Under Federal law, banks are required to report cash deposits that exceed a certain amount on the basis that they may indicate that people are attempting to avoid paying income tax. Some people attempt to evade this requirement by structuring their deposits in a manner that will not trigger the reporting requirement. Structuring is unlawful, however, and it can lead to significant penalties. In a recent Florida case, the court described what evidence is needed to establish guilt for structuring, ultimately affirming the defendant’s conviction. If you are charged with a financial crime, it is in your best interest to meet with a Clearwater white color criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant, a former pain management clinic physician, faced numerous charges for allegedly distributing controlled substances from his clinic. While acquitted of these charges, he then faced charges two charges for illegally structuring payments from these operations. Specifically, the government alleged that he engaged in structuring transactions to evade federal bank reporting requirements. Namely, he made 22 cash deposits under $10,000 over seven days and followed a similar pattern with 38 cash deposits, some on consecutive days, over approximately seven and a half months. This deposit pattern raised suspicions of structuring. The jury found the defendant guilty on both counts, leading to concurrent 24-month sentences. The defendant appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence to sustain his convictions.

Evidence Establishing Illegal Structuring

On appeal, the court rejected the defendant’s reasoning and affirmed his convictions. The court explained that when reviewing such convictions, they view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and consider all reasonable inferences and credibility choices in favor of the verdict.

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In the context of criminal proceedings, the defendant’s guilt typically hinges on the interpretation of circumstantial rather than direct evidence. When viewed in its entirety, if the evidence in question does not demonstrate the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant should be able to avoid a conviction. In a recent Florida ruling issued in a weapons crime case, the court discussed what constitutes adequate evidence to sustain a conviction, ultimately upholding the jury’s guilty verdict. If you are charged with a weapons crime, it is in your best interest to talk to a Clearwater gun crime defense attorney about your rights.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was indicted for knowingly possessing ammunition as a felon, a federal offense. During the trial, an FBI special agent described a search of the defendant’s family residence. During the search, ammunition was discovered in various locations, including a black backpack in the defendant’s closet. The jury found him guilty, and he appealed, arguing that the evidence presented during the trial failed to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for possessing ammunition as a felon.

Evaluating the Sufficiency of Evidence in Weapons Crime Cases

On appeal, the court ruled that the evidence put forth during the trial was sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction for possessing ammunition as a felon. In doing so, the court explained that the test for determining whether evidence is adequate is the same regardless of whether the evidence is circumstantial or direct. While no greater weight is given to either type of evidence when the state relies on circumstantial evidence, reasonable inferences, not mere speculation, are necessary to support a conviction.

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In Florida, the act of touching a person without their consent is unlawful, and people that engage in such behavior may be found guilty of battery. Notably, contact is an essential element of many battery crimes, and if the prosecution cannot establish that a person charged with battery made actual contact with their alleged victim, they should not be able to obtain a conviction. This was demonstrated in a recent Florida case in which the court reversed the defendant’s battery conviction. If you are accused of battery, it is smart to speak to a Clearwater battery defense attorney about your potential defenses.

Facts Surrounding the Alleged Assault

It is alleged that police officers attempted to pull over the defendant when he was driving. They offered several reasons for their attempt, including that the defendant had an unregistered tag, failed to wear a seatbelt, and his car smelled of cannabis. The officers, dressed in law enforcement clothing, were in an unmarked black SUV with red and blue track lights activated to stop the defendant.

Reportedly, when the defendant did not immediately comply with the officers’ orders to pull over, they positioned their SUV slightly in front of his vehicle and activated the siren, trying to stop him. At this point, the defendant revved his engine and drove his car toward the officers’ SUV. However, both officers managed to jump back into the SUV, and the defendant’s car struck the front passenger door of the SUV without hitting any of the officers. The State subsequently charged the defendant with several offenses, including aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. He moved for an acquittal on the aggravated battery count at the close of evidence. The court denied his motion, and he was convicted, after which he appealed.


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The Double Jeopardy Clauses in the state and federal Constitutions aim to protect individuals from being unfairly subjected to repeated prosecutions and punishments for the same offense. As such, if a defendant is convicted on multiple theft charges arising out of the same incident, they may be able to successfully argue that one or more of their convictions may be vacated. In a recent Florida case in which the defendant was convicted of multiple theft crimes, the court explained when the Double Jeopardy clauses are triggered and ultimately vacated two of the defendant’s convictions.  If you are charged with a theft offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a Clearwater theft crime defense lawyer about what defenses you may be able to set forth.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with burglary, grand theft from a retail merchant, and two counts of petit theft. Following a trial, a jury found him guilty as charged. He appealed, arguing that his two convictions for petit theft arising out of the same incident violated the rule against double jeopardy. The court agreed, and the State acknowledged the error. As such, the court vacated his theft convictions; it otherwise affirmed his remaining convictions without further comment.

Protections Provided by the Double Jeopardy Clause

The Double Jeopardy Clause in both the United States and Florida Constitutions prohibits subjecting an individual to multiple prosecutions, convictions, and punishments for the same criminal offense. In cases involving theft convictions, where the offenses are merely variations of the core offense of theft, having dual convictions based on the same core offense is not permissible. This is because each offense is considered an aggravated form of the underlying offense of theft, and they differ only in terms of degree.


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In Florida, people convicted of offenses involving bodily harm to another individual may face a variety of penalties. For example, in addition to being sentenced to jail time and probation, a person may be ordered to pay restitution fees. The courts can only order a defendant to pay restitution for harm arising out of their conduct, however, as demonstrated in a recent Florida opinion delivered in a battery case. If you are charged with battery, it is smart to confer with a Clearwater battery lawyer about your options for seeking a favorable outcome.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the defendant, who was a minor, was arrested for battery. According to the allegations, the victim was involved in a physical fight with the co-defendant at a party. Subsequently, the defendant joined the argument and physically attacked the victim, hitting and kicking her in the back, face, and head. The case proceeded to trial, and the defendant was adjudicated delinquent.

It is not uncommon for people to be charged with multiple crimes stemming from a singular incident. While the State can lawfully bring such charges, the prosecution must nonetheless prove the discrete elements of each offense in order to obtain guilty verdicts. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden, it should not be able to obtain a valid conviction. Recently, a Florida court discussed what the State must show to establish guilt for kidnapping charges arising out of an armed robbery in a case in which it ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal. If you are accused of a violent offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a Clearwater kidnapping defense lawyer about your possible defenses.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including armed robbery and kidnapping. He was found guilty and sentenced to live in prison as a repeat offender on the robbery and kidnapping charges. He did not contest his sentence or armed robbery conviction and, therefore, would spend life in prison regardless of the outcome of any appeal. He appealed regardless, arguing that his kidnapping conviction did not pass the Faison test and, therefore, should be vacated.

Proving Guilt for Kidnapping in the Context of Other Offenses

The court denied the defendant’s appeal and affirmed his conviction. In doing so, it explained that in Faison v. State, the Florida Supreme Court established a test for determining if there was sufficient evidence to convict a defendant for kidnapping, in addition to a primary offense, if the confinement or taking in question was allegedly done to assist the primary offense.

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When it comes to sentencing people for crimes, federal courts can consider a range of factors, including uncharged conduct. Uncharged conduct refers to any criminal activity that the defendant may have engaged in but for which they have not been formally charged or convicted. In a recent ruling, a federal court sitting in Florida explained when and how the courts may evaluate uncharged conduct when assessing an appropriate penalty in a case in which the defendant appealed his sentence for drug crime convictions. If you are charged with a drug offense, it is smart to meet with a Clearwater drug crime defense attorney to assess your options for protecting your interests.

The Defendant’s Sentence

Allegedly, the defendant was charged with numerous drug trafficking and weapons crimes. He was convicted and sentenced to 210 months in prison. He appealed, arguing first that the court erred in assigning narcotics seized during an investigation to him as relevant conduct for his two counts of conviction for possession with intent to distribute and second, by attributing the drugs to him because they were not part of the same common scheme or plan or course of conduct as the offense of conviction.

The Implications of Uncharged Conduct in Federal Criminal Matters

Upon review, the court affirmed the defendant’s sentence. In doing so, it explained that a federal court might consider uncharged conduct in determining an appropriate sentence. This includes all acts and omissions the defendant committed during the commission of the crime, when preparing for the crime, or in the course of trying to avoid detection for the crime. In this case, the court found that the evidence was sufficient to attribute drugs found during the criminal investigation to the defendant for the purpose of sentencing under the relevant-conduct guideline.

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Underage people living in Florida have the same rights as adults with regard to criminal investigations. In other words, they have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. As such, if the police impermissibly detain a minor, the minor arguably cannot be deemed guilty of the commission of any offenses that happen during their detention. Recently, a Florida court examined what constitutes a reasonable seizure of a minor in a case in which a juvenile defendant challenged her adjudication of delinquency for battery on a police officer. If you are currently charged with committing a crime as a juvenile, it is critical to speak to a Clearwater juvenile defense attorney to determine what defenses you might be able to set forth.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that a police officer observed the defendant sitting in a corner near the entrance of a high school after the school was closed. Out of concern for the defendant, who was a young female alone at night in an area with a high rate of crime, the officer approached the defendant and began questioning her. The defendant was reluctant to provide the officer with information; she stated she was waiting for a bus but did not have any bus information, and she declined to tell him her parents’ full names or her address.

Reportedly, the officer called for backup, after which the defendant ran away. The officers pursued the defendant on foot, caught and handcuffed her, and placed her in the back of a police vehicle. They checked on her about half an hour later and found her kicking the partition between the seats. They attempted to restrain her, and she kicked one of the officers in the chest. She was charged with battery of an officer but moved for judgment of dismissal on the grounds that her seizure was illegal. The court found her guilty, and she appealed.

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The federal legislature aims to prevent people with extensive criminal histories from continuing to violate the law. Thus, they enacted statutes that allow the federal courts to impose greater penalties on career offenders. Only people convicted of certain crimes will qualify as career offenders, though, as explained in a ruling recently issued in a Florida case in which the defendant was convicted of numerous violent offenses. If you are dealing with accusations that you committed a crime of violence, it is wise to talk to a Clearwater violent crime defense attorney to assess your options for protecting your interests.

The Defendant’s Criminal History

It is alleged that when the defendant was serving a sentence in a Florida prison, he sent threatening letters to the state attorney’s office. He was subsequently charged with threatening to use weapons of mass destruction and mailing threatening communications in violation of federal law. He pleaded guilty to all charges.

It is reported that the probation office then issued a report classifying the defendant as a career offender on the grounds that he had at least two prior felony convictions for crimes of violence. Specifically, he was previously convicted of robbery, aggravated battery, and mailing threatening letters. The defendant objected to the report, arguing that only one of his prior convictions was for a violent crime and, therefore, he was not a career offender. The court overruled his objection and applied the career offender enhancement, sentencing the defendant to ten years in prison. The defendant appealed.

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Under Florida law, a person can be arrested for and charged with a DUI offense absent evidence of their blood alcohol level. There are nonetheless limitations on when a police officer is permitted to arrest a person for misdemeanor DUI, though, as discussed in a recent Florida ruling in which the court ultimately overturned the defendant’s conviction. If you are charged with a DUI offense,  it is in your best interest to speak with a Clearwater DUI defense lawyer about your options for seeking a just outcome.

The Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that a police officer was summoned to the scene of an accident by a public safety aid. The officer then arrested the defendant for a misdemeanor DUI based solely on the information provided to him by the public safety officer and his road sobriety investigation. The officer did not conduct an investigation of the accident or observe the defendant operating or exercising actual physical possession over the vehicle involved in the accident.

Reportedly, the defendant pled no contest to the charge but reserved her right to appeal the issue of the lawfulness of her arrest. The state conceded it made an error on the issue of whether the defendant’s arrest was lawful. Thus, the court reversed the defendant’s conviction.

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