Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ways to Sabotage Your Own Criminal Defense

It may seem like common sense to not want to sabotage you own criminal case, but people frequently do things than can damage their own defense.  Below are the top issues that I have seen to cause problems for clients’ cases:

5. Party Like a Rock Star
Your goal during your criminal case is to remain free of any drama.  If you are out drinking, you can end up in a situation which may lead to activities or situations which allowed your criminal charges in the first place.  Drinking may even be a violation of your pretrial release depending upon your charge.  If this is the case, you may find your bond revoked and there will be nothing that your attorney can do to help you. 

4. Fail to Show Up
Failure to show up for Court is a HUGE issue.  We all have unavoidable issues or accidents arise.  And if that happens once, it is explainable to a judge.  You may get a capias issued, but your attorney can more than likely get it withdrawn.  However, if you are habitually late for court, or fail to appear, your bond will probably be revoked and you will find yourself sitting in jail until your case is resolved.  The same goes for meeting with your attorney.  Your attorney is there to help you.  Your attorney cannot help you if you are constantly late or do not show for appointments.

3. Post It on Social Media
We all love posting our lives on social media.  I am posting this blog on social media.  However, #IJustGotArrested is not advisable.  You have the right to remain silent.  Use it.  Anything that you post will be used against you.  The State Attorney’s Office is constantly searching social media for anything about you.  In addition, your privacy settings do not matter. The courts have consistently ruled that if you are posting it, they can get it, regardless of your privacy settings.

2. Not Retaining Counsel
Some people make the mistake of thinking that they can handle their case themselves, without the help of an attorney.  There are many technical aspects to the law, including the evidence code, administrative license issues, sentencing laws, etc., that are overwhelming and complicated.  When you fail to obtain counsel, you are not making informed decisions.  You may think you know your basic rights, and I am certain that you do. However, you cannot put a price on your liberty.  Hire the lawyer

1. Picking up New Charges
Some people just gravitate towards trouble.  They continue to hang around with the same crowd or continue the same pattern of behavior that got them into the situation to begin with.  Stay away from these people!  For example, if you have domestic violence battery charges that a significant other has alleged, that significant other has signed a waiver of prosecution, and you are allowed contact, you should probably still stay away from that person until the case is over.  Even though the court is allowing contact, it is obvious that you and that person have some sort of issue that needs to be worked out.  If that person makes another allegation, your pretrial release will likely be revoked, you will have another domestic violence battery charge, and you will likely be “parkered,” meaning you will be held no bond until the cases are resolved.  It is imperative that you be very careful about who you are around and what you are doing while you are on pretrial release!


If you have been charged with a crime, you need the help of an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney who will stand by your side and protect your rights.  Call Heather Bryan Law today for your consultation at 863-825-5309, or contact us online.

Friday, August 4, 2017

"Sexting" and Florida Law

Yes, “sexting” has been defined by Florida law and can been found in Florida Statutes section 847.0141.  Sexting is when a minor uses an electronic device to transmit a photo or video which depicts nudity and is considered harmful.  It is against the law to solicit and to be the recipient if the recipient does not report specifically to the minor’s legal guardian or to a school or law enforcement official within 24 hours. 

A first-time offense is a noncriminal violation.  The minor will receive 8 hours of community service work or pay a $60 civil penalty.    A second-time offense is a first-degree misdemeanor and a subsequent offense is a third-degree felony.   

Young adults who may have turned 18, but are still in high school, who engage in the same sort of behavior described above, could be charged with an even more serious sex crime and could possibly be labelled a sex offender the rest of their lives. 

Finding a place to live, a job, and other activities of daily live can become nearly impossible.  If you fail to register, you can be charged with a new felony crime—failure to register as a sex offender.

Florida does have the “Romeo and Juliet” statute to address concerns about high school age youth being labelled as sexual offenders or sexual predators as a result of participating in a consensual sexual relationship.  The stigma and life-long consequences that come with such a classification affect every aspect of life.

The registry provides no clear distinction between the young “Romeo and Juliet” sex offenders who had consensual sex and the true offenders who harm children and pose a risk to society.  Section 943.04354 creates a mechanism for this group of offenders to file a motion or petition in state court for removal of the registration requirement if the offender meets certain criteria.  The law only addresses the registry requirement and does not make the offense legal. 


If you have been charged with a sexual offense or need help filing a petition under the “Romeo and Juliet” statute, contact Heather Bryan Law online today for your confidential consultation, or call 863-825-5309.