ALL CASES ARE “BIG” CASES, TO THE WRONGFULLY ACCUSED…
When lawyers engage in “marketing” their skills, they typically refer to their exploits in “high profile” cases; cases which, for whatever reason, have captured the conscience of the community—whether that community is a neighborhood, town, city, country, or the international stage. “O.J.”, “Madoff” and “Martha Stewart” are examples.
Not all cases are high profile. Equally and arguably more importantly, are the vast majority of cases where ordinary citizens; factory workers, retailers, clerks, teachers and students, the people who members of the Florida legislature refer to as “Joe Luchbucket”, end up interacting with the criminal justice system— due to accident, misfortune or mere happenstance.
E.R. is such a person.
E.R. is twenty (20) years old. She is a student at a major university, visiting home at the start of Summer break. She is walking alongside the incomparably serene and scenic Fort Pierce inlet, revelling in the blue sky and puffy cloud perfection of a late May Florida day.
Or so she thought.
Until a law enforcement officer with way too much time on his hands approached. He asked her to reveal her age. Because she is honest and cooperative, and thought she had nothing to fear, she told him.
He then inquired as to the nature of the beverage in the cup.
Sensing the clouds looming on the horizon, E.R. then did two (2) very smart things
She said nothing.
And she looked at her watch.
Her watch, you see, was on her left wrist. The cup was in her left hand. To see her watch, E.R. had to turn her wrist. The wrist turned. The watch turned. The cup turned. The “kiss of the hops”, then kissed the dirt.
Our hero, calling on his 720-hour-police-academy-training, as well as all of his experience, his knowledge of the law, and his sense of proportions, was not to be deterred. He detained E.R. and charged her with a violation of 562.111 “Possession of Alcohol by a minor”, a 2nd degree misdemeanor in Florida’s arcane and draconian statutory scheme.
A small case? Perhaps. A small case that could send E.R. to jail for sixty (60) days, place her on probation for six (6) months, cost her nearly a thousand dollars ($1,000.00) in fines and court costs, and if convicted, result in a criminal conviction on her record that could not be removed for the remainder of her life. This was not a small case…..to E.R.
The State of Florida, in its infinite wisdom, “offered” to “allow” E.R. to plead guilty to the crime, and “agreed” to “only” impose a fine, impose court costs, and place her on probation.
Enter competent trial counsel from JJK & Associates, LLC. Utilizing the procedure afforded criminally accused per Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190 (c) (4), Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer Jay Kirschner files a detailed Motion to Dismiss the case, and sets the matter for hearing. Citing to the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion in J.B. v. State, 705 So.2d 1376 (Fla. 1998), Kirschner seeks immediate dismissal of the charge. Minutes before the scheduled hearing, the Assistant State Attorney asks the defense lawyer to “step into the hallway”. “The State”, murmurs the prosecutor, “is electing to dismiss this action”.
E.R. now plans to retain JJK/LLC to petition the court for expungement of her criminal record—-as she now is entitled to do under Florida law, because the case was dismissed.
Not all cases are “big” cases. Unless it is your case.