Police ticketed a driver who hit accidentally hit an officer with her truck while dropping students off at a Clay County school. The driver allegedly stopped in a turn lane to drop two students off at Oakleaf High School, and then drove back toward to school entrance where the officer was directing traffic, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The officer then fell to the ground when he was hit in the legs by the rear drivers-side of the truck, the newspaper reported. The officer had a reflective vest on and the lights on his patrol car were flashing at the time of the 7 a.m. accident, the newspaper reported. The officer was evaluated by a doctor but did not need to be hospitalized.

The 18-year-old driver was given a ticket for careless driving and a separate citation for not having proof of insurance. In Clay County Traffic Cases, moving violations each carry a different amount of points that can be assessed to a driver’s record. Those points then accumulate and can result in severe penalties, such as a suspended driver’s license. This case is a prime example of how those points can escalate based on the result of the violation. Ordinarily, careless driving would have 3 points assessed to a driver’s license. Three points is the most common punishment in Clay County Traffic Cases, along with the fines and court costs that come with any ticket. However, according to Florida Law, any moving violation that results in an accident is a 4-point violation.

That one point can be significant for a driver with a pattern of tickets. The point accumulation that leads to license suspension is as follows:
 12 points in a year: 30-day license suspension  18 points in 18 months: 3-month suspension  24 points in three years: 1-year suspension
And by simply paying the ticket and the fine, you are admitting guilt and accepting the points that will be added to your driving record. Even if you or your loved one has an otherwise spotless driving record, it could be worth talking to a Clay County Traffic Attorney about contesting the ticket. Insurance companies use the points to determine the risk level of insuring a driver and, when tickets crop up, auto insurance rates will start to rise, too. Our Clay County Traffic Attorney can look into your case and help determine if there’s a possibility of getting fines or points reduced.

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 arrested a man this month, accused of painting graffiti on several local businesses in Jacksonville Beach. The man was arrested on two criminal mischief charges, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. One charge is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in the county jail. The second charge is a third-degree felony and carries a maximum penalty of five years in state prison.

So what makes one instance a misdemeanor and the other a felony? The amount of damage done to the property. If the damage is less than $200, as was reported in one of these Jacksonville Vandalism Charges, the charge is a second-degree misdemeanor. If the damage is between $200 and $1,000, the charge becomes a first-degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum charge of one year in the county jail. But once it becomes more than $1,000, the charge is a felony and time in state prison is now on the table. The $1,000 threshold applies to whether the damage was more than $1,000, or if the vandalism either cost more than $1,000 in labor and supplies to restore or repair. The charges also become a felony if the defendant has a previous conviction for the same offense, which does not appear to be the case in this Jacksonville Criminal Mischief Case. Now, it is highly unlikely a first-time offender will go to state prison for spray painting a building, but those are the maximum penalties he is facing in this Jacksonville Criminal Mischief Case.

The framework of charges and potential punishment escalating based on the value of the damage is common throughout Florida criminal law. There are similar scales of punishment in Jacksonville theft cases, based on the value of what is allegedly stolen. Charges begin, as Jacksonville Criminal Mischief Cases do, as second-degree felonies and move on up from there. Similar distinctions are made when it comes to Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases. The larger amount of an illegal substance a person is accused of having, the more serious the charges and the potential penalties. In Jacksonville Vandalism Cases, the more traditional outcome is the defendant agreeing to pay the business owner for the damage that was caused, and likely do some sort of community service or other punishment that does not include time in jail or prison. One element that could change in this case is whether more charges are filed as more businesses come forward, or the defendant talks to police about past acts. In some cases, the cumulative effect will influence sentencing, and lead to a more severe punishment than if the person was simply facing one or two counts.

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 Misdemeanor Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A Jacksonville teen who led police on a high-speed chase was arrested in Nassau County following a string of burglaries over two weekends. A neighbor spotted two teens backing into a driveway with their lights out, yelled at the suspects and called police, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The two drove off, but ended up in a ditch by nearby railroad tracks, the newspaper reported. The suspects ran on foot – one was caught and the other was still at large, the newspaper reported. The teen who was arrested faces more than a dozen serious charges in this Nassau County Theft Case.

One of the major issues in this Nassau County Juvenile Crimes Case is whether or not the state chooses to charge the 17-year-old boy as an adult. Among the charges are six counts of burglary to a dwelling – each of which is a second-degree felony with a possible 15-year prison sentence. Other charges include five counts of grand theft (a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison) and misdemeanor fleeing and eluding charges for running from the police. Prosecutors do have the option to file the charges in traditional court and treat the boy as an adult. Typically, that is reserved for Nassau County Juvenile Crimes Cases involving violence or guns, but the option is there.

While burglary charges are undoubtedly serious, it can also be argued they are the types of crimes that teens commit more than adults and are not necessarily indicative of a life of crime that will follow. There are specific sets of penalties and restrictions for juveniles who commit crimes, with the idea being they are punished but also given the chance to recover and move on, provided they meet certain criteria and show they are staying out of trouble. There are several varieties of incarceration in Nassau County Juvenile Crimes Cases, ranging from house arrest on up to what amounts to prison for teens. A teen’s prior record is often a major factor in whether the charges are in juvenile or traditional court. If a person has not learned his or her lesson after having chances to do so, judges may run out of sympathy. Our Nassau County Juvenile Crimes Attorney will fully investigate the charges against you or your loved one and work for the best resolution that can allow a teen to learn from his or her mistake and move on down the path of being a productive citizen.

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 Juvenile Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Several people banded together to file a federal lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office this month, each with a story of how they say sloppy police work led to their arrest for a crime they did not commit. In each instance, the person claims that if simple, routine steps would have been followed by police, detectives would have been able to clearly see they had the wrong person, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The arrests occurred over the past two years and one man spent nine months in jail trying to convince prosecutors of his innocence, the newspaper reported. The charges people were arrested for that are mentioned in the lawsuit include armed robbery, robbery and theft – the majority of which are serious Jacksonville Felony Charges.

In order to make an arrest in a Jacksonville Criminal Case, police must have probable cause to believe the person has committed the crime he or she is accused of committing. In many cases, in order to enter private property to obtain evidence during an investigation, detectives must first get a warrant that shows the reasons they believe this particular person committed this particular crime. In many of the cases mentioned in the lawsuit, the police ended up getting the warrant. Decisions on whether to formally charge someone with a crime are made by the State Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors are supposed to be the check and balance to the police, vetting the case independently to make sure the charge can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Among the four cases mentioned in this federal lawsuit, one did make it through the prosecutors, who dropped the case after an innocent man spent nine months behind bars.

In the other Jacksonville Criminal Cases cited in the federal lawsuit, the mistakes were caught before formal charges were filed. In one case mentioned, a 13-year-old boy was accused of a robbery and brought downtown for questioning without permission of his parent and interviewed by himself, clearly against police policy. These cases are a perfect example of why our Jacksonville Criminal Justice system is so important. Police officers are human. They make mistakes like anyone else in any other profession. And their work needs to be checked by prosecutors and eventually by a judge or a jury to make sure innocent people are not locked up for crimes they did not commit. Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys play a key role in protecting the rights of people who are accused of crimes. If you or your loved one is arrested for a crime, our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the charges and make sure police operated according to the law when making their 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 Duval County Felony Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Criminal charges will not be a part of a long-running feud between a Clay County School Board Member and a longtime critic. Police were investigating an incident where the opponent was videotaping people coming out of a Clay County Commission meeting, when the opponent alleges the Board Member’s husband shoved the camera into his face, knocking him into a row of chairs and breaking his camera, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police investigators talked to both parties and witnesses, and also reviewed the video as part of their decision not to charge the husband in this case, the newspaper reported.

In making decisions on whether to file criminal charges in Clay County Battery Cases, police and prosecutors must look at all of the facts and how the case would be presented to a jury. As the police spokeswoman says in the Times-Union article, “Just the fact that there is a video, isn’t necessarily proof of an assault.” That statement rings particularly true in Clay County Criminal Cases where there is an ongoing dispute, such as this one. Detectives and prosecutors aren’t typically looking to get involved in disputes such as this – and are oftentimes used to elevate the profile of one of the parties and make the other look bad, as appears to be the case here.

If charges would have been filed, they likely would have been misdemeanor battery charges. While the victim said he injured his back, those injuries would not likely rise to the level of a felony charge. In fact, in some Clay County Battery allegations such as this, the victim is planning on filing a civil suit to get some money out of the alleged attacker and the criminal suit would be used as part of the case. It’s important to know that just because criminal charges are not filed, it does not mean there won’t be some sort of fault found in a civil case. The standard of proof needed in a criminal case – beyond a reasonable doubt – is far higher than what is needed in a civil case to find someone liable for injuries and costs. If you know police are investigating you or a loved one for an alleged crime, the first thing to do is contact a Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney. An attorney can be with you during any interviews with police and help advise you of your rights during the investigation.

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 Criminal Defense Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A man and a woman living together in St. John County were arrested on felony drug charges this month, accused of making and selling methamphetamines. Police investigated the couple for three months and obtained a search warrant that was served last week, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When police searched the property, they said they found an inactive meth lab, chemicals used to make meth, methamphetamine oil and drug paraphernalia, the newspaper reported. Both are charged with trafficking methamphetamines, maintaining a drug dwelling and possession of drug paraphernalia. The trafficking charge is a first-degree felony and by far the most serious, carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Maintaining a drug dwelling is a second-degree felony that carries up to 15 years in prison, while the paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor and would not include time in state prison – only up to a year in the county jail.

This St. Johns County Drug Crimes case has especially significant prison time attached because of the amount of the drug the pair is accused of having. With methamphetamines, trafficking begins with 14 grams. There are minimum mandatory sentences in St. Johns County Drug Trafficking Cases and they vary based on the amount of the drug police find. In this St. Johns County Drug Crimes case, the couple is accused of having more than 200 grams of methamphetamine – far more than the 14 gram threshold. With more than 200 grams, the defendants face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. For between 28 and 200 grams, the minimum mandatory sentence was less than half in both areas — seven years with a $100,000 fine.
Felony degrees and maximum penalties in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases are based primarily on two main factors: The type of drug a person is caught with and the amount of the drug. For example, a person accused of having 15 grams of meth is looking at a trafficking charge and years behind bars. If someone is caught with the same amount of marijuana, the crime is a misdemeanor and prison time is not even possible. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes attorney knows the details of Florida’s drug laws and can help lay out the potential penalties and investigate the case fully to help you or your loved one know determine the best course of action going forward.

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.

When Michael Dunn is tried a second time next year on a first-degree murder charge, his attorney is requesting the high profile case be tried outside of Jacksonville. A motion was filed this month asking for a change of venue when the state tries Dunn again on the one count the jury couldn’t agree on earlier this year, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Dunn said he feared for his life when he opened fire on a car of teenagers at a Southside gas station, killing a 17-year-old, the newspaper reported. Dunn went to trial earlier this year and his case was followed closely by national and local media. He was convicted on three counts of attempted murder for the shooting at the three teens in the car who survived, but the jury could not come to agreement on whether Dunn was guilty of first-degree murder in the teen’s death.

Dunn, 49, faces a mandatory 20 years on each of the three counts, so he will be in prison for at least 60 years. Because these are mandatory sentences, they must be served consecutively and in their entirety without a change of gained time for good behavior. So he would be released when he is 109, meaning he’s likely already serving a life sentence. Despite that prospect, the state is pushing forward with another trial that will be expensive to taxpayers and put the city in the national spotlight again. The first trial garnered gavel-to-gavel news coverage, so his attorney has a legitimate point that the media coverage could taint a potential jury pool.

The change of venue request in this Jacksonville Murder Case can be made in the “interest of justice” according to state statutes. Essentially that includes any elements that could prevent finding an impartial jury in the Jacksonville Murder Case, which could be whether jurors have heard about the case and already made a decision one way or the other on if they feel Dunn is guilty. The requests are filed fairly regularly, but not often granted. Most murder trials are in the media prior to the case going to trial, and reading a story or watching a news progress does not preclude them from being fair and impartial on the jury. But the level of media attention in this case was as high as it has been for any case in recent years – and there will be more in advance of the trial as it gets closer. The ultimate responsibility of the justice system in any Jacksonville Criminal Case is for the defendant to have a fair trial in front of a jury of his or her peers. The role of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney to fight for a fair trial, including seeking to move the trial if there could be an issue with a local jury.

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 Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police arrested a man on DUI charges, saying he ran a stop sign to trigger a series of events that left Jacksonville Beach streets flooded and several people and businesses without water service. A driver told police he was headed north on 1st Street when another car ran a stop sign and crashed into him, sending his car into a fire hydrant, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The fire hydrant burst and the water that rushed out flooded many nearby roads, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, the driver who ran the stop sign is accused of getting out of his car and running away, the newspaper reported. He eventually stopped on the beach when confronted by police. The driver was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and a DUI causing property damage. Both charges are misdemeanors – leaving the scene a second-degree with a maximum sentence of six months in jail, and this type of DUI charge a first-degree misdemeanor that carries up to one year in the county jail.

This Jacksonville DUI charge has a slightly increased penalty because there was property damage involved. Charges increase to felonies when people are seriously injured or even killed but, for the most part, Jacksonville DUI Cases are misdemeanors. Media reports on this Jacksonville DUI Case do not indicate how police came to the conclusion the driver was impaired. Most likely, police smelled an odor of alcoholic beverages on the man once he was caught by police. During the arrest, the man was likely asked to perform field sobriety exercises, which are tailored to determine whether or not the person is too impaired to be driving. Tests include walking in a straight line and turning around; stand on one leg and also with one’s legs together to test balance; touching one’s finger to his or her nose and reciting numbers or letters.

If the driver does not pass those tests, he or she is typically arrested on Jacksonville DUI Charges. From there, the driver is taken to jail and asked to take a breath test. In Florida, like most states, the legal limit is .08. Drivers can refuse to take the test – just like they can refuse field sobriety exercises – but there are immediate penalties that kick in. Those, however, can be worth taking because the field sobriety and blood alcohol results are often the best evidence the state would have in a Jacksonville DUI Case. This case may be a little different because of the crash and the fact the man ran away, but that does not prove that he was intoxicated at the time of the crash. There are many state rules and regulations governing how field sobriety and breath tests must be conducted. If they are not done properly, they cannot be used as evidence in a Jacksonville DUI Case. Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney knows the ins and outs of the laws governing traffic stops and testing in DUI cases and will review your case to provide you or your loved one with the best options going forward.

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 DUI Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Clay County police arrested 35 people and were seeking more than a dozen more, predominantly on charges of selling drugs that date back to February. Police began the months-long investigation looking into people selling prescription drugs, but ended up expanding the probe to other controlled substances, including marijuana and cocaine, according to a report on News4Jax. Twenty-nine people were arrested on Clay County Drug Charges for selling narcotics, and six more were picked up on other charges when police executed the warrants on the intended targets, the television station reported. There were outstanding warrants for about a dozen people following the sweep of arrests last month.

When a person is accused of selling a controlled substance in a Clay County Drug Case, the charge is a felony. The degree of felony and the maximum penalty are based primarily on two factors: the amount of the drug the defendant is arrested with and the type of drug he or she is accused of selling. For example, charges related to prescription drugs carry much more severe penalties than those involving marijuana. For example, drug trafficking charges involving prescription pills such as hydrocodone begin at 14 grams – just a handful of pills. Trafficking charges for marijuana do not begin until the person is accused of having 25 pounds of the drug. Drug trafficking charges are first-degree felonies, with varying minimum mandatory sentences that apply based on the amount of the drug included in the charge.

There are other factors that can determine the felony degree and potential punishment in a Clay County Drug Crimes Case. For example, there are enhanced penalties for selling or delivering drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, church or child care facility. Several of the cases in this Clay County Drug Crimes sweep have upgraded charges, and that increase is typically one felony degree. For example, sale or distribution of marijuana is normally a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. However, if the transaction is completed within 1,000 feet of a school or other area listed above, the charge becomes a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies have a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison – a significant difference for the defendant. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people on all types of drug charges – from possession to trafficking involving all types of controlled substances. Our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney knows what police must show to prove a sale and will thoroughly 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 Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A Palatka police detective was arrested this month, caught in an undercover prostitution sting in St. Johns County. Police used Internet ads and discussions to have conversations with both men and women looking to either pay for or be paid for sex, directing the people to a St. Augustine Beach motel, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The sting was conducted after hotels in the area said prostitution was being arranged online and then carried out in their businesses, the newspaper reported.

The detective was arrested at the hotel and charged with solicitation to commit prostitution. This St. Johns County Sex Crime does not carry much in terms of an actual punishment – it’s a second-degree misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a jail sentence is highly unlikely. But the charge is highly embarrassing, especially for someone in law enforcement, and the detective has already resigned from his position in the police department, the newspaper reported. These types of stings in St. Johns County Sex Crimes Cases are used occasionally and usually result in a dozen or so arrests. In this sting, 14 people were arrested over four days, the newspaper reported. Often times, there’s one person – a teacher, a coach or, in this case, a police officer, that is caught in the sting and ends up being the headline. With many of these discussions and negotiations for sex starting online – and traceable by police – there is generally plenty of evidence available for the state in such cases. Years ago, when police would focus on one-on-one discussions, maybe in a city park, for example, the charges would end up being dropped months later – after the arrests were all over the media and the careers and lives of those arrested were severely affected.

This operation included police posing as solicitors looking for a prostitute and police posting an advertisement that appeared to be taken out by a prostitute, so they sought johns and prostitutes in this St. Johns County Sex Crimes investigation. These are generally conducted after a series of complaints, and are publicized to serve as a reminder that police are watching – even though the penalties are not severe in terms of incarceration. Many St. Johns County Misdemeanor Cases can be resolved with the judge withholding adjudication if certain conditions are met, meaning the conviction or plea would not be a part of the person’s criminal record. Misdemeanor cases can be just as damaging to a career and personal life as a felony that carries a 15-year prison sentence. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney will investigate your case and look for options that have the least long-term impact so you or your loved one can get past the arrest and move on.

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 Misdemeanor Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.