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.
Alcohol Responsibility Month is in April, but it should be every month when you consider the harm that can be done when someone over indulges. Not only do you put yourself at risk when you abuse alcohol, but you can also put friends, family, and strangers in harm's way. Because of the need to drink and enjoy alcohol in a responsible manner, Responsibility.org has made a campaign out of alcohol responsibility, as opposed to awareness, for the month of April.
When someone is convicted of a crime, there are several different ways that they can be punished. Often we see incarceration offered as a type of punishment, but probation is also an option depending on the type of crime and the judge's choice in sentencing.
If you've ever watched a Hollywood crime show, you've probably heard the phrase, "You have the right to remain silent" when a suspect is arrested. These seven words usually come shortly after the phrase, "You are under arrest." But do you know exactly what it means when a law enforcement officer makes this particular statement, and are you aware of your rights as a crime suspect under the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights?
In a story we hear of all too often in South Florida, a Miami-area man was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison (240 months) for his role in a large Medicare fraud scheme. In addition, he is also required to pay $66.4 million in restitution for the fraud he committed against the Medicare system.
One Miami man won't be living in the luxurious homes he has been used to thanks to his part in a $20 million mortgage fraud that spanned from South Beach to Ft. Lauderdale. Now, he'll spend 15 years in prison and have five years of supervised release following his prison time. That comes out to roughly one year of federal corrections supervision for each million dollars of fraud.
The decision to allow police officers to use the state's "stand your ground" law as a defense in certain situations may be heading to the Florida Supreme Court. The law, originally enacted in 2005, was created as a way to allow residents to defend themselves with deadly force without fear of arrest or trial. Since its inception, the law has remained controversial, and it is even more so when law enforcement uses it as a defense in cases when deadly force is used.
It's well known that Florida is one of the tougher states for minimum mandatory sentencing for drug offenses. The fact is that many first-time offenders and legitimate addicts end up in prison serving lengthy sentences due to the minimum sentencing that is required for crimes categorized as trafficking. The opioid crisis and pill mills in the state have only added to the large number of people who are sent to prison every year for drug-related crimes.
A Florida Keys woman was arrested recently, charged with first-degree racketeering. According to prosecutors out of Atlantic City, NJ, she is connected with the 2012 murder of a woman whose doctor-husband was at the center of a pill mill scheme in that state. The Summerland Key resident, Beverly Augello's arrest papers mentioned, "illegal distribution of narcotics and murder." However, she was not the only one involved in the conspiracy, racketeering, and murder plots that unfolded several years ago in New Jersey.
The Florida Supreme Court may have to decide in the near future whether a car is considered a deadly weapon when used to harm or kill someone in the state of Florida. The lower appellate courts in the state are divided on this issue, forcing the state's Supreme Court to become the deciding factor.