Don’t make it Any Harder For Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer!
Few people manage to get arrested twice in a single day, but that’s what Port Richey man Donald Garter managed to achieve last Sunday when he first got himself arrested for criminal mischief then later the same night was arrested again for auto burglary.
Facing a charge of criminal mischief is probably enough for most people but compounding this charge with a more serious one of auto burglary does make the defense more challenging!
It was alleged that Garter went on the rampage on Sunday night after drinking several cans of beer and an amount of the drug Oxycontin. He was arrested for the first time after being discovered with his shorts half hanging off him and crawling out of some bushes near his own home. His neighbors claimed that he had been quite a nuisance, peeing in their bushes, knocking on their door, tearing some electrical wiring out of the wall in the porch and smashing a light.
48 year old Garter was arrested and taken to the Land O’ Lakes Jail, basically it seems, to cool off, although he was formally charged with criminal mischief while at the jail. The Sheriff’s deputies obviously thought he was in a safe state to let go and released him two and a half hours after being arrested.
It seems that Garter wasn’t keen on waiting too long for a lift and didn’t seem to care who was watching. It is alleged that he tried to get into one woman’s car as she got out and when the woman protested he claimed that he had thought that it was his own car. All this apparently went on right outside the door to the jail. He had been waiting for a lift, which didn’t come soon enough so it seems that he was looking for an easy way to get home.
Denied the chance of an easy ride, it seems that Garter then stole a car right outside the jail with the theft spotted by one of the deputies. He was promptly arrested and charged with auto burglary. This time he was not released, perhaps because he couldn’t raise the bail of $100,000 set for his temporary release.
The story may seem funny to those who are not a relative or friend of the defendant or who are just reading about it, but the potential consequences for Mr. Garter are quite serious. Burglary of an auto is at the lesser end of the scale of burglary charges, but the penalties depend on the actual circumstances and it will take an experienced Florida defense attorney to make sure that Garter is not given a more severe sentence than his actions deserve. Once the State attorney reviews the charges, they can add grand theft auto, another felony charge.
Auto burglary by itself, where only the car is entered in order to be used without the owner’s permission, is classified as a felony in the third degree and may entail a maximum of five years imprisonment and up to $5,000 in fines, but the penalties could be more severe if Garter’s actions were perceived to have involved theft or violence.
Garter’s alleged misconduct in his next door neighbor’s back yard was considered “criminal mischief”. This is the legal term in Florida, although most people think of these actions as “vandalism”. The penalties imposed on a person convicted of criminal mischief depend exactly on the extent of the damage done and the charge is rather vague. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
This is another example of where a skilled Miami defense attorney can ensure that a defendant only receives the penalties they deserve and no more. A criminal mischief charge may be considered as a second or first degree misdemeanor but may tip the balance as a third degree felony if the damage is beyond a certain limit or if the defendant already has a criminal record. The minimum penalty for the lower end of the damage scale is 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.
These penalties pale into insignificance when the long term consequences of being convicted of a criminal charge are considered. The important thing to take away here is don’t go to court without the best defense attorney you can afford when charged with a crime in Florida. Here, the stakes are high for criminal law violations.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.