Articles Posted in Evidence

The Constitution affords criminal defendants numerous rights, including protections against stops or searches without a warrant. There are some exceptions to the warrant requirement, though, such as when an officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that a person is committing a crime. In a recent Florida opinion in a gun crime case in which the defendant argued his stop was unlawful, the court explained what factual scenario supports a probable cause finding. If you are charged with a gun crime, it is important to talk to a Tampa gun crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is alleged that in December 2022, around midnight, a police officer noticed two individuals attempting to conceal themselves behind shipping containers at a big box store. The male, later identified as the defendant, was directed by the police officer to put down his bicycle and follow him to his squad car. The defendant resisted, leading to a chase. After catching up, the police officer tackled the defendant, and a subsequent search incident to arrest revealed a Taurus .357 revolver.

It is reported that the defendant, a convicted felon, was charged with knowingly possessing a firearm in violation of federal statutes. He filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained by the officer, arguing that the stop and seizure was unlawful, as the officer lacked reasonable suspicion for the detention. Additionally, the defendant argued a Miranda violation, asserting he was questioned without proper warnings.

Reasonable Suspicion in Criminal Cases

The court ultimately rejected the defendant’s argument regarding the stop. In doing so, it explained that brief investigatory stops are permissible if supported by probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The court emphasized that law enforcement officers can detain individuals based on probable cause to believe they committed an offense. Continue Reading ›

It is not uncommon for people to be charged with DUI crimes following alcohol-induced crashes. While the police are permitted to investigate collisions without warrants, it is not always clear what constitutes a crash and, therefore, grounds for conducting an investigation.  In a recent Florida opinion, a court clarified what is considered a crash for the purposes of DUI investigations in a case in which it ultimately determined the defendant’s arrest was lawful. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to talk to a Tampa DUI defense lawyer to evaluate what steps you can take to protect your interests.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that a police officer responded to a report of a traffic crash and found the defendant’s overturned pickup truck in a ditch. The defendant, standing nearby, exhibited signs of alcohol impairment. Despite no evidence of the truck colliding with another vehicle or structure, the officer initiated a DUI investigation. The defendant’s truck, which was damaged with a broken headlight, was towed, during which it was revealed it contained numerous alcohol containers. The officer subsequently arrested the defendant for DUI. Chemical testing revealed his BAC to be over .15.

Allegedly, the defendant moved to suppress the results of his chemical testing and any evidence obtained during the investigation, arguing that his overturned truck did not constitute a crash and, therefore, his arrest was invalid. The court granted his motion, and the state appealed. Continue Reading ›

In Florida, most DUI arrests arise out of traffic stops. The police generally must have reasonable suspicion that a motorist is committing a crime or violating a traffic law in order to lawfully stop them, however, and if they do not, any evidence obtained during the stop arguably should be deemed inadmissible. In a recent Florida DUI case, the court discussed the grounds for granting and sustaining a motion to suppress evidence gathered during a traffic stop. If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is advisable to talk to a Tampa DUI defense attorney about what defenses you may be able to assert.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Setting

It is alleged that an officer, equipped with over 17 years of experience as a DUI enforcement officer, observed the defendant’s vehicle driving 83 miles per hour in a zone with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour. The officer initiated a traffic stop after the defendant abruptly came to a halt in a turn lane rather than gradually slowing down. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from it and noticed a half-filled cup of liquid on the floorboard behind the passenger seat. The officer also observed that the defendant had bloodshot and watery eyes and slurred speech.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the courts have the authority to impose increased penalties on people deemed career offenders. Only certain offenses qualify for the purposes of determining whether a person is a career offender, though. In a recent drug trafficking case arising in a Florida district court, the court clarified the criteria for a career offender. If you are charged with a drug crime in Tampa, it is in your best interest to speak to a Tampa drug crime defense attorney about your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with and convicted of conspiracy to manufacture, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of crack cocaine, as well as possession with intent to distribute cocaine. The trial court imposed an enhanced sentence on the defendant due to the fact that he was considered a career offender based on previous felony convictions for crimes of violence or controlled substance offenses.

Allegedly, the defendant appealed, arguing that the court failed to consider the impact of United States v. Dupree on his sentence. The government was directed to respond, and the defendant had the opportunity to reply. The government filed a Response in Opposition, but the defendant did not file a reply within the given time. Continue Reading ›

In Florida, most DUI arrests arise out of traffic stops. While the police are permitted to investigate DUI crimes, they can only do so if they have reasonable suspicion that such crimes are being committed. They do not need to obtain consent from a DUI suspect to conduct field sobriety exercises, though, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the court rejected the defendant’s argument that evidence obtained during his traffic stop should be suppressed. If you are accused of a DUI offense in Tampa, it is wise to speak to a Tampa DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that, during a traffic stop, the officers suspected the defendant of DUI and directed him to perform field sobriety exercises. The defendant complied with their request but later moved to suppress the evidence of his performance on the field sobriety exercises, arguing that his consent was lacking and, therefore, the evidence violated the Fourth Amendment.

Allegedly, during the trial court’s hearing on the defendant’s motion, the court found that although there was reasonable suspicion of DUI, the defendant did not voluntarily consent to the field sobriety exercises. Consequently, the court granted the motion to suppress the evidence. The state appealed. Continue Reading ›

In Florida, people convicted of sex crimes generally are required to register as sex offenders; if they fail to, they may face additional charges. Notably, people can be required to register as sex offenders if they are convicted of sexual offenses that require registration in other states. Recently, a Florida court examined what constitutes an offense requiring registration in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for failing to register. If you are accused of a sex crime, it is important to meet with a Tampa sex crime defense attorney to assess your options for protecting your interests.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with failing to register as a sex offender. The defendant moved for acquittal, but his motion was denied. A jury subsequently found him guilty as charged. The defendant appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to establish that he was required to register as a sex offender.

Crimes Requiring Sex Offender Registration

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that to establish culpability for failing to register as a sex offender, the State was required to demonstrate that the defendant was convicted of a sexual offense that required registration. In order to meet this burden, the State offered evidence at trial that the defendant was found guilty of oral copulation with the use of force in California. Continue Reading ›

At both the state and federal levels, sentencing guidelines set forth what constitutes an appropriate sentence for certain offenses. The courts are not bound by the guidelines, though, and can issue a sentence that is greater or lesser than that suggested. In doing so, the court must abide by certain procedural rules, and if it fails to, the defendant may have grounds for challenging the sentence. Recently, a Florida court examined whether a court violated a defendant’s rights in issuing a sentence that represented an upward variance for a gun crime, ultimately determining that it did not. If you are accused of unlawfully possessing a weapon, it is in your best interest to meet with a Tampa weapons crime defense attorney to discuss your rights.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty, after which he was sentenced to unlawfully possessing a firearm as a felon. Although his advisory guidelines range was calculated as 21 to 27 months’ imprisonment, the court sentenced him to 50 months. The defendant appealed.

Sentence Variances in Florida Criminal Cases

On appeal, the defendant argued that his sentence constituted an upward departure rather than an upward variance. The court disagreed, however, ruling that the defendant’s sentence was an upward variance based on the trial court’s stated reasons for imposing it. Specifically, the court found that the trial court did not refer to a departure provision and that the grounds the trial court gave for the sentence were based on the factors outlined in the imposition of a sentence law. Thus, the court declined to adopt the defendant’s arguments that the trial court erred in failing to comply with established procedures for imposing an upward departure. Continue Reading ›

Criminal defendants will typically try to obtain any evidence that they can offer in their defense prior to proceeding to trial. Despite their best efforts, however, they may not be able to unearth all evidence in their favor until after their conviction. Fortunately, the law permits people convicted of criminal offenses to seek postconviction relief if they discover new evidence after the completion of their trial. Recently, a Florida court discussed postconviction claims based on new evidence in a case in which the defendant was convicted of battery. If you are charged with battery or another violent offense, it is smart to meet with a Tampa violent crime defense lawyer to discuss your potential defenses.

Factual Background

It is reported that in 2007, the defendant was convicted of battery, which was a misdemeanor, and aggravated battery causing significant bodily harm using a weapon, which was a felony. As he was a prison releasee reoffender, he was sentenced to thirty years in prison for the felony offense. In 2022, he filed a motion for postconviction relief based on newly discovered evidence. The court summarily denied his motion, after which he appealed.

Postconviction Relief Due to Newly Discovered Evidence

On appeal, the court found that the court erred in denying the defendant’s motion without considering the defendant’s evidence. As such, it reversed the underlying ruling and remanded the matter to the lower court for an evidentiary hearing. The court explained that it reviewed summary denials of claims for postconviction relief de novo. Continue Reading ›

 Pursuant to Florida law, courts can impose greater penalties on people who are convicted of crimes if they were previously incarcerated. Only certain offenses allow for the imposition of increased sentences, though, and if a court improperly interprets the sentencing laws, the sentence imposed may be illegal. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the appellate court reversed a trial court ruling denying a defendant’s motion for resentencing. If you are charged with a crime, it is important to understand what sentences you may face if convicted, and you should speak to a knowledgeable Tampa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with and convicted of numerous crimes, including burglary of a conveyance with battery or assault. After the trial court imposed its sentence, the defendant moved to amend it, arguing that it was illegal in that he was improperly sentenced as a prison releasee reoffender in violation of Florida law. The trial court denied his motion, after which the defendant appealed. The appellate court summarily affirmed the trial court’s decision, and the defendant moved for a rehearing.

DUI manslaughter charges are frequently filed against people who drive recklessly while inebriated and cause the death of another person. Further, such charges may be brought even if it is not immediately evident that drunk driving caused the collision and consequent loss of life. In such cases, a DUI defendant may be able to argue that the prosecution has not shown enough evidence to prove guilt. In a recent Florida decision, the court considered what evidence the state needs present to prove that a motorist was driving while intoxicated and caused a fatal accident. If you’ve been charged with DUI manslaughter, it is wise to speak to a knowledgeable Florida DUI defense attorney about your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

According to reports, the defendant was traveling on the back of his ATV with his son. They were traveling on a country road with poor visibility and no shoulder. The ATV tipped over into a ditch at 9:00 p.m. The defendant was able to return the ATV to the road, and he and his son climbed on and attempted to start it. Witnesses nearby attempted to warn a truck approaching the ATV to slow down and encourage the defendant and his son to get off of the road.

It is alleged that a truck collided with the ATV, killing the defendant’s child and seriously wounding the defendant, who was flown to the hospital. The defendant admitted to drinking, and a blood test revealed that his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was. 16. After a trial, he was found guilty of DUI manslaughter. He filed an appeal, claiming that the State had failed to present enough evidence to prove his guilt. Continue Reading ›