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Shalimar Legal Blog

Florida teens arrested after allegedly making threats

A conviction for any criminal offense can lead to negative consequences. Yet, juveniles who wind up facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing can have a lot at stake. First of all, these young individuals may not know that what they are doing is a criminal offense, if they've done anything wrong at all. Yet, if they are convicted of a juvenile crime they can wind up facing harsh penalties, as well as a record that can drastically affect their future. Their reputation can be damaged, too, which may be something that is hard to repair at a young age. With so much on the line, juveniles who have been accused of a criminal act should carefully consider their criminal defense options.

Two Florida teens may need to do this now after being taken into custody for allegedly making violent threats. According to reports, one 15-year-old boy was charged with a felony after allegedly posting a video of himself on social media holding what appeared to be an assault rifle. The video also contained a message discouraging others from attending school the next day, thereby giving some the impression that he was intending to conduct a school shooting.

Divorce, property division and inheritances

The divorce process can be emotional for a variety of reasons. To start with, marriage dissolution involves the ending of what is oftentimes a long-lasting and deep relationship. When infidelity or a breakdown in communication is to blame, the split can be even more difficult to handle. In addition, divorce may mean that a couple has to figure out how to co-parent their children. Although working with an ex-spouse can be trying in its own way, marriage dissolution can also significantly limit the amount of time one can spend with his or her children. As if these emotionally trying issues aren't enough, divorce can also deal an individual a significant financial blow.

One way this can occur is through the process of property division. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided in a way that the court finds is fair. This does not mean that property will be divided equally. Therefore, the court may consider a number of factors when making a determination, which can leave an individual fearful for his or her post-divorce finances.

Drunk driving and the walk-and-turn test

A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and how law enforcement and prosecutors often rely on that field sobriety test to obtain arrests and convictions. Although they find this test to be critically important, it is not the only field sobriety test utilized by the police. Another method they use to test for signs of intoxication is the walk-and-turn test.

Here, a driver is asked to walk in a straight line, but only through a method by which he or she puts the heel of one foot to the toe of the other. The driver will be instructed to take nine of these steps in a straight line, then pivot and take another nine steps. The motorist is also informed to hold out his or her arms to the side during the entirety of the test, watch the steps as they are being taken and count out loud each step.

Factors considered regarding custodial parent relocation

Divorce is rarely easy. The emotional toll alone can be overwhelming, and so, too, can the financial ramifications. Yet, those who have children may see the harshest fall out from marriage dissolution. Many times, Floridians struggle to explain to their children why their parents are separating. Even though settling an initial child custody and visitation dispute can be fraught with challenges, the matter can be exacerbated by the fact that the issue can pop its head back up at almost any time post-divorce.

For example, parents in Florida may find themselves in a dispute of custodial parent relocation. Here, a custodial parent seeks to move a great distance away from a noncustodial parent, which, in turn, can affect the noncustodial parent's access to his or her child. Since a seemingly minor thing (i.e. a move) can turn out to have massive consequences, Florida law helps provide some guidance.

The elements of theft in Florida

Theft is a common crime throughout Florida. Many individuals who are accused of this offense face serious penalties that can affect their freedom, their finances and their future. With so much on the line, these individuals need to ensure that they are putting forth the strongest criminal defense they can muster. The first step in doing so is knowing the law and understanding it. Only then can a criminal defendant craft a defense strategy that seeks to raise reasonable doubt as to his or her guilt.

The crime of theft has several elements that a prosecutor must prove before a conviction can be obtained. First, it must be shown that the accused individual knowingly obtained or used the property of another. This state of mind, "knowingly," can be difficult to prove. To succeed, the prosecutor must put on evidence showing that the defendant made an intentional decision to break the law.

What is probate?

Estate planning is a critical part of ensuring not only one's own financial well-being, but also those of his or her beneficiaries. Often associated with estate planning, the term "probate" often carries negative connotations. This may be caused by its portrayal in television and movies, but Floridians need to fully understand the probate process, as it may give them a clearer sense of which estate planning tools are best suited to their needs.

Generally speaking, probate is nothing more than the process through which a deceased individual's property is transferred to other parties. The process is supervised by the court, and consists of a number of steps. First, the deceased individual's property is collected. Then, all of the decedent's debts are paid, including any taxes that may be due. After that, all income is collected from, say, dividends, and any outstanding disputes, such as lawsuits, are settled. At that point, any remaining assets can be transferred to the deceased's heirs. This process is typically carried out by an executor, who may be named in a will.

What is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test?

Prosecutors rely on a wide variety of evidence when trying to obtain a drunk driving conviction. Of course, they will attempt to admit evidence regarding breathalyzer test results and officer accounts of a driver's behavior, but that's not all. They also often have police officers testify about field sobriety tests that may have been administered to a driver. The results of these tests can be seriously damaging to a defendant, meaning that he or she could wind up facing serious penalties as a result.

One field sobriety test that is often used is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test is administered by an officer who holds up his or her finger about a foot in front of the test subject. The finger is then slowly moved from side-to-side while the subject follows it with his or her eyes, but while holding his or her head steady. There are essentially three things an officer is looking for that can be indicators of intoxication.

5 questions going into a divorce

Many times divorce is ugly, and there is no doubt divorce is the right thing to do. Nearly as often, we work with clients who still have a lot of feelings for one another.

Here are five questions you may want to ask yourself – and one another – to see if you are really ready to close the account.

How does Florida define "domestic violence?"

Most Floridians have been in some form of disagreement. Usually, these spats are left at words and, even if hurtful, the matter eventually resolves itself without too much escalation. In some instances, though, an argument can get heated and become physical. When this happens, an individual may find him or herself facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing. Since harsh penalties may await an individual who is convicted of a criminal offense, it is critical that he or she know the law and how to use it to their advantage.

This week we will briefly look at domestic violence. Under Florida law, domestic violence occurs when physical injury or death is caused to a household member by another household or family member. In short, this physical injury or death can result from assault, battery, sexual assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping and even stalking. Of course, the law also defines "household member" for purposes of the law. Accordingly, the statute indicates that a household or family member includes spouses and former spouses, as well as anyone to whom an individual is related, whether by marriage or blood. The definition also includes those who have a child in common as well as those who are residing together in a fashion similar to a family.

Legal help may be key in a custody dispute

A few weeks ago on the blog we discussed paternity and how it can relate to child custody and visitation. Child custody and visitation is based on a child's best interests. Keeping this standard in mind when addressing custody and parenting time issues is critical, as this is what a judge will be considering when making a decision. Therefore, parents who are seeking to modify custody or change visitation need to ensure that they couch their argument in terms of how the proposed change furthers the child's best interests. Any arguments that are focused on retribution or negative animosity toward the other parent will only be frowned upon by the court and may do the parent purporting the change a disservice.

At James C. Campbell LLC, our legal team knows how to craft compelling legal arguments to convince judges that certain changes are necessary to protect a child's well-being, whether that be from a physical, emotional, financial or social standpoint. Our legal team works hard to gather evidence, both physical and testimonial, that shows why our clients' positions are best suited to further their children's best interests.

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