Orange County Law Blog

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Attempted theft at Goodwill store leads to shooting

Sometimes, even the smallest type of crime can quickly become a major incident, involving serious injury or even death. An attempted robbery of a Goodwill store in Winter Park last week quickly evolved into a confrontation with police and the shooting of an unarmed man.

The incident began when Winter Park police received a call about a shoplifting at a Goodwill store. The alleged thief left the store before police arrived, but people who were in the store when the theft occurred identified him as "Jay." The first officers to arrive saw the suspect on Orange Avenue, and they say that he ran toward Holt Avenue. One of the officers recognized the suspect from a description provided by the police, and she began to drive toward the suspect. At that point, an unknown man ran toward the suspect who, according to police, shot the man. The wounded man was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Suspect in grandmother's murder arrested in vacant house in Tampa

Tampa police recently arrested a man who was sleeping in a vacant house. After checking current warrants, police learned they had arrested the suspect in two unsolved crimes. Further checking indicated that the man may be a suspect in the murder of an Orlando grandmother.

The arrest in the vacant house was triggered by the complaint of a witness. When police arrived at the house, the man alleged to have been sleeping there tried to escape by running away, but police caught him after a short foot chase. The man was arrested on two outstanding warrants that accused him of stabbing a man in the face in an Orlando apartment and stabbing a man in Tampa on the evening before he was arrested for squatting in the vacant house. Police added charges of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and one count of resisting an officer.

Tell your kids they are not to blame for your divorce

Like most Florida parents, you probably assume that your children know you love them and that you always have their best interests in mind. Studies show, however, that when it comes to divorce, children tend to internalize their parents' situations, often believing that they are somehow to blame.

One of the best ways you can provide support to your kids as you adapt to a new lifestyle is to verbally assure them that they did nothing to cause your divorce. In fact, there are several things you can do and say to help your children cope with their current circumstances.

DUI suspect fails to evade police in short chase

Drivers who realize they may be drunk often attempt to escape when they spot a police car. Such efforts are often unsuccessful, and they can lead to more serious criminal charges. An episode in Melbourne illustrates both points.

About 8:00 p.m., police in Melbourne received calls about a reckless driver on U.S. 1 near its intersection with New Haven Avenue. When officers attempted to stop the driver, witnesses said the driver, a female, would slow down and then speed up. According to police dash cam footage, the woman drove fast and slow on U.S. 1. The vehicle slowed several times as if to stop, only to resume speeding. Police used their lights and sirens in an effort to end the chase.

Florida couple charged with selling drugs from mobile home

Drug dealers, like many businesses, are often trying to improve their methods of soliciting drug deals and delivering drugs to their customers. A couple living in Ocala, FL were recently arrested for selling drugs from a window in their mobile home - much like a fast food drive-thru.

Police were first alerted to the possible drug crimes by an increase in overdose incidents in the Ocala area. Investigators determined that the product behind the overdoses was heroin laced with fentanyl. Police next learned that the suspects in the sales had allegedly modified a window on their mobile home to serve as a method of speedily delivering drugs without allowing the buyers into their home. According to police, the couple even used an "open/closed" sign to tell customers when they were available. Police allege that they confiscated a digital scale, plastic baggies, 3.5 grams of fentanyl and $5,064 in cash.

Dealing with parental relocation after a Florida divorce

One of the most painful post-divorce experiences is the relocation of one of the divorced spouses and dealing with issues of child custody and visitation. Florida has adopted a statute that attempts to specify the factors that must be considered and how the courts will resolve any disputes. As with most questions dealing with the custody of minor children, the principal factor is the best interests of the child. Nevertheless, every child's situation is unique and no single rule will fit every situation.

A relocation means a change in the principal residence of a parent or other person with whom the child lives. The change of location means a move of at least 50 miles and lasting 60 consecutive days. If the parents and every other person entitled to access to the child can agree among themselves to the relocation and any modification in the visitation and custody schedule, they can satisfy the statute by filing with the court a written agreement signed by all parties. The agreement must define an access or time-sharing schedule and specify any transportation arrangements related to the new access schedule.

Construction worker charged with molesting 11-year-old girl

Sex offenders often use their occupation as a way of contacting vulnerable children. Church workers, school employees and others who work with children in situations where the adult occupies a position of power vis-à-vis the child. In a recent case from Polk County, the theme received a significant variation. According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, a 38-year-old construction worker has been charged with various sex crimes involving an 11-year-old girl.

According to police, the defendant met the girl while he was remodeling a house. The girl was on the site for reasons that have not been explained. The defendant allegedly "made out" with the girl and had sexually explicit conversations with her. He sent her adult pornography and encouraged her to send him nude pictures of herself. The girl's guardians allegedly became suspicious after they found more than 450 pornographic pictures of the girl on her cell phone which she had sent to the defendant. The suspect was arrested and charged with directing the sexual performance of a child, transmission of material harmful to a minor and use of two-way communication device to commit felony.

Circumstances that may warrant changes in child support

Children deserve to receive emotional and financial support from their parents. When parents live together, they often pool their resources to provide their children with the best care that they can as a united couple. However, when parents separate or divorce it can be more difficult for them to provide for their kids as they live in separate households.

In Florida, noncustodial parents can be asked to pay child support for the benefit of their kids. Child support is established based on the state's guidelines and may depend on a child's needs, a parent's income and other important case-specific factors. Over time, however, children may require more support as their needs augment and parents may lose their capacities to pay support as their incomes dwindle.

Requirements for an uncontested Florida divorce

The term that Florida law uses to describe the divorce of two individuals is "dissolution of marriage." The dissolution of a Florida marriage does not have to be based on any type of fault as the state recognizes no fault divorces. Additionally, divorces that are uncontested may be expedited and may resolve faster than divorces in which the parties cannot come to agreement on certain divorce-related matters.

In order to seek an uncontested divorce the parties to a Florida marriage must meet certain conditions. First, they must not share any minor children, whether through birth or through adoption. Children who have achieved adulthood that are shared by the parties do not inhibit the parties' chances of seeking an uncontested divorce. The wife in the marriage may not be pregnant at the time the parties file to dissolve their legal relationship.

Is the other parent getting in the way of your parental rights?

Florida parents understand the importance of taking steps during divorce to ensure they maintain a strong relationship with their kids. Most parents agree that it is in the best interests of the children to allow them to have access to both parents after divorce, but some parents still have a difficult time acknowledging this. In some cases, parents can actually try to interfere in the other parent's visitation. 

When one parent strives to undermine the role of the other parent in the life of the child, it is parenting time interference. This is more than an inconvenience; it is grounds to take legal action. If you are a victim, you do not have to walk through the aftermath alone.

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