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Bruce Griffith Howie

Bruce Howie’s Answers

113 total


  • If you are acquitted of criminal charges, do you still have to pay police investigative costs?

    I was acquitted on criminal charges. Do i have to pay police investigative costs. What statute is this under. Is the Sheriffs office considered a ministerial office.

    Bruce’s Answer

    The answer is found in Article I, Section 19, of the Florida Constitution: "No person charged with a crime shall be compelled to pay costs before a judgment of conviction has become final." If you are acquitted of a charge, you can never be convicted of it. The term "costs" covers all costs relating to a criminal prosecution, including investigative costs. It does not matter that the Sheriff's office is considered part of the executive branch.

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  • I really cannot afford an attorney and have to try to fight a VOP for my husband

    I know that he will be picked up with no bond, I would like to try to get a Motion to Surrender, a Motion to Suppress and an ROR set in motion before he gets picked up. Is it even remotely possible for me to do this or do I really need to get a ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    If the violation of probation is for a misdemeanor and there is no new criminal charge, it is entirely possible that the judge handling the case will set a bond. However, the judge will not normally hear or grant any motions with a pending VOP warrant until the defendant turns himself in, or at least presents himself in open court knowing that the warrant could be executed against him on the spot. If you were to file your proposed motions for a bond or ROR beforehand, your husband may wish to voluntarily turn himself in on a motion calendar before the court in the hope that the court will grant a bond or ROR. As for an attorney, the public defender routinely represents people on misdemeanor violations of probation, and if you need all the money you can get to post a bond, then the public defender may be your best option. If your husband is placed in custody, the public defender can promptly present a motion to set bond or get your husband in front of the court to dispose of his case quickly.

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  • First time, loss prevention charge $29 at Publix. Will this be permanent record? Can I have removed?

    This happened at Publix in downtown Miami. I'm 43 and have clean record. Police were called but when I explained what happened (I did have a cart full of other Publix purchases) he said he would write a report and let me go (9 items totaled $29 ) ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    You will likely receive a demand letter from a law firm representing Publix for $200, which is the minimum amount a victim of a theft can sue for under Section 772.11, Florida Statutes. I agree that you should ignore this letter, as it is sent to every person stopped for shoplifting at Publix in the hopes that a substantial number of persons receiving the letter will pay up, but Publix rarely follows through with a pricey small claims suit. But as for the trespass warning, you should heed it to avoid a potential trespass charge that will further complicate your life. Generally, in minor shoplifting cases Publix has been known to relent after one year has passed and will let the trespassed person back into its stores if the person asks politely and shows the proper attitude. In the meantime, other groceries will welcome your business.

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  • I have a open container (as a passenger) ticket that I paid, but it still shows up on my license. I have a cdl. how do I get off

    I have nothing else on my record. but no one will hire me because of this ticket. there is no points. The police officer said that it would not show on my license, but it does. thanks for your help.

    Bruce’s Answer

    When you pay a non-criminal traffic ticket where a court appearance is not mandatory, it is taken as an admission to the facts of the case just as a plea of guilty would. As a result, it remains on your public record indefinitely. There would be no points on your driver's record with the Florida DHSMV because no points are given for a charge unrelated to the operation of a motor vehicle. As for your problem being hired, I suggest that you advise a potential employer up front about this episode and let them know that it has nothing to do with your ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely, rather than having them find out for themselves after a records check. Potential employers often view alcohol-related charges as a liability, and you need to assure them that this will not be a problem for you.

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  • If I was incarcerated for 460 without a bond and the max my charge carried is one year, what happens?

    I was in jail for 460 days. I took my charge to trial and beat it. I was convicted on a resisting arrest which carries one year. The judge gave me time served. Can I sue for my time spent in jail over a year.

    Bruce’s Answer

    When you were arrested and jailed, a judge determined that there was probable cause for holding you in jail and that the circumstances legally permitted the judge to deny bond. As long as you were accorded due process by the police, the State, and the court, all of them enjoy immunity from suit, meaning any civil complaint you file against them would be subject to dismissal and, under certain circumstances, you could end up with a judgment against you for attorney fees and costs. But let's say for the sake of argument that you were illegally jailed for about 96 days -- the sheriff's response to any settlement you attempt to negotiate would generally be, "Fine, we'll talk about your damages just as soon as you pay us for the costs of your 364 days incarceration, which by law we are allowed to collect." Do yourself a big favor, realize that things could have gone a lot worse for you, and move on.

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  • How can an accident report be admitted into evidence?

    I'm a law student preparing to introduce and use exhibits in class.

    Bruce’s Answer

    Accident reports, standing on their own, are hearsay evidence, so they are admissible only if (1) they fall under an exception in Section 90.803, Florida Statutes, or under Federal Rule of Evidence 803 (if your scenario is in federal court), or (2) they are being used to impeach the witness who made the accident report under the inconsistent statement rule in Section 90.614, Florida Statutes, or Federal Rule of Evidence 613, in which case the report is not considered hearsay (see Section 90.801(2)(a), Fla. Stat., or Federal Rule of Evidence 801(d)(1)). Under Florida Law, traffic accident reports are not admissible in civil cases. To introduce a traffic accident report under the public records hearsay exception in Section 90.803(8), Fla. Stat., or Federal Rule 803(8), pay special attention to the provision that excludes reports of observations made by police officers in criminal cases unless the sources of information "show lack of trustworthiness." This is a complicated standard, and you would do best to figure out how to introduce portions of the report through impeachment of its author on the stand under Section 90.614 or Rule 613.

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  • Can i get early termination for community control then get early term. for the probation that follows!

    i have completed drug counseling,parenting classes,life skills,obtained my ged no real priors besides petty theft as a juvenile i am 20 my charge is agg. child abuse but my mom adopted him so i can remain in his life and i support him regardless ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    I agree that it is very unlikely you can convince the judge to terminate both the balance of your community control and the entirety of your probation. The judge is interested in maintaining some supervision over you even if you are doing very well in completing your conditions. I recommend taking this a step at a time. First, ask the judge by making a motion to terminate your community control once you have completed half of it. Then later when you are halfway through your probation, ask the judge to terminate that as well. The judge will only terminate if the judge believes you have received the maximum rehabilitative benefits of community control and probation and you have successfully completed all conditions.

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  • If I take a plea deal from the DA that includes 7 months in Manatee County Jail how much of the 7 month sentence will I do

    Charge is VOP

    Bruce’s Answer

    Although most jails will reduce your sentence by 15% of the total number of days of your sentence, this reduction is subject to a number of factors. If you receive any disciplinary reports or "DR's" much or all of your earned gain time can be taken away from you. Some jails will only grant you the maximum reduction if you work for the gain time, such as kitchen or grounds work. At this point, you can only estimate the time you have to serve by reducing the 7 months by 15% and then reducing it further by any credit you have for time served, but this is the "best case" scenario, so do not rely entirely on this calculation.

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  • Can a plea deal be changed after if signed and agreed?

    My Husband signed a plea ageement for a year in the county jail for DWLS, on the plea agreement it stating that he had 208 days credited to him. (all parties signed) But now they are saying he only has 123 days credit for time served. Can they cha...

    Bruce’s Answer

    I presume that your husband has already formally entered his plea and been sentenced. If not, he is not obligated to go forward with the plea agreement. If he has been sentenced, your husband has two possible solutions. First, if less than 60 days have passed since his sentencing hearing, he can file a motion for reconsideration of sentence under Rule 3.800(c), based on the ground that he misunderstood his jail credit; if his attorney renegotiates with the prosecutor, it is possible that the State will have no objection. This motion must be heard by the court before the 60 days pass. Second, if your husband cannot accept this sentence and would prefer to take the matter to trial, and if less than 30 days has passed since his sentencing, he can move to withdraw his plea under Rule 3.170(L) on the ground that he signed the plea agreement with the understanding that he would receive 208 days credit and therefore his plea was not made with an understanding of the consequences. It is entirely up to your husband to decide if this 85 day discrepancy is a deal-breaker, but he must move on this quickly.

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  • My fiance is 38 yrs old and was charged and convicted with lewd and lacivious acts on a minor 16 or younger. Now at that time he

    was 18 and the girl was 15. The sex was consinsual and the girl i mean "woman 35" has agreed to write a letter saying that the sex was really consinsual and was not forced. What does he have to do to get this horrific charge off of his record? I k...

    Bruce’s Answer

    If he does qualify under the "Romeo and Juliet" law to remove the sexual offender registration requirement, he would still not qualify for a sealing of his record because this is a sexual offense under Chapter 800, but he may want to apply for a restoration of civil rights with the Office of Executive Clemency in Tallahassee.

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