When Domestic Violence Results in Aggravated Assault Charges

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, studies have shown a dramatic increase in domestic violence cases all over the U.S., with a correlating increase in severity of charges. With more people facing domestic violence accusations, it can be confusing to understand the difference in charges you may face. For example, you may be under the impression that domestic violence itself is a blanket charge, but in fact you may actually face charges including aggravated assault.

In this brief article, the best aggravated assault lawyer in St. Petersburg with our team at The Rickman Law Firm shares some information you may find helpful if you are facing aggravated assault charges connected to a domestic violence incident.

Common Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence is sometimes a blanket term used to describe acts of violence against a spouse or partner. However, it can extend to include anyone who lives in the house.

Florida Statute Chapter 741 defines domestic violence as:

“…any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

The statute goes one step further defining family or household member as:

“spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.”

Some common crimes associated with domestic violence include assault, aggravated assault, battery, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping, and false imprisonment, among other criminal charges. Although the vast majority of domestic violence cases are tried on the state level, domestic violence can also be considered a federal crime. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is one such law passed that allows these cases to be considered violations of federal law. For accusers that possess a firearm, this can be classified as a violation of the Gun Control Act.

Aggravated Assault Basics

In Florida, aggravated assault is defined as an assault with a deadly weapon with or without intent to kill, or with intent to commit a felony. A deadly weapon does not necessarily have to be a knife or a gun. In fact, in Loninger v. State, 846 So. 2d 1192 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), the use of a beer bottle to strike a victim on the head was regarded as the use of a “deadly weapon.”

For an example of how domestic violence can result in these charges, let’s imagine you have a heated argument with your spouse and break a dish and begin to chase them with it. Even though you may not have intended to threaten their life, if you have something that can be used as a deadly weapon in your hand you may be charged.

How to Defend Yourself Against False Domestic Violence Allegations

Often, domestic violence comes down to “he said, she said.” It’s important to defend yourself against any and all charges, including aggravated assault, with an experienced aggravated assault lawyer in St. Petersburg. If you have been accused of aggravated assault, contact The Rickman Law Firm to discuss the best defense for your specific case. A free consultation with Anthony Rickman is just a phone call away.

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.

Can You Be Accused of Accidental Robbery?

There is a misconception in the media that if you take something that doesn’t belong to you, you’ve committed a robbery. Because of this, people often find themselves wondering if an accidental theft, such as taking something they thought was given to them or accepting or purchasing an item someone else stole (even if you didn’t know the item was stolen), can land them a robbery charge.

In this brief article, we spoke with a robbery attorney in Tampa with the team at The Rickman Law Firm to explain why you cannot be charged with robbery due to an accident, and how to defend yourself if you stand wrongfully accused of robbery.

What Constitutes Robbery?

To understand why you cannot (or, rather, should not) be accused of robbery due to accidental circumstances, you must first examine Florida law.

Under Florida Statute 812.13(1), the term “robbery” means “the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.”

Robbery charges are felonies that fall under the following classifications:

  • First Degree: Robbery committed with a firearm or any deadly weapon.
  • Second Degree: Robbery committed without a firearm or any deadly weapon. Also called “Strong Arm” robbery.
  • Sudden Snatching: Taking a person’s property while the victim is aware of the act. For example, stealing a woman’s purse from her person and running.
  • Home Invasion: Entering someone’s home while occupants are present with the intention and the actual committing of a robbery.
  • Carjacking: Taking a vehicle from someone by force, fear, violence, or assault. Whether or not a firearm or deadly weapon is used, this could lead to a first-degree felony conviction.

Why an Accidental Theft Cannot be Robbery

In short, an accidental theft or even petit theft cannot be deemed a robbery without the threat of violence or use of force. So if you purchase a stolen item or you accidentally take something that doesn’t belong to you, although you might be facing other charges, you likely won’t be facing a robbery charge. The exception would be if you create fear in the person from whom you took the item.

Common Robbery Defenses

To be convicted of burglary or robbery, the state is required to prove the person accused had the intent to commit a crime. Therefore, a lack of criminal intent is also a defense. Your attorney may also discuss whether there were any threats of violence or actual violence in order to work with the state to reduce your charges. If you have been accused of robbery or burglary, contact a criminal defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm to discuss the best defense for your specific case. A free consultation with Anthony Rickman is just a phone call away.

For a free consultation with A robbery 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.

3 Reasons to Hire an Attorney if Charged with Money Laundering

If you’ve been charged with money laundering, you may be tempted to rely on a corporate lawyer or even defend yourself, especially when you know the charges are unjust. However, money laundering is a serious crime and can be punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, plus fines, and you’ll need an experienced criminal defense law firm in Tampa on your side.

In this brief article, a white collar defense attorney in Tampa from the team at The Rickman Law Firm shares three reasons to hire an attorney if you’ve been charged with the federal crime of money laundering.

What is Money Laundering

Money laundering is a violation of the federal laws 18 U.S.C. §1956 and 18 U.S.C. §1957, which are enforced by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). 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. In other words, to launder money is to perform the act of making dirty laundry appear clean through a real business.

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, like illegal drug trafficking.

3 Reasons to Hire an Attorney

If you’ve been charged with money laundering, it’s easy to assume that submitting your tax documents and other paperwork to investigators will get you out of hot water. However, that’s not always the case. The following three reasons can help you understand what an attorney can do for you in a money laundering case:

  1. An attorney will gather all of the necessary documents to prove your innocence to the prosecuting attorney, judge, and jury.
  2. Your attorney will attempt to negotiate to reduce your charges when possible.
  3. Throughout the case, your attorney will help you understand legal methods to protect your remaining assets and business, or businesses, and family.

Contact The Rickman Law Firm Today

Throughout your case, you’ll need to make sure to protect your remaining assets while defending yourself. The Rickman Law Firm can help. Your attorney will help you understand the best possible defense if you are charged, and will advise you during the investigation to protect your rights.

For a free consultation with A white collar 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 Should You Do If Falsely Accused of Sexual Assault in College?

In the era of the #MeToo movement, allegations of sexual assault and battery are being taken more seriously now than ever. That is a good thing in many cases, but if you stand falsely accused, especially if you’re a student living on a college campus where the court of public opinion can make a swift judgement, it can be frustrating and difficult to know where to turn for help.

In this brief article, we spoke with a sexual assault defense attorney in Tampa with the team at The Rickman Law Firm to understand the possible consequences of a false accusation while in college, and how to defend yourself if you stand falsely accused.

What is Sexual Assault and Battery?

In Florida, various acts can be considered sexual assault, sex crimes, and abuse. These include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
  • Sexual contact with minors
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Incest
  • Sexual battery

Sexual battery, which is included in the list above, is defined by Florida Statute Chapter 794 as what occurs when one party forces another person to engage in sexual intercourse without consent, in a manner that is against their will. If the victim is mentally incapacitated or passed out and is unable to give consent, it is also classified as sexual battery in Florida.

Possible Consequences of Sexual Battery on a College Campus

According to research, in an analysis of sexual-assault cases at a large university for a 10-year period, a study found that only 35.3% of cases led to formal charges or discipline against the accused. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods, the odds may not always be in your favor.

On the legal end, if the victim was or is currently a minor, if there were multiple perpetrators, or if the offender was an officer of the law or in another position of power, you’ll face felony charges punishable with a minimum of 25 years in prison. Even if the victim doesn’t fit within this criteria, you may be facing serious jail time which can ultimately lead to financial hardship and loss of future opportunities.

At the university level, you may be faced with multiple semesters of suspension or even expulsion, loss of credits earned, and an inability to transfer to another university or college. You may also be excused from extracurricular activities, such as participating in sports, which could impact your ability to qualify for scholarships. You also may face loss of financial aid.

As if that weren’t enough. you may also face a civil lawsuit from the victim or the victim’s family. It’s of the utmost importance that you hire a sexual battery attorney in Tampa if you’ve been wrongfully accused to help you prevent these possible outcomes.

Defenses Against Sexual Battery

If you’re facing accusations of sexual assault of any kind, but especially if you’re a student on a college campus, contact The Rickman Law Firm. Your attorney will help you understand the best possible defense if you are charged and will help you navigate how to defend yourself both legally and at the university levels. They will also discuss legal questions you may have, help you understand the statute of limitations, and help you prove your innocence.

For a free consultation with A sexual assault 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.

How to Defend Against Sexual Battery Charges When Consent is Disputed

Imagine this scene: You have a sexual encounter with someone and it is consensual, but in the following weeks or months you are charged with rape. Perhaps you stopped speaking with the accuser, maybe they are feeling scorned. Either way, you are now facing life-changing charges that can negatively affect your career and family.

If you find yourself falsely accused of sexual battery after a consensual encounter, you’ll need to know what this type of charge means and how to defend against it. In this brief article, we spoke with a sexual battery lawyer in Tampa with the team at The Rickman Law Firm to understand what to do when you have been falsely accused of a sexual crime.

What is Sexual Battery?

In Florida, sexual battery and rape are the same thing and the terms are often used interchangeably for this incredibly broad charge.

For a more technical definition, Florida Statute Chapter 794 defines sexual battery as what occurs when one party forces another person to engage in sexual intercourse without consent, in a manner that is against their will. If the victim is mentally incapacitated or passed out and is unable to give consent, it is also classified as sexual battery in Florida.

There are additional penalties and punishments if the victim was or is currently a minor, if there were multiple perpetrators, or if the offender was an officer of the law or in another position of power. These are all felony offenses, and may be punishable by a minimum of 25 years and a fine to all the way up to life in prison.

Definition of Consent in Florida

To understand how or why you may be charged with sexual battery, the key is understanding consent. According to Florida law:

““Consent” means intelligent, knowing, and voluntary consent and does not include coerced submission. “Consent” shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.”

You’ll notice that this does not differentiate between spoken, written, or implied consent, which means it may come down to “he said, she said” in a court of law. Additionally, a minor under the age of 18 cannot give consent in Florida. That means that even if you are only a few months older than the other party and you are 18 but they are 17, you may still be charged with sexual battery because there is no consent.

Defenses Against Sexual Battery

If you’ve been falsely accused of sexual battery following an encounter that was consensual, it is crucial that you speak with sex crime defense attorneys in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm. Your attorney will help you understand the best possible defense if you are charged, but taking it a step further they will also advise you during the investigation to protect your rights. They will also discuss legal questions you may have, help you understand the statute of limitations, and help you prove your innocence.

For a free consultation with A sexual battery 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.

Tips to Protect Yourself During a Federal Investigation

Statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) show that federal crimes are on the rise, which means more people may be under investigation. If you find yourself being questioned by federal investigators, it’s important to remember that the investigators are not on your side, no matter how friendly they may attempt to appear. Protecting yourself may seem difficult, but with a few simple tips you may stand a better chance of avoiding self-incrimination.

In this brief article, we spoke with an experienced federal defense attorney in St. Petersburg from the team at The Rickman Law Firm to learn tips to protect yourself during a federal investigation.

Tip 1: Avoid Posting About the Case or Investigation on Social Media

For many people, social media has become somewhat of a diary or place to vent frustrations. Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even sites that seem more anonymous like Reddit, it can be one of the first places where people accidentally leak information or self-incriminate. For example, imagine that you are under a federal investigation for tax fraud. If you have posted photos online of large purchases you made with funds that were not reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or if you possibly even vent that you are being investigated, this can potentially harm your case.

Instead, keep in mind that not everyone following your social media feed has your best interests at heart and limit the amount of information you are sharing during the investigation. This can be one of the most simple, yet important, tips.

Tip 2: Keep All Documentation and Do Not Destroy Anything

In movies like Wolf of Wallstreet, you can find companies and even individuals quickly shredding or burning documents before the investigators have the chance to seize them. This might seem like the more dramatic answer to your problem if you are facing an investigation, but it is not the right answer (no matter how much Hollywood makes it seem so).

In order to prove your innocence, you will need to keep as much documentation as possible, especially if you suspect that your documentation will be requested by investigators through a search warrant or subpoenaed (demanded by the court). Further, destroying documentation may lead to additional charges, such as obstructing justice, tampering with evidence, or worse.

Tip 3: Hire an Experienced Attorney

The most important step in protecting your interests during an investigation of any kind is to hire the best federal criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg with The Rickman Law Firm. Your attorney will help you understand the best possible defense if you are charged, but taking it a step further they will also advise you during the investigation to protect your rights.

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.

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