Two months after a Jacksonville man lost control of a sport-utility vehicle and crashed, killing a passenger in his car, the man was arrested on multiple charges.  The man was arrested this month for his role in the October crash, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said the man was speeding when he hit a median, the newspaper reported. The SUV flipped and then rolled onto another vehicle headed in the opposite direction, the newspaper reported. The passenger in the man’s car was thrown from the vehicle and killed, the newspaper reported. The driver was also ejected from the SUV and tried to run on foot, but was kept on the scene by witnesses, the newspaper reported.

The man was charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, driving on a suspended license and three counts of DUI causing property damage. DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide are both second-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. Driving on a suspended license is typically a misdemeanor, unless the person has already been convicted of or pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license at least twice before. In this Jacksonville Felony Case, it is charged as a felony. All three charges of DUI causing property damage are misdemeanors and likely stem from hitting the other SUV and road signs or other things along the side of the road where the accident occurred.  Clearly the most serious charges in this Jacksonville DUI Case are the DUI manslaughter and the vehicular homicide charges. The two charges are very similar, though there is one important distinction when it comes to sentencing in this Jacksonville DUI Case. If a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to a DUI manslaughter charge, there is a minimum mandatory prison sentence of four years. There is not a minimum mandatory sentence in vehicular homicide cases. The delay in the charges for this Jacksonville DUI Case is likely due to police waiting on blood-alcohol level results to come back. Typically, those take several weeks to return and, in Jacksonville DUI Cases like this, police and prosecutors normally wait until they return, even though there was likely strong suspicion the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Our Jacksonville DUI Attorney represents people on all types of DUI charges, from a first-time misdemeanor DUI to DUI manslaughter. Police have very specific policies and procedures they must follow when making a DUI arrest. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney knows those rules inside and out, and will investigate the case against you to make sure they were followed.

A 15-year-old high school student was arrested this month, accused of bringing a loaded gun onto school grounds.  Schools officials were tipped off to a picture posted on social media of a student holding a gun in a school restroom, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. School officials confronted the student and then searched her locker to find the gun in a bag, the newspaper reported. The student was charged with possession of a firearm on school property. The charge in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. Police said records show the gun had been reported stolen in Jacksonville about one week before the girl was arrested. There was no indication in media reports that the girl was accused of being involved in stealing the gun and no such charges appeared to be filed.

Because of the number of school shootings across the nation in the past two decades, police and prosecutors take gun charges on school campuses very seriously. Where it becomes complicated in these Jacksonville Gun Crimes Cases, is that most of the defendants are juveniles. Prosecutors then have to make a decision on whether to charge the teen as an adult, or whether to let the case stay in juvenile court. Defendants in these Jacksonville Gun Crimes Cases can be very young and there was an 11-year-old boy charged in a similar case this fall.  Children and teens can face felony charges in juvenile court, and there are varying levels of detention and incarceration, depending on the severity of the charges the child is facing. For example, there are five different incarceration levels – though because this case involves a gun, the two least restrictive options would be off the table. Still, keeping the charge in juvenile court would be far more preferable for the defendant in any Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Case. The juvenile court system is designed to have an educational and rehabilitative element, with the hope that one mistake will not affect a teen for the rest of his or her life.

Our Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Attorney represents juveniles charged with all types of crimes – from misdemeanor theft charges up to serious felony gun charges. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the charges against you or your loved one, then discuss the potential consequences and next steps so you can decide how to move forward.

A man thought to be facing a felony DUI charge after hitting a woman with his car is now facing the far more serious charge of attempted murder.  The Jacksonville man was originally arrested in October for the July incident where police thought a woman had been hit by a car, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He was charged with DUI causing serious injury, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. But, in the month he was in jail on those charges, investigators said they now believe the man and the woman had been arguing and he dragged her from the vehicle as she tried to get out of the car, the newspaper reported. Now, the man is facing the additional charge of attempted second-degree murder with a weapon, with the car in this Jacksonville Violent Crimes Case qualifying as the weapon. This attempted murder charge is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison, so instead of looking at a maximum of 5 years in prison, he’s facing 35 if convicted of both charges in this Jacksonville Felony Case.

Once a person is arrested in a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Case, he or she appears before a judge shortly after the arrest. At that point the judge will set a bond in the case, which the defendant can either pay or otherwise be held in jail until the case resolves. The next step, however, is what’s called an arraignment. That’s when the defendant is formally charged and is asked to enter a plea in his or her Jacksonville Felony Case. In this Jacksonville Murder Case, the state increased the charges between the arrest date and the formal arraignment – which is typically a few weeks. The state uses this tactic in some Jacksonville Murder Cases to simply get a person behind bars while they continue to investigate the more serious charges.

The delay in the initial charge – from July to October – was likely waiting on blood-alcohol test results from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It’s unclear at this point whether police were looking at the man on a murder charge all along, or if they received more information once the man was arrested on the DUI charge.  The rules of criminal law procedure can be complicated and difficult to manage. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney can walk you or your loved one through the process and fully investigate the case so you can make the best decision on how to proceed in the case.

A female St. Johns County high school teacher has been arrested, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old male student in one of her classes.  The investigation began with a tip to school officials last month and the teacher was suspended, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Schools officials handed the investigation over to police, who issued a warrant for the 26-year-old woman’s arrest this month, the newspaper reported. Once the woman learned of the warrant, she turned herself into police and was released from jail on a $10,000 bond, the newspaper reported. The teacher is charged with having unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. The charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The charge specifically applies to a person over the age of 24 having sexual contact with a person who is 16 or 17 years old.

In addition to the potential prison time, the woman would likely have to register as a sex offender in the State of Florida. That punishment extends well beyond any term behind bars though, traditionally, women charged in these types of St. Johns County Sex Crimes Cases receive a far reduced sentence than men charged with a similar crime. But, someone who pleads guilty to or is convicted of certain serious sex crimes will have to register as a sex offender and check in with police at least twice a year. And, every time a sex offender moves residences, he or she must notify police within 48 hours or face an additional felony charge with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison. Once the person moves into an area, neighbors are notified there is now a sex offender living nearby. The notification includes the person’s name and address, along with the charge that the person pleaded guilty to or was convicted of.

St. Johns County Sex Crimes can have lifelong ramifications – more so than most other crimes. Pleading guilty to a sex crime can have long-lasting consequences, and our St. Johns County Sex Crimes Attorney can explain those consequences to you or your loved one so you can make an informed decision on how to proceed with you case.

A nearly yearlong investigation into painkillers being distributed among state prison employees has led to the arrest of 50 people on varying degrees of drug charges.  Nine of the people charged work for the Florida Department of Corrections and all nine have been fired, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The investigation found the ring centered around purchasing large amounts of Oxycodone, a popular pain medication that people also take recreationally, from people with legal prescriptions, the newspaper reported. The first arrests in the case came in June, when undercover officers bought 43 pills from a man who worked at Florida State Prison and is accused of being the main person distributing the pills to fellow corrections officers and other prison employees, the newspaper reported. As police continued to investigate, they found that the man was getting the pills from four large suppliers across the state, including one man in Jacksonville, the newspaper reported.

Several people, including the main distributor at the prison and the supplier in Jacksonville, are charged with trafficking in oxycodone. The charge is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 30 years in state prison. In Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, the charge and potential punishment are primarily determined by two main factors: the type of drug the person is accused of having and the amount of said drug. For example, in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, even though the sale of drugs is the root of the investigation, the trafficking charge is based solely on the amount of the drug the defendants are accused of possessing. There are several other charges in this case, including conspiracy to purchase or distribute a controlled substance, but the trafficking charges are the most serious.

In Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases involving Oxycodone, trafficking charges start at 7 grams – which can be just a couple dozen pills. As a comparison, possession of marijuana is still a misdemeanor until a person is accused of having more than 20 grams. But with Oxycodone, not only does trafficking begin at 7 grams, but minimum mandatory sentences kick in. If a person is charged with having between 7 and 14 grams, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in state prison. For between 7 and 25 grams, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years, and that bumps up to 15 years if the person is accused of having between 25 and 100 grams.  In far-reaching cases such as this with multiple defendants, prosecutors often make deals with some of the lower level defendants in exchange for more information about the people they are really targeting. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people accused of all types of drug crimes and can help you or your loved one navigate the criminal justice system and make the best decision on how to proceed.

No charges will be filed in what police initially described as a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a Jacksonville woman in October.  The woman was hit by the back of a tractor-trailer and then dragged down the road as the driver left a Jacksonville parking lot, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police were looking for the driver and a private organization had offered $3,000 for anyone who had information on the driver, the newspaper reported. Police eventually tracked him down and interviewed him about the incident, the newspaper reported. The investigation revealed that the driver did not know he hit the woman and the state opted not to file any criminal charges against the driver, the newspaper reported.

Florida law requires that if a person is seriously injured in a traffic crash the driver must remain on the scene, contact authorities and “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.” Had charges been pursued in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, they would have likely been leaving the scene of an accident causing death. That charge is a first-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison. It also carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in state prison.

However, in order to be able to stop the vehicle and render aid, the driver must know that someone was injured or hit by the vehicle. In this Jacksonville Traffic Case, which occurred around 6 a.m. when it was still dark outside, investigators determined the driver did not know. The woman was killed was walking her dog that morning, and tests show she had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit and had cocaine in her system at the time of the crash, the newspaper reported.

Nearly three months after a crash that killed his friend, a Jacksonville man was arrested on felony charges in connection with the fatal wreck.  The man was arrested this month and charged with two serious felonies – DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He is also charged with knowingly operating a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license, but that charge is a misdemeanor and very minor compared to the other charges he is facing. Police said the driver was speeding in a 30 mph zone when the truck went off the curvy road and hit a tree, the newspaper reported. The passenger was ejected from the vehicle and killed, the newspaper reported. The driver had a broken arm and other injuries, the newspaper reported, and tests showed his blood-alcohol level was .23 – nearly triple Florida’s legal limit of .08.

DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide are both second-degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. The charges are very similar and it is common for the state to file both in a Jacksonville DUI Case such as this one. There is one significant difference when it comes to sentencing: the DUI manslaughter charge carries a minimum mandatory sentence of four years in state prison. There is not a minimum mandatory sentence on the vehicular homicide charge – and that may be used by the state as part of negotiations to induce a plea to the manslaughter charge.

The delay from the time of the crash to the actual arrest and filing of charges is typical in Jacksonville DUI Cases. The state was likely awaiting official blood-alcohol results before making the arrest. In Jacksonville DUI Cases that involve injury or death, police can take a blood sample from the driver without his or her consent. This differs from a misdemeanor DUI where a driver can refuse to take a breath test or perform field sobriety exercises – though there are consequences for the refusal. Police said the driver had an odor of alcoholic beverages, showed signs of impairment and that officers found containers of alcohol at the scene of the accident, the newspaper reported. The blood test results significantly strengthen the state’s case on the DUI manslaughter charge, because prosecutors simply need to prove the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

A suspected bank robber was shot in the face by a former police officer who chased him in his car.  The defendant was seen running from a St. Johns County bank and the former officer, who was in the drive-thru lane, started chasing him in his car, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When the former officer caught up with the suspect, the two struggled in a parking lot, the newspaper reported. A witness said the bank robbery suspect reached for a gun and that’s when the former officer pulled his own gun and shot the suspected robber in the face, the newspaper reported. The suspected robber kept running to where he had parked his car and eventually surrendered to a St. Johns County police officer who had his gun drawn.

Police said they found a large amount of money in the suspect’s possession, along with a gun and a note demanding money that police are inferring was used during the robbery, the newspaper reported. Charges had not yet been filed, but the man is likely facing armed robbery charges, first-degree felonies that are punishable by up to life in prison. He would also likely face other charges, such as fleeing and eluding a police officer, but the armed robbery charge is by far the most serious.  And what about the former police officer who shot the man in the face? He is unlikely to face any charges.

According to Florida law, if a person is in fear for his or her life, the person can respond with deadly force. In this St. Johns County Gun Crimes Case, the two appeared to be engaged in what amounted to a wrestling match when the robbery suspect is said to have reached for a gun. At that point, the other man made a decision his life was in danger and he pulled out his weapon and fired. It could be argued that the former officer should not have even attempted to capture the bank robbery suspect and that he put himself in that situation by following the suspect and trying to apprehend a man who had just robbed a bank. While police don’t recommend that anyone do such a thing, it’s unlikely they would recommend the person be charged with a crime that would likely come with a potential punishment of decades behind bars. Depending on the robbery suspect’s injuries, the former officer’s actions could open him up to a potential civil lawsuit down the road, but criminal charges are not likely in this St. Johns County Robbery Case.

Police arrested a Jacksonville corrections officer this month, following a tip that he received money to smuggle items into the jail for an inmate.  The investigation began with a tip in August and is still ongoing, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The corrections officer is accused of meeting a woman to get cigarettes and pornographic magazines to be delivered – and receiving payment to make the delivery, the newspaper reported. Neither cigarettes nor pornography are permitted in the county jail and would be considered contraband. The corrections officer is charged with introducing or smuggling contraband into a detention facility, as well as conspiracy to introduce contraband to a detention facility. Because of the type of contraband, both charges are third-degree felonies with a maximum penalty of up to five years in state prison on each count.

The charges can be elevated in this Jacksonville Felony Case, depending on what the person is accused of bringing into a jail. For example, if the contraband were to be drugs, a weapon or a communications device such as a cell phone, the charge can be a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony is punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. Police did not identify the inmate or what he was initially charged with – though authorities did say it is a serious charge, the newspaper reported. The inmate was not been charged related to the contraband, nor has the woman accused of paying the corrections officer to deliver the items.  The corrections officer has been with the department almost three years and the tip to police came from an inmate, the newspaper reported. Police officers can get arrested and get in trouble just like anyone else and, in Jacksonville DUI Cases or others that sometimes occur, they can end facing discipline but still keeping their jobs. This Jacksonville Felony Case differs somewhat because the officer is accused of using his position of authority at the jail and profiting from it. The other main factor is the charge is a felony, and most law enforcement agencies do not allow convicted felons to be sworn officers. It’s also not beyond the realm of possibility to think the officer will get a stricter sentence from the judge based on his positon than the inmate would have had he snuck in the cigarettes and the magazines – or even if the girl involved did the same.

Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney represents people charged with all types of crimes – from misdemeanor theft and battery charges on up to serious drug and gun crimes. Our Jacksonville Felony Attorney will fully investigate the crime against you or your loved one so you can make an informed decision going forward.

A Clay County middle school teacher is facing two felony charges after police say he stole a gun from a car and then went to an ex-girlfriend’s home.  Police said the man got the gun and went to the woman’s home, where he knocked on the door and argued with her once she answered, finally leaving after she says she asked him to do so several times, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The man drove off on his own, but police spotted his vehicle a short time later and he was arrested. The man is now facing two serious felony charges – though neither of them is related to the confrontation with the woman. He is charged with two counts of armed burglary, connected to taking the gun from the vehicle. Armed burglary is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in state prison. Since he is charged with two counts, the man, now 36 years old, is looking at up to 60 years in state prison if convicted of both counts and sentenced to the maximum on each charge.

While armed burglary sounds like a person went into a vehicle or a building and took something while he or she was armed, that is not always the case in Clay County Gun Crimes Cases. If a person, becomes armed during a burglary, that can qualify the crime as an armed burglary. For example, what appears to be the charge in this Clay County Theft Case is the man broke into a car and took a gun. Because he was armed at the time the robbery ended, the state has him charged with armed burglary. That always seems like a back-door way to charge a person with the most serious charge possible, but at the end of the day it can be up to a jury of the man’s peers to decide. Since his arrest, the man has already been removed from the classroom while the case is pending, which is common for teachers and other public employees charged with crimes – especially felonies.

Our Clay County Gun Crimes Attorney represents people on all types of charges involving guns, from armed burglary as in this case, or cases involving the discharge of a weapon in which Florida’s 10-20-Life laws apply. Our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney will thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one and lay out your options so you can make the best decision going forward.