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Each lawyer in this firm has more than 25 years experience practicing criminal defense in Gainesville, Florida and surrounding areas, including Alachua, Levy, Bradford, Union and Gilchrist Counties.

(352) 378-1107

1800 N. Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32609
Fax (352) 378-0103
Visa / MC Acceptedcredit

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"Current news and information concerning criminal law"

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Recently, I have heard from several people that they have been told by police officers that they had to answer an officer’s questions or face being arrested for “obstructing an investigation”? Is this true? In general, an officer may ask a lawfully detained person to identify him or herself.  As with most legal questions, the full answer is not absolute and depends on specific circumstances, but, in general, it is not true that you must answer further questions, and an arrest would be unlawful. The law is far from crystal clear, and swirls around the definition and interpretation of the right to remain silent. A new case from the Florida Supreme Court has changed the law within our state as to the consequences of silence. Skip to the bottom for the short answer; read on for an explanation of how you get there…

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You have just been arrested for a first DUI and you are reeling with questions.  Your driver’s license was taken by the arresting officer and you are faced with looming issues of how to manage work, school, and/or family care.  Immediate legal advice is critical to maintain or maximize your ability to drive for work, educational, medical, and other necessary aspects of your life.

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ALERT: DUI Checkpoint Scheduled on Friday, August 7, 2015, on South West 20th Avenue in Gainesville, Florida

Be aware that WUFT radio is reporting today that the Gainesville Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies are conducting another DUI checkpoint this Friday night, August 7, 2015, in Gainesville, Florida.  This check point will be located in the 4500 block of South West 20th Avenue and will be conducted between 9:00 pm this Friday night and 1:00 am, according to the announcement.

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BEWARE: DUI Checkpoint Scheduled on Friday, July 31, 2015, on West University Ave. in Gainesville, Florida

Be aware that local media outlets are reporting that the Gainesville Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies are conducting a DUI checkpoint this Friday night, July 31, 2015, in Gainesville, Florida.  This check point will be located in the westbound lanes of the 3300 block of West University Avenue and conducted between 9:00 pm this Friday night and 3:00 am.

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BEWARE: DUI Checkpoint Scheduled For Friday June 26, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida, On Archer Road

Be aware that the Gainesville Police Department, in conjunction with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Florida Highway Patrol, University of Florida Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies, will be conducting a DUI checkpoint this Friday night, June 26, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  This check point will be located in the westbound lanes of the 3200 block of SW Archer Road and conducted between 9:00 pm this Friday night and 3:00 am the following morning, Saturday, June 27, 3015.

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Arrested & Taken to Jail: Be Careful About What You Say Over the Jail Phone, You Are Being Recorded

Having handled hundreds of criminal cases as a defense attorney in Gainesville, Florida, for more than 25 years, I’ve represented many individuals who literally ruined their potential legal or factual defense by making statements on the phone from the jail.  The purpose of this blog is to spread the word that everything one says from a jail house phone is being recorded.  Courts in Florida have consistently held that one has no expectation of privacy when speaking on the phone at a jail facility, thus recorded jail phone conversations are admissible at trial in criminal cases.

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Understanding the Florida Crime of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

As a criminal defense attorney for more than 25 years in a college town (Gainesville, Florida), I’ve represented hundreds of individuals charged with the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia.  Most of these individuals have been college students or otherwise law abiding citizens.  Many are stunned to learn that the maximum penalty for mere possession of drug paraphernalia in the State of Florida is one year in jail and a $1000 dollar fine, a first degree misdemeanor. See Florida Statute 893.147.  Even more surprising for many is how vague and broad the statute is.  The purpose of this blog is to educate the reader about the definitions and applicability of Florida’s drug paraphernalia statute.

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Welcome Incoming Freshmen: How to Avoid Getting Arrested in Gainesville

August marks the month when new freshmen students invade the streets of Gainesville, Florida.  It is a time of excitement and growth for many young people who are often experiencing their first taste of freedom from parental constraints.  For many new students and their parents it is easy to mistakenly view Gainesville as a student friendly town where local police agencies are surely tolerant and forgiving in their enforcement of the criminal laws of the State of Florida.  In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.  The reality is that our local law enforcement agencies, including the Gainesville Police Department (GPD), University of Florida Police  Department (UPD) and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ASO), are notoriously intolerant of student misconduct.  Consequently, Gainesville is one of the easiest college towns in America for a student to get arrested.  The purpose of this blog is to educate incoming students, in hopes that they can avoid  falling victim to the police forces that run the streets and bars of Gainesville, Florida.

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Understanding Florida’s Prosecution of Teenagers Engaged in Consensual Sexual Behavior

In recent weeks there has been an internet explosion of articles about Florida’s prosecution of a teenager engaged in sexual activity with another teenager.  Much of the focus of the recent articles has been the fact that the sexual activity was between two teenagers of the same sex.  Some of the articles seem to imply that the prosecution has occurred only because the teenagers are of the same sex.  See for example: Huffington Post report: Florida Teen, Faces Felony Charges Over Same-Sex Relationship

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Understanding the DUI Deferred Prosecution Alternative in Gainesville, Florida

A DUI deferred prosecution program or other DUI diversion alternative does not exist in many jurisdictions in Florida.  Fortunately, in Gainesville, Florida, and the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida (which includes Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties) there is DUI deferred prosecution alternative available for some individuals charged with Driving Under the Influence.  This article will focus on the DUI deferred prosecution program as it currently exists in the Gainesville, Florida area.  It should be understood that the availability and requirements of a DUI diversion alternative may vary greatly between each of Florida’s twenty judicial circuits.   For detailed information about DUI prosecutions in other Florida circuits, one should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer whose practice is focused in the judicial circuit where the DUI is alleged to have occurred.

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Engagement to Public Defender: No Reason for Removal from Jury

On February 5, 2013 , the First District Court of Appeals reversed convictions for felony charges of Burglary and Aggravated Assault and remanded the case back to the trial court to be retried as a result of the trial court judge improperly excusing a prospective juror based on their engagement status to a public defender.

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Understanding The Deferred Prosecution Alternative In Florida Criminal Misdemeanor Cases

A deferred prosecution agreement is a contract between a person charged with a criminal act and the prosecuting authority, which diverts the case out of the formal criminal justice system.  If the accused individual complies with the conditions of the agreement, the criminal charges are usually dismissed at the end of the deferment period. This article will focus on deferred prosecution agreements in Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit, which includes Gainesville, Florida, and Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.  It should be understood that the availability and requirements of a deferred prosecution agreement may vary greatly between each of Florida’s twenty judicial circuits.  For detailed information about deferred prosecution agreements in other Florida circuits, one should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney whose practice is focused in that particular judicial circuit.  A map of Florida’s judicial circuits can be found here.

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Appellate Court Vacates Two of Four Convictions in Casey Anthony Case

On Friday , January 25, 2013, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Florida issued an opinion vacating two of the four convictions previously imposed against Casey Anthony for the crimes of furnishing false information to law enforcement during an investigation.  The court noted that both the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution contain “double jeopardy” clauses prohibiting multiple prosecutions , convictions, and punishments for the same criminal offense. 

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Florida Supreme Court Asked to Weigh in on Judicial Facebook Friends

Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals has recently asked the Florida Supreme Court to answer the following as a question of great public importance:

Where the presiding judge in a criminal case has accepted the prosecutor assigned to the case as a Facebook “friend,”would a reasonably prudent person fear that he could not get a fair and impartial trial, so that the defendant’s motion for disqualification should be granted?

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Disclosure of “Draft” Police Reports in Zimmerman Case is Unusual and Extraordinary

I've been practicing criminal law in Florida for more than 25 years and have represented hundreds of individuals in criminal cases over the years.  In almost every case I've demanded discovery of all written statements and reports of law enforcement officers, but never - never - has a “draft” report ever been disclosed in discovery.  Now I’m wondering how many “draft” reports have been hidden from defendants in criminal cases in Florida over the years.  Surely, there have been other cases where police officers create a “draft” report and then made changes.

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Understanding Florida’s Underage Drinking Law

As a criminal defense attorney practicing law in a college town (Gainesville, Florida) I've seen more than my fair share of young adults, ages 18 - 20, charged with the criminal offense of underage possession of alcohol.  Underage possession of alcohol is a second degree misdemeanor in Florida and carries the potential punishment of imprisonment up to sixty days in jail for the first offense.  See Florida Statute 562.111(1)  I can’t help but feel sorry for these young adults and their parents as the realization sinks in that this “criminal” activity will be of public record, potentially for life.  Yes, we live in a country where one is old enough to get one’s legs blown off in Afghanistan serving in the armed forces at eighteen years of age, but when one returns to the “land of the free” and possesses a can of beer one can be arrested, taken to jail and charged with a crime.

Tagged in: alcohol underage
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Citizen Journalists Needed To Video Record Police Engaged In Public Activities

Like it or not, we live in a country where the average citizen’s word is practically worthless if contradicted by the words of a police officer.  As a consequence of this reality, the majority of police misconduct that occurs daily goes unreported and undetected by Courts and prosecutors.  The misuse of  physical force is routinely blamed on the suspect by police officers.  The use of coercive investigative techniques are routinely denied by police officers.   The illegal detention of citizens is a daily occurrence, sustained by the exaggerations and misrepresentation of police officers.  Without a video recording of what actually occurred, the typical citizen, once arrested, is often powerless in a court of law when faced with the lies and distortions perpetrated by police officers.  One partial solution to this problem is the citizen who is willing to video record police officers engaged in their daily activities.

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How to Lose Your License Without Even Driving

There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but driving away may not be one of them if you have violated a number of non-driving laws/regulations in the State of Florida.  It is reasonable to guess that violating civil or criminal traffic laws or using a motor vehicle to commit a crime might be cause to suspend one’s license, but many other reasons may provoke a revocation of one’s driving privilege.

Tagged in: drivers license
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Federal Appellate Court Refuses To Find Florida’s Drug Statute Unconstitutional

On August 24, 2012, the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Federal District Court that had found Florida’s drug statute unconstitutional in the case of Mackle Shelton vs State of Florida.   The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals did not actually decide the constitutional issue presented, finding instead that consideration of the defendant’s question of law was procedurally barred under the provisions of the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996.  The lower court that was reversed had found that the Florida drug statute’s failure to require proof of knowing possession of contraband violated due process of law.

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In Sharply Worded Dissent, Florida Justice Perry Criticizes Majority Drug Law Ruling

In a sharply worded dissent in the case of State v. Luke Jarrod Adkins, Florida Supreme Court Justice James E.C. Perry criticizes the majority of the Court  and refers to their opinion as being built on a foundation of flawed “common sense” which shatters bedrock constitutional principles.

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