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What defenses can I use for criminal trial?

In order for a person to be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must prove, in trial, beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

At trial, a defendant is given the chance to present a defense that supports whether or not they committed the crime, and if they did commit a crime, a legal reason for why they should not be convicted.

At the beginning of a criminal case a defendant enters a plea at arraignment.  An arraignment is when the defendant is formally charged with a crime and the defendant will enter a formal response in the form of a plea. A defendant has three choices guilty (which means I did it), Not Guilty (which means I didn’t do it) or nolo contendere aka no contest (which means I am not saying I did it nor am I saying I didn’t do it. I just feel it is in my best interest to take a plea at this time).

Once the plea is entered, the lawyer does an investigation of the state’s case against their client.  Depending on the kind of case it is this process can take 90 days or 2 years.  During this time defenses are formulated for trial.  While each case is unique the following are the most common defenses presented at trial.

Self defense

Self defense is a common defense used by people who are charged with a violent crime, like assault and battery. The defendant using this defense usually admits to committing an act, such as hitting someone, but argues that they did so to protect themselves from harm. Thus making the defendant’s actions unintentional and not premeditated. They were a response to a threat against their own safety.

The insanity defense

This defense is used in situations where the defendant suffers from a mental disorder that prevents from understanding right from wrong. If a jury agrees with the insanity defense the defendant is usually not released because they would sent to the state hospital for a long period of time.

The alibi defense

This defense is used when there is proof that the defendant was not present at the time of the alleged offense. This defense requires an eyewitness or evidence that corroborates the defendant’s story that he was not present.  This is an incredibility powerful defense and must be disclosed to the State 10 days prior to trial in Florida.

The entrapment defense

Entrapment happens when a person is induced or persuaded, by either law enforcement or its agents, to commit an illegal act that they had no prior intention of committing. But if the person is ready and willing to commit a crime then it is not entrapment. This defense is one I’ve never seen be successful. It only usually works if the defendant has little or no previous criminal history.

Statute of limitations defense

Most crimes must be charged within a certain period of time from when the crime occurred, this is called the statute of limitations. The length of time varies from state to state and crime to crime. More violent crimes, like murder, often do not have a statute of limitations. But for misdemeanors, the time frame can be as little as a few months to a year for the state to charge you. If the statute of limitations passes without a charge, a would-be defendant is free.

If you’re charged with a crime in Broward, Miami-Dade or Palm Beach County give me a call. I might be able to help you through the process. Call now to schedule an appointment.

954-982-2124

Houson R. Lafrance

Lyft’s Insurance Policy and Lawsuits

Lyft also has an insurance coverage of up to $1 million for Lyft driver car accidents. Like Uber, your Lyft ride is covered from the time that you request your ride until you are dropped off. During this time, Lyft’s insurance policy covers the following:

Contingent Liability – This is applicable only when you are waiting for your ride. Lyft’s contingent liability can cover up to $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident. and up to $25,000 for property damage. This policy is applicable when the driver’s “driver mode” is on.

Primary Automobile Liability – This is covered up to $1 million.

Contingent Comprehensive and Collision – This policy provides coverage to damages to your car in an accident or non-collision events such as a fire, inclement weather, etc. There is a $2,500 deductible, and you are eligible for this policy as long as you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your personal policy. In addition, this coverage will match either how much your car is worth or the cost of reparation.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – If your Lyft driver is in an accident because of an uninsured or underinsured motorist, then Lyft’s $1 million policy will come into play.

Have you or a love one been injured in a car accident? Give us a call now! 954-982-2124. Or schedule an appointment right away!

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Uber’s Insurance Policy and Lawsuits

If you were injured while riding in an Uber due to your Uber driver’s  negligence, you can file a lawsuit and could be eligible for compensation. Uber has liability coverage of $1 million that will cover their drivers if they are on their way to pick up a passenger or in the middle of the passenger’s Uber ride. However, Uber may not responsible for their drivers outside of these limits because they are considered independent contractors. You may have to file a claim with the driver’s personal insurance to receive additional compensation as well.

Uber’s insurance policy consists of the following:

Third Party Liability Coverage – This liability coverage covers up to $1 million in property damage, pedestrian injury, and any other third party damages or injuries caused.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage – This policy covers up to $1 million in bodily injuries because of an accident due to an uninsured or underinsured driver’s negligence. This also applies to hit and run cases.

Contingent collision and comprehensive coverage – This coverage will cover your vehicle if you have collision coverage. This type of coverage covers up to how much your car is worth.

Have you or a love one been injured in a car accident? Give us a call now! 954-982-2124. Or schedule an appointment right away!

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Been Hurt in a Uber or Lyft Accident?

It’s a Friday night and you’re headed to the local bars for a night of drinking and hanging out with friends. You know you’re going to be drinking so you and your friends decided that you’re going to Uber (or Lyft) to and back from the bars that night. You request your ride and it arrives. You jump in all excited because this night is going to be a much needed stress reliever after a long week.

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As you’re on your way to the bar, your driver slams into another car. Your neck hurts, your back hurts, and may have suffered a serious injury. The good news for you is that Uber and Lyft are both insured to take care of you in those instances involving car accidents.

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Uber and Lyft are both major companies now worth billions of dollars; as such, they make sure that their drivers are covered for $1 million dollars in both liability and in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  In contrast, many Florida motorists carry only $10,000 in injury liability or don’t have coverage at all.

The level of insurance covering  Uber and Lyft means that those injured in an accident where they are not at fault may be able to obtain more complete compensation for the medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering following an accident.

It’s important to have the representation of a talented and experienced Lyft or Uber accident lawyer who is able to obtain the best results possible. Cox, Golondrino & Lafrance PA wants you to know that you may be entitled to significant compensation if you are in one of the following categories:

  • A motorist or passenger injured in a collision where a ridesharing driver was at fault.
  • A ridesharing driver injured in an incident where another motorist was at fault.
  • An injured passenger in a ridesharing vehicle, regardless of which driver is at fault

Cox, Golondrino & Lafrance PA has experience handling huge policy limits and have successfully negotiated settlements for countless of happy clients.

Have you or a love one been injured in a car accident? Give us a call now! 954-982-2124. Or schedule an appointment right away!

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10 Things you Definitely Must Do after an Accident

Imagine taking, I-95 to go home from work during rush hour. Everybody is in a hurry, there are trucks all over the highway, people changing lanes without signaling, people driving while on their phones… someone gets distracted and it happens, that dreaded crash. When it happens you’re in a brief state of confusion. What happened? Where am I? Then you begin to realize you’ve been in a car accident and the frustration sets in and although you were not at fault, you feel like you could have avoided it. Either we’ve been in that situation or someone we know has and it sucks. The good news is that these situations can be managed to produce a positive outcome.

You got into an accident?

  1. CALL THE POLICE

The first thing you should do after an accident is call the police. Even if it just a minute scratch or your car appears to be intact, YOU might not be. You probably don’t feel pain any pain right after the crash but you might feel it the day after. And if you want to be able to claim compensation and benefits from insurance companies, you must notify the police of the crash. Take pictures of the scene, take pictures of your car, take pictures of any injuries because you need those receipts.

  1. GET THE CONTACT INFORMATION

In these tense and frustrating situation its best to keep your cool. There is no need for a situation like a car accident to spill over into something else. So keep cool and politely (as best you can) exchange driver information and insurance with the other driver. Also be sure to ask witnesses for their name and information.

  1. CALL A LAWYER

Call your lawyer if you have one and if you don’t… GET ONE. It is important to know what your rights are and what the appropriate course of action is. Also, after you call your lawyer, call your primary care physician. Your lawyer, that you smartly contacted after your accident, will work hand in hand with your medical care provider to fill out all the required forms correctly and stop the insurance company from denying your claim.

  1. LET YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY KNOW

Let your insurance company know about your accident right away; the same day if possible. While yes, you have a 7-day time frame to let your insurance company know, you need to cover all the bases if you want to become eligible for any benefits and compensations.

  1. CHECK YOUR INSURANCE POLICY

It’s important to know what your policy covers and does not cover.

  1. GO TO YOUR DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENTS AND REHABILITATION TREATMENTS.

If after your consult with your doctor it is recommended that you attend chiropractic or rehabilitative treatment, you must do it. These treatments are key for you to go back to your regular activities and be without pain. These also help to show the extent of your injuries and to obtain the compensation you deserve.

  1. KEEP COPIES OF YOUR RECORDS

It is important that you keep a copy of every document related to your accident. Be it the police report, that you definitely should request a copy after the report is made, your insurance claim, all correspondence with the insurance company as well as all your medical records, prescriptions and all documents that are connected to your accident. Remember, keep those receipts, back everything up. Talk the talk and walk the walk.

  1. KEEP TAB OF YOUR HEALTH

What is that you could physically do before the accident but can’t do anymore? Are you still able to care for yourself, go to work, drive, take care of your responsibilities? Or have all these activities been put on hold because you can’t longer do them after the crash? These are all important points that you should keep in mind and that you need to keep track of because it can be extremely relevant when it’s time to settle or recover for your claim.

  1. DON’T WASTE TIME, ACT.

Listen, it’s hard. You were just involved in an accident, your car may be a disaster, you are probably in a lot of pain. But remember the silver lining I mentioned earlier? Well, you can only get it if you act fast. All the paper work comes with deadlines and it is extremely important for these deadlines to be honored. Make sure you inform your insurance company right away and that you submit a claim against the driver who was at fault for the accident within reasonable time. The longer you wait, the harder it will get to recover benefits and get compensated. ACT. FAST.

  1. STAY AWAY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA!

I get it, we live in a super connected world and we feel like we must share all the good and bad that happens to us on social media. But please, don’t share anything about your accident. Do not post pictures or make any statements about your accident on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any platform. Because if you do, your words, more likely than not, are going to get twisted. Insurance companies can access your social media sites and depending on what you wrote about the accident or the pictures that you posted, they might make it difficult or be unwilling to settle your case in a timely manner or give you the amount of money that you truly deserve.

Cox, Golodrino & Lafrance PA

If you or someone you know have been injured in a car accident please give us a call at 954-982-2124. Some is waiting to take your call NOW!