How “Stand Your Ground” Self-Defense Law Has Affected Florida

Florida Law- Stand Your Ground

In 2005, a self-defense law called “stand your ground” was passed in the state of Florida that enabled people who felt endangered by another person to use excessive or deadly force in an effort for self-defense. Rather than being charged with a severe criminal offense, those who claim their action was within the “stand your ground” law can become immune from charges and State prosecution.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, since the “stand your ground” legislation passed in 2005, there has been a reported 32 percent increase in homicides in Florida. The published report spiked conversation about the law, encouraging citizens to learn what this law entails.

The Florida Statutes codify the semantics of the “stand your ground law,” making it clear that the self-defense law can be enacted only if “a person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony,” (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012).

Florida is the so-called birthplace of the “stand your ground” law. In the years between 2000 and 2010, over 20 states put the “stand your ground” self-defense law into effect, with some states expanding their laws to boost protections in other areas.

“Stand your ground” cases should always be handled with investigation and immense care. The attorneys at McIntyre Thanasides Bringgold Elliott Grimaldi & Guito, P.A. are thoroughly trained and trustworthy in handling disputes of this complexity.

TJ Grimaldi is a partner at McIntyre Law firm and the attorney of Ms. Nicole Oulson, the widow of Chad Oulson who was shot and killed in a Wesley Chapel movie theatre by Curtis Reeves in 2014. Reeves’ defense case is based on Stand your ground, and has a hearing set for February 2017, more than three years after the incident.

Our lawyers are well versed in knowledge of assistance for any personal injury or criminal case, including one that may involve “stand your ground.”

If you’ve been involved in any situation where deadly or attempted deadly action was applied in self-defense and need legal consultation, call our lawyers at the McIntyre Law Firm today: (844)511-4800.

Uninsured And Undersinsured Drivers In Florida

Despite all the laws and regulations in place, a substantial number of Florida’s financially challenged drivers do not have liability insurance. Liability insurance is the coverage that extends to third parties injured by the uninsured driver. Current statistics reflect that approximately 23% of Florida’s drivers do not have the required coverage which is mandated to protect you and your family if they are at fault in a motor vehicle accident.
There are some very prudent things you can do to protect yourself, more than just wearing your seat belt and watching out for the other driver. Call your insurance agent and make sure you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage. In its simplest form, you are buying an inexpensive third party liability insurance coverage for the uninsured driver who may hit your car next week. The personal injury lawyer based in New York can help with any kind of accident or injury case.

Another scenario is being struck by an at fault driver who does not have enough liability insurance to cover the personal injuries sustained by you or your family member. This type of driver in ‘under-insured’
What if I had an accident with an uninsured driver and didn’t have this coverage? Florida law is very specific what it takes to ‘reject’ this specific coverage. The law requires a knowing, written rejection. If you have had an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, your Uninsured Motorist Coverage would kick in and give you the opportunity to make a good formal claim and settlement with your own insurer.

UM coverage is often times your only meaningful remedy to recover damages for your injuries as these uninsured or underinsured drivers rarely have any significant financial resources or assets to pursue for serious personal injuries or death. UM coverage will pay for your damages including lost wages, medical bills for care and treatment and when the situation requires, for a wrongful death, as if the uninsured driver actually had the required insurance coverage.

UM Claims, as they are called require a level of competence, tenacity and in some cases, creativity in establishing Uninsured Motorist coverage. Perhaps the agent made a mistake and did not comply with Florida law in not obtaining your proper rejection of this coverage. This UM coverage may be your only remedy to be made whole and collect damages.

Alcohol and Liability

According to the people at, colleges are in session and young adults are gaining access to alcohol despite the 21 year old drinking age, this is nothing new. We are coming to the end of the high school year and we know our young adults and teens are experimenting with adult beverages. For many it is a rite of passage, for some, a response to peer pressure. Regardless of the cause, we know it is not a good thing at a tender age. Drunk and impaired driving is a scourge on American society. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) analyzed and found a morsel of good news: “deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers dropped 4.9% in 2010, taking 10,228 lives compared to 10,759 in 2009′.

Alcohol related crashes injure countless others and create an incredible financial burden on our healthcare system and limited governmental resources. Alcohol addiction can only be treated by addiction treatment help  by experts at rehab centers. We needn’t go into details and statistics to validate this proposition. We all know or heard of someone from our neighborhood or place of business whose life has been impacted by injury or death from an alcohol related event. The question is better framed as ‘what is our Legislature doing’ to curb this very real and prevalent danger. The answer is actually, very little. For the older segments of our population, the term Dram or Dram shop relates to a barroom or a saloon. Our governmental regulation of bars and other alcohol establishments is often referred to as the Dram Shop Act.

The legislature created Florida Statute 768.125. This Statute regulates and limits the liability of the bar for serving alcohol to a patron who in turn causes injury or death to themselves and or a third party. The cruel irony is that the Statute, rather than try to regulate the subject, in reality it serves to protect the bar from civil liability to victims with two significant exceptions.The place where lawyers were needed and people can hire experts to provide legal aid is easier to access now.

If the facility sold alcohol to a minor who in turn causes injury or death to himself or third parties, the bar owner can be found civilly liable and pay damages to the under-age patron and or his victims. The Statute does not limit the claims for relief to automobile circumstances only.

The second exception is where a jury can be shown that the bar ‘ knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages …’ The burden of proof is very difficult. It is time for the legislature to put some teeth in this Statute so that it can deal with several outstanding issues involving social hosts who serve guests adult beverages. As a community, we need to take more aggressive steps to control and manage this problem.

If you know someone who is the victim of a drunk or impaired driver, they should seek competent, experienced legal counsel who have significant experience with the civil damages side of drunk driving. We must be able to regulate the source of this alcohol and make the sellers accountable if we expect to rid our community of the dangers of impaired driving and underage drinking.

Legal Process for Florida Accident Victims

After a car accident injury, the legal process to achieving compensation may seem equally and unnecessarily painful. There are few things that are to be carefully noted and try not to do this after a car accident. Although the legal experts among North Miami Beach car accident lawyers assure an easy process, it is not the same everywhere. Personal injury attorney, TJ Grimaldi, breaks down the detailed process that happens inside the law firm during his representation of injured parties.

Attorney TJ Grimaldi says that the first thing an injured parties should do is to retain legal representation by knowing and read more about Massachusetts car laws. An attorney will be able to guide you through the entire process, including when and where to seek treatment. Next, the injured party must seek treatment within 14 days of the accident. Once the injured party has sought treatment and retained an attorney, the seemingly long process begins. However, having attorney representation relieves the injured party from dealing directly with the insurance company during the process. Here is the injury attorney from Gideon Asen LLC that you can get help from in case of accidents and injuries.

First, the attorney sends out a letter of representation stating that he or she represents the injured party. All further communication must go through his or her office and will prevent the insurance company from calling or harassing the injured party. Next, the attorney works with his or her client to collect the paperwork, records, and invoices for the treatment. The medical costs along with an assessment of other damages, such as emotional damage resulting from the accident, are added together. The attorney sends out a demand letter to the insurance company asking for compensation for this amount. It usually takes between 20 to 40 days for the insurance company to respond.

The insurance company assesses the alleged injuries and the treatments for them. They look to see if the treatments were necessary and the injuries were consistent with the severity of the accident. The insurance company then responds to the demand letter, usually with a lower number. The next step for the attorney is to negotiate a higher settlement. Injured parties should always keep their attorneys up to date with any further treatments, which have taken place after the original demand letter was sent. The attorney could reach a settlement during this time, and once a settlement is agreed upon that is the maximum amount of compensation the injured party can receive.

If the attorney is not able to negotiate a high enough settlement, then he or she will discuss with the client the option to file suit. Filing a suit essentially begins the process again. The insurance company will turn the case over to an attorney. The facts are exchanged again. The costs of the injuries are reevaluated.

A disagreement over what information to exchange often results, and mediation is often attempted before an injured party even steps into a courtroom. The process can be lengthy and frustrating, and if a suit is filed it can take literally years to reach a resolution. However, having an experienced attorney guiding you can help you decide the best course of action in order to receive your compensation as quickly and fairly as possible.

Foreclosure Overview

In Florida, the process of a foreclosure is controlled by the Florida Statutes. Foreclosure is a legal process a mortgage holder uses to obtain both legal title and possession of the property. When the lender (Mortgagee) loans money to the borrower (Mortgagor) there are many documents which are executed. The two main documents are the Promissory Note and the Mortgage. The Promissory Note contains a promise to pay at a certain rate and under specified terms. The mortgage instrument is a document which allows the lender to seek foreclosure if certain defaults occur. In Florida, this process is done through the Courts.

Different mortgage companies handle delinquencies differently but once you default on your mortgage the lender will retain a law firm and file a foreclosure action. A Complaint is filed with the Court which spells out all the preliminary information and the nature of your default. That Complaint will be served on you by a process server. Once you receive the Complaint and Summons you will have twenty days in which to file your legal response. If you do not file any response, a default will be entered by the Clerk. This Default is a certification from the Clerk to the Judge that you have not filed a response and in essence, you admit the default which is contained in the Complaint.

Despite the Foreclosure Complaint, you have many opportunities to save your home. Among the choices are restructuring or ‘Loan Modification’, a negotiated reinstatement or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Loan Modifications are possible under a wide variety of circumstances. Some of these include the lender reducing the amount of the principal balance owed and thus a reduction in the payments. A Negotiated reinstatement is a process where you make an arrangement to pay the delinquency and attendant court costs and continue on with your mortgage payments as if no default had occurred. Chapter 13 is a bankruptcy process where you can do one of several things to save the home from foreclosure. A loan Modification can be negotiated as part of your Chapter 13, this may include a reduction of the principal balance and a corresponding reduction in payments.

All of your options are complex and critical and given the complexity and importance of saving your home, you would be well advised to seek and obtain legal counsel for any of these foreclosure alternatives. Just because you are delinquent and you have received ‘legal papers’ seeking to foreclose on your home, it is not too late to save your home. The most important part of this process is not to sit on your rights and remedies. If your mortgage is in arrears, you would be well advised to seek experienced legal counsel and explore what solution is best for your situation.

Mortgage Foreclosure Deficiencies

When you buy a home with mortgage funds, you sign two primary documents, the Promissory Note and the Mortgage Instrument. The Note is the promise to pay the financed amount under certain terms. The Mortgage is a document that allows the lender, under certain events of default (non-payment, waste, non-payment of property taxes, etc) to seek foreclosure to recover both possession and legal title to the property. When the lender actually does complete a foreclosure, the property is sold on the courthouse steps by the Clerk of the Court to the highest bidder. More often than not, the buyer is the mortgage lender. Often times the sales price is far less than the balance owed. The Lender is permitted by Contract (The Mortgage) and by Statute to ask the Court for a Deficiency Judgment against the borrowers for the amount between the fair market value at the time of the sale and the balance owed. The fair market value is the value which a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction.

The lender currently has a five year statute of limitations to ask the Court for a Deficiency. This five year period may be reduced in the future as part of a Bill pending in Florida but it is currently five years. The deficiency is dischargeable in a bankruptcy and can often be negotiated away as part of a negotiated foreclosure result.

Some consumers chose to fight the application for the deficiency on the basis of disputing the lender’s valuation of the property at the time of the sale. That type of litigation is expensive and largely unnecessary with the variety of ways to resolve a mortgage default and foreclosure. Disputes over determining the value of property are complicated because real estate valuation is hardly a science but falls in the realm of experts and expert opinions.

If you have a mortgage delinquency or a pending foreclosure you need to consult with experienced counsel who can explore and help you navigate through the many remedies available to avoid an adverse result in a foreclosure where the lender seeks a deficiency. As complicated as it sounds, all of these types of problems are manageable with good advice and legal counsel so you understand your rights and remedies as they develop and make the best, most prudent decisions possible.

Florida Appeals Court confirms that borrower’s note can’t be reduced by amounts paid to banks under Loss Shared Agreement with FDIC

Recently, on April 17, 2013, the Second District Court of Appeal addressed a crucial issue that is becoming increasingly relevant in today’s foreclosure cases concerning whether the outstanding amount due from the borrower under a Note can be reduced by amounts paid to the mortgage holder from the FDIC under the Loss Shared Agreement. In the case of Branch Banking & Trust Company v. Kraz LLC, et al, BB&T had acquired loans from Colonial Bank, which had been closed by the FDIC. Under the Loss Shared Agreement between the FDIC and BB&T, BB&T was required to reimburse to the FDIC for loans for any funds it recovers on loans that were previously charged off and for which FDIC paid portions of that loss to BB&T. People can check kyc for banking  and other updates. Immediately after acquiring the Colonial Bank loans, BB&T instituted a foreclosure action against Borrower, Kraz. At the trial in the underlying foreclosure case, the trial court held that the borrower was not in default at the time that BB&T declared default. More importantly, the trial court ordered that the loan be reinstated and that the Borrower receive a credit for all monies paid to BB&T from the FDIC on that particular loan, and reasoned that such mechanism would ensure that the lender is not allowed to “double-dip” in recovering from both the borrower and the FDIC.

In affirming in part, and reversing in part the trial court’s decision, the Court of Appeal ruled that trial court’s rationale for providing the borrower a credit to prevent the lender from potentially “double-dipping” was erroneous. The Second DCA reasoned that the Loss Shared Agreement already provides its own terms to prevent double-dipping by its requirement that the lender reimburses to the FDIC any funds that it recovers on a previously-charged off loan for which the FDIC had already paid portions of that loss to the lender. Accordingly, the case was ultimately remanded back to the trial court for the limited instructions of correcting the principal balance due from the borrower and removing any credit given to the borrower for funds received by the lender from the FDIC.

This BB&T v. Kraz decision is expected to greatly affect the defensive strategies in defending foreclosure cases involving loans acquired from the FDIC. It is will also be of great interest to monitor how this decision will affect mediations and workouts in foreclosure cases involving Loss Shared Agreements.

Florida DUI, The Consequences

Florida has been increasing DUI patrols and enforcement efforts, trying to make our roads and highways safer. This increased DUI enforcement makes a DUI charge even more serious and costly. Just because you get pulled over and charged with DUI does not mean you are actually guilty of DUI. If you are charged with the crime of DUI, an attorney is essential to successfully navigating your way through the complicated charges.

No matter the circumstances of a DUI charge, you should never seek to represent yourself. The ramifications are serious and will be part of your personal and business credentials in many respects for many years. A skilled and seasoned DUI defense lawyer is essential to addressing and minimizing the many issues which flow from a DUI charge and conviction.

From a criminal law perspective, on your first offense, if convicted you will be assessed a significant fine, up to six months in jail and possibly a six month motor vehicle license suspension. As part of a sentence, there may be required alcohol treatment classes, community service hours and a period of probation. The fines and sanctions on a second offense increase dramatically and at the second offense, the DUI charge is considered a felony with a mandatory prison sentence.

From a financial standpoint, you will have to retain proper and experienced legal counsel. Most lawyers will work with clients in setting and paying the retainer. If you are employed and your present employer finds out about your conviction, you may be relieved of your position in favor of a lesser paying one or you may be released from employment. If you are currently seeking a job, you may not be considered for the position when the DUI is found on a routine background check. If you are in the middle of a military or law enforcement career, you may no longer be able to proceed. If security clearance is part of your position, you may face a reduction in your clearance status. A large challenge for DUI offenders is getting and paying for automobile insurance after a DUI conviction.
For each of these issues, good, solid legal representation will help you find your way through the legal labyrinth of a DUI charge. Your lawyer will make certain that your due process rights are protected and make sure that only competent legal evidence will be submitted to the Judge or Jury so you are not wrongfully convicted of a crime you were not guilty of. Innocent or guilty, a lawyer is an indispensable necessity when facing a DUI charge.