Jacksonville police are investigating a recent crash as a hit-and-run after a pedestrian was killed on the Arlington Expressway.  Police said the pedestrian was killed in the early morning hours, but did not release any information about the person, according to a report on First Coast News. Police said they did not have any information about the car involved in the crash, but they are investigating the case as a hit-and-run, the television station reported. The area near the crash does not have any marked crosswalks, the television station reported. It is possible that a driver could be involved in a fatal crash but not be charged or even ticketed – if there was nothing he or she could do to avoid the crash.

But, even if a driver is not at fault in a Jacksonville Traffic Case, he or she brings serious felony charges into play by not stopping and attempting to render aid. State law requires drivers to stop when they are involved in any type of traffic crash, call police and wait for authorities to arrive on the scene. If a person is injured, the driver, “shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person,” according to Florida law.

Leaving the scene of an accident causing death, which would be the most likely charge in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. Even more important, if a person is convicted or pleads guilty to this Jacksonville Felony Charge, a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in state prison applies. So if a jury finds the defendant guilty, the judge could not give a sentence of less than four years, even if he or she wanted to. And a minimum mandatory sentence also means the defendant must serve every single day of the four years – as opposed to the 85 percent of the sentence most people serve, provided they stay out of trouble behind bars. One moment of panic that leads a person to drive off can have serious consequences in a Jacksonville Traffic Case.  Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney represents people on minor traffic infractions on up to first-degree felonies.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Traffic Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police in St. Johns County were called in this month to seize and break down a methamphetamines lab in a St. Johns County hotel.  There was no information published in local media reports on any arrests involving the bust, according to the report on News4Jax. St. Johns County Drug Crimes involving methamphetamines can have serious ramifications, and will almost certainly be felony charges. The severity of charges, which dictates the likely punishment in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, is based primarily on two things: the type of drugs the person is accused of having and the amount of the drug police can prove the person had in his or her possession.

St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases involving meth are typically felonies. The charges for manufacturing methamphetamines are typically second-degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. Those charges are upgraded to a first-degree felony with a 30-year maximum penalty if the drugs are produced in the presence of minors. The charged are enhanced because the fumes emitted during the process of cooking the meth are toxic and can be extremely dangerous, especially to children. Typically when meth labs are discovered in hotels or apartment complexes, immediate neighbors are evacuated so the rooms can be decontaminated. Even possessing the chemicals used to make meth can be charged as a second-degree felony, though it certainly improves the state’s case if the drugs are found in the vicinity of where the chemicals are found.

When it comes to the amount in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, a person can be charged with trafficking in meth if he or she has just 14 grams of the drug. For comparison, possession of marijuana is not even a felony until the person is accused of having more than 20 grams. Trafficking in meth is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison, and minimum mandatory sentences also apply. Many people think that someone can only be charged with drug trafficking if the person is caught selling drugs. That is not the case. In St. Johns County Drug Cases, the amount of the drug is the only thing that can constitute a trafficking charge – even if the drugs are only for personal use.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes. From misdemeanor marijuana possession on up to trafficking in cocaine, our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the charges and lay out the options for you or your loved one so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A now-former Nassau County corrections officer was arrested for his role in an altercation with an inmate earlier this summer.  The corrections officer, who was fired last month, is now facing a misdemeanor battery charge for the July incident, according to First Coast News. The television report shows some of the video from the jail and says the incident started with a verbal confrontation with the inmate and the officer. The officer told investigators he confronted the inmate about comments he made to a female inmate when the man took an aggressive stance and the confrontation turned physical, the television station reported.

The former officer is now charged with battery, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the county jail. As far as criminal charges go, this Nassau County Battery Case is relatively minor because there is no possibility of the defendant ending up in state prison, and it is rare for a person to receive a year in county jail for what amounts to a fight. But, the allegation and subsequent charge has already cost the defendant his job. And, will the state, and eventually the judge, look differently on this case because the officer was in a position of authority? There is a certain amount of confrontation that happens in jails and prisons and the degree to which the officer is perceived as the aggressor will likely be a determining factor in the case. If the guard is seen as defending himself, that’s one thing. The state obviously felt here was more to it, or the officer would not be facing criminal charges.  Just how the case goes could be a factor for Nassau County down the road. In many inmate cases such as this Nassau County Battery Case, the inmate will sue the county in civil court for damages as a result of the incident. While civil and criminal cases have far different standards and procedures, it does not help the county’s legal position if the officer is found guilty by a jury of his peers. It’s highly likely that any civil suit would come after the criminal case is resolved, simply because it changes the dynamics of the case. While civil cases come up frequently, it is rare for an officer to be criminally charged in an incident such as this Nassau County Battery Case.

Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney represents people charge with all types of crimes – from misdemeanor battery charges on up to capital crimes. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate your case, explain various options and allow you or your loved one to make an informed decision on how to proceed with the case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A St. Johns County contractor was arrested this month on a felony charge, accused of not delivering on work after he had been paid deposits.  Police said they started investigating the contractor in 2013 and found more than 10 people who had contracts with the man for home renovations, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Permits were never issued for any of the work and the man required customers to provide at least 75 percent of the money up front, the newspaper reported. The contractor was not licensed to do the work and homeowners reported a total loss of about $150,000, the newspaper reported.

The man was charged with an organized scheme to defraud of more than $50,000. This St. Johns County Theft Charge is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. According to Florida law a scheme to defraud is “a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud one or more persons, or with intent to obtain property from one or more persons by false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises or willful misrepresentations of a future act.” In order to prove this type of case, the state needs to prove this was an ongoing, intentional scheme where the contractor had no intent of every doing the work that he had been paid for.  As in all St. Johns County Theft Cases, the potential punishment is based on the value of the property or alleged theft in question. For example, an organized scheme to defraud of less than $20,000 is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. When the value jumps to between $20,000 and $50,000, the charge becomes a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. Once the crime crosses the $50,000 threshold, as it did in this St. Johns County Theft Case, the charge can become a first-degree felony.

In many St. County Theft Cases such as this one, other potential victims may tend to come forward once they know the allegations are made public. Because this investigation is already pushing two years, that may not be the case. Although it would not change the charges in this St. Johns County Theft Case because it is already a first-degree felony, an increase in the number of alleged victims in the case would be adding more people who could likely testify should the case go to trial.  Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney represents people in all types of theft cases, from misdemeanor theft charges on up to felony schemes to defraud.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A St. Johns County firefighter was arrested for DUI after a domestic call led to police spotting him speeding with a young child in the backseat.  Police were initially called to a gas station about 1:20 a.m. after someone said a woman was being beaten inside a car, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When police talked to the woman, she said she wasn’t beaten, but did say the man was drunk and left with their 4-year-old child in the backseat, the newspaper reported. Another officer then spotted the driver going almost 70 mph in a 45 mph zone, the newspaper reported.

The driver told police he has been drinking and made a mistake by driving, but was trying to leave a domestic situation. He was charged with DUI with a person under the age of 18 in the vehicle. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor, just like a traditional DUI, but there are some sentencing standards that increase because there was a child in the car. Instead of a maximum of six months in jail for a first offense, the maximum is nine months. And the fine that would be $500 to $1,000 is now $1,000 to $2,000. These are the same enhancements that occur when a person has a blood-alcohol level above .15. The legal limit in Florida is .08. The blood-alcohol level threshold is not applicable in this St. Johns County DUI Case because the driver did not take a breath test. That opens up its own set of penalties and issues, but it does not allow police to have a hard indication of how much alcohol was in the driver’s system at the time of the incident.

In this St. Johns County DUI Case, there seems to be enough there without the blood-alcohol level – especially because police say the man admitted he had been drinking. He also performed poorly on the field sobriety exercises, the newspaper reported. It is fairly uncommon for a person to be sentenced to jail time on their first DUI, but it would be interesting to see where the negotiations would start with the state in this St. Johns County DUI Case. Having a toddler in the car after midnight is not going to be looked on well by the judge, but is that enough for the state to insist on jail time?  There are specific rules and procedures that must be followed in DUI arrests and our St. Johns County DUI Attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to determine of all of those were followed.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The decision to leave the scene of a fatal accident was very costly for a St. Johns County man, a judge reminded him during a sentencing hearing this month.  But the man will spend nine months in the county jail, far less than the 30-year maximum sentence of the crime he was originally charged with, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man was driving down A1A one evening in July 2014 when a man stepped into the road and was hit and killed by the driver, the newspaper reported. But, instead of staying at the scene of the accident and calling police, as is required by law, the 25-year-old driver took off. Police found him at his home and arrested him, the newspaper reported.

He was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing death, a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in state prison. Instead, the state allowed the driver to plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing serious injury – a second-degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. Part of the reason for the downgrade is charge is likely because the first-degree felony carries a minimum mandatory charge of four years in prison, which is far more than the man was eventually sentenced to.

According to state law, if a driver is involved in an accident, he or she must stop the vehicle, call the police and provide driver’s license and insurance information to other people involved. In St. Johns County Traffic Cases where a person is seriously injured, the driver “shall render to any person injured in the crash reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or the making of arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.”  In this St. Johns County Felony Case, the driver panicked and left. In many St. Johns County Hit-and-Run cases, the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and leaves the scene to avoid those charges. But that was not the case here, the driver just made a bad decision. The pedestrian was hospitalized and died the next day. The defendant was asking for probation in this case and the state sought a year in county jail – the maximum the man could receive without being sent to state prison.

Our St. Johns County Traffic Attorney represents people charges with all types of traffic offenses – from speeding tickets on up to criminal charges that include time in state prison.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Felony Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What started with a theft from a store snowballed into serious felonies that now have two Clay County woman facing decades behind bars.  The women were accused of stealing clothes from a Clay County store and then speeding off and throwing price tags out the window when a police car was chasing them, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The car hit a curb and blew a tire, and the driver drove through a parking lot where police lost sight of it, the newspaper reported. The women then got out, walked into traffic and forced their way into a stranger’s vehicle, who eventually pulled over with police behind her, the newspaper reported.

Instead of facing a third-degree felony for the theft, the chase and subsequent carjacking has both women now facing a total of 55 years in state prison for these Clay County Felony Cases. That would be if the judge chose to issue the maximum sentence on each charge and run the sentences consecutively – not likely, but it does show the seriousness of the case and how the penalties escalated.  Both women are charged with carjacking and false imprisonment of an adult on the second part of the crime.

Carjacking, even without a weapon, is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in state prison. False imprisonment of an adult is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. On the theft side of this Clay County Felony Case, they are charged with fleeing and eluding a police officer with disregard for safety to persons or property; grand theft; and resisting a retail merchant. The fleeing charge is the most serious of these charges and is a second-degree felony that could result in up to 15 years in state prison. The grand theft charge is another third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years and the resisting a retail merchant charge is a misdemeanor that is only punishable by up to a year in the county jail.
While this is not the traditional type of carjacking where someone is armed and forces the person out the car, the penalty is still the same. Oftentimes when there are multiple felony charges in a case, the state will offer a deal that has the defendant pleading guilty to some or all of the charges, in exchange for a sentence far below the maximum.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Theft Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police dismantled a mobile methamphetamines lab that officers discovered during a traffic stop in St. Johns County.  Officers pulled the car over and found several people inside – along with the materials used to make methamphetamines, according to a report on Action News Jax. Police closed the gas station while they could dismantle the lab, the television station reported. Police did not announce any arrests in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, but if the state can prove the case against any of the occupants, there will likely be serious felony charges filed.

In St. Johns County Drug Crimes cases, the severity of the charges – and thus the potential sentence in state prison or county jail – can vary dramatically based on the drug in question. With methamphetamines, for example, nearly any charge is going to be a felony. Methamphetamines can be manufactured with a mixture of various dangerous chemicals that are cooked to produce the drug, but emit toxic fumes in the process. Even possessing the chemicals used to make the drug can be a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in state prison. There could be difficulty in this St. Johns County Drug Case as to who was in actual possession of the chemicals because there were multiple people in the vehicle. In many cases, police may end up arresting and charging everyone in the car, then waiting for people to get nervous and start pointing fingers at one another.

Because of the distinct odor produced from making methamphetamines, it can be difficult to hide from passerby and from police. In many St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, meth labs are discovered in hotel rooms and apartment complexes, though it is now becoming more common for people to use cars. The fumes are viewed as being toxic to the point that penalties are increased if there are children around when the drug is being produced. The charge moves to a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Just as important in St. Johns County Drug Crimes is that the charge for having children present includes a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison. Minimum mandatory sentences can be critical because they tie the judge’s hands if a person is convicted of the crime, meaning the judge could not give a lesser sentence. Also, every day of a minimum mandatory sentence must be served, unlike traditional sentences where people serves about 85 percent, provided they stay out of trouble behind bars.  Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes and will fully investigate the case against you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Days after a school system report named three male former employees accused of having sex with students, one of the men was arrested and charged with a felony.  The former part-time coach is accused with having a months-long sexual relationship with a high school senior and football manager who was 17 at the time the relationship began, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man had already resigned from the coaching position once he was interviewed by school district investigators and allegedly admitted the relationship, the newspaper reported. After the school allegations were made public, the alleged victim gave a sworn statement to prosecutors, which led to the arrest the next day.

The man is charged with unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. This Jacksonville Sex Crimes law is specifically for people 24 years of age or older that are accused of having sexual contact with someone who is 16 or 17 years old. As soon as the man turned himself in to be arrested, he resigned his job as a corrections officer, which he had held for almost five years, the newspaper reported. Police are still investigating allegations against two other former school employees – a former teacher and the former dean of students. Both resigned following the district investigation, the newspaper reported.

Duval County Sex Crimes often have lifelong consequences that defendants must answer for long after any prison sentence is completed. In many Jacksonville Sex Crimes, especially those involving minors, if someone pleads guilty or is convicted, he or she will be classified as a sexual offender. Registered sex offenders are required to check in with police at least twice a year – depending on the severity of the crime they pleaded guilty to or were convicted of. Also, any time a sex offender moves residences, he or she must notify police and then the person’s neighbors are notified with the new address and the charge that caused the person to become a sex offender. There are also restrictions on where some sexual offenders can live, including proximity to schools, parks and other areas children congregate.  Our Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney knows all of the requirements associated with being named a sexual offender and will thoroughly explain those to you or your loved one so you can determine how to proceed with the case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A man charged with second-degree murder is the death of a party host was convicted of a lesser charge this month.  Jurors instead chose to find the defendant guilty of manslaughter for hitting a man with a baseball bat during an argument, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The victim had asked the defendant to leave his house as a party was winding down, but the man instead grabbed a bat and swung it at him, the newspaper reported. The man died from his injuries a day after the incident, the newspaper reported.

The jury’s decision for manslaughter instead of second-degree murder is very significant for the potential sentence in this Jacksonville Violent Crimes Case. While both charges are first-degree felonies, the sentencing requirements are very different. If the defendant in this Jacksonville Violent Crimes case was convicted of second-degree murder, he could be sentenced to up to life in prison. However, because the charge was reduced to manslaughter with a weapon, the maximum charge is now 30 years in prison. The defendant in this case, 36, is young enough that he could expect to be released from prison even if he is given the maximum sentence by the judge.

There are varying degrees of manslaughter, and this was among the more serious charges the jury could have chosen. The baseball bat, in this case, was deemed to be a weapon by the jurors, which made the charge a first-degree felony and the maximum penalty 30 years in state prison. In many other Jacksonville Manslaughter Cases, the charge is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. This type of charge is used, for example, when people are in a fistfight and a punch or a person hitting their head on the concrete results in a death. While this Jacksonville Manslaughter Case was also a fight, the bat was used in the fatal blow that led to the man’s death, which made the case a first-degree felony.

This decision by the jurors shows the importance of the balance in our criminal justice system. While the defendant was still found guilty in the man’s death, his punishment can now be much different because of the findings of the jury. He will be sentenced this fall.  Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will fully investigate any criminal charges against you or your loved one so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.