Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

How Can I Bond Out Of Jail Without Paying A Fortune?

If you have been arrested, the first thing you will try to do is get out of jail. But, unlike the popular board game, Monopoly, there are no “Get Out Of Jail Free” cards. In many instances, in order to get out of jail, you will have to post bond or pay bail. The amount you are required to pay depends on the type of case against you, but for a lot of people it can be a real financial hardship to have to pay to get out of jail. If you have concern about how you will get out of jail, keep in mind there are some things you can do that make it easier to come up with the money you need.

Here are some things to consider when you need to post bond, but are not able to pay a fortune:

• Seek a court order that lowers the amount of bond you have to pay. This will require you to file a motion and set forth the information as to why you are entitled to a lower bond amount. A qualified attorney can look into this for you and make an argument on your behalf with the circumstances are right.
• For some cases, there are programs available that allow for release without the necessity of posting bond. If you qualify for one of these programs, you might have to check in periodically or may have to remain under court supervision.
• Depending on the type of charge, or if you are a first time offender, an argument can be made that the amount of bail is too high for your case. This also takes partnering with an experienced attorney to review your case and make the argument for you. But if the amount is lowered, the investment of good legal counsel is worth your time.

You might also consider calling a bail bondsman. A bondsman will post bond for you for a percentage of the bond amount – usually 10%. For example, if the bond is $2,000.00, you might be able to have bondsman post that amount, and only pay the bondsman $200.00 or some other smaller percentage of what is due. You do have to complete your case when using a bondsman. If you fail to participate in your case (such as by missing a court date) the bond can be revoked, and this will end up costing you more financially, as well as requiring you to appear before the court more frequently.

If you have questions about how to get out of jail, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

Two Ways To Violate Probation In Florida

Agreeing to go on probation is a popular way to resolve a criminal charge against you. The benefit to the defendant going on probation is that you get to stay out of jail while serving your sentence. Staying out of jail is the most attractive aspect of probation for most criminal defendants. And, for the prosecution, the benefit of probation is that the defendant is still punished, has to follow certain terms that should rehabilitate the defendant, and, if the defendant fails to follow the rules, the defendant may be incarcerated in the future.
The key to having a successful probationary term is to follow all of the rules and regulations in place. If you can do this, you will be rewarded with whatever agreement you made when you decided to go on probation. A typical agreement is one that includes placing the defendant on probation in exchange for reducing or dismissing one or more charges against the defendant, upon successful completion of the probation. If you are not sure what you are supposed to do while on probation, ask(!), because a violation will cause you more trouble.

Two ways to violate probation in Florida include:

• Being arrested for a new crime while you are on probation. This type of violation is called a “substantive violation,” and it is usually easy to identify because it involves committing a new crime or being ticketed for something new.
• Failing to show up for an appointment, or follow one of the administrative rules of your probation. This type of violation is referred to as a “technical violation,” and it can be more difficult to spot than an actual violation.

Regardless of whether you have committed a substantive or a technical violation of your probation, the violation, itself, is a new case and charge that you have to defend. When you have a new charge to defend, on top of the original charge, you have to take an aggressive approach to the defense of your case. We want you to be successful while on probation, because your success is our success. If you have questions, call us today so we can explain the process, and you can be sure you understand what you are agreeing to when you agree to go on probation.

If you want more information about how probation works, or what to expect while you are on probation, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West to schedule an appointment today.

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

If I Am Charged With A Sex Crime, Do I Have To Register As A Sex Offender?

The range of punishment for criminal charges is different, depending on the type of charge. For example, a traffic-related crime can have an impact on your right to drive while a drug-related crime might mean you have to spend some time in jail. In addition to the legal consequences of being arrested, there can be damage to your reputation or in where you are allowed to travel, depending on the type of crime. One crime that can really hamper your ability to do a lot of thigs is a sex crime. Many sex offenders are not allowed to live in certain areas or hold certain jobs. There is also the possibility that you will have to register as a sex offender if you are a defendant in this type of case.

The list of sex crimes that require you to register as a sex offender is long, and includes some of the following acts:

• Kidnapping of a minor by an adult.
• False imprisonment of a minor by an adult.
• Luring or enticing a minor child.
• Unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
• Buying or selling minors into sex trafficking.
• Procuring a minor for purposes of prostitution.
• Taking certain video content of a minor.

If you are convicted of one of these crimes, or any other sex crime as defined by the state statutes, you will have to register as a sex offender. Once registered, you will be unable to live within a certain mile area of a school, and you will not be permitted to hold jobs where you are required to interact with minors. There can also be limits placed on your freedom in the form of imposing a curfew or requiring you to take annual polygraph exams. Failing to abide by the rules for sex offenders, if you are on probation in your case, is a probation violation. Violating probation can cause you to face the full weight of the charge, as well as having to defend against the violation. We are sensitive to this area of law and how it impacts your entire family.

We work hard to protect your rights and prevent damage to your reputation within the community, at work, or among your peers. Call us today to find out more about sex crimes, when you are required to register as a sex offender, and how to best defend a sex crime.

If you have questions about sex crime cases, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West. Call us today to talk about your case and learn what to do next.

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

Three Reasons Criminal Defendants Should Not Represent Themselves

The internet is full of information, ranging from everything on how to repair your dishwasher to how to hang Christmas lights without shorting out your electricity. You can enter certain search words and be immediately directed to volumes upon volumes of instruction, and try your hand at whatever need you have at the moment. Some people are able to do this without incident, while others encounter problems along the way. Depending on what you are trying to “DIY,” you can give it a shot on your own, or you might be better off enlisting the assistance of a professional. If you have been arrested for a crime, you do have the right to appear pro se (meaning, represent yourself in Court), but doing so can have disastrous results.

Three reasons criminal defendants should not represent themselves are:

• Many cases have several court appearance requirements. If you miss a docket call, depending on the charges against you, it is possible to have a warrant issued or have a term of probation revoked.
• The prosecution will be looking to introduce all the evidence they have against you, but that does not mean all of the evidence the prosecution has gathered should be allowed into Court. If you are unaware of what is allowed and what is not, you might wind up having damaging information introduced that should have never been allowed to go before the judge or a jury.
• If the other side files a motion in your case, you need to know how to evaluate the content of that motion and be prepared to offer an opposing view, supported by legal precedent. This requires specialized knowledge in the area of legal research and writing, as well as knowing the Court’s procedure in how motions are heard.

Whether you have been charged with a marine life violation, a DUI, drug possession, or some other crime, let us put our knowledge and skill to work for you. We will make sure you are informed at every step in the process, and are prepared to appear in Court when needed. Call us today to go over your case.

If you have questions about criminal defense, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.  

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

Will Reckless Driving Cause Me To Lose My License?

Having a driver’s license is a privilege, and not necessarily a right. This is easily forgotten, because most of us take it for granted that we are going to be able to get up every day and get in our car to go where we need. There are some things that will cause you to lose your right to drive, and some of them may not be as obvious as you might think.

Having too many tickets, in too short a time period is one way you can lose your license. Being convicted of DUI is another way your driver’s license is put in jeopardy. And you can even face possible loss of your driving privileges if you are charged with reckless driving. Reckless Driving is a more serious driving offense than simply driving faster than the law allows, and here are some things to know about how Reckless Driving charges can impact your license:

• A first time offender can be jailed for up to 90 days, or pay a fine of between $25.00 and $500.00. The punishment for a first time offender might be incarceration, payment of the fine, or both.
• A second offense for reckless driving carries jail time of up to 6 months, a fine of between $50.00 and $1,000.00, or both.
• The law also provides for a mandatory revocation of your driver’s license if you have three Reckless Driving convictions within a twelve-month period.

Sometimes, multiple charges are filed against you, including lesser violations along with a charge of Reckless Driving. In order to reach a satisfactory outcome in these types of cases, you have to defend all of the charges against you. This requires a thorough review of your case, and the development of a defense strategy geared towards disposing of all of the charges. We have experience defending people charged with any number of, and all types of criminal charges. Let us help you maintain your driving privileges, and help to minimize the impact criminal charges can have on your life. We understand how crucial it is to stay out of jail, so you can continue to go to work and/or school, and provide for your family. We work with you so you are informed every step of the way, and feel comfortable about where your case is headed.

Contact our office for answers to your questions about reckless driving. Let an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West help you today. We offer initial consultations by phone, and are just a call away.

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

How Long Will Charges Stay On My Record, And What Can I Do About It?

If you have been arrested, one of things you might be wondering about is how long the charges stay on your record. You might also want to know if there is anything you can do to clear your criminal record. Both of these are very valid questions, because having a record can make things like getting a job or getting into a certain school more difficult. When trying to determine how long charges stay on your record, and what you can do about it, there are a lot of questions to answer at the outset. For example, are you wanting to seal your record or have the arrest expunged? Were the charges misdemeanor charges, or were you arrested and charged with a felony? How long has it been since the arrest, and what was the outcome of the case? These are all things that are taken into consideration when you are trying to keep harmful information off of your record.

An arrest will remain on your record forever, unless you take certain steps to have it removed. If you are interested in having your records expunged it is critical to keep the following things in mind before you undertake the process:

• An expungement will only prevent the general public from viewing your arrest record. Certain law enforcement and governmental agencies will still have access to your records.
• First time offenders have a greater chance of success at expunging their records than do people with prior offenses.
• Misdemeanor charges are treated differently than felony charges.
• The outcome of your case plays a role in whether the Court will enter an order of expungement
Knowing that not all crimes are eligible for expungement or that how your case was ultimately decided can impact your chances at expungement is an important part in your decision as to whether you seek an expungement. Let us review the facts of your case, and let you know your options. We know your privacy is important to you, and having an arrest record can infringe on those privacy concerns. We will talk over your choices with you, so you can make a decision that works.

If you have questions about how to clear your arrest record, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

The Difference Between First And Second Degree Misdemeanors

Crimes are classified into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Of the two, misdemeanors are the less serious, and the range of punishment is less severe. That does not mean that if you are charged with a misdemeanor that you should ignore the charges, because every case can bring consequences that are difficult to accept. In any case, regardless of the severity or the facts, the best approach is to partner with a qualified criminal defense attorney, so your rights are protected. Nearly every case requires you to pay fines and costs, and most cases include the possibility of serving time behind bars, unless you are able to reach a different resolution.

The classification of crimes in Florida also includes the maximum range of punishment for each crime. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to (and no more than) one year in jail, while felonies can be punished with up to a life sentence or the death penalty. Most traffic violations, including DUIs, are considered misdemeanors. More serious crimes, like murder, are felonies. There are also degrees of crime within these classifications, and for misdemeanors the difference between a first and second degree case is as follows:

● A first degree misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor, and it can land you in jail for up to a year and require you to pay a fine of up to $1,000.00. Theft of property with a value of at least $100.00, but no more than $300.00 in value, for example, is defined as a first degree misdemeanor. All it takes is walking out of the store with a pair of Air Jordans on your feet, without paying, and you can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor.
● A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and payment of a fine of up to $500.00. This type of case is less serious than a first degree misdemeanor, and, in many instances, the defendant can negotiate a punishment that eliminates the requirement to spend time in jail.

Probation is a popular way to resolve misdemeanor cases, but you have to make sure you can comply with the terms in order to go this route. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will help you decide what is best for you and make strategic arguments on your behalf.

If you have questions about misdemeanor criminal cases, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West. Call us today for help.

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

Two Ways To Land On The Habitual Traffic Offender List

All of us have driven faster than the speed limit at one time or another, or “rolled” through a stop sign when in a hurry. Minor traffic offenses such as these may seem insignificant, but the more frequently you engage in driving patterns that are considered against the law, the more likely you are to wind up without a driver’s license. If you lose your right to drive, the hardship on you and your family can be great, because you will have to find some other way to get around. For one-driver families, or for those of us that drive a lot every day, it can be a real challenge to find alternative forms of transportation when you aren’t able to drive yourself. But, that is exactly what can happen if you aren’t careful and take too many risks behind the wheel.

In Florida, if you do certain things while driving, you can be placed on the Habitual Traffic Offender List. If you are placed on this list, your license can be taken away from you. Here are two ways to land on the Habitual Traffic Offender List:

● If you rack up more than fifteen tickets for a moving violation, you will be considered a habitual traffic offender. A moving violation is something that happens while you are driving, like getting too many speeding tickets or receiving a citation for reckless driving.
● If you get more than three convictions for more serious driving incidents, like DUI, you will be classified as a habitual traffic offender.

These violations are noted on your driving record, and each notation is “worth” a certain amount of points. When too many points are accumulated, you are considered a habitual traffic offender and your driver’s license can be suspended. It is also worth noting that if your license is already suspended and you drive anyway, you will be arrested or receive a Notice To Appear in court for driving without a license. This misdemeanor case can lead to a longer suspension of your driver’s license. And, if you get too many convictions for Driving With A Suspended License, you can be labed a Habitual Traffic Offender and any subsequent Driving With A Suspended License charge could be a felony.
The best way to avoid being on the Habitual Traffic Offender list is to aggressively defend every traffic ticket you receive. It might seem pointless to try and fight a simple speeding ticket, but if you don’t, you give up your chance to keep points off of your record. Always keep in mind there is no case that is not worth defending, especially when it comes to being able to maintain your right to drive.

For help with traffic citations and to learn more about how you can keep your driver’s license safe, contact our office today. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.

Expungements & Sealments Uncategorized

Three Things To Consider When Seeking Expungement Of A Criminal Record

Having a clean criminal record is important for a lot of reasons. One of the most well-known reasons for keeping your record clear is that it is easier to get a job if you do not have a criminal record. But, a criminal record impacts your life in other ways – some of them may come as surprises. For example, did you know some landlords will not rent to a person with a criminal record? It is also not uncommon for a car rental agency to deny rental to people who have dings on their record. And, you might not be able to obtain certain licenses or permits (such as the right to carry a weapon) if your criminal record contains certain information. If you have concern over whether things in your past may come back to haunt you, take action to make sure your rights are protected. One way you can do this is to seek an expungement of your record, if you qualify.

Florida law contains a process whereby a criminal defendant can ask a judge to expunge their record. Three things to consider when seeking an expungement of a criminal record, and that will help determine if you are eligible, include:

1. If you were arrested, but charges were never filed, you might qualify for an expungement of the arrest record.
2. If you were arrested, but the charges against you were later dismissed you can ask that the information about the arrest and subsequent charges be cleared from your record.
3. If you were found not guilty, or were successful on probation, you can request expungement of the charges.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, such as being in a better position to get a job or apply for certain things, having an order of expungement can also help you to stay on the road. If the charges were traffic related and you are successful in getting them expunged, harmful points stay off of your driving record. This is important because the more points you accumulate, the more likely you are to lose your license or pay more for insurance. But, be careful when asking for an expungement of your record, because not every case is eligible for the process. In order to help you determine if you can seek an expungement, and if so, how the result will benefit you, call us today. We will look over the facts of your case and explain your options to you.

If you have questions about clearing your criminal record, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West.

Criminal Procedure Uncategorized

Consequences To Violating Probation

For most people charged with a crime, the first concern is how to stay out of jail. In order to avoid this result, a lot of people facing criminal charges accept a plea offer that includes probation as a way to resolve the case against them. Typically, accepting probation will keep you out of jail, but only if you follow all of the rules while you are serving out your probationary term. If you make a mistake, the consequences can be harsh, and you could end up being punished more severely than what you originally thought might happen.

There are two possible consequences for violating probation.

• Reinstatement. The judge can reinstate you under the same terms and conditions as the original probation term. This is sort of like getting a second bite of the apple.
• Revocation. The judge can revoke your probation, which means the terms and conditions of the original probationary period is over. Then, the judge can institute whatever sentence he or she desires, so long as it is otherwise legal under the law. This means that the judge can implement any sentence under the statute, including prison time.

Unlike a plea offer in a normal case, the parties’ agreement on resolution for a violation of probation has no impact on the judge. He or she can implement whatever sentence they want – so long as it’s otherwise legal.

And, don’t forget, a probation violation is a new charge in and of itself. So, not only will you have to face the full range of punishment possible for the original charges, but you will also have to defend a probation violation charge. Also, if the violation was due to the commission of a new crime, you will have to face those charges too. This type of circumstance can cause you to stand and answer for multiple criminal charges, and the possible punishment can be great.

In order to avoid these harsh realities, it is best to stay on track during your probation. If you are not sure what is expected of you while on probation, speak up and ask! Once you are clear on what you need to do, put a plan in action to make sure you are successful. If you need to change your circle of friends, do so. If there are terms you believe are out of your reach, let your attorney know before the agreement is made. Whatever questions you have about probation, and probation violations, call us today. We consider your success to be our success, and we want to help you put your best foot forward.

If you want more information about how probation works, or what to expect while you are on probation, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West to schedule an appointment today.