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The Top 10 Common Crimes Committed in Florida

In 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the top 10 most common crimes committed in Florida are drug abuse violations, theft, assault, driving under the influence (DUI), aggravated assault, liquor law violations, burglary, fraud, robbery, and vandalism. If you have been charged with any of these crimes or another let the experienced criminal defense lawyers of Moses & Rooth fight for you. 1. Drug Crimes: In 2013, according to the FBI, drug abuse violations accounted for almost 30% of all arrests (not counting traffic offenses) in Florida. Drug offenses can range from possession to trafficking and many others. Carrying a wide range of fines and periods of incarceration if convicted. 2. Theft: According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), a theft is committed every minute in Florida. Theft is the unauthorized taking or use of another’s property, including larceny, stealing, misappropriation, conversion, and other offenses. The value of the property determines if the theft is a misdemeanor or a felony. 3. Assault: Assault happens when there is a threat of imminent violence even if there is no contact. 4. DUI: In Florida, driving with a blood alcohol level (BAL) of .08 or higher is illegal. The severity of the penalties are determined by many factors, such as, whether it is a first, second, or third offense, BAL, a minor was present, or any injuries or property damage were sustained. 5. Aggravated Assault: According to the FDLE, an aggravated assault happens every nine minutes in Florida. Aggravated assault is assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill or intent to commit a felony, is classified as a third degree felony, and if convicted you could serve five years in prison and be charged with a $5,000 fine. 6. Liquor Law Violations: A laundry list of activities if committed are against Florida liquor laws, including selling alcohol to a minor or selling alcohol without a permit. 7. Burglary: According to the FDLE, a burglary occurs every three minutes in Florida. A person can be charged with burglary if the person enters or remains in a building with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary is a felony of the first, second, or third degree depending on the circumstances. Defenses include, arguing that the building was open to the public or you had an invitation or license to be there. 8. Fraud: A person can be convicted of fraud under dozens of Florida laws, which carry a wide range of jail time and fines. A criminal defense attorney can explain what law you are charged with breaking and create a plan to defend you. 9. Robbery: According to the FDLE, a robbery happens every 22 minutes. A robbery is when a person takes money or property from another person with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of the money or property by force, violence, assault, or fear. 10. Vandalism: According to the FBI, over 20% of all vandalism is committed by minors. Contact a juvenile defense attorney, if you are under 18 and been charged with a crime or you are the parent of a child charged with a crime. If you have been charged with any of the above crimes or another crime let the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth explain the charges and create a plan for your defense. Contact us today to assure the best possible outcome of your case.

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What are White Collar Crimes?

There is no agreed upon definition of a white collar crime. According to Wex Law Dictionary, sociologist Edwin Sutherland coined the term in 1939 as “a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” Wex also states that a white collar crime is generally a nonviolent crime committed in a commercial situation for financial gain. White collar crimes span a wide range of illegal activities, however, the vast majority committed are a type of fraud. Many different federal and state agencies prosecute white collar crimes. If you are being investigated or have been charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), local officials, or another agency, an experienced criminal defense attorney at Moses & Rooth can ensure that you receive the best possible defense. Fraud According to Wex Law Dictionary, fraud is the deliberate deceiving of someone with the intent of causing damage. Generally, the damage involved is financial damage. Fraud takes many different forms and the qualifications for the different types of fraud differ by federal, state and local statutes and may carry a range of consequences if convicted. According to TRAC Reports, in the first ten months of 2013 the Southern District of Florida was fourth in the nation for the greatest number of white collar crime prosecutions per capita. Most Common Types of White Collar Fraud in Florida According to TRAC Reports, in October of 2014, the DOJ reported the ten leading fraud convictions as: Fraud by wire, radio, or television; Attempt and conspiracy to commit mail fraud; Public money, property, records fraud; Mail fraud categorized to be frauds and swindles; Bank fraud; Fraud and false statements; Conspiracy to defraud the government; Conspiracy to commit an offense or to defraud the United States; ID fraud; and Fraud related to access devices. Other Types of Fraud Other types of fraud include: Florida Tax fraud; Florida Insurance fraud; Florida Mortgage fraud; and Many others. Other Types of White Collar Crimes Without an exact definition of white collar crimes it is difficult for agencies to categorize exactly what falls within. There are, however, other offenses than fraud that are generally labeled as a white collar crime. Some other white collar crimes are: Antitrust violations; Environmental violations; Insider trading; Bribery; Kickbacks; Blackmail; Money laundering; and Many others. A wide range of laws exist for the federal government, the state, and local authorities to charge a person with under the category of white collar crimes. Consult a Moses & Rooth attorney today if you are concerned that an activity you are involved with may be an illegal white collar crime. If you are being investigated or have been charged with a crime by the FBI, IRS, SEC, DOJ, the state, or local police, or another agency for a possible white collar crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Moses & Rooth for an explanation of the charges and the best possible defense. Come see us at our Orlando office: Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law   115 Granada Court Orlando, FL 32803 Phone: (407) 377-0150  

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I Just Got My First DUI in Orlando and Need A Lawyer, What Now?

You’ve just been charged with a DUI, so now what do you do? What you do next is crucial to the outcome of your case. An experienced DUI defense lawyer at Moses & Rooth can assure the best results and guide you through the DUI nightmare. First Step – Driver’s License Suspension Hearing The first step after receiving a DUI charge is to contact a lawyer that can help you request an administrative review of your driver’s license suspension. A first time offender must act quickly. After being charged with a DUI the police officer takes the driver’s license, issues a 10-day temporary permit, and issues the driver a notice of suspension. According to Florida Statute 322.2615, first time offenders have only 10 days after the issuance of the notice of suspension to request a formal or informal administrative hearing through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to review the suspension. A driver with a suspended license may request a restricted permit to be used for business and employment purposes only. A qualified attorney can help you navigate the review process and insure the best possible outcome. Second Step – Facing Criminal Charges The second step after attending an administrative hearing to fight your driver’s license suspension is to face the criminal DUI charges against you. Your license can still be suspended depending on the outcome of your case, however, your conviction is not set in stone. A DUI defense lawyer may be able negotiate a lesser charge, dismiss evidence presented against you, present evidence on your behalf in order to prevent a conviction, or argue reduced fees, jail time, and driver’s license suspension period. First Time DUI Conviction Penalties According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a first offense DUI conviction can result in: Fines from $500 to $1,000 (If your Blood Alcohol Level (BAL) is .15% or higher or if a minor was in the vehicle the fine can be up to $2,000), 50 hours of community service or an additional fine of $10 per community service hour, Probation up to one year, Incarceration up to 6 months (If your BAL is .15% or higher, the sentence could be up to 9 months), Vehicle impounded for 10 days, Driver’s license suspension up to one year, and An ignition interlock can be issued for six months or more if your BAL is .15% or higher or if a minor was in the vehicle. Even if this is your first DUI you could also face felony or manslaughter charges if serious bodily injury or death was caused. A driver causing serious bodily injury while driving under the influence may be convicted of a third degree felony and face up to $5,000 in fines and/or 5 years in prison. A driver causing a death while driving under the influence may be convicted of a second degree felony and face up to $10,000 in fines and/or 15 years in prison. If the driver leaves the scene of the accident the driver may face a first degree felony and 30 years in prison. A DUI conviction can hold harsh penalties. If you have been charged with a DUI let the experienced DUI defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth in Central Florida fight on your behalf to insure the best possible outcome. Contact us today, so we can help you put your DUI charge behind you. See related blog posts: https://www.mosesandrooth.com/dui-traffic-offenses/dui-drivers-license-suspension-attorneys-in-orlando/ https://www.mosesandrooth.com/dui-traffic-offenses/dui-penalties/

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Tactics Police Use to Catch People Buying & Selling Drugs in Florida

Tactics Police Use to Catch People Buying & Selling Drugs in Florida Police use a number of tactics in Florida to catch people buying or selling drugs. In 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), drug crimes accounted for almost 30% of all arrests (not counting traffic offenses) in Florida. If you were arrested for buying or selling drugs an experienced criminal defense attorney at Moses & Rooth will work with you to build a defense. Two of the most common tactics police use to make drug busts are informants and undercover cops. These two strategies allow the police to get closer to suspected criminals than any other approach used. Informants The use of informants gives law enforcement officers a unique insight into the world of the persons they are trying to apprehend. A confidential informant is a person who provides information about criminal conduct to a law enforcement agency. Police are able to obtain informants when a person is trying to avoid arrest, prosecution, or to lower a sentence that will or has been imposed. Informants supply law enforcement agencies with information about suspected or the actual criminal activity of suspected criminals that they are familiar or connected with. Drug informants are often buyers or low end dealers that supply information to police about bigger dealers or players in the drug business. Being an informant can be dangerous and may not payoff in the end. After a 23-year-old Florida woman, Rachel Hoffman was murdered in 2008 while assisting police as an informant Florida enacted “Rachel’s Law.” Rachel’s Law requires special training for law enforcement officers that recruit confidential informants, the adoption of policies by law enforcement agencies that use informants, informants to be notified that reduced sentencing may not be provided for their cooperation, and informants to be allowed advice of legal counsel. Undercover Cops The use of undercover law enforcement is another tactic used to apprehend buyers and sellers of drugs. Local police and other agencies use undercover officers to pose as either a buyer or seller of drugs in order to make arrests. Cops will pose as buyers to bust suspected drug dealers. Also, officers will go undercover as drug dealers and arrest buyers in order to deter drug crimes in high activity areas. The use of informants and undercover police officers both pose the question of entrapment. According to Florida Statute, entrapment happens when a law enforcement officer, a person cooperating with law enforcement, or an agent of a law enforcement agency induces or encourages a person and as a direct result causes that person to commit a crime that they would not have done otherwise. An experienced criminal defense attorney can sit down and go over your arrest with you to determine if you are a victim of entrapment. There are countless other tactics that law enforcement agencies use to catch people suspected of engaging in drug activity including phone taps, vehicle searches, screening of power usage, surveillance, monitoring social media, and many others. Law enforcement make mistakes when executing these procedures and may have violated your rights in doing so. If you have been arrested for a drug crime let the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth examine your case for errors in police procedure. Contact us today to create a plan for your defense. See related blog posts: https://www.mosesandrooth.com/general-criminal-defense/defense-during-trial/ https://www.mosesandrooth.com/drug-crimes/cannabis-marijuana-possession-over-20-grams/

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How do you defend criminal charges?

First, Orlando citizens never want to attempt to defend criminal charges on their own. They should do their research and select a good criminal defense attorney with a good track record. The stakes are high, and the percentage of a good outcome rises substantially with a good attorney. Keep in mind that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty, and it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that they are not just guilty — guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is stressed to a jury when a criminal trial begins. There two different defense postures that one usually takes in criminal charges. Either they didn’t commit the crime and are not guilty, or they did commit the crime but are not responsible for one reason or another. If they claim they are not guilty, do they have an alibi? Is there evidence that they were at another location or could not possibly have committed the crime for another reason. If doubt can be created in the jury’s mind, the jury has a responsibility to come back with a “not guilty” verdict. There are many reasons why a person may have committed a criminal act but should be found innocent in the eyes of the law. For instance, self-defense in a violent crime is usually lawful because people have a right to defend themselves. In Florida, many people have used the “Stand Your Ground” law as their defense. This law specifically allows for someone to use self-defense instead of backing down in a threatening situation. Entrapment is another defense that can be used. If law officials have enticed a person to commit a crime that ordinarily he or she would not have committed, he or she can use this defense. The prosecutor will try to contend that the person would have committed the crime anyway and that their “sting” operation was legitimate. Insanity is another defense that is sometimes used in criminal trials. If a person was suffering from a mental issue, either temporary or permanent, and is assumed to have not been able to “distinguish right from wrong,” they may be held unaccountable. This is also similar to a defense of being “under the influence.” A person can claim to have not known what he or she was doing because he or she was “under the influence” of medical drugs or other sources. Source: FindLaw, “Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge” Sep. 11, 2014

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Man facing parole violation in Florida courts accused of arson

A criminal defendant in Daytona Beach has been arrested and is facing charges in connection with a series of nearly 30 arson incidents in the region. The man is currently charged with parole violations, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer, though he is suspected of igniting the string of Florida fires. He may be required to mount a criminal defense against arson allegations, depending on the outcome of the current investigation. Authorities say that the 40-year-old defendant was arrested after a suicide attempt and police chase. He had been named as a person of interest in several arson cases, so officers were on the lookout for him. They found him walking near a surf shop in Daytona Beach. The man ran to the second floor of that establishment and was threatening to jump, but he was eventually talked down from the ledge. Police believe that the man may be involved in 11 arsons that have occurred this summer in the Sanford area, along with 16 unusual fires in Orlando. Three additional fires were also reportedly set in Volusia County during the second week of August. One of the fires in July destroyed a historic schoolhouse. Several of the other fires were set in both the downtown area of Sanford and in rural parts of the county. The defendant’s half-brother is facing serious criminal charges for his alleged role in an August fire at a mobile-home park in Sanford. Defendants can be arrested on unrelated charges and then charged with additional criminal allegations after being taken into police custody. This is not considered a violation of defendant’s rights. However, “persons of interest” do have specific legal rights that protect them from police and law enforcement abuse. Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Officials: Person of interest in 30 arsons arrested” David Harris, Aug. 16, 2014

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Pre-teen to mount criminal defense against murder allegations

A 12-year-old Florida boy has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 54-year-old man in late June. The young man, who was just one suspect in the case, apparently worked together with a second 16-year-old suspect. The pair will mount a criminal defense against allegations that they shot the victim in the head at a strip mall in Jacksonville. Official reports show that the victim was homeless, but he did have family members in the area. He was only carrying a small pocketknife, if any form of personal defense, according to his sister; the man had been robbed shortly before the incident, and he did not have much personal property. He had visited his sister before the shooting incident. Authorities say they are struggling to identify a motive. The defendant in this case admitted that he was seen in a security camera video at the scene of the crime. He also told authorities that he was involved in a murder. Some experts speculate that the incident may have been gang-related, even though officers have not said anything to that effect. Violent activity tends to increase with youngsters who are working their way through gang initiation, according to representatives at a local youth crisis center. Children turn to gangs because they are missing the intimacy that comes along with family relationships. The children in this case will be facing criminal charges for their involvement in the alleged shooting. However, it is not yet clear whether the 12-year-old will face criminal proceedings in the juvenile or adult system. No matter the nature of the allegations, both individuals deserve the full protection of the legal system; an arrest for a violation does not mean that the defendant is automatically considered guilty. Source: First Coast News, “12-year-old arrested on murder charges” Aug. 01, 2014

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No, you can’t marry your porn-filled computer

While this does not really fall under our normal blog post regarding criminal law, I decided to perform a public service to our readers. I figured that everyone should know that marriage to your computer is not permissible even in the crazy State of Florida. While my wife may think that I have an unhealthy relationship with my iPhone, and she is probably right, marriage to it never really crossed my mind. Besides, the two year contract and upgrade would really have a detrimental effect on our vows. Thankfully a Florida Judge threw out a motion filed by Chris Sevier who was attempting to marry his apple laptop. Not sure how his iPad and iPhone felt about his hopeful engagement, but I imagine that Siri wanted nothing to do with him.

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Proposed Florida law would make abuse of parents a crime

When individuals engage in certain behaviors, they can reasonably expect that they will face legal consequences if they are caught. For example, most Americans understand that robbery, murder, rape and other straightforward criminal acts are illegal. However, other behaviors are treated in potentially unexpected ways by the nuanced criminal justice system. Even some acts that could be considered violent crime are illegal in some states while they are not considered to be illegal in others. For example, one could understandably assume that abusing anyone could be considered a criminal act. However, the act of abuse has become an increasingly complex issue over the past several years. One can abuse another over the Internet by engaging in cyberbullying, though states do not deal with this issue uniformly. And while child abuse is widely illegal, abuse of parents by their children is treated differently in different jurisdictions. Late last month, a Florida lawmaker proposed a bill that would make abuse of parents by their children explicitly and uniquely illegal. While some abusive acts are illegal already, such as assault and battery, this bill would make parental abuse a distinct criminal act. Children who threaten, physically abuse, financially abuse and/or intimidate their parents to varying degrees could be held liable under this law if the bill is passed by the legislature. Criminal law is supposed to be predictable, so that anyone who commits a crime can reasonably understand that his or her actions are illegal before choosing to carry them out. However, this new nuanced proposal may make some potentially criminal acts a bit less predictable for the public to fully grasp. Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Parent abuse would be a crime under proposed law,” Feb. 24, 2014

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Jails and prisons are treated as mental health facilities

When individuals are arrested and convicted of criminal wrongdoing, they are often sent to jail or prison. We have previously written about the fact that numerous studies confirm that lengthy imprisonment terms are far less likely to do taxpayers and individuals convicted of low-level, non-violent crimes as much good as alternatives are. For example, individuals convicted of low-level and non-violent drug crimes are far less likely to reoffend if they are given adequate access to drug treatment and transition assistance programs. These alternatives also cost taxpayers far less than imprisonment does as well. But what is to be done about individuals sorely in need of mental health treatment? Why do many only seem to receive the services they need once they have committed crimes and have been imprisoned? According to a study conducted by the Justice Department in 2006, over half of all U.S. inmates suffer from mental health problems. The rate of mental disorders among female inmates specifically is nearly 75 percent. Rather than responding to the mental illness that likely contributed to or directly caused their criminal behavior, the system simply locks these individuals up. An experienced criminal attorney may be able to help mentally ill individuals accused of criminal wrongdoing get the help they need. However, the pattern of the system certainly suggests that most mentally ill individuals will simply be locked up instead of properly assessed, treated and aided in the ways they deserve. Because no matter what criminal wrongdoing an individual has committed, he or she retains the right to receive necessary medical care. Source: New York Times, “Inside a Mental Hospital Called Jail,” Nicholas Kristof, Feb. 8, 2014

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