When a police officer pulls you over, there must be probable cause to stop you. Police officers are not allowed to simply pull you over and start investigating without a good reason. In some cases, even when police claim to have probable cause, careful analysis of the traffic stop reveals that they really didn't.
Police departments throughout the United States are increasing their use of body cameras on police uniforms. The idea is not only to collect video evidence against defendants, but also to protect against police misconduct and violation of people's rights.
Recently we discussed the push by Florida lawmakers to strengthen penalties for domestic violence. For example, one bill being considered by the legislature would require that no-contact orders take effect immediately to prevent accused individuals from contacting alleged victims from jail.
In addition to fines and jail time, the possible repercussions of a drug charge can extend for years into a person's life. Employers and landlords throughout the United States conduct background checks on job applicants, and a drug charge on your record could limit your employment and housing opportunities.
Trafficking in cocaine is a first-degree felony in Florida, but the penalties upon conviction can vary, depending on the amount of cocaine and whether the defendant has any prior convictions. Under Florida law, for a person to be convicted of trafficking, the prosecution must prove that the defendant "knowingly" took part in the manufacture, sale, purchase or delivery of drugs in the state.
When police arrive on the scene of a domestic dispute, it is very likely that someone is going to jail, even if a domestic violence allegation is never proven in court. Charges of domestic violence arise out of a wide variety of situations, and sometimes multiple parties end up facing charges in connection with the same incident. The parties may even reconcile before the case makes its way through the legal system.
Drug trafficking investigations often involve law enforcement agencies from multiple jurisdictions, including local police and federal authorities such as the DEA and Homeland Security. By the time a person is arrested on federal drug charges, you can be certain that authorities have gathered significant evidence.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, then you may be facing serious consequences beyond a criminal conviction. Such cases are very complicated -- more complicated than a prosecutor is likely to admit -- and matters of family law, employment and personal reputation can quickly become intertwined with a domestic violence allegation.
Each year people who have been convicted of violent crimes are exonerated after having served years in prison. These are tragic cases, and according to the National Registry of Exonerations, Florida has one of the highest rates of exoneration among all of the states. So far this year, 81 people have been exonerated nationwide, and since 1989 (which is as far back as the national registry goes), 1,467 individuals have been exonerated.
Criminal charges related to domestic violence are as various as the circumstances that give rise to allegations. Sometimes tempers simply flare; other times, an individual is accused of planning and intentionally committing abuse; in still other cases, the allegations are false. The reality for anyone facing a domestic violence or battery charge is that a strong criminal defense will be necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.