Can Your Criminal Sentence Be Reduced or Modified?

If you have been convicted of a crime, you may be wondering what can be done to reduce, modify, or correct your sentence following a criminal conviction. In this brief article, a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm covers the circumstances in which your sentence may be modified or reduced. If you think your sentence needs to be altered in some way, consult with an experienced attorney today. 

Related: 4 Reasons Why Wrongful Convictions Occur

What Sentences Are Subject to Correction?

As a general rule, the sentences which undergo the correction process are known as illegal sentences. An illegal sentence is a sentence that results from a clerical error or has no basis in law. Examples of illegal sentences include the following:

  • A sentence imposed by a court without jurisdiction
  • A sentence in excess of what is imposed by law
  • A sentence that is ambiguous in how or when it must be served
  • A sentence that fails to comply with the judge’s oral pronouncement or a plea bargain

Related: How to Restore Rights and Status After a Criminal Conviction

What is the Procedure for Correcting a Sentence? 

Under Rule 3.800, the court may correct a sentencing error, including incorrect jail credit or an illegal sentence, at any time. The motion should identify the error with specificity and propose corrections. The response to the motion must be filed within fifteen days, admitting or contesting the error. The defendant then has the right to appeal within thirty days of rendition of any orders denying or dismissing motions. The subsequent procedure differs based on whether or not the motion is filed before appeal or pending appeal. However, motions may only be filed if the correction of the error would benefit the defendant or correct a scrivener’s error, or a minor clerical error. 

What is the Procedure for Reducing or Modifying a Sentence?

The modification of a sentence can include any of the following aspects: range of sentence, nature of the charges, severity of the sentence, and the cost of incarceration. A court may move to reduce or modify a sentence in any of the following time frames:

  • Sixty days after the imposition
  • Sixty days after receipt by the court of mandate issued by the appellate court of the judgement and/or sentence on an original appeal
  • Sixty days after receipt by the court of a certified copy of an order of the appellate court dismissing an original appeal
  • Sixty days after the highest state or federal court has been taken under authority of law

If the review is upon motion, then the trial court will have ninety days from the date of the motion’s filing to enter an order ruling on the motion. As with the correction of a sentence, this subdivision of Florida law is not applicable to cases in which the death sentence or the minimum mandatory sentence has been imposed or the trial judge has no sentencing discretion. 

For a free consultation with one of our criminal defense law attorneys 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. 

In Quarantine With an Abuser — When the Victim Becomes the Accused

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that, on average, more than one in three women and one in four men in the United States will have experienced some form of violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. The nationwide quarantine, enforced as a result of the coronavirus, has caused a drastic increase in the number of calls to the hotline as well as domestic violence cases of assault and battery. 

Men and women across the United States quarantined with their abusers have reported alarming circumstances of abuse, such as being kept home against their will via threat of violence. In this article, an assault and battery lawyer in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm will discuss what you need to know about protecting yourself when quarantined with an abuser who is turning around and accusing you of domestic violence. 

Related: Understanding Domestic Violence Crimes

Self-Defense 

If your partner is threatening to harm you or your children, it is important to consider your plan of action for when the verbal threats become physical. If you strike back when threatened or in defense of yourself or your children, your partner may attempt to press charges of domestic violence. While you and your partner may be well-aware of who the true victim of the situation is, it would be wise to have the best assault and battery attorney in St. Petersburg at your side. 

An assault and battery attorney will help you evaluate the police report and then formulate your defense regarding the incident. If you do decide to claim that you acted in self-defense, then your attorney will scan the police report for admissions by the victim of having used violence against you. The story you tell your attorney will be compared to that of the account you provided to the police and the victim’s injuries will be checked to decide whether or not they suggest self-defense on your part. Lastly, your attorney will check for any inconsistencies, such as marks or bruises which could have only been made by the victim. 

Related: Common Reasons Why Battery Charges Are Dropped

Know Your Rights

If you have been falsely accused of domestic assault or battery, it is of the utmost importance to understand your rights during the investigative process. Even if you are guilty of assault, an assault and battery lawyer in St. Petersburg will take the necessary steps to demonstrate that police misconduct was involved in the investigation. This can be the difference between your freedom and serious jail time. 

Police misconduct encompasses a wide variety of errors during the investigative process including:

  • There was no probable cause to conduct an interrogation or search
  • The police did not question eyewitnesses present at the scene
  • You were denied your request for a lawyer
  • You were questioned after you specifically invoked your right to remain silent
  • The police did not request your account of the events prior to your arrest 

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

When the Evidence Is Against You

If the victim, or your abuser, can prove that you are guilty of domestic assault or battery, it is now in your best interest to demonstrate that this act of violence was an isolated incident. Particularly during the times of high emotional and financial stress caused by the coronavirus, it is not unusual for even the calmest of individuals to lose their temper. What you need to do now is prove that this action will not turn out to be part of a larger destructive pattern.

Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may go through a number of different steps in order to minimize the potential penalties of the domestic abuse claim. You may be expected to agree to counseling, anger-management, probation or even rehabilitation if your violence was a result of alcohol or drug use. The most important aspect is to show the court that you are willing and ready to change your behavior so that you may avoid serious repercussions and get away from your abuser. If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

For a free consultation with the best assault and battery 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 Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic Violence

Coronavirus disease 2019, otherwise known as COVID-19, has resulted in a number of adverse conditions across the United States, including a sizable increase in domestic violence cases. In this brief article, a domestic violence defense lawyer in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm will discuss the psychology behind why COVID-19 has resulted in increased allegations of domestic violence as well as divorce rates, and what you can do to protect yourself from false allegations. 

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

The Psychology Behind the Increased Risk for Domestic Violence

COVID-19 isn’t the first instance of high stress and uncertainty resulting in higher rates of domestic violence and child abuse. Similar patterns emerged following other disasters, such as with Hurricane Harvey. The explanation for this trend is rooted in a psychological cycle of tension and control in which people attempt to cope with unfavorable circumstances through violence. 

Violence, both verbal and physical, can be fostered by increased levels of stress due to a number of factors outside of our control, such as being laid off from work, disconnected from friends and social support systems, suffering from strained financial resources, and unable to leave your residence for an extended period of time. If someone you live with has been severely affected by COVID-19, you may also experience feelings of grief, anxiety, or depression, all of which contribute to the risk for increased instability in your relationship and household. The difficulties of parenting are also greatly heightened by economic uncertainty and the indefinite closure of schools and daycare centers. 

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

Increased Divorce Rates Spells Uptick in Domestic Violence Allegations

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, various cities in China, such as Xian and Dazhou, reported record-high statistics of divorce filings following weeks of government-mandated lockdowns and quarantines. Similar trends are expected to emerge for couples in the United States after weeks of isolation in close quarters. False allegations of domestic violence already occur at high frequencies in divorce proceedings and are even more likely to occur when couples, such as those emerging from quarantine, are under exacerbated financial stress. 

If you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence, your partner will most likely attempt to spin the story against you in any way possible, including fabricating incidents of violence in order to strengthen their case for marital assets or custody of children. Such allegations may also result in restraining orders, no mediation for family law disputes, and exclusive use of a home. The best method of protection against allegations of domestic violence is to hire a domestic violence defense attorney in Tampa geared with the expertise on how to best present your evidence in court and expose factual inconsistencies in the proposed allegations. Don’t let yourself fall victim to false allegations of domestic violence. To ensure the protection of your rights in these strenuous times, contact us today. 

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. 

What to Expect if You Violate Your Probation

Complying with the terms of your probation is incredibly important if you wish to avoid serious penalties, such as an extension or termination of your probation. In this article, we discuss what is considered a violation of probation and the possible consequences you could face. If your probation officer has accused you of violating your probation, it is time to contact a probation violation attorney in Tampa experienced in handling violations of probation and capable of challenging the alleged violation with an effective defense strategy.

What is Considered a Violation of Probation? 

Probation, under Chapter 775 of the 2019 Florida Statutes requires that, so long as you are on probation, you perform the following:

  • Report to your probation officer
  • Remain gainfully employed
  • Make restitution to parties harmed by the crime
  • Do not associate with other criminals
  • Do not possess, own, or carry any firearms
  • Submit to random drug and/or alcohol testing 

Any action which goes directly against the terms of your probation can be considered a violation of probation, even if it was an accident. This includes actions such as losing your job, missing an appointment with your probation officer, or failing to pay fines or restitution to the victim. 

Related: 4 Ways People Accidentally Violate Probation

What Type of Violation of Probation Have You Committed?  

There are two types of probation violations you may encounter: technical violations and substantive violations. A technical violation occurs when you fail to meet the terms or conditions of your probation, such as failing to stay employed or leaving the state without permission. There is no new offense or arrest involved. A substantive violation, on the other hand, occurs when you commit a new criminal offense or have a new arrest while under supervision, such as failing a drug test or being accused of a DUI.

It’s important to remember that, when it comes to probation violations, the repercussions will depend not only on the type of violation that has occurred but on the context, your criminal history, and your attorney as well. If you are a first-time offender or fail to check in with your probation officer due to a serious accident, you will face different consequences than someone with a history of convictions that has re-offended or simply fails to comply with their probation conditions.

Related: Has Your Probation Officer Accused You of Violating Your Probation?

What Consequences Could You Face?

If you have violated the terms of your probation, your probation officer is required to report the violation. Following their report, you will be arrested and required to appear at a revocation hearing in court. At this hearing, you may have an attorney present. The court will determine if you have violated your probation and the judge will decide whether to revoke your probation or suspend it. The court may impose a number of penalties following your conviction, such as:

  • Modified probation terms
  • Extension of probation for up to five years
  • Termination of probation without further conditions
  • A short jail sentence

The court’s discretion will ultimately depend upon the nature of the violation, recommendations from your probation officer, recommendations from the prosecutors, and your criminal history. If you have been accused of violating your probation or are concerned that you may violate the terms of your probation, you should contact a probation violation attorney in Tampa who understands the processes involved in revocation hearings and has first-hand experience in court. They may be able to request a dismissal of the charge, a withdrawal of your no-bond arrest warrant, or a reinstatement of your probation.

For a free consultation with one of our probation violation lawyers 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.

What You Need to Know About the Rise of Coronavirus-Based Cybercrime

As of March 30, 2020, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had received, reviewed, and reported on more than 1,200 complaints related to COVID-19 cybersecurity attacks. These numbers have since continued to increase as companies and remote workers alike have attempted to move online without securing externally-accessed systems or confidential data. 

In this brief article, the best federal criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm will discuss what you need to know in order to prevent yourself from being accused of a coronavirus-based cybercrime. 

Related: What is a Federal Cybercrime?

What Types of Cybercrime Are Experiencing a Spike?

To best protect yourself from being accused of coronavirus-based cybercrime, it is important to understand what types of cybercrime are experiencing a spike due to the pandemic. The most common threats during these unprecedented times can be broken down into two categories: malicious emails and malicious domains. Malicious emails include any emails that appear to be from a trusted source tricking the user into clicking on a link or asking that sensitive information or money be sent by return email. Malicious domains, on the other hand, are any domains designed to look like a professional website and obtain personal information or money in the process. 

Malware, ransomware, spyware, and Trojans all fall under the umbrella of malicious emails. The goal is to trick the user into unknowingly downloading malware to their devices or expose some vulnerability in the system, leading to compromised employee credentials. While malicious domains can be used to spread malware or compromise command and control centers, primarily they are used in phishing or spam campaigns for donations with domains that contain the terms: “coronavirus,” “covid19”, and “corona-virus.”

How Can You Avoid Becoming a Victim?

Whenever cybercrime is on the rise, it places a large pressure on law enforcement to persecute those who they suspect may be involved. Mistakes can and will be made in determining who should be charged with cybercrime. In order to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of cybercrime and subsequently being accused of a federal crime, it is of the utmost importance to be more cautious than ever. IC3 recommends performing the following actions: 

  • Verify the web address of legitimate websites and manually type these addresses into your browser rather than clicking links within emails
  • Change default passwords to unique passwords with two-factor authentication, if possible
  • Report suspicious activity on work computers to your employer
  • Ensure your devices have anti-virus software installed and operating
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi access points to access sensitive information
  • Check for misspelled domain names within a link

If you have been accused of a coronavirus-based cybercrime or believe you may be under investigation for committing a coronavirus-based cybercrime, now is the time to consult with the best federal criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg. This will be your best defense against serious fines, lengthy prison sentences, and the loss of your job, just to name a few. 

For a free consultation with the best 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. 

5 Signs of Investment Fraud

Investment fraud comes in many forms, from Ponzi schemes to high-yield investment programs. It’s important to understand how these “investment opportunities” operate so that you can avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud. In this brief article, a fraud defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm covers some of the top warning signs associated with investment fraud that you should know about in order to protect yourself.  

Related: Types of Fraud Cases

High Returns with No Risk

As a general rule, investments with higher risks offer higher potential returns. The promise of above market return with little to no risk is one of the first signs of investment fraud. As with any investment, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make money, so it’s important to be wary of any guaranteed investment opportunities. Consistent track records of positive returns are most likely too good to be true due to the nature of investment trends and the risk-return relationship. 

Unregistered Investments

Any legitimate investment company should be registered with the Securities Exchange Commissions (SEC), the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), or your state securities regulator. Unregistered investments are not required to comply with the regulations that protect investors in publicly traded stocks or bonds. Without registration, it will be difficult to seek compensation for any losses you incur. Before investing, check whether the firm or the person selling the investment is unlicensed or unregistered.

High Pressure Sales Tactics

Be wary of manipulative sales pitches that make use of high pressure sales tactics designed to rush you into making a decision you will later regret. Any legitimate, lucrative investment will not be marketed as a “limited time offer” that “may be gone tomorrow.” Salespeople use these tactics to place a sense of urgency on their investment opportunity to convince you into entering the scam without properly understanding the investment. Always take the time to analyze the claims put forth by the prospective investment before accepting risk or placing your trust in the salesperson.  

Related: 8 Ways You Can Be Accused of Fraud

Exclusivity

Exclusivity frequently points to potential investment fraud, especially when you are promised “secrets” to good investing or “inside information” not made available to the general public. Not only are there no true “secrets” to good investments but profiting from inside information is illegal. Additionally, steer clear of any invitations to join exclusive investment organizations or select groups of financial experts and active investors. 

Lack of Transparency

Your investment account should be registered separately in your name by an independent, third-party custodian, with all transactions visible to you on a daily basis. Avoid any and all investment opportunities where you are encouraged to commingle or aggregate your assets into an account or pool with other investors who have paid into the investment. The manager should not have possession or custody of these commingled funds nor generate account activity statements. If these practices are occurring, you are most likely involved in investment fraud. 

If you have been accused of investment fraud, it is imperative that you consult with a fraud defense lawyer in Tampa from The Rickman Law Firm. 

For a free consultation with a fraud 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. 

Case Results

CLIENT FACING UP TO 15 YEARS PRISON TIME FOR VIOLATION OF PROBATION RECEIVES PROBATION

The Client was arrested for Violating Probation for three existing cases and picked up a new charge where he faced up to 15 years in prison. Attorney Anthony Rickman was able to get the Client
Show More

DOMESTIC INJUNCTION DISMISSED

A Domestic Violence Injunction was in place against the client. Attorney Anthony Rickman filed a Motion to Dismiss the DV Injunction which presented evidence displaying the Petitioner frequently contacted the client and convinced the Court
Show More

Grand Theft Dropped

The Defendant was charged with grand theft for stealing a wallet from a person at the casino. The State agreed to drop the grand theft after the Defense showed them numerous problems within the case.
Show More