Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors At Law
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Jacksonville Florida Criminal Defense Blog

Reviewing the Miranda Rights

Most in Jacksonville have likely heard that famous line "You have the right to remain silent..." on TV or in movies. Many may already know that these are known as "Miranda Rights," yet few may understand what they mean and what protections they may offer suspects when being interrogated by police. 

The Miranda Rights originated from a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case of . The defendant in the case signed a confession presented to him by law enforcement officers after two hours of interrogation. At no point was he informed of his right to remain silent and his right to have an attorney present. The attorneys who represented him at his trial and subsequent appeals argued that the omission of these details made his confession involuntary. In a 5-4 decision, the Court agreed. From that case came the mandate for law enforcement officers to explain the following elements to suspects before their interrogations: 

  • That they have the right to remain silent
  • That anything they say can be used against them in a court of law
  • That they have the right to consult with an attorney and have one present during questioning
  • That an attorney will be appointed for them if they cannot afford one
  • That an interrogation must stop once they invoke the right to remain silent 
  • That an interrogation must stop once they invoke the right to speak with an attorney

Understanding appeals jurisdiction

For many of those convicted of criminal charges in Jacksonville, their convictions do not signal the end of their legal proceedings. Rather, they simply represent a small step in what can be a much larger process. Many may view appeals cases to simply be a way for offenders to abuse loopholes in the legal system, and thus a waste of resources. However, in cases were a defendant has not had his or her rights respected (or has been wrongfully convicted), the appeals process offers relief from such injustices. 

To begin the pursuit of seeking such relief, one must file a petition with the court that he or she believes should have jurisdiction of his or her case. According to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, such a petition must contain the following elements: 

  • The reason for invoking the jurisdiction of that particular court
  • The nature of relief being sought
  • The facts supporting one's claim for relief 
  • An argument in support of the petition complete with appropriate citations of authority supporting it

Can Officers Without Jurisdiction Perform DUI Stops as a "Citizen's Arrest?"

Police officers have limited authority to conduct traffic stops when they encounter a driver suspected of DUI outside of their jurisdiction. Sometimes a "mutual aid agreement" between municipalities will allow police officers to make traffic stops and arrests outside of their city limits. An officer can also conduct a traffic stop if they are in "fresh pursuit" of a fleeing felon or misdemeanant from their own jurisdiction. Finally, a police officer may justify an out-of-jurisdiction stop as a "citizen arrest," based on their authority, not as a police officer, but as a private citizen.

Bill Sheppard Receives JALA's Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Award

Congratulations to Bill Sheppard and Sam Jacobson for their receipt of the Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Award, given each year by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA). This award is given in recognition of their efforts to "provide justice for the poor and marginalized", and specifically recognizes their "pro bono service, philanthropy and unwavering dedication to fairness and honesty."

Bill Sheppard Named 2018 Lawyer of the Year

Congratulations to Mr. Sheppard for being named Jacksonville's 2018 Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense: White Collar by Best Lawyers In America. This will be the fourth time Mr. Sheppard has been selected as Lawyer of the Year in his areas of practice, in recognition of his work in the areas of criminal defense, first amendment and employment law. In addition being named Lawyer of the Year, he was recognized this year in the areas of Appellate Practice, Criminal Defense:General Practice, Employment Law-Individuals and First Amendment Law. The firm has also been recognized as a Tier 1 law firm and individual members have been recognized in their areas of practice. While the firm appreciates such accolades, we are mindful that our greatest reward is assisting people in their time of legal need and vigorously defending their cases. 

Can drunk driving charges keep me from traveling?

If a law enforcement official recently pulled you over and accused you of driving while under the influence, you may be facing a great deal of anxiety and have many questions. Unfortunately, these charges could cause your life to spiral out of control in many ways, which is why the charges have to be handled appropriately. For example, you may be fired or find yourself unable to successfully apply for a certain position in the future. If you live in Jacksonville, Florida, you should go over your rights immediately and be aware of the different consequences that come with DUI charges, such as potentially preventing you from traveling.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection states that people may not be able to visit Canada if they have a drunk driving conviction on their record. If you are hoping to head to Canada, for business reasons or simply as a tourist, you should realize that an immigration official in Canada may decide to deny your entry into the country if you are found guilty of driving under the influence. While many people recognize some of the more commonly-known consequences of DUI charges, such as prison time and financial penalties, some are unaware that this offense can restrict people from crossing the Canadian border.

How is intent to sell proven?

All of the drug offenses described in Florida’s state statutes carry with them significant criminal penalties. The potential for facing one such penalty after having been arrested in Jacksonville can be great. Can you imagine how much more so it may be if you are facing multiple drug charges? Often, a drug arrest may not result in just one charge for possession. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, an added charge of intent to sell may be added on.

The law detailing drug offenses found in Section 893.13(1)(a) of Florida’s statutes leaves little room for interpretation. It states that you may not ”sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver” any controlled substance found on the state’s drug schedules. What may be open to interpretation is how law enforcement authorities are able to determine that you indeed did have an intent to sell whatever substance you were allegedly found to be in possession of.

Incident at St. Augustine rest stop leads to drug arrest

Often, it is in the investigation of a certain event in Jacksonville where law enforcement officials may discover ancillary issues which lead to other seemingly unrelated criminal charges. While some may argue that one’s actions and behavior patterns would have eventually revealed the criminal activity that he or she was allegedly engaged in, people should still be able to expect a right to privacy and due process. Yet at times, circumstances may end up uncovering issues that officials may be prompted to act upon.

That apparently is what happened when law enforcement authorities were called in to investigate an incident that occurred near St. Augustine. They were responding to a child having been forgotten at a rest stop off of Interstate 95. A 6-year old boy claimed to have been traveling with his grandparents when they and the woman they were with drove off without him. When the three returned, officials stated that they appeared to be under the influence of drugs. A subsequent search of their vehicle revealed tar heroin, pills and other drug paraphernalia. The trio was arrested on charges of possession, while representatives from Child and Family Services took custody of the boy. Police later discovered that a search warrant had been executed on the Ohio address that the grandparents gave. The warrant was in response to several drug complaints made in relation to the residence.

Scharlette Holdman

It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of our dear friend, Scharlette Holdman. Scharlette was an unstoppable force of nature, who did more to stop the death penalty than virtually any other individual in this country. We first met Scharlette 40 years ago, when she was working out of a tiny donated office in Tallahassee.

Dog Searches: Can Two Police Officers Do What One Cannot?

The use of dogs to sniff out contraband remains one of the most frequent methods by which police discover contraband in vehicles traveling on the highway. The Supreme Court has allowed such searches in limited circumstances, but only in those instances where there is not a delay between the stop and the dog's arrival. Anything beyond a brief delay constitutes a seizure, which requires probable cause to be lawful. This "time-limiting doctrine" was firmly adopted by the Supreme Court in Rodriguez v. United States.

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  1. Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Rated for highest level of Provisional Excellence 2016 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms US News 2016 American College of Trial Lawyers William J.Sheppard Best Lawyers Lawyer of the year 2014 The Florida Bar Board Certified Best Lawyers|Best Law Firms US News|Criminal Defense: White-Collor|Tier 1|Jacksonville|2017
  2. Best Lawyers Best Law Firms US News 2017 AV Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability Super Lawyers Best Lawyers Linking Lawyers And Clients Worldwide

Sheppard, White, Kachergus, & DeMaggio, P.A. Attorneys & Counselors at Law.
215 N. Washington Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: 904-701-0589
Phone: 904-727-7191
Fax: 904-356-9667
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Regular office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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