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Orlando, Florida Criminal Defense Blog

Florida Governor signs new bills, sex crime laws get more teeth

  • 18
  • April
    2014

Sex crimes are a growing concern in Florida. To address this issue, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed four new bills that will add extra teeth to laws governing sex crimes. Scott stated that he wants the state to be the best place in the country to raise a family and believes that the new legislation is a step in achieving that goal.

The new legislation was inspired by the case of Cherish Perrywinkle, an eight-year-old who was kidnapped at a retail store, raped and killed by a sexual offender. The incident occurred less than a month after the man, a repeat offender, completed a prison sentence for a case involving a young girl. A photo of the eight-year-old was held behind the governor as he signed the bills into law.

It's About Time: Florida Legislature Proposes Reform on Mugshot Websites

  • 17
  • April
    2014

Florida lawmakers are attempting to pass new legislation aimed at targeting companies that post mugshots on their websites. These companies take booking information and mug shots from law enforcement agencies and then post the information on their websites. At this time, the websites will take down this information and photos, for a price. One of the more popular sites, mugshots.com, charges a fee of $399 for the first arrest, and $1,799 for five arrests. This becomes problematic when clients hire attorneys to have their record sealed or expunged.

An attorney is paid to complete the sealing or expungement process that can take up to eight months, and then once completed, these companies require an additional fee to have the mugshot and booking information taken down. This could all be coming to an end if this proposed legislation is put into law. Under the proposed law, websites which post booking information could be required to remove such information under a court order; those that do not follow the order could face a $1,000-a-day fine if the order is not followed within 14 days. Proponents of the proposed law say that with its passing, this law could end the extortion practiced by these companies, arguing that these companies abuse their ability to post public information on private sites, only allowing it to be removed after an individual pays the required, excessive fee. This practice would be essentially ended with the passing of the proposed legislation.

Man faces theft charges for allegedly stealing baby clothes

  • 11
  • April
    2014

Criminal charges, such as theft and fraud, are known as crimes of dishonesty, and just the accusation can color a person's reputation for life. Allegations can adversely affect an Orlando, Florida, resident's current employment status and ability to acquire future employment as well. A conviction will make it even more difficult for a person to salvage his to her reputation and professional life.

In Winter Haven, a 31-year-old man was recently charged with retail theft. Based on reports, the man was caught by Wal-Mart surveillance cameras stuffing a tote bag with baby clothes. The man left the store and store detectives stopped the man's car in the parking lot. Police arrived and charged him with a felony instead of a misdemeanor. According to deputies, the charges were upgraded to a felony because of two previous theft convictions.

Florida woman in three-vehicle crash suspected of drunk driving

  • 04
  • April
    2014

Criminal charges involving drinking and driving can result in severe consequences for an Orlando, Florida, resident. The person faces the possibility of paying an expensive fine, a jail term and a driver's license suspension. There is also the chance of being ordered to install an ignition interlock device. More than this, the consequences to the person's personal and professional life may be the most troubling of all.

Couple charged in alleged heist of $85,000 in eyewear

  • 28
  • March
    2014

Orange County, Florida readers know that theft charges come with serious consequences. Possible jail time and hefty fines may be imposed. Damage to an accused individual's reputation is also a negative outcome to consider. A couple is currently facing such possibilities after they were accused of and charged with stealing nearly 300 pairs of eyeglass frames with an estimated worth of $85,000.

Two individuals accused of theft from Florida university

  • 21
  • March
    2014

There are many different types of theft charges. Theft charges can range from shoplifting to burglary, to armed robbery and other serious forms of stealing. In each case, the specific requirements that prosecutors must prove to show that a theft occurred will change. Additionally, the penalties for each case will change depending on the specific charges. Therefore, it is important for people to understand exactly what type of theft charge they are facing and what prosecutors must show for them to be found guilty.

Recently, two Florida residents have been charged with 11 counts of fraudulent claims and three counts of grand theft after talking with police. According to police, the two people were employees at Florida A&M University. During their time with the University, the pair are accused of taking money from a university account that was intended to help students go to football games around the country.

Don't Get a DUI This St. Paddy's Day!

  • 16
  • March
    2014

St Paddy's Day is one of the top holidays we look forward to for celebration because everybody is Irish for the day. Even though St. Patrick's Day falls on Monday this year, there will be hundreds of leprechaun parties with green beer and thousands of people dressed in leprechaun costumes drinking shots of Irish whiskey and participating in group folk singing. St. Paddy's Day is a holiday for everyone from every ethnicity to enjoy the culture of the Emerald Isle.

There is no reason not to have fun on your favorite holiday, but in Central Florida, the key is to be responsible and not get a DUI on St. Paddy's Day. It is a well-known fact that law enforcement brings a high number of officers on duty to patrol.

Detecting Intoxicated Drivers on the Road

Orange County Police Patrol is alerted by several signs that point to driver who may be intoxicated or otherwise distracted. If you see a vehicle driving irresponsibly, call law enforcement, but stay behind their vehicle. Here are seven signs.

1. Swerving
2. Making wide turns
3. Driving on the wrong side of the street
4. Ignoring traffic signals
5. Sudden braking or making sharp turns
6. Diving extremely slowly or stopping without cause
7. Not using headlights at night.

Florida teen charged with felony after prank escalates

  • 14
  • March
    2014

A 15-year-old Florida high school student has been arrested and charged with a first degree felony after what school administrators described as a prank that sent a teacher to the hospital. The boy apparently added some hand-sanitizer to his teacher’s soft drink as a practical joke, which the county superintendent said was consistent with his previous behavior of joking around. School officials say that they do not believe he intended to hurt the teacher. Unfortunately in this case the teacher was injured in the process and went to the hospital after drinking some of the tainted beverage and becoming physically ill.

A first degree felony conviction would impact this boy for the rest of his life, turning a high school prank into difficulty finding work or housing, and being disqualified for federal student loan and scholarship programs.

81-year-old Florida woman arrested for feeding bears

  • 07
  • March
    2014

Florida law enforcement officers have arrested and are detaining an 81-year-old woman after repeated violations of state laws prohibiting the feeding of wild animals. The woman is accused of setting up feeding stations in her yard for bears.

While this might seem like a harmless activity, wildlife experts say that feeding bears both draws them in to an area and reduces their fear of humans and in turn makes them more of a safety threat to the local community.

Florida teen wrongfully detained in sexual assault case

  • 26
  • February
    2014

A Florida teenager was arrested and spent 35 days in jail before it became clear that he had been mistaken for someone else with the same first and last name. The 17-year-old high school student was arrested for sexual assault of a person under the age of 12. This is a very serious criminal allegation and could result in years behind bars as well as a permanent label as a sex offender. The young man said that he was horrified by the accusation when it was first made.

The Florida high school student realized the mistake when he was finally presented with papers detailing the charges that listed someone with the same first and last, but different middle name. The mistake was perpetuated by the fact that police failed to show the victim of a photo of the man they arrested so she could confirm that was her attacker. Proper protocols usually require a lineup or other visual identification along with various other steps that would have prevented the unlawful arrest and detention.

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