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Sexual crimes in the state of Florida are very serious and must be thoroughly investigated by your attorney either prior to being charged or arrested, or after you are charged or arrested. The first question we look at is what the State Attorney’s process is in deciding who gets investigated for a sex crime and who ultimately gets charged or arrested.

The short answer is the state attorney will charge someone with a sex crime from the evidence or facts they believe to be true at the time. An investigation can start when a citizen calls or files a complaint against a person who may have committed a sex crime. An example would be an adult inappropriately touched a minor and another person saw tis and called the police. In this scenario the police will immediately contact the potential wrong doer either by phone or in person. Another example would be photographs of an illegal sexual activity were discovered and someone turned them over to law enforcement.

In either scenario, at this point, if you agree to speak with law enforcement, your testimony will be used against you, and you can be misinterpreted or tricked into making a confession. Once this is done it is very difficult to undo it. It is more beneficial for the accused to have an attorney to act as a go between the accused and law enforcement. Your attorney may be able to relay information through an investigation to the State Attorney with the goal of not being charged at all or receiving a lesser charge.

What is Underage Drinking?

Many young adults and students drink alcohol before the legal age of 21. It could be at the sandbar for a family outing, or a high school party when a friend’s parents are out of town, or even a glass of wine at dinner.

A 22-year-old sibling may take her younger brother to a college football tailgate and hand him a Truly hard seltzer or a beer. The police may be doing a lap around the tents and ask to see the younger brother’s ID. Suddenly, the 17-year-old with the hard seltzer in his hand is given a summons to appear in court on the charge of underage drinking.

Juveniles make mistakes. Parents know this, but the criminal justice system knows this too. If a juvenile makes a mistake that breaks the law, the juvenile justice system will step in and suggest legal decisions for that juvenile’s future. While it is scary for the juvenile to be in trouble with the law, hiring a criminal defense attorney that has knowledge of the juvenile system is imperative to help fight for the juvenile’s best interests and protect their future.  A juvenile criminal defense attorney will review the evidence in the juvenile’s case to determine if the State Attorney has enough evidence to prosecute successfully.

After being arrested for a crime, the juvenile will be taken to a Juvenile Assessment Center per the requirements of the Department of Juvenile Justice. There, the juvenile will discuss the next options and the juvenile will undergo an assessment which the Juvenile Probation Officer will report the findings to the State Attorney.  The minor may have a parent present and the police must make a reasonable attempt to contact the parents. However, be advised a law enforcement officer can question a juvenile without a parent present, so long as a reasonable attempt was made to contact the parents. This information can be used against the juvenile.

To fight for the defense, the juvenile, family, and defense attorney would work together to plan and establish a case for the juvenile. Here, the defense attorney can talk to teachers, employers, and other adults in the juvenile’s life; get attendance records, get grade reports, etc., to prove a basis for alternatives to a detention center. These alternatives, called diversion programs, will be an option for the State Attorney to consider with the evidence provided.

A stalker does not just have to be a creep hiding in the bushes or following 3 cars behind you everywhere you go. A stalker does not have to wear all black clothing and have a bag full of spy gear. Often people can be accused of stalking for sending unwanted gifts or trying to contact an ex who does not want to be contacted. A situation can quickly be blown out of proportion if the other person doesn’t like your actions and you can find yourself facing a stalking or voyeurism charge.

Stalking

As stated in Florida Statute 784.048, stalking means “A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses (acts causing a person severe emotional distress), or cyberstalks another person.” Here, stalking will require a course of conduct, meaning a person will commit a series of acts, such as follow you to work every day, make never ending phone calls, or send you items, and perform these acts with a purpose. Stalking is a 1st degree misdemeanor, and if convicted, you can be sentenced up to 1 year in jail or probation and $1,000 fine. A stalking charge is increased to a 3rd degree felony if:

If you have ever been arrested for a crime and taken before a judge, you know that you are attending an arraignment hearing. An arraignment hearing is where you (and your attorney if you have retained one) enter a plea. We have all seen in the movies where the defendant stands up before the Court and pleads ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ for the crime committed. In real life, everyone needs to plea not guilty at this time because if you pled guilty, a judge would sentence you immediately and you may not know what the judge’s sentence will be. At a later time, after the evidence is reviewed, you may choose to change your plea to nolo contendere (no contest) or guilty. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss what happens when you plead guilty or nolo contendere. Additionally, we will explain how a nolle prosequi could affect your status.

1) Pleading Guilty

This option is fairly obvious. When pleading guilty to the crime you are being charged, you are admitting that you committed the crime. Often times, a guilty plea comes about when the prosecution offers a plea deal for a better sentence if you plead guilty to the charges. Remember from the above paragraph you do not plead guilty at arraignment and you should have the evidence reviewed prior to changing your plea to guilty.

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I would like thank my attorney Thomas Luka. I knew from the beginning I had the right guy in my corner. While celebrating with family and friends at a Public Park in Seminole County, a fight broke out among various people. Myself, and a good friend, broke up the fight and the instigators left. Six months later, I was wrongly accused as the person who started the fight. The first attorney I hired could not even get a response from the State Attorney handling the case. Someone referred me to Tom and I felt comfortable at his demeanor and reactions.

After conversations with Tom, who knew I would settle for nothing less than a FULL DISMISSAL due to my innocence, I hired him. His firm of Adams and Luka did the due diligence by interviewing witnesses and the police who were on the scene, as well as starting a dialogue with the State Attorney. After gathering statements from witnesses, Tom was able to present a strong argument on my behalf to the State Attorney on why the case should be dismissed. If the State Attorney was not willing to dismiss the case, Tom was ready to take the case to trial.

The result by Thomas Luka: Case Dismissed.

I am 53 years old with a spotless record and glad to keep it that way thanks to the time, effort, hard work, and professionalism of the Adams and Luka and Tom Luka.

Earl from Mesquite
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Thomas Luka left a life-long great impression of lawyers. He was always professional, on time, and answered things honestly. From the start and during the 14 months it went on - Tom was very upfront and honest with me about the possible outcomes. The result was better than I had hoped for. Tom really over-delivered. HIGHLY RECCOMEND. Marcela Giorgi
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Adams and Luka were very professional and savvy in the courtroom. When you're in court with Mr. Luka you will think you have the best attorney there. I recommend this law firm. Pioneer Tech
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Rich Adams is an outstanding criminal attorney. I have had the opportunity to refer several friends and clients to his practice for handling of criminal matters, and on every occasion he has produced an excellent result. Rich practices with attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of the law, and a passion to defend his clients. I will continue to refer clients to Rich Adams, and would strongly recommend him for your legal needs. Brian Pink
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