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Palm Beach Gardens Criminal Defense Law Blog

Domestic violence cases and mitigating factors

Does a domestic batterer ever deserve sympathy?

That's a hard question to ask and a harder one to answer -- but attorneys who advocate for the rights of those charged with domestic violence often ask the court to look on a batterer with both sympathy and compassion -- and to translate those feelings into a reduced charge or lighter sentence.

Your concealed weapons permit might not keep you out of trouble

When you received your concealed weapons permit, did you read the fine print? Many circumstances exist that prohibit you from carrying a concealed weapon despite your permit. In addition, your permit doesn't necessarily give you the right to use your weapon without restriction.

Florida takes carrying a weapon seriously. One of the state's primary duties is to protect its citizenry. On the one hand, that means that you may carry a concealed weapon if you meet the legal qualifications. On the other hand, others must also receive certain protections from you.

Learn from the mistakes of others when dealing with the police

It's important to learn from the mistakes of the others, especially when those lessons could prevent you from a critically damaged reputation and a possible jail sentence.

For example, golf legend Tiger Woods recently made headlines when he was found asleep behind the wheel of his car. The car was pulled over at the side of the road, its lights on and flashing. Damage to the driver's side of the car indicated he'd recently been in an accident.

Is legal change good or bad for domestic violence cases?

Florida is set to become the first state in the country to change the way criminal defense works when a "Stand Your Ground" law is invoked by a defendant.

Right now, if a defendant claims that he or she killed someone in self-defense, the burden rests on that defendant to make his or her case. That means that he or she has to provide convincing evidence to either the prosecutor or jury (if the the prosecutor isn't convinced) that the situation fell within the parameters of the law.

Defending against a charge of home invasion in Florida

Florida is one of the few states in the country that lists home invasion as a distinct crime, separate from other types of ordinary breaking and entering charges.

Because of the nature of a home invasion -- the very idea of which terrifies many people -- you face a stiff sentence if you're convicted.

Protect yourself against false allegations of abuse

Allegations of child abuse have a lot of power -- and some people have no reservations about using that power to manipulate or punish someone else if they think it will accomplish their goals.

Whether you're accused of abusing a child physically or sexually, one false allegation can destroy your career and ruin your reputation in your community. Learn how to protect yourself from false allegations as much as possible.

Disorderly conduct: When your public actions become a crime

Most people are on their best behavior when out in public. However, sometimes, circumstances get out of hand, and someone complains about your behavior. In some instances, the police show up to reprimand you for your behavior. If things don't go well, you could end up with a citation for disorderly conduct, or worse, you could end up in jail.

Here in Florida, certain actions in public fall under what the law refers to as a "breach of the peace" -- disorderly conduct. You may not believe that your actions rose to the level of being a second-degree misdemeanor crime or that you breached anyone's peace, but the law might see it differently.

Terroristic threats are a trap for unwary teens and preteens

If you're old enough to have children in school, you probably remember a time when threatening to set fire to your English teacher's desk or making an offhanded comment about wanting to shoot the whole band was either treated like a joke or -- at most -- cause for suspension. Doing something foolish like calling in a bomb threat in order to get out of a final exam for another day was likely to net you an expulsion.

It probably wouldn't put you in jail on a felony charge of making terroristic threats, however, which is exactly what is happening to both teenagers and preteens these days.

Be wary of defending yourself in a domestic situation in Florida

Could you be charged with a weapons crime in Florida just for trying to defend yourself,in your own home?

It's absolutely possible. In fact, at least one Florida woman spent three years in jail and two more on home arrest while her case was appealed.

Don't let a drug paraphernalia charge scare you

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a crime unlike any other -- you are essentially charged with a crime for merely owning something that might be used to get drugs into your system. It doesn't matter if you have any drugs in your possession or have ever even used drugs -- simply owning the objects themselves is a crime.

And the Florida statute on drug paraphernalia seems intentionally vague and broad, covering everything that could be used to plant or grow a drug, pack or store a drug and inject or inhale a drug.

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