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Criminal Defense

Should Defendants Say No Thank You to Pleas?

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. May 8, 2014

You have no doubt heard the expression to cop a plea. Usually, people say that phrase with a certain amount of disdain, probably equating it with the also-familiar phrase to cop out. Surely, they think, people who are not guilty would never agree to say they are. I know I never would, they say.

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There are No Secrets in Due Process

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. May 1, 2014

In the 1991 film thriller Cape Fear, Robert de Niro played a vicious ex-convict out to wreak revenge on the public defender who had represented him at his trial. Why? Because he knew the man whose job was to defend him had concealed evidence that might have gotten him acquitted. Yes, his own attorney.

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Here's What You Need to Know if the Police Stop You

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. April 3, 2014

When police pull you over or question you for a crime, it’s important to know that the Constitution guarantees you certain rights. In fact, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has created a card that outlines your legal rights and gives you tips on what to do if a law enforcement officer stops or arrests you. You can print out the ACLU “Bust Card” and keep it in your wallet to refer to as needed.

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Answers to Your Florida Probation Questions

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. March 31, 2014

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you may be wondering what probation entails. Here’s a look at the most common probation questions:

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How Can a Birthday Party Lead to Criminal Charges?

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. March 27, 2014

A Florida woman recently threw a birthday party for her boss and ended up facing embezzlement charges. The woman was an office manager for a real estate company in Boca Grande and was in charge of the company’s financial books. After she organized the birthday party without approval of her bosses, they decided to analyze her bookkeeping. They discovered that she had embezzled $181,674 to pay off her personal credit cards and as extra pay for herself. She was charged with first-degree felony, grand theft and a scheme to defraud.

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Lying to Lenders = Mortgage Fraud

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. March 24, 2014

A Florida man has landed himself in quite a bit of hot water for making false statements to banks in connection with mortgage loans. Chad Lazzari of Tarpon Springs submitted falsified mortgage and home equity loan applications to three different banks. In the applications, he indicated that he was single when, in fact, he was married. He also submitted false income tax returns and other inaccurate documents to bolster his financial status. When he defaulted on the loans, the feds came a calling.

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Steps in a Federal Prosecution

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. February 20, 2014

If you are facing federal criminal charges and trying to determine your best course of action, it helps to know what you are up against. Here is a breakdown of the typical process of a federal criminal case:

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What Traffic Violations Can Result in Driver License Suspension?

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. February 3, 2014

The most feared traffic violations are ones that take your driver license away. Losing your driving privileges makes it difficult to go to work, run an errand or visit a friend.

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How Is Theft Different from Robbery or Burglary?

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. January 27, 2014

While theft, robbery and burglary all involve stealing someone else’s property, each is differently defined under the law. Robbery must involve the use of force, violence, assault or fear to get the other person to relinquish the property. Burglary involves criminal intent for entering a building or property, but other crimes other than theft also qualify as burglary. By comparison, theft is a very broad crime covering many different types of stolen property.

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What Child Pornography Charges Can You Face for Downloading Photos and Pictures?

By Fallgatter Catlin & Varon, P.A. January 20, 2014

Suppose your 15-year-old son sent nude photos of himself to his 14-year-old girlfriend through emails and texts. Now what?

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