Articles Posted in Assault and Battery

Most Florida citizens have the right to own firearms, but for convicted felons, carrying a gun can lead to felony charges. Further, if their prior offenses were violent crimes, they may face lengthy prison sentences if they are convicted. In a recent Florida case, the court analyzed whether resisting an officer, and other offenses constituted violent predicate crimes, ultimately concluding that they did. If you are charged with a weapons offense, it is important to talk to a St. Petersburg gun crime defense attorney to discuss your potential defenses.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with possession of ammunition and a firearm as a felon. He entered a guilty plea. He was then sentenced to fifteen years in prison under the Armed Career Criminal Act (the Act). He appealed, arguing that his prior convictions for battery, robbery, and resisting an officer were not considered violent felonies under the Act. He further asserted that the enhanced mandatory minimum sentence imposed under the Act violated his protections against double jeopardy.

Violent Offenses Under Florida Law

The court rejected the defendant’s reasoning and affirmed his sentence. The court explained that it reviewed whether a crime categorically qualifies as a violent felony under the Act de novo, while double jeopardy claims were reviewed for clear error. Under the Act, a minimum of a fifteen-year term of imprisonment must be imposed for anyone convicted of certain federal gun crimes if they have three prior violent felony convictions. Violent felonies include crimes that have the use or attempted or threatened use of physical force as an element. Continue Reading ›

Domestic violence can take many forms and have devastating consequences for the accused. If you have been accused or arrested of domestic violence, it is important to seek help from a qualified attorney. If you are looking for a qualified domestic violence attorney in St. Petersburg, FL, you have come to the right place. This blog post will discuss what you need to know about finding and hiring a domestic violence lawyer.

What is domestic violence, and what are the different types of abuse involved?

There are many different types of domestic violence one can be accused of, which can be physical, emotional, or sexual. Physical abuse is intentional harm inflicted on someone, such as punching, slapping, or choking. Emotional abuse is any verbal or nonverbal behavior that harms someone’s self-esteem or wellbeing. Sexual abuse includes unwanted touching or coercing someone into sexual activity.

In Florida, there are numerous crimes that are similar but distinct. For example, battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a crime of domestic violence. While the distinction may seem irrelevant to the average person, there are significantly different penalties imposed for each offense. As such, if a defendant is sentenced based on the incorrect battery charge, it may constitute grounds for a reversal. This was demonstrated recently in a Florida case in which the court determined that the defendant was entitled to resentencing after the instructions delivered to the jury at his trial failed to mention domestic violence. If you are accused of battery, it is advisable to contact a St. Petersburg violent crime defense attorney to determine what defenses you may be able to assert.

Procedural History of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including domestic battery. The instructions given to the jury during his trial failed to mention domestic violence in any way, however. Instead, the instruction merely referred to the general battery statute.  The jury nonetheless convicted the defendant of domestic violence battery. The sentencing court subsequently treated the battery charge as a crime of domestic violence and sentenced the defendant accordingly. The defendant appealed, arguing that his sentence was improper.

Sentencing for Florida Battery Crimes

The appellate court agreed with the defendant and ruled that he was entitled to resentencing. The appellate court explained that, under Florida law, battery may be considered a first-degree misdemeanor if it is the offender’s first conviction. In order for battery to be weighed under the domestic violence statute, it must include the death or physical injury of one household or family member by another household or family member. Continue Reading ›

While criminal defendants are not required to set forth a defense, many do, and it generally takes a substantial amount of time to gather the facts and evidence needed to refute the State’s claims. Thus, if a defendant is denied the right to have sufficient time to prepare a defense, it can greatly impact his or her rights. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which a defendant’s information was amended to include a burglary with assault and battery charge right before trial, but his request to continue the trial was denied.  If you are accused of assault and battery or other crime of violence, it is advisable to speak to a trusted St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to determine your rights.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the defendant and a friend visited the home of another woman in August 2016. The friend, who was homeless, sometimes stayed at the woman’s home with her children. The defendant and the woman left the home but returned later that evening. The defendant then reportedly engaged in illegal acts and was driven out of the home by the friend. He was subsequently charged with numerous offenses.

Reportedly, one week prior to trial, the State filed an amended information, setting forth a burglary with assault or battery charge against the defendant. The State also identified three additional witnesses two days later. The defendant filed a motion to continue the trial to afford him additional time to prepare his defense. The court denied the motion, and the defendant was convicted, after which he appealed.

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