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Dual Diagnosis

Dealing With a Dual Diagnosis in Court

Our country is in the grips of an opioid epidemic. Beyond that, many individuals are addicted to both legal and illegal substances, which can have a negative impact on their lives and the choices they make. While addiction in itself is a mental health issue, it can often mask other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and other mood and personality disorders. This can have serious implications for the criminal justice system and those who are funneled into it. With more information about mental illnesses, the criminal justice system has worked to help those who would benefit from care rather than incarceration by placing them appropriately. For this to happen, however, it’s important for both the accused and the... Read More »

In Florida, old crimes can come back to haunt

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Thursday, June 28, 2018

In Florida, as well as other states, some criminal investigations may be halted or become futile because the statute of limitations has expired. A statute of limitations is a law that puts a limit on the amount of time that is allowed to elapse between the time a crime is committed or discovered and the time that a suspect can be charged with the crime. On the other hand, certain felonies and violent crimes are not subject to a statute of limitations. A suspect can be charged for the latter types of crimes at any time. This was dramatically illustrated this month when police in St. Petersburg arrested a man in connection with a sexual assault that took place more... Read More »

Florida among the least-safe states in the country

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Friday, June 15, 2018

As gorgeous as our weather can be in the Tampa area, the Sunshine State has a dark underbelly. Florida attracts all types of people, and sometimes when so many cultures and attitudes come together in a single place, violent crimes occur. Crimes of violence can include anything from assault or battery to firearms offenses and even certain sex crimes. Unfortunately, when compared to other states, Florida is something of a hotbed for such crimes. Even more unfortunately, the media focuses considerable attention on pointing this out. For example, a recent list of the 100 "most dangerous" cities in the United States included eleven Florida cities – none in the Tampa area. A more recent study that was released by WalletHub... Read More »

What does ‘double jeopardy’ mean in Florida?

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Friday, June 1, 2018

According to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, "No person shall… be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…." Being "twice put in jeopardy" — or "double jeopardy" means being tried or punished twice for the same offense. So, for example, if a defendant receives a state criminal conviction for violent crimes he or she committed in Florida, the defendant could assert a double jeopardy defense if the state attempts retrial on the same crimes. Double jeopardy has been a cornerstone of federal since the U.S. Constitution was ratified. However, this Fifth Amendment safeguard has only been guaranteed under state law for about half a century. Some states may have... Read More »

Are you familiar with the types of domestic violence?

If you are part of a relationship, it’s important to learn a thing or two about domestic violence. Even if your relationship is healthy in all ways, you never know what could go wrong in the future. When most people think about domestic violence the only thing that comes to mind is one partner physically abusing the other. While this is one of the most common forms of domestic violence, it’s not the only type. Here is a breakdown of each type of domestic violence: Physical abuse. It’s the most recognizable form of domestic violence, and is exactly what you would expect. This is when one person uses force against the victim, such as by causing injury by slapping, punching,... Read More »

11 Florida cities land on ‘100 most dangerous’ list

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Friday, May 18, 2018

Across Florida – particularly on the Atlantic Coast – news media and citizens alike are reacting to a recent list that calls out 11 Sunshine State municipalities for their violent crime rates. The Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in America, published by Alarms.org compiled the list in response to the shooting at a Parkland, Florida school. In spite of the alarms the list may be sounding, it also notes that the incidence of violent crimes in the country actually appears to be dropping. Although the report acknowledges the dip in violent crime, the media in some Florida cities took umbrage at being included at all. A television station in West Palm Beach, WPTV, pointed out that the statistics used to... Read More »

What does “probable cause” mean in Florida?

  • On behalf of Mike G Law posted in on Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens of Florida — and the rest of the United States — from unlawful searches and seizures, the latter of which includes arrests. Even in the case of suspected violent crimes, the protections afforded by the Fourth Amendment are foundational. To overcome, such constitutional protections, law enforcement, pursuant to the Amendment’s language, cannot search or seize a person or their property without "probable cause." Even a law enforcement officer with a search or arrest warrant was required to make a showing of probable cause. In order to obtain the warrant, the police officer must swear in an affidavit that there is sufficient probable cause to overcome the Fourth Amendment protections afforded... Read More »

We represent those struggling with drug addictions

There are many good people in the Tampa area who are struggling under the weight of a drug addiction. Often, their addictive behaviors are simply ways they cope with deep-seated trauma or other issues over which they may have had no control. Still, drug use has a tendency to land even decent people in serious trouble with the criminal justice system. In addition to drug possession being a crime in and of itself, people often do things while high that they would never do were they sober, and many of these behaviors are also against the law and can lead to prison time. Fortunately, Florida authorities have recognized that for these sorts of criminal defendants, harsh consequences and jail time... Read More »

How the criminal justice system sets up kids for failure

The criminal justice system is surely not one size fits all. This can be especially true when it comes to serving youth. Unfortunately, many kids do not understand their rights when dealing with law enforcement, and their naivety can be used against them in court. Here is how the criminal justice system fails kids during arrests and interrogations. Few kids understand their Miranda rights Suspects who are under arrest and being interrogated by the police must be read their ‘Miranda Warning’ or legal rights. But a University of North Texas study found that the reading of one’s rights is no straightforward matter. In fact, researchers found that there are over 900 different warnings being read by law enforcement officers across... Read More »

Congressman’s wife’s arrest shines light on mental health issues

Many of us n Tampa have made the less than two-hour drive to visit Disney World. While theme park is known for bringing smiles to the faces of visitors, it was recently the site of the arrest of U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s wife Amanda on a charge of disorderly intoxication. The congressman later released a statement that his wife has been dealing with mental health issues for years and that she regrets the actions that led to her arrest. The case will, hopefully, serve as reason for people to reflect on the struggles many have with depression, self-medication, addiction and sometimes arrests. Soto is not a dangerous criminal and is not accused of harming anyone. According to a news report,... Read More »