| Read Time: < 1 minute | Firearm Crimes

Don’t Carry that Firearm at the Orlando Airport

For decades, law enforcement officials have been seizing firearms at the Orlando International Airport. Fortunately, these isolated cases were most likely related to individuals who simply forgot to remove the personal weapons from their carry-on luggage before entering the airport and passing through TSA screening. Even though it may have been an innocent mistake, law enforcement has a zero tolerance policy regarding the entering of dangerous weapons into the airport. This means you will be arrested even though you are in a rush to catch a flight. If you are one of these individuals – who has forgotten about the weapon(s) in their luggage and passed through TSA security and gotten arrested – you will need the help of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Immediately stating that it was a mistake will not make the potential criminal charges and/or penalties go away. Law enforcement has a number of different ways to proceed with criminal charges. The State Attorney’s office can file a felony charge under Florida Statutes §790.12(2) Carrying a concealed firearm or misdemeanor Florida Statutes §790.06(12) Carry a concealed Weapon into an airport. Another option is for the City Attorney’s office to file a city ordinance complaint for unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon at the airport. Furthermore, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will issue either a civil warning or notice of civil penalty for carrying the firearm into the airport. The State of Florida considers the entire airport terminal “off limits” to carry a firearm even for license holders. Since the most recent increase in weapons seizures, the Orlando International Airport has considered posting larger signs in the parking areas to remind passengers to leave the weapons behind – and for good reason.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | DUI

Traveling with a DUI Conviction on Your Record

A DUI conviction can affect your life in many ways. It can cause you to lose your driver’s license and spend time in jail. Even if you avoid jail time, you may be placed on probation. You may also have to pay a fine and be ordered to take alcohol education classes. In addition, you may lose your job, and your DUI conviction may even affect your relationship with friends and family members. One thing you might not have considered, however, is how a DUI conviction might affect your travel plans. If you engage in frequent foreign travel, a DUI could put a wrench in your next vacation. This is certainly something to think about before booking a ticket across the border. Not all countries treat a DUI conviction the same. Some don’t care. Some are very strict. Some are in between and treat crimes on a case-by-case basis. In any case, if you’re planning to leave the country in the near future, it’s a good idea to know which countries you can travel to and which ones you’ll have to avoid. To be sure, according to USA Today, the following is a short list of the countries that treat foreign DUIs in various ways; of course, the limitations may depend on the visa regime of the country, as well, and whether or not you need to apply for a visa beforehand or can simply travel to the country with only your passport. Ultimately, it also is important to remember that international law may be constantly changing or applied differently than at home. As such, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local lawyer for more information. Mexico Mexico’s immigration laws are strict on those who have committed certain crimes. The country considers a DUI a felony offense. Indeed, if you have been convicted of a DUI within the past 10 years, you may not be allowed to enter Mexico pursuant to the law. Canada Our neighbor to the north is notorious for being strict with DUIs. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered a felony there, so if you have been convicted of a DUI at home, you may not be able to enter the country. However, there are some exceptions. If you were convicted of a DUI but never spent time in jail and have an otherwise clean record, you may be able to get around the ban for a $200 fine. Also, you can enter Canada once it’s been 10 years since your DUI conviction if the crime has been expunged from your record. However, note that if your DUI has been diverted or deferred, you may not be able to enter Canada until you complete the program. New Zealand If you have been convicted of a DUI, you likely will still be able to travel to New Zealand unless the charges were serious. For example, if you served a prison sentence of five years or longer or served a sentence of 12 months or longer in the past 10 months, then you may face difficulties getting into the country. China/Japan/Malaysia These countries often ask about misdemeanor charges and will likely run background checks in order to obtain more information. Dubai/Persian Gulf DUI convictions are not necessarily condemned, but alcohol-related crimes are looked at negatively, especially within the country. Entry may be on a case-by-case basis. Contact an Orlando Attorney for More Information As is now clear, a DUI conviction in Florida can even affect your ability to travel. This can ruin your future vacation plans, especially if you have friends or family members you want to visit in a specific country. This is why if you are ever pulled over for suspected DUI in Orlando, you should seek legal help right away. Contact the aggressive Orlando, Florida criminal defense lawyers at Moses & Rooth. We can assess the situation and reduce your charges. We might even be able to have your DUI charge dropped altogether. Schedule a consultation with our office today by calling (407) 377-0150. You can also contact us online.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Orlando News

Restoration of Voting Rights Federal Case

Florida’s continued punishment of felons long after they have served out their sentence has become a hot button issue.  We discussed restoration of felon voting rights back in August of 2016 and this topic has continued to be argued in our state ever since then.  In fact, Florida voters will have the opportunity to allow the restoration of felon voting rights on the November 6, 2018 ballot.  This is big news and very important. Now a Federal Judge has examined the restoration of voting rights in Florida and has found it to be unconstitutional.  Judge Mark Walker found that Florida’s current scheme for “re-enfranchisement” violates both the First Amendment rights to free association and expression, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. View Order on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgement James Michael Hand, et al., Plaintiffs vs Rick Scott, et al., Defendants From the very beginning of his option Judge Walker was very critical of the current process to restore voting rights.  He starts his opinion: Florida strips the right to vote from every man and woman who commits a felony. To vote again, disenfranchised citizens must kowtow before a panel of high-level government officials over which Florida’s Governor has absolute veto authority. No standards guide the panel. Its members alone must be satisfied that these citizens deserve restoration. Until that moment (if it ever comes), these citizens cannot legally vote for presidents, governors, senators, representatives, mayors, or school-board members. These citizens are subject to the consequences of bills, actions, programs, and policies that their elected leaders enact and enforce. But these citizens cannot ever legally vote unless Florida’s Governor approves restoration of this fundamental right. Florida’s Executive Clemency Board has, by rule, unfettered discretion in restoring voting rights. “We can do whatever we want,” the Governor said at one clemency hearing.  One need not search long to find alarming illustrations of this scheme in action. In 2010, a white man, Steven Warner, cast an illegal ballot. Three years later, he sought the restoration of his voting rights. He went before the state’s Executive Clemency Board, where Governor Scott asked him about his illegal voting. “Actually, I voted for you,” he said. The Governor laughed. “I probably shouldn’t respond to that.” A few seconds passed. The Governor then granted the former felon his voting rights. …In Florida, elected, partisan officials have extraordinary authority to grant or withhold the right to vote from hundreds of thousands of people without any constraints, guidelines, or standards. The question now is whether such a system passes constitutional muster. It does not. Judge Walker has ordered all parties to file a brief related to remedies and will then enter a final judgment after considering he additional briefs. Governor Scott’s office issued a statement that indicated that the discretion of the clemency board over the restoration of voting rights had been in place for decades and over multiple governors.  While technically this is accurate, the current scheme administered under the Scott administration is by far more restrictive than previous governors.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Justice

Floriduh Fugitive Situation

It appears that Florida is the Kardashians of the Unites States. We just cannot be a boring low profile state who goes about its business and doesn’t make headlines. Why can’t we be more like Montana? When was the last time something crazy happened there? If a few months go by without us causing some sort of uproar, I’d expect Florida to take a half naked selfie and tweet it out to the world. This time Florida has somehow allowed two inmates to leave the Department of Corrections. Not just two inmates, but two inmates who are serving life sentences for murder. These two men believed Florida was so stupid that they actually went to the Sheriff’s Office and registered as convicted felons. And you know what, they were probably almost correct. At this point Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins have been caught and will be return to prison, most likely to a standing ovation from their fellow inmates. Now that these two convicted murderers have been caught, the investigation continues. Law enforcement is now trying to figure out how this scheme took place and who drafted and filed the forged documents. Assuming that this person or these people are caught, what sort of criminal charges can they be expect? The first and probably most obvious offense is forgery. Clearly someone falsely made or forged a public record of a public official. In this case it seems like someone forged the signature of Chief Judge Belvin Perry as well State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton. If convicted this person faces a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. The next crime that I would expect someone to be charged with is escape, or more specifically principle to escape. The principal theory is that someone aided or helped facilitate the commission of a crime, even if that person was not present when the crime occurred. In this particular situation someone helped facilitate the crime of escape from a correctional facility. This crime is a second degree felony which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The next one is a crime of unlicensed practice of law. Someone drafted the motion to correct, reduce, or modify the sentence and accompanied order. I am also assuming that this person is not authorized to practice law in this state (if they were, they will not be much longer) and therefore in violation of Florida Statute 454.23, for practicing law by filing motions.  Yet another third degree felony. These are some of my initial thoughts. Would be happy to discuss with anyone any other charges that they see as possibilities if this person or these people are ever arrested.

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Criminal Defense

Florida woman accused of embezzling from employer

A Florida woman has been accused of embezzling $190,000 from her employer. Police state that she was purportedly overpaying herself and also endorsing checks from the office in order “to make personal credit card payments.”  She is now charged with felony grand larceny. Though the woman apparently works for a medical office, the specific location of the employer was not disclosed. Her employer apparently terminated the woman’s job after allegations were made that embezzlement had taken place. We do need to keep in mind that an arrest is different from a conviction.  Though newspapers write stories up as if allegations actually occurred, it remains up to prosecutors and arresting officers to prove that a crime did take place.  Individuals charged of any crime still have the right to be considered innocent in the court of law until proven guilty.  Though police in this case stated that the following of a “paper trail” led to the arrest of this woman, evidence obtained needs to be reliable for this to result in a conviction. Also, even if the woman was involved in a crime, we still do not know what her personal situation would be that would have led up to such an act.  When police state that the woman was using embezzled funds to pay off credit card payments, we don’t know how much in credit card payments the woman was required to make or whether she fully intended to pay her employer back. Criminal defense attorneys will do what they can to tell the side of the story of an individual charged with a crime.  Though individuals are sometimes found guilty, attorneys can sometimes provide courts and prosecutors compelling reasons as to why a sentence should be reduced. Source: KIVI TV, Sep. 17, 2013

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Truck driver delivering Florida OJ acquitted on drug charges

Federal criminal court trials rarely result in an acquittal on all charges. But that is exactly what a U.S. District Court jury did in the case involving a truck driver accused of smuggling drugs while transporting orange juice to Florida. The case involved charges of three counts of felony federal drug charges, including smuggling. The drugs in question were roughly 5,000 pills of psychedelic tryptamine, which were found in plastic zip-lock bags behind a panel in the suspect’s truck. The defense attorneys for the Ontario, Canada, citizen successfully argued that although the suspect owned the truck he was not the one who placed the drugs inside of it. Defense attorneys presented evidence that included paperwork that showed there was enough opportunity for someone else to have planted the drugs. The delivery date for the orange juice was scheduled four days prior to what can be assumed to be the discovery of the drugs. The paperwork presented at trial included invoices, manifests and logs which demonstrated the there was enough opportunity for someone else to have planted the drugs without the defendant’s knowledge. The defense argued that unless federal prosecutors could prove that the truck driver knowingly and intentionally participated in transporting the drugs into the United States, the jury must find him not guilty of the charges. During the truck driver’s trial, federal prosecutors presented a number of witnesses, including Department of Homeland Security agents who provided testimony that only included finding the drugs inside the truck. In court papers filed prior to the trial, government prosecutors referenced a 2009 investigation involving the defendant and Canadian law enforcement but were forced to acknowledge that the investigation did not result in a conviction. This case demonstrates that not everyone accused of a crime is actually guilty of that crime. With an experienced criminal defense attorney it is possible to beat the odds as this truck driver did when the jury found him not guilty of smuggling drugs across the U.S. border. Federal drug charges can carry serious consequences beyond a lengthy prison sentence. A criminal conviction can have a significant and long-term impact on a person’s life, including personal relationships and future employment opportunities. Source: The Buffalo News, Phil Fairbanks, Jan. 29, 2013

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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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