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Clearwater Criminal Defense Law Blog

Defend Yourself Against Misconceptions About Florida Self Defense Laws

Defend Yourself Against Misconceptions About Florida Self Defense Laws

  Florida’s self defense laws have been in the national news a few times over the past several years. Many misconceptions have arisen as a result, and the laws themselves are not as clear cut as some may believe them to be. Here’s what you need to know about the laws of self defense in Florida. Non-Deadly Force Florida’s self defense laws are covered in chapter 776 of the Florida statutes. In Florida, self defense is an affirmative defense against several criminal charges. Florida law holds that an individual may use or threaten to use a non-deadly force against another person if they...

A loan fraud charge could include a 30-year sentence

Federal loans obtained fraudulently during a major disaster or declared national emergency may bring severe penalties. As described on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation website, punishments may include a $1 million fine and up to 30 years of imprisonment if convicted. A prosecutor may not, however, always obtain a conviction for an alleged offense. Law enforcement must first provide ample proof that a loan applicant submitted false statements or modified documents. Due diligence regarding an applicant is generally required Banks and financial institutions generally owe a duty of care...

Steal A Peek At The Laws Against Theft In Florida

Steal A Peek At The Laws Against Theft In Florida

Robbery in Florida is a quite common criminal charge that manifests itself in many different situations. Although several different degrees of severity exist for robbery charges in Florida, all of them are felonies, and all of them carry with them quite severe penalties. Basics The crime of robbery has been present in English common law from almost the beginning. Matthew Hale described the crime of robbery in 1736 as “the felonious and violent taking of any money or goods from the person of another, putting him in fear, be the value thereof above or under one shilling” Robbery came to...

Why might the government seize my assets for a federal criminal conviction?

If a federal court convicts you of a criminal charge, you may face a variety of penalties. You likely know you face time in prison, but are you aware the government may also seize your assets? According to the US Department of Justice, the government uses asset seizure because it is an effective way to accomplish two main goals. Provide compensation to victims Seizing your assets can provide money the government can then use to pay compensation to any victims in your case. This restitution is something you will often receive as part of your sentence. If the government takes your assets, it...

Understanding the federal sentencing guidelines for embezzlement

Embezzlement typically involves the taking of assets the defendant has control over but does not own. For example, employees of a credit union may have the authority to count and dispense customer money, but they cannot pocket it for their own personal gain.   While embezzlement of private funds is usually a state offense, federal prosecutors may bring charges for embezzlement of public funds. Often, federal prosecutors use fraud statutes, such as bank or wire fraud, to prosecute defendants for embezzlement.   The federal sentencing guidelines Because of disparities in sentences between...

The Basics Of Domestic Violence Laws In Florida

The Basics Of Domestic Violence Laws In Florida

Thanks to the stress and isolation of the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns, domestic violence prosecutions have spiked over the past year. Florida law utilizes both criminal and civil remedies for domestic violence, but the focus in this article will be the criminal laws surrounding domestic violence in Florida. Basics The State of Florida define domestic violence as certain types of violent crime perpetrated against a family member. Violence against a blood relation counts as domestic violence as well as violent acts against a spouse, a former spouse, a co-parent, or a relative by...

Forgery in Florida – What’s The Real Story?

Forgery in Florida – What’s The Real Story?

Forgery is considered a “white collar” crime that is in essence the act of producing a false legal document or materially altering one with the intent to defraud another. In Florida, doing so is a felony. Basics In Florida, a felony is falsely making, altering, forging, or counterfeiting of certain documents with the intent to injure or defraud another. The documents listed in the statute break down roughly into two broad groups: public documents and private contracts. In general, the elements of forgery in Florida are: making, altering, forging, or counterfeiting a written instrument that...

Avoid Transgressing The Laws Of Criminal Trespass In Florida

Avoid Transgressing The Laws Of Criminal Trespass In Florida

  The laws of criminal trespass in Florida frequently come into play alongside other serious criminal charges. Although it is not a felony in most cases, criminal trespass is often charged with other felonies at the same time, and it can be a felony itself under certain circumstances. Basics Florida law defines criminal trespass as entering or remaining in a structure or conveyance or refusing to leave a structure or conveyance or being told to leave a structure or conveyance and continuing to remain there. Florida statutes recognize two types of criminal trespass: trespass in a...

Disorderly Conduct: Florida’s “Catch All” Crime

Disorderly Conduct: Florida’s “Catch All” Crime

One of the more common crimes charged in Florida is that of disorderly conduct. Though typically a misdemeanor, disorderly conduct is frequently charged alongside felonies, and in certain instances the charge itself may be a felony in certain circumstances. Background Disorderly conduct is a crime in most United States jurisdictions. As a wide range of acts may qualify as disorderly conduct under most statutes, the crime has been used as a “catch all” charge by prosecutors to punish acts that do not fit neatly into other statutes. At the Federal level, disorderly conduct is an act that is...

What is mail fraud?

Most fraud schemes result in a hefty penalty if you end up charged and convicted. But did you know that some types of fraud are also considered federal offenses? This is the case with mail fraud, which would go on your record as a felony in the case of a conviction. Why is mail fraud a felony? What should you do to protect yourself if you face such a charge? The act of mail fraud The Congressional Research Service discusses what mail fraud is. It is the involvement of the U.S. postal system in the act of defrauding someone. The act of fraud itself involves depriving a person of their assets,...

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