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Palm Beach Gardens Criminal Defense Law Blog

Plea bargains can help keep you out of prison

If you're facing trouble with the law, one thing you may want to know more about is a plea bargain. A plea bargain has benefits and downsides. In most cases, a defendant will end up having the opportunity to accept a plea deal; in over 90 percent of convictions, plea bargains were involved. That means that fewer than 10 percent of all charges end up at trial

Plea bargains are important for several reasons. First, they help you limit the time spent on the case, which saves you money. Plea bargains keep individuals out of courts for trial, reducing the overall caseload for the judge and juries. Finally, they help you know exactly which penalties you'll receive, which is safer than going to trial and awaiting an unpredictable outcome.

Facing charges of stalking? You need a serious defense.

In Florida, accusations of stalking are quite serious. If you or a loved one is facing charges or is currently under investigation for this type of crime, you would be prudent to take quick action to defend yourself and your future interests. In many situations, stalking accusations are the result of simple disputes or misunderstandings, but regardless, you have the right to defend yourself.

Florida law considers stalking to be a pattern of actions that falls under the category of malicious behavior. In many cases, this means following one person, calling him or her excessively, showing up at his or her place of work and more. Every stalking case is different, and you have the right to a defense that suits your needs according to the details of your unique case.

Florida legislators seeking changes to drug laws

Legislators in Florida are calling for drug reform, and that reform could be positive for you if you face drug charges. There are bills seeking judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences, which would allow judges more leeway in deciding on a person's sentence. Along with this legislation, lawmakers also hope to increase the total funding for substance abuse treatment. They would like to add another $50 million to the budget for substance abuse treatment alone.

The trouble some are having is that allowing judges to determine minimum sentences or to adjust sentencing per individual could result in public backlash or judgments. There may not be the consistency that is necessary, and that could actually hurt those the bill is there to help. Some individuals, particularly minorities, make up a disproportionate amount of people in trouble for drug crimes, and being able to manipulate mandatory minimums could help reduce the risk of unfair penalties. Unfortunately, without appropriate data collection, it would be hard to tell if those individuals actually were opened to more bias or harsher penalties by removing a minimum requirement.

Double jeopardy protections prevent multiple trials against you

Double jeopardy protection is an important protection for people accused of crimes. This protection prevents you from facing trial twice for the same or similar charges based on the same facts following a conviction or acquittal. This right is given to individuals in the Fifth Amendment of the United States.

Not all cases qualify for double jeopardy protection. For example, if a proceeding doesn't put you in jeopardy of a conviction, it doesn't count. Double jeopardy protection applies to felonies, juvenile delinquency cases and misdemeanors.

DUIs can change lives; here's what you should know

Going out on the town is fun, and it's especially thrilling when you're somewhere new with your friends or family. Experiences make a good vacation, but some experiences are better left to others. For example, drinking too much and ending up with a DUI probably isn't what you want to see happen on your family vacation.

Still, mistakes do happen, so it's possible that you or a loved one could end up violating the law. If that happens, you need to know what to do to prevent penalties from impacting your life.

What are some felonies in Florida?

There are many felony crimes in Florida. Some are relatively straightforward, while others are obscure and unusual. To avoid a felony charge, it's a good idea to know what some felonies are so you can avoid them. For example, Did you know that it's a third-degree felony to poach an alligator in Florida? You should think twice about shooting that lizard if it winds up on your property.

Theft has a range of felony penalties. Theft is bad regardless of the age of the person who is defrauded, but if you steal from someone who is 65 or older, you're in for harsher penalties. Theft from a person who is 65 or older results in a second-degree felony if the amount stolen is between $10,000 and $50,000.

Effectively fighting charges of drug possession

Florida readers who are currently facing drug charges of any kind likely feel overwhelmed and frightened by their circumstances. Even if you believe the charges are baseless, your situation is still grave, and there is much at stake. You would be prudent, no matter the circumstances of your case, to work on a defense strategy that meets your needs and helps you reach your objectives.

If you are facing drug possession charges, you have no time to lose in seeking defense guidance. It is possible to confront the charges against you and fight for your best outcome, but this is not something you must do alone. In fact, when your future and personal freedom are at stake, experience matters.

Driver accused of causing fatal collision after drinking

No one wants to hurt another person. Sometimes, accidents happen. You may not have realized how much you had to drink before driving, or perhaps you tested your breath and were under the limit before you got behind the wheel. Every case is different, but when lives are lost, the trouble you could face increases tenfold.

Take for instance this case. A DUI suspect has admitted that he drank two cups of whiskey and cranberry juice mixed just a few hours before he was involved in a fatal collision. According to the story, the 22-year-old man from West Palm Beach may have been involved in a street race when he crashed a 2012 Hyundai into a woman's vehicle.

Diversion programs help prevent criminal records

If you get into trouble with the law, you probably think immediately that you'll go to trial and face a penalty. The court system is a little more complicated than that, and there are now many diversion programs you may be able to use to avoid a criminal record or to reduce the penalties against you.

Florida has several diversion programs including those for truancy, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, civil citations, juvenile issues and others. For juveniles, diversion is particularly important, since an early conviction could impact minors through the rest of their lives.

Will a court uphold a DUI for riding a horse while intoxicated?

You know that you can get a DUI if you drive a vehicle while you're intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. What you may not know are all the different things that are considered to be vehicles. A bicycle might be considered to be a vehicle, and so is a truck or car. In this case, a woman faced a DUI because she allegedly rode a horse while intoxicated.

Can you really drive a horse? Does it qualify as a vehicle under the law?

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