How To Blow A Criminal Case In Florida?
February 19, 2015
There are many ways to blow a criminal case in Florida, both from the perspective of the State and the defense. For our purposes here, we will examine errors that hurt the criminal defendant, whether made by the defendant, the defense attorney, or the prosecutor.
Violations Of Felony And Misdemeanor Probation:
- The charges listed in a Violation of Probation Affidavit and subsequent Arrest Warrant are wrong: Defendant is charged with violation of his probation for committing a new law violation, DUI. However, the defense attorney files a Notice of Discovery, and learns that the criminal summons issued while the client was on probation was not for DUI – the citation was for Driving While License is Suspended, Canceled or Revoked. This is not a complete defense that results in dismissal of the VOP, but it changes the plea offer from one (1) year of community control plus three (3) years of probation to Time Already served and probation is reinstated.
- The probation sentence exceeds the maximum allowable by law: The defendant was violated numerous times for probation violations, first on one case, and then on a second one to which he was sentenced concurrently (the sentence runs at the same time, but does not end at the same time – this is far better than the two sentences running back to back). The first case was very clear, the second presented a legal issue that would require a hearing – and keep the client in jail longer, since he had no bond. Result? Case #1 is dismissed, since it was obvious that the time had been exceeded by several months, and Case #2 resulted in a change of plea (an admission of violation) for thirty (30) days with credit for time served. In other words, the client served three (3) more days in jail and was released with no further probation. NOTE: No one spotted this error at his last violation proceeding, when Case #1’s maximum probation time had been exceeded.
- The Revocation Process has not been set in motion: If the Affidavit of Violation of Probation or community Control has not been signed by the Probation/Community Control Officer before the expiration of the Probationary or Community Control sentence, then the Revocation Process has not been set into motion, and the Affidavit or other charging document may be dismissed. This is very rare, but does happen.
- A Violation is not Willful AND substantial: This defense almost always requires a hearing. It is also very dangerous – lose a probation or community control hearing, and you will probably go to jail or prison.
- Represent yourself: If lawyers who represents themselves have fools for a client, how can a lay person be a rocket scientist for doing the same thing? Violation Hearings are dangerous!