s property with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of said property and/or take that property and convert it to your own use. More simply, it is essentially taking what does not belong to you. Theft is also a crime of morale turpitude. T’s a deportable offense that can have significant impact on your future employment.
Anything less than $300 is considered a misdemeanor and referred to as petit theft. While this is a misdemeanor and most people that are convicted are rarely given lengthy sentences, the consequences of a theft conviction are often discovered long after the case is over. Especially if you wish to change professions to a Nurse, Doctor, Lawyer, Police Officer and a host of other professions that a conviction of a theft charge may disqualify you from achieving those professions.
Anything over $300.00 is considered a felony, the degree of the felony is also based on amount (over $20,000.00 is 2nd Degree Grand Theft) and aggravating factors (steal from an elderly person may raise the level to 1st degree grand theft).
Juvenile Crimes/Juvenile Delinquency
Children can and are charged with crimes from as young as 9 years old. While it is unfortunate that a criminal justice system for juveniles exists, including juvenile detention centers, there is a positive side to this area of criminal justice. Unlike adult criminal jurisprudence, the Florida Juvenile System was designed and was purposed for rehabilitation as opposed to mere punishment. The legislature saw the value in trying to rehabilitate the young, who lets face it, are more prone to making mistakes than adults.
In Miami-Dade and Broward county, the juveniles benefit from limited programs that are available both prior to entering the criminal system and also as a way to divert out of the system. Depending on the severity of the crime charged, you will find that often Defendants fight to remain in the juvenile system for if they are treated as an adult the penalties can be severe.
If your child has been charged with a crime, detained by the school police, suspended from school or in other way affected by the criminal justice system, this firm can help. The way a case is resolved in juvenile can have a significant long term consequences if mishandled. Call our office to discuss your family’s situation and how we can help.
DUI’s are complicated highly technical cases. There are no standard DUI’s, every one is different and particular to the Defendant charged. For a DUI, the State of Florida must establish that a Defendant was:
Operating a Motor Vehicle + While Under the Influence of Alcohol (Or Intoxicants) + To the Extent their normal faculties are impaired.
That means the Police must be able to identify you as the driver, identify that you are under the influence of alcohol or an intoxicant and that you are impaired.
This firm looks at DUI’s from the perspective that evidence is not good or bad, it is just evidence. DUI’s in particular need to be looked at in this way, because evidence of guilt is often times evidence of non-guilt.
If one fails all the road side exercises for example. Does that mena the person is intoxicated? Or does the fact that a person was able to follow directions exactly and complete a list of activities they have probably never done before, on the side of the road, in the middle of the night in front of a police officer who is conducting a criminal investigation is evidence of guilt. That is evidence of a coherent person capable of understanding instructions and complying with an officers instructions, that doesn’t suggest drunk. This is the nature of DUI, the evidence might not be bad at all.
Experience means everything in DUI’s. Don’t make a decision on your DUI unless you have an experienced attorney review with you what your case really looks like. There is a way to go to trial on these cases and win – regardless of how bad you suspect the facts are.
While on probation, a Defendant is subject to being sentenced. That is if you do not complete probation you can still be sentenced, to the maximum sentence. AS long as you keep your agreement and do not violate probation that will not happen. However, upon a showing that Defendant willfully violated their probation – the Judge can sentence you like you just plead guilty to the charge.
Probations Violation Hearings are technical, because of jurisdictional issues and requirements by the probation officer to accomplish a properly and timely filed affidavit of violation of probation. There is also the technical aspects of the violation itself and crucially how the case is resolved especially where the violation is a new crime allegation.
Probation Violations are dangerous and if you are alleged to have violated probation, you should talk to an attorney who has experience in this particular area.
License Suspension/Leaving Scene Accident
/Traffic Criminal Cases
Took out a car for a test drive and attached the wrong tag (that’s a crime) forgot to reinstate your license because of a speeding ticket (that’s a crime), left the scene of the accident because you didn’t see any damage (that’s a crime) And a lot of people do not know that. If this happens, and you get a citation that requires your appearance at court, do yourself a favor and hire a lawyer.
Often, there are ways to reduce the charges to lesser crimes, or maybe even to non-criminal violations or perhaps even a dismissal. The fact of the matter is unless you know what you are doing, these minor criminal offenses can lead to serious criminal issues and if it involves your driving privileges there are life changing errors that can be made. Whether it’s a license suspension, or even a traffic violation, give our office a call and talk to an experienced south Florida Attorney.