D. Scott Rieth Criminal Defense Attorney
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Sarasota County Criminal Law Blog

When charged with a crime, you have the right to an attorney

A Florida resident does not have to be a lawyer to have heard of 'Miranda' rights. Miranda rights are the rights a person is told of when arrested on suspicion of committing a crime. Although cop shows like to sensationalize arrest scenes with dramatic recitations of these rights, these shows often come fairly close to getting these important legal protections correct.

One of a person's Miranda rights is the right to have an attorney. When a person is arrested he or she can become very confused and very intimidated by the legal process that is unfolding. The individual may not know how to communicate with authorities or how to advocate for his or her side of the story. There may be fear of saying the wrong thing, or getting into deeper trouble due to a lack of understanding of the criminal justice system.

Options for drug court instead of jail

A drug or alcohol charge is a serious offense, and as such, it can come with stiff penalties. In some situations, an individual may receive jail time as part of his or her conviction. However, depending upon the facts of the case, there could be alternate options. 

If you are facing a DUI charge, attending a drug court could be an option for you. It is important that you understand what it entails and how you may qualify.

How are rape charges addressed under Florida law?

Rape is generally characterized as the forcible sexual violation of a person against the alleged victim's will. In Florida, charges of rape are included under the section of the state statutes that address sexual battery. Per the Florida Statutes, sexual battery may occur when an alleged perpetrator penetrates an alleged victim with either a part of the alleged perpetrator's body or a foreign object.

Many factors can influence the type of sexual battery charge that a person may face. For example, if the alleged victim in a purported crime is a minor, then the charge may be elevated to a felony in the first degree. If the alleged perpetrator is under age, then the charge may be less severe. However, if the alleged victim suffers from any incapacitation due to age, mental condition, or ingestion of a substance, then the alleged perpetrator may have to confront serious charges with significant legal penalties.

An overview of the elements of robbery

Robbery charges are very serious. Florida residents who are accused of committing robbery often struggle to overcome the cases that prosecutors build against them, and face serious consequences that threaten their freedom. One of the first steps that a person accused of committing robbery can take is to understand the elements of the charge so that he or she can meet the criminal case head-on and with a plan to counter the prosecutor's claims.

The first element that must be proven in a robbery charge is that the accused party actually took something from the alleged victim. The item or money taken from the alleged victim must have been on that person's body or in an area that was under the control of the alleged victim. The item or money that was taken from the alleged victim must have had some value; taking something of zero value from an alleged victim may not fulfill the elements of a robbery charge.

What are possible penalties for Florida drunk driving?

Like the courts in many other jurisdictions throughout the country, Florida courts may mete out serious penalties when the DUI suspects who appear before them are convicted of their drunk driving charges. While it is not possible to guarantee that one's hiring of a DUI defense attorney will result in an acquittal of their criminal drunk driving charges it can be helpful to a drunk driving suspect to discuss his or her case with such a legal professional so that he or she can understand just what can be at stake.

For example, in Florida, the courts have the power to suspend or revoke a convicted drunk driver's license. For a first offense, a driver may lose a license for up to six months. Second and third offenses may lead to the loss of one's license for 1 to 2 years. Penalties such as these can vary, depending upon the circumstances alleged to have been present at the time of the individual's drunk driving arrest.

Factors that may elevate criminal charges to aggravated assault

Assault charges are serious enough on their own without the additional penalties that can attach when they are elevated from misdemeanors to felony violent crimes. Sarasota residents may face simple assault charges if they are alleged to have taken actions that would make their alleged victims have a reasonable fear for their safety. Under certain conditions, though, a basic assault charge may be elevated to an aggravated assault charge, which can carry with it more serious penalties and consequences for the alleged perpetrator.

For example, if a person allegedly used a dangerous weapon during the commission of the alleged assault, he or she may find that prosecutors wish to pursue more serious aggravated assault charges instead of simple assault. Additionally, if the alleged perpetrator of the assault inflicted significant harm upon the alleged victim, a straightforward assault charge may be raised to an aggravated assault.

Man accused of drunk driving, property damage, after arrest

Accusations of drunk driving are serious legal matters that, if not properly managed, may impact the future of a Sarasota resident. Although legal outcomes can never be guaranteed, and every drunk driving or DUI case must be assessed based on its own unique facts, many individuals who face arrest based on alleged drunk driving charges can benefit from reviewing their cases with criminal defense attorneys.

A driver in Florida is facing a slew of criminal charges after police claimed that he drove his vehicle while drunk. The man allegedly drove his car off a road and into a pedestrian promenade near a popular lake. The man's car allegedly destroyed property on the promenade and police caught up with the man when he was allegedly trying to drive his car up a set of stairs.

What to expect if you are charged with a felony DUI

Being responsible for a vehicle accident is bad enough. If you are drunk and your irresponsible driving leads to a serious injury or worse, the incident is one you may never get over.

If you are charged with a felony DUI in the state of Florida, you should seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney, since you will likely face several serious penalties.

Don't let a holiday arrest derail your future

Many Florida residents enjoy the Fourth of July for the fantastic food, fun parties, and exciting fireworks that accompany the event. As they celebrate the birth of the nation, they partake in festivities that bring people together to enjoy each other's company and celebrate their freedom. Most celebrations conclude with good feelings and happy participants. Others may end with confrontations and accusations that can lead to calls to law enforcement officials and potential arrests.

A holiday arrest based on alleged criminal conduct can be damaging to a person's life on many levels. Not only may it threaten their capacity to keep a job, but it can also put significant strain on their relationships and families. It may impact them financially if their punishments involve fines, and it may cause them to spend time away from their loved ones if their sanctions involve jail time or imprisonment.

Man arrested for attempting to sell drugs and robbing couple

Florida is known as a major drug crime state. Because of its geographic location and history, many drugs pass through Florida each year. The state of Florida takes drug crimes seriously, and those who are convicted can face serious penalties.

A Tampa man has been arrested for attempting to sell drugs to a couple and trying to rob them while on Clearwater Beach. The defendant approached a man and his girlfriend and allegedly asked them if they wanted to buy drugs. The couple said "no," and the defendant then told them he had a gun and wanted money. The defendant allegedly continued to approach the couple. The couple drove away, and the defendant allegedly followed them in his car and tried to run them off the road. The man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle and robbery firearm implied. The defendant has said he did not try to sell drugs and did not chase the couple.


D. Scott Rieth
9040 Town Center Parkway, Suite 204A
Bradenton, FL 34202

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