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Tampa, Florida Criminal Defense & Family Law Blog

Legislature debates minimum sentences for drug convictions

A mandatory minimum sentence is a criminal punishment that a judge must apply in a case where the defendant is found guilty of the underlying crime. For many crimes in Florida, judges have the discretion to consider the crime, the defendant and the extenuating circumstances of the case, when handing down a sentence. Many drug crimes may be punished under the somewhat subjective ruling of the court.

However, recently, the state senators of Florida entertained the idea of imposing a mandatory minimum sentence on individuals convicted of selling Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. Allegedly, it has caused a number of overdose deaths in Florida and other states, due to its potential strength and its mixture with other drugs.

Enhanced protections for "stand your ground"

Not every state permits the use of deadly force as a means of self- defense. Florida residents are fortunate to have a statute permitting you to "stand your ground." Since the law is relatively new, it is still evolving, and lawmakers are presently considering a bill that will make a profound change in the way the law plays out in the courtroom.

If you recently faced an intruder or resorted to deadly force to protect yourself or your family, you may be concerned about having to prove that your actions were justified by the "stand your ground" statute. If the pending bill passes, the burden of proof will shift.

Protect your legal rights when facing drug charges

A conviction on drug charges can derail a Florida resident's life plans and throw into question the possibilities for their future. Whether they are arrested and then convicted on possession charges, manufacturing charges, distribution charges or others, there is little a person can do after prosecutors have proven their cases and successfully secured verdicts in their favor. However, it is possible to defend oneself against drug charges, and in some cases, criminal defendants can overcome their charges by examining deficiencies and problems in their prosecutors' cases.

For example, many drug cases are built on the seizure of allegedly illegal substances from those who are then arrested. But, the law enforcement officials who execute those seizures are mandated to follow certain procedural rules to ensure that the arrested parties' rights are protected. Whether a person is subjected to a search and seizure process due to a traffic stop, search warrant or other means, it is imperative that law enforcement officials abide by the rules for any future convictions based on the evidence they collect to hold up in court.

Is there a criminal defense to an assault charge?

A number of defenses exist that may mitigate or overcome an assault or battery charge. However, the availability of each defense will turn on whether the facts of the case support its assertion. If a Florida resident fails to prove a defense and support it with evidence, then it may not serve to protect the individual from a criminal conviction. As such, readers who wish to learn how these and other defenses may support their cases are advised to speak with their criminal defense lawyers.

One of the most commonly used defenses to assault charges and battery charges is self-defense. To successfully use this defense, a defendant must prove that they were threatened in such a way that they feared bodily harm, which they did not provoke their alleged attacker and they did not have any other means of stopping the attack. Similarly, a person may claim that they were defending another person if instead of fearing self-harm, the defendant feared that another party was going to be harmed.

Defenses may be available to drunk driving charges

A drunk driving charge such as DUI or DWI can leave a Florida resident with a difficult legal burden to bear. Even if they are able to pay any fines associated with conviction on their charges they may see their license revoked, their insurance premiums increase, and extra scrutiny placed on them when they are allowed back behind the wheel of a car.

As such, DUI and other drunk driving charges should be taken very seriously by those who must confront and overcome them. While in some cases a person may have little to offer in the way of an explanation to the circumstances that gave rise to a drunk driving charge, in others individuals may be able to explain away or refute the claims of drunk driving made against them. When a person can justify or refute a criminal charge the explanation is called a defense to the outstanding legal matter.

How drug trafficking charges could affect you

Difficult circumstances can befall anyone during his or her lifetime. Though each person's hardships differ as part of their specific circumstances, you may have found yourself in a position that resulted in authorities bringing criminal charges against you. Such situations can easily cause your life to become considerably complicated, and it may help you to understand certain specifics regarding the allegations you face.

If the charges relate to drug activity, you could potentially face misdemeanor or felony charges. Drug trafficking charges fall into the felony category, and as a result, you could face greater potential punishment for such allegations than for possession charges.

How to handle a plea bargain

You may be familiar with the phrase "copping a plea," which is commonly uttered in crime and courtroom movies and TV shows. Copping a plea refers to pleading guilty and accepting penalties for criminal charges in exchange for not going to trial. Negotiating this agreement is known as plea bargaining and it is typically the method by which sentences are decided.

If you are facing criminal charges, you will certainly want to consider entering a plea bargain. Simply put, you need to decide if a plea bargain offers you your best possible outcome. Among the factors upon which you can base your decision are:

Can you get arrested for driving while high?

Although the process has been slow, states in America are starting to legalize recreational marijuana for its citizens. Although it is uncertain what the new Trump administration will do, for now it seems as though Americans want to the option of enjoying pot, and many states agree. Such drug use is still illegal on the federal level, though it appears the federal government is not enforcing the laws against recreational drug use.

The start of the year is a good time to assess your marriage

Now that the holidays are well behind and you are getting back to your usual routine, you may once again have time to focus on yourself and where you are in your life. And if you are married, the beginning of the new year is a good time to assess your relationship with your spouse. If all is going well and you are happy, then you likely won't find the remainder of this post of interest. However, if you have concerns about the state of your union, you may want to read on.

The start of the year is a good time to assess your marriage

Now that the holidays have passed and you are getting back to your usual routine, you may once again have time to focus on yourself and where you are in your life. And if you are married, the beginning of the new year is a good time to assess your relationship with your spouse. If all is going well and you are happy, then you likely won't find the remainder of this post of interest. However, if you have concerns about the state of your union, you may want to read on.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell if a marriage is just going through a rough patch or if it is in serious trouble, but the following are some questions you can use for self-assessment.

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