The spread of the coronavirus strain that has emerged in recent times has had significant and unprecedented legal implications across the State of Florida and the nation. There has reportedly been an increase in crime in Florida due to increased stressors of health concerns, financial worry from unemployment, business closures, and overall uncertainty about the future. The attorneys and staff at The AP Law Group are fierce advocates for protecting our client’s rights, which is our highest priority during this pandemic.
How the Courts are Responding to the Pandemic in Criminal Matters
On 3/1/2020, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency in Florida due to the COVID- 19 outbreak. Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady, on 3/17/2020, ordered that in-person hearings be restricted to critical matters related to the imminent health, welfare, and safety of persons, or the public. Non-essential proceedings are to be rescheduled unless the events can be conducted using electronic means without the parties’ physical appearance.
Despite the closures and subsequent delays of the legal system, The AP Law Group continues to work behind the scenes in ongoing investigations. We can meet with our clients via telephone or video conferences. However, if there is a need to meet in person, we can accommodate you while adhering to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
Some of the Crimes Directly Associated with the Pandemic Outbreak are:
- Breaking quarantine, such as the arrest of a Tampa Bay Pastor on 3/30/20, for holding services at his church. He was charged with two counts of unlawful assembly and a violation of health emergency rules.
- Allegations of violence and hate crimes against Asians due to the origin of the pandemic.
- Increased violent crimes such as domestic assaults, prompting the use of electronic hearings for Temporary Injunctions for Protection.
- Intentional contamination or threats of deliberate contamination, such as the arrest of a Florida man on 3/29/20 for spraying an unknown substance labeled COVID-19 on the doors of a business. He was charged with use or threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction or hoax weapon of mass destruction.
- Scams and fraudulent schemes that capitalize on the health crisis, such as fake cures and testing, identity theft by posing as government officials, and seeking donations for non-existent charities. Without proper legal representation, these allegations could mean long term prison sentences as there is zero-tolerance for COVID-19 related federal crimes.
Other potential crimes related to the pandemic are an increase in road rage, and allegations of crimes such as theft, shoplifting, and burglaries.
The AP Law Group Attorneys are Fierce Negotiators and Litigators for your Defense
The attorneys at The AP Law Group are seasoned criminal defense negotiators and litigators, with a combined 55 plus years of experience in Florida. We have successfully represented clients in a variety of complex misdemeanor and felony cases. Being convicted of a crime can have long term detrimental effects on your life. We will aggressively defend you as we continue to monitor and accommodate the latest legal system changes. If you are being investigated for a crime related to the COVID 19 pandemic, contact our office immediately to ensure that your rights are protected. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, let us safeguard your reputation and freedom. We will work tirelessly on a strategy for your defense. We have offices in Gainesville and Ocala, Florida, and represent clients throughout the State of Florida. Call us at 352-732-9191.