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Criminal Law in the News

Florida Finally Getting Medical Marijuana Legislation

After Florida citizens voted by an overwhelming majority (71%) to amend the State Constitution to allow patients with a number of health issues, which includes: cancer, HIV/AIDs, and epilepsy, to have access to medical marijuana.

Florida voters passed medical marijuana legislation in the November 2016 General Election, approximately seven (7) months ago. Medical marijuana legislation was just signed by the Officers and presented to Governor Rick Scott (R) on Monday, June 19, 2017, after legislators had to have a special session because they could not reach an agreement during the regular session.

Even still, the law introduced by Senator Rob Bradley (R –Fleming Island), allows access to medical marijuana for qualified users at a glacial pace.

According to the seventy-eight (78) page Bill, patients will only be allowed to use marijuana if they have chronic pain, and only if that pain is in connection with a qualifying medical condition. In addition, patients will only be able to consume it by using edibles, oils, pills, and “vape” pens, but they cannot smoke it.

Moreover, the Florida Medical Marijuana Bill does the following:

  • Establishes procedures for physicians to issue certifications to patients who have qualifying medical conditions;
  • Establishes a residency requirement for patients to be issued a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card;
  • Establishes qualifications required to become a caregiver including requiring the Department of Health (DOH) to create a caregiver certification course that each caregiver is required to take;
  • Limits the number of patients each caregiver may have;
  • Grandfathers in existing dispensing organizations as MMTCs and requires the DOH to license ten (10) new MMTCs by October 3, 2017, and then four (4) new MMTCs each time the registry increases by 100k registered patients.
  • Limits the number of dispensing facilities each MMTC may operate to twenty-five (25) statewide and per region based on the percentage of population in each region; Note: the total number of dispensaries may increase by five (5) per 100k registered patients –the number of dispensaries allowed will reach a cap on April 1, 2020;
  • Requires lab testing of dispensary products and creates a certification program for medical marijuana testing laboratories;
  • Preempts the regulation of cultivation and processing of marijuana to Florida;
  • Allows local governments to ban dispensaries; Note: if a local government does not ban dispensing facilities then it may not place any restrictions on the number of dispensing facilities allowed and may not adopt any regulations for dispensing facilities that are more restrictive than its ordinances regulating regular pharmacies;
  • Requires the DOH and DHSMV to establish educational campaigns related to medical marijuana;
  • Among other marijuana regulations.

While the Bill still limits medical marijuana use in Florida, it has to allow reasonable access to patients with qualifying needs. If later, the legislation is found to be too restrictive, it may have to be amended again.

Find an Attorney for Marijuana Defense in Leon County, FL

Regardless of whether the charge is manufacturing, trafficking, or simple possession of marijuana, these offenses should be taken seriously. Even if you think recreational possession of the substance should not be a crime, Florida law still considers it illegal. If you are facing any sort of marijuana charges, it is imperative to hire an attorney who will defend your charges aggressively.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have defended various drug-related charges throughout Leon County, and they will fight for your rights. The attorneys understand the importance of fighting the criminal charges and keeping your right to drive. A marijuana defense lawyer will handle your case with the utmost importance and work to get the best possible result.

Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout the Florida Panhandle, including Tallahassee Woodville, Midway, Havana, Monticello and Bristol. Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free consultation.

Also posted in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, Florida Law, Marijuana | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stand Your Ground Amendments Signed Into Law

Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) signed Senate Bill 128 into law on Friday, June 9, 2017. We previously told you about Senate Bill 128 when it was introduced by Florida Senator Rob Bradley, R –Fleming Island, in early January.

The newly minted Florida Law amended the 2005 Stand Your Ground Law, which originally removed the legal duty to retreat from a dangerous situation rather than to use deadly force. Prior to Senate Bill 128, the defendant, the one claiming self-defense, had to show that he or she was threatened and had the right to use deadly force.

The effect of the Senate Bill shifted the burden of proof from the defendant to the prosecutor and also changed the standard of proof. Accordingly, the prosecutor will have to show that the defendant did not have the right to use deadly force beyond a reasonable doubt –the highest and hardest standard to prove.

The Stand Your Ground Amendments passed the Senate on March 15, 2017, and the House on April 5, 2017. Governor Rick Scott signed the Amendments, unchanged into Florida law Friday, June 9, 2017.

Find an Attorney for Stand Your Ground in Leon County, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with a violent offense and you believe that you had to defend yourself in order to survive, or if you are interested in learning more about stand your ground legislation and how it works in Florida, then contact our office.

Our attorneys are dedicated, knowledgeable, and zealous advocates for those charged with crimes. We pride ourselves on being hands-on attorneys who will walk a client through his or her case and explain the important details thoroughly.

We serve clients accused of crimes in Leon County and the surrounding areas throughout Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit including Bristol in Liberty County, Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Monticello in Jefferson County and Quincy in Gadsden County. We also represent clients in the surrounding areas of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region.

Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a one-on-one with a criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law.

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CS/SB 494 – Compensation of Victims of Wrongful Incarceration

Finally Getting Rid of Clean Hands?

What happens when a prisoner is wrongfully accused of a crime? We can hardly deny that prison, for any length of time, can be a completely life changing experience. Especially if the wrongfully accused crime was something heinous such as sexual assault, homicide, or serious drug offenses. So what has the Florida government done to ease wrongfully convicted individuals back into everyday life?
In 2008, the Florida Legislature passed the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Act. The Act was designed to compensate wrongfully convicted individuals for every year that he or she served in Florida prison, up to $2 million dollars.
The catch is that to qualify for compensation for wrongful incarceration, the victim must have “clean hands.” Having clean hands means that the wrongfully incarcerated victim must have no prior felonies.

What is the Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act?

The Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act established the administrative process for receiving compensation for wrongful compensation. The victim petitions the original sentencing court for an order finding that he or she was wrongfully incarcerated and is eligible for compensation.
In this process, the Department of Legal Affairs administers the eligible person’s application process and verifies the validity of the claim. The Chief Financial Officer arranges for payment which is payable to the victim over the course of ten (10) years, at $50,000 per year, totaling $2 million dollars.

Fla. Stat. § 961.04 the Clean Hands Provision

An individual will be ineligible to receive compensation for wrongful incarceration if any of the following apply:

  • during the individual’s wrongful incarceration, the person was convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, any felony offense;
  • during the person’s wrongful incarceration, the person was also serving a concurrent sentence for another felony for which the person was not wrongfully convicted; or
  • before the individual’s wrongful incarceration, the person was convicted of, or plead guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, any felony offense;

What Does Senate Bill 494 Do?

Senate Bill 494 is set to amend chapter 961 of the Florida Statutes, which establishes the administrative process for compensating those who have been wrongfully incarcerated in Florida prison.

Currently, an individual is not eligible for compensation for wrongful imprisonment if he or she has a felony on his or her criminal record. It is important to note that while thirty (30) other states have a type of wrongful incarceration statute, Florida is the only state that has a so-called “clean hands” provision. The interesting thing about the clean hands provision is that it punishes the victim of wrongful incarceration for past acts that he or she has either already paid for with incarceration or fines. Either way, the debt to society has been paid.

Yet, the clean hands provision would deny compensating the victim for the State’s mistake. Currently, any felony will disqualify a victim. If SB 494 passes, only violent felonies will disqualify a victim. The hope is that such a change will widen the pool of available applicants. Since 2008, only four (4) people in Florida have been compensated for wrongful incarceration.
Senate Bill 494 would narrow the list of the kinds of felony offenses that would disqualify a person from being compensated for wrongful incarceration. Accordingly, a felony would disqualify a victim if any of the following apply:

  • during the person’s wrongful incarceration, he or she was convicted of, pled nolo contendere to, regardless of any adjudication, any violent felony; or
  • during a period of parole or community supervision on the sentence that led to his or her wrongfully incarceration, the person committed a violent felony that resulted in the revocation of the parole or community supervision.

Additional Resources
Senate Bill 494 –Visit the official website of the Florida Senate for more information on the current status of Senate Bill 494, including the most up-to-date analyses, the voting history, any amendments, or citations to the Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act.

Find an Attorney for Wrongful Incarceration in Leon County, Florida

The idea that not having clean hands somehow justifies wrongful incarceration by the State of Florida is disappointing. Wrongful incarcerations have taken the lives of many defendants and have substantially uprooted their lifestyles.

The Florida Clean Hands provision prevents wrongfully incarcerated individuals from their ability to start over. If you or someone you know has been wrongfully incarcerated, call the attorneys at Pumphrey Law.
Our attorneys have years of experienced fighting for the rights of those who have been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated.

Pumphrey Law is located in Tallahassee, Florida. We serve clients accused of crimes in Leon County and the surrounding areas throughout Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit including Bristol in Liberty County, Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Monticello in Jefferson County and Quincy in Gadsden County. We also represent clients in the surrounding areas of the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region.

Call (850) 681-7777 for an initial consultation.

This Article Was Last Updated on Thursday, May 11, 2017.

Also posted in Criminal Defense, Florida Law | Comments Off on CS/SB 494 – Compensation of Victims of Wrongful Incarceration

Florida Criminal Hazing Accusations

At many colleges, universities, and post-secondary institutions, hazing is a rite of passage that allows one to cross over into membership in the “Greek” community.  “Greek” refers to the various fraternities and sororities designated by Greek letters that promote camaraderie and philanthropic activity among students and alumni.  Although hazing may be a tradition for some organizations, many actions that are considered hazing may also be considered criminal. Those who commit such acts, if caught, may face criminal prosecution and punishment.

Over the years, fatal sorority and fraternity hazing incidents have gained mass media coverage and attention.  Hazing criminal accusations can have very negative consequences on a person’s life if he or she is found guilty of committing those acts.

Many times, those who are found responsible for hazing face criminal charges and disciplinary actions from the school or university for violating the student conduct code. Civil suits may also be filed against organizations and their members depending on the situation.

Hazing under Fla. Stat. § 1006.63

Florida Section 1006.63 defines hazing as an action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student for the purposes including, but not limited to, initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of a postsecondary institution.

Common forms of hazing may include but are not limited to the following:

  • pressure or coercing the student to violate state or federal laws;
  • physical and mental manipulation;
  • pressure to violate school code of conduct, or any school rules;
  • whipping, beating, drugging, branding;
  • acts and activities that may lead to one being sleep deprived;
  • conduct that could result in extreme harassment; and
  • forced consumption of anything.

Hazing Criminal Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, FL

If you have been accused of fraternity or sorority, hazing in Leon County, Florida it is important you speak with the experience criminal defense lawyers at Pumphrey Law as soon as possible. Our lawyers have experience representing students who attend Florida State University, Florida A & M, The University of Florida, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida International University, the University of Miami, and other Florida schools.

It is our primary goal to protect the rights of those students who are facing criminal accusations throughout the entire process. We understand that students may face a lot of pressure from faculty and others to speak about the incident, but it is wise to speak with our Florida criminal defense attorneys before saying anything about the alleged hazing incident(s).

Penalties for Hazing

Penalties for hazing vary from case to case depending on the severity of the accusations.  Some penalties may include but are not limited to the following:

  • being charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime depending on the circumstances of each case;
  • being subject to academic sanctions like expulsion and suspension, loss of scholarships or financial aid; and
  • being subject to a four (4) hour hazing education course

Consent is not a Valid Defense in Florida

If you have been criminally charged with hazing, it is not a legal defense to say that the victim consented to such hazing acts. Many times individuals want to join sorority and fraternities so bad that they consent to the abuse; however, Florida law does not recognize such consent.

If your membership in a sorority or fraternity at FAMU, USF, or a different Florida college or university is at risk due to hazing allegations, or you are facing criminal or student code of conduct violations in Florida it is important to contact the Pumphrey Law Firm at (850) 681-7777.

Find an Attorney for Sorority or Fraternity Hazing in Leon County, FL

If your fraternity, sorority, or an individual member of such organizations is facing criminal charges for hazing, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not talk to the police until you have an attorney present.

Being charged with hazing in Florida can have serious consequences, not only on your record but on your academic standing and ability to complete your education as well. Our attorneys provide well guided criminal defense for college students.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law have years of experience representing clients at Florida State University in Tallahassee, the University of Florida in Gainesville, the University of South Florida in Tampa, and other Florida Schools.

Call (850) 681-7777 for more information about how one of our lawyers can help you.

This Article Was Last Updated on 4/25/2017.


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So You Need a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney?

“Criminal Defense Attorney” or “Attorney” are not common search terms here in Tallahassee; our State capital.  Unfortunately, “Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney” is the most searched term, let’s face it.

The reason is quite simple.  Tallahassee or Leon County ranks at the top of crime rate as reported by The Tallahassee Democrat. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, “[the number of reported crimes include] murders, sexual assaults, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts combined to rank Leon County with the highest (5,049) reported crime rate in the State.”

In Tallahassee, Florida, we have an average of 72,000 students at three major schools, which equates to a greater need for advice on criminal related issues for students.  Recently, the Tallahassee Democrat reported  that “even as the total number of reported offenses rose by more than 1,000, arrests declined by ten percent (10%).”

The unfortunate side is that when a false arrest, mistaken arrest, negligent arrest, or some form of arrest that snares an innocent person –one who is truly innocent of everything—it places the family in complete and utter fear.

The family suffers the most and is in desperate need of correct answers, and someone who can take control of a situation that appears hopeless.  An experienced individual who can make hope happen again–not unreasonable nor false hope, but real hope. Such hope is built through experience, training, and compassion.

Contact Pumphrey Law Firm at (850) 681-7777, and let us help remove the fear, restore the hope, and give you leadership and direction that you so desperately need when you need a Tallahassee, criminal defense attorney.

Our offices are conveniently located in Tallahassee, Florida; Don Pumphrey can help you understand the charges pending against you, the potential punishments, and the best defenses to fight the charges.

The Firm represents clients in Leon County, FL, and the surrounding counties of Jefferson County, Wakulla County, Gadsden County and Liberty County.

This Article Was Last Updated on March 27, 2017.

Also posted in Criminal Defense, Florida Law | Comments Off on So You Need a Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney?

2017 CS/HB 949 Driving Under the Influence

The 2017 House Bill 949 entitled Driving Under the Influence was introduced by State Representative Cord Byrd (R- Neptune Beach) in the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on March 7, 2017. On March 21, 2017, the bill passed the House and is currently pending review of CS under Rule 7.18(c).

The 2017 CS/HB 949 amends Fla. Stat. § 316.193(2) to provide that, in addition to other the other penalties provided, as a condition of probation, notwithstanding Fla. Stat. § 316.656, if a person is convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor DUI, and it is the first offense, then he or she may be permitted to place an ignition interlock device (IID) voluntarily on his or her vehicle in exchange for an adjudication withhold. If the offender voluntarily receives an IID, then the court will withhold adjudication as long as the person does not have a prior withholding of adjudication or an adjudication of guilt for any other offense.

If the individual fails to comply with the full terms of the order for IID placement, then that may result in an adjudication of guilty, among other penalties.

Criminal Penalties for DUI in Florida

The criminal penalties for a DUI conviction can vary depending on the number of prior DUI convictions and the offender’s blood alcohol content (BAC), among other factors.

The first DUI conviction is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six (6) months in jail and up to $1,000 fines. A first DUI conviction may also include up to 50 hours of community service, up to a year of probation, and mandatory vehicle impoundment.

The court, in its discretion, may also order an IID installation on an offender’s vehicle.

Enhanced Penalties for DUI in Florida

Blood alcohol level or having a minor in the vehicle at the time of the offense can result in enhanced penalties for a DUI conviction. If a first-time offender has a BAC of 0.15 or higher, then the penalties may be enhanced. Additionally, if a first-time offender is DUI and has a minor in the vehicle, the penalties may be enhanced.

In Florida, enhanced penalties for first-time DUI offenders can include up to nine (9) months in jail, mandatory IID installation on all vehicles jointly or individually owned or leased, and up to $2,000 fines.

Being able to have such penalties expunged or sealed can substantially change an offender’s ability to get a job.

Effects of CS/HB 949

The 2017 House Bill 949 is extraordinary because Florida law currently does not allow DUI offenses to have adjudication withheld. An adjudication withheld outcome means that, if an individual has no prior withholds in DUI cases, no prior convictions, and has never sealed or expunged a criminal record, then he or she may be eligible to have their criminal record sealed.

If the 2017 HB 949 passes then this could open up an avenue for some people with first-time DUI charges to have the record eventually sealed.

Effect of a Seal of a Criminal Record

If a Florida court allows an offender to seal his or her criminal record, several entities must forward copies of the seal order to relevant persons or entities.

The arresting agency must provide the seal order to any entity that had previously disseminated the criminal record. The clerk of the court must provide the seal order to the state attorney or statewide prosecutor and any entity that received the criminal record.

Lastly, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) must provide the seal order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The FDLE must maintain the record, but it is protected as confidential and is exempt from any public disclosure requirements under Fla. Stat. § 943.0585(4).

A person who has had a record sealed may deny or fail to report the arrest that was sealed, except in the following circumstances:

  • the person is seeking a position with a criminal justice agency;
  • the person is seeking a license from the Division of Insurance or the Department of Financial Services;
  • the person is seeking to be appointed as a guardian;
  • the person is seeking a position within an agency that is responsible for the protection of vulnerable persons such as children, disabled persons, or elderly persons;
  • the person is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
  • the person is petitioning for an additional expunction or sealing of a criminal record or an offense as a victim of human trafficking; or
  • the person is applying for admission to a state bar such as The Florida Bar.

Conclusion

If 2017 CS/HB 949 passes, some people with a first-time offense DUI will have an avenue to have adjudication withheld and ultimately have that offense sealed. Having a record sealed means that the record still exists, but no one may view it without a court order.

Find an Attorney for DUI Offenses in Tallahassee, Florida

Having a DUI on your public record can follow you for the rest of your life. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in Tallahassee, Florida, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to find out what action can be taken to preserve your reputation.

Schedule an appointment with Pumphrey Law to speak one-on-one with a criminal defense attorney. Pumphrey Law takes cases in Leon County, FL, and the surrounding counties including Jefferson County, Wakulla County, Gadsden County, and Liberty County.

Call (850) 681-7777 for a no obligations consultation.

Also posted in Drunk Driving/DUI, Florida Law | Comments Off on 2017 CS/HB 949 Driving Under the Influence

Dismissal, No Information, Nolle Prosequi, What Does it all Mean in Florida

In Florida, dismissal cases, no information separated from the almighty nolle prosequi.  The majority of the defendants in any given Florida courtroom could not tell you the meaning of the term nolle prosequi.

Nolle Prosequi, in legal terms, means“[a]t common law the State has the discretion to announce a nolle prosequi any time prior to the swearing of the jury to try the cause. Wilson v. Renfroe, 91 So.2d 857, 859 (Fla.1956). In addition, because it is solely within the State of Florida’s discretion to nol-pros a case, it may timely do so without the permission of the court. State v. M.J.B., 576 So.2d 966 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991) (holding that the trial court erred in refusing to accept the State’s nolle prosequi filed after the trial court denied the State’s motion to continue, but before jeopardy attached).

The State’s discretion, however, is not unlimited. The State’s ability to dismiss a case without prejudice and to file a new information is restricted by double jeopardy and the speedy trial rule. State v. Stell, 407 So.2d 642, 643 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981).

Nevertheless, a “nolle prosequi effectively ends the proceeding, and any action taken subsequent to the filing of the nolle prosequi is a nullity.” Sadler v. State, 949 So.2d 303, 305 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007). See also State v. Braden, 375 So.2d 49, 50 (Fla. 2d DCA 1979).

Moreover, a nolle prosequi is self-executing upon its announcement and immediately terminates the proceeding. State v. Spence, 658 So.2d 660, 661 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995). No approval of the trial court is required,” State v. Aguilar, 987 So. 2d 1233, 1234–35 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008)

In the State of Florida, the Office of the State Attorney falls under the executive branch of government and therefore vests certain powers to determine whether to proceed with a criminal prosecution. The interesting aspect of a nolle prosequi is that it can be entered at any time and terminates the criminal proceedings, (on the spot, instantaneously, immediate), with no further proceedings on the charging document.

The ability to re-filing after nolle pros is subject to certain rules and restrictions such as double jeopardy, the speedy trial rule, and if neither of those applies, then there is still the infamous statute of limitations. Discussing all of the preceding would require separate blogs and separate entries to explain. The good news is that majority of the time a nolle prossequi is the best outcome for a criminal defendant.

No Information or No Action in Florida

A “no information” or a “no action” is not the same thing as nolle prosequi. In Genden, a “no information” was filed after the information, and around the same time that the appellant pled no contest to the two charges that were listed in the “no information.” It was never mentioned in the proceedings below and, as we noted earlier, is being raised for the first time on appeal.

The parties did not cite, and the court was not able to find, any case law or rules in Florida defining the term “no information.” The term “no action,” on the other hand has been defined as the voluntary termination of proceedings by the state before an information is filed. Genden v. Fuller, 648 So.2d 1183, 1183 n. 1 (Fla.1994); Allied Fidelity Ins. Co. v. State for Use and Benefit of Dade County, 408 So.2d 756, 756 n. 1 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982) (“A ‘no action’ is a dismissal of the pending charges before an information or indictment has been filed; a nolle prosequi is the dismissal of a pending information or indictment.”).

A “no action” serves the purpose of letting a person who has been arrested know that information will not be filed, or an indictment will not be sought.

The Court went on to say “[w]e do not agree with appellant that a “no information” is a nolle prosequi. From a grammatical standpoint a “no information” is the same as a “no action.”

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, an action is a “civil or criminal judicial proceeding,” Black’s Law Dictionary (7th  ed.1990), and an information is a “formal criminal charge.” Id. at 783.1

The Florida Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of what can constitute a nolle prosequi is consistent with Wilson v. Renfroe, 91 So.2d 857 (Fla.1956), in which the prosecutor filed a motion to dismiss criminal charges which stated that an investigation showed that there was insufficient evidence to prove the case. Our supreme court rejected the defendant’s contention that the motion to dismiss was a nolle prosequi.”, Purchase v. State, 866 So. 2d 208, 208–09 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004).

Simply put, the no information or no action, depending on what part of the State of Florida you are in, merely tells you that a charging document will not be filed at that specific time. A no information is indicative of two things in the prosecutor’s world—getting rid of the case with no intention of bringing a charging document later or giving the target of the investigation more “rope” to hang themselves with later, so that the prosecutor can lie in wait for the appropriate time when more evidence exists to bring formal charges (within the boundaries of due process).

Dismissal in Florida Courts

Dismissal is a term usually used by the court. Dismissal can be used by a prosecutor, which is pleasant to a defense attorney’s ears, but it is more appropriate to say nolle prosequi.  Dismissal is usually a judicial function denoting that the charges, charging document, elements, primary offense, or any number of areas are “terminated” for that particular time, and for a particular purpose.

Depending on the timing of any dismissal, (and the basis), it could be fatal for the pending charges brought by the state attorney, or it could be a mere bump in the road for the prosecutor. For the defense attorney, dismissal could mean that there are still more battles to be fought, either on the re-filed charging document or on appeal.  Regardless, it is always good to hear the words dismissal, no information or no action, and nolle prosequi.

Don Pumphrey is a former State Prosecutor, a lifetime member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, a former State of Florida police officer, a former professional athlete in both the USFL and the NFL, and a full IronMan finisher. Most importantly, Don is a husband, father, and friend who loves giving people back their lives and building relationships with former clients who are better because of his services.

Find an Attorney for Dismissal in Leon County, FL

If you or someone you know has been arrested, call an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Invoke your right to remain silent and do not speak with anyone until you have secured an attorney.

Don Pumphrey represents criminal defendants charged with drug crimes, violent crimes, DUI and driving offenses, and other criminal offenses in Leon County, FL, and the surrounding counties of Jefferson County, Wakulla County, Gadsden County and Liberty County.

Also posted in Criminal Defense, Florida Law, Opinion | Comments Off on Dismissal, No Information, Nolle Prosequi, What Does it all Mean in Florida

DUI Ignition Interlock in Florida, All about DUI’s?

blog-interlock-620

“Make no mistake there is always money attached to legislation that moves toward expanding or developing or implementing any device”, says Don Pumphrey, Jr., Owner and Founder of the Pumphrey Law Firm located in Florida’s Capital City, Tallahassee. This is a campaign that’s being pushed for mere safety?  One random company touts preventing over 4 million “illegal” starts since 1992 yet in the same paragraph give a disclaimer that nothing is 100%.

“Here is the straight.  The ignition interlock is a deterrent or a safety device?  Most persons who are required to use the ignition interlock device have been driving for days, weeks, months without the ignition interlock device, only to have it statutorily mandated as punishment?  These DUI ignition interlock laws and devices have been around for quite some time, where is the new research?    If it truly has the backing of safety and not monetary gain, I am all for anything that benefits each of us in society.”

Why isn’t there a marketing campaign pushing these devices on the largest group of our society that is immature, has a drivers license (or ability to apply for one) and is at highest risk?  This group would be persons ages 16-28 or the new “Uber Generation.”  “Who in the DUI world does the interlock truly benefit?  Show me the numbers. Show me it is about reducing drinking related traffic incidence.  I’m all ears.” adds Pumphrey, Jr. “Maybe we should look to current experts in the areas of human factors and look for your information from www.nhtsa.org  even better yet, request an opinion from an expert like Don Fournier, a licensed engineer and expert in reconstruction with Forensic Engineering Technologies. Reach out to someone like Dr. Justin Morgan at F.E.T. and see if they can point you to an opinion as to whether this is indeed a reliable safety device given any empirical research provided.”

The ignition interlock in Florida is a measure for money not for safety.  There may be collateral safety attached sufficiently to shoot the locks off the wallet of the legislature, but the real reason for the device is financial. In the end, it is my humble opinion is that the manufacturer is pushing a product to make money on DUI’s, not preventing DUI’s.

Penalties for DUI in Florida

Whether people were celebrating victories or wallowing in bitter defeats of College Football, socializing with friends, or simply grabbing a drink after work, arrests for alleged drunk driving  can turn fun into months of incredible stress. Convictions can result in serious penalties, even if it is your first criminal offense.To avoid costly fines, having your driving privileges suspended, and the possibility of time incarcerated, you need the assistance of an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney with experience litigating DUI offenses on behalf of clients throughout various areas of Florida, including Leon County and Jefferson County.

Resources

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=ignition+interlock+site:nhtsa.gov&*&spf=612

Studies About the Ignition Interlock: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=ignition+interlock+site:nhtsa.gov&*&spf=612

Also posted in Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI, Florida Law, Law Firm News, Misc., Opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on DUI Ignition Interlock in Florida, All about DUI’s?

Stand Your Ground under Senate Bill 128

Stand Your Ground (SYG) has been a widely debated topic across the United States, especially with the numerous high-profile cases involving self-defense. Approximately twenty-two (22) states have some version of a stand your ground law. As of today, the states that have SYG laws include Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.
Most Stand Your Ground laws change the common law requirement in self-defense, which requires a duty to retreat to the best of one’s ability before using force. All stand your ground laws have some form of “no duty to retreat” language in them.
In Florida, a person who uses force in “justified” self-defense cannot be arrested, detained in custody, or charged and prosecuted. The new Florida Senate Bill 128 proposes to change some procedural aspects of SYG required to prove that the defendant qualifies for immunity.

Attorney for Self-defense in Tallahassee, Florida

Being charged with a violent crime such as an assault, battery or homicide can be completely life changing, even if it is done in self-defense. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney to help explain Stand Your Ground law, and how it may apply to your case can alleviate some of the fear and stress caused by the trial process.
Speak with the Pumphrey Law Firm now for more information about the current status of stand your ground in Florida. Pumphrey Law is located in Tallahassee, Florida, just minutes from Florida State University.
Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a no obligations consultation about your case.

Burden of Proof in Florida

In order to fully understand the significance of Senate Bill 128, you should understand the definition of “burden of proof.” Generally, the prosecution is tasked with the proving the defendant guilty. With such a “burden” falling on the State, the defendant does not have to prove or show anything. In Florida, self-defense is an affirmative defense. An affirmative defense is the defendant’s side of the story put forth, that if proven true, creates a justification for an otherwise unlawful act.
As of now, the Florida Supreme Court, in its majority opinion in Bretherick v. State, 170 So.3d 766, (Fla. 2015), has set forth the procedure for asserting immunity under SYG. Under Bretherick, a defendant that claims immunity under SYG must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the entitlement to the immunity at a pretrial hearing. A preponderance of the evidence is a standard of proof that a proponent must meet in a pretrial hearing. The preponderance of the evidence is defined as “more likely than not.”
Until SB 128 passes, a defendant must prove that it is more likely than not that he or she is entitled to immunity.

The Effect of Proposal 128 on Florida SYG

As stated above, under Bretherick, a defendant has the burden of proving that he or she is entitled to immunity under Stand Your Ground. If Senate Bill 128 is enacted, then the burden shifts from the defendant to the State, meaning that the prosecutor will have to prove that the defendant is not entitled to SYG immunity.
Additionally, Senate Bill 128 will change the standard of proof. Currently, the standard of proof is by a “preponderance of the evidence.” If SB 128 is enacted, then the standard of proof will be “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Beyond a reasonable doubt is a higher standard of proof than preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, the State will have to prove that the defendant is not entitled to immunity beyond a reasonable doubt if CS/SB 128 passes the Florida Legislature.

Additional Resources
CS/SB 128: Self-defense Immunity – Visit the official website of the Florida Senate to find out more information on the status of the upcoming changes to the Florida Stand Your Ground law sponsored by the Judiciary and Senator Rob Bradley (R).

Fla. Stat. § 776.013 –Visit Online Sunshine the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full statutory language of the current Florida Stand Your Ground law.

Forensic Engineering Technologies –Visit Forensic Engineering Technologies for more information about how their forensic investigators can detect various emotions on 911 emergency calls, such as anxiety, fear, anger, or aggressive intent. The Pumphrey Law Firm has used their experts in previous Stand Your Ground trials in Florida.

Find an Attorney for Stand Your Ground in Leon County, Florida

Stand your ground is a difficult standard to prove. With the new changes emerging, your rights and duties under Florida law could change. Under these circumstances, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable Florida criminal defense attorney who has handled defense cases for years.
Speak with one of the attorneys at the Pumphrey Law Firm for more information about your case. Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout the Tallahassee, Florida area, throughout Leon County.
Call (850) 681-7777 for a consultation about immunity under Florida Stand Your Ground.

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Florida Lawmakers Seek to reduce Penalties for Juvenile Offenders through Citations

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As of February 2, 2017, Senate Bill 196 is circulating Florida’s Senate. Senate Bill 196 aims to provide a less stringent alternative for juvenile offenders charged with minor or first-time offenses. Under Senate Bill 196’s proposed penalties for eligible misdemeanors, juvenile offenders found committing any of the offenses provided under this Bill will be provided with a citation in lieu of an arrest and subsequent jail time.

Some of the eligible offenses provided under Senate Bill 196 include theft, trespassing, loitering and prowling, disorderly conduct, possession of cannabis in the amount of 20 grams or less, underage alcohol possession, and a host of other misdemeanors.

In a similar vein, sixty (60) counties throughout Florida have adopted some form of a citation program replacing arrests with citations for eligible offenses. However, despite eligibility for these programs, only a fraction of affected juveniles were provided with a citation instead of an arrest. Florida lawmakers hope to create a uniform system for this citation program, thus introducing the possibility of an alternative to incarceration centered penalties.

After modifications have been made to comply with the Florida House’s wishes, Senate Bill 196 is expected to be up for a vote.

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney

Are you a juvenile offender or the guardian of a juvenile offender who has been charged with a criminal offense? If so, contact the Pumphrey Law Firm at 850-681-7777 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options under Florida law.

Also posted in Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving/DUI, Florida Law, Misc., Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Florida Lawmakers Seek to reduce Penalties for Juvenile Offenders through Citations

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Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr.

Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.

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