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Joel Leppard is Orlando #1 Best DUI Attorney - BEST DWI .net https___best-dwi-attorneys.net_dui_florida_orlando_ (PNG file) Leppard Law Top Orlando DUI attorney (Joel Leppard only shown)

PRESS RELEASE: Joel Leppard Tops List as #1 Best DUI Attorney in Orlando, #2 DUI Lawyer in Florida by National DUI Attorney Consumer Ranking Service

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This month, Orlando DUI lawyer Joel Leppard was selected as the #1 Top Best DUI attorney in Orlando by Best-DWI-Attorneys.net, a national DUI attorney ranking service. Best-DWI-Attorneys.net also selected Joel Leppard as the second best DUI attorney in the entire State of Florida in 2016. Joel Leppard is the founder of Leppard Law, a Central Florida law firm dedicated to providing each case the time, attention and skillful representation that it needs

The national DUI attorney locator service “is dedicated to providing a comprehensive list of DWI/DUI attorneys to best fit the needs of each case.” In choosing Joel Leppard as the Best DUI lawyer in Orlando, the attorney ranking service “searches for lawyers who are experienced at handling DWI and DUI cases“ and look for “attorneys who teach DWI and DUI law, who are actively studying breath analyzers for the flaws they have present in them even today, and/or for those who serve on boards or are members of organizations who specialize in DWI defense.”

Unlike many professional awards, Best-DWI-Attorneys.net did not solicit membership or marketing fees from Joel Leppard when naming him the top DUI lawyer in Orlando, relying instead on its own selection criteria. “Best DWI Attorney’s approach to providing impartial, and unrecompensed information is an extremely effective way for consumers to access unbiased information when selecting a DUI attorney,” says Joel Leppard. “I am humbled to receive this recognition and only serves to motivate me to work even harder for my clients.”Orlando DUI lawyer, Orlando DUI attorney

Michael Kennedy, an attorney associated with Leppard Law, says the award is “well-deserved” and believes that Joel Leppard “is an outstanding attorney who goes above and beyond to ensure his clients get the representation they deserve.”

Joel Leppard’s best Orlando drunk driving lawyer ranking also comes on the heels of recent awards by other well-known national lawyer rating services. The law firm recently named to Expertise.com’s “2016 Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando.” Currently, Leppard Law also tops Yelp’s 2017 list of Best Orlando DUI lawyers.

AvvoJoel Leppard Avvo Clients Choice Award 2016 in Criminal Defense, a national attorney rating service, which awarded attorney Leppard with the “Client’s Choice” award for Criminal Defense in both 2015 and 2016. Orlando attorney Joel Leppard received this prestigious accolade based on the number, quality and breadth of client testimonials associated with his profile. This prestigious award is presented to attorneys who receive five star ratings from their clients on Avvo.com, the world’s largest online attorney rating and review service. Avvo also rates Mr. Leppard as a “Superb” attorney, with a perfect 10.0 out of 10.0 rating scale.

In 2015, Central Florida criminal defense attorney Joel Leppard was selected to be a member of the prestigious National College of DUI Defense and has defended thousands of Central Florida residents who were accused of crimes. He is also the author of the Florida DUI defense manual entitled “The Florida Consumer Guide to DUI Defense.”

Joel takes pride in treating every client’s legal problems as if they were his own. As of the writing of this article, he has all five star reviews on Facebook, Thumbtack, Google and Yelp. With a “Superb” Avvo rating and a passion for helping those with legal problems, Joel is grateful and honored to serve so many worthy and incredible clients. He looks forward to continuing to do so for the remainder of 2016.

More information about Joel Leppard and Leppard Law can be found at their website at www.LeppardLaw.com. Leppard Law is also on Facebook, Google + and Twitter. The firm is conveniently located in downtown Orlando at 638 Broadway Ave., Orlando, FL 32803 and called or texted at 407-476-4111.

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AVVO-badge1 Joel Leppard wins Avvo Clients Choice Award 2015 in Criminal Defense Top 40 Under 40 Joel Leppard, Leppard Law (alternate logo)

Why Civil Rights Are Important

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The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Foster v. Chatman, a death penalty case where prosecutors excluded every African-American from the jury pool based upon bogus pretexts. The prosecutors even circled the race of the African-American jurors and highlighted the African-Americans as “definite NOs.”  The prosecution excluded one African-American woman because her age was so close to the defendant but she was 15 years younger and the prosecutors included 8 white jurors whose age was close to the defendant. There are many more examples like that, you can read more about Justice Sotomayor and the jury selection bias case here.

In Florida, a 2000-2010 study of juries in Sarasota and Lake Counties found that 1) juries formed from all-white jury pools are 16 percentage points (or 22.7% more likely)  to convict black defendants than white defendants, and 2) this gap in conviction rates is entirely eliminated when the jury pool includes at least one black member.   See “The Impact of Jury Race in Criminal Trials” for more information.

Along the same vein, in the New Jim Crow Chapter 5, Michelle Alexander argues that the mass disfranchisement of largely minority felons is akin to the poll taxes, literacy tests and other forms of racially motivated voter suppression utilized after the Civil War.  If you haven’t read this book yet, it’s an eye opening read. (Amazon link here.)

I think a big takeaway from these example is how important it is to get disenfranchised Persons of Color back in the jury pools.  However, here in Florida we have moved in the opposite direction in the past five years.  In 2010, Gov. Rick Scott reimposed the lifelong denial of civil rights to convicted felons, unless pardoned by the Governor himself.  Florida law is unique, insofar as the convicted felon must be pardoned by the Governor and a majority of the publicly elected State Cabinet in order to restore one’s civil rights after being convicted of a felony (and pretty much everything is a felony these days). It’s so bad that the UN is convening a panel to determine if the U.S. is violating international civil rights standards set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).  If you are interested in helping, the ACLU is working toward reinstating automatic restoration of civil rights and you can sign their petition in support of voting rights here.

Justice photo

Florida’s Harsh 10-20-Life Law on the Road to Reform

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10-20-life

Florida’s harsh 10-20-Life mandatory minimum sentencing law is on a long road to reform, but small steps are being taken to give judges more authority in certain cases.

The 10-20-Life law strictly punishes anyone who is in possession of or actually uses a firearm while committing a crime by imposing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, 20 years, or 25 years to life depending on the nature of the crime. For example, if a person simply pulled out a weapon while committing a crime, he or she would have to serve 10 years in jail regardless of the circumstances.

One example of why the 10-20-Life law is too harsh is the August 2010 case involving Marissa Alexander. Alexander shot what she called a warning shot near her ex-husband, who was physically abusive towards her and sent her threatening text messages. The shot did not hurt her ex-husband, yet Alexander was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. Under the 10-20-Life law, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison despite having no criminal past. Fortunately, after serving just 3 years in prison, Alexander was released due to a faulty jury instruction in her case.

Although things ended well for Alexander, this is not the typical outcome in most cases. That is why the proposal of a new bill (HB 135) by Florida legislators is a great step in the right direction.  The bill, called the Self-Defense Protection Act, makes exceptions to certain mandatory minimum sentences if the defendant had a justifiable reason to use a firearm.

The bill will not eliminate the entire problem, of course. Some defendants will still be harshly punished under the 10-20-Life law because judges cannot change the sentence to match circumstances, but at least progress is being made and judges will be able to act fairly in the cases in which it applies.

Learn more here: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/editorial-proposed-bill-chips-away-at-harsh-mandat/nnyLQ/#modal-8250266

Supreme Court Case Could Result in Change in Florida’s Death-Penalty Laws

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Florida, Delaware and Alabama are the only states that do not require a unanimous jury decision when sentencing someone to death.  A U.S. Supreme Court case with a ruling expected in 2016, however, could change Florida’s death penalty procedure.

Timothy Hurst, a man currently on Death Row for murder, is appealing his death sentence. Jurors in his case recommended death by a 7-5 vote, but Hurst’s attorneys argue that allowing this sentence without a unanimous jury is a violation of Hurst’s Sixth Amendment rights.

The sentencing of hundreds of other people on Florida’s Death Row could be impacted if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Hurst. Former Jacksonville State Attorney Harry Shorstein said the impact of the issue could be avoided if it is fixed legislatively instead of in court.

Legislation that would change the law to require a unanimous jury recommendation of death has already been introduced into the Florida House and Senate, however. The issue with both bills is that they have been sponsored by Democrats, and the majority of people in the Florida House and Senate are Republican.

Rep. Rob Bradley, who is on the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, does not believe legislation regarding the death penalty is likely to pass during the 2016 legislative session. He voted for a similar bill in 2015, but the legislation went nowhere in the House.

Bradley personally believes that the Supreme Court will deem Florida’s sentencing procedures unconstitutional in the Hurst case, which makes it more likely that the issue will be dealt with in the 2017 regular session.

For more information, please read: http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2015-10-11/story/former-jacksonville-state-attorney-joins-others-calling-change-florida.

How to Handle Your No Contact Order and Your Domestic Violence Charge

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 When there is a no contact order placed against you, it is an extremely difficult time. Here are some frequently asked questions and helpful answers for you. If you are ever unsure about anything, contact your attorney and ask for his/her advice.

There is a no contact order in place against me, what does that mean?

A “no contact order” means you are prohibited from having any contact with the alleged victim, directly, indirectly. You cannot see or visit the alleged victim, you cannot call, you cannot write or e-mail the alleged victim. You cannot drive by their residence. Contact through a third party can also be a violation of the court’s order. Even if you attend the same church, temple, mosque, school, or other function that the alleged victim is attending, you should not go to that event. No contact means no contact.

What happens if I violate the order?

You will be arrested and have a higher bond set, or possibly have no bond. You may also have additional charges brought against you for violation of a domestic Violence order or injunction.

How will anybody know if I violate the order?

There are many ways the court can determine if you have violated a no contact order. Eyewitness testimony, phone records, social media and voice mail can provide evidence that you have violated an order. Letters and e-mails can also be shown as evidence. The burden of proof can be considered relatively low.

What if the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges?

The State of Florida makes a decision to proceed with the charges or not. The alleged victim can contact the State Attorney’s or an attorney to file a Declination of Prosecution, which is the first step in resolving the case in your favor. The order will still be in place and will not be removed until the case is over or the court modifies it. Any modification of this condition requires a motion before the court and must be filed by your attorney.

Will I violate the no contact order if the alleged victim invites or initiates contact?

Yes. If the order states that there is to be no contact and you communicate back with the alleged victim, you will be in violation of that order.

Will I violate the order if we continue to live together?

Yes. If the order states that you must maintain separate residences or must not have contact with the alleged victim, then you are in violation of the order if you continue to live together.  Even if the alleged victim invites you to come home, you will violate the order. Only the judge can change or dismiss an order.

What if I own the house where we both live? Do I have to move out of my own house?

Not necessarily. If you own the house or lease (meaning that your name is the only name on the deed or lease), you will need to ask your attorney to have the conditions of your release modified so you may safely and legally get the alleged victim out of your home or pick up your belongings. Make sure you ask your attorney or the judge for this special condition, but if you do not own the house or lease, you must not ask to have the alleged victim removed.

Is there a violation of the order if I am required to vacate the residence, but I move in with the alleged victim at another address?

Yes. You must not move in with him or her at another address.

What if the alleged victim continues to come and see me at my place of business or new home?

Politely refuse to see or speak with the alleged victim and immediately contact your attorney. Go to a separate room or part of the building and shut the door. Have a co-worker or friend politely tell the alleged victim that there is an order in place, that you can have no contact with the alleged victim, and to please leave the premises. You can also file a petition to have an injunction against the alleged victim. You can call the Domestic Relations Division of the Orange County Clerk’s Office at (407) 836-2054 to get more information on filing an injunction.

What if I want to see my children and the alleged victim is the one living with them?

You must go through the court system to get visitation of your children when there is a no contact order in place.

How can we get the order removed?

Once the case is resolved, all conditions of your release are no longer enforceable. You may request your attorney to file a motion with the court to modify the no contact order.

What if the court has ordered no-hostile contact?

No-hostile contact means you can see or visit the alleged victim, you can call, you can write or e-mail the alleged victim. You may also share the same residence. You cannot have any contact with the alleged victim that rises to the level of violence or hostile behavior. The alleged victim will largely get to decide what is and is not hostile contact.

Definitions of Commonly Used Terms in Criminal Law

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Acquittal – A release, absolution, or discharge of an obligation or liability. Commonly in criminal law, this can happen when a jury finds a defendant not guilty of a criminal charge.
Adjudication – Giving or pronouncing a judgment or decree; the judgment given. This term is common used when a judge finds and adjudicates a defendant “Guilty.”
Adjudication Withheld – A court decision at any point after filing charges to continue court jurisdiction but stop short of conviction. The court will not reopen unless the person violates a condition of behavior.
Affidavit – A written declaration of facts, confirmed by oath of the party making it before a person with authority to administer the oath.
Affirmed – In the practice of appellate courts, the word means that the decision of the trial court is upheld.
Appeal – A proceeding brought to a higher court to review a lower court decision.
Arraignment – The hearing at which the accused is brought before the court to plead to the criminal charge in the indictment, affidavit, or citation. He/She may plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or where permitted “nolo contendere.” (See Preliminary Hearing.)
Bond – A written agreement by which a person insures he/she will pay a certain sum of money if he does not perform certain duties properly. (See Cash Bond and Surety Bond.)
Capital crime – A crime punishable by death.
Cash Bond – A written agreement in which a defendant, or another person on the defendant’s behalf, ensures he/she will perform duties as outlined by the Court while awaiting trial by depositing bail money (cash) with an authorized official equal to the bail bond set by the Court.
Citation – A writ or order issued by a court or law enforcement agency commanding the person named therein to appear at the time and place named; the written reference to legal authorities, precedents, reported cases, etc., in briefs or other legal documents.
Concurrent sentences – Sentences for more than one crime that are to be served at the same time, rather than one after the other.
Consecutive sentences – Successive sentences, one beginning at the expiration of another, imposed against a person convicted of two or more violations.
Conviction – A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.
Court Appointed Counsel – Government lawyer who provides legal defense services to a person accused of a crime who cannot afford a private attorney. The defendant must be declared indigent and is responsible for paying an application fee and any reduced legal fees assessed by the Court. See also Public Defender.
Defendant – The person charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution.
Extradition – The surrender of an accused criminal by one state to the jurisdiction of another.
Felony – A serious criminal offense. Under Florida law, it is any offense punishable by
imprisonment for a term exceeding one year or death.
Grand Jury – A jury of inquiry whose duty it is to receive complaints and accusations in criminal matters and if appropriate issue a formal indictment.
Hearing Officer – (also known as a Magistrate) Judicial officer exercising some of the functions
of a judge.
Judgment – The official and authentic decision of a court of justice upon the rights and claims of parties to an action or suit submitted to the court for determination.
Jurisdiction – The power or authority of a court to hear and try a case; the geographic area in which a court has power or the types of cases it has power to hear.
Jury – A certain number of citizens selected according to law and sworn to try a question of fact or indict a person for a public offense.
Lien – An official claim against property for payment of a debt or an amount owed for services rendered.
Magistrate – (also known as a hearing officer) Judicial officer exercising some of the functions of a judge.
Misdemeanor – A criminal offense lesser than a felony and generally punishable by fine or by imprisonment other than in a penitentiary. Includes criminal traffic violations.
Motion – A request made to a court or judge which requests a ruling or order in favor of the applicant.
No True Bill – This phrase, endorsed by a grand jury on the written indictment submitted to it for its approval, means that the evidence was found insufficient to indict.
No Bill or Notice of No Information – Issued by the State Attorney when the charges against a defendant are dropped prior to formal charges being filed by the State.
Nolo Contendere (No Contest) – A plea made by a defendant to a criminal charge, meaning he/she will not contest the charge, allowing the judge to find him/her guilty. This is also known as a “plea of no contest.”
Nolle Prosequi – This Latin phrase means that the prosecution or State Attorney will no longer prosecute the criminal case. In some circumstances, the case can be again be brought up for prosecution.
Non-jury trial – Trial before the court but without a jury; also known as a “bench trial” –which is a reference to a judge’s “bench.”
Opinion – A judge’s written explanation of a decision of the court or of a majority of judges.
Order – A mandate, command, or direction authoritatively given. Direction of a court or judge
made in writing.
Ordinance – A rule established by authority; may be a municipal statute of a city council or a county statute of a county commission, regulating such matters as zoning, building, safety, matters of municipality, etc. An ordinance violation can be criminal or non-criminal. A violation could be punishable by a court appearance, a fine, and possibly by confinement in a county jail.
Plea – The written or verbal response by an accused defendant to each charge of the commission of a crime. The defendant’s answer to the charges made in the indictment or information.
Preliminary hearing – (also preliminary examination) A hearing by a judge to determine whether a person charged with a crime should be held for trial. (See Arraignment.)
Pretrial Conference – Conference among the opposing attorneys and the judge called at the discretion of the court to narrow the issues to be tried and to make a final effort to settle the case without a trial.
Pretrial Diversion – The process of removing some minor criminal, traffic, or juvenile cases from the full judicial process, on the condition that the accused undergo some sort of rehabilitation or make restitution for damages.
Probable cause – A reasonable belief that a crime has or is being committed; the typical basis for lawful searches, seizures, and arrests.
Probation – An alternative to imprisonment allowing a person found guilty of an offense to stay in the community, usually under conditions and under the supervision of a probation officer. A violation of probation can lead to its revocation and to imprisonment.
Prosecutor – A trial lawyer representing the government in a criminal case and the interests of the state in civil matters. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the responsibility of deciding who and when to prosecute. They are also known as a State Attorney.
Public Defender – Government lawyer who provides legal defense services to a person accused of a crime who cannot afford a private attorney. The defendant must be declared indigent and is responsible for paying an application fee and any reduced legal fees assessed by the Court.
Recuse – The process by which a judge is disqualified from hearing a case, on his or her own motion or upon the objection of either party.
Regional Counsel – (also known as the Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel)
Government lawyer who provides legal defense services to a person accused of a crime who cannot afford a private attorney. The defendant must be declared indigent and is responsible for paying an application fee and any reduced legal fees assessed by the Court.
Released on own recognizance – (also known as ROR) Release of a person from custody without the payment of any bail or posting of bond, upon the promise to return to court.
Remand – To send a dispute back to the court where it was originally heard. Usually it is an appellate court that remands a case for proceedings in the trial court consistent with the appellate court’s ruling.
Restitution – Returning to the proper owner property or the monetary value of loss.
Reverse – An action of a higher court in setting aside or revoking a lower court decision.
Revoke – To cancel or nullify a legal document.
Sentence – The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.
Stay – A court order halting a judicial proceeding.
Subpoena – A command to appear at a certain time and place to give sworn testimony upon a certain matter.
Subpoena Duces Tecum – A court order commanding a witness to bring certain documents or records to court.
Summons – A document commonly used to commence a civil action or special proceeding; the means of acquiring jurisdiction over a party.
Surety Bond – A written guaranty which is purchased from a bonding company (bail bondsman) by the defendant or on his/her behalf, to guarantee some form of performance, including showing up in court.
Trial – A judicial examination of issues between parties to an action. The issues could be
presented solely to the judge for a ruling or also to a jury of the defendant’s peers. (See Jury.)
Vacate – To set aside.
Verdict – A conclusion, as to fact or law, which forms the basis for the court’s judgment.
Warrant – Most commonly, a court order authorizing law enforcement officers to make an arrest or conduct a search. An application seeking a warrant must be accompanied by an affidavit which establishes probable cause by detailing the facts upon which the request is based.
Writ – A judicial order directing a person to do something.

 

Policing for Profit

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GOOD-Cops-Main

Civil forfeiture laws allow police to seize your property, sell it and use the money to fund agency budgets. This means your car, cash, real estate or other property can be taken from you even if you are not convicted or charged with a crime.

I’m sure you are wondering how your property can be taken from you if you are not involved in any criminal activity. The answer to that is: Civil forfeiture is basically a way for the courts to try inanimate objects for their involvement with criminal activity. That is why civil forfeiture actions are in rem proceedings, which means “against or about a thing.”

Originally, civil forfeiture was created to drain resources from powerful criminal organizations, but today it has become a way of funding for law enforcement agencies and has also led to personal gain.  According to a 2003 article in the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Bay police seized and kept cars for their own use. “The seized fleet consisted of some 42 cars, including a Lincoln Navigator, a Ford Expedition, and, Police Chief Bennie Holder’s favorite, a $38,000 Chevy Tahoe.”

In Florida, law enforcement must prove with clear and convincing evidence that the property being seized was related to criminal activity. Although this is a higher standard than most other states, it still puts property owners at a disadvantage. This is because unlike a criminal forfeiture case, in which the government has to prove someone is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standards in a civil forfeiture case are much less rigorous. According to the Institute for Justice, “law enforcement in Florida still receives 85 percent of the funds generated from civil forfeiture.”

It is also a misconception that most people who have their property seized are wealthy. Some low-income families who do not have the resources to get their property back are also targeted by law enforcement. Regardless of socioeconomic status, it is not fair that likely innocent people are being stripped of their property without ever being convicted of a crime.

 

For more information, please read:

The Institute for Justice’s Initiative to End Policing for Profit

The Huffington Post article “Above the Law: New DPA Report Finds ‘Policing for Profit’ Gone Wild”

Financial or White Collar Crimes

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corporate crime

White collar crimes involve deceiving individuals, organizations or companies of their money. This type of crime is non-violent and usually occurs when a person in a position of trust abuses his/her power. Some examples of white collar crimes include, but are not limited to:

  • Fraud
  • Money laundering
  • Electronic or cyber crime
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Embezzlement
  • Blackmail
  • Forgery
  • Tax Evasion

Although these crimes do not cause physical harm, they may carry heavy consequences. In Florida, penalties can include:

  • Second Degree Misdemeanor: Up to 60 days in jail and/or fines not exceeding $500.
  • First Degree Misdemeanor: Jail sentence up to 1 year and/or fines not exceeding $1,000.
  • Third Degree Felony: Imprisonment up to 5 years and/or fines up to $5,000.
  • Second Degree Felony: Imprisonment up to 15 years and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.
  • First Degree Felony: Imprisonment for up 30 years or possible life imprisonment and/or fines not exceeding $10,000.

An aggravated white collar crime is defined under the Florida White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act as “engaging in at least two white collar crimes that have the same or similar victims, results, accomplices, intents, or methods of commission, or that are otherwise related by certain characteristics showing the offenses are not isolated from each other.” An aggravated white collar crime is a first degree felony.

It is important to hire a defense attorney if you are charged with or believe you are being investigated for committing a white collar crime. Common defenses include 1) Challenging or disproving the state’s case and 2) Entrapment, which is when law enforcement induced someone to commit a crime that he/she would not have committed otherwise.

For more information on the different types of white collar crimes, please visit: http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=36300

Bail in America: A Tool of Coercion

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man-in-prison

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution explicitly states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed.” However, bail in America has evolved in such a way that it has become less of a tool for keeping people out of jail and more of a tool to coerce low-income defendants to enter a “guilty” plea because they cannot afford it.

Let’s look at an example from the New York Times’ article “The Bail Trap” of how bail keeps the criminal-justice system afloat: In 2013, New York processed 365,000 arraignments. Of those cases, less than 5 percent actually went to trial. However, even if a small portion of those defendants decided to assert their right to trial, it would be too overwhelming for criminal courts to handle. So, forcing defendants to plead guilty actually makes it easier on the courts.

A 2012 report by the New York City Criminal Justice Agency also shows that about 50 percent of defendants in non-felony cases who did not have to stay locked up before their trials, either because no bail was set or because they were able to afford it, were eventually convicted. When defendants had to stay in jail until their cases were resolved, the conviction rate jumped to a whopping 92 percent! The report is based on 10 years of criminal statistics and concludes that even pretrial detention itself “creates enough pressure to increase guilty pleas.”

Bail doesn’t just affect defendants during the time they are incarcerated – it has long-term effects too. Scott Hechinger, a senior trial attorney with Brooklyn Defender Services, said “Most of our clients are people who have crawled their way up from poverty or are in the throes of poverty. Our clients work in service-level positions where if you’re gone for a day, you lose your job. People in need of caretaking — the elderly, the young — are left without caretakers. People who live in shelters, where if they miss their curfews, they lose their housing. Folks with immigration concerns are quicker to be put on the immigration radar. So when our clients have bail set, they suffer on the inside, they worry about what’s happening on the outside, and when they get out, they come back to a world that’s more difficult than the already difficult situation that they were in before.”

Learn more about “the bail trap” here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/magazine/the-bail-trap.html

Drug Trafficking Mandatory Minimums

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When it comes to drug trafficking charges, a person does not have to actually sell a drug in order to break Florida’s drug trafficking laws. Different drugs carry a different minimum mandatory prison sentence based on the weight of the drug. For example, possession of 1 gram or more of LSD can result in a >1 but less than 5 gram Trafficking in LSD charge.

Minimum mandatory prison sentences do not usually receive “gain time,” or a reduction in prison time for inmates who display satisfactory behavior , educational attainment or participate in other incentive programs. Click here for more information on types of gain time.  Cases involving drug trafficking charges, however, are entitled to gain time. This is because the court in Mastay v. McDonough, Florida Department of Corrections, 928 So. 2d 512 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006)held that drug trafficking charges are eligible for gain time, just  not discretionary release.

Drug trafficking offenses are taken very seriously, with mandatory minimum sentences that range from 3 years to 25 years in prison. If you are arrested for trafficking, it is crucial to contact an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney to represent and defend you in court.

The chart below shows the minimum mandatory sentences for trafficking in various drugs:

Offense
(Knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, or brings into
the state, or who is knowingly in actual
or constructive possession of:*)
Drug AmountMandatory Minimum Sentence & Fine
Cocaine28 - 200 grams

200 - 400 grams

400 grams – 150
kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Marijuana25 - 2000 lbs or 300 - 2000 plants

2000 - 10,000 lbs or 2000 - 10,000 plants

10,000+ lbs. or 10,000
plants
3 years, $25,000 fine

7 years, $50,000 fine

15 years, $200,000 fine
GBL1-5 kilograms

5-10 kilograms

10+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Phencyclidine28 - 200 grams

200 - 400 grams

400+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Methaqualone200 grams – 5 kilograms

5 - 25 kilograms

25+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Amphetamine or methamphetamine14 – 28 grams

28 – 200 grams

200+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Flunitrazepam4 – 14 grams

14 – 28 grams

28 grams – 30 kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

25 years, $500,000 fine
GHB1 - 5 kilograms

5 - 10 kilograms

10+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
Morphine, opium, oxycodone,
hydrocodone, hydromorphone, or any
salt, derivative, isomer, or salt of an
isomer, including heroin
7 - 14 grams

14 - 25 grams

25 - 100 grams

100 grams - 30 kilograms

30+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $500,000 fine

25 years, $750,000 fine

life imprisonment without parole
LSD1- 5 grams

5 - 7 grams

7+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $500,000 fine
Phenethylamines10 – 200 grams

200 - 400 grams

400+ grams
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $250,000 fine
1,4-Butandediol1 - 5 kilograms

5 – 10 kilograms

10+ kilograms
3 years, $50,000 fine

7 years, $100,000 fine

15 years, $500,000 fine
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