Under federal law, people convicted of certain crimes lose privileges granted to most citizens. For example, people convicted of felonies constituting crimes of violence typically cannot lawfully carry or own firearms. As such, if a law enforcement agent stops a convicted felon and finds a gun in their possession, it could result in criminal charges. As discussed in a recent Florida case, the sentence for gun crime depends, in part, on the seriousness of the defendant’s prior convictions. If you are charged with a weapons crime, it is sensible to speak to a Sarasota gun crime defense lawyer to evaluate your options for protecting your interests.

Case Setting

Reportedly, in September 2019, the defendant was arrested for domestic violence battery, during which law enforcement discovered a loaded pistol in his possession. He was indicted for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, to which he entered guilty pleas. The presentence investigation report revealed the defendant’s two previous convictions for Florida felonies that were considered crimes of violence: aggravated assault in 2014 and felony battery in 2011.

It is alleged that in the felony battery case, the defendant was initially charged with several offenses, including possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, but eventually pleaded no contest to felony battery. The report of the defendant’s arrest detailed an altercation where the defendant allegedly strangled their partner. In the aggravated assault case, the defendant briefly left an argument to retrieve a handgun from their vehicle and returned to frighten the roommate of an acquaintance. The defendant contested the classification of these convictions as crimes of violence during sentencing.

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People charged with serious violent crimes often fear that they will be found guilty and sentenced to serve a lengthy term in prison, especially if they have prior convictions. There are limitations as to what sentences the courts can impose, however, and if they deviate from the sentencing scheme without just cause, there may be grounds for objecting to the sentence, as demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the defendant was convicted of attempted manslaughter and felony battery. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a violent crime, it is critical to speak to a Sarasota violent crime defense lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with attempted first-degree murder with a weapon and aggravated battery with a weapon. She was subsequently convicted of attempted manslaughter with a weapon, which was a lesser included offense of the murder charge, and felony battery, which was a lesser included offense of the battery crime. Following her sentencing, she appealed both her convictions and her sentence.

Grounds for Revising Sentences

On appeal, the defendant set forth numerous arguments. The court rejected the defendant’s first five arguments, affirming her convictions without discussion. The court then addressed the two remaining arguments the defendant asserted contesting her sentences.

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Pursuant to Florida law, while the courts have some discretion when sentencing people convicted of crimes, the sentences they administer must fall within the range dictated by the statutory guidelines. Accordingly, if a sentence exceeds a statutory maximum, it may be illegal and, therefore, may be subject to reversal. A Florida court recently discussed the grounds for reversing illegal sentences in a Florida case in which it granted the defendant’s request to vacate his sentences for aggravated battery and aggravated assault. If you are charged with assault, battery, or any other violent offense, it is smart to talk to a Sarasota violent crime defense lawyer to determine your rights.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the defendant faced convictions for two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The charges stemmed from an altercation where the defendant allegedly indiscriminately fired shots into a crowd, injuring multiple individuals.

Reportedly, witness testimony during the trial implicated the defendant as the perpetrator of the shooting. He was subsequently convicted by a jury and sentenced to 36 years in prison for each aggravated battery conviction and 36 years with a 20-year mandatory minimum for aggravated assault. The defendant appealed, challenging multiple aspects of his convictions and sentences, including the admission of certain evidence, jury instructions, and the legality of his sentences. Continue Reading ›

Florida law regulates the possession and concealment of firearms. For example, people are permitted to carry concealed weapons, but only under certain circumstances. As such, if a person is caught by the police with a concealed gun in their possession, they may face criminal charges. As explained by a Florida court in an opinion recently issued in a gun crime case, the law permitting concealed weapons in a private vehicle does not permit people to carry such weapons on their person. If you are charged with a gun crime, it is advisable to meet with a Sarasota weapons crime defense lawyer to discuss your possible defenses.

Case Setting

It is reported that in June 2022, police officers pulled over the defendant for a traffic infraction. Upon approaching the defendant’s vehicle, the officers noticed a handgun in the car’s glove compartment. They also detected the smell of marijuana. They asked the defendant to exit the vehicle. When he complied, the officers saw that he had a crossbody bag over his shoulder and chest, which was zipped closed. Upon searching the bag, the officers found a loaded handgun, leading to the defendant’s arrest for carrying a concealed firearm.

Allegedly, the defendant was subsequently arrested for carrying a concealed firearm in violation of section 790.01(2) of the Florida Statutes. The defendant argued for dismissal, contending that under section 790.25(5), he was allowed to possess the concealed firearm as it was securely encased within a private conveyance. The trial court agreed with the defendant’s argument and dismissed the charge. The State appealed the decision.

The Right to Carry a Concealed Firearm in Florida

Upon review, the court reversed the trial court’s decision to dismiss the charge against the defendant. It was argued by the State that the trial court’s ruling was erroneous because it overlooked a crucial sentence in section 790.25(5), which expressly stated that the subsection should not be construed to authorize the carrying of a concealed firearm “on the person.”

The court agreed with the State’s argument, noting that the defendant’s interpretation, allowing possession of a firearm even if carried on the person as long as it was securely encased within a vehicle, was inconsistent with the plain language of the statute. The court also emphasized that section 790.25(5) limits the right to possess a firearm in a vehicle to those that are securely encased or not immediately accessible for use and are not carried on the person.

Therefore, the court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the information and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that even a securely encased weapon does not fall under the private conveyance exception if it is carried on the person.

Talk to a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

Under Florida law, most people are lawfully permitted to possess weapons, but if a gun owner does not comply with the terms of applicable firearm laws, they may be charged with gun crimes. If you are charged with a gun offense, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your rights. The skilled Sarasota gun crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can advise you of your rights and help you to seek the best result possible under the facts or your case. You can reach Hanlon Law by calling 941-462-1789 or using the form online to arrange a conference.

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People sentenced to supervised release in federal cases must comply with the terms of their release; otherwise, their release may be revoked. As demonstrated in a recent opinion issued in a Florida case, the state’s burden of proof in revocation hearings is lower than in criminal trials, and the federal rules of evidence regarding hearsay do not necessarily apply. If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, it is smart to consult a Sarasota probation violation defense attorney about your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the lower court revoked the defendant’s supervised release after determining that he violated the conditions of his release by committing the offense of simple battery. During the hearing, the government introduced evidence in the form of a text message exchanged between the victim and her 16-year-old daughter via the testimony of M.M.’s mother, Reyna Morales. The defendant objected to the admission of the text message, asserting that it violated his right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses. The court overruled his rejection. After his supervised release was revoked, he appealed.

Grounds for Revoking Supervised Release

On appeal, the defendant argued that the lower court violated his due process rights by admitting a text message containing hearsay at his revocation hearing. The court disagreed, affirming the lower court ruling. The court explained that supervised release could be revoked if the district court found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant violated a condition of supervised release. The court noted that the preponderance of the evidence standard requires the trier of fact to believe that the existence of a fact was more probable than its nonexistence.

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There are numerous statutes and rulings that prevent criminal defendants from unjust convictions. For example, in many cases, a unanimous jury verdict is necessary to convict a person of a crime. When a single offense can be committed through alternative acts, though, unanimity is not necessary, as explained in a recent Florida ruling issued in a petit theft case. If you are accused of theft, it is in your best interest to meet with a Sarasota theft crime defense attorney about your rights.

Case Background

Allegedly, in July 2021, the victim contacted the police to report a break-in at her apartment by the defendant. The two had a prior romantic relationship. The defendant was subsequently arrested and charged with six crimes, including petit theft. The petit theft charge pertained to the defendant allegedly obtaining or using the victim’s purse and/or wallet, intending to deprive her of the property.

Reportedly, during the trial, the victim testified that the defendant forcibly entered her apartment, demanding his phone and wallet. Despite her denial and attempts to show she didn’t possess his belongings, the defendant took her purse, containing the phone, wallet, and medication. The trial court instructed the jury to determine whether the defendant knowingly obtained the victim’s purse or wallet, and the jury found him guilty of petit theft, valuing the stolen property at less than $750. The defendant appealed.

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In Florida, driving is a privilege, and drivers must comply with certain laws in order to maintain that privilege. If they fail to do so, they may not only lose their right to drive but may face criminal charges as well. As demonstrated in a recent Florida case, people convicted of crimes involving vehicles may be charged with battery and, if convicted, may be sentenced to decades in prison. If you are charged with a violent crime, it is smart to talk to a Sarasota violent crime defense attorney about your options.

Case Background

It is reported that the defendant was charged with multiple crimes involving his use of a vehicle, including aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, fleeing law enforcement, driving with a revoked license, leaving the scene of an accident, and tampering with a witness. He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to thirty years in prison. He moved for postconviction relief, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied his motion, and he appealed.

Grounds for Reversing Criminal Convictions

On appeal, the defendant raised claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and a double jeopardy violation. The court applied the Strickland standard for ineffective assistance of counsel, requiring a showing of deficient performance and resulting prejudice. In the first claim, the defendant argued that his counsel was ineffective for not objecting to an amended information filed after the speedy-trial period. The court found that the defendant had waived his speedy-trial rights by requesting a continuance before the amendment, rendering the objection meritless and his counsel’s performance reasonable.

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Under federal law, people with an extensive criminal history can be deemed career offenders, which means, in part, that they may face greater penalties for subsequent crimes. Only convictions for certain crimes will qualify a person for career offender status, however. If a defendant does not object to the sufficiency of the evidence demonstrating that they are a career offender at the sentencing level, however, they may waive their right to do so, as illustrated in a recent ruling issued in a Florida drug crime case. If you are accused of a drug-related offense, it is wise to confer with a Sarasota drug crime defense attorney promptly.

Case Setting

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with conspiring to distribute and distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. During the trial, the government presented evidence of the defendant’s involvement in controlled methamphetamine purchases, and the jury found him guilty on both counts. The government sought a mandatory minimum sentence based on the defendant’s prior drug-related convictions.

Reportedly, the defendant’s presentence investigation report applied a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence and classified him as a career offender based on his prior convictions. The report listed three qualifying prior offenses, and the defendant did not object to the report. At the sentencing hearing, he admitted to the convictions listed in the government’s notice of intent, and his trial counsel raised no legal objections. The court sentenced the defendant to 360 months imprisonment, stating it would have imposed the same sentence even without the mandatory minimum due to the substantial amount of methamphetamine involved. The defendant appealed.

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Typically, when people are sentenced to probation, they are required to comply with specific conditions, including, among other things, refraining from engaging in criminal behavior. If they violate the terms of their probation, it may be revoked, and they may be sentenced to imprisonment. In a recent Florida case, a court examined whether an uncharged violation constituted adequate grounds for revoking a defendant’s probation; while the court ultimately ruled that it did not, it upheld the revocation on other grounds. If you are charged with a probation violation, it is smart to talk to a Sarasota probation violation defense attorney regarding your rights.

Factual and Procedural History

It is reported that the defendant appealed the trial court’s decision to revoke his probation and impose a life sentence. He argued that the trial court improperly considered an uncharged violation in its decision. The defendant also contended, and the State agreed, that the trial court’s written order did not align with its oral pronouncement. During a probation revocation hearing, the trial court requested the defendant’s prior record. The State provided an electronic copy that included the defendant’s most recent arrest, an uncharged violation. The defendant subsequently filed a motion under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(b)(2), asserting that the written order did not match the oral pronouncement, but the trial court did not rule on this motion. The defendant then appealed.

Revoking Probation Based on an Uncharged Violation

On appeal, the court noted that revoking probation based on an uncharged violation violates due process and constitutes a fundamental error. Both the defendant and the State acknowledged this error but differed regarding its import.

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The right to a speedy trial is a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system, as it ensures that defendants are not subject to unnecessary delays in the legal process. If a criminal defendant found guilty of a crime believes that their right to a speedy trial was violated, they might be able to successfully argue that their conviction should be vacated. As illustrated in a recent Florida ruling delivered in a drug crime case, however, it can be challenging to demonstrate that delays in criminal proceedings are unjust and unreasonable. If you are charged with a drug-related offense, it is smart to talk to a Sarasota drug crime criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was charged with and convicted of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a controlled substance. He was convicted and sentenced to 235 months in prison. He appealed on numerous grounds, including the assertion that the trial court violated his right to a speedy trial.

The Right to a Speedy Trial in Criminal Matters

After careful analysis, the court found that the defendant’s right to a speedy trial was not violated and upheld his conviction. The court explained that the Speedy Trial Act establishes guidelines for expediting criminal trials while allowing for justifiable delays. The Act excludes certain periods of delay stemming from proceedings involving the defendant, including delays caused by pretrial motions from filing through disposition.

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