Main Navigation
the law offices ofhoskins and penton, p.a.
We Can Help, Call Today
727-475-6448

Criminal Defense Archives

A basic understanding of plea bargains

Up to 90 percent of criminal cases in Florida and throughout the U.S. are resolved by plea bargaining. Plea bargains are attractive for some defendants because they allow them to get a lighter sentence. For prosecutors, plea bargains save time and energy that can be focused on more serious matters. As a general rule, the courts don't mind if the parties involved in a case can resolve it on their own.

Open-carry ban in Florida upheld by U.S. Supreme Court

News sources report that Florida's open carry law, which bans openly carrying firearms, has been upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. The lower court's ruling was upheld by the high court when it refused to hear the case on a writ of certiorari. This means that Florida's existing ban on openly carrying weapons will remain in place.

Racial factors can have impact on sentencing

Black men in Florida and across the United States have good reason for concern when facing sentencing in a criminal case. A study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission has shown that in many cases, Black men receive longer sentences than those of white men convicted of the same or similar crimes. On average, the study found that the sentences of Black men are 19.1 percent longer than those of white males with similar convictions when examining sentencing data collected between 2012 and 2016.

Study shows racial disparity in plea bargains

Some nonwhite defendants in Florida may be under more pressure to accept a plea deal and might receive less favorable terms than white defendants. According to a study that looked at misdemeanor cases in Wisconsin, the likelihood that white people will have a misdemeanor dropped, dismissed or reduced is 74 percent higher than it is for black people.

Possession of donut glaze case ends in payout for Florida man

A Florida man has received a settlement related to his arrest on drug charges in December 2015. What turned out to be donut glaze was mistaken for crystal meth by a police officer, who arrested the man when she saw the flaky substance on the floorboard of the man's vehicle.

Legal experts question reliability of forensic evidence

Florida prosecutors often build their cases around forensic evidence like fingerprints, footprints and ballistics, but skeptics have begun questioning the presumed infallibility of this type of evidence. A report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued during the Obama administration launched criticism of forensic methods enshrined in crime fiction and television shows as 100 percent accurate. The council declared that only multiple tests by independent entities could assure the scientific validity of forensic evidence.

Defining burglary in Florida

In Florida, burglary is considered to be a crime in which someone enters or occupies a residence or premises for the purpose of committing a crime. Prosecutors may generally establish that there was specific intent to commit a crime after entering a premises to earn a burglary conviction. Prosecutors must also show that a person entered a premises without permission or stayed after an invitation to do so expired.

Speedy jury trials

Criminal defendants in Florida and the rest of the nation are guaranteed the right to an attorney under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. They are also entitled to a speedy trial by an unbiased jury.

When prosecutors hide evidence from the defense

Prosecutors in Florida have a constitutional duty to inform defense attorneys about all exculpatory evidence in a case. Unfortunately, some prosecutors ignore this duty in an effort to better their odds of winning at trial. Doing so is both morally reprehensible and unethical.