False Domestic Violence Accusations: What to Do When You’re the Real Victim

Actor Johnny Depp has endured a legal hailstorm the past couple of years following his $7 million divorce from Amber Heard. As the Washington Post reported, “Court documents detailed, among others, an instance of domestic violence that Heard said took place two days before she filed for divorce.” Since the divorce, Depp has had to defend himself both in the courtroom and in the public eye, and it is only recently that new evidence reveals that it may have been Heard who was the abuser all along. 

Although Depp’s situation is playing out on a global stage, it’s one that happens more often than you would think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “About 1 in 3 men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.” While domestic violence in all its forms is appalling, it’s important to remember that men can be targeted too, and are often themselves accused of domestic violence when they are the real victims. 

Below, a domestic violence defense lawyer in Tampa discusses what victims should know if they’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence. If you are being forced to defend yourself against false allegations, know there is help out there for you. 

Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Overcome?

Yes, it is possible to beat a false domestic violence charge; however, you will be facing an uphill battle. As Florida law stipulates, “It is the intent of the Legislature that domestic violence be treated as a criminal act rather than a private matter.” Essentially, the prosecution can pursue a more severe charge, such as an aggravated assault charge, as it will result in a felony and more severe penalty. For this reason, it’s vital that you prepare and consult with a domestic violence defense attorney in Tampa.

Related: Domestic Violence Statistics in Florida 

Moving forward, every moment is an opportunity to defend yourself and tell your story. In order to protect your rights, you will need to file a petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. Of course, the other party will likely be doing the same, which may result in mutual restraining orders. And while you should cooperate with law enforcement during an investigation, you must never divulge information that can be twisted and used against you. 

Related: Accused of Domestic Violence? Consider the Role of the Prosecution

We Are on Your Side  

If you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence, you may be under fire from friends, family, and employers. When the ground beneath you is shrinking, know that a domestic violence defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm is on your side. Our team can guide you through what is sure to be a whirlwind experience and defend you in court. Not only will we defend your rights, but we’ll also ensure that your side of the story is heard. Schedule a free consultation and tell your story to an experienced attorney at The Rickman Law Firm. 

For a free consultation with a domestic violence defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

Does Aggravated Assault Carry a Mandatory Prison Sentence?

10-20-Life. Named after the three minimum sentences it sets out, this law is designed to elicit fear in anyone considering committing a felony with the use of a firearm. And while this law has certainly curbed crime in the past, there will always be situations that don’t call for minimum sentencing. One such offense is an aggravated assault. 

Below, we discuss the penalties for aggravated assault and whether or not it carries a mandatory prison sentence. If you’ve been accused of aggravated assault and are conducting research to better your understanding of these laws, we commend you. However, it is in your best interest to contact an aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg who can review the specifics of your case and develop an effective defense. 

“Use a Gun, and You’re Done” 

Florida’s notorious 10-20-Life law applies to a number of felonies, including murder, sexual battery, and kidnapping. In such extreme cases, it makes sense that the State of Florida would want to enact stricter punishments, especially when you consider that there were 135,925 violent crimes in Florida in 1998, the year before 10-20-Life went into effect. However, what judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys came to find was that minor offenses would require a mandatory prison sentence, regardless of extenuating circumstances, as was the case with a number of aggravated assault cases. 

Related: Elements of an Aggravated Assault Charge

The Repeal of Mandatory Prison Sentences for Aggravated Assault Cases 

One such case involved Erik Weyant. Leaving a Lakeland bar, Weyant fired several warning shots into the air in an attempt to frighten a group of men who followed and blocked him from leaving in his truck. Weyant was subsequently charged with aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison despite the fact that no one was hurt. At the time of the sentencing, Judge Neil Roddenberry said, “…the only sentence I can impose in this matter is a 20-year prison sentence. It does not matter whether I agree with that … I don’t find that I have any room to deviate from what the Legislature has said that sentence has to be.” Fortunately, a recent bill will ensure that what happened to Erik Weyant won’t happen again. 

Related: What to Do When a Criminal Attempt Leads to an Aggravated Assault Charge

In 2016, Senate Bill 228 was passed, removing the mandatory 20-year prison sentence for aggravated assault cases involving a firearm, and allowing judges to impose sentences that they deem fair and just. Although 10-20-Life no longer applies to aggravated assault, those accused must still defend against a third-degree felony charge punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even without a mandatory minimum sentence, you can still spend years behind bars if convicted. Don’t leave your freedom to chance, consult Anthony Rickman, the best aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg

For a free consultation with an aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

Does Double Jeopardy Apply to My Case?

Along with providing for other basic rights, the Fifth Amendment asserts that no person shall be “subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This provision is known as “double jeopardy.” Essentially, you are protected from being prosecuted twice for the same crime. However, as with numerous laws, there are exceptions. 

In this article, we discuss double jeopardy and whether or not it applies to your case. If you’re in a situation where your freedom depends on double jeopardy, we hope that you’ve already consulted a federal criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg. If not, an attorney with The Rickman Law Firm is standing by. 

What You Need to Know About Double Jeopardy 

Double jeopardy prevents an individual from being prosecuted twice for the same crime, regardless of acquittal or conviction. Once acquitted, the prosecution will be unable to bring new charges against a defendant even when new evidence is discovered that proves their guilt. In order for double jeopardy to apply to your case, the prosecution must place you in “jeopardy,” meaning that they must first put you at risk of being charged with a crime. This normally occurs when an individual is brought before a judge and jury. 

Related: Common Federal Crimes in Florida 

What Cases Does Double Jeopardy Apply to? 

Double jeopardy extends to all misdemeanors, felonies, and juvenile delinquency adjudications. However, there are possible exceptions. To begin, double jeopardy does not apply to a retrial. If a prior ruling was overruled in an appeals court, you’re going to have to plead your case all over again (hopefully with a federal criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg by your side). But the most common exception occurs when a case is tried at the state and federal level. Because state and federal courts are separate entities, there’s nothing stopping them from trying an individual for the same crime. You could end up winning your case at the state level only to be tried and convicted at the federal level, or vice versa. 

Related: Differences Between a Federal and a State Case 

Why You Need an Experienced Attorney

The above perfectly illustrates why you need an attorney who is experienced at defending cases in both state and federal court. Whether you’ve been accused of murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, sex crimes, drug trafficking, or white-collar crimes, you stand to benefit from legal representation that can defend you no matter the circumstances of your case. 

Anthony Rickman has successfully defended clients accused of a wide array of crimes in both state and federal court. He has the skills, knowledge, and experience to defend you regardless of your opponent, whether it be the State of Florida or the U.S. Government. If you’ve been accused of a crime and are facing the possibility of pleading your case before a judge, consult Anthony Rickman, a federal criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg

For a free consultation with a federal criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

The Gray Area of Drug Trafficking Laws

The process that law enforcement undergoes to enforce a penalty for a drug-related crime is pretty straight forward. Honestly, most penalties for drug crimes come down to obtaining a controlled substance from the suspect or their property and the total weight of the illicit substance. To be charged with drug trafficking, the accused is required to have a specific amount of a controlled substance. For example, at least 28 grams of cocaine, 25 pounds of marijuana, or one gram of LSD are the minimum amounts required for a drug trafficking charge. Of course, the penalty only increases as larger amounts of a controlled substance are discovered. 

Although drug trafficking laws are pretty black and white, they don’t account for the gray areas. In this brief article, a drug trafficking defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm will discuss three instances in which a person may be wrongfully charged with a drug trafficking crime. If you have been accused of a drug crime, reach out to Anthony Rickman for a free consultation. 

No Knowledge Defense

In many cases, a person can be accused of a drug crime when they had no idea that drugs were allegedly in their possession. For example, if law enforcement conducts a search and seizure of an apartment unit, each tenant in that unit could be charged with a drug crime, even though the drugs found only belonged to one person living there. Similarly, a person could be driving a friend’s car and have no idea that illegal substances are located in the trunk of the vehicle. In any of these scenarios, a prosecutor will have the burden of proving that the defendant was fully aware of the location of the drugs in order to convict the defendant of a drug crime. 

Related: The Misperception of Drug Trafficking Laws

Illegal Search and Seizure Defense

Law enforcement will often go to great lengths to get their man, including bending or even breaking the law in some cases. United States citizens have the right to be free from illegal searches and seizures. In many cases, law enforcement illegally enters a home or property (like a car) to obtain evidence. If law enforcement’s actions were unconstitutional, this evidence should never see the light of day in court. With an experienced drug trafficking defense attorney in Tampa on your side, we will do everything in our power to suppress evidence that was unlawfully obtained by law enforcement. 

Related: Defenses Against Drug Trafficking Charges

The Entrapment Defense

As we said above, law enforcement may obtain evidence using an unconstitutional means in order to nab a suspect. The police will go to great lengths to charge an individual with a drug crime, including running sting operations and using informants. In some cases, a defendant is coerced into breaking the law when law enforcement employs unlawful tactics, such as forcing the defendant to be involved in a crime. 

For a free consultation with a drug trafficking defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

Accused of a Crime? Here’s Some Advice from a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, if you’ve been charged with a crime, you need to be prepared for what comes next. In this brief article, a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa will offer some advice to defendants on how to prepare for the legal process. Remember, the first rule is that you should never settle for an inferior defense. For a free consultation with the criminal defense lawyers at The Rickman Law Firm, please visit our website

Learn More About the Crime You’ve Been Accused of (Within Reason) 

When it comes to researching your case, it’s good to get a better understanding of your basic rights and the type of crime you’ve been accused of. However, we have to stress that you should not focus on any of the case law aspects. In fact, if you go too far down the rabbit hole researching the legal aspects of your type of case, it can be a slippery slope. To learn about your basic rights, do some research. For a better understanding of the legal system and the laws related to your case, speak with our experienced criminal defense law attorneys in Tampa.    

Keep a Journal of Relevant Notes

We have discussed this underrated tip before, but it’s worth a refresher course. Although a criminal defense attorney can provide you with legal advice, one way to provide your attorney with better insight is to keep an accurate account of everything that transpired on the day or night in question. Memories can fade with time, so we encourage our clients to keep a journal dedicated to any relevant information related to their case. Who knows, this information could end up being the difference between your freedom or imprisonment. 

Know How to Behave

While the preparation before a trial is critical, the defendant’s conduct during legal proceedings could determine their fate. There are a variety of fundamental things you should do when appearing in front of a judge, including dressing appropriately, showing up on time, and having the right attitude. Although these seem to be common knowledge, you’d be amazed by how many people get them wrong. We stress this often to our clients, but having the right outlook can make all of the diffence. 

Partner with an Experienced Attorney

There are a myriad of benefits you can enjoy when you partner with the right criminal defense lawyer. Ideally, you’ll want to partner with someone who understands the legal system and your options. You also should prefer a professional who is extremely familiar with trial proceedings. Lastly, you’ll want an advocate in your corner that can provide you with not only valuable defense strategy advice but also support during this challenging time. 

If you have been accused of a crime, speak with an attorney who has experience successfully representing clients in both federal and state legal proceedings. Consult Anthony Rickman of The Rickman Law Firm today. 

For a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

Credit Card Fraud: How One Swipe Can Lead to a Felony

Credit is an almost universally accepted form of payment — many people even refuse to carry cash anymore. When a person hands over their credit card, it’s often to someone who takes their card out of sight to process their payment. During that time, it’s all too easy for an individual to steal someone’s valuable credit card information. But while theft may be easy, doing time for credit card fraud is much more difficult. 

Below, we discuss credit card fraud and how one swipe can lead to a felony conviction and prison sentence. As you’ll see below, even cases of credit card fraud that are deemed a misdemeanor are not without harsh penalties. If you’ve been accused of credit card fraud, don’t waste another second. Consult a fraud defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. 

Fraudulent Use of Credit Cards

Florida Statute 817.61 has an extensive and comprehensive description of credit card fraud. For the purposes of this article, fraudulent use of credit cards is considered an attempt to defraud a person or organization for the purposes of “obtaining money, goods, services, or anything else of value” by using a forged credit card, passing off that you’re the holder of the card, or using a card that has not been issued. Florida law considers a credit card to be a “credit card, credit plate, bank service card, banking card, check guarantee card, electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, or debit card or by any other name.” 

Related: 8 Ways You Can Be Accused of Fraud

Misdemeanor Credit Card Fraud

Under Florida law, committing credit card fraud two or fewer times in any six-month period, or to obtain money, goods, services, etc. valued at less than $100 in any six-month period, is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a one-year prison sentence and $1,000 fine. 

Felony Credit Card Fraud 

However, if in a six-month period a person were to commit credit card fraud two or more times, or obtain money, goods, services, etc. valued at greater than $100, they would be committing a third-degree felony punishable by up to a five-year prison sentence and $5,000 fine. 

Related: What’s the Difference Between Dismissed and Dropped Charges?

Hire an Attorney 

While a one-year prison sentence is far more tolerable than a five-year prison sentence, any amount of prison time will have a damaging and lasting effect on a person’s life. And we haven’t even covered federal criminal penalties that can result from credit card fraud. Whether done in person or over the internet, this offense will have a lasting impact on a person’s life; however, there are proven defenses that can be employed by an experienced legal team. If you’ve been accused of credit card fraud, consult a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm. 

For a free consultation with a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. 

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