Laser pointing leads to Felony

Posted June 16, 2016 by garycolelaw
Categories: Uncategorized


A St. Petersburg Florida man was arrested after he pointed a laser pointer at a passing car. The car was an unmarked police car occupied by the St. Petersburg assistant chief of police who was temporarily blinded by the pointer.  Florida Statute 784.062 makes it a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison for willfully shining, pointing, or focusing the beam of a laser lighting device on someone who is driving a car, operating a vessel, or piloting an aircraft. If someone gets injured as a result of the laser pointing, the charge is upgraded to a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in prison.

If you or someone you know gets arrested for using a laser pointer, call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney Gary Cole at 954-462-4600.


The Dont’s of being a juror

Posted June 15, 2016 by garycolelaw
Categories: Uncategorized


There have been several news articles in recent months about jurors behaving badly in South Florida courtrooms:  using a dictionary to define a term; conducting an experiment on drinking; posting on Facebook.

In the courtroom, before a jury is picked for a particular case, the judge reads an instructions about the rules jurors must follow to give the parties a fair trial. Jurors

  • must decide the case only on the evidence presented in the courtroom.
  • must not communicate with anyone about the case, the people and places involved, or their jury service.
  • must not disclose their thoughts about the case or ask for advice on how to decide this case.
  • must not use electronic devices or cell phones to communicate about this case, including tweeting, texting, blogging, e-mailing, posting information on a website or chat room, or any other means at all.
  • must not do any research or look up words, names, maps, or anything else that may have anything to do with this case whether in the courthouse or at home.

After the jury is picked, the judge repeats these rules several times and adds that jurors:

  • should not discuss the case amongst themselves orform any definite opinion about the case until they have heard all the evidence, the lawyers’ arguments, and the instructions on the law given by the judge.
  • should not communicate with anyone, including fellow jurors, about this case. Communication includes e-mailing, text messaging, tweeting, blogging, or any other form of communication.
  • Cannot do any research about the case or look up any information about the case.

If a juror violates the rules, they may be held in contempt of court where they face up to six months in jail and a fine.

If you or someone you know is facing a contempt of court charge, contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Gary Cole.

1209 SE 3rd Ave. Fort Lauderdale FL 33316

(954) 462-4600 – Office

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.

Can the judge revoke my bail, bond, pretrial release?

Posted June 14, 2016 by garycolelaw
Categories: Uncategorized


The purpose of pretrial release is to ensure two things: 1) that the defendant shows up to court on later court dates; and that the defendant doesn’t violate any laws or become a danger to himself or the community. Florida Statute 903.047 details the conditions of pretrial release, which includes, being released on bond. While on bond (pretrial release), a person must:

  1. not commit a new crime
  2. have no contact with the victim if ordered by the court
  3. comply with all conditions of pretrial release

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.131 gives a judge the authority to impose “any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required, including a condition requiring that the person return to custody after specified hours.” Depending on the facts of the arrest, the judge can order someone to: refrain from using drugs and alcohol; attend drug and alcohol treatment; undergo random urine or breath tests to determine if someone is using drugs or alcohol; abide by a curfew; undergo a psychological evaluation; and, in domestic violence cases, attend at a batterer intervention program.

Florida Statute 903.0471 allows the judge to revoke your bond if there is probable cause to believe you committed a new crime while on pretrial release. To get the bond reinstated, you will have to ask the judge. If the judge reinstates your bond, you are probably facing increased monitoring and a possible increase in the bond amount. If the judge does not reinstate your bond, you will sit in jail until the first case is resolved.

If you, or someone you know, has been arrested for a new offense while out on pretrial release, contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Gary Cole. 

This website includes information about legal issues and legal developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.

Texting While Driving Leads to Felony Charge

Posted November 20, 2009 by garycolelaw
Categories: Uncategorized

Texting while driving has become the latest traffic safety issue to garner headline attention. Earlier this month, the Polk County, FL sheriff’s office charged a man with reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, a third degree felony. The charges arose from an August accident in which the man, while reportedly texting, crashed into the back of a garbage truck. The accident pinned a worker between the driver’s car and the truck resulting in the worker losing both of his legs.

Currently, 19 states, including Alaska, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Washington and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving for all drivers. Several other states are looking to address the issue in upcoming legislative sessions. In Pennsylvania, the motorist safety club AAA has endorsed similar legislation. Since federal laws cannot directly address an individual state’s driving laws, there is a national call for a federal law that would require all states to ban texting while driving or risk losing federal highway money marked for local use.

At home here in Florida governor Charlie Crist recently requested that the legislature address this issue in its 2010 session. And locally, the City of Parkland. FL became the first Broward county city to pass an ordinance banning texting while driving. If caught, the fine is $100.

A recent study (opens in a pdf file) by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute shows that the risk of an accident increases 2.8 times while the driver is dialing a cell phone. That risk increases to 23 times for a driver that is texting compared to normal driving conditions.

There is a question as to whether these laws are effective. Only time will tell as most state laws addressing this issue have been in place less than a year.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer

Florida “Stand Your Ground” Law

Posted September 13, 2009 by garycolelaw
Categories: Self Defense, Weapons

Tags: , , , , , ,

There have been several incidents reported in the news recently regarding people inside of their homes defending themselves against an intruder. In Palm Beach County, a homeowner shot and wounded a man who broke into his home. Also in Palm Beach County, a man who had broken into a home was beaten with a baseball bat by the residents of the home. Lastly, in Miami-Dade, a man was killed by the homeowner after the man jumped the fence surrounding the home. The question to be asked is in each case is was the home’s occupants justified in their actions.

In 2005, Florida passed what has become known as the “Stand Your Ground Law.” This law expanded on the Castle Doctrine, which is a long recognized legal principle that a person’s home is their “castle” and the person has no duty to retreat while in their home when faced with an intruder. The “Stand Your Ground Law” states that:

1) It is presumed, that is, taken as a fact, that anyone who forcibly enters, or attempts to forcefully enter, someone else’s home or occupied vehicle is there to cause death or great bodily harm.

2) It removes a person’s “duty to retreat”, that is, the duty to avoid the confrontation before using force, if you are attacked in any place you have a right to be. In other words, you don’t have to avoid the person attacking you and you may “stand your ground” fighting back with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to you or others.

3) A person using such force shall not be prosecuted for a crime or sued in civil court. Fla. Stat. 776.032.

The law has been tested several times in criminal court throughout Florida. What may be learned from these cases is that, as in every criminal case, each case is made of different facts and it is the specific facts of each case that will determine whether a person has a right to stand their ground. In some cases, the defendant was exonerated and found to have acted appropriately thus avoiding criminal penalties. In others, the defendant did not. The law will continue to be tested with the facts of each case scrutinized by police, prosecutors, defense lawyers and judges.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney

FHP to increase enforcement during 4th of July

Posted July 3, 2009 by garycolelaw
Categories: Traffic

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney Gary Cole learned that the Florida Highway Patrol will conduct Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) from July 3rd through July 5th. Operation C.A.R.E will focus on drives who speed, do not wear seat belts, and who may be Driving Under the Influence.

All available troopers, auxiliary troopers, and reserve troopers will be visible on the roads conducting DUI checkpoints and using DUI roving teams over the three day weekend. FHP plans to use RADAR, LASER, motorcycles, marked and unmarked patrol vehicles to track speeders and aggressive drivers. In certain areas, FHP plans to use its aircraft to spot violators from the air and then direct troopers on the ground to make the traffic stop. Operation C.A.R.E will focus FHP efforts on every interstate, the Florida turnpike and other major state roads throughout Florida.

Governor Crist signs new prescription drug tracking bill

Posted July 3, 2009 by garycolelaw
Categories: Drugs

Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a prescription drug tracking bill into law. Until this law was signed, Florida was among a number of states without a prescription monitoring program. The new law will create a database where doctors and pharmacists will be required to record prescriptions for most drugs given to patients. The law’s goal is to close what some have called a “pipeline” for drugs that leads to other states and to detect and prevent “doctor shopping”. Boyd County, Kentucky Sheriff Terry Keelin stated that the majority of people arrested by his department for drug crimes are getting their pills from Florida pain clinics. .