Can A Domestic Violence Victim Drop Charges?

In short, the answer is legally no, but indirectly yes.

First of all, important to note is what exactly is domestic violence. In Florida, Domestic Violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member. Florida Statutes 741 and specifically 741.28 define domestic violence in Florida. Read More

Leaving the Scene of an Accident: What Does Florida Law Require?

While South Florida public transportation is getting better with each passing year, the majority of people still use their own private vehicles to get from place to place. Most of the people I know have been involved in at least one fender bender within the last few years. What most people do not know is that, even if it is the slightest of the slightest fender benders, everyone is required, pursuant to Florida law, to stay on scene and call the police to make an accident report. By leaving the scene of an accident, one could be subject to criminal penalties and civil litigation.

Florida Statute Section 316.061 and 316.062 mandate that the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property shall immediately stop and provide their name, address, registration number, and driver’s license to the other driver or police officer. Failure to do so results in a misdemeanor of the second degree, which carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail. Normally this type of penalty is never enforced in South Florida due to the overabundance of cases in our heavily populated jurisdictions. However, in other counties within our conservative state, this type of penalty may be enforced for first-time offenders.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident: Exceptions

Of course, exceptions to rules always exist. For example, Florida Statute Section 316.064 permits a driver who is physically incapable of making a report to contact law enforcement within 10 days of the accident. I have had a case where the driver suffered a concussion and left his vehicle unattended after crashing into a wall. After providing a medical record to law enforcement and contacting them within 10 days of the accident, my client’s charges were dropped. Another case involved a client who was fearful for her life because the drivers with whom she was involved in the accident were screaming profanities and acting aggressively towards her. She contacted law enforcement within ten days and her charges were also dropped.

While an experienced attorney can assist in resolving criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident, it is much better to not even reach this point. The important thing to remember, even with the smallest crash, is that it is in your best interest to call the police and have the officer write up an accident report. This avoids potential criminal charges and prevents the other driver from fabricating evidence for a civil personal injury suit.

Criminal Defense Attorney: An Unforgettable Case

One of the cases that I’ll never forget involves a young client of mine who was involved in a situation that anybody can get involved in. My name is Marcia Hansen, and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Miami, Florida.

So one of the cases involves a client of mine who was charged with aggravated battery. Aggravated battery is a third-degree felony, and my client was facing five years in state prison. He went to a bar and he drank a lot like most twenty-year-olds do, having a good time. He ended up getting a little too boisterous and loud.

The staff told him to leave. He didn’t leave. He continued having a good time, so the staff decided to physically escort him out. According to my client, they crossed the line and they roughed him up a little bit too much. Unfortunately, in his drunken stupor, he decided to defend himself. He ended up throwing a punch at one of the bouncers, but that bouncer had very good reflexes. My client’s fist ended up landing in the face of the owner. So the owner fell flat on his face and was left unconscious. Somebody there called the police, so they immediately heard from the witnesses, and they ended up arresting my client.

So here we have a young man who’s never been arrested in his life facing five years in state prison. He decided it was time to get a criminal defense attorney, and he was referred to me. And I did what I do in every one of my cases. I basically dissected every single evidence that the state claimed they had and tried to find out if they had any corroborating evidence or information to support what they were claiming against my client.

The first thing that I did is I looked into all of the state’s discovery, and I saw that there were about ten witnesses confirming that he actually did hit the man, and allegedly, medical records showing that the injury was pretty bad. I didn’t have the medical records and I decided, you know I think it’s important that I get the medical records to actually corroborate what the state is saying.

And that’s how I’ve learned in my experience is the way to attack a criminal defense case as a criminal defense attorney. You always dissect what the state has, and you usually see yourself chipping away at their evidence, and you usually get a good result for your client.

Criminal Defense Attorney: An Example of What We Do

I found out that the prosecutor was offering three years state prison because the injury was allegedly severe. So I did some research. And I found out that a severe injury is something that is permanent, that requires surgery. So I said, well, where are the medical records? Let me see if this is a severe injury.

The only medical records I got after going in front of the judge because the prosecutor refused to provide them to me was a bunch of bills and nothing else. So there I chipped away at the state’s “severe injury” case. And it became, really, just a punch in somebody’s face. And I also put together a huge mitigation packet with a bunch of witness statements and a lot of information about how great my client was. This was his first arrest, and we ended up receiving a much better deal to close the case out.

So from a person who was facing five years in state prison, he got one year probation. No conviction, and his probation was early terminated. To me, the cards were stacked against him, which most of my clients are facing that. I always just chip away at the state’s case like I did in this case, and I’m really proud of what I did for him because I see he now has a life, whereas he could have been in prison.

I’m Marcia Hansen of the Hansen Law Firm. If you or someone you know needs a criminal defense attorney, don’t hesitate to call me.

Are You Living Close to One of Florida’s Many Gun Dealers?

According to recent Huffington Post Research, gun dealers in Florida now outnumber post offices in the state by three times. These study results come from Mayors Against Gun Violence and indicate just how prevalent gun dealerships are as well as the demand for purchasing guns.

Breaking this down into terms as that can translate to residents across the state of Florida, more than 99% of people who reside in the state live within a 10-mile span of at least one authorized firearms dealer.

This means there’s a pretty good chance that anyone reading this blog lives very close to someone who sells firearms for a living. One of the biggest challenges of living in an area with high gun ownership is that according to Harvard University’s Injury Control Research Center, in locations where more guns exist, higher homicide rates also follow.

Between 2007 and 2010, a total of over 9,000 Florida residents sustained fatal injuries associated with a firearm.

Gun Crimes in Florida

There are numerous acts that have been criminalized in the state of Florida as the result of purchase, use or possession of weapons or firearms. If you have been recently charged you need to consult with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney.

The most common charges facing individuals in terms of weapons in Florida include:

  • Improperly exhibiting a dangerous firearm
  • Firearm possession by convicted felon
  • Possession of or discharge of a destructive device
  • Carrying a concealed firearm
  • Carrying a concealed weapon

Many repercussions can be associated with being convicted of any of these crimes which is why it is essential to reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Weapons Enhancements and Weapons Offenses Read More