In Florida, it is a crime to leave the scene of a car crash if the collision causes an accident or death. As demonstrated in a recent case, however, the act of doing so only constitutes a single crime. In other words, a person cannot be charged more than once with an offense related to leaving the scene of an accident, as multiple charges that stem from a singular incident may be considered a double jeopardy violation. If you were charged with one or more crimes following a car accident, it is prudent to speak to an assertive Tampa criminal defense attorney to assess what arguments you may be able to set forth in your favor.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was driving his car along a Florida highway and had one passenger in his vehicle. He struck another car, resulting in the sudden death of the driver. Additionally, the impact caused the second vehicle to crash into a third vehicle that was occupied by a passenger and a driver. The two people in the third vehicle and the defendant’s passenger all suffered injuries. The defendant left the scene of the accident, however, without trying to render aid to any of the injured parties.

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes arising out of the accident, including one count of leaving the scene of an accident that involved death, and three counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury. A jury convicted him as charged, after which he appealed, arguing that his convictions violated double jeopardy. Continue Reading ›

State and federal governments have the authority to issue punishments for criminal offenses. They cannot do so in a manner that is deemed unusual or cruel, however. As such, if a criminal defendant believes a sentence violates their Eighth Amendment rights against unusual and cruel punishment, they may be able to successfully argue that it should be vacated. Recently, a Florida court discussed what constitutes an unjust sentence in an opinion issued in a sex crime case. If you were charged with a sex offense, it is smart to meet with a dedicated Tampa sex crime defense lawyer to assess your rights.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with three counts of possessing and producing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to two of the charges in exchange for dismissal of the third. The defendant’s plea agreement advised he faced a sentence of between 15 and 30 years imprisonment in total, followed by a term of supervised release from five years to life.

Allegedly, the defendant requested a sentence of 240 months imprisonment based on his history of PTSD, his childhood sexual abuse, and his service as a police officer and in the military. The court sentenced him to a total of 480 months imprisonment,  however, followed by supervised release for the remainder of his life. He appealed, arguing that his sentence constituted a unusual and cruel punishment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Continue Reading ›

Under Florida law, there are many crimes that can be committed in multiple ways. In such instances, the prosecution only has to prove that the defendant engaged in the behavior set forth in one method to obtain a conviction. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Florida court, in which it affirmed the defendant’s conviction for lewd and lascivious battery. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a sex crime, it is smart to hire a skilled Tampa sex crime defense attorney to help you formulate compelling arguments.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with three counts of sexual battery on an individual under twelve years old. The grounds for the charges were acts that occurred in 2002, involving the defendant’s then nine year old daughter. Following a trial, the jury convicted the defendant of lewd and lascivious battery, a lesser included offense. He appealed on numerous grounds, including the arguments that he could not be convicted of an uncharged offense and that the prosecution failed to establish the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, rendering his conviction improper. The appellate court rejected his arguments and affirmed his conviction.

Elements of Lewd and Lascivious Battery

The appellate court explained that lewd and lascivious battery is a permissive lesser included offense of the crime of sexual battery. Jury instructions regarding permissive lesser included offenses are appropriate and permissible if the allegations of the greater offense contain each of the elements of the lesser offense, and the evidence offered at trial would support a verdict on the lesser offense. Continue Reading ›

 Pursuant to Florida law, courts can impose greater penalties on people who are convicted of crimes if they were previously incarcerated. Only certain offenses allow for the imposition of increased sentences, though, and if a court improperly interprets the sentencing laws, the sentence imposed may be illegal. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the appellate court reversed a trial court ruling denying a defendant’s motion for resentencing. If you are charged with a crime, it is important to understand what sentences you may face if convicted, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Tampa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with and convicted of numerous crimes, including burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault. After the trial court imposed its sentence, the defendant moved to amend it, arguing that it was illegal in that he was improperly sentenced as a prison releasee reoffender in violation of Florida law. The trial court denied his motion, after which the defendant appealed. The appellate court summarily affirmed the trial court’s decision, and the defendant moved for a rehearing.

There are strict laws regulating the healthcare professions to ensure that people working in medical fields make ethical decisions regarding patient care. For example, federal law prohibits parties from offering or accepting healthcare kickbacks, and professionals that engage in schemes to do so may be convicted of conspiracy. Recently, a Florida court explained what evidence is needed to support a conspiracy conviction in a case in which numerous healthcare providers appealed their convictions. If you are charged with conspiracy or another white-collar offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a Tampa white-collar crime defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendants, a doctor, pharmacist, and recruiter, were indicted for numerous crimes related to conspiring to receive healthcare kickbacks and paying and receiving such kickbacks. The matter proceeded to trial, and they were each convicted as charged. Following sentencing, they each appealed, arguing in part that there was insufficient evidence to convict them of the conspiracy charges against them.

Most people charged with a crime assert their innocence. In some cases, though, a person will choose to plead guilty for various reasons. While criminal defendants have the right to enter a guilty plea if they do, the courts take great measures to ensure that their plea is made voluntarily and with full knowledge of its consequences. Thus, it can be difficult for a defendant to establish that they did not understand the implications of their choice. This was illustrated in a recent Florida carjacking case in which the court rejected the defendant’s challenge to his guilty plea. If you are accused of committing a theft crime, it is smart to speak to a Tampa theft crime defense attorney to evaluate your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with carjacking and aiding and abetting carjacking. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was convicted. After he was sentenced, he appealed, arguing, among other things, that his guilty plea was not entered knowingly and voluntarily. The appellate court rejected his arguments and affirmed his convictions.

In some Florida criminal cases, the courts will sentence a defendant to probation rather than imprisonment. People on probation must abide by the terms and conditions of their sentence, however, and if they do not, their probation may be revoked. Generally, though, inadvertent and unintentional probation violations are insufficient to warrant revocation, as shown in a recent Florida ruling. If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, it is prudent to consult a dedicated Tampa probation violation defense attorney to assess your options.

The Alleged Violation

It is reported that the defendant was charged with a third-degree domestic violence felony after he struck the victim, who was his girlfriend. He pleaded guilty pursuant to a negotiated plea and was sentenced to six months in prison with credit for all but one day served, to be followed by probation. The terms of his probation included a requirement that he abide by the state and federal law, complete a batterer’s intervention program, and maintain peaceful contact with his victim. He was subsequently arrested for domestic violence battery for assaulting the victim.

Allegedly, the state filed numerous iterations of an affidavit of probation violation, arguing the defendant violated his probation in three ways: by calling the victim from jail and for being arrested for two separate domestic violence crimes. Following a hearing, the court issued a revocation order on the grounds that the evidence supported the finding that the defendant violated the terms of his probation. He appealed, arguing that the state failed to show that he knowingly violated the peaceful contact condition. Continue Reading ›

In many criminal cases, the courts will order a person convicted of a crime to pay restitution. Further, the government is permitted to enforce restitution orders by garnishing or collecting a defendant’s property, with few exceptions. Recently, a Florida court analyzed whether it could collect restitution from a defendant’s inmate trust account in a case in which the defendant was convicted for child pornography crimes. If you are charged with a sex crime, it is wise to meet with a skilled Tampa sex-crime defense attorney to discuss your rights.

The History of the Case

It is reported that in 2015, the defendant was charged with receiving child pornography. He entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 240 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to the victims harmed by his crime. In January 2021, the government filed a motion requesting that the district court issue an order allowing the Bureau of Prisons to turn over money in the defendant’s inmate trust account as payment towards the restitution he owed after the defendant received a $1,200 check from the government pursuant to the CARES Act. Specifically, the government sought $1,100 of the payment the defendant received. The defendant opposed the motion, but the court granted it. The defendant then appealed.

Enforcement of Restitution Orders in Criminal Cases

In cases involving child pornography crimes, restitution is mandatory. The appellate court explained that orders of restitution in such cases operate as a lien in favor of the government on all property and property rights of the person fined. Thus, the government can enforce a restitution order against a defendant’s property unless it falls under one of few enumerated exceptions. Continue Reading ›

White-collar crimes generally do not involve physical harm, but they nonetheless cause significant damages. In many cases, the courts will order someone convicted of a white-collar crime to pay restitution for the financial losses they caused. Regardless of the defendant’s resources, such orders will often require the defendant to pay the entire restitution amount immediately, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling issued in a case in which the defendant was convicted of identity fraud and mail theft. If you are accused of a white-collar crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Florida white-collar crime defense attorney regarding your rights.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant pleaded guilty to multiple counts of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft for the fraudulent liquidation of numerous pre-paid college accounts that were owned by other people. She agreed to pay restitution in excess of $40,000 as well. The defendant’s presentence investigation report (PSI) recommended, in part, that upon her release, she be required to make payments towards any unpaid restitution in the amount of $150 per month.

Allegedly, at the defendant’s sentencing hearing, she requested that the court reduce the amount of the monthly restitution payment. The district court denied her request but verbally advised her it would reassess the monthly amounts owed at a later date if needed. It issued an order requiring her to pay restitution in the amount of $42,500. The written judgment required her to pay slightly more. The government moved to correct the written judgment to state that the restitution amount was due immediately. The defendant opposed the motion, which the court granted. The defendant appealed. Continue Reading ›

Battery is a violent crime, and in some instances, the court will consider a person charged with felony battery to be a risk to society and will deny them bail. If a person that remains in jail throughout the pendency of their trial is ultimately convicted, they may be granted a credit towards their sentence on account of the time they already served. Not all time spent in jail counts towards a sentence, however, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling issued in a case in which the defendant appealed his sentence for a felony battery conviction. If you were charged with felony battery, it is smart to consult a skilled Florida violent crime defense lawyer to discuss your options.

Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was charged with and convicted of felony battery and misdemeanor assault. Following his conviction, he was sentenced to serve time in prison, and the trial court granted him credit for the time he spent in jail before he was sentenced. He moved to correct his sentence, and the court denied his motion. He filed three similar motions, which were also denied. He subsequently appealed his judgment and sentences.

Credit for Time Served

On appeal, the sole issue was whether the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s fourth motion to correct a sentencing error. The court explained that when the defendant was sentenced in 2018, he was granted credit for time served prior to his sentencing hearing. From the time he was sentenced until he was transported to prison; however, he spent an additional forty days in jail. Continue Reading ›

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