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

    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 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.

    Assault: Criminal Cases vs. Personal Injury Claims

    When an individual is assaulted, there can be two different types of cases. The difference between the two is the key. There are criminal cases and personal injury claims. Both are similar in ways, but there are important differences that are essential.

    What are criminal cases?

    In a criminal case, the defendant will be judged by a jury or the judge himself. The prosecuting attorney, which is usually the district attorney, will handle the case and represent the people of the state against the defendant. The victim will only be asked to speak if he is called as a witness.

    Criminal assault is normally considered a misdemeanor unless there was aggravated assault meaning the defendant performed the assault intending to do serious harm or cause death to the victim. In this case, the misdemeanor then becomes a felony charge, and the defendant faces stiffer charges and punishment.

    What are personal injury cases?

    Civil cases, or personal injury claims, are controlled by the victim. In this situation, the victim becomes the plaintiff and is attempting to sue the defendant for damages such as medical bills or lost wages. In a personal injury case, the defendant won’t face a jail sentence or fines if he is found guilty. He will be required to pay whatever restitution the judge or jury decides on to the plaintiff.

    Can the defendant face a criminal case and personal injury case?

    If it is decided that a defendant will face a criminal case, the victim can sue him in a personal injury case only after the criminal case is finalized. If the personal injury case has already begun when the criminal case opens, this must be put on hold until the end of the criminal case.

    One main reason for this is the victim can use the decision of the court to his advantage. If the defendant is found guilty in criminal court, the victim can use that verdict as evidence in his personal injury claim.

    How is a verdict determined?

    In a criminal case, a verdict can only be reached if the jury decides unanimously that he is either innocent or guilty. In a personal injury case, most of the jury must decide a verdict. As long as the majority of the jury rules one way, the verdict stands. There can be a mistrial, but this is rare.

    Should you provide your own defense?

    An individual may provide his own defense, but this is not wise or suggested. An experienced Miami criminal lawyer knows every aspect and legality of the criminal and civil court system. They know the right questions to ask, the right people to see and the right route to follow to acquire the verdict you need.

    You may try to represent yourself and forget seemingly minor things that can turn into major things in the courtroom. What will you do? At that point, it’s too late to say you need more time. You will have to proceed and hope for the best.

    You are worth more than that. You should walk out of that courtroom with a smile knowing you won your case. With the proper Miami criminal lawyer by your side, you can do just that. We know the ins and outs of personal injury claims and can help you get this settled and get back to the beach. We will work diligently to solve your case and give you peace of mind again. Give us a call today, and let us get started working for you.

    Florida’s New Law On Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

    In July, a new law was passed that has significant implications for anyone who has been arrested for a crime in which mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines would be in effect.

    This specifically relates to mandatory minimum sentences for aggravated assault. This could have significant consequences for you if you have recently been arrested for or convicted of assault in Florida. It is essential to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida as soon as possible after you have been accused in order to fully understand your rights.

    The laws surrounding not just assault but other types of criminal cases can be extremely complex and confusing. After being arrested and accused of a crime, the experience can be overwhelming for someone who is not sure what to expect. It is strongly recommended that you exercise your rights to remain silent and consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

    Police officers interrogating you may wish to give you the impression that all hope is lost and that there is nothing you can do to help your case. This is because they are trying to encourage you to cooperate with them. But it is often not in your best interests to cooperate with the police officers who may simply be trying to glean more information from you.

    Although they may promise you that speaking to them will make your life easier, this is not always the case. The only person who can truly help you in this situation is an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney.

    Whether you have been accused of assault or any other crime in the state of Florida, you need an attorney who understands the full extent of the law and how to protect you within it.

    Developing a defense strategy as soon as possible and exploring all possible avenues for a meaningful defense on your behalf can give you a great deal of peace of mind and also increase the chances of your success.

    What the New Law Says

    Aggravated assault is now no longer included on the list of gun associated crimes that come with an automatic mandatory minimum prison sentence of 2 decades or 20 years, if either one of the following situations applies:

  • The individual possessed a semiautomatic firearm during the commission of the offense and a high capacity detachable box magazine or a machine gun.
  • The convicted individual possessed a destructive device/ firearm while committing an offense.
  • Read More

    Seven Things to Do to Not Make Your Arrest Worse

    If you have been arrested for a crime in Miami or any of the surrounding areas is what you do is just as important as what a criminal defense lawyer can do on your behalf. A lawyer should always be retained in order to protect you but there are several other steps that you should take as well in order to minimize your chances of a negative outcome.

    Of course each case depends on the unique circumstances and the charges against you but several common things will always apply in these situations. Here are several things to do or not do in order to uphold your rights and give you the best possible chance of a successful outcome in Florida`s criminal justice system.

    Maintain Your Silence

    You have the constitutional right to remain silent and it is one that you should exercise in any situation. You are not obligated to provide police officers with any further information about your case or your unique circumstances. Wait to speak to your lawyer and exercise your right to remain silent. Giving up information could actually make things worse for you..

    Always Ask for Your Attorney

    If you have been arrested and taken to the police station or put in jail make sure that the police officers have verbally heard you request to speak to your lawyer.

    They are obligated to allow you to speak to your attorney and you do not have to give statements to anyone else except your attorney during this time. It is better to stay silent, except for making statements that you wish to speak to lawyer.

    Do Not Ask Friends and Family for Advice

    If you have been arrested or if you are facing any charges down the line people will come out of the woodwork in order to tell you want to do and not do.

    While many of these people mean well and maybe trying to advise you against common mistakes, the only person who should be providing you with next steps and recommendations during this time is your criminal defense attorney.

    Other people may make mistakes or advise you about information that is outdated or simply inaccurate. Your lawyer can tell you whether or not something is in your best interest and equip you with the information necessary to make an informed decision.

    Make Sure You Hire a Lawyer with the Right Experience

    Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges the right lawyer can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. He or she should be dedicated to resolving things in the most effective manner for you.

    This does not mean forcing you to accept a plea bargain sooner rather than later so that they case is over and done with and the attorney gets paid. Your attorney should be committed to evaluating your case in full and deciding what is most appropriate for you during that specific time. Your lawyer should care about you and your future given a case like this will have such a big influence on your life down the road.

    Do Not Post on Social Media

    Even in the event that you are concerned that your rights were trampled during the arrest or search and seizure process do not post this information on social media.

    This could be used against you and could even be seen by the police officers who may have been negligent in carrying out their own duties.

    You do not need to alert police officers or anyone else about the potential weaknesses in the prosecution`s case. Rather you should allow your experience criminal defense attorney to handle this situation for you.

    Evaluate All Options Carefully

    As you go through the criminal justice process in Florida you may be presented with option such as to accept a plea deal in exchange for a guilty plea or a reduced sentence or separate charges.

    Your attorney should be committed to explaining the best possible situation for you in each of these cases so that you can decide whether or not it’s right for you. Bear in mind that you are not obligated to take any of these options but your lawyer can help you figure out if one really makes the most sense for you.

    Always Fulfill Requirements Read More

    What a Misdemeanor Arrest in Miami Means?

    When you have been arrested for any crime including misdemeanors in Miami it is important to understand your rights and know what you need to do moving forward.

    Small mistakes at the outset of the process can actually make your case more difficult and increase your chances of being unsuccessful in the event that your charges do go through the criminal justice process.

    It is imperative to understand what you need to do in the immediate moments after being arrested. Try to maintain your calm even though this is an emotionally difficult time. What follows are several steps that you need to take after being arrested for misdemeanor in Miami.

    Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

    If you have been arrested for a crime it is far better to say nothing then to try to cooperate with the police officers and give them more information. You may simply be giving them more information that they need to know and more then you are obligated to provide.

    Remember that the constitution affords you various rights and one of them is the right to remain silent. In this particular situation it is strongly recommended that you exercise this right so that you can maintain your calm and determine your next steps such as speaking with your attorney.

    Request to Speak to an Attorney Immediately

    Another one of your important constitutional rights during this difficult time of an arrest is to be able to talk to your attorney. The police officers may try to encourage you to speak with them or to sign statements prior to your attorney arriving, but you are not required to do this. Remember that the constitution allows you to protect your rights by remaining silent and asking for an attorney.

    If you are asked questions by the police officers, continue to repeat that you would like to speak to your attorney. They may continue to ask you questions but you are not obligated to say anything. Once your attorney arrives on the premises he or she will be able to take you to a private area so you can have a conversation.

    Do not be tempted to give in to the police officers as this could only serve to hurt your case. Even if the police officers are presenting that your speaking to them may actually help your case and make things easier for you down the line you should not count on this and officers primary interest is to get as much information as possible from you so that they do not have to try to figure it out for themselves.

    Discuss Options with Your Attorney

    A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is one of the most important things you can have after being arrested for any misdemeanor in Miami. Never make the mistake of assuming that because something is classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony that you do not have serious consequences on the line.

    Any type of criminal conviction can influence your records and make life more difficult for you so you should not hesitate to consult with an attorney to protect yourself in this situation.

    Your lawyer can help you figure out whether or not you may be eligible to have the charges reduced or eliminated entirely and he or she will gather the relevant information about your arrest to figure out whether or not your rights were violated.

    If the police overstepped their bounds or if something was improperly handled in any point in time and this violated your rights or the procedures of the court you may be eligible to have your case dismissed completely.

    Sharing these details with your attorney right after the arrest is important because he may forget them later on or struggle to recall what actually happen. Your lawyer can take notes and use this information to begin putting together a comprehensive defense strategy for you.

    Get Help from Miami Criminal Defense Attorney and Let Your Attorney  Do the Work

    Your attorney can figure out what is most appropriate in your individual situation so in the event that you are being held in jail or awaiting your trial stay silent and let your attorney do the talking for you.

    He or she can advise you what is recommended in your situation so as to avoid making things worse. Your rights matter during this time, but one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to let an experienced criminal defense attorney handle things for you.

    You already have enough to worry about and the lawyer can help to make this difficult situation that much easier. As soon as possible after you’ve been evolved in an accident, as soon as possible after you’ve been accused of a crime reach out to a knowledgeable attorney to help.

    What are the five things you should know about hiring a criminal lawyer in Florida? Learn from here: Read More