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Tampa, Florida Criminal Defense & Family Law Blog

Defense options when you have already been "labeled" by the media

For those Florida residents who remember the times of getting the majority of their news from the Sunday paper, it can be a shock to see the amount of "news" reports that are available these days. We are living in a time of instant reaction, and oftentimes the news reports we see may seem slanted or biased to some people. However, this type of "labeling" has been the default-mode for years for reports of criminal arrests.

Take, for instance, the recent arrest of a woman in Florida for child neglect. The reports indicate that the woman, who is the mother of a six-year-old boy, was arrested after her young son was found by himself on the night of Halloween trick-or-treating alone. The report about this arrest is completely one-sided, including statements from witnesses and parents of other trick-or-treaters who found the young boy. There are no reports of statements from the woman who was arrested as to why her son was by himself when he was found.

DUI enhancements make a bad situation worse

Florida is among the states with the most severe drunk driving laws in the country. This may be because Florida has many tourist destinations, and without these firm laws, matters could deteriorate quickly, placing residents and visitors in danger.

Whether you are a resident or a tourist, you would be wise to know the potential consequences of a drunk driving conviction, including jail, fines and loss of your license. You should also be aware that the court can enhance, or increase, those penalties if certain factors exist at the time of your arrest.

Overview of field sobriety tests and DUI charges

There are hundreds of Florida residents who face drunk driving charges each year. DUI is one of the most common criminal charges that a person can face, so it is important for our readers to know what will occur during the investigation of a potential DUI arrest. One important feature of such an investigation is field sobriety tests.

Most people are at least somewhat familiar with field sobriety tests, having seen generic versions of these tests on TV or in movies. The tests are not conclusive, but are used by police officers to attempt to gauge a person's intoxication during a DUI investigation.

Criminal defense strategies in a variety of cases

There is a wide variety of behavior or conduct that can lead to Florida residents facing criminal charges. From drug charges and allegations of violent crimes to drunk driving charges and weapons possession cases, each year thousands of Florida residents will find themselves standing in front of a judge with their freedom on the line. Any arrestee needs to be prepared to develop a criminal defense strategy.

In drug cases, for example, our readers can expect to face a fierce effort from law enforcement officials and prosecutors. Unlike some other states that are focusing on treating substance abuse and dealing with the societal challenges that may lead people toward illegal drugs, Florida still maintains a heavy focus on prosecuting and jailing those who are found guilty of drug crimes. In these cases, the criminal defense strategy may be to attempt to suppress evidence, or maybe even to work toward a favorable plea bargain.

What can you expect if you are facing drug trafficking charges?

As a previous post here mentioned, Florida is not currently taking the somewhat lenient approach to illegal drugs, particularly marijuana, that some other states are trying. In Florida, drug charges from possession to manufacturing to distribution can all lead to serious problems for an arrestee, not the least of which is the prospect of a potential prison sentence. Drug trafficking is probably considered the most severe of drug charges. So, what can you expect if you are facing drug trafficking charges in Florida?

Well, for starters, it is important to understand what the prosecution must prove in order to secure a conviction in a drug trafficking case. "Intent" is one key word in these types of cases. The prosecution must show that the defendant "knowingly" intended to distribute illegal drugs. Thus, the prosecution must have some evidence that goes to show the defendant's state of mind at the time of the alleged crime.

Did police have valid grounds to pull you over for suspected DUI?

DUI charges in Florida can bring serious, life-altering consequences. Whether it is your first offense, or you have other DUI convictions on your record, you understand how important it is to confront these charges and defend yourself. Building a strong defense starts with a careful evaluation of your arrest and the details of your case.

It is beneficial to start by evaluating the initial suspected DUI traffic stop. If the police lacked valid grounds to pull you over, you could have grounds to challenge the evidence against you. To understand more about reasonable suspicion and the most beneficial approach to your defense strategy against DUI charges, you may start with a complete evaluation of your case. 

40-year-old suspect faces multiple burglary charges

Many of our readers in Florida have probably seen news coverage of reported "crime sprees." These reports, which can be particularly hyped up by law enforcement officials and media personalities, can tend to inflame the passions of the public - oftentimes making a fair jury trial in the community difficult to achieve, among other problems with the case. That may be an issue with a recent arrest.

According to a recent report, a 40-year-old man is facing allegations that he is the culprit behind a string of auto burglaries in the Tampa area. The alleged crimes reportedly occurred over the course of a five-day period of time. Law enforcement officials allege that the suspect was seen on surveillance camera footage in the area of one of the auto burglaries in the middle of the night. In fact, the reports state that the camera footage actually shows the suspect getting into at least two vehicles. When a homeowner reportedly observed the suspect attempting to get into a vehicle in the early morning hours on September 6, the suspect was reported and arrested.

Some common criminal defense options in Florida

After Florida residents have been arrested on criminal charges, usually the first step as the criminal defense strategy develops is to determine what charges the defendant will face and what evidence the prosecution has to attempt to prove those charges in court. From there, a defendant can attempt to determine the right approach to the defense to the case.

Although each criminal case is different, there are some common defense options that defendants will usually consider. For starters, there is the option to simply tell the truth if you believe you are innocent of the charges. This option will likely involve giving a statement to law enforcement officials about the situation at hand and, potentially, testifying in court.

Florida middle-school teacher facing a litany of charges

Every time there is a news story about an inappropriate teacher-student relationship or incident, there is a little bit of "shock value" associated with the coverage. No parent expects that their children will be the victims of sexual assault when they go off to school each day, but the news stories on these incidents bear watching to see what the end result actually is.

According to a recent report, a middle-school teacher in Tampa is facing a litany of charges based on allegations of "inappropriate relationships" with two students. The teacher, a 31-year-old man who teaches algebra to eighth-graders, was recently arrested on the charges. The charges alleged sexual assault, molestation, "lewd or lascivious conduct" and displaying obscene material to a minor.

Know your defense options when it comes to drug charges

Anyone who is arrested in Florida might think that they have no options in the immediate aftermath of being detained. Sure, most people know some of their basic constitutional rights, but today's society also seems to be in the grips of the most "guilty until proven innocent" phase as it has ever been. Arrestees may believe that they have been tried in the court of "public opinion" within hours of being arrested.

This may be particularly true when it comes to drug arrests, which law enforcement officials love to tout in the news. There may be grand proclamations about the amount of drugs seized, and some may even refer to these seizures as "career busts." However, the more that criminal defendants know about their constitutional rights and defense options in the aftermath of a drug arrest, the better equipped they will be to attempt to mount a sound defense strategy.

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