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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

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Dealing With a DUI During the Holidays

By Julia Kefalinos |

As the holidays approach, it’s worth noting that the rates of drinking and driving soar. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25 percent more highway deaths occur during this time of year, with New Year’s Eve topping out with a 30 percent increase in fatalities. About a quarter of those deaths… Read More »

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Can a Judge Force You to Wear Restraints During Your Criminal Trial?

By Julia Kefalinos |

When facing criminal charges, you have a constitutional right to be present at your own trial. This right generally includes freedom from physical restraint during any trial proceedings before the jury. In other words, you cannot be handcuffed or shackled in the jury’s presence. The reason for this is obvious: Such an appearance would… Read More »

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How Much Discretion Does a Police Officer Have When Executing a Search Warrant?

By Julia Kefalinos |

The Constitution protects your right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Among other things, this means that the police cannot take a sample of your blood without either your consent or obtaining a search warrant. The warrant itself can only be issued if a judge finds there is “probable cause” to believe… Read More »

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Is Repeatedly “Re-Tagging” Someone on Facebook Considered Cyberstalking?

By Julia Kefalinos |

Cyberstalking is often a component of domestic violence cases. Individuals can use the Internet to harass, threaten, or even terrorize their victims. In many cases, these victims can seek an injunction against cyberstalking under Florida law. At the same time, conduct that is merely annoying or offensive remains constitutionally protected speech under the First… Read More »

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Can Prosecutors Introduce Evidence of My Alleged “Prior Bad Acts” at My Criminal Trial?

By Julia Kefalinos |

If you are tried for a crime in Florida, the prosecution is generally banned from introducing any evidence that is solely designed to paint you as a “bad character” to the jury. In other words, most evidence regarding your “prior bad acts” are inadmissible, unless those acts are similar to the one you are… Read More »

DefRights

When Can “Newly Discovered Evidence” Affect a Criminal Conviction?

By Julia Kefalinos |

The purpose of a criminal trial is for a jury to weigh the available evidence and deliver a verdict. But there are situations where new evidence may come to light after the verdict is entered. When this happens, is it possible for the defendant to seek a new trial based on newly discovered evidence?… Read More »

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Can Police Officers Give Opinions About Your Statements in a Criminal Trial?

By Julia Kefalinos |

In any criminal trial, the jury is the “trier of fact.” This means it is up to the jury to listen to all of the testimony and decide if the prosecution has met its burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To help protect the jury’s role, there are a number… Read More »

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The Importance of “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” in Florida Criminal Trials

By Julia Kefalinos |

Even if you have never been charged and tried for a crime, you have probably heard the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This refers to the legal standard of proof the prosecution must meet to convict anyone of a crime. It does not matter what the crime is–whether it is misdemeanor DWI or felony… Read More »

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When Can Posting Negative Comments About Someone on Social Media Lead to Cyberstalking Charges?

By Julia Kefalinos |

As new technologies gain popularity, the law must often play catch-up. For example, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier than ever to communicate with other people. Unfortunately, in some cases that communication is unwanted or considered harassment by the recipient. Under Florida law it is a first-degree misdemeanor to… Read More »

CrimLaw6

Can a Judge Impose a Sentence Without Allowing Me to Present Evidence First?

By Julia Kefalinos |

When charged with any state crime, you have certain basic constitutional rights. This includes the right to be present during all “critical stages” of your trial, from arraignment to sentencing. Indeed, not only do you have the right to be physically present in the courtroom–you also have the right to meaningfully participate in what… Read More »

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