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Category Archives: Criminal

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What Is Considered a “Speedy Trial” in Florida?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The Constitution guarantees all criminal defendants the right to a “speedy trial.” But what does “speedy” actually mean? That largely depends on where you are tried for a given crime. For example, when a defendant is tried in federal court, Congress has said a trial must begin within 70 days of the defendant’s indictment… Read More »

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How Florida Law Continues to Punish Sex Offenders After They Complete Their Criminal Sentences

By The Baez Law Firm |

Sex crimes are treated differently than other types of offenses. For instance, you probably know that many people convicted of such crimes are legally required to register as “sex offenders” even after completing their prison sentences. And in some cases, the state may seek the ongoing “civil commitment” of an offender who is judged… Read More »

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What You Need to Know About Florida’s Kidnapping Laws

By The Baez Law Firm |

In a criminal trial, the prosecution will often try and charge multiple offenses arising from the same action. For example, if someone is accused of robbing a store, but they also allegedly took hostages during the robbery, they could be charged with kidnapping as well. Indeed, Florida law broadly defines kidnapping to include “confining”… Read More »

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How Do Florida Courts Assess the Reliability of Scientific Evidence?

By The Baez Law Firm |

“Trust the science” is a phrase we hear a lot these days. But when it comes to evidence presented at a criminal trial, a court cannot simply take the prosecution’s scientific evidence at face value. Instead, the court must decide if scientific evidence–and the methods by which it was gathered–is sufficiently reliable and accurate… Read More »

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Is It Possible to Commit Both Battery and Aggravated Battery at the Same Time?

By The Baez Law Firm |

In Florida, battery is the crime of intentionally touching or striking another person against their will, or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. A first offense for battery is considered a misdemeanor. However, there is a separate felony charge for aggravated battery. This involves a battery that results in “great bodily harm, permanent… Read More »

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What Is the “Good Faith” Exception to the Fourth Amendment’s Search Warrant Requirement?

By The Baez Law Firm |

In any criminal case, the police must normally obtain a search warrant before searching a suspect’s property without their permission. We say “normally,” because over the years, the courts have carved out a number of exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. One of these is known as the “good faith” exception. The basic… Read More »

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Understanding Florida’s “Prison Releasee Reoffender” Law

By The Baez Law Firm |

Florida’s criminal laws contain a number of traps designed to make it easier to impose harsher sentences on certain defendants. For example, if a person is released from prison after committing a crime, they can be charged as a “prison releasee reoffender” (PRR) if they commit a new “qualifying offense” within three years. To… Read More »

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Can Prosecutors Strike Potential Jurors from a Criminal Trial Based on Race?

By The Baez Law Firm |

In Florida criminal trials, the prosecution and the defendant are each allowed a certain number of “peremptory challenges” during the process of jury selection. A peremptory challenge means you can strike a potential juror without having to give a reason. But there are some limits to this power. For example, in a 2019 decision,… Read More »

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The Role of “Intent” in a Florida Criminal Case

By The Baez Law Firm |

“Intent” is often a key element of a criminal offense. Prosecutors must prove a defendant acted with intent when they committed an alleged offense. Depending on the facts of a given criminal case, this can mean either general or specific intent. Specific intent, as the name suggests, means the defendant acted with foresight to… Read More »

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How the “Reasonably Foreseeable” Consequences of a Crime Can Affect a Defendant’s Sentence in Florida

By The Baez Law Firm |

When assessing a criminal sentence, a judge can, in certain cases, look beyond what the defendant actually did or knew about. The court may also be allowed to consider the consequences of a defendant’s criminal actions, even if the defendant had no direct knowledge of such effects. Instead, the law looks to what the… Read More »

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Is a Guilty Plea Valid Even if the Prosecution Cannot Prove Its Case?

By The Baez Law Firm |

Most criminal cases never go before a jury. Instead, the prosecution and defense negotiate a plea agreement. In exchange for the defendant’s agreement to plead guilty to a criminal charge, the prosecution agrees to a sentencing recommendation that is typically far less than the maximum penalty available under the law. Of course, any plea… Read More »

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When Can Police Initiate a “Stop and Frisk” Detention?

By The Baez Law Firm |

“Stop and frisk” detentions remain a controversial law enforcement practice in Florida. Normally, a police officer must have a warrant before placing a person under arrest or searching their person. But the courts have long permitted the police to conduct what they call “investigatory detentions.” Basically, if an officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that… Read More »

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How the “Double Jeopardy” Rule Works in Florida Criminal Cases

By The Baez Law Firm |

One of the oldest principles of American criminal law is the prohibition against double jeopardy. Under our Constitution, no person can be “subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” Among other things, this means the government cannot retry you for the same crime if you have… Read More »

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Yes, Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity Is Still a Possible Defense in Florida

By The Baez Law Firm |

If you are one of the 25 percent of Americans who have received a diagnosis of mental illness, you know how harmful outdated stereotypes about mental illness can be.  Some of the most memorable performances in cinema misrepresent people with mental illness as violent and willing to kill either on impulse or in cold… Read More »

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Man Imprisoned in Polk County Since 1989 for Marijuana Offenses Will Be Free Before Christmas

By The Baez Law Firm |

A lot has changed since 1989.  In those days, almost every box of candy you bought from the gas station would have the words “say no to drugs” printed on the inside of the opening flap.  1989 was such a long time ago that some of your favorite 80s candies have been discontinued, while… Read More »

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Lil Wayne’s Weapons Charges: Can He Really Get Ten Years in Federal Prison Just for Owning a Gun?

By The Baez Law Firm |

Florida’s gun ownership laws are quite lenient; in most situations, it is legal for most adults to buy and possess firearms.  If you have a felony conviction, though, you can get criminal charges just for having a gun in your possession, even if you do not aim it or fire it.  In fact, the… Read More »

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Police Body Camera Footage No Longer Must Be Released to Public Under New Florida Law

By The Baez Law Firm |

On October 1, Florida implemented a new law which provides an exemption under the Open Government Sunset Review Act, allowing for law enforcement’s body camera footage to be kept confidential where it could otherwise be made available.  Due to the broad text of the new law, there are a number of concerns that the… Read More »

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DEA Provided with Broad Authority to Arrest & Charge Over 1,500 People in “Project Safeguard”

By The Baez Law Firm |

Just within the last three months, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has arrested and charged more than 1,500 people with state and federal crimes in cities around the country, including here in Florida, with police in 41 Florida cities participating what the administration calls “Project Safeguard;” a campaign geared towards cracking down on violent… Read More »

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Defense Attorney Jose Baez Unearths New Evidence in Former Mount Carmel Doctor William Husel’s Defense That Destroys Prosecution’s Claims

By The Baez Law Firm |

In late October, defense attorney Jose Baez, representing former Mount Carmel West doctor William Husel, filed a motion to dismiss the murder charges brought against Husel in connection with allegations that the doctor purposely provided lethal doses of fentanyl to 25 patients at Mount Carmel West. The motion was based on new evidence unearthed… Read More »

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Can I Go to Prison for Spanking My Child?

By The Baez Law Firm |

One aspect of parents getting divorced can sometimes involve disagreements over what is the proper way to punish a child for disciplinary purposes. As a result, the issue of corporal discipline, and at what point it turns into child abuse that is prosecuted as a criminal offense, can actually be quite confusing and complicated,… Read More »

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Pretrial Release Conditions: When They Violate Your Constitutional Rights

By The Baez Law Firm |

We previously reported on federal agents being deployed to cities across the country to arrest protesters without warrants and placing them into unmarked SUVs. A number of those arrested are now awaiting trial on federal misdemeanor charges even though they did not do anything illegal upon arrest, and are now facing petty offense charges,… Read More »

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11th Circuit Court of Appeals Vacates Previous Opinion Regarding Epstein’s Agreement, Opening The Door for Victims’ Rights in Florida

By The Baez Law Firm |

After ruling in April that the non-prosecution agreement entered into between Jeffrey Epstein and the US Attorney‘s Office for the Southern District of Florida could not be overturned and Epstein‘s victims could not challenge it under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, in August, a group of judges with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals… Read More »

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Judge Blocks Federal Execution Due to COVID-19 Concerns

By The Baez Law Firm |

After Attorney General Barr announced the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in 2019, in spite of the many problems associated with it, in July, a judge blocked what would have been the first federal execution in 17 years due to a request from the family of the defendant’s victims, who made a plea… Read More »

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Congress & Lower Courts Take Up Qualified Immunity Doctrine as US Supreme Court Passes

By The Baez Law Firm |

We’ve previously discussed the doctrine of qualified immunity and how it affects both criminal defense and civil rights; specifically how it affects determining whether police used excessive force and therefore whether a defendant’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure have been violated. The doctrine arguably plays a significant role not only in… Read More »

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Florida Supreme Court Once Again Reverses Precedent & Violates Constitution By Creating Unacceptable Risk That Intellectually Disabled Will Be Executed

By The Baez Law Firm |

In late May, the Florida Supreme Court once again astonished many in reversing well-established precedent and allowing the state to execute intellectually disabled individuals. The court also did so on its own initiative, and not as a result of a request from the state of Florida. The decision defies a 2002 US Supreme Court… Read More »

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