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Florida Crime News

The Difference Between Battery and Aggravated Battery in Florida Criminal Court

Simple Battery in Florida

If you have been arrested in Florida for battery, your first concern should be whether the battery you are charged with is “simple” or “aggravated”. If the battery is simple, this means that you touched a person against their will without any sort of weapon; that person was not over 65 or pregnant; and the injury, if any, that occurred was not permanent. For example, a simple battery occurs when John Smith punches Bob Jones in the face with his fist and only causes a temporary black eye. The Florida Statute to refer to for simple battery is Florida Statute section 784.03 Read More

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

I’ve Been Arrested in Florida: What Should I Do Now?

Maybe you were minding your own business. It could have been an accident. Regardless of why you were arrested in Florida, you need to understand that how you act moving forward can have an impact on your case. Things can go smoothly if you do things the right way.

Every citizen should know what to do and what not to do after being arrested because it CAN happen to anyone. The following contains some general advice about how to behave and steps to take after being arrested.

Things You Should Do after You’ve Been Arrested in Florida

First, know what you need to do in the minutes and hours that follow your arrest. Understanding how to interact with police what to be aware of will help ensure that your rights are not violated as well as keep you from getting into more trouble. Here are some essential things to do:

  • Aside from stating calmly that you are invoking your right to remain silent, do not communicate with police.
  • Always be polite to police and follow their instructions.
  • As soon as possible, ask for your attorney. Do not say anything until you’ve had a chance to discuss events with your attorney.
  • Ask that your attorney be present for any questioning, lineups, or medical tests, such as bloodwork.
  • Memorize the badge numbers of the officers you interacted with during the arrest.
  • If any deals are mentioned, let your attorney do the talking.
  • If you were injured at any point during your interaction with police, photograph the injuries as soon as possible. Ask for medical attention.
  • Think of who witnessed the arrest or any alleged activity. Try to obtain their contact information.
  • 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.

    The “Castle Doctrine”: Is My Home My Castle?

    It’s 2:00 AM, you are sleeping soundly in your bed as your wife lies peacefully next to you. You’ve never even heard or thought about the castle doctrine. Your two kids are fast asleep in their rooms. The house is quiet, still and dark. Things are as they should be this early in the morning.

    Somehow, you are awakened and upon opening your eyes you see a shadow of a large, hooded figure rifling through your wife’s jewelry box on her vanity. Your heart skips a beat as it begins to pound faster than you knew possible. Your breathing seems to overtake the stillness of the night and you fear that the intruder in your home will see you are awake. The gun is within arms reach of your bed but you fear movement may incite retaliation. Read More

    The Importance of the First 10 Days after a DUI

    If you are arrested in Florida for a DUI, the clock starts to tick right away regarding the consequences you face. You have a period of 10 days from the day you are arrested to take action and save your license. In most cases, it is best to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Miami to fully understand your rights and options. The first 10 days after DUI are important.

    The fact is, the length of your license suspension depends on if you refused to take a breath test, or if you took the breath test and the reading was over .08%. The police will suspend your license for one year if you refused the test. The courts will automatically suspend your license for six months if you took the test and the reading was .08% or higher. Have you ever had your license suspended for a DUI in the past, you are facing a suspension of 18 months.

    What to Expect after Your Arrest

    During the first 10 days after DUI arrests, you will have three options to choose from. Discussing these options with your criminal defense lawyer in Miami will help ensure you know what option is best for you and what to expect.

    Option 1: Take No Action

    The first option is to not take any actions. The court will then enact the suspension and you’ll lose your ability to drive. The suspension will last for the mandated period of time.

    Option 2: Request an Administrative Review Hearing

    The purpose of this hearing is to determine if the officer had probable cause to arrest you for the DUI. The department will issue you a permit that will expire within a period of 45 days after the hearing. This gives the court plenty of time to have the hearing.

    The court will overturn the license suspension if the Administrative officer discovers there was no probable cause. However, if there was probable cause for the arrest, you will receive a hard suspension of 30 days (if your alcohol level was under .08%) or for 90 days if you didn’t submit to take a breath test before you can apply for a BPO (Business Purposes Only) license.

    Option 3: Immediately Receive a BPO License

    You can waive the right to an Administrative Hearing if you want to be eligible to receive a BPO license. This is an option is only available to you if you have never had a DUI conviction or administrative suspension. To be eligible, you have to enroll in DUI school.  Also, you must provide proof of enrollment to the DHSMV before you can receive the license.

    If the police ever arrest you for a DUI, you should seek legal representation from a qualified criminal attorney. The first 10 days after DUI charges can be scary. You can hire a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. You can find additional help and information at The Hansen Law Firm by calling (305)-760-4393.

    How a DUI Conviction Can Lead to A Variety of Negative Consequences

    According to MADD.org, a person is injured every two minutes in this country due to drunk driving related accidents. While there is no denying that driving under the influence is dangerous, what happens when a person is wrongly accused of this offense? Each year, thousands of people refuse a police officer’s request for a breathalyzer or field sobriety tests. In some instances, this denial is due to the fact that a person does not want to incriminate themselves. If you have been charged with a DUI, then your first call needs to be to an experienced lawyer. The courts giving you a DUI conviction can result in a number of negative consequences.

    Your License Could Be Suspended

    One of the most common things that can happen after being convicted of a DUI is the suspension of your license. While this may not sound like a big deal, it definitely is. Without a license, you will be unable to get back and forth to work without help from others. In some instances, you will have to resort to using public transportation to get from point A to point B. Instead of having to deal with this stress, you will need to find a lawyer to help you beat the charges against you.

    You May Be Fired From Your Job

    There are some companies out there that have a mandatory firing policy on the books in relation to DUI conviction. If you are convicted of a DUI, you could be in jeopardy of losing your job, which will make it very hard to support yourself and your family. Companies who have this type of policy in place will require an employee to notify them of a DUI arrest immediately.

    Losing Your Insurance

    Having car insurance is a must. For those convicted of a DUI, keeping car insurance will be nearly impossible. Due to the suspension of your license, your insurance company will not be able to offer you a policy. Even if your place of employment does not have a firing policy in place for a DUI, they may have to let you go due to the fact that they cannot insure you. Their inability to insure you will prohibit you from operating any of the equipment or vehicles they have.

    Having to Miss Work

    Due to the endless court dates and mandatory alcohol treatments you will have to undergo after a DUI conviction, you will have to miss work. This means you will be losing money and may end up souring the relationship you have with your employer. If you have been charged with a DUI, you will need to seek out some legal help immediately.

    Allow Us to Help You With a DUI Conviction!

    Call The Hansen Law Firm today at 305-666-1603 today! We have helped countless individuals beat their DUI conviction. We will be able to let you know how we can help and give you a breakdown your rights.

    The Federal Criminal Investigation Process

    Thanks to movies and television, most people have an automatic idea that comes to mind when they hear terms such as federal prosecution, federal crime or federal investigation. These images range from courtroom sketches of defendants in front of the judge, federal agents carrying boxes out of a business, and, of course, the infamous “perp walk.” These ideas don’t fully represent the totality of the federal criminal investigation process.

    While none of this is necessarily inaccurate, it is important to understand that these images are part of a much larger process. The entire process starts with an initial investigation. Understanding more about a federal criminal investigation can help a person understand what to expect if they are facing this situation.

    The Federal Criminal Investigation Process

    In any federal criminal case, the first step is a thorough investigation. This is designed to gather and provide U.S. Attorneys with the evidence necessary to prove the crime in question.

    A number well-known agencies handle these investigations including:

    • The Drug Enforcement Administration,
    • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    • The Federal Bureau of Investigation;
    • Homeland Security Investigation
    • The U.S. Secret Service.

    Gathering Evidence

    The majority of federal investigations require a private home or other privately owned property to be searched to secure evidence. As a result, federal agents have to take the proper steps to make sure they don’t violate the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment prohibits illegal searches and seizures. This means that the agency handling the case will have to secure a search warrant first.

    To acquire a search warrant, the investigating agency has to be supported by probable cause that is secured from a federal judge who is “neutral and detached.” The evidence gathered during the investigation will be suppressed in court if federal law enforcement fails to take this important step. It is also likely the court will declare the evidence inadmissible when the case is tried.

    Prosecuting the Case

    The federal prosecutor receives all of the evidence gathered after the investigation and evidence gathering process are complete. Then the federal prosecutor examines everything presented and determines if the government should present the case to a federal grand jury.

    If you are currently under investigation for a federal crime, you should consider speaking with a skilled legal professional. Furthermore, you should accomplish this as soon as you can. They can outline your options and help to protect your rights. Selecting the right criminal defense lawyer in Miami is an important decision so make sure to take your time and find someone who is capable of handling the situation. This will also ensure you truly understand the federal criminal investigation process.

    To learn more about criminal defense, or to discuss your situation, contact The Hansen Law Firm in Miami.

    Should Prisoners Have Access to the Internet?

    If a convict doesn’t have access to the internet, it is believed they have a hard time integrating themselves back into the community that existed while they were away. The participation they have in the civilian community is put in limbo because they are not aware of the changes going on around the world.

    Currently, only four states allow some type of limited internet access (Florida not included) to prisoners.

    However, some make the argument that internet access is a basic human necessity and the denial of this is a rejection of the person’s human rights.

    The Internet Access Argument

    The argument of the need for internet access while in prison increased when an inmate, Michael Santos, finished a 25 year sentence. He stated that those in the outside world should have access to what life is like in prison.

    Prisoners often don’t have internet access. This disrupts the chances for a successful rehabilitation upon release and silences them in worldwide conversations.

    Denying prisoners their voice online allows the world to completely forget about their existence. Not only that, but prisoners are often victims of abuse that no one ever hears about.

    Is this an Issue of Human Rights?

    There are thousands of prisoners who have illegal accounts due to contraband in the prisons, such as cellphones. This means that this inability to interact with the outside world is not completely impossible.

    Also, one of the main reasons this internet access is restricted is due to the potential of prisoners targeting victims.

    Academics and professional often debate whether or not this is an issue of human rights. There are individuals who are for and against this right, which makes it one that is still highly controversial.

    Scholars and specialists have a hard time determining if the internet is a fundamental human right. Even though all incarcerated prisoners still have the right of freedom of speech.

    However, denying prisoners what is going on in the world negates their ability to survive in a world that has continued on. It also disallows them to adequately cope with life in prison.

    Also Read: How To Avoid Having Your Identity Stolen

    Hiring an Attorney for Assistance

    If you have recently been charged with a crime, or believe that you may be charged with one, then hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Miami is a smart move. They can handle the case and discuss your situation.

    If you have questions, or need more information about your rights, contact The Hansen Law Firm today.

    What Past Clients Say

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    I met with several attorneys and I didn’t feel comfortable with any. Marcia walked me through the process and explained everything to me in detail. She was clear and very communicative throughout the ordeal. I recommend Marcia to anyone going through any type of criminal / legal matters.

    Jose Martinez 5 March 4, 2019

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