| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Understanding Expungements and Sealed Records

When we are young, we tend to be wild and free. Most youth do not question nor consider the impact of that their actions presently will have on their future. However, youthful bliss and its carefree nature can leave you with life altering consequences. For instance when you are arrested and/or charged with a crime you will have a criminal record. Criminal records follow you a lifetime, and often times are the reason you are turned down from job opportunities, housing, as well as professional licensing. Though you may be frustrated or even feeling like you cannot progress in life because of your criminal record, there may still be hope. If you or a loved one have been unable to progress in life because of your criminal record contact an experienced Florida expungement attorney today to consult about your record. Expungements vs. Sealed Records in Florida Those who have a criminal record know how hard it is to get jobs and even housing and though this can be frustrating, options do exist. In Florida, you have the right to have your criminal record expunged or sealed. Expungements are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.0585 , while sealed records are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.059. Though you may think differently, expungements and sealed records are not the same thing and depending on which one you receive determines who can see your criminal record and who cannot. If your criminal record has been dismissed, if the charges were dropped or if there was no information filed then you may be eligible to get your record expunged, meaning the court will order the clerk, the arresting agency and FDLE to destroy the arrest records. This can be extremely beneficial to you because it should appear that your past actions never happened at all. When your record is sealed, the public, such as landlords and employers, do not have access to your record but governmental agencies will have access to it. It is important to note, that if you have previously had your record expunged or sealed, whether in Florida or another state, you will not be eligible for another expungement or seal. Though expungement and seal laws may seem straightforward, it can become quite complicated; therefore, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice. Need Legal Advice? Having a criminal record could make your life more difficult when you are maturing and progressing in life. Criminal records can keep you from getting a job, obtaining housing, as well as keep you from your inherent rights such as voting or owning a firearm. Frustrating as it may be, you have options. If you or a loved one would like your criminal record expunged or sealed, it is best to speak with an attorney about your case. Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Mandatory Minimums and Three Strikes Law in Florida

We have all heard of the phrase “three strikes and you are out.” The same philosophy applies in the case of the law. Three felonies and you are out, or rather imprisoned for a specific number of years. In most states when you have been convicted of two prior felonies, once you are convicted of a third, you will be subjected to mandatory minimums, and Florida is no different. Florida’s mandatory minimum after your third felonious conviction can be intimidating and you should seek legal representation and advice if you are subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence. Florida’s three strike rule is often referred to in the legal community at habitual offender laws.  If you or a loved one have been charged with a felony it is invaluable to contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to help you with your case. It’s Three Strikes and You’re Out! Florida has one of the highest incarceration rates within the country and that number continues to grow with the strict sentencing laws. According to Florida’s law, if you are considered a habitual offender and have been convicted of two prior violent felonies and then convicted of another, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence. A mandatory sentencing is a court decision setting where judicial discretion is limited by law. If you are subjected to mandatory minimum sentencing the judge will have no discretion as to the minimum amount of time you will serve. For habitual offenders, mandatory minimum sentencing is set so that they are unable to continue committing felonious crimes and must meet certain criteria, such as: previously being convicted twice of a violent felony; the present offense must be a serious felony; each conviction, including the present conviction, must be have been on separate occasions; the offender must not have been pardoned for a previous serious felony; and the present offense must be committed within five years of serving another sentence for a serious felony. If the court finds the above to be satisfied, then you will more than likely be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence. Though these rule may seem straightforward, they are not. It is important to seek legal advice when being subjected to Florida’s Three Strike Law because your consequences will depend on the definition given to a “serious” felony. Consequences for mandatory minimum sentencing upon three strikes can range from five years in prison to life in prison depending on the severity of the crime. Need Legal Advice? Realizing that you are about to be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum sentence is devastating especially when the serious consequence can include life in prison. However, you may have possible defenses to get your charges mitigated from a felony to a misdemeanor or in some cases, dismissed altogether. If you or a loved one have been charged with a felony it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Criminal Law attorney to help you strategize about the best possible outcomes for your case. Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Have You Been Charged with Drug Trafficking?

Most crimes are considered serious crimes, however, amongst the most serious crimes such as murder or rape, are drug crimes. Drug crimes can result in serious consequences and without the right legal representation, you can be sent to prison for decades depending on the drug you possessed or were alleged to have possessed. Even if the drugs were not yours, if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may be charged with the drugs if the true owner does not come forth. That is why it is invaluable to seek legal representation. If you or a loved one have been charged with drug trafficking, contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to help you with your case. Drug Trafficking and Possible Legal Defenses Though there have been stiffer laws implemented to keep drugs off of the streets, the truth of the matter is, drugs are still trafficked into Florida every day at an alarming rate. In the United States, as a whole, drugs bring into the black market up to $750 billion a year. Drug trafficking involves the cultivation, manufacturing, and distributing and selling of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Some of the most common drugs charged in drug trafficking include: cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, oxycontin, ecstasy (MDMA), Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), Marijuana, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), and Methamphetamine. In Florida, these laws revolve around the amount of drugs you are trafficking. Florida drug trafficking laws are governed by Florida Statute Section 893.135 and can land you with three to 15 years in prison as well as fines unless your case is governed by the Three Strikes Law. Though these numbers may be overwhelming for you, you may have possible defenses that you can offer on behalf of your case. These defenses consist of: the controlled substance was possessed for personal use and not for distribution or sale; entrapment; whether the drugs were yours; the amount of drugs in possession—which can reduce your drug trafficking charge to simple drug possession; as well as search and seizure violations of the Fourth Amendment. Though these defenses may seem straightforward, they can be complicated. Because of this, it is beyond beneficial to seek legal advice and representation. Need Legal Advice? If you have been charged with drug trafficking, chances are you are looking at some serious time and may be looking at fines as well. Not only is your freedom restricted drastically, but you also, if imprisoned, will lose your job and suffer a strain on your familial relations. We may be able to minimize those consequences or even get some of your charges dismissed. If you or a loved one have been charged with drug trafficking, contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation. Contact our office today.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Criminal Defense

Possible Criminal Charges for Dani Mathers for Fat Shaming

Dani Mathers is a model who appeared in Playboy in May 2014 and was the 2015 Playmate of the Year. Ms. Mathers would like her current fame and trending status to be limited to her affiliation with the gentleman’s magazine. Unfortunately for Ms. Mathers she is in the news for something entirely different. It turns out that Ms. Mathers took a photo of a woman showering at the gym and sent it via Snapchat with the headline “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” For those keeping track, Ms. Mathers has now taken a nude photo without the consent of the woman AND has now broadcast it to the world via social media. Now, Ms. Mathers is trending on Twitter and Facebook for being a bully and body shaming a fellow woman. The articles about this incident have been scathing, and rightfully so. While the actions of Ms. Mathers were awful and disgusting, I’ll let the other publications give their insight into social commentary of her conduct. Let’s talk criminal cases. TMZ has indicated that the Los Angeles Police Department has begun a criminal investigation into her conduct. While I am not familiar with the California statutes, had this occurred in Florida, she has the potential to be prosecuted under both Florida and Federal Statutes. Let’s start with Florida law. Ms. Mathers is potentially looking at violating Florida Statute 810.145, video voyeurism. The video voyeurism statutes statute states that someone commits the crime if that person: For his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person, intentionally uses or installs an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, who is dressing, undressing, or privately exposing the body, at a place and time when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy I believe that Ms. Mathers clearly falls within that category for using an imaging device and secretly recording and then disseminating this recording of the woman in the shower. Additionally, because Ms. Mathers is over 19 years of age if she were convicted of the offense she would be guilty of a felony. If the US Attorney’s Office decided to get involved then Ms. Mathers could be charged with violating 18 USC 1801. The Federal Video Voyerism statute states: Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, has the intent to capture an image of a private area of an individual without their consent, and knowingly does so under circumstances in which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. (1) the term “capture”, with respect to an image, means to videotape, photograph, film, record by any means, or broadcast; (2) the term “broadcast” means to electronically transmit a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons; (3) the term “a private area of the individual” means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast of that individual; (4) the term “female breast” means any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola; and (5) the term “under circumstances in which that individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy” means— (A) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an image of a private area of the individual was being captured; or (B) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the individual would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place. Now, I don’t think that Ms. Mathers is a bad person. She did a stupid thing and she has since apologized. However if you are ever in a situation where you are being accused of video voyeurism be sure to call an experienced criminal attorney.  Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Spice/K2: Overdoses and Consequences for Possession Charges

We are living in a time in which experimentation with drugs is at an all-time high. We are living in an age of experimentation, where the age limits for that experiment is becoming younger and younger. For those in Florida, drug usage has become one of the top experiments for those between the ages of 12 and 21. In recent weeks, Florida has seen an increase in the usage of a new synthetic marijuana drug called Spice or K2, though laboratory made, synthetic marijuana is illegal. If you or a loved one have been charged with possession of Spice, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to help you fight for your rights. What is Spice and Why are People Overdosing? In recent weeks, Florida has seen an unprecedented amount of overdoses, mostly of teenagers and young adults, caused by a synthetic marijuana called Spice or K2. Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of herbs and manmade chemicals known as cannabinoids. Most of the chemicals used in this process are labeled unsafe for human consumption, yet teenagers and young adults are experimenting with them. Spice is dangerous because you do not always know what you are getting. Recently, it was reported that more than a dozen people became sick from Spice. Six were taken to the hospital and over two dozen had to be treated by paramedics, their injuries consisting of stomach aches, vomiting, and shaking. The overdoses are related to the chemicals that are used to make synthetic marijuana and remain unsafe. Is Spice Illegal? It is true that Spice is difficult to regulate because the chemicals change so often and are manufactured in clandestine labs that make shipments throughout the world. Though difficult to regulate, Florida Statute Section 893.03(1)(c) makes it a First Degree Misdemeanor for possessing synthetic drugs if under three grams, and a Third Degree Felony if you possess more than three grams of synthetic marijuana. If convicted, your punishment may consist of: imprisonment up to five years; up to five years of probation; up to $5,000 fines; as well as the suspension of your license. Because of this, if you are charged with the above, it is best to seek legal representation. Need Legal Advice? Whether you know it by Spice, K2, or synthetic marijuana, one thing is for certain: it is dangerous and detrimental to not only your health, but also your freedom. If charged and convicted of possession with Spice, the consequences are many. It is important that if you have been charged with the possession of Spice to contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation. Let us help you strategize about the best possible outcomes for your case.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Benefits of the Pretrial Intervention Program

We are all human. Some of us are smarter than others, but there is no denying that we are all human. Humans make mistakes, though some mistakes are bigger than others, and when mistakes are made, there are consequences that accompany them. The same is true with the law. In Florida, though you may have been charged and convicted of a crime, sometimes second chances do exist. This second chance can come in the form of a Pretrial Intervention Program and can save you years of headache when dealing with your criminal record. If you or a loved one have been charged of a crime, contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to see if you qualify for this program. The reward could be invaluable. Pretrial Intervention Programs in Florida Whether you call it a second chance or not, the truth is that the Pretrial Intervention Program can seem like one for those who have been charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor or third degree felony. For the above, the pretrial intervention program is designed to keep first time offenders from gaining a criminal conviction by allowing the defendant to participate in a program governed by Florida Statute Section 948.08. For individuals previously convicted of not more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, if they are charged with any misdemeanor or felony of the third degree, they are eligible for release to the pretrial intervention program on the approval of the administrator of the program and the state attorney. Pretrial intervention programs can consist of counseling, education, supervision, as well as medical and psychological treatment as needed by the defendant. Conditions of the pretrial intervention program can include payment of supervision fees, community service, as well as reporting monthly, much like probation. After completing the program successfully, the defendant’s charges will be dismissed, allowing them another chance in society. However, if you fail to complete the pretrial intervention program, the State’s Attorney can proceed with the charges. To see if you qualify for the program it is best to speak with an attorney so that you can understand the requirements. Need Legal Advice? Though you may have made a mistake, in some cases, you do not have to live with that mistake forever. Florida allows some individuals at shot at a second chance. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 so that we can determine the best strategy for your case and to see if you may qualify for one of these programs. Contact our office today for an initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Florida Couple Faces Animal Cruelty Charges

Authorities arrested a Florida couple for allegedly neglecting to care for their sick dog. Spring Hill police found the dog after receiving a call about a dog that appeared to be in grave condition and lying in a backyard. When police arrived, they found the dog in physical distress. News outlets reported that when police found her she was covered in bugs, unable to walk or stand, and had a large open wound on her back. Authorities also alleged that she seemed to be malnourished. Her bones showed through her skin and there was no apparent food or water in the yard. The owners of the dog, an eight year old Doberman mix, took the dog to a veterinarian  over six months ago for treatment but were unable to produce documentation from a visit. The owners admitted that they knew the dog was in grave health but that they were unable to pay for her treatment. Authorities also removed four additional animals from the home. Authorities took the dog to a veterinarian for treatment but she died en route. The dog’s owners were both charged with felony animal cruelty. While it is hard to read about a dog in this sort of condition, we may all understand that when a family feels funds are tight, it can make decisions that lead to these sorts of circumstances. If you are wondering what may happen to this couple, this article will provide you with key information about Florida’s animal cruelty laws.   What is Animal Cruelty? The term animal cruelty refers to three main types of crimes under Florida law. The three basic charges include animal neglect, felony, and misdemeanor animal cruelty. Animal fighting is different charge often associated with the mistreatment of animals. All four animal abuse charges come with serious repercussions including prison time and fine. Misdemeanor Animal Cruelty: You may be charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty if you unlawfully and unnecessarily overload, torment, mutilate, or kill an animal – a charge punishable with up to one year in prison and a $5,000. Felony Animal Cruelty: You maybe charged with this if your actions result in the cruel death or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on an animal. This crime is punishable with up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Animal Neglect: You could be charged with animal neglect if you deprive an animal of necessities like food, water, or shelter. Florida requires animal owners provide their animals with a reasonable amount of exercise and a change of air for confined animals. This crime is punishable with up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. Animal Fighting Unfortunately, animal fighting is common in the United States and in South Florida. Florida law prohibits the “baiting, breeding, transporting, selling, owning, possessing, or using any wild or domestic animal for the purpose of fighting.” Dog fighting and cock fighting are the most common types of animal fighting Florida. Knowingly attending or betting on animal fights is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Let an Attorney Help Intentional and unintentional animal abuse charges are serious crimes under Florida law. If you have been accused of animal cruelty, it is important that you speak with an attorney to discuss your case. Let Moses & Rooth help you deal with an animal abuse charge. We can review the circumstances of your charge and develop a strategy for you. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Criminal Defense

Supreme Court Taking Shot at DUI Law

The Supreme Court is taking another “shot” at the DUI laws and the drunk-driving test.  They will be examining three separate cases that will be argued together at a one hour hearing.  The issues presented in this case are defendants declining to take the tests.  In this case they are a blood test, a breath test, and finally a person who refused sobriety tests and then was taken to a hospital against his wishes. In Florida, if you have previously had your license suspended for refusing to submit to a breath, blood or urine test and subsequently refuse a breath, blood, or urine test you may be convicted of a separate crime.  It appears that the United State Supreme Court is going to examine the constitutionality of this crime and the refusal in general. This examination of the refusal law is something of a follow up to a previous ruling in Missouri v. McNeely that “the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.”   This could have a very serious impact on Florida’s refusal law and how it is treated by a substantive driving under the influence charge as well as a substantive refusal charge. Image credit m01229 at Flickr

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Threats

Recently, a bill passed in Florida’s House that would help to get rid of some of the negative consequences associated with Florida’s 10-20-Life Law. The proposed law aims at eliminating Florida’s 10-20-Life policy as a penalty for aggravated assault cases. These cases involve threatening a person with a firearm. When a person is convicted of this crime in Florida, they are subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence. Florida’s Current 10-20-Life Law Under §775.087 of the Florida criminal code, a person who is charged with a felony and uses a firearm, except where the firearms is an essential element of the crime, the person will be charged with aggravated battery. This winds up causing the felony to be elevated. For instance if a person is charged with a crime in the second degree but uses a weapon, then the person will be charged with a first-degree felony. Under this 10-20-Life Law, a person will be subjected to a mandatory minimum sentence. The law’s name reflects possible sentence lengths. Under this law the prosecutor is the only person with the discretion to waive a mandatory minimum sentence. However, a judge can waive a mandatory minimum sentence for youthful offenders. Under the current law, a man who allegedly shot a gun inside a home in self-defense was subjected to a 20-year sentence even though the only destruction was to his own home. Future of Florida’s 10-20-life Law If the proposed bill ends up becoming law, it would get rid of the 10-20-Life penalty for aggravated assault cases. This law was introduced in the past but did not get enough votes to become law. The hope is that the new law will help prevent a first-time offender from having to go to jail for an extremely long sentence. It would provide a judge with the power to choose the length of an appropriate sentence for an individual based on important things such as whether the person has a prior record, whether anyone was injured, and other necessary factors that would help determine a sentence. For those that oppose the bill because they feel that it does not punish those who have committed a crime and deserve to serve time, this is not the case. The law will still punish those who have been proven guilty. However, a person will not be sentenced to 20 years in jail for committing a crime like shooting a wall that did not end up injuring anyone. If the bill becomes a law, it would take effect immediately. It is up for discussion whether this law will be retroactive and help those who are already serving out their sentence. Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney If you are currently facing state or federal charges in Orlando, you should contact Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law. Our experienced attorneys are available to prepare a criminal defense on your behalf. You should not allow a criminal charge to dictate your future. Do not hesitate to contact our firm at 407-377-0150 for your free consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

The Undercover Witness

Many criminal law movies and TV shows feature a witness that cannot be found or a witness that all of a sudden has no idea what happened in a felony case. In these situations a person questions whether or not the witness has been threatened to not testify. A proposed law in the State of Florida may prevent this from happening in the future and subsequently encourage more witnesses to come forward. This week, a state representative in Tampa submitted a bill that would protect witnesses to a felony from having their identities released to the public. From a defense side, if the law is passed, the hope is that it will prevent the wrong person from being charged and convicted of a crime he or she did not commit. The Proposed Bill Under the bill, any information that would help identify the witness would be prohibited from being released to the public. This may include the witness’s name, address, or physical features. This information could not even be release to the media. However, it is important to note that this information will not always remain a secret. The length of the protection would last until the prosecution has presented their case or the statute of limitations of a crime has expired. If the bill becomes a law, this protection would become an exemption under the Florida Public Records Law. Currently, Florida’s Public Records Law only provides protection for witnesses regarding  certain information that will be used at trial that is defamatory to the witness’ name or would have a negative effect on a witness’ safety. This part of the law is also applicable when a victim is involved. The Purpose of the Bill State Representative Narain proposed the bill because of the need to protect witnesses who have information to provide about a particular felony. In many areas throughout the country there is a stigma that is attached to a witness who comes forward to report information about a crime. They are seen as tattle tales or snitches and can be shunned from their communities. There is also a fear to come forward due to a potential threat or harm that might come as a result. A lack of witnesses is not only a disadvantage to a prosecutor but also to a defendant who was falsely accused of a crime. This law could potentially protect those charged who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Find Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Today If you have been charged with a crime in the State of Florida, you should hire an attorney who has a solid record. Our attorneys at Moses and Rooth have experience working with witnesses as well as the resources to find witnesses who may be difficult to track down. If you have any questions regarding the charges you are facing, you should not think twice about contacting our firm to schedule your free consultation.

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