| Read Time: 2 minutes | Restoration of Civil Rights

Florida Bill Seeks to Quickly Incarcerate Probation Violators

Proposed legislation seeks to make the current probation violation process stricter for repeat offenders accused of violating their probation. If signed into law, it would allow Florida law enforcement to hold the accused person in jail for probation violations when they have multiple felony convictions on their criminal record. In Florida’s present probation system, the person on supervised probation can post bond for the crime he is accused of committing while on probation and his possible probation violation may not be factored in when the judge sets bail. At a later time, usually after a few weeks, a judge will typically review the evidence and issue a warrant for the probation violations. The proposed bill would allow any repeat felon who allegedly violates their probation to be held for up to 10 days. The judge would be able to issue an expedited violation of probation order before the accused makes his first appearance on the new charges. Why do Lawmakers Want the Change? In 2008, a Fort Myers Police Officer named Andrew Widman was killed by a repeat felon, Abel Arango, who was on probation. Arango had been arrested for drug trafficking a few months earlier, but had posted bail before a warrant for violating probation had been issued. Widman responded to a domestic violence call and was shot and killed by Arango. Widmer’s death was an awful tragedy, but such scenarios often lead to emotionally based lawmaking. Florida already has overcrowded jails, and passage of the Widman law would certainly boost their population and could punish those on probation for a violation they didn’t commit. Additionally, law enforcement already has a similar tool to keep those accused of violating probation incarcerated. Florida Statute 948.06 allows “any law enforcement officer who is aware of the probationary or community control status of the probationer or offender in community control or any parole or probation supervisor may arrest or request any county or municipal law enforcement officer to arrest such probationer or offender without warrant wherever found and return him or her to the court granting such probation or community control.” Clearly this statute allows a law enforcement officer to detain a person of accused of violating their probation from bonding out of a new offense. The Widman Act has failed to achieve passage the past two years, but its sponsors are hopeful that it will be signed into law in 2011. Regardless of the bill’s status, those accused of probation violations need a reputable Florida criminal defense attorney to protect their rights.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Restoration of Civil Rights

Florida makes it harder for Ex-Felons to Vote

The challenges of overcoming a felony conviction for a Florida criminal charge have just been made harder by new changes passed by Florida’s Executive Clemency Board.  Under the new rules even nonviolent offenders will have to wait five years before they may be considered for the restoration of their civil rights. More serious felony convictions now require a waiting period of seven years and are subject to a hearing.  The restoration of the right to possess a firearm takes even longer. Restrictions of the restoration of civil rights not only affects a person’s right to vote, but also to hold public office, sit on a jury, and perhaps most importantly obtain certain state occupational licenses. According to Erika Wood, the director of the Right to Vote Project at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, Florida’s restrictions on felons is now the most restrictive in the country. People who have been convicted of a felony charge and successfully completed their sentence deserve to be treated better.  The actions of Florida’s Executive Clemency Board have just made it harder for convicted felons to reintegrate into society and in turn are going to force them to remain criminals.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Domestic Violence

Do Domestic Violence Arrests Really Spike on Super Bowl Sunday?

For years we have heard that episodes of domestic violence dramatically rise on Super Bowl Sunday. Much like the common belief that hospital emergency rooms are busier when there’s a full moon, the truth of the Super Bowl violence matter is shrouded in mystery. Or is it? Many Believe There is No Link between the Super Bowl and Violence Organizations supporting victims of domestic violence have voiced their opinion that the belief is a myth. These advocates trace the impression back to 1993, when an organization known as FAIR released a press release, stating that “Super Bowl Sunday is… one of the worst days of the year for violence against women and in the home.” Reputable news agencies such as NBC Sports, CBS and the Associated Press ran with the story, even though the claim lacked reliable statistics to support it (they later retracted their reports). People working to aid victims of domestic violence say that the erroneous news reports from 1993 caused this impression. They wish the misconception would die out because they work to reveal truths about domestic violence and do not want myths clouding such a serious issue. While the 1993 news blunder did happen, many believe there is still truth in the correlation between Super Bowl Sunday and domestic violence. Some Say Super Bowl Causes More Arrests for Domestic Violence Dr. Jeff Kalina is an emergency medicine physician in Houston who often treats victims of domestic violence. Kalina believes that the Super Bowl causes the perfect storm for violence in the home. “There is a lot of testosterone flying around during the Super Bowl. You mix that with alcohol and underlying relationship problems and you have a recipe for disaster,” he remarked. Some accomplished economists’ research may support Kalina’s belief. Economists David Card and Gordon B. Dahl analyzed police reports of family violence during the NFL season. They concluded that upset losses against the home team created a spike in calls reporting domestic violence. Such a study could lend credibility to the notion that NFL football has a link to domestic violence. In Conclusion Although the link between the Super Bowl and family violence may have been born through faulty reporting, there may be some credibility to the claim. In the future, maybe someone will create a reliable study evidencing a correlation. What we certainly do know is that the Super Bowl often involves a lot of drinking. Common sense tells us that this can lead to arrests for a variety of different crimes and will certainly cause a spike in DUI offenses. However, it appears that the Super-Bowl-domestic-violence conundrum will live on for at least another year. Perhaps in February 2012 we will have a definitive answer. Be safe; enjoy the game and try to relax.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Traffic Offenses

Consequences of Toll Violations in Central Florida

The Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority reported netting $251 million last year in toll collections – a $45 million increase from 2009. The toll revenue plays a crucial role, providing the funding necessary to maintain the Florida Turnpike. Unfortunately, some innocent SunPass users are playing the role of victim in this fund-raising endeavor. The SunPass transponder – also referred to as an E-Pass – is an electronic device that allows travelers on the Florida Turnpike, Toll Roads – 417, 429, 408 and the 528 to move through toll collection areas without stopping. Sensors at the toll station communicate with the transponder in the driver’s vehicle, debiting the toll from money in the SunPass holder’s online account. This system is aimed at reducing travel time and toll cost, but it can create some significant problems for SunPass users when it fails. SunPass Short-Circuits A SunPass transponder can fail due to a variety of reasons, some of them include: • dead or failing batteries, • vehicle’s windshield contains metal oxide, or • improper transponder placement. Technology can fail, too, through no fault of the user. Florida Turnpike authorities claim that the technology works if users follow directions, but it is pretty hard to believe that the electronic toll system has never malfunctioned. Regardless of fault, when the SunPass system fails it can cause serious trouble for the vehicle owner. Consequences of Toll Violations When the SunPass responder fails at a toll station and the driver isn’t aware, Florida law punishes the vehicle’s owner as an unpaid toll violator or may issue them a uniform traffic citation (UTC). Unlike many other states, Florida’s toll violations are considered moving violations. Because of this classification, vehicle owners hit with toll violations face significant consequences: • Fines that may exceed $100 • Increased insurance costs • Points assessed to driving record • Drivers License suspension • Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License These consequences are severe: especially for busy turnpike travelers who didn’t catch the transponder failure. However, they can avoid the serious consequences involved if they take action. Avoiding the Consequences Any toll or traffic violation can prove costly, but a skilled Orlando defense attorney can work with the traffic courts and toll agencies to avoid serious consequences from resulting. Consider hiring a defense lawyer with experience as a prosecutor, as that experience can provide a unique insight that may be valuable when creating defense strategies.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

Avoid Being Pulled Over on Suspected Drunk Driving

Even the most sober, law-abiding driver feels a twinge of panic when he or she sees a police cruiser’s lights flashing in the rear view mirror. However, someone who recently had a beer at a local bar or a drink while watching the big game will feel especially vulnerable in this situation. There are some basic steps a driver can take to avoid being pulled over in the first place. The best and safest step is to not drink before driving, this cannot be stressed enough. A difficult situation can be avoided by using a designated driver, taxi cab or public transit. Exercising safe driving practices is part of what December is about, as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month brings awareness to drinking and driving during the holiday season. While we strongly urge everyone to avoid driving with any blood-alcohol content, read on to learn how to drive as safely as possible in a situation where you are legal to drive but have had a glass of wine or a beer with dinner and want to avoid a stressful police encounter: Ensure that you are safe to drive – adults in Florida may legally drive after consuming alcohol if they can safely operate a motor vehicle and have a blood-alcohol level below .08. If you feel you intoxicated or believe you may be anywhere near the legal limit, grab a glass of water and wait – time is the only thing that can sober you up. Plan your route – make sure you know where you are going before you turn on the car. Sudden, quick turns or turning without signaling will get you pulled over. Know your destination and path ahead of time. Turn your lights on – if you are driving at night with your lights off, the police will pull you over immediately. Many police officers state that this is the most common reason for pulling vehicles over on suspicion ofDUI. Forgetting to turn on your lights tells the officer that you are likely drunk before he or she even speaks to you. Eliminate distractions – the radio, passengers and cell phones provide unnecessary distractions to all drivers. Focus on the task at hand to avoid driving mistakes. Once again, please avoid drinking and driving. This is always the safest way to go. The above suggestions will not protect you from a DUI if you are driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol concentration. Look soon for our post on what you should do when you have been pulled over on suspicion of DUI.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Uncategorized

Jury Instructions Catch Up to the 21st Century

Juries are expected to make their decisions based upon the evidence presented in court.  They are to listen to all sides of an issues, and discuss their thoughts and concerns with other jurors at the end of the trial.  The problem is, courts were finding that juror were too conected with the outside world.  They were texting and chating about the case, about their thoughts, about the issues, with friends and families. The Florida Supreme Court has now weighed in on the subject and actually instucts juror: “you must not use electronic devices or computer to communicate about this case, including tweeting, texting, blogging, emailing, posting information on a website or chat room, or any other menas at all.  Do not send or accept any messages to or from anyone about this case or your jury service.” I know your thinking, What is the big deal?  Why can’t I find out information that is not being answered in court?  Why not discuss the case with anybody I want? Juror can only decide a case, based upon evidence that is presented in court.  Outside material is not subject to cross-examination, may not be admissible, and I know this is going to come as a shock but not everything out on the web is accurate. It is important to our system of justice that jurors remain impartial and the new rule is needed to maintain that integrity.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Sex Crimes

Orlando Prostitution Arrests Show Backpage as the New Craigslist

While Orlando police have arrested people for prostitution-related crimes for decades, the enforcement methods have had to change with the times. In today’s world, law enforcement relies heavily upon the Internet in deciding who and how to arrest. Craigslist was the primary Internet source of prostitution information for police, but Backpage has now replaced it. Internet Prostitution and Solicitation In early September, Craigslist made a decision to remove the “Adult Services” section from its website. Craigslist made its decision after politicians, attorney generals and law enforcement called for it to be banished; claiming it fueled and enhanced the prostitution industry. However, even some of the biggest anti-prostitution advocates correctly predicted that Craigslist’s removal from the market would open the door for other Internet sites to offer almost the exact same forum. Backpage.com is now the leading online tool for advertising erotic or prostitution-related services. Backpage’s “adult” section includes subcategories for: escorts, body rubs, strippers & strip clubs and adult jobs. While the advertisements may be adult-oriented, they aren’t necessarily providing illegal services. Prostitution under Florida Law In Florida, prostitution means the giving or the receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire, excluding sexual activity between spouses. Each defense case is unique, as different facts, circumstances and evidence are involved. Just because someone is arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute does not mean they have committed a crime. However, all people accused of sexual crimes face serious injury to their reputation. Florida law provides for severe punishment for people convicted of prostitution-related offenses. Repeat offenders may face especially harsh punishment through felony charges of prostitution or solicitation. Some of the tools that courts use to punish prostitution offenders include: Jail Time Expensive Fines Mandatory STD Testing Mandatory Attendance in a HIV Awareness Class

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Uncategorized

Welcome to the Orange County Criminal Law Blog

Laws change quickly. Every day, state legislators and judges make hundreds of decisions that impact the way legal cases are prepared for and presented in court. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law we know that’s it’s important to stay current with legal issues. That’s why we follow the legal stories that will have an impact on the strategies we use while protecting your rights. We also know that keeping you informed about the legal process is important to you and will help you make better decisions about your case. We have therefore created this Blog page, which is intended to serve as a forum for sharing and discussing case law and relevant court decisions in the legal areas of criminal defense law. We will regularly update this page with new information and topics, so please return often to see new posts and comments. Our firm has always placed an emphasis on personalized attention and responsiveness to our concerns. Your input is important to us and we take your comments seriously, so we invite your feedback about this and future Blog posts on this page. Thank you for visiting. Call us at 407-377-0150 or contact us by e-mail to discuss your specific legal need today.

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