Verifiable Case Result

Post-conviction Relief

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

Post Conviction Motions in Florida State Courts

3.850 Motions

Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 provides for an opportunity to ask for relief after a criminal conviction when certain circumstances exist.

The relief sought is generally a setting aside or vacating a conviction, most often due to a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, meaning that your previous lawyer did not act reasonably during the course of your initial representation. These motions have time restraints attached to them. In a capital case, the claim of ineffective assistance of counsel has a 1 year time limit. In a non-capital case, it’s a 2 year time limit. The time begins to run when the judgment and sentence becomes final.

There are three other ways in which a criminal defendant can make a viable claim for post-conviction relief that is not time barred. They are (1) when a defendant can establish newly discovered that was not known to the defendant or the defendant’s lawyer previously and could not have been known by the exercise of due diligence; (2) when a fundamental constitutional right asserted was not established during the 2-year time limit and has been found by the courts to apply retroactively; or (3) when the defendant hired an attorney to within the time limits and the attorney failed to act in time.

Post Conviction Motions in Federal Courts

§ 2254 and §2255 Motions to Vacate, Set Aside, or Modify a Conviction

The motion to vacate, set aside or correct a sentence provided by 28 U.S.C. §2255 is available to people convicted in federal courts who are in custody. The corresponding federal post conviction tool for state prisoners is the habeas petition governed by 28 U.S.C. §2254.

The §2255 motion is how most federal prisoners go after they have exhausted their appeals. It can be a powerful tool to right an injustice that was not or could not have been raised on direct appeal. The courts have a lot of discretion in deciding what the appropriate relief is in these situations, including possible dismissal of all charges and release of the prisoner, a retrial, or a resentencing.

On rare occasion, a federal prisoner may have a viable writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2241.
If you or a loved one is interested in hiring a criminal lawyer with the intuitive skill to handle post conviction relief, feel free to call the Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 and talk with us about it.


Record Sealing

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

If you or someone you care about in Saint Lucie has ever been arrested it may have come to light that the criminal arrest record arising from the incident can cause you many headaches. This can include seeking employment, housing, or State licenses. Whether your charges were dropped or you received a withhold of adjudication and were not convicted, the criminal record may still be causing you problems.

If you qualify under the guidelines set out by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (if the arrest did not result in a conviction), sealing your criminal arrest record is a great way to open up doors that may have previously been shut. It’s also a great way to put an unfortunate incident behind you and generally improve your life. If the Judge currently assigned to your case in the county where the incident originated can be persuaded to grant a petition to seal your criminal record, that criminal charge will no longer be available to the general public.

Also, if you successfully seal your Florida Criminal Record under Florida Statute §943.059(4)(a) you may lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrest covered by the sealed record, except when the subject of the record:

  1. Is a candidate for employment with a criminal justice agency;
  2. Is a defendant in a criminal prosecution;
  3. Is seeking the sealing of his or her record concurrently or subsequently to the current request;
  4. Is a candidate for admission to The Florida Bar;
  5. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by or to contract with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, or the Department of Juvenile Justice or to be employed or used by such contractor or licensee in a sensitive position having direct contact with children, the developmentally disabled, the aged, or the elderly;
  6. Is seeking to be employed or licensed by the Department of Education, any district school board, any university laboratory school, any charter school, any private or parochial school, or any local governmental entity that licenses child care facilities;
  7. Is attempting to purchase a firearm from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer and is subject to a criminal history background check under state or federal law; or
  8. Is seeking authorization from a Florida seaport for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports, pursuant to Florida Statute §311.

Brian H. Mallonee is a board certified criminal trial specialist. He regularly helps good folks seal a criminal felony, juvenile or misdemeanor arrest record if they were originally arrested in St. Lucie (Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie), Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), or Martin (Stuart, Jensen Beach, Palm City) County, Florida. To determine if you qualify, and to talk to a criminal attorney about sealing your record, don’t hesitate to call us for a free evaluation at (772) 464-1991.


Theft Offenses

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

Law enforcement officers in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Okeechobee, and Stuart are commonly charging individuals with property crimes. The phrase “property crimes” includes a myriad of potential accusations that the government can make. Often prosecutors will argue that committing a property or theft crime says something about a person’s character and that the punishment should be severe. Depending on the specifics of the case, a property crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Often a conviction of a property or theft crime can affect handgun ownership, lead to loss of employment, cause difficulty in obtaining future employment or even interfere with certain housing situations.

Because the crimes in question are so varied, the classification of the crime and possible sentences are also widely varied. The value of the property in question is of no concern after a conviction is on a person’s criminal record. If you are charged with a felony theft crime and are convicted, then that crime stays on your permanent criminal record regardless of the original circumstances of the crime. This is why it is so important to contact an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible when charged with, or arrested for, a crime of this type.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of property crimes that the police and prosecutors will often allege:

  • Burglary of a Structure
  • Burglary of a Conveyance
  • Burglary of a Dwelling
  • Burglary of a Dwelling while Armed
  • Grand Theft
  • Dealing in Stolen Property
  • Public Assistance Fraud
  • Petit Theft
  • Retail Theft
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Organized Fraud/ RICO
  • Counterfeiting
  • Uttering a Forged Instrument

Employers are less likely to hire people with a criminal conviction involving dishonesty. Many employers may find other reasons to hire another job applicant when they see a theft conviction on a candidate’s record.

In the case of self-employed contractors, a conviction can also lead to difficulty with obtaining contracts or performing work. A state license may be more difficult to obtain if someone has a property crime conviction on their record, especially when these crimes are associated with drug charges or gun crimes. And of course an overzealous prosecutor may be seeking prison time for these kinds of cases.

In juvenile cases, schools may not accept young people into their educational institutions. Depending on the specifics of the case and the outcome of the trial, educational institutions may be privy to information about a student’s criminal record. This can have long lasting effects even years after the conviction when the juvenile becomes a young adult entering college.

Hiring a criminal lawyer who takes a creative, aggressive approach to every case could help you or someone you care about avoid the pitfalls of a theft or property crime conviction. Brian Mallonee is a board certified criminal trial attorney representing people accused of any criminal offense in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida. His office is located in downtown Fort Pierce near the St. Lucie County courthouse and the Federal courthouse. If you want to speak with a criminal defense lawyer today,contact criminal lawyer Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 for a no cost evaluation of your case.


Computer Solicitation Of A Minor

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

Under Florida state law internet solicitation of a minor is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison for each count that is charged. Sometimes the government will charge someone with multiple counts even though the person accused of the crimes was speaking to the same law enforcement officer during a series of chat room conversations.

Florida state law has also recently changed with respect to cases where the government alleges that the accused actually traveled any distance to meet a minor. It is now a 2nd degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison in these kind of cases.

The legislature has also made it clear that law enforcement officers can pretend to be minors online or on the phone and all the state has to prove is that the accused believed the other person was a minor.

Under Federal law, the government must essentially prove the same elements as they do in state court. The penalties, however, are much different. If someone is convicted of attempting to solicit, lure, or entice a minor to commit a sexual act in Federal court a 10 year minimum mandatory sentence applies. This means that a judge has no discretion to sentence a person convicted of internet solicitation of a minor to anything less than 10 years in Federal prison, and that is just the minimum. Often times, the Federal prosecutor will try to use various “enhancements” to try and get the judge to sentence people to even more prison time. On top of that, a period of supervised release (probation) is always imposed with a slew of restrictions. Finally, being labeled a sex offender is something the legislature has now mandated for people convicted in these kinds of cases.

Clearly the stakes are high in these kinds of cases. That’s why a criminal lawyer who has experience successfully defending internet sex crimes is critical. There are a number of viable defenses to internet sex crime allegations.

It goes without saying that in order to convict someone of using a computer to lure, entice, or solicit a minor for sex the government has to prove that the person accused of the crime was the same person who was actually sitting in front of the keyboard. Raising doubts about the identity of the person can be a viable defense in these situations.

One of the most common occurrences in Saint Lucie is government entrapment. Law enforcement will often times cross the line during the chat room conversation by using trickery to get innocent citizens to type things they normally wouldn’t have even considered typing.

Another situation that arises sometimes is fantasy chat. It is not illegal to have fantasies. Often times folks will engage in internet chat where one party pretends to be under the age of 18 to fulfill a particular fantasy. Law enforcement will often times rush to judgment in these kinds of scenarios and dismiss the reasonable possibility that this was the case.

Hiring a criminal lawyer who has vigorously and successfully employed these defenses is of utmost importance. You also want to hire a criminal attorney who practices in the jurisdiction where the person is being charged. The Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee is located near the State and Federal courthouses in downtown Fort Pierce which is in St. Lucie County, Florida. He also defends internet sex crimes in state and federal court that are charged out of the counties of Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), Martin (Stuart, Palm City), Okeechobee, and Highlands (Sebring).

If you or someone you care about wants to talk to a board certified criminal trial lawyer about an internet sex crime allegation, contact Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991.


Violent & Gun Crimes

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

Have you or someone you care about been charged with a violent or gun crime in fort pierce, port st. lucie, vero beach, stuart, or okeechobee? Federal and State Courts in Florida have some of the strictest violent crime and gun crime laws in the world. There are minimum mandatory sentences in many instances and they can be lengthy.

With respect to firearms, Florida is famous for it’s 10/20/life laws and the federal system is equally notorious for it’s section 924(c) laws. Both involve the allegation of using a firearm during the commission of a crime. The legislature has taken the sentencing discretion out of the hands of the judges in a large portion of these cases, leaving a lot of the power with the government.

The laws with respect to violent gun crimes in Saint Lucie County can come down to very subtle and distinct facts with respect to the location of the events, the state of mind of the accused, actions consistent with self-defense, and the alleged victim’s propensity or reputation for violence. These are just a few of the creative and viable defenses to violent criminal accusations that defense attorney Brian Mallonee brainstorms while preparing and implementing a defense strategy.

Along with firearms related crimes, there are a number of violent crimes that are also being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Examples include:

  • Battery (Domestic)
  • Felony Battery
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Aggravated Battery w/ a Deadly Weapon
  • Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Assault w/ a Deadly Weapon
  • Shooting/throwing a Deadly Missile
  • Kidnapping
  • False Imprisonment
  • Armed Robbery
  • Burglary of a Dwelling while Armed
  • Child Neglect
  • Child Abuse
  • Murder
  • Attempted Murder
  • Bank Robbery
  • Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
  • Resisting Arrest with Violence
  • Resisting Arrest w/o Violence
  • Armed Trespassing
  • Carrying a Concealed Firearm
  • Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • Improper Exhibition of a Firearm
  • Discharging a Firearm in Public

These types of cases require immediate attention from a crackerjack criminal defense attorney. Brian Mallonee, a board certified criminal trial lawyer, handles all kinds of violent crime allegations in Florida State Courts and Federal Court. He focuses on cases that arise out of St. Lucie (Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie), Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), Martin (Jensen Beach, Stuart, Palm City), Okeechobee, and Highlands (Sebring) counties.

Mr. Mallonee is a criminal defense lawyer who takes a creative and aggressive approach to every case he handles. His focus is on getting a great result for the people who entrust him with their lives. If you or someone you care about is facing the potentially serious consequences of a conviction for a violent or gun crime in Saint Lucie County, call and talk to Brian Mallonee today at (772) 464-1991.


Drugs & Narcotics

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

State and Federal law enforcement are still waging an expensive and unwinnable war on drugs in Saint Lucie.

Brian Mallonee is a criminal defense lawyer based in St. Lucie County who takes a creative, aggressive approach to every case he handles. The goal is always to get the charges reduced or dropped, often times by challenging the search and seizure conducted by the police or federal law enforcement.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution places limits on the power of the police to make arrests; search people and their property; and seize objects, documents and contraband (such as illegal drugs or weapons). These limits are the bedrock of search and seizure law. Search and seizure law is constantly in flux and so complex that entire books are devoted to it.

This article and frequently asked questions cover the basic issues that you should know.

The State and Federal legislature and State and Federal prosecutors in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Stuart, Okeechobee, and Sebring, Florida are still insisting on punishing people who allegedly violate the following drug laws:

  • Trafficking
  • Sale and Delivery
  • Manufacture
  • Cultivation
  • Conspiracy
  • Possession with Intent to Sell
  • Possession
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Prescription Fraud
  • Doctor shopping

Let’s begin with an overview of the Fourth Amendment itself:

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT: PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY WHEN THE FOURTH AMENDMENT DOESN’T PROTECT YOU FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • When are the police legally allowed to search me?
  • Isn’t refusing to let the police search me an admission of guilt?
  • If I’m not doing anything illegal, why shouldn’t I let the police search me?
  • What if the officer says he’ll go easy on me if I cooperate?
  • What if the search and seizure is not legal?
  • Is there any way to fight back if I am arrested after an illegal search?

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT: PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The search and seizure provisions of the Fourth Amendment are all about privacy. Most people instinctively understand the concept of privacy. It is the freedom to decide which details of your life will be revealed to the public and which will be revealed only to those you care to share them with. To honor this freedom, the Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable” searches and seizures by state or federal law enforcement authorities.

The flip side is that the Fourth Amendment does permit searches and seizures that are considered reasonable. In practice, this means that the police may override your privacy concerns in Saint Lucie and conduct a search of your home, barn, car, boat, office, personal or business documents, bank account records, trash barrel or whatever, if: the police have probable cause to believe they can find evidence that you committed a crime, and a judge issues a search warrant, or the particular circumstances justify the search without a warrant first being issued.

WHEN THE FOURTH AMENDMENT DOESN’T PROTECT YOU

As mentioned just above, the Fourth Amendment permits “reasonable” searches. But before getting to the question of whether or not a particular search is reasonable, and therefore valid under the Fourth Amendment, it must be determined whether the Fourth Amendment applies to the search in the first place.

The Fourth Amendment applies to a search only if a person has a “legitimate expectation of privacy” in the place or thing searched. If not, the Fourth Amendment offers no protection because there are, by definition, no privacy issues. Courts use a two-part test (fashioned by the U.S. Supreme Court) to determine whether, at the time of the search, a defendant had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place or things searched.

Did the person subjectively (actually) expect some degree of privacy?

Is the person’s expectation objectively reasonable, that is, one that society is willing to recognize?

Only if both questions are answered with a “yes” will a court go on to ask the next, ultimate question: Was the search reasonable or unreasonable?

For example, a person who uses a public restroom expects not to be spied upon (the person has a subjective expectation of privacy) and most people — including judges and juries — would consider that expectation to be reasonable (there is an objective expectation of privacy as well). Therefore, the installation of a hidden video camera by the police in a public restroom will be considered a “search” and would be subject to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of reasonableness.

On the other hand, when the police find a weapon on the front seat of a car, it is not considered a search under the Fourth Amendment because (a subjective expectation of privacy is unlikely), and even if the person did think that the front seat of the car is a private place, society is not willing to extend the protections of privacy to that particular location (no objective expectation of privacy).

A good example of how this works comes from a U.S. Supreme Court in which the court held that a bus passenger had a legitimate expectation of privacy in an opaque carry-on bag positioned in a luggage rack above the passenger’s head, and that the physical probing by the police of the bag’s exterior for evidence of contraband constituted a search subject to Fourth Amendment limitations. (Bond v. U.S., No. 98-9349 (April 17, 2000).)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. When are the police legally allowed to search me?

Police officers are legally allowed to search your home or your property if they obtain a search warrant. To obtain a warrant, police officers must write out an affidavit — a written statement under oath — to convince a judge that they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is occurring at the place to be searched or that evidence of a crime may be found there.

As a general rule, searches conducted without a warrant are automatically unreasonable and hence violate the Fourth Amendment. But in fact most searches occur without warrants because police take advantage of these many legal exceptions to the Fourth Amendment:

Consent Searches. In Saint Lucie, if the police ask your permission to search your home, purse, briefcase or other property, and you freely consent, their warrantless search automatically becomes reasonable and therefore legal. Consequently, whatever an officer finds during a consent search can be used to convict the person.

Plain View Rule. This is common sense: Always keep any private items that you don’t want others to see out of sight. Legally speaking, police do not need a search warrant in order to confiscate any illegal items that are in plain view.

Searches Made in Connection with a Legal Arrest.Police do not need a warrant to make a search “incident to an arrest.” After a legal arrest, police can legally protect themselves by searching the person and the immediate surroundings for weapons that might be used to harm the officer. Consequently, whatever an officer finds during such a search can be used to convict the person.

Exigent Circumstances. A judge may uphold an officer’s warrantless search or seizure if “exigent circumstances” exist. Exigent circumstances were described by one court as “an emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or destruction of evidence.”

WARNING: If you ever face a real-life police encounter where the officer is urging you to consent to a search, you should not try to figure out whether or not he is legally allowed to search you. You must assume that he is not legally allowed to search you, and that his search will only be legal if you consent. If the officer is in fact legally allowed to search you, you have nothing to lose by politely refusing to consent to his request.

2. Isn’t refusing to let the police search me an admission of guilt?

No. If a police officer asks your permission to search, you are under no obligation to consent. The only reason he’s asking you is because he doesn’t have enough evidence to search without your consent. If you consent to a search request you give up one of the most important constitutional rights you have — your Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable consent.

A majority of avoidable, improper police searches occur because citizens waive their Fourth Amendment rights by consenting to warrantless searches. As a general rule, if a person consents to a warrantless search, the search automatically becomes legal. Consequently, whatever an officer finds during such a search can be used to convict the person.

Don’t expect a police officer to tell you about your right not to consent. Police officers are not required by law to inform you of your rights before asking you to consent to a search. In addition, police are prepared to use their authority to get people to consent to searches, and most people are predisposed to comply with any request an officer makes. For example, the average motorist stopped by an officer who asks them, “Would you mind if I search your vehicle, please?” will probably consent to the officer’s search without realizing that they have every right to deny the officer’s request.

If for any reason you don’t want the officer digging through your belongings, you should refuse to consent by saying something like, “Yes, I do mind. I have private, personal items in my [car, backpack, etc.] and do not want you looking through them.” If the officer still proceeds to search you and find illegal contraband, your attorney can argue that the contraband was discovered through an illegal search and hence should be thrown out of court.

You should never hesitate to assert your constitutional rights. Just say “no!”

3. If I’m not doing anything illegal, why shouldn’t I let the police search me?

The sad fact is that most people believe that they are under some kind of obligation to acquiesce when an officer contacts them and asks permission to search them or their belongings.

The truth is the exact opposite — you have a right to associate with, and speak to, whomever you please. In this respect, there is nothing special about a police officer. Assuming you would not let a complete stranger look through your purse or search your pockets, why would you allow a police officer to do so — especially if you’re doing nothing illegal? Just say “NO” to police searches!

4. What if the officer says he’ll go easy on me if I cooperate?

Unfortunately, many people get fooled by some version of this commonly used police officer’s line: Everything will be easier if you cooperate. That might be true sometimes, but when it comes to consenting to searches and answering incriminating questions, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

5. What if the search and seizure is not legal?

In many circumstances, but not all, the evidence obtained, and the evidence later gathered as a result (“fruits of the poisonous tree”) may not be admissible in court against you.

6. Is there any way to fight back if I am arrested after an illegal search?

Yes! Sometimes, after a person is charged with a crime, a good lawyer can prepare and file a motion to suppress. In general, this type of motion will attempt to show the court that the manner in which the evidence was seized was in violation of the 4th Amendment of U.S. Constitution. If your lawyer can successfully convince the judge that the evidence against you was illegally obtained, then the judge has the authority to suppress or throw out whatever evidence the State may have against you.

If you need a criminal defense attorney who practices in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, or Okeechobee, who understands what you want, who is interested in you and your situation, and who fights to get you results, contact Brian Mallonee.


Federal Crimes

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

In Saint Lucie, being investigated for or getting charged with a criminal offense that violates Federal law is a serious matter. Having a defense lawyer who has experienced success inside a Federal courtroom is crucial. Brian Mallonee is a board certified criminal trial lawyer and successfully defends cases in Federal court on a regular basis.

Federal cases are very different than cases brought in state court. The cases move very fast and the ultimate sentence is generally up to the Judge, no matter what the “agreement” between the government and the defense may be.

In Federal court the rules of procedure are different, the rules of evidence are different, discovery is different and the potential penalties can be extremely harsh. If a grand jury indictment is handed down, the first step is to try and convince the court to free the accused on bail. This takes place within a few days of the arrest at a pre-trial detention hearing. A variety of factors are considered by the court, but most of the focus is usually on whether or not the accused presents a risk of flight (fleeing the jurisdiction) or a danger to society.

After the pre-trial detention hearing, the case will move even faster. Pre-trial motions need to be investigated, researched, filed, and argued. If there is to be a trial, it will generally be set within 70 days of the date of arrest.

A jury trial can feel very confrontational and an experienced Federal criminal lawyer can mean the difference between freedom and a lengthy incarceration.

If a case results in a plea, an intimate knowledge of the Federal sentencing guidelines is vital. Basically the guidelines are a bunch of recommended sentencing penalties that depend on a slew of variables that have to be carefully scrutinized.

Recent changes in the law dictate that the guidelines are only advisory, meaning the judge can look at them for advice, but the ultimate sentence is up to the court. This is a welcome change because it gives your Federal criminal attorney an opportunity to be an advocate and try and persuade a judge to sentence someone “below the guidelines.” It also makes your choice of Federal criminal lawyers a very important one. If you enter a plea, your attorney needs to know how to convince a Federal judge that you are worthy of a lenient sentence.

After your defense lawyer conducts a thorough investigation and negotiates with the U.S. Attorney’s office, it may be that you decide to exercise your right to a trial by jury. If you are going to trial in a Federal court on Federal charges, you are going to want a lawyer who is experienced in Federal court and Federal charges. Additionally, you will want an experieced Federal criminal attorney who actually cares and who has the special skills to persuade a jury of your innocence.

Hiring “local counsel” is often a wise move. Although special favors and “secret winks” are generally a myth, having a Federal criminal defense lawyer who has earned credibility over the course of time can never hurt. Familiarity with local law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges can be a distinct advantage when trying to negotiate a deal or “handicap” an important ruling.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for the southern district of Florida prosecutes Federal cases in Fort Pierce. The cases that are heard in Fort Pierce arise from alleged conduct that takes place in the counties of St. Lucie (Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie), Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), Martin (Stuart, Jensen Beach, Palm City), Okeechobee, and Highlands. The Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee is located in downtown Fort Pierce near the Federal courthouse.

If you have questions about an ongoing Federal investigation or pending Federal charges, feel free to contact Federal criminal lawyer Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 for a no cost evaluation of your case.


Appeals

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

A direct appeal is an important opportunity for a criminal defendant to challenge a conviction or sentence. If you or someone you love has been convicted after trial, you should always appeal. To appeal you must first file what is called a “Notice of Appeal” within 10 days (federal) or 30 days (state) of the sentencing hearing.

In an appeal, an appellate court reviews the happenings in the trial court to make certain that everything was done correctly and pursuant to the law. The appellate court will look at “the record,” meaning the transcripts of court hearings relevant to the issues raised in the appeal. The appellate court does not decide whether a defendant is guilty or innocent, but does on occasion reverse a conviction and direct the trial court to dismiss the case for a lack of evidence.

There are a slew of issues that can be argued at the appellate level. Perhaps the trial judge allowed evidence into the trial that should have been suppressed due to illegal government conduct. Sometimes jury selection issues can be raised, as often times a judge will deny a defense challenge on a particular juror despite that juror communicating doubts about the ability to be fair and impartial during the selection process. Another common mistake made during a criminal trial is improper arguments made by prosecutors. Trials are war and it is quite common for an overzealous prosecutor to cross the line and unfairly prejudice the accused during closing arguments.

These are just a few of the ways an appeal can be won, resulting in a new trial being ordered or maybe a resentencing. A defendant is entitled to a lawyer for a direct appeal. There is no doubt that a criminal defendant can significantly improve his or her chances of prevailing on appeal by retaining an experienced appellate attorney.

If you or a loved one has been convicted of a serious crime in State or Federal Court and are interested in hiring a criminal lawyer with the intuitive skill to handle the appeal, feel free to call the Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 and talk with us about it.


Juvenile Offenses

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

There once was a time when the Saint Lucie County juvenile court system and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice were both a rehabilitative process for young people who were in need of some guidance and help understanding the rules of society. Today, juvenile courts in Florida are more like a younger version of adult criminal court, with cases that make headlines and create public outrage. According to a 2007 study by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, the number of juvenile delinquency cases have increased over 300% since 1960.

In light of the trend to prosecute children more frequently, criminal lawyer Brian H. Mallonee has taken a special interest in fiercely defending juveniles charged with crimes in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida. As we do for all of the people we defend, a creative and aggressive approach is utilized when handling a juvenile criminal matter.

The Juvenile Defense Process

First and foremost, we try to ensure the child is not prosecuted as an adult. The State of Florida and its legislatures have granted the State Attorney’s Offices a lot of discretion in this regard. Early legal intervention can often make the difference between a teenager being charged as an adult or charged as a juvenile. Juvenile sanctions are generally more forgiving than adult sanctions and it is important that we make every attempt to have the case tried in juvenile court.

The legal system does not deal with these cases in the same way it deals with adult cases. The juvenile may have broken the law, however it is more important to ensure that the child (and guardian) understands the severity of the crime and to also ensure the crime will not be repeated as an adult. Protecting the rights of the juvenile in these matters coincides with the intention of the legal system to ensure justice and guidance; not just punishment.

There are a number of ways to attack the government’s case in juvenile criminal cases. However, they do differ from adult cases. There are no juries; the juvenile will only be facing a judge. So, entering courtroom with an experienced juvenile defense attorney with a a good reputation in the courtroom will go a long way to protecting the juvenile’s rights. A good attorney knows that politely educating the judge about the law can make a difference inside a juvenile courtroom.

Juvenile Sentencing

Each case is different in Saint Lucie County and there may be a creative solution that is in the best interest of all the parties. Is this the juvenile’s first offense? It could be that a brief stint on juvenile probation and a letter of apology are in order. Second offense? Maybe the juvenile needs to spend a little time serving the community. We believe that avoiding juvenile prison is always in the child’s best interest, and we will aggressively fight for a final disposition that avoids incarceration in a juvenile commitment program.

At the Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee, we handle juvenile criminal cases with the same intensity as we do any other matter. We take every child’s rights and future very seriously, and defend children who are accused of any criminal matter on the treasure coast, including the following locations: St. Lucie (Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie), Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), Martin (Stuart, Jensen Beach, Palm City), and Okeechobee counties. contact criminal lawyer Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 for a no cost evaluation of your case.


Sex Crimes

Criminal Defense Lawyer serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee including Fort Pierce, Port St Lucie, Stuart & surrounding cities.

In recent years, the media in Saint Lucie County has created hysteria associated with respect to computer sex crimes involving minors. The most notorious of these media outlets is NBC, with the Dateline series “To Catch a Predator” catching the eyes and ears of millions of viewers.

Unfortunately, the government has responded to the political pressure that comes along with this kind of media coverage and public outrage. Instead of enacting penalties that are reasonable, the punishment for these offenses has been dramatically and irrationally increased.

The most common computer sex offenses that are being investigated and prosecuted today are internet solicitation of a minor and possession of child pornography. There exists an array of different charging decisions that the government can make in these kinds of cases.

Child Pornography

Internet Solicitation of a Minor

Sex Crimes


Brian Mallonee is a Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties