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Miami Criminal Law Blog

The Degrees of Murder in the State of Florida

In the state of Florida, there are three different degrees of murder. These degrees are dependent on how the crime takes place and determine the outcome of the sentencing. The circumstances around the situation can have a large effect on how the case is handled in court.

Can You Be Charged With A DIU While In A Semi-Autonomous Vehicle?

Everyone knows driving while under the influence is not only very dangerous, but it's also illegal. However, with new technology like autopilot and semi-autonomous vehicles, the line between drunk driving and being responsible starts to blur. The honest answer to the question of whether or not one can be charged with a DIU while using one of these vehicles is: yes, you can almost certainly receive a DUI if you attempt to ride in a self-driving vehicle while intoxicated or impaired.

A recent case involving a man in California resulted in a DIU after he was found passed out in a drunken stupor in his Tesla that was found stopped in the middle of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. His blood alcohol level was double the legal limit and he was arrested immediately. In his defense, the driver stated that he was not driving his car because it was on autopilot.

How One Man's Selfie Saved Him from Jail Time

A man in Texas was able to save himself from a life in prison by proving his innocence with the help of a geotagged selfie taken with his family on Facebook. According to KVUE, Cristopher Precopia was accused by his ex-girlfriend of breaking into her home and using a box cutter to slice an X into her chest.

Precopia said he hadn't spoken to the ex in years and swore he was innocent - he was even almost 70 miles away when the crime took place. Out of nowhere, Precopia was facing a felony charge: burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit other crimes. Precopia was taken to the Williamson County Jail, where his parents posted a $150,000 bond. Then they began fighting to prove his innocence.

What Happens When You Commit Voting Fraud

As election season comes to a close, crimes involving ballots and voting tend to come to light. Though it doesn't happen often, it does happen on occasion. According to Vox, "Voter fraud is extremely rare. As Vox's German Lopez has written, a study by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt found just 35 credible allegations of fraud from 2000 and 2014 - out of more than 800 million ballots cast."

State of Florida Passes Amendment 4 Restoring Voting Rights of Convicted Felons

The midterm elections came and went, and for 1.5 million convicted felons in the state of Florida, there was a big win. Amendment 4 passed on Tuesday with more than 60% of the vote, allowing for the voting rights of convicted felons to automatically be restored.

What This New Amendment Means

With the newly passed amendment, felons who have finished their full sentences will now be allowed to vote in the state of Florida. Full sentences include time, fines, probation, and parole. However, felons who have been convicted of murder or sex offenses are not eligible.

Criminal Trial by Jury in Florida

When someone is arrested and charged with a crime, the next step is a plea and potential trial. Not all criminal cases go to trial. In fact, many of them do not. If a defendant pleas guilty or no contest, or if both sides reach a plea bargain or there is a dismissal of charges, the case will not go to trial. However, if the defendant wishes to plea not guilty and face a jury of his or her peers, here is what one can expect from a criminal jury trial process.

The Difference Between a Direct Appeal and Post-Conviction Relief in Florida

In the event that someone is found guilty of a crime during a criminal trial, there can be an element of shock and disbelief, especially if the defendant feels as though the trial was unfair, or additional evidence that challenges their guilt was not available at the time of trial. The initial trial conviction isn't always final, and there are a couple ways that the case can be examined again.

Between a direct appeal and post-conviction relief motion, a criminal conviction can be challenged following the initial trial. However, it's important to note that these two types of situations mean different things and fall under different contexts in the realm of criminal justice.

Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Florida

Many states around the country have recently passed laws legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana use, creating a confusing situation around the country as the laws regarding marijuana can widely differ from state to state. Despite the fact that Amendment Two, which supported the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida, passed with an overwhelming amount of votes in the election of 2016, the state of Florida is still grappling with largely misunderstood laws when it comes to the legal use of medical marijuana.

Drug Laws and the State of Florida

A recent case surfaced in Miami Beach where a popular barber was arrested after a comprehensive undercover sting. The barber was charged with several drug charges including 10 counts of marijuana possession and selling; seven counts of cocaine possession and selling; five counts of ecstasy possession and selling; and two counts of using communications devices in an unlawful act. He is currently being held on a $120,000 bond.

Drug charges can vary from a misdemeanor to first-degree felony charges depending on the type of controlled substance and the amount involved in the crime. Different types of drug charges can come from simple possession for personal use, or if the intent of the controlled substance is for sale. Here is some information on the drug laws in the state of Florida.

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