Criminal offenses are typically classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony. A felony is a more serious crime that results in a stricter penalty if convicted. Felony cases include an indictment or preliminary trial and, in some cases, the accused may be imprisoned while they await their trial. If convicted of a felony crime, the guilty party will serve out their sentence in either a federal prison or state penitentiary. If you have been accused of a federal crime, you require the services of a federal criminal defense attorney in Tampa.
There are a wide range of felony crimes in Florida, and the punishment can range anywhere from as little as one year to life in prison. Felonies can be classified as third degree, second degree, first degree, capital, or life punishments:
Third Degree Felony: When a defendant is found guilty of a third degree felony, they can receive up to five years in prison and can receive a fine up to $5,000.
Second Degree Felony: If a defendant is convicted of a second degree felony, they may receive up to 15 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
First Degree Felony: When a defendant is convicted of a first degree felony, this offense is punishable up to 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Capital and Life Felonies: The most serious type of felony sentencing is for capital and life offenses. These crimes can be punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Here are some common examples of felony crimes:
Under Florida law, if you have been convicted of multiple felonies in the past, you could receive a longer prison sentence if you are convicted of another felony. When you are accused of a felony crime, there is more at stake than just a lengthy federal prison sentence if you are convicted. From employment opportunities to furthering your education to qualifying for government benefits or owning a firearm, many basic rights can be compromised by a felony conviction.
If you have been accused of a felony crime, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help you determine the best course of action to take next.
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.
Probation is a court-ordered sanction that provides a person with the opportunity to avoid imprisonment and serve out their sentence in their community; however, they must abide by the court-approved conditions of the probation. As the terms of probation greatly vary and are determined on a case-by-case basis, an individual under probation is typically required to report to a probation officer, seek counseling, perform community service tasks, or take mandatory drug tests.
If an individual is in violation of the conditions of their probation, this can result in serious penalties including significant fines, an extension of their probationary period, or even imprisonment. If you have been accused of a violation of probation, your case requires the attention of an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Tampa.
There are several common ways that an individual can violate their agreement including:
There is no definitive rule for what happens after an individual is reported for violating their probation. A probation officer may issue a warning for less serious offenses; however, if the violation is significant and willful or if the individual has a history of violations, the probation officer will submit an Affidavit of Violation to the court and the accused will be ordered to appear for a probation violation hearing.
During this hearing, a lawyer can present your case and the judge will determine whether or not your actions were in violation of the conditions of the probation. If the judge determines that the defendant was in fact in violation of the conditions of their probation, the following penalties could be imposed:
If you are required to appear in court for an alleged probation violation, it’s important that you understand the severity of this offense and act accordingly by consulting with an experienced attorney that can navigate you through the legal system. At The Rickman Law Firm, we are intimately familiar with your legal rights and can offer you aggressive defense in a probation violation hearing.
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.
If you have been accused of child abuse or child neglect, it is important to contact an experienced, aggressive, and skilled attorney to defend you against these serious allegations. Throughout the State of Florida, Anthony Rickman has successfully represented clients in all stages of child abuse and neglect cases, including motions to dismiss, motions to suppress, motions to exclude expert witnesses, restraining orders, DCF investigations, and jury trials. If you have been charged with child abuse or a child related offense, don’t delay, contact Anthony Rickman at The Rickman Law Firm for a free consultation.
A person facing child abuse charges can lose their parental rights; have their reputation damaged; and sustain a criminal record, costly fines, and even a prison sentence. Depending on the circumstances of the case, crimes related to physical or mental harm inflicted on a person under the age of 18 are classified into three categories: child abuse, aggravated child abuse, and child neglect.
Have You Been Accused of Child Abuse?
Child abuse is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Florida statute 827.03, defines child abuse as:
* an infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child
* an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child
* active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child
Have You Been Accused of Aggravated Child Abuse?
Child abuse charges can increase in cases in which the child was caused great bodily harm. Aggravated child abuse is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Aggravated child abuse is when a person:
* commits aggravated battery on a minor
* willfully tortures or maliciously punishes a child
* knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in doing so causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child
It’s important to note that “great bodily harm” is defined as being distinguished from slight, trivial, minor, or moderate harm, and does not include mere bruises that are likely to be inflicted during assault and battery. A broken bone, a permanent scar, disfigurement, or extreme physical or mental injury could be defined as great bodily harm.
Have You Been Accused of Child Neglect?
Depending on the level of harm inflicted, neglect of a child can result in either a second- or third-degree felony. A third-degree child neglect charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, whereas aggravated child neglect is a second-degree crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Aggravated child neglect is when a person willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a minor, resulting in great bodily harm to the child.
Child neglect charges can also stem from repeat incidents or an isolated incident. Florida law defines child neglect as:
* A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child
* A caregiver’s failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person
If you have been accused of child abuse or aggravated child abuse, it is important that you have an attorney by your side who can explore all of your available defenses. Defenses to child abuse can include the following:
Right to Discipline: Parents or certain professionals (teachers, caregivers, and legal guardians) have the right to administer physical discipline to a child as long as this discipline doesn’t result in physical injury to the child. In other words, if a child is marginally bruised as a result of a parent administering discipline, it is not considered child abuse.
False Claim: Child abuse is one of the most falsely reported crimes. Often, people are accused of child abuse or aggravated child abuse when they are completely innocent. Whether a child abuse report stems from mandatory reporting laws, a child custody battle, or a divorce, many are made without the accuser providing sufficient evidence that a crime occured. In many of these cases, the party reporting the incident does not understand laws related to child abuse. Unfortunately, far too many innocent people are arrested, investigated, or accused of a crime that they did not commit.
Injury is Related to an Accident: To prove the crime of child abuse or aggravated child abuse, the state must show that the injury was caused by abuse. As many parents know, children are prone to injury. Innocent conduct or accidental injury cannot serve as the basis for a child abuse charge as the crime of child abuse requires “intent” to injure or harm on the part of the defendant.
Lack of Evidence of Great Bodily Harm (Aggravated Child Abuse): The crime of aggravated child abuse requires the state to prove that the defendant caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child. People are sometimes accused of aggravated child abuse when no such harm was caused by the defendant. The absence of great bodily harm is a defense against a charge of aggravated child abuse.
Child neglect and aggravated child neglect are serious crimes in the State of Florida. It is important to hire an experienced and aggressive attorney to defend you against these allegations. Anthony Rickman has successfully defended clients charged with aggravated child neglect at all stages of their case, including at jury trial. Contact The Rickman Law firm today to explore possible defenses. These defenses could include: (1) that you were simply negligent not culpably negligent as required by the statute (2) that you were not the cause of the injuries to the child (3) that you are a caregiver (4) that you did not know the child needed intervention by a doctor or law enforcement (5) that you did provide the child with the care and services necessary.
If you have been charged with failure to report child abuse, or someone you know has been charged with child abuse/neglect, it is important that you contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights and options. Anthony Rickman has the ability, knowledge, and experience to assist you in all stages of this case. Don’t delay, contact The Rickman Law Firm today for a free consultation.
Burglary is an extremely serious felony offense in the State of Florida. If you are under investigation for or have been accused of Burglary, it is important that you know your rights and that you hire an experienced and skilled attorney to represent you. Attorney Anthony Rickman has represented numerous client throughout the state of Florida charged with different varieties of burglary. Through his diligent, aggressive, and very thorough representation, Mr. Rickman has successfully defended clients against burglary accusation that resulted in the reduction, or dismissal of criminal charges. If you have been accused of Burglary, contact Anthony Rickman at The Rickman Law Firm for a free consultation.
In Florida, burglary occurs where a person enters or remains in a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit a criminal offense therein. Burglary by definition is unlawfully entering a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit a crime inside; or the lawful entry into a dwelling, structure, or conveyance, but then remaining inside either with the intent to commit a crime; or after permission to remain has been withdrawn, with the intent to commit a crime inside; or with the intent to commit a forcible felony. The possible sentence a person may face and the degree of charge will vary depending on if the location that was burglarized was occupied or not.
Burglary of a Dwelling:
A dwelling is defined as a building or conveyance of any kind, which has a roof over it and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with the surrounding curtilage. Burglary of a Dwelling is a Second Degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison.
Burglary of a Structure:
A structure is defined as a building of any kind, either temporary or permanent, which has a roof over it, together with the surrounding curtilage. Burglary of a Structure is a Second Degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison.
Burglary of a Conveyance:
A conveyance is defined as any motor vehicle, ship, vessel, railroad vehicle or car, trailer, aircraft, or sleeping car. Burglary of a Conveyance is a Third Degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Armed burglary is a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. A person can be charged with armed burglary if in the course of committing a burglary the person arms himself (with a weapon), or becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance. A person can be charged with armed burglary in Florida if they arm themselves while they are inside the home (by possessing a weapon that they retrieved from the dwelling or conveyance), or were armed when they entered the location, or armed themselves after leaving the location. It should be noted that if the weapon possessed was a firearm the person accused will face a minimum mandatory sentence under the 10-20-life statue.
Home Invasion occurs when an offender enters a dwelling with the intent to commit a robbery of the occupant’s therein. If in the course of committing the robbery the person carries a firearm or other weapon he or she can face a first degree felony punishable by life imprisonment.
Burglary with Assault or Battery:
Burglary with Assault or Battery is also a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. To prove the charge of Burglary with Assault, the State must show that the person accused entered a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit a crime therein; and while engaged in the burglary committed an assault by making an unlawful threat of violence through act or word with the ability to carry out that threat. To prove the charge of Burglary with Battery, the State must show that in the course of committing the burglary, the person accused touched or struck another person against that person’s will. If you are accused of Burglary with Assault or Battery, you will most likely be facing a mandatory prison Sentence based on the Florida Sentencing guidelines.
If you have been arrested or accused of Burglary you could have multiple defenses available to you. As often as burglary accusations are made; it’s incredibly hard to prove due to lack of evidence that the accused entered the home. A skilled attorney can attack the State’s lack of evidence, such as eyewitness identification, fingerprints, or DNA to establish that the charge cannot be proven. A common defense to burglary is that the person accused of the crime did not commit the burglary, nor assist’s in the burglary but was charged because a friend or family member entered a dwelling, structure or conveyance without the knowledge of the othe that they did not have permission to do so. In these cases, simply being a bystander is not a crime. Another defense to burglary is that you have permission or consent to enter the dwelling, structure or conveyance. Finally, in order to be convicted of burglary the state is required to prove the person accused had the intent to commit a crime. Therefore, lack of criminal intent is also a defense to burglary.
Assault and battery are common offenses in the State of Florida. In plain language a battery is an unlawful touching of another against that other person’s will. A simple battery can be anything from a shove to a punch. An assault on the other hand is an attempted battery or a threat to harm a person with the ability to do so. An example of an assault would be if you tried to punch a person and missed. Assault and battery charges are often the product of disagreements that turn physical and a “fight” ensues or a one person hits another.
The degree of assault or battery that you could be charged with may depending on the injury suffered by the other person, the age of the other person, the other person’s occupation and if there was a weapon used. Assault and Battery charges are often very defendable. On many occasions a skilled attorney can establish that you were defending yourself at the time of the incident, that you were justified in using the force that you used, that you had the right to “stand your ground” against the other person, or that the incident did not occur.
Anthony Rickman has successfully represented clients charged all degrees of assault and/or battery. Anthony has achieved favorable outcomes for clients charged with battery and aggravated battery for fighting, punching, shooting with a firearm, or stabbing/cutting with a knife. With his courtroom experience, legal knowledge, and skill Anthony Rickman will aggressively and diligently represent you in all stages of your case. If you have been accused of Assault or Battery contact Anthony Rickman for a free consultation.
Simple assault or misdemeanor assault is a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or 6 months of probation. An assault is defined as the intentional and unlawful threat by word or act to commit violence against another person; with the apparent ability to carry through with the threat at the time it was made; and the threat created a genuine fear in the intended victim that the violence was imminent. Florida Courts have determined that a mere threat without the ability to act on that threat is not an assault and thus is not a crime.
Aggravated Assault is an unlawful threat by word or act to commit violence against another person; with the apparent ability to carry through with the threat at the time it was made; which created a genuine fear in the intended victim that the violence was imminent. To be an aggravated battery the treat must have been made (a) with a Deadly Weapon, in the commission of a Felony, or (c) coupled with the intent to kill.
A weapon is a “deadly weapon” could be be a knife, firearm, car, bat, stick, or any thing else used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm.
Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon is a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If however, the deadly weapon used if firearm the defendant will be facing a mandoty 3 years in prison. If the aggravated assault with ta deadly weapon or the intent to kill is committed against a specified official such as a police officer or firefighter the defendant also faces a 3 year mandatory sentence.
There are many defenses that you may raise in an aggravated assault case. An experienced attorney will be able to communicate to the State, the Court and even a Jury to highlight these defenses. If you have been accused of an assault Contact Anthony Rickman for a Free Consultation.
Simple or misdemeanor battery ids defined as the unlawful touching or striking of another person against that persons will. The crime of simple battery is punishable by up to one year in the county jail and one year of probation. A simple battery can be committed by touching another person, therefore the other person does not have to be injured for you to be charged with battery.
BATTERY ON A LAW ENFORCMENT OFFICER
If the victim of your battery is a specified official such as a police officer, EMT, Firefighter, or Probation Officer, you will most likely be charged with a 3rd Degree Felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Felony battery is the touching or striking of a person against that person’s will and unintentionally causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the other person. A Felony Battery is a third degree Felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
AGGRAVATED BATTERY (GREAT BODILY HARM)
Aggravated Battery with Great Bodily Harm is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If you are accused of Aggravated Battery with Great Bodily Harm you are facing a sentence of at least 21 months in prison. A defendant could be found guilty of Aggravated Battery if the person committing the battery uses a deadly weapon, intentionally causes great bodily harm, or commits a battery on a pregnant female.
DEFENSES TO ASSAULT AND BATTERY
If you have been accused of an assault or a battery, there may be multiple defenses. One of the most common defenses to assault and/or battery is self defense. For self defense, a person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. Self defense also applies to a persons defense of another, so if you feel that the force you used was necessary to protect and prevent the battery of another person you may be entitled to this defense.
Another defense raised on a battery charge is intent. Since in order to prove the crime of battery the state is required that a defendant intentionally struck another person, if the striking of the other person was accidental or unintended you may be entitled to dismissal due to your lack of intent. Similarly in situations where there is a mutual fight or “mutual combatants” you may have the defense that the contact was not against the other person’s will because they were equally engaged with you.
Florida Stand your ground law provides a defendant with immunity from prosecution in when a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat. This person has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
If you have been accused of assault or battery it is important to contact an experience trial attorney to fight against these accusations. Anthony Rickman has represented multiple clients throughout the State charged with crimes of assault and/or battery. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What does it mean to get my record sealed or expunged?
By having your record sealed or expunged, the record of your arrest and the case against you will be removed from public record. You will also be permitted to legally deny or fail to acknowledge that you were even arrested in most circumstances. By retaining our firm to represent you, we will represent you through every stage of the sealing / expunging process. We will first determine whether you are eligible before we charge you for your representation.
What is the effect of having my record sealed?
A sealed record is confidential and no longer a matter of “public record.” The record would only be available to you, your attorney, to a criminal justice agency for their respective criminal justice purpose, to the Florida Bar if you become a candidate for admission, to the Department of Children and Family Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice if you are seeking employment or seek to become a contractor or licensee of one of these agencies, or if you are seeking to become a teacher or seek other specified employment with the Department of Education, district school board or other local governmental entity which licenses child care facilities. Once your record is successfully sealed, you may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest unless you are applying for or are the subject of one of the previously mentioned situations.
What is the effect of having my record expunged?
An expunged record is physically destroyed or obliterated by any Criminal Justice Agency having custody of such record. Any criminal history record in the custody of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is retained pursuant to Florida Statue. The retained record is confidential and exempt from public record and not available to any person or entity except upon order of a court. Once you record is expunged, you may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest covered by the expunction unless you are a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency; you are the defendant of a subsequent criminal prosecution; you are concurrently or subsequently petitioning for a sealing or expunction; you are a candidate for admission to the Florida Bar; you are seeking employment of licensure or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly; or you are seeking to be employed or licensed by the Office of Teacher Education, Certification, Staff development, and Professional Practices of the Department of Education, any district school board, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities.
Can I have all of my criminal offenses sealed or expunged?
The courts may only order sealing or expunction of a criminal history record pertaining to one arrest or one incident of alleged criminal activity. Let us help you determine whether you are eligible for the sealing or expunction of your record free of charge. A criminal history involving a plea to a violation of any of the following sections may not be expunged:
Am I eligible to get my record sealed?
If you have never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense; have not been adjudicated guilty or adjudicated delinquent for committing any act stemming from the arrest or criminal charge which you wish to seal; you have never secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal record; you are no longer under court supervision applicable to the disposition of the arrest or criminal charge which you wish to seal; and you did not enter a plea to one of the above listed offenses, you should be eligible to have you record sealed. Let us help you determine if you are eligible to have you record sealed, free of charge.
Am I eligible to get my record expunged?
If you have never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense; you have never been adjudicated guilty or adjudicated delinquent for committing any of the acts stemming from the arrest or criminal charge you wish to have expunged; you have not secured a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal record; if no charging document was filed or issued in the case; or if an indictment or information was filed, the charge was dismissed or nolle prosequi by the state attorney or statewide prosecutor or was dismissed by the court; and you did not enter a plea to one of the above listed offenses you should be eligible to have you record expunged. Let us help you determine if you are eligible to have your record expunged, free of charge.
If you have been convicted of a MISDEMEANOR or had an ADJUDICATION WITHHELD you may be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged and protect the privacy of your conviction.
If you have been convicted of a FELONY in Florida you may be eligible to receive a form of clemency that absolves you from all or part of the punishment that your conviction previously bestowed upon you. The eight types of clemency available are: a full pardon, a pardon without firearm authority, pardon for misdemeanor, commutation of sentence, remission of fines and forfeitures, specific authority too own, possess, or use firearms, restoration of civil rights and restoration of alien status under Florida law. The governor has the absolute discretion to deny clemency at any time, for any reason, and has absolute discretion to grant clemency at any time with the approval of at least two members of the clemency board.
Each type of clemency procedure is substantially similar, however there are different types of eligibility requirements for each different form. Some forms require the applicant to attend a hearing in front of the clemency board, while with other forms of clemency presence at the hearing is optional.
Full Pardon: this unconditionally releases a person from punishment and forgives guilt for any Florida convictions. It restores to an applicant all of the rights of citizenship possessed by the person before his or her conviction.
Pardon Without Firearm Authority: This releases a person from punishment and forgives guilt. It entitles an applicant to all of the rights of citizenship except the specific authority to own, possess or use firearms.
Pardon for Misdemeanor: This releases a person from punishment and forgives guilt.
Commutating of Sentence: This may adjust an applicant’s penalty to one less severe but does not restore any civil rights including the right to own, possess, or use firearms.
Remission of Fines and Forfeitures: This suspends, reduces, or removes fines or forfeitures
Specific Authority to Own, Possess, or Use Firearms: This restores to an applicant the right to own, possess, or use firearms, which were lost as a result of a felony conviction. No requests can be made if the conviction was in a federal or out-of-state court.
Restoration of Civil Rights in Florida: This restores a person’s civil rights, including the right to vote and receive certain state licenses, but does not include the right to own, possess, or use firearms. This does not relieve a person from any obligations imposed by law upon sexual predators or sexual offenders.
Restoration of Alien Status Under Florida Law: This restores rights to a person who is not an American Citizen that were lost due to a conviction, except the right to use, own, or possess firearms. This does not affect the immigration status of an applicant.
Being accused, investigated or arrested for federal offense is one of the most troubling experiences a person can have. When accused of a federal crime, it is important that you contact an attorney experienced in Federal Court to represent you against the Government’s accusations. The attorneys at The Rickman Law Firm represent clients charged with a wide array of federal offenses.
If you have been arrested, received a letter indicating that you are the target of a Federal investigation, been contacted by a federal agent, received a Grand Jury subpoena, or have already been sentenced in Federal Court contact the attorneys at The Rickman Law Firm for a free consultation. If the Government has decided to indict you or charge you with a Federal Crime, or you have been arrested for a federal crime you need to hire an attorney that is knowledgeable of the law, has experience in Federal Court, and is able to try your case before a jury to defend you against the Governments accusations.
The majority of Federal investigations are done in secret utilizing the vast resources of the Federal Government. As such the Government may have already built a case against your before you are ever aware that you were under investigation. A person may find out that they are being investigated when they are met by a federal agent requesting that they answer questions, or are blindsided by multiple agents executing a warrant. If you are confronted by a Federal Agent or investigator, it is important that you talk to an experienced attorney before making any statements. Remember you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney before taking to any Federal Agents. Our attorneys represent clients in all stages of Federal Cases and will advise you on your rights and analyze your case prior to you making a statement if you choose to do so.
A Federal crime is one that violates the laws of the Unites States in violation of the US Code, or that is committed on federal property. Federal Crimes include drug conspiracies, multiple types of fraud, white collar crimes, firearm offenses, obstruction of justice, child pornography, tax related offenses, conspiracy, RICO, crimes against federal employees, and other crimes that the United States assumes jurisdiction over. If you have been accused of any of these crimes do not delay and contact our law firm for a free consolation.
Trespassing occurs when one, without being authorized, enters or remains in any structure or conveyance, or after being invited is warned by an authorized person to depart, and refuses to do so.
A trespassing charge can be enhanced if there is a human being in the structure at the time of the trespass, the property is school grounds, or the offender is armed.
Often times there are issues with this charge as to whether a proper warning was given, whether a clear refusal was made, whether an authorized person made the warning, and whether the location of the alleged offender was unauthorized. Contact The Rickman Law Firm and we will work through the facts of your arrest to determine whether or not the State of Florida can support each element of the crime with the facts of your arrest.
Disorderly Conduct occurs when one commits an act that is of the nature to corrupt the public morals, outrage a sense of public decency, constitute a breach of the peace, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engage in brawling or fighting.
Often times a person is arrested under this charge and First Amendment issues arise. Despite its interpretation as “corrupt” or “indecent” profane and indecent speech is protected. Anthony Rickman will review the facts that lead to your disorderly conduct arrest and determine if the “act” or “statement” is protected by the United States Constitution or otherwise defendable under Florida Law.
Selling Alcohol to Underage Persons and Underage Possession of alcohol are two of the most common alcohol offenses. Selling alcohol to an underage person is a second degree Misdemeanor and if convicted, the court can revoke or suspend the driver’s license of a person, unless they were acting as a license. A licensee has a complete defense to the crime if the person falsely evidenced that he or she was of legal age and the appearance of the person was such that an ordinarily prudent person would believe him or her. Additionally if the underage person misstates their age for the purpose of obtaining alcohol then they can be charged with a second degree Misdemeanor.
If an underage person is found to be in possession of alcohol then they will be charged with a second degree misdemeanor if it is their first offense and a first degree misdemeanor if it is their second offense. If the person is under 18 years old at the time of the arrest, and is subsequently convicted, then their driver’s license is automatically revoked.
Solicitation / Prostitution
A solicitation or prostitution charge can be embarrassing and damaging to not only the arrestee but also his or her family. Contact the attorneys at The Rickman Law Firm to evaluate the facts surrounding your arrest and determine what legal defenses or mitigating circumstances are available to support your defense.
First Degree Murder
A defendant can be charged with First Degree Murder if the person has either committed a Premeditated Murder, or a killed a person in the commission a Felony (Felony Murder). When a person commits a murder with “malice aforethought” that means that he/she pre-planned or schemed to kill another person, or in other words committed Premeditated Murder. In a prosecution for premediated murder the State must prove that the defendant intentionally killed the person and in killing the person had some thought, refection, or plan at any time prior to the killing.
Felony Murder occurs when a person kills another person while in the process of committing or attempting to commit a felony previously defined by statute. In this situation, it does not matter whether the person intended to kill anybody or not, just that in the commission of the felony a person was killed. For example, if a person commits an armed robbery and his accomplice kills a person in the commission of the robbery both individuals could be charged with felony first degree murder.
Capital First Degree Murder is one of the most serious charges a person may face. Since it is deemed a Capital Offense First Degree Murder comes with one of two harsh sentencing options – the death penalty or life without the possibility of parole. The death penalty can be waived by the State as a sentencing option and instead the defendant will be sentenced to life in prison without any possibility of parole once convicted. If the State does not choose to waive the imposition of the death penalty and a defendant is convicted of First Degree Murder, the court will then conduct a separate sentencing proceeding known as the Penalty Phase. This proceeding will determine whether the defendant should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
Second Degree Murder
When a person is killed without premeditation by an act imminently dangerous to another that displays a depraved mind showing no regard for human life, this is considered Murder with a Depraved Mind and is a Second Degree Murder offense. The main distinction between Premeditated First Degree Murder and Second Degree Murder with a Depraved Mind is that First Degree Murder requires a specific and premeditated intent to kill. In order to prove a depraved mind in the charge of second degree murder the state must prove that the murder occurred out of “ill-will, spite, hatred, or an evil intent”.
Second Degree Murder is classified as a felony of the first degree. If convicted of second degree murder the defendant will face a minimum sentence of 16.75 years according the Florida Sentencing Guidelines with the maximum sentence of life in prison. In addition to prison, the judge can also impose any combination of either, life in prison, life on probation, and up to $10,000 in fines if a defendant is convicted of Second Degree Murder. If the second degree murder was committed with a firearm, under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, the defendant must be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison up to life in prison.
Third Degree Murder
Third Degree Murder occurs when a person is unintentionally killed while a defendant is committing, or attempting to commit, a non-violent felony. Third degree murder is a second degree felony. If convicted of Third Degree Murder, a defendant may face a sentence of at least 10.5 years to 15 years in prison.
Manslaughter can occur in one of three ways – Manslaughter by Act, Manslaughter by Procurement, or Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence. Manslaughter by Act is considered Voluntary Manslaughter and involves committing an intentional act that was neither excusable nor justified, that results in the death of another person. Manslaughter by Procurement is also considered Voluntary Manslaughter and occurs when a defendant persuades, induces, or encourages another person to commit an act that results in the death of another person. Manslaughter by Culpable Negligence is considered Involuntary Manslaughter. This type of manslaughter occurs when an individual engages in “Culpably Negligent” conduct that results in the death of another person.
Culpable Negligence is defined as a course of conduct that shows a reckless disregard of human life or of the safety of the people exposed to its dangerous effects. It can also be such a depravity of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public. Finally, culpable negligence can be displayed by an indifference to the rights of others that is equivalent to an intentional violation of those rights.
Manslaughter is a Felony of the Second Degree. If convicted of Manslaughter, the defendant may face a sentence of over 9 years minimum in prison up to 15 years in prison according to the Florida Sentencing Guidelines. Although it is not a specific element of manslaughter, if the jury determines a weapon or firearm was used in the commission of the manslaughter, the crime will be reclassified from a felony of the second degree to a felony of the first degree.
Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child
Unlike simple manslaughter, Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child can only be committed by a child’s caregiver. A caregiver is defined as a parent, adult household member, or other person that is responsible for a child’s welfare. If the death of a child, or a person under the age of 18, was caused by the defendant’s culpable negligence, the defendant was a caregiver to the child, and the defendant’s culpable negligence constituted Neglect of a Child, the defendant will be found guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child.
Culpable negligence can be classified in a few different ways. It can be determined through a course of conduct that shows a reckless disregard of human life or of the safety of the people exposed to its dangerous effects. It can also be such a depravity of care as to raise a presumption of a conscious indifference to consequences, or which shows wantonness or recklessness, or a grossly careless disregard for the safety and welfare of the public. Finally, culpable negligence can be displayed by an indifference to the rights of others that is equivalent to an intentional violation of those rights.
Neglect of a child occurs when a caregiver fails to provide a child with the supervision, care, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health in a way that a prudent person would consider crucial for the well-being of the child. Aggravated Manslaughter of a child could also be proven if the defendant knew that the child was being abused by another person and failed to protect that child from the abuser. If the child died from the abuse or and the death or serious bodily injury of the child was foreseeable a caregiver could be convicted and charged with aggravated manslaughter even though they did not actually kill the child.
The crime of Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child is a First Degree Felony punishable by a minimum sentence of 16.75 years to 30 years in prison.
Defense to Murder and Manslaughter
If you have been accused of murder or manslaughter it is important that you hire an attorney who has the experience to raise, your defense. For instance; if another person is killed by you while you are resisting an attempt by them to kill you or commit a felony against you, this is considered justifiable homicide and is lawful. Self-defense is the justified use of deadly force and is also a defense to the crime of First Degree Murder.
There are many defenses that a person may have available to them in a murder case. These defense could be that:
• The killing is committed in self defense
• The defendant is immune from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law
• The defendant did not cause the death of the person
• The murder was not “premeditated” (First Degree Murder)
• The Defendant did not kill with “ill-will, spite, hatred, or evil intent” (Second Degree Murder)
• The death was not foreseeable and the defendant did not cause the death (Manslaughter)
• The Killing was excusable, and therefore lawful and not subject to punishment. This may occur: When the killing is committed by accident and misfortune in doing any lawful act by lawful means with usual ordinary caution and without any unlawful intent; or when the killing occurs by accident and misfortune in the heat of passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation; or when the killing is committed by accident and misfortune resulting from a sudden combat, if a dangerous weapon is not used and the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual way.
A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the property of another with the intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right to the property or appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of another not entitled to it.
Depending on the value of the property taken, the location of the property, and the victim the potential sanctions will vary. If you have prior theft convictions, the “degree” of theft that you will be charged with will increase. For example if you have been convicted for theft two or more times, your third petty theft arrest, will be a 3rd Degree Felony. If the victim is over 65 years old and you are convicted of the theft, your sentence could have an additional requirement of up to 500 hours of community service.
If found guilty of any misdemeanor violation, the court could order the suspension of your driver’s license on your first conviction, and will issue a suspension if it is your second conviction.
Grand Theft 1st Degree
Grand Theft 2nd Degree
Grand theft 3rd Degree
Petty Theft 1st Degree
Petty Theft 2nd Degree
Forgery / Worthless Checks
Whoever falsely makes, alters, forges or counterfeits a public record, attestation, deed, will, bond, letter of attorney, receipt for money, etc… or if a person utters a forged, altered document, knowing the same to be false he or she will be charged with a third degree felony.
Whoever draws, makes, utters, issues, or delivers to another any check, draft, or other written order on any bank or depository, for the payment of money, knowing that there was not sufficient funds on deposit or with such bank, with which to pay the same, will be charged with a first degree misdemeanor if the amount is under $150.00, but if the value is greater, then he or she will be charged with a third degree felony.
By Statute, payment of the dishonored check does not constitute a defense or ground for dismissal.