Although Florida added a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, the possession of marijuana without a medical card is still a criminal offense. Possession of less than twenty (20) grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine. Simple possession of over twenty (20) grams is felony with up to five (5) years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
In criminal defense a common question is whether a deferred prosecution and a deferred adjudication mean the same or are different. Jurisdictions use different language for similar or even the same legal concepts. This can make legalese confusing for those new to the criminal justice system or the geography.
In Florida, a person can seal or expunge criminal records but only once in a lifetime and only if the charge(s) qualifies. Not all charges can be sealed or expunged. The Petition to Expunge or Seal must be filed in the county where the case originated. In Florida, expunging a case or sealing an arrest or case are different things.
In a criminal case, it is not uncommon for a person accused of a crime for the first time to want to keep their record clean or not have a criminal record whatsoever at the conclusion of the case. Unfortunately, if there has been an arrest or the officer instead issued a Notice to Appear, sometimes referred to as a written arrest, then there is already a record. That record will be that the person stands accused of whatever charge the police suggested.
In criminal cases a bond is an amount set by the court to allow a person to remain at liberty while their case is pending. There are several standard conditions of bond such as do not use illegal drugs and do not violate the law. The Court can set other conditions of pre-trial release such as curfew, day reporting and drug testing.
In order to prove vehicular homicide in Florida, the State must prove reckless driving plus one additional fact which is the death of a person. Therefore, vehicular homicide is simply stated reckless driving plus a death caused by the reckless driving.
The criminal offense of Solicitation of Prostitution is a second degree misdemeanor. Normally, a second degree misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum of sixty (60) days and a five hundred dollar ($500) fine. However, effective 2013, the Florida legislature changed the fine for soliciting a prostitute to a mandatory five thousand dollar ($5,000) fine. According to this relatively new law, a judge has no discretion. The fine that is required to be imposed is five thousand dollars ($5,000).
Auto accidents frequently give rise to criminal cases in addition to civil lawsuits and traffic tickets. For example law enforcement may charge a driver in a car crash with Reckless Driving with Property Damage, Vehicular Manslaughter, DUI Manslaughter, DUI with Serious Bodily Injury, DUI with Property Damage, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Failure to Render Aid, etc. Vehicular Manslaughter is essentially Reckless Driving with a Death. If law enforcement does not believe a crime was committed, then the driver will be charged with careless driving. (More on the difference between Careless Driving and Reckless Driving)
In a criminal case, surrender or turning yourself in is the best policy and really the only way to resolve an open warrant or arrest order, sometimes also called a capias . Some may argue with that statement but really every other option is merely turning your self in or surrendering in a different form.