Much has changed in the practice of Florida criminal defense during COVID. With varying orders being issued by the Florida Supreme Court, the Chief Judges of the Circuits, County and local municipalities, we are all dealing with the semi-shutdown as best we can. It seems that new orders, tweaking the last set, are made about every other week.
In any divorce or dissolution of marriage, an area of great concern(s) is the division of assets and debts. In Florida, the law provides for an "equitable distribution" of marital assets and liabilities. While a divorce court must begin with the presumption that marital assets and liabilities are to be divided equally, the court may distribute the marital estate fairly or "equitably" instead. Fair is not always equal. Factors to be considered include the contribution of each spouse to the marriage; the duration of the marriage; and the economic circumstances of each spouse. Alimony is determined after equitable distribution.
What if injunction paperwork has been served in Florida? The Respondent or Defendant has been sued for an injunction. What many people fail to realize is that the hearing date the Respondent/Defendant just received is the TRIAL. The defense team must be prepared on that day to present all evidence to defend the case. Furthermore, an injunction can be a life sentence because; an order of protection can be valid until further order of the Court.
Constructive possession means other than physical possession. In the world of criminal defense this usually means drugs or narcotics, firearms or other contraband are found but, not in the pocket or in the bra of the defendant. Constructive possession is an important concept for cases involving possession of a firearm by a convicted felon or a concealed firearm or weapon without a license. For example, you possess that television on your wall, you can move it, throw it away, and beat it with a baseball bat because you control it. However, no one carries around their flat screen in their back pocket.
For some it is getting the letter or notice of Habitual Traffic Offender ("HTO") in the mail. For others it is getting arrested after being pulled over for no reason or even if there was a traffic citation, surprise! The license is being, or has been, suspended for five (5) years. The driver has been habitualized! After Notice from the DHSMV, we can determine the next step to attempt to reinstate the license. An analysis of the driver record may be required.
Criminal and traffic defense can be a difficult area to practice. It seems that every time a constitutional protection might favor a person, the government finds a way to circumvent or change the law. A recent criminal traffic case of driving on a suspended license reminded me of a stop that the fact that it is a legal stop absolutely blows my mind.
One option in Criminal sentencing is probation. Some people are not aware that there is an option to request to terminate or get off of probation early by filing a motion for early termination of probation. A probationer does have to file a written motion in the court and request a court hearing. Most judges will consider the motion to terminate probation early after half the time is served and all conditions are completed.
Tony Stewart's crash that killed another driver, Kevin Ward Jr., will be investigated by law enforcement. A few minutes into the business day and I am already being asked "for what?" While some feel this is an incident for which Mr. Ward waived any civil actions by assuming the risk of death when he exited his vehicle and tried to confront a race car,, there are others that want our government to investigate all incidents of death with an eye towards prosecution.
What is the difference between a technical and a substantive violation of probation? This is a common question when a family is facing a violation of probation or VOP. There are basically two ways a person can violate probation. One type of probation violation is called substantive and the other is technical.
What happens when you forget to pay your traffic ticket? A new traffic law went into effect on January 1, 2013 that changed what can happen if a person forgets to pay or otherwise act upon the traffic ticket or citation. Under former law, once 30 days passed, the driver would be convicted or adjudicated, points were assessed and the license was suspended and that was it.