Hearsay: What Does it Mean?

Hearsay is defined as an out of court statement offered in court against a defendant “for the truth of the matter asserted.” It is based on the Sixth Amendment right afforded those who are accused of a criminal offense to confront witnesses against them. “Confront” means the right to challenge the statement of the witness … Read more

What is Constructive Possession of Drugs?

Imagine a friend has invited you to join him and some others on his boat. You agree. As you board the boat, he hands you what you know is an ounce of cocaine and asks you to put it in an ice chest. Later, another guest asks you if you know where the drugs are. … Read more

Defenses to a Burglary Charge

According to Florida law, a person commits burglary if he or she enters “a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter.” The statute lists various other provisions for either … Read more

Probable Cause: What Does it Really Mean?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that people cannot be subject to warrantless searches and seizures without probable cause. A person is “seized” “only when the officer, by means of physical force or show of authority, has in some way restrained the liberty of a citizen” (Golphin v. State, 945 So 2d 1174 (Fla., 2006). … Read more

Can I Discuss My Case With My Best Friend?

You’ve seen it countless times on television crime dramas – a suspect is arrested and told by law enforcement, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one … Read more

Sobriety Checkpoints: What Are My Rights?

The state of Florida is one of 38 states that conducts random sobriety checkpoints. The U.S. Supreme Court approved such checkpoints if certain requirements are met. Just a few of those are: The location of the checkpoint must be published to the public, or the checkpoint must be clearly visible to drivers. It is legal … Read more

Domestic Violence: It is Not Always What It Appears to Be

Domestic violence is a serious issue. The news media routinely reports on allegations of domestic violence that have been made against professional football players, famous athletes or actors. The public becomes outraged and decides the one charged must be guilty without waiting for a trial or resolution of the issue. There generally are serious consequences … Read more

Conspiracy to Sell Drugs: What Does it Mean

You may be sitting around talking with your friend or friends. You all agree to sell a certain amount of a controlled substance. Under Florida law, you have just committed the criminal offense of conspiracy. In real life, state prosecutors likely will wait until one of you has done something to further the conspiracy. Such an … Read more