March 23, 2015

Clemency Sought for Prominent Florida DUI Manslaughter Convict

It's been nearly six years since a prominent Lake County man was arrested for DUI manslaughter for the death of a 61-year-old motorcyclist returning home from Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach on his Harley-Davidson.
Nearly four years into a 10.5-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to the second-degree felony, the defendant is seeking a second chance through a request for clemency from the Florida governor.

The strategy could be effective for this particular individual, who was well-known and connected with his community. He served as a coach and umpire in local youth baseball games, served as master of ceremonies for the annual Teacher of the Year banquet and was recognized for a myriad of good deeds. When he was convicted, those who know him say all of that should have counted for more, and the judge should have granted more leniency. The family of the victim, unsurprisingly, disagrees, and have vowed to fight any attempt to reduce defendant's sentence.

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March 10, 2015

Florida Man Acquitted of Marijuana Drug Charges Using Medical Defense

In a historic case, a Florida jury acquitted a man of felony marijuana manufacturing charges after he defended himself by arguing the drug was strictly for medical purposes to treat his long-time anorexia.
Defendant had been facing a maximum five years in prison on the charges after authorities discovered nearly 50 marijuana plants on his property two years ago. He told police then - and has maintained ever since - he is not a drug dealer. He never denied growing the plants on his property, but insisted they were for personal use to treat his documented medical condition, which causes appetite suppression and frequent bouts of debilitating nausea. The marijuana, his lawyer argued, stimulates his appetite and helps keep the nausea in check.

Per Florida Statute 893.13, manufacture of marijuana is a third-degree felony.

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February 22, 2015

Daytona Drug Arrest Spurs Child Abuse Charge, Garners National Spotlight

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports there were 4,700 drug arrests made in Volusia County in 2013.
In many cases, drug-related charges are not the only offense alleged. Often, drugs are discovered in the course of police investigating some other incident, which usually means defendant is arrested on multiple criminal charges.

This is also common wherever drugs and children are involved. Anytime an adult is alleged to have exposed a child to drugs or abused drugs near a child or while caring for or driving with one in the vehicle, it's probable authorities will tack on more charges - sometimes very severe charges.

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February 15, 2015

Man Arrested in Daytona Beach for Deadly Hit-and-Run

An arrest has been made in the death of a 27-year-old chef-in-training, who reportedly died instantly after another driver slammed into him at an intersection on Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Authorities say a 40-year-old man was arrested on charges of fleeing the scene of an accident involving death, driving with a suspended license and fleeing and eluding police. More charges may be filed as the investigation continues.

While such an offense is a second-degree felony, it didn't carry a minimum mandatory penalty until last year. That's when state legislators passed a law aligning base penalties for hit-and-run fatalities with those for DUI manslaughter charges. Now, those convicted of either offense will serve at least four years in prison. The idea was to eliminate whatever incentive drunk drivers may have had to flee the scene of a deadly crash, rather than staying to render aid and provide information, as required by law.

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January 30, 2015

Daytona DUI Court Grants Offenders Second Chance

On any given day, it's estimated there are 300,000 trips made in motor vehicles in which the driver is drunk. That's according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which reports 4,000 of those drivers are arrested.
In many cases, these drivers made a one-time bad decision and will never do it again. Other times, the choice was part of a pattern of behavior perpetuated by an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

In Daytona Beach, offenders of both kinds have the possibility of a second chance in DUI Court. The Drug & DUI Courts operated within Florida's Seventh Judicial Circuit allow for non-violent offenders facing non-mandatory jail or prison sentences to receive potential reductions - and potentially other benefits - by completing a program designed to treat addiction. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of habitual offenders.

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January 7, 2015

Daytona Prostitution Sting Results in Eight Arrests

Undercover officers with the Daytona Beach Police Department initiated a "reverse prostitution sting" on New Year's Eve.heels.jpg

By morning, officers arrested eight men for misdemeanor crimes of solicitation of prostitution. Some were also charged with drug-related offenses.

A reverse prostitution sting is one in which authorities target the so-called "johns" looking to buy sex or sexual favors, as opposed to those who are selling or attempting to sell it.

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December 24, 2014

Report: Volusia Domestic Violence Cases Up, While Other Areas See Decline

There is a heightened risk of domestic violence incidents throughout the holidays, as many families are spending more time together at home, often with the added pressure of visitors, the financial burdens of gift-giving and a larger-than-normal consumption of alcohol.fighting.jpg

There are also a fair number of no-contact order violations, as previously embattled spouses seek to make amends. But such orders aren't lifted for holidays, and the penalties for even seemingly minor actions - like texting or sending a message via social media - can be severe.

A recent analysis by the Daytona News-Journal indicates there has been an increase in domestic violence cases in Volusia County over the last four years, even as reports of such crimes have declined in Flagler and across the state of Florida.

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December 20, 2014

Driving Arrests Increase With Higher Holiday Traffic Volume

AAA reports the year-end holiday travel season volume is going to be the highest on record, which goes back to 2001. In all, an estimated 99 million Americans are going to travel 50 miles or more for Christmas or New Year's Eve, which is about 4 percent more than who traveled the same distance last year.
The year-end holiday is defined as the period between Tuesday, December 23 through Sunday, January 4. Of those travelers, the vast majority - more than 90 percent - are going to be traveling by car.

Law enforcement agencies across the country - and particularly in Florida, where travel tends to be higher than in most other states - have launched a series of staggered crackdowns on various road-related violations, including drunk driving, uninsured driving and reckless driving.

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November 15, 2014

Daytona Domestic Violence Arrest Leads to Officer Resignation

Football players aren't the only ones losing their jobs following allegations of domestic violence - sometimes even before the accusation is proven in court.
A 30-year-old Daytona Beach Police officer has resigned after her spouse, a fellow officer, called police to say she'd been threatened. The accused also reportedly threatened a third fellow officer for unknown reasons.

According to allegations by the officer's same-sex partner, she tried to stop the tirade by taking her partner's gun away. However, the officer in question then took her partner's department-issued gun. For this, authorities say, she will face additional charges. She also faces charges in connection with allegedly threatening messages she sent to the third officer. In that message, the accused allegedly stated she wouldn't stop until "there is a bullet in (her) head," adding she put her on notice, "So it's premeditated."

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October 15, 2014

Daytona Murder Conviction Vacated for Prosecutor Misconduct

While the first goal in any criminal case is to avoid conviction, those who have already been convicted may seek to challenge it with an appeal.
Appellate courts in Florida generally won't overturn a conviction entirely, unless they find there was an abuse of discretion by the trial court that can't be held harmless. However, our Daytona criminal defense attorneys know there are often situations where sentences are reduced and other penalties lightened. Reasons can vary from a misinterpretation of the law to an improper denial of motion to suppress to just a general lack of evidence supporting the charges.

In the recent appeal of Crew v. Florida, the Fifth District Court of Appeals, which oversees Daytona, tossed a murder conviction and remanded the case back to trial court for numerous inappropriate character statements made by the prosecutor against the defendant during closing arguments. The trial court's declination to mitigate the effect of those statements unfairly prejudiced the defendant, according to the justices.

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October 6, 2014

Report: Central Florida DUI Arrests on the Rise

Police agencies are reporting an increase in the number of DUI arrests they have made this year.
According to a report by Click Orlando, WKMG Local 6, the number of arrests in Orange County so far this year hit 668 (and counting), which is a 4 percent increase over the 641 arrests for DUI made by the agency during the same time last year.

The increase was especially pronounced for officers in the evening unit, which reported a 20 percent jump in DUI arrests this year, with a heavy focus on the eastern quarter, near the University of Central Florida.

Officers with the UCF Police reported 70 DUI arrests total last year, but did not have similar figures yet for this year.

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October 1, 2014

Five DUI Manslaughter Charges Dropped In Florida Marijuana Impairment Case

Numerous charges against a defendant accused of causing a crash that killed five people while driving high on marijuana have been dropped after defense experts raised questions regarding the validity of the defendant's blood test results.
The move shows the kind of difference an experienced DUI defense attorney can make when a defendant is facing serious criminal charges.

According to news reports, the case unfolded in Riviera Beach in April 2013. That's when the 22-year-old defendant crashed into a car carrying five friends, one 14-year-old, two 17-year-olds and two 22-year-olds. The at-fault driver reportedly drove his vehicle down an exit ramp of I-95 and lost control, slamming into the other car.

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September 15, 2014

Florida Enhances Hit-and-Run Criminal Penalties

Recently, a woman was arrested in Daytona Beach for hit-and-run after allegedly running a stop sign and striking a city police officer's cruiser with her own vehicle on International Speedway Boulevard before fleeing.
The 35-year-old suspect was apprehended and arrested a short time later after she crashed in a vacant lot, following a brief chase by law enforcement. At the time of the incident, there were five people inside the suspect's vehicle.

While our Daytona criminal defense lawyers concede she likely would have faced some criminal charges even if she had stopped, the consequences now will likely be far more severe. She faces felony charges that include leaving the scene of a crash with damages, fleeing law enforcement officials with active lights and sirens and habitually driving with a suspended or revoked license.

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September 1, 2014

Commercial DUI in Florida Met With Harsh Penalties

The consequences for a DUI arrest in Florida are severe. The consequences for someone whose livelihood depends on their ability to drive can be even harsher. For an individual who drives for a living and was arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired on the job - a conviction can be devastating.
Our Daytona Beach DUI defense attorneys understand this is exactly the situation a Greyhound bus driver is facing, following 911 calls made by passengers aboard the vehicle.

According to WKMG Local 6 Orlando, dispatchers began receiving calls from aboard the bus by passengers who reported the bus driver was serving into other lanes on Interstate 95 for a stretch of some 30 miles.

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August 31, 2014

Modification of Domestic Violence Injunction

While domestic violence injunctions are not technically criminal sanctions, they can result in charges if there is a violation. Additionally, these legal orders, which can be handed down as part of a civil or criminal case, often have a detrimental impact on a person's livelihood and relationships.
Recently, a prominent former television news anchor from New York was arrested on charges of violating a protection order involving his wife, also a former television personality, from whom he is estranged. Authorities alleged the man made more than 100 phone calls to his ex-wife over the Memorial Day weekend. He was freed after posting $50,000 bond, but now faces the possibility of jail time. He contends he was simply trying to speak with his son, alleging his wife, now a Florida resident, was not cooperative in keeping his daily evening FaceTime visits with the boy.

Daytona domestic violence defense attorneys recognize that familial disputes like this have the potential to spiral out of control. Although the anchor now seeks a modification of the injunction, it would have been better had the modification been sought prior to the defendant acting in a way that breached the injunction.

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