Can Manslaughter Charges be Reduced?

When someone is killed, charges may fall under the term “homicide” under Florida Statutes Chapter 748. However, despite what television shows would have you believe, not every homicide is a murder. The death or killing of any person is a tragedy, but the fact is that in many cases, it is actually manslaughter charges that will arise.

Whether or not you are at fault for the victim’s death, you may find that the charge of murder is inapproriate for the circumstances and therefore may have the charges reduced to manslaughter. But if they are reduced to manslaughter, is it possible to reduce the charges further? In this brief article, a Tampa manslaughter defense attorney with The Rickman Law Firm weighs in.

What is the Difference Between Manslaughter and Murder?

First, it’s important to understand the differences between murder and manslaughter. The major difference is that murder requires some level of malice or forethought, whereas manslaughter does not.

There are three types of manslaughter, including:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter – the unlawful killing of another person without premeditation. It is the type of killing where a person is provoked by a circumstance that causes them to react unreasonably due to the mental or emotional disturbance of a specific event. This is considered a crime of passion. For example, if a parent reacts to someone harming their child and kills that person, it might be a voluntary manslaughter.
  • Involuntary Manslaughter – like voluntary manslaughter, this is the unlawful killing of another person without premeditation; however, the murder is due to recklessness, criminal activity, or negligence. For example, if a person is driving a car and hits another person and kills them, whether texting or driving or driving recklessly, that would be an involuntary manslaughter.
  • DUI Manslaughter – the unlawful direct or indirect killing of another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This will also accompany DUI charges. This is different from involuntary manslaughter bec

Can Murder Charges be Reduced to Manslaughter?

As previously mentioned, the key difference between murder and manslaughter is premeditation or intent. With this in mind, it is possible to reduce your charges from murder to manslaughter based on the circumstances. It is important to discuss this option with a Tampa manslaughter defense lawyer.

Can Manslaughter Charges be Reduced?

In most cases, since murder and manslaughter are homicides, the charges can often not be reduced any lower. However, your attorney can still help you enter a plea and understand the best defense for your specific case.

In order to discuss manslaughter charges that may arise against you, or if you suspect that you are being investigated, contact a Tampa manslaughter defense attorney with The Rickman Law Firm. We have years of experience working with cases just like yours and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. Our attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated.

For a free consultation with a Tampa manslaughter defense lawyer, 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.

Common White Collar Crimes and Their Penalties

If you’ve ever seen the television show Arrested Development or the movie Wall Street, there’s a good chance you understand a little bit about white collar crime. Simply put, white collar crime is crime that occurs in business dealings. These crimes seem victimless to some, but often they come at the cost of people’s livelihoods and can ruin business reputations.

In this brief article, a Tampa white collar criminal defense attorney with The Rickman Law Firm shares a few of the most common white collar crimes and their penalties. As a reminder, white collar crimes are typically federal crimes and may fall under the jurisdiction of several bureaus.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the act of making dirty laundry appear clean. For a more technical definition, according to the FBI, money laundering is the process by which criminals conceal or disguise their proceeds and make them appear to have come from legitimate sources. This allows guilty parties to hide wealth they have accumulated from untoward or illegal means and avoid taxes, prosecution, and other consequences of reporting while giving them a way to illegally increase profit and the ability to invest in other illegal activities.

The origin of this money can be tied to other (often non-white-collar) crimes, which carry serious consequences of their own. These may include:

  • Complex financial crimes
  • Health care fraud
  • Human trafficking
  • International and domestic public corruption
  • Narcotics trafficking
  • Terrorism

There are a variety of penalties for money laundering, but the most common is jail time, restitution payments, fines, and community service. However, your sentence is more likely to carry steeper fines and longer jail time if the money laundering ties you to other serious crimes.

Pyramid Schemes

Sometimes called a Ponzi Scheme, a pyramid scheme often involves the recruitment of several people below you in order to make more and more money for a false or nonexistent company.

The technical definition of a ponzi scheme is “a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors.”

This form of fraud lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors. The scheme leads victims to believe that profits are coming from product sales or other means, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of funds. In many instances, these schemes are veiled as legitimate businesses or “multi-level marketing” companies. Running a ponzi scheme is a federal crime and is investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom such property has been entrusted, or into whose hands it has lawfully come. In other words, stealing from your company in order to cover personal financial needs is embezzlement. This seems like a victimless crime, but in reality, it can carry steep consequences, especially if people were harmed in the process. You may face jail time, restitution payments, fines, and more.

The most important thing to do if you have been accused of a white collar crime, or any crime for that matter, is to contact a white collar defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. The skilled legal team at The Rickman Law Firm will help you understand the best defense for your specific case and will investigate the case on your behalf. We have years of experience working with cases just like yours and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. Our attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated.

For a free consultation with a Tampa white collar defense attorney, 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.

Facing Tax Evasion Charges? Here’s What You Need to Know

Tax evasion has been the subject of recent news headlines, but tax evasion doesn’t always involve high- profile cases for millions of dollars. But the issue is certainly pervasive. In fact, according to 2020, about one in every six dollars owed in federal taxes is not paid. Tax evasion is a federal crime investigated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and if you are under investigation for tax evasion you might feel frustrated that the power of the federal government is mounting a case against you.

In this brief article, a federal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm shares a few things you should know if you are being investigated or charged with tax evasion.

Common Types of Tax Evasion

One of the flaws of the American tax system is that everyone is expected to file their own taxes, even though most people don’t have much experience or expertise with filing. This can lead to mistakes, which are common. These mistakes can be nerve wracking and might make you to think you’re guilty of tax evasion if you submit an incorrect filing

However, what differentiates tax evasion from negligence is the willful attempt to evade the assessment or payment of taxes. Some examples of tax evasion include:

  • Deliberately understating annual earnings
  • Overstating the amount of tax deductions
  • Destroying or failing to provide tax-relevant records
  • Hiding taxable assets from the IRS or holding property in another person’s name
  • Accepting cash for jobs in lieu of taxable income
  • Refusing to file a tax return
  • Creating false invoices or filing a fraudulent return
  • Refusing to cooperate with the IRS
  • Fraudulent actions or concealment tactics during an investigation

Both individuals and business entities can be audited by the IRS and subsequently charged with tax evasion. This is common with self-employed entrepreneurs who are paid in cash for their services. In these scenarios, it’s easy to be caught in what seems like a white lie. You have a side gig that pays cash, so you only report the earnings from your main job on your yearly taxes. However, all it takes for the truth to be revealed and for you to come under fire for tax evasion is for the IRS to investigate your bank statements.

Penalties for Tax Evasion

Tax evasion is a serious crime and as such, has steep penalties. Depending on the amount owed and the amount of time the taxes have been withheld, you may be facing a prison sentence, restitution payments and back payments, and loss of your assets including homes, vehicles, and other tangible property.

How an Attorney can Help

If you’ve been accused of tax evasion, you’ll need the best federal defense attorney in St. Petersburg to help you understand the best defense for your case. This defense might include:

  • Proving a tax mistake. Tax laws can be extremely complex, and countless citizens make mistakes every year regarding their taxes. Depending on the circumstances of your case, an attorney can showcase that an honest mistake was made when the taxes were filed, that the IRS miscalculated the taxes owed, or that you paid all the taxes that you legitimately owed.
  • Investigating the statute of limitations. When did the alleged tax crime take place? The statute of limitation of a tax crime is generally within six years of the alleged activity. For example, if the IRS claims that a fraudulent action occurred over a decade ago, the alleged crime can no longer be pursued in court.
  • Understanding if there is enough evidence. The most crucial factor to a tax evasion conviction is whether or not the defendant willfully paid less taxes or tried to hide their taxable assets from the IRS. In other words, honest mistakes are not considered tax evasion. Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s actions were willful.

The most important thing to do if you have been accused of any crime is to contact a St. Petersburg federal defense attorney with The Rickman Law Firm. The skilled legal team at The Rickman Law Firm will help you understand the best defense for your specific case and will investigate the case on your behalf. We have years of experience working with cases just like yours and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome.

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

Fishhawk Man Cleared in Fatal Shooting

Charges against Hillsborough County resident Brody Missler have been dropped following the fatal shooting of his father, Timothy Missler, in November of 2020. Investigators found that Missler, 23, was acting in self defense and was the victim of an aggravated assault by his father when the shooting occured.

Anthony Rickman of the Rickman Law Firm, which represented Missler, said investigators considered the shooting in the context of escalating family tension.

“This was a tragic situation where my client had to act in self-defense,” said Anthony Rickman of The Rickman Law Firm. “Brody had to make a split-second decision. It’s not something he wanted to do, it’s not something he ever envisioned doing. It’s something he had to do.”

Missler, who feared for his life after an altercation with his father in which his father had pulled out a gun, warned his father to put down his weapon. When Timothy Missler continued to reach for his firearm, Missler shot his father in their family home. After the shooting, Missler contacted 911 and discussed the circumstances with dispatchers and police. In the weeks following the shooting, Missler was not publicly named as a suspect due to privacy laws, however media outlets located warrants and released his name as a suspect. Because of this, Missler contacted The Rickman Law Firm for assistance.

The case was then reviewed by the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office and found that Missler’s claims were truthful about the events surrounding the death.

“Our review determined that the evidence is consistent with the victim’s assertion that Timothy Missler moved to arm himself with a firearm while intoxicated, emotionally disturbed, and having recently been both verbally and physically aggressive toward the victim,” said a summary of the review by the office of Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren.

“The Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney’s Office made the right decision after a thorough investigation,” said Rickman.

A graduate of Newsome High School in Hillsborough County, Missler and his family moved frequently due to Timothy Missler’s career in the Marine Corp. Brody Missler excelled as a student and participated in the JROTC program, going on to graduate from USF with a degree in biomedical science and a minor in psychology. He is currently working to get his EMT certification and has plans to join either the Army or Marines.

“The family is completely supportive of Brody and has stood behind him from day one,” Rickman said Tuesday. “Friends of the family understand Brody is a great kid and it’s such a horrible thing that he had to do, what he did to save himself, and unfortunately it was his father who put him in that position.”

The Rickman Law Firm has years of experience working with cases like Misslers, and can help clients who stand incorrectly accused. The Rickman Firm helps clients pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. The Rickman Firm’s attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated.

For a free consultation with a defense lawyer, 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’s the Difference between Assault and Aggravated Assault?

Imagine this scenario: you are at a bar with friends and someone gets rowdy. This other patron begins to shove and push you and your friends, and you defend yourself and shove back. Or, you refrain from pushing and shoving but threaten bodily harm to them. The police are called, and you are arrested for assault — even if you didn’t touch another person and didn’t even start the conflict.

Scenarios like this happen every day. If you find yourself in a situation such as this, understanding the difference between assault and aggravated assault can be important. In this brief article, an aggravated assault attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm shares the major differences between assault and aggravated assault, and what to do if you have been arrested and charged with either.

Assault Definition

Section 784.011 defines assault as:

  1. An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
  2.  Whoever commits an assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree…

This means that if you push or shove someone, or make a credible threat to push or shove someone, you might be charged with assault.

Aggravated Assault Definition

As explained under section 784.021 Florida Statutes, aggravated assault is defined as:

1. An “aggravated assault” is an assault:

(a) With a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or

(b) With an intent to commit a felony.

2. (Whoever commits an aggravated assault shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree…

It’s important to note that a deadly weapon is not confined to just a knife or a gun. According to the Florida Aggravated Assault statute, a “deadly weapon” is a weapon that is used or threatened to be used in a way that is likely to produce death or great bodily harm.

The definition of a deadly weapon is broad. You could be brandishing a pocket knife, using a bottle to strike an alleged victim, or using your vehicle to inflict harm and either could be constituted as aggravated assault in Florida.

In the context of our scenario above, think about aggravated assault as threatening the person who shoved you with a gun, or pulling a knife on them. It can lead to aggravated assault charges which carry more steep penalties than simple assault.

What to Do If You’ve Been Charged with Assault or Aggravated Assault

A person accused of aggravated assault could simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Florida law states a person is justified in using force if they have a reasonable belief that they need to utilize this force to defend themselves against “imminent death or great bodily harm.” Florida is also well known for being a “Stand Your Ground” state, meaning lethal self-defense can be used in certain situations. Further, a citizen has a right to defend others and can use force if they witness a person in a dire situation where imminent death or great bodily harm are high possibilities. Defense using justifiable force can also include protecting personal property as well.

If you’ve been arrested and/or charged with assault, you’ll need the best aggravated assault lawyer St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm. The legal team will investigate the incident at hand and will help you understand your best defense. We have years of experience working with cases just like yours and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. Our attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated.

For a free consultation with a St. Petersburg aggravated assault attorney, 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.

When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been accused or charged with a crime, it might seem confusing to know when is the right time to hire a criminal defense attorney. You may be concerned that hiring a defense attorney too soon is an admission of guilt in some way, but that is not the case.

In this brief article, a Tampa criminal defense lawyer with The Rickman Law Firm shares when you should hire a criminal defense attorney and what a criminal defense attorney can do to help you, regardless of who is guilty.

When You’re Being Questioned by Police

Before you’re named as a suspect, the police will likely begin to question you. You have the right to remain silent and hire an attorney, even if you are not being charged with a crime. This can help protect you from being coerced into a confession for a crime for which you did not commit, and can also help protect your rights in the event that you are named a suspect later on down the line.

When You’ve Been Arrested or Charged with a Crime

When you’ve been arrested and/or charged with a crime, you should contact an attorney immediately. If there is a warrant out for your arrest, you should obtain counsel as well. Your attorney will help you understand the case completely and will discuss the defenses available to your situation. Further, your attorney will help you understand if reducing or changing charges is an option, as well as negotiating a plea bargain for a reduced sentence if you wish to do so.

Before You Give a Statement, Contact an Attorney

Whether you have your worries that you’ll be named a suspect later on or simply are giving a statement in a case in which you are even tangentially involved, you should speak to any attorney before giving any type of statement to the police. As previously mentioned, you have the right to remain silent, especially if you sense that the police may use or misuse information that you provided against you.

If you’re considering hiring a Tampa criminal attorney, contact The Rickman Law Firm. Hiring a criminal attorney does not mean that you are admitting guilt — rather, it is a way to protect yourself against unjust charges. The skilled legal team at The Rickman Law Firm will help you understand the best defense for your specific case and will investigate the case on your behalf. We have years of experience working with cases just like yours and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. Our attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated.

For a free consultation with a criminal 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

LEAVING THE SCENE WITHOUT GIVING INFORMATION CHARGE NOLLE PROSSED

The Client was involved in a minor traffic accident and after a misunderstanding where the other individual involved in the accident claimed the Client did not provide all insurance information; the Client was arrested for
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POSSESSION OF COCAINE, POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE AND DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE CHARGES DISMISSED

The Client was arrested and charged with Possession of Cocaine, Possession of a Controlled Substance and Driving Under the Influence. As the Client was a Veteran, Attorney Anthony Rickman succeeded in having the Client enrolled
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DUI CHARGE DISMISSED

The Client was charged with Driving Under the Influence after the client’s vehicle was stopped for driving erratically. Attorney Rickman filed a motion to suppress and dismiss the charge of DUI on the grounds that
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