Florida Court Discusses Grounds for Reversing Criminal Convictions

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.

In the second claim, the defendant contended that counsel was ineffective for not requesting a permissive lesser-included offense instruction for reckless driving on the charge of aggravated battery. The court rejected this claim, citing precedent that the possibility of a jury pardon cannot be a basis for prejudice under Strickland.

In the third claim, the defendant asserted that counsel was ineffective for not moving to dismiss charges due to the alleged destruction of exculpatory evidence by law enforcement. The court deemed this claim meritless, as the allegations did not establish evidence destruction, and even if true, they wouldn’t affect the trial’s outcome.

The fourth claim contended that counsel was ineffective for not calling the registered owner of the vehicle as a witness. The court denied this claim, stating that the defendant failed to prove prejudice since the proposed testimony wouldn’t alter the trial’s outcome.

Claims five and six focused on recorded jail calls introduced as evidence for witness tampering. The court rejected these claims, emphasizing that the State sufficiently authenticated the calls through the jail records custodian’s testimony and that the defendant’s arguments lacked merit.

In the final claim, the defendant argued a double jeopardy violation for two counts of aggravated battery. The court disagreed, pointing out that although there was a single accident, there were two victims charged separately, complying with Florida law allowing separate sentences for each criminal offense arising from one episode.

In sum, the court affirmed the trial court’s denial of the defendant’s motion for postconviction relief, finding no merit in the claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and the alleged double jeopardy violation.

Talk to a Trusted Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney

People who drive recklessly and cause bodily injuries may not only face traffic violations but, in some instances, may be charged with violent crimes as well. If you are accused of criminal conduct, it is wise to meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The trusted Sarasota violent crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law have ample experience helping people protect their rights and reputations in the Florida courts, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach Hanlon Law by calling 941-462-1789 or using the form online to arrange a meeting.

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