R. Jason de Groot, P.A.
Attorney at Law
335 Debary Avenue
Debary, FL 32713
APPEALS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE, FAMILY LAW, FORECLOSURE DEFENSE, JUVENILE LAW
If you are charged with a crime in Florida, give me a call for a free consultation, and put 30 years of criminal defense experience to work for you. Each case is different and each case demands personalized attention. Crimes are made up of elements, each of which must be proven by the state beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt. The elements of the crime are contained within the applicable statute.. When you are charged with a crime, you do not have to prove or disprove anything, the State bears the emtore burden of proof. In a case with only circumstantial evidence the State must submit evidence that contradicts any reasonable hypothesis of innocence. A reasonable doubt can arise from the evidence itself, a conflict in the evidence, or a lack of evidence. Crimes in Florida are either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors are handled by the County Courts and Felonies are handled by the Circuit Courts. Misdemeanors are classified as First or Second Degree. Felonies are classified as Capital, Life, First, Second, or Third Degree. When you hire a criminal defense attorney, the primary goal is to investigate the facts and get the case dismissed. The next goal is to take the case to trial if an acceptable plea agreement cannot be reached. The analysis of a criminal case requires a vast knowledge of the criminal laws of the state and the decisions from the Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal.
Florida was ranked number 4 among the most dangerous states in 2011. Orlando was ranked number 46 for violent crime, while the Daytona and Deltona area was ranked at 111, in 2010. Miami Beach was ranked 42, but Saint Petersburg had the highest in the State, coming in at number 31 of the most violent cities in the nation for 2010. There are currently 2.2 million prisoners in jails across the country.
There are three basic types of probate in Florida, formal administration, summary administration, and what I like to call probate without probate. Formal administration, a full blown probate, is when the estate has more than $75,000.00 in assets. It is the most time consuming and costly type of estate in Florida. Summary administration is utilized when there is less than $75,000.00 in an estate or the decedent has been gone for more than two years, and this form of probate can be quick and easy. Probate without Probate (actually known as Distribution of Personal Property without Administration) is when there is less than $5,000.00 in personal property only, in an estate. Regardless of the type of probate, it is best to hire an attorney. It is also best to have an attorney draft your will. There are a few basic ways of avoiding probate. If assets are owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, those assets are not part of a probate estate. The proceeds of a life insurance policy are not part of an estate unless the policy designates that the beneficiary of the life insurance is “my estate.”
If a mortgage foreclosure suit has been filed against you and you have been served with a complaint, it is very important to get to an attorney as soon as possible. You are not alone, and all is not lost. There were over 1 million mortgage foreclosures filed across the nation in 2010. That figure climbed to over 1.2 million in 2011. The average person is simply not going to know how to defend against a foreclosure of their home. It may be that the bank’s figures are incorrect or that they do not even have the ability to file a foreclosure on your property. You have the right to make the bank prove their case. The bank cannot force you to move until after the home is put in its name. You may have valid defenses to the foreclosure, but if you fail to assert them, they can be waived. Call today for a free consultation concerning your foreclosure case.
Divorce in Florida can either be easy, inexpensive, and swift, or long, drawn out, very expensive and emotionally draining. The best way to make sure that your divorce is easy and swift, is to agree upon the resolution of each and every issue in your case. The issues in your case depend upon whether you have children, real estate, joint assets, joint debts, how long the marriage has lasted, and the income of the parties. If you can agree upon child support, time-sharing, and visitation; what to do with the real estate; who gets which assets; and who pays which debts, and whether alimony will be paid or waived, your divorce can be uncontested. However, if you cannot agree upon the resolution of just one issue your case will be contested. When a contested case is filed mediation has become a mandatory process that the parties must go through. This means that the parties must hire, and each pay half of, a mediator, who will charge up to $400.00 per hour, in an attempt to help you resolve all of the issues. About 92% of the divorces filed settle without going to trial. Once two attorneys get a good view of the issues in a case, they can usually get their clients to agree upon the issues, as long as both attorneys are reasonable, and the clients are reasonable. If the parties have minor children, shared parental responsibility must be ordered, child support is determined utilizing the net income of the parties, the cost of medical insurance for the child , and daycare costs, if any, along with a table in a statute. Time-sharing is a standard type of arrangement depending upon where in the state you live.
One common misconception about Florida Family Law, is that child support and time-sharing are somehow linked together. They are not. Another misconception is that if one party puts an asset, lets say a car, in his or her name only, it is not a marital asset. The law is that if property comes into possession of the parties during the marriage, that property is a marital asset, regardless of whose name it is in. This does not apply to an inheritance. The way I look at is that there is a big cloud above the County Courthouse, which contains all of the assets and liabilities of all of the people who are going through a divorce. Those things remain in the cloud until either a Judge picks them out and distributes them evenly between the parties, or they decide what to do with those things themselves. Florida is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state.
The law recently changed from what was known as Shared Parental Responsibilities to what is now called a Parenting Plan. This change in the law started many years ago when what is known as Rotating Custody became an option in settling contested custody battles. The Statute which guides the Court in determining where the child or children should live was changed substantially. It is best to get along with your soon to be ex husband or wife regarding all matters concerning the children, because if you do not, the Court will look at which party is being unreasonable about matters effecting the children, and that party may well lose the battle. Children are not to be used as spies or questioned about their time with the other parent. People who do not let the other parent share time with the children, without proper cause, can be held in contempt of Court.
Family law also includes paternity, adoptions, name changes, and temporary custody by extended family. Each case is different and each case demands the attention of an attorney who can devote the time necessary to set goals and accomplish them. It takes an experienced attorney to do these things correctly.
I charge $750 for many uncontested matters in Volusia County.
There are basically two types of Juvenile Law cases in Florida. The first is known as a delinquency, and the second falls under the category of dependency. Delinquency is when a minor has allegedly committed a crime. Dependency is when the parents are accused of having abused, abandoned, or neglected their children. I seem to always be going to trial in the juvenile cases that I handle, usually because after investigating the facts the evidence falls far short of that which is required to prove dependency or delinquency. Another type of dependency case is when the State of Florida seeks a termination of parental rights. In either type of juvenile case, if the party cannot afford to hire an attorney, one can be appointed, but it is always best to hire private counsel for these types of cases.
Appeals take a lot of hands on time. Extensive research into case law is always necessary. Lately our appellate courts have had numerous appeals in foreclosure cases, from both sides. Florida has Five District Courts of Appeal which decide cases that usually come out of the Circuit Courts. Circuit Courts hear most appeals in misdemeanor cases, from our County Courts. A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the judgment, and there must be appealable issues, some error committed in the trial court. You cannot just appeal a case because the other side won and it is unfair. One of the most important things to consider when going to trial is to have a court reporter there at the trial taking down everything that is said. This is not automatic in civil cases, but it now is in criminal cases. Without a record, a transcript of the proceedings, an appeal is often fruitless. The appellate court must have a record to review to determine if there was any error committed in the trial. Briefs have to be written, first the Appellant’s Initial Brief, then the Appellee’s Answer Brief, and finally an Appellant’s Rebuttal Brief. It takes many months, sometimes years for appellate courts to make decisions.
The hiring of an attorney is an important decision which should not be based upon advertising alone. Before you decide ask about our qualifications and experience.