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Sarasota, Florida, criminal defense blog

Can you go to jail for disturbing the peace?

You didn't mean to cause a disturbance in the middle of the night, but you got a little out of control with your drinking and made a scene in your neighborhood. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time it's happened, so your neighbors want the police to pursue charges against you.

Can the police really charge you for a simple disturbance? Unfortunately, they can. Disorderly conduct is also known as "breach of the peace" in Florida. There are many types of disorderly conduct including inciting a riot, loitering, obstructing traffic and loud or unreasonable noise. For example, if you have a neighbor who plays extremely loud music at certain times of the day or night, he or she could potentially be cited for disturbing the peace.

Defend yourself against allegations of looting in an emergency

If you are caught in a natural disaster, one of the last things you're going to worry about is the legal consequences of stealing when you need something to survive. When a natural disaster hits, one of the main questions people have is whether or not it's a crime to take things from stores. Looting is a criminal act in normal circumstances, but does that apply to taking groceries during a heavy flood or hurricane?

In Houston, there are floods that cover roadways and flood out homes. Individuals have no way to go buy groceries. Now, the police have to decide if looting is against the law in these extreme situations.

How many nurses lose their licenses?

As a nurse, you likely have moments of concern throughout your day: concerns for your patients, for your own health and safety, and for the well-being of your community. Perhaps worries about the security of your job cross your mind from time to time as well, especially during times of budget cuts or administrative changes. Recently, however, you may be wondering about what would happen if the nursing board suspends or revokes your nursing license.

These things don't happen frequently, but when they do, they often mean a dedicated health care provider must look for work in another field. You may be especially concerned about losing your license if you have recently learned that someone has filed a complaint against you. It may help to understand the most common ways nurses lose their licenses.

Woman causes accident to prevent driver from causing accident

When a driver is out of control on the roads, the first thing people assume is that the individual is intoxicated. That's not always the case, and if it isn't, it's unfair to paint that person as a drunk when he or she may have been suffering symptoms of a medical emergency or from other issues.

In this case, the news has asserted that a young woman was assumed to be intoxicated at the time of a crash and went as far as to post her name and information. She has been charged with driving under the influence and careless driving. She was also charged with driving with a suspended license. The police did not report the young woman's blood alcohol concentration.

Florida rules against state attorney's no-death-penalty idels

In Florida, the state attorney had filed a petition challenging the governor's authority to reassign death penalty cases. The court recently ruled that the governor is within his rights to reassign the prosecution of death-penalty cases to a special prosecutor.

Why does that matter to the state attorney? She previously had a run-in with the governor when the attorney decided that she would not seek the death penalty against a man who is accused of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend, a woman who was pregnant at the time. She also determined she would not seek the death penalty for any other case that came to her during her tenure.

Theft is more than borrowing items without permission

Larceny and theft are sometimes considered to be the same under law, but some states still keep them separated. Larceny itself is the unlawful taking of someone else's property when he or she hasn't given you permission and with the intention to keep the property from the owner permanently. Theft is more broadly the taking of another person's property without his or her permission and with the intent to prevent the person from regaining his or her property permanently.

There are different types of theft that a person can be charged with depending on the amount of money the property is worth. For example, stealing a car may be considered grand theft, while stealing a small toy is simply theft. Petty theft, also called petit theft, is when the property stolen is worth less than $500 to $1,000, for instance. Usually, a petty theft is a misdemeanor. Grand theft, on the other hand, refers to the theft of goods over the value of a petty theft's limits. If the limit is $500, for example, then stealing a laptop worth $1,000 would be grand theft, but stealing a notebook worth $150 would be petit theft.

What can you do to persuade a jury?

It's in your best interests to be likable when you show up to court. The jury needs to be persuaded to believe what you and your attorney want it to believe. To do that, it's vital that you take the time to think about how the jury will come to a decision.

There are several ways to make a jury look at you more favorably, from smiling and dressing in neat clothing to answering the judge kindly and nodding or giving agreeable answers throughout the trial.

This is how a judge determines your sentence

If you are convicted of a crime, the next thing that happens is criminal sentencing. Your sentence is based on many factors including whether or not there is a minimum sentencing requirement. Criminal offenses may be penalized with things like community service or may result in life in prison without parole, depending on the case.

Judges consider many things before determining a sentence. First, he or she will look at your history of offenses. If this is your first offense, you're less likely to face severe penalties than if this is your fifth, for example. A judge also considers your role in the criminal act. Were you the one who instigated the crime, or were you an accessory? Accessories may face fewer penalties than those accused as a main offender.

Fighting back against allegations or charges of securities fraud

White collar crime charges are serious, and a conviction has the potential to bring life-altering penalties. If you are facing allegations of this type of criminal behavior, you would be wise to learn how you can move to protect your own interests.

One type of white collar crime is securities fraud, which happens when a person makes a statement regarding the value of a company's stock, causing others to make financial decisions based on that false information. Securities fraud is actually quite simple, but securities regulations are complex, so if you find yourself facing this type of federal charge, you would be wise to secure guidance and counsel.

Vandalism can result in jail time and heavy fines

You thought it was funny to throw eggs at your teacher's car last night, and you weren't aware that they could cause actual damage to the paint. What you didn't know what that the teacher was prepared for acts like this and had a security camera installed on the property. Now, you not only have trouble at school, but you're also facing an arrest. You're already 18, so you're in deep trouble if the teacher decides he wants to press charges for the crime.

Vandalism has the potential to ruin a property's value. Even if the property is not damaged significantly, the cost to repair vandalized property can be high. For those accused of vandalism, it's likely high fines and penalties will be part of the sentence if they are convicted.

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