Violent crimes are those that are heinous in nature and often involve intentional harm that has been inflicted upon another individual during the commission of a crime. Violent crimes do not have to involve the intent to harm, though they can include the threat of intentional harm. The majority of violent crimes are charged as felonies, and they are considered one of the most serious crimes – which is why they carry harsher sentences and penalties, including at least one year in prison.
The FBI’s statistics state that there were approximately 1,246,248 violent crimes in the United States in 2010. Aggravated assaults accounted for the highest percentage of those violent crimes – about 62.5 percent. Robbery comprised 29.5 percent of those violent crimes, while forcible rape accounted for 6.8 percent and murder made up 1.2 percent of the violent crimes reported in 2010.
Examples of Violent Crimes
There are numerous types of crimes that could be classified as “violent,” but some of the more common include:
- Armed robbery
- Domestic violence
- Gang crimes
Examples of Non-Violent Offenses
Some crimes can be particularly heinous in nature, but they are not necessary violent. Some examples of non-violent offenses include:
- Property crimes
- Drug or alcohol-related crimes – including DUIs
- Fraud or tax crimes
- White collar crimes
There are, however, instances where non-violent crimes can be raised to the level of a violent crime. For example, in a fraud case, which is a non-violent crime, some violence could be involved if a person was threatened and/or coerced into handing over funds. In this case, the crime could be considered “violent,” even if no physical violence actually occurred.
Punishments of Violent Crimes
Non-violent and violent crimes both carry harsh punishments, but in general violent crimes carry stiffer penalties than those that are non-violent, though there are some non-violent crimes that can be punished more strictly as well – depending on the circumstances of that particular case.
Typically, non-violent crimes are met with short jail sentences and probation. Violent crimes, on the other hand, involve longer prison sentences, restitution, and parole (after the prison sentence has been served).
Defense Matters in a Violent Crime
If you are being accused of a violent crime it is imperative that you seek legal counsel. One of our attorneys can provide defenses for your violent or non-violent case, and our tactics will vary depending on the circumstances. If you have been arrested or you are a suspect of a violent crime, speak with an attorney at The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. today at 904-356-8618, or fill out an online contact form with your questions.Read More
No one likes to be pulled over by the police – whether it is for a traffic ticket or something else. Being pulled over is a highly stressful time and often inconvenient as well. For some, a traffic stop can lead to more serious issues, especially if the officer finds drugs in the vehicle. Traffic stops cannot be done at an officer’s whim and if you are pulled over by law enforcement, it is important to remember that you have rights.
When Can Police Legally Pull You Over in Florida?
To stop a vehicle, it is considered a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Therefore, to stop a person’s vehicle, there must be a reasonable explanation for doing so – otherwise the police have violated a very basic constitutional right.
Police are required to have “reasonable suspicion” when pulling over a vehicle. For example, the police officer witnessed the vehicle committing a traffic infraction – such as speeding or driving with an expired license registration. This is considered reasonable suspicion under the law and gives a police officer the right to conduct a traffic stop.
If there is no traffic violation present, the officer must show that they had reasonable suspicion regarding yourself or the vehicle. Officers cannot stop a vehicle based on a feeling or hunch and instead must have facts that can be presented in court.
What if I Suspect the Officer Pulled Me Over Just to Look for Something Illegal?
If you suspect the police have pulled you over with ulterior motives, it is important to realize that a traffic infraction does not prevent an officer from searching your vehicle for evidence of other crimes committed. But, the officer is required under the law to have reasonable suspicion that you have committed other crimes. So, an officer cannot pull you over for speeding and then search your vehicle for no reason – instead, they must have proof or reasonable suspicion that you are guilty of another crime as well.
For example, you are pulled over for running a red light and the officer decides that you appear to be under the influence. They may search the vehicle, legally, for evidence of drugs or alcohol to explain your impairment.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
There are numerous instances where law enforcement will pull over a vehicle and they do not have reasonable suspicion. An aggressive, skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to have any evidence found in the illegal traffic stop suppressed in court. If that evidence is the only evidence prosecutors have for the criminal charge, your case may be dismissed. Even if your case is not dismissed, the right attorney can help get the charges reduced – and possibly go from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Contact The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. Now
If you were pulled over and you feel the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion to do so, contact The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. now to schedule a case evaluation. We will conduct a thorough investigation to help determine the officer’s reasoning behind your traffic stop and we will aggressively protect your rights. Contact our law office online or call 904-356-8618 to schedule a consultation appointment.Read More
More often than not, a consumer does not bounce a check with criminal intentions. Instead, the consumer usually does so simply by accident. The consumer will then pay the bounced check fee to their financial institution, as well as to the company they wrote the bad check to, and move on. However, when a consumer purposely bounces a check or knowingly writes a check that will not clear, can they go to jail for their actions?
Understanding the Legal Issues of Bad Checks
There are criminal penalties under Florida law for writing bad checks, but these laws only apply to individuals that continue to bounce checks – not when a consumer bounces a single check. When multiple bad checks are written, and on purpose, the individual could face criminal and civil penalties. Here is a quick breakdown of the two:
- Civil – The individual may be forced to pay the victims (that is, the individuals who received the bad checks) restitution. This amount could include the original amount of the check, attorneys’ fees, and additional funds for any financial hardship the bounced check may have caused the victim.
- Criminal – A person can be prosecuted for writing bad checks, especially if prosecutors can prove that the individual knowingly wrote bad checks with the intent to defraud a person or company.
Bad Checks are Considered Check Fraud
Check fraud is illegal in the United States. If a person is arrested, the prosecution must prove that:
- The individual wrote the bad check with the intent to defraud the check’s recipient,
- The individual knew the check would not clear with their financial institution, and
- The individual did actually write the check (it was not the result of identity theft).
What About Post-Dated Checks?
When a check is post-dated (written for a future date), and the recipient accepts that check knowing that it is post-dated, it is not considered check fraud. An example of this is with payday loan companies. Payday loan companies have been known to tell individuals that if they write a post-dated check and that check bounces, the individual has committed check fraud. They use this statement as a way to scare individuals into paying for past due loans; however, it is not accurate. Payday loans fall under a separate category of loans, and because these companies accept post-dated checks knowing it will not clear, it is not considered check fraud under Florida or federal law. Nevertheless, note that the individual can still be sued in civil court for defaulting on their payday loan.
Have You Been Arrested for Bouncing Checks? Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
Being arrested for check fraud is serious. If you have been arrested for writing bad checks, contact the Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, PA for a no obligation case evaluation. We can explore your legal options today. Get started by calling 904-356-8618 or by filling out an online contact form.Read More
When someone gets arrested for a crime, their first question is often: “Am I going to be able to afford a lawyer to represent me?” However, once the reality of the situation sets in and you start to grasp the significant and long-term implications of a criminal conviction, the question should really become, “Can I afford not to get one?”
The Real Costs of Being Charged with a Crime
Yes, lawyers cost money. However, when considering the true expense of hiring a criminal defense attorney, you must think about the alternative. Some attorneys offer free initial consultations for criminal charges, so you have nothing to lose by at least sitting down with an experienced professional to gain a better understanding of your situation.
Even when facing jail time, many people simply think that they will serve out their sentence and move on with their lives. The reality, however, is that there are many more factors to take into consideration. The following are just some of the ways that a criminal conviction can cost you:
- Criminal fines and penalties
- Court costs
- Mandatory rehabilitation costs
- Restitution owed to the victim
- Lost time from work (and potential loss of employment)
- Obligation to disclose your conviction on future job and school applications
- A criminal conviction can be used against you in a civil lawsuit for damages
The Costs of Being Convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Florida
For example, let’s consider a first-offense charge for driving under the influence (DUI). The first issue comes up right away: Just for being charged with DUI, you will receive an automatic administrative suspension of your driver’s license unless you request a hearing within ten days of your arrest. If you don’t know how to request a hearing – and don’t know what to say at the hearing to keep your license from getting suspended – right away, you’ll be struggling to get to work and do everything else you would normally do by getting in your car.
Beyond that, someone convicted of a first-time DUI also faces:
- Fines (which start at $500 and go up from there)
- Court costs
- Paying for DUI school
- Paying to get your car out of impound
- A significant spike in your insurance premiums
- The job-related costs mentioned above
This is for a routine arrest where no one got hurt and no one’s property was damaged or lost. If you have been charged with a more serious crime, the costs will escalate accordingly.
Speak with an Experienced and Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime in Duval County or any of the surrounding counties in Northeast Florida, contact Timothy Armstrong, P.A. to speak with an attorney in confidence about your case. Schedule your free consultation by calling us now at (904) 356-8618, or complete our online form.Read More