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Michael Lewis Bowdish

Michael Bowdish’s Answers

12 total


  • I want to file a restraining order against my step-father he is harassing me through text messages and email?

    my step-father will not not leave me alone so i want to go about it in a legal matter what can be done and how?

    Michael’s Answer

    You may petition for an injunction against domestic violence (F.S. 741.28/741.30) if he is related to you by marriage or adoption. Otherwise, you can petition for an injunction against repeat violence (F.S. 784.046). The theory of prosecution rests upon the offense of stalking (F.S. 784.048), which is repeatedly harrassing someone without a legitimate purpose, causing substantial emotional stress. You don't need an attorney to petition for an injunction, and there is no cost for filing. You would want to list the date/time of each phone call/test and the content of each, or print the text conversations and attach them to your petition. Even if the court did not grant a final injunction, summoning your step-father to court may persuade him to think carefully about his conduct in the future.

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  • DUI on Miami Beach...quick question

    What papers do I have to fill out within the ten day period to request a driving permit to and from school/work, and who do I send those to? The dmv or the Bureau of Administrative Reviews Office?

    Michael’s Answer

    You should send a letter and a $25 check to the Bureau of Administrative Reviews. The subject line of the letter should say "Request for Formal Review," and you must include a copy of the uniform traffic citation (UTC), which contains the notice of suspension at the bottom. The body of the letter should contain a "request for a temporary permit," your address, telephone number, the county and date of offense, your license number, and the UTC number. I often "waive the requirement to have the hearing within 30 days" so that I can stretch out the temporary permit and decide if I want to subpoena the officer and order a court reporter. Unless you plan to pick up your permit in person, include a stamped envelope to expedite the receipt of the temporary permit.

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  • What should we expect my 17 yr old cited for Minor in possession alchol in FL

    My 17 yr old son, (no prior trouble) was cited for minor in possession of alcohol in Panama City Beach. We live in AL. What do we need to do? He has not received paperwork yet. The attorney I contacted suggested Diversion Court? Will he lose ...

    Michael’s Answer

    I agree with the attorney you contacted. Diversion will result in a dismissal of the charge after your son completes the tasks set by the administrator of the program. He will probably be referred to complete an alcohol evaluation and complete any recommended counseling if any. If this is done, he will avoid a license suspension.

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  • What type of punishment is theft of firearm and armed burglary?

    My son had never been in trouble before.He has a very bad drug habit. He was messed up on drugs and allegedly broke into some vehicles. He was caught breaking into one car, so he was arrested. When they searched the place he was staying they foun...

    Michael’s Answer

    These are extremely serious charges. I ran a Florida Guidelines Scoresheet calculation on his sentencing range (without the inclusion of prior offenses). The lowest permissible sentence is currently set at 40 months, with the maximum sentence set at life in prison. Understand that the State Attorney's Office may agree to reduce or modify the charges or the sentence based upon mitigation, i.e., proof that he has a substance abuse problem and is taking steps toward admitting himself into treatment. An attorney in your area should know who to contact about getting an evaluation for your son if he is in jail. Also, your son should start going to NA meetings every day, even if he is in custody. If your son is out-of-custody, he needs to demonstrate that he can remain drug and crime free. Get him tested confidentially every week and get those results to the attorney. The attorney will look into other departure alternatives, such as youthful offender (if your son is under the age of 21), or mental health departure if he suffers from other mental health disorders. If your son is turning 21 soon, it is imperative that you let the attorney know so that he can set a change-of-plea hearing prior to his 21st birthday. On a different note, how did the police get authorization to search the residence? A good attorney will investigate possible defenses without burning any negotiation bridges. This being your son's first criminal episode, he might be able to persuade the State or judge to impose a non-state prison sanction. Follow the recommendations of the attorney.

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  • Expunging a case in Florida

    I would like to know if in order to expunge a felony case in florida, the offender needs to be physically present? The felony case is from 1985 due to an insufficient fund check issued for USD 50.00. Can this case be expunged?

    Michael’s Answer

    Florida permits the sealing (hiding) or expungement (destruction) of a single criminal episode if the charge and the applicant qualifies for this relief. This charge, "misdemeanor obtaining property in return for a worthless check" qualifies for sealing/expungement. Now we must determine if you qualify based on the sentence for this case and your criminal record. Unless the case was dismissed by the State, you will not qualify to expunge your record; however, you may be able to seal the record if "adjudication of guilt was withheld." Finally, you must check your criminal record for any conviction for any crime, including criminal traffic charges such as DUI, reckless driving, or driving on a suspended license. Even if you have other crimes, you will still be eligible to seal the worthless check charge as long as any sentence reflects that adjudication of guilt was withheld. Finally, remember that some government and licensing agencies are entitled to view sealed records.

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  • Will I get an extention of a restraining order

    I had a restraining order on my ex due to domestic violence charge. It expires in 3 weeks. She did violate the order 4 times. She pled guilty to harassing calls. Will the judge grant the extention if she had violated the original order. Do I need...

    Michael’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The court should grant your motion to extend the injunction because the respondent committed acts after the issuance of the injunction which gives rise to a reasonable fear of imminent domestic violence. Although the respondent was charged with harassing telephone calls, you should argue that you were the victim of aggravated stalking (repeated harassment while an injunction is in place). It does not matter what charge the State decided to pursue; it is whether the facts of the violation presented to the injunction court constitute the definition of stalking. The injunction court must extend an injunction if it finds that, after the injunction was ordered (1) the respondent committed acts giving the petitioner a reasonable fear of imminent domestic violence, OR (2) the respondent was the victim of domestic violence (i.e., stalking or aggravated stalking [harassing telephone calls is not considered violence]). It would be prudent to hire an attorney to plead the formal motion and argue for a permanent injunction.

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  • How can i find out, if there are charges in different state?

    i had restraining order hearing and they said that there are pending charges

    Michael’s Answer

    These days, many court records can be accessed online. Try running an online search for the terms "clerk of court" and the county you believe charges are pending. Look on the Clerk of Court home page for an online directory or records search. Then, search using your name. If this function is not available, call the Clerk of the Court and inquire about any pending charges.

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  • My friends were getting jumped and one of my friends stabbed one of the kids that were jumping them. what should he do?

    my friends were getting jumped and one of my friends stabbed one of the kids that were jumping them. what should he do?

    Michael’s Answer

    Assuming your friend was arrested, he was most likely charged with "aggravated battery with a deadly weapon", punishable up to 15 years. The Florida Sentencing Guidelines will score this offense as follows: 56 points for the aggravated battery, plus 40 points for severe victim injury, subtract 28 points, multiply by .75; this computation equals 51, which is the lowest number of months in prison your friend could serve, with a maximum of 15 years in prison. This computation also assumes that your friend has no prior criminal history.
    Your friend must contact an attorney right away to discuss defenses and sentencing options. Justifiable use of deadly force might apply under the circumstances. An attorney will also discuss possible sentencing alternatives via a departure from the guidelines based on youthful offender or willing participant/victim if applicable. This case is extremely serious, and your friend should not discuss the facts of this case with anyone until he has consulted with an attorney.

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  • What am i facing as a minor for the first time offense of burglary?

    this is my first time ever being in trouble and i'm about to turn 18 i'm really scared about the outcome the whole situation..the charges have been dropped to mistometer..

    Michael’s Answer

    If the burglary was dropped to a misdemeanor and your case remains in juvenile court, then the worst is behind you. If you are ever charged as an adult, you should be really scared. Keeping your case in juvenile court, will help hide juvenile trouble from future employers. Also, the goal of juvenile court is rehabilitation. You are likely facing a short probation term with community service and perhaps a letter of apology.
    If you were charged as an adult for burglary to a residence, you would be facing prison. Your lawyer would have to work very hard to convince the prosecutor to offer probation.--And the lawyer would be expensive. Because you are in juvenile court, I think you will be OK if you follow the rules. Just be very careful when you turn 18!

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  • Grand Theft First Offense

    I was wondering what the likely outcome with a good lawyer would be for a grand theft charge involving price tag switching. The difference was $400 and there is no prior history with the defendant. Thank you!

    Michael’s Answer

    Some defendants initially want the easy way out: pay a fine or do some jail. But in my opinion, the best outcome is to have all record of this arrest sealed from public view. This is accomplished after the criminal case has been resolved; however, a defendant's eligibility to seal the record will depend on HOW this case is resolved. A defendant will qualify to seal his criminal record if the defendant has never been convicted of any crime. Therefore, to qualify for sealing, a defendant must do one of the following: (1) win the case at trial, (2) enter and complete Felony Pre-Trial Intervention, or (3) have the court's sentencing order state that the court is "withholding" of adjudication of guilt.
    Taking a case to trial on these facts appears to be too risky in light of the other options available due to a lack of prior criminal history. The Pre-trial intervention Program (PTI) is basically felony probation for 18 months. The important aspects of PTI are that there is no entry of a guilty or no contest plea, and after successful completion, the prosecutor will dismiss the charges. If PTI is not available, a lawyer will request the judge to impose a probation sentence with an order "withholding" adjudication of guilt.
    After PTI or Probation is completed, the defendant will be eligible to seal this criminal record from public view. This job market is too competitive to risk having a criminal record appear on an employers background check.

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