Jail Time Is No Holiday

The criminal justice system of St. Johns County has not always been a tourist attraction.  When Henry Flagler came to town, the Castillo de San Marcos imprisoned Native Americans.  (During the American Revolution when Florida was a British Colony, the Castillo incarcerated several signers of the Declaration of Independence.)  Mr. Flagler built the Romanesque Revival jail on San Marco that looked so good, tourists mistook it for one of his hotels.  Today that Old Jail is a Trolley stop and with a gift shop.  Even the once-courthouse (a.k.a. the ‘Casa Monica Hotel’) now hosts visitors eager to stay overnight, instead of the accused hoping not to become guests of the State. Though Florida jails have picked up many standard amenities since Flagler’s day (like air conditioning, running water, ventilation, and electric lights), jail time is no holiday.  If you are accused of a crime and facing jail time, exercise your right to legal counsel to ensure your rights are properly asserted.  Do not accept maximum lodging in that kind of gated community; instead, use your right to a defense attorney who can work with prosecutors towards a correct resolution.   Read More

No ‘Undo’ Feature in Criminal Justice

Gmail has a new feature which allows you to “undo” sending a message.  When you enable “Undo Send” in our Gmail settings, Gmail holds the message a few seconds in case you have second thoughts.  Too bad criminal actions do not have this feature. We do NOT have the technology that lets you commit a crime, then take it back.  Furthermore, if you are arrested for it, that arrest record is likely to stick around a long time.  But we do have a criminal justice system that allows you to defend yourself. The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is deemed so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee. Use your Sixth Amendment right.  The law is technical, and from a technical standpoint there are things you can mess up that will hurt what you are trying to accomplish.  Seek competent legal counsel to properly assert your rights.   Read More

Anything Can Happen – 2 Examples

Anything can happen; it is what you do about it that counts. Example 1: A man walked into a fast food restaurant and ordered food.  He waited and waited, and when he finally got his food, the manager gave him his money back.  Thus the manager made a bad situation (slow service) better by giving the customer a free meal. Example 2: A man walked into a motel room…what he did not know was it was part of a sting operation.  As soon as the man said the magic words, a bunch of big guys came through the door and tackled him.  Thus the man was in a bad situation (accused of solicitation), but he used his Sixth Amendment right to an attorney who worked with prosecutors to help weight the mitigating issues, and the result was a punishment that fit the crime. Certain charges have unintended consequences.  Sometimes you can make the case go away, but something else may be affected, like still having to pay a civil ticket or not allowed to have a firearm. Do not make a bad situation worse by limiting your choices.  Just because you are accused of a crime does not mean you […] Read More

How To Stop The Questioning

If you have been arrested, silence during police questioning can be golden to your defense.  If you wish to remain silent, tell the police you want to invoke your right to do so, and then all questioning must stop. If you are arrested, identify yourself to the police officers, and if you do not want to make a statement or answer questions, let them know that.  Your silence can be in the best interest of your defense.  Furthermore, anything you do say can be used against you in court.  It is NOT like on TV:  law enforcement officers cannot offer leniency for your written or spoken testimony. Talk to an attorney.  You have the right to legal counsel if you are charged with a criminal offense.  If you are facing heavy fines or jail time, rely on a defense attorney to make sure the penalty fits the crime.  Do not accept the maximum penalty just because you do not know better.  Seek competent legal counsel to work with prosecutors for a correct resolution. The right to remain silent can be a sound foundation to a criminal defense.  Talk to your attorney regarding the details of your case to discuss possible […] Read More

A Good Choice in a Criminal Arrest

One bad choice can lead to another…but it does not have to.  If you have criminal charges against you, legal counsel can be a good choice in an unfortunate situation. The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is deemed so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee. Yes, you would have been better off if you had not allegedly committed a crime in the first place, but sometimes Captain Obvious picks inopportune times to not show up.  Good legal counsel can help you work with prosecutors towards an appropriate penalty or fine. The problem is, there can be mistakes in procedure and mishandling of evidence.  The other problem is, without proper legal representation, you could receive the maximum penalty.   A criminal arrest is bad—no matter if you are a celebrity like Vanilla Ice, or just plain vanilla—but you do not have to put yourself in a worse position by shutting down choices.  Seek legal counsel for the best possible outcome in an unfortunate situation.   Read More

Courting Disaster

Criminal court is where bad people are at their best behavior, and divorce court is where good people are at their worst behavior.  Take your pick, neither one is very pretty, but sometimes court is the proper place to deal with a problem. The US Legal System is designed to sort out differences.  There will be a winner and there will be a loser–you do not have to split the trophy for a tie.  Some problems need a definitive resolution, which is what the court offers, even if it is not a happy resolution. In many cases, you are going for the best benefit.  Good legal counsel reviews your circumstances–personally, financially, legally–and guides you toward an optimal outcome.  Dealing with a disaster in court–whether it is foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, or a criminal charge–gives you legal options towards the best possible resolution.  Consult an attorney to discuss the details of your case and to find out what legal choices are available to you. Read More