| Read Time: 5 minutes | Criminal Defense

A Legal Guide for Florida Spring Breakers: Know Before You Go

CC image by Ekaterina Vladinakova at Flickr If you’re heading to Florida for spring break in 2019, the sunshine and warm water may not be all that you encounter. In fact, spring breakers are notorious for getting into legal trouble – typically for things like underage drinking. Before you go, here are a few laws and safety tips that you should review to reduce the risk of an accident and keep you out of legal trouble– Staying Safe – Avoiding the Four Ds As a mnemonic device to help you remember safety and the law when you’re on spring break, consider the four Ds that you should always avoid: Drunk driving Drugged driving Distracted driving Drowsy driving All four of the above are, first and foremost, extremely unsafe. When you drive drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted, you significantly increase your risk of causing a motor vehicle accident. You may also have legal consequences if you are apprehended for drunk or drugged driving, and even texting while driving is against the law in the Sunshine State. Alcohol For those who are traveling for spring break, alcohol typically presents the biggest temptation, and of the biggest health, safety, and legal risks, too. While our law firm does not condone underage drinking, we do want to remind you that if you do drink–whether of the legal drinking age or not–to never get behind the wheel after you’ve consumed an alcoholic beverage. CC image by Image Catalog at Flickr In addition to staying clear of drunk driving, remember that it is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol within the car, as found in Florida Statutes Section 316.1936. Remind your passengers that if they want to drink, they can’t do it while your vehicle is in operation. Find a Designated Driver Avoiding the four Ds means finding a designated driver if people in your group have been drinking or using drugs. You should also find another driver if those in your group are overly-fatigued; studies show that fatigued driving has the potential to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. When you’re assigning a designated driver in your group, do so smartly. Characteristics of a designated driver that are important include that the driver has/is: A valid driver’s license and auto insurance; Responsible; and Able to resist the temptation not to drink, even when hanging out with friends. It’s always a good idea to select a designated driver before you hit the bars or are exposed to alcohol. If there is no one in your group who makes for a safe designated driver, take a cab, use a rideshare, or find another way home. Know Your Limits If you will be drinking on this spring break, make sure you do so safely – which means more than just avoiding the driver’s seat. It’s also important that you set and know your limits – how much can you personally consume safely? Don’t drink more than you can handle, and try to stick to the general rule of no more than one drink per hour, coupled with a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. (Note that depending on who you are, the one-drink-per-hour rule may be very inaccurate.) When drinking, be sure to always pair your alcohol consumption with plenty of food and water, too. It’s also important that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and keep an eye out for anyone in your group who may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. The American Addictions Centers lists a few of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning as vomiting, hypothermia, seizure, loss of bowel or bladder control, irregular pulse, and blue-tinged skin. If you suspect that anyone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, you should seek emergency medical care/dial 911 immediately. Alcohol Ban on Beaches The car is not the only place that you can’t have an open container of alcohol in Florida; alcohol is also prohibited on many of the beaches, too. Refer to the Orlando Weekly for a list of beaches in Florida where you can legally drink alcohol, and note that Panama City Beach has banned alcohol on the beach as an “emergency measure” for this year’s spring break. Other Important Laws It’s also important that, in addition to alcohol-specific laws, you also review the rules regarding using a fake ID and public intoxication. As an added safety tip, we also recommend getting vaccinated before coming to Florida, which may offer protection from bacteria and viruses that are often rampant in large gatherings, like those that are found during spring break. Be Smart About Sexual Assault, Rape, and Other Violent Crimes CC image by freestocks.org at Flickr Spring break is no longer just an opportunity for young people to celebrate a reprieve from the grind of university life and get in a little sunshine; it is also a time where many people, spring breakers and otherwise, commit serious crimes, including rape, sexual assault, theft, and assault. During spring break, adhere to the following safety tips: Don’t leave a drink unattended – date rape drugs, including GHB and Rohypnol, could be placed in your drink while you’re distracted; Travel with a buddy – don’t go to unfamiliar places alone, especially in areas where drugs and alcohol are present; Have a plan, including knowing where you’re going and when, and how to get there; Don’t give out your information, including where you’re staying while on spring break, to strangers; Tell someone where you’re going before you leave and when you plan to be back; Keep your belongings close to avoid pickpocketing and theft; and If things get heated between you and another spring breaker, walk away – an assault can be dangerous, and could result in criminal charges if you’re involved. Dos and Don’ts of Interacting with the Police CC image by Alex Smith at Flickr If you are pulled over or otherwise stopped by police while on spring break this year, it’s important that you know how to respond to protect...

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Gun Laws

State of Emergency and Concealed Carry

I’m sitting here in my office waiting for Hurricane Matthew to make a decision as to where in Florida it is going to hit or I suppose if it will head east and never make landfall here. As I’m sure anyone who has been through a hurricane knows, there are certain things that you need to do in order to prepare. Some of the more obvious ones include water, batteries, and candles. Some people up their preparedness game and purchase a generator and extra cans of gasoline. Other people throw caution to wind and their preparation starts and ends with buying enough booze for the upcoming hurricane party. However, there are some actual laws take place when a hurricane or any disaster occurs and the governor declares a “State of Emergency”. For instance during a state of emergency it is illegal to sell or offer to sell any firearm or ammunition. It is also illegal to “intentionally possess in a public place a firearm.” These can all be found in Florida Statute 870.044. Another statue that effects people during a state of emergency is Florida Statute 790.01, which involves concealed weapons. Normally, the law prohibits a person who does not have a concealed weapons permit from carrying a firearm or other weapon. However, 790.01(3)(a) indicates that the concealed weapons prohibition does not apply during a mandatory evacuation during a state of emergency. This means that person may carry a concealed firearm or other weapon during a mandatory evacuation. This permission extends for 48 hours after the mandatory evacuation is ordered. All those in Florida stay safe. All those who have been ordered to evacuate, you can bring your weapon with you. All those who ignore the mandatory evacuation, enjoy the hurricane party.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Uncategorized

Scholarship Winner Essay by Emily Kenney

The War on Drugs My name is Emily Kenney and I am a future paralegal. I am applying for this scholarship for the relief that it will provide for the cost of higher education, but because the topic of drugs and the criminal justice system is fascinatingly frustrating. I graduated high school in 2006 and started a criminal justice degree at the University of Nebraska. Two college major changes, a transfer to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and general confusion about my life goals led me to take a break from higher education. I bounced from job to job from a pet groomer to a large trucking company scheduler. A couple of years ago with a job at juvenile probation in Nebraska and I realized that while being a probation officer wasn’t for me, being involved with the court system was. I work full time and carry a full time school schedule. I received a scholarship from the Nebraska Paralegal Association last year and I have been named to the Dean’s List every semester since I started the program back in August of 2014. Outside of school, volunteering with Pug Partners of Nebraska keeps me busy as well as providing stress relief. America’s War on Drugs is not being handled adequately by the criminal justice system. There is often a misconception about drugs and addiction. There are of course recreational drug users, but we also need to take into account those with addiction disorders. Addiction is a disease, and the criminal justice system is not up to par when it comes to treating offenders. It appears that more often than not, drugs offenders are not looked at as people, but as the drugs that they are addicted to. So many times prisons and jails are used as revolving doors for drug offenders because instead of being treated and rehabilitated during their sentences, they are essentially left in a cell until their time is up. Drugs are often available in the prison system, so when these offenders leave, they go back to their lifestyle of drugs and wind up back in the court system. According to an article from The Wall Street Journal published in January of 2013 by Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy, the number of people incarcerated was 330,000 and by 2013 that number had increased to 1.6 million. In that same article, it mentions that almost 50% of the inmates in federal prison and 20% in state prisons are there from drug charges. There is a call to have less incarceration, but these statistics show that the criminal justice system has become accustomed to jailing people because they do not have the resources to get treatment for offenders. There’s also another issue when it comes to minor drug dealers and first time drug offenders spending time in jail. Most of them will find fewer job opportunities when they are released from jail and the time that they spent in the jail system tends to make them more savvy criminals. There is a suggestion that there should be a decriminalization of all drugs in the United States. There needs to be a long discussion about the pros and cons of doing such a thing. The problem with this the cost of the war on drugs would not be reduced because the act of selling drugs would still be illegal. This leads to a discussion of possibly taxing drugs and the costs of the War on Drugs being greatly reduced. There needs to be more research put into this idea, because with the right amount of research we would have a better answer. It could end up with the cons outweighing the pros, but until we invest in the idea we won’t know. The War on Drugs started out as an idea that people could get behind. Now, it has become a drain on the country’s finances and has caused overcrowding in prisons. The criminal justice system needs to be turning those funds towards rehabilitation, instead of trying to lock the problem of addiction behind bars. Reference Becker, G.S., & Murphy K.M. (2013, January 4). Have We Lost the War on Drugs? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324374004578217682305605070.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Uncategorized

Scholarship Winner Essay by Tristin Brown

Introduction I’m Tristin Brown and it has always been my dream to attend Georgetown University Law Center. On many occasions, I doubted that I would see that dream come into fruition. And, now that I’m at the very moment that I’ve dreamt of for so long, I’m burdened with the thought of taking such a huge financial risk. Being awarded this scholarship would help to alleviate this stress and allow me to move forward confidently with my decision to pursue my dream of attending GULC. Essay “Good luck with that.” That was the response my father gave me when I told him that I wanted to go to law school. Most parents would’ve been ecstatic at the admission that their child wanted yet another degree. At first, I was taken aback by his retort, but then I realized it was to be expected. In that moment of truth, the tick of the clock on the wall was seemingly deafening. Time was moving faster than it should’ve been, faster than I wanted it to. And that was only because we were talking behind prison walls. For most of part of my life my dad has been in and out of prison, a product of addiction and crime. And, for so long, I forced myself to believe that the absence of my father didn’t have an impact on me. It wasn’t until I was walking across the stage to receive my bachelor’s degree that I peered into the audience and knew that like every other milestone; he just wasn’t going to be there. I owned my truth right then and there that a huge part of me had been harboring resentment toward my dad. So, a few weeks after graduation I gassed up my car and drove from Florida to Georgia to confront him face to face to at least try to pass my burden of anger onto him. It had been 2 years since I’d seen him. The closer I got to the correctional facility, the more nervous I became. The good kind of nervous, when you’re bursting at the seams with so much excitement that it transfers into anxiety. The reality of it all was I missed my dad. I missed having that pivotal figure in my life that it seemed everyone else had. I missed him teaching me how to drive, seeing me off to prom, and graduating from college. Then it dawned on me. The prison system, which had become so intricately woven into my dad’s life and indirectly into my own, hadn’t done enough. I started to question the possible outcomes that could’ve been if we would’ve had a system that depended more on rehabilitation rather than incarceration. Or the potential endings for felons who are released from prison and don’t have a hard time finding employment despite the fact that they have a criminal record. But, then the real truth of it sank in. I was parking my car to go out and visit my dad who is facing 25 years in prison for a nonviolent offense. After sitting in the visitor’s lobby for what felt like an eternity, I was escorted down what seemed to be the longest corridor in the world. And then I saw him. I saw my father and I raced into his arms. Once we finished exchanging our salt ridden tears on each other’s clothing, we sat down and tried to squeeze the past 2 years into the next hour. Fast forward to him bidding me luck on my pursuit of law school. It was clear from his eyes that I was facing a man who had lost total faith in the system and quite frankly in himself. As much as it saddened me, it also ignited a flame in me to do more than simply wish things were different. It upped the ante on the bet I was willing to take on my own future. So, I looked at my dad, smiled and said, “Thanks Dad for the luck. But, with determination and perseverance we’ll both be alright.” So, my really long answer to the complex question of if the criminal justice system adequately deals with America’s War on Drugs can be simplified to the word of no. My story of being a firsthand witness to the shortcomings of our system resembles that of so many others. The repercussions associated with drug crimes more often than not strip people of their ability to live a life without crime and sometimes of their basic human rights to do things like vote. While people are still dying from drug use and being locked away for life for drug crimes, this country has continued to spend billions of dollars putting half a million people in jail and expanding law enforcement, and strengthen criminal organizations. The war on drugs has failed.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Uncategorized

2015 Moses & Rooth Writing Contest

Writing contest winner announced! The attorneys at Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law congratulate Bridget Sullivan as the winner of our 2015 writing contest. Bridget is a Senior at East River High School in Orlando and plans to attend college in August. Her essay is titled, “The Magic of Disney”. Bridget has agreed to share her winning essay on our website, and we encourage all to read it. She will be taking her brother with her to Disney World. The Magic of Disney Growing up in Orlando, I frequently hear both tourists and locals refer to “the magic of Disney”. I used to think that this saying was a bit of an overstatement- after all, could ideas from a theme park and animation studio really have “magic” effects on people? Now, I realize that the answer to this question is a resounding “yes”. Looking back, I can finally see the positive influence Disney films and their messages had on my life. As a young child, I was enchanted by Disney films. From “The Little Mermaid” to “Winnie the Pooh”, the endearing characters and compelling storylines left me hanging on to every word- or in the case of many musical films- song. In these cinematic marvels, I saw stories brought to life… entire worlds created with the stroke of a paintbrush or pen. It was certainly no coincidence that I soon began writing and drawing at every opportunity. I doodled on papers, where I drew my favorite Disney characters (and even a few of my own invention). I wrote enough short stories and poems to fill dozens of notebooks, which seemed to always be in short supply. As a teenager, I digitally re-created my sketches and drawings, and even began to win a few graphic design contests. Disney had become more than films and characters- it became the spark needed to ignite my creative spirit! Of course, Disney films served as creative and artistic inspiration. However, in many ways, the movies taught valuable lessons in virtue. Mulan reinforced the idea of overcoming adversity with courage and hope, as Mulan selflessly fought to protect her family and country. The Princess and the Frog reminded me that hard work is the key to success, as the protagonist Tiana worked several jobs to make her dream of opening a restaurant come true. Pinocchio warned just how dangerous a white lie could be. Although I might not have understood it at the time, the family-friendly Disney films served as subtle (or not so subtle) moral reminders for their audiences. As a bona-fide Disney aficionado, I have researched the life of Walt Disney, the “Man behind the Mouse”. As luck would have it, I discovered that Disney and I share the same birthday! Although Walt Disney sadly passed almost thirty years before I was born, he continues to be an inspiration for me and other aspiring artists, writers, designers, and dreamers. In some ways, Walt Disney was an ordinary man… it was his visionary ideas and creative spirit, however, that made him an extraordinary man. “The magic of Disney” is certainly alive and well. With the inspiration I have garnered from both Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney himself, I hope to grow as a writer and artist, while relentlessly pursuing my career goals- and most importantly- making the right decisions and helping my dreams become reality. As Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” By Bridget Sullivan 2015 Moses & Rooth Writing Contest As an Orlando firm, we live near some of the nation’s top attractions for families including the Walt Disney World amusement complex. This tourist hot spot, in addition to the many others, gives Orlando a unique vibe for tourists and for those of us who call the place home. Walt Disney once stated: “I have long felt that the way to keep children out of trouble is to keep them interested in things. Lecturing to children is no answer to delinquency. Preaching won’t keep youngsters out of trouble, but keeping their minds occupied will.” This year’s writing contest will be in his memory, whose birthday was celebrated December 5th. We would like to hear from high school students throughout Florida about how Disney has helped them stay out of trouble by helping them building strong moral character. Requirements Let us know who you are by filling out the form below. Attach an original 300-600 short essay on the following topic: How has Disney been a positive influence on your life? Essays must be submitted, in full, by January 31, 2016. Late submissions will not be considered. MUST be a Florida high school student. MUST be a legal U.S. resident. The Award The writer of the winning essay will be awarded 2 complimentary Tickets with the Park Hopper Option ($330 value) to Disney’s theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. *For Florida resident tickets, all adults will need to show proof of Florida residency at park entrance. All tickets and options are nontransferable and nonrefundable and exclude activities/events separately priced. We look forward to your participation and good luck!   Fun Fact: Karen Williams, 7-year-old daughter of Pat Williams, once said about Orlando, “I really like this place. This place is like magic.” This quote is what led the committee of Orlando’s professional basketball team to call the sports team, the “Orlando Magic”. Please Note: Make sure you like the Moses and Rooth Attorney at Law Facebook and Google Plus pages as updates will be announced on these forums. The writing contest winner will be called directly with the announcement. Privacy Policy and User Communications: By submitting your application, the applicant grants Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law, its agents and/or representatives permission to post the applicant’s name, school or university, photo (if submitted), introduction and winning essay on the firm’s website www.mosesandrooth.com, the firm’s various marketing platforms, including but not limited to blog, social media accounts and websites. This includes other marketing communications...

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Florida Man Accused of Fleeing Police

Police report a man was arrested after attempting to hit an officer during a traffic stop and leading police on a high speed chase before crashing into a parked car. Police report that the accused was stopped on January 12th. Police also allege that when a police officer approached the driver’s side of the car; the accused turned his steering wheel toward the officer and accelerated. Police pursued him until he crashed his car into a parked car. Officers used a Taser to subdue the suspect after he refused to follow order. The suspect faces charges fleeing and eluding and other charges. High speed police chases may fascinate us as we watch them on a new broadcast or read about them on social media. But this form of fleeing and eluding is dangerous crime which has serious consequences. If you have been charged with fleeing and eluding you should understand the way Florida law understanding fleeing and eluding. What is Fleeing and Eluding? Fleeing and eluding, is a serious traffic charge in Florida. If police arrest you for feeling and eluding, it means that a law enforcement officer believes you were trying to flee after you were ordered to stop your car. In most cases, people flee police officers because they have a warrant out for their arrest, their license is suspended, or there are drugs in the car. Key Points to Remember about Fleeing and Eluding If you are arrested for fleeing and eluding, there are a few points you will want to keep in mind about the charge. First, a prosecutor must be able to demonstrate that you knew had been told to stop by an officer. Second, a prosecutor must also demonstrate that you failed to stop after knowing a police officer was trying to stop you. This is important since many cases of fleeing and eluding occur when a person is intoxicated and they may not be aware that a police officer is following them and attempting to stop them. As a result, they are arrested for a DUI charge in addition to fleeing and eluding charge. In addition to the base charge of Fleeing and Eluding, the Florida lawmakers have identified aggravating circumstances increase the penalties for fleeing and eluding: Siren and Lights Activated: an officer pursued you with lights and siren activated. High Speed or Reckless Driving: an officer pursued you with lights and siren activated and you drove at high speed or in any manner demonstrating a disregard for the safety of others. Serious Bodily Injury or Death: an officer pursued you with lights and siren activated and you caused the death or bodily injury to another person or the law enforcement officer pursuing you. Additionally, fleeing and eluding charges come with a mandatory license suspension and a mandatory adjudication. Let us Help you with Fleeing and Eluding Charges Fleeing to Elude is serious felony charge under Florida law, and it will be important that you know your rights and protect your future. If you have been arrested for Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer, contact the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth. we will help you develop a defense strategy and advocate for your in court. Please contact us at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

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Florida Couple Accused of Abusing Three Children

Sarasota police report that a mother and father were charged with felony child abuse and neglect. Police allege that the parents were beating and not feeding their children. When police found the children they were severely malnourished and dehydrated. The Department of Children Families contacted police about the child abuse. Police discovered the children a 6-year-old boy and 4-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, who were malnourished and dehydrated. Investigators also discovered scars and markings consistent with injury inflicted from a belt on the twins. The six year old told police that his father would beat the twins with a belt when they soiled themselves. The younger children were checked into All Children’s Hospital. Both parents are being held on bond with no contact orders with the victims or minors. The abuse is still under investigation and both parents may face additional charges. Child abuse allegations can be difficult for a family. The example above may be clearer than what most people experience, sometimes well meaning parents are accused of abuse for spanking their children. Many parents may not think that it is a crime to spank their child. Additionally, child advocates may disagree about the usefulness of spanking and the point at which spanking becomes abuse. A parent may discipline their child when someone makes an abuse accusation. Suddenly, parents face losing their children and social stigma from their community. If you are facing child abuse charges you should understand how Florida law defines and punishes alleged child abusers. What is Child Abuse Under Florida Law? There are two types of child abuses charges under Florida law: child abuse and aggravated child abuse. Both crimes are punishable by time in prison.. Child Abuse: child abuse occurs when a person intentionally inflicts mental or physical injury on a child. This definition also includes intentional acts which would reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child abuse is a third degree felony which carries a potential penalty of five years in prison and a $5000 fine. Aggravated Child Abuse: aggravated child abuse occurs when a person perpetrates an aggravated battery against a child, willfully tortures, or maliciously punishes, or unlawfully cages a child” The crimes also includes action where a person abuses a child and causes harm that permanently disables a child. Aggravated child abuse is a serious crime and is punishable with up to thirty years in prison. Seek Help From an Attorney Child abuse and neglect charges are serious and can destroy a family. The line between spanking and abuse is not always clear for everyone. If you are facing child abuse charges, let the Orlando child abuse and neglect attorneys at Moses & Rooth help. We can help you understand the full impact of a child abuse charge and help you develop a strategy for moving forward in court. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an initial consultation.

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A Florida Solider Dies: What Happens to the Friend Who Gave the Defendant a Lift?

A 26-year-old soldier died at his home in Kissimmee, Florida on December 27th from stomach wounds inflicted by the father of his wife’s child. According to news reports, the couple heard knocking outside their window at around 12:45 a.m. on December 27th. New accounts report that the wife went outside to speak with her ex-boyfriend, who showed up because the wife had not answered his texts or calls. Her husband followed her outside a short time later. The wife alleges that she turned to yell at another man who had given her ex-boyfriend a ride, when she saw her ex-boyfriend backing away from her husband who was holding a knife. The ex-boyfriend, now in custody, claims the deceased tried to punch him and that he stabbed the deceased with a paring knife in self defense. The soldier was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries. Police later arrested both men, charging the ex-boyfriend with second-degree murder and his friend with offenses related to the murder. While the investigation is still ongoing, it is possible the friend who provided a ride may face accomplice liability charges. What is Accomplice Liability? The words accessory, accomplice, aider, and abettor are often used interchangeably when referring to the legal concept of “accomplice liability.” Simply, it means that if you knowingly help someone else commit a crime, you could also be convicted of that crime regardless of your role in the crime. In this instance, the friend who provided a ride and provide a ride after the crime was committed could face similar charges. Here are some important concept to remember related to accomplice liability: Principal in First Degree v Principal in Second Degree A “principal in the first degree” is the person who actually commits the crime. In this case the principal in first degree is the person who stabbed the soldier. Interestingly, you can also be a principal in the first degree if you force another innocent person to commit a crime. A “principal in the second degree” is the person we think of as the accomplice. This is the person who is present at the crime and who knowingly helps the principal in the first degree commit a crime. Accessory After the Fact An accessory after the fact helps after the crime is committed. An accessory after the fact knowingly helps someone avoid trial arrest or conviction. Accomplices Encourage or Help Crime An accomplice encourages or helps someone commit a crime, even if there is very little help provided. Let an Attorney Help Accomplice liability laws are complex. Beside the complexity of accomplice relationships, the facts of every case are unique. Contact Orlando Criminal Defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth. We understand the nuances Florida’s accomplice laws and can help you deal with accomplice charges. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an initial appointment.

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A Florida High Speed Boat Chase Ends on Christmas Eve

Three suspects were in custody on Christmas Eve after a high-speed boat chase that ended 70 miles from northwest Cuba. The chase lasted nearly 24 hours before authorities apprehended the suspects. The suspects stole a 33-foot boat, with 300-horsepower engines from Fort Myers Beach. Those large engines allowed the suspect to reach high speeds and elude police. While charges have not yet been filed, it is likely the defendants could face theft and resisting an officer without violence charges. What is Resisting Arrest? Under Florida law, resisting an officer without violence is any non-violent attempt to interfere with a law enforcement officer carrying out his or her duties, including attempting to arrest a suspect. It is a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a $1,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or twelve months probation. Oftentimes, resisting an officer without violence is an offense added to criminal charges to supplement other charges. In order to convict a defendant, a prosecutor must be able to demonstrate that: The defendant obstructed, resisted, or opposed an officer of the law; The officer was legally executing their duties; The officer was legally authorized to execute their duty; and The defendant knew the officer, or other law enforcement personnel, was authorized to take action. Minor Offenses May Lead to a Charge of Resting Arrest Even simple behaviors could lead to an arrest or constitute resistance: Bracing arms while being handcuffed; Disobeying verbal commands; Refusing to sit or stand; Providing false information during a lawful arrest; Providing false or expired identification during a lawful detention or arrest; Hiding evidence; Refusing to act as directed; Evading police where there suspicion of criminal misconduct; or Inciting others to disrupt police activities. What are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest? Resisting an Officer, or resisting arrest without violence is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This is the maximum punishment that the law allows for the offense. Many first-time offenders are sentenced to probation and find they have created a permanent criminal records. When the court imposes probation, it will range from 6 to 12 months. Individuals with more extensive criminal records may receive 30 to 90 days in jail. Defense to Resisting Arrest Florida law also provides an accursed with several defenses to Resisting Without Violence charges. These defenses include: Involuntary Resistance: Placing handcuffs on a suspect may cause pain and lead the suspect to pull away. These types of reflexes and unintentional actions may are not resistance or opposition as defined by law. Absence of Lawful Duty: The officer arresting the defendant must execute the arrest in a lawful manner. If the officer is making an arrest outside of his or her legal duty, the prosecutor will have a hard time justifying the charge. Failure to Explain Arrest: If an officer fails to explain an arrest to a defendant, it may not render the arrest illegal, however, a defendant will be able to use this as an explanation for their conduct. Seek Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney If you have been arrested and charged with resisting an officer, then you may need help from an attorney. The lawyers at Moses & Rooth understand resisting an officer charges and how to defend clients against these types of charge to get the best outcome possible. Please contact us today at (407)-377-0150 to schedule an appointment to go over the facts of your case.

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The Consequences of Fees for Pleas

A public defender in Florida has criticized the plea deal system used by the prosecutor’s office alleging that plea deals have been utilized to advance the office’s monetary goals. The major issue with this is that such costly plea deals lead to unequal treatment for those who are less financially stable. If a person is afraid of the costs associated with a potential plea deal, then he or she may shy away from hiring a private defender who may prove to be an asset and may be able to get the charges dismissed altogether. The prosecutor’s office has responded to these claims of high fees by saying that a person can always go to trial. This option involves a person taking the risk of going to trial and possibly facing harsh penalties. What is a Plea Deal? When a person is charged with a crime, the prosecutor may offer him or her a plea deal. In return for a defendant pleading guilty to committing a charge, the prosecutor will offer the person something. This may include a reduced sentence. For example, if a person is charged with a crime and face 10 years in prison, then they will only end up serving for five. Florida laws allow for courts to impose a fee for the prosecution costs. When a person is charged with a misdemeanor they are required to pay at least $50 and when a person is charged with a felony they must pay $100. The money goes into a trust fund that is used to help fund the State Attorney’s Office. A higher fee can be set if the prosecutors can show that there are additional costs associated with the deal. However, State’s Attorney’s Offices are not required to show proof of support for higher fees. Thus public defenders are looking to change these laws and require prosecutors to demonstrate why the additional money was needed. Costs of Plea Deals Public defenders in Florida have argued that those arrested are entitled to the same punishment for the same offense as someone who has money. When a person cannot pay, then they are unable to accept the deal, which is not the case for those who have money. Public defenders have suggested that this is a likely violation of the equal protection clause. However, prosecutors have suggested that they take the amount of money that a defendant can pay into consideration when preparing a plea deal to ensure that poorer defendants are treated fairly. Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today If you have been charged with any state or federal criminal offenses in Florida, the first step you should take is to contact a criminal lawyer who can advise you on what needs to be done to prepare a strong defense strategy. Our attorneys at Moses and Rooth have experience with many different types of criminal law. Please do not hesitate to contact our legal team at 407-377-0150 to schedule your free consultation.

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