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Fort Myers Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

Facing a burglary charge? These are the possible penalties

When facing criminal charges in the state of Florida, the penalties associated with a conviction can be significant. If convicted on a burglary charge, for example, the associated consequences include years behind bars and hefty fines. Such penalties can have a number of adverse effects on your life now and in the future.

Most people believe that once prosecutors charge them with a criminal offense, a conviction is sure to follow. This simply is not true. A charge is the result of an accusation. In order for prosecuting attorneys to achieve the outcome they are looking for, they have to prove, without a doubt that you did what you stand accused of. This is not always easy for them to do.

Misdemeanor offenses should not be taken lightly

Many people in Fort Meyers may know almost intuitively that if they are charged with a felony offense, they really should seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. After all, the possibility of going to jail is a scary prospect. Moreover, a felony record can make it nearly impossible to find a job, and, in some cases, may even leave a person without the ability to work in their chosen profession.

However, those in South Florida who face a misdemeanor offense should not take such charges lightly, either. This is true even if it is the first time a person has found themselves in trouble with the law and even if they are not facing jail time.

Possession with intent to distribute marijuana is a felony

A previous post on this blog discussed how the use, possession and sale of marijuana is still illegal in Florida, except for medicinal purposes. In many cases, however, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor. However, if a person has over 20 grams of marijuana in their possession, then police and prosecutors may charge them with possession with intent to distribute. This offense is a third-degree felony under Florida law, which means that a person can go to prison for up to five years, even for a first-time offense.

Those in Florida who are accused of this offense should be aware that prosecutors do not have to prove that they were actually planning to sell the marijuana or exchange it with others. All that must be shown is that the suspect was in possession of at least 20 grams of marijuana.

Driving safely in a Florida rainstorm

If you have lived in Florida for any time, you probably know how quickly the weather can turn, especially at this time of year. In the middle of a perfect day, the skies can turn dark, and the rain can fall in blinding sheets. You want to take every precaution to arrive home safely, and you hope other drivers will do the same.

It may seem as if there are two kinds of drivers during one of these summer storms. One kind of driver feels invincible and may not even reduce speed to avoid hydroplaning in standing water. The other creeps along the highway with one foot on the brake. Both kinds of drivers create a traffic hazard that can place you and your family at risk of an accident. Perhaps one of the most dangerous things you can do when caught in a heavy rain is to turn on your hazards.

K-9 search leads to Fort Meyers drug arrest

A Fort Meyers police officer arrested two young men after searching their vehicles and allegedly locating illegal drugs and firearms. One of the men faces a drug crime charge, specifically, possession of marijuana, as well as a charge related to his possessing a firearm with a felony conviction.

The same man also faces a charge of obstruction, although what he did to obstruct the work of the police was not clear.

How plea negotiations factor into the criminal defense process

From television and movies, many people in America might think that every criminal case is destined to end up in front of a jury, with both sides making impassioned pleas about the guilt or innocence of the accused. But, the reality is that there are simply far too many criminal cases to be processed for that type of approach to be feasible. As a result, the actual reality is that most criminal cases in Florida and throughout the country end via plea negotiations, in which the defendant pleads guilty to the crimes charged in exchange for a lesser sentence, or to lesser charges which come with a less severe sentence.

In our country, the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" is one of the bedrock principles of the criminal justice system. Every defendant who is charged with a crime does indeed have the constitutional right to take the case all the way to a trial, including even a jury trial in many cases. However, many defendants decide to explore other avenues to resolve their cases.

Have you been charged with first-degree murder?

Standing accused of a serious crime can throw anyone's life off balance. In some cases, serious accusations could result in a person spending time behind bars while his or her trial takes place. If authorities accuse you of first-degree murder, you are in an extremely difficult predicament.

First-degree murder is commonly considered one of the most serious crimes. Of course, you may not fully understand what that exact allegation means. Murder charges can come in varying degrees, and you will certainly want to understand what your charge means for your case and possible defense options.

How common are DUI charges and how might you handle your case?

Many of our readers in Florida probably know someone who has been arrested for drunk driving at some point. While we are all aware that such conduct is incredibly dangerous and can lead to serious legal problems, there are many people who still take this chance. But, how common are DUI charges and, if you face such a charge, how might you handle the case?

Well, for starters, DUI charges are some of the most common criminal charges people face in America, including in Florida. Some estimates show that, in any given year, approximately 1 million people in America will be arrested for drunk driving charges or for driving under the influence of drugs. If you find yourself in this unenviable position, it is time to start thinking about how you will approach the defense strategy in your case.

'Click It or Ticket' saves lives

From the time you were small, you may remember adults telling you to buckle your seat belt. For years, this was just good advice. Now, however, it is the law in many states across the country. In fact, Florida law requires you to wear a seat belt whether you are driving, a passenger in the front seat or sitting in the back seat. Failing to buckle up is a primary offense, which means police can ticket you even if you commit no other violation.

With Memorial Day approaching, and with it the start of the summer holidays, it is likely that traffic will become even heavier. Because of this, Florida police are joining the national "Click It or Ticket" campaign by increasing patrols for the next few weeks. Not only will wearing your seatbelt reduce the chances of injury during an accident, but it may also help you avoid legal trouble.

Facing a 'zero tolerance' atmosphere when it comes to drug crimes

Of all the states in the country in which law enforcement officials seemingly have a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to the enforcement of illegal drug laws, some may say Florida takes the cake. As one of the most populous states as well as one through which many illegal drugs enter the country, state and federal law enforcement officials certainly maintain an active presence in Florida. This can have an impact on many different types of cases, from those involving allegations of wide-ranging drug smuggling operations, to those involving something as simple as the possession of marijuana.

When it comes to any type of drug crime in Florida, arrestees and defendants will probably feel like they are at a disadvantage from the get-go. Tough questioning from police officers, direct and forceful allegations from the prosecutor's office -- these are highly likely in any drug crimes case, large or small.

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