Monthly Archives: December 2012

Arrested Over the New Year?

During the transition into the New Year, most people spend extra time celebrating with friends and family. However, every New Year people tend to get carried away in their celebrations and face the risk of being arrested. Due to an increased tendency to behave irresponsibly during these festive times, arrests for DUI, trespass, disorderly conduct, and various alcohol related offenses tend to increase accordingly. It is important to remember to always be responsible during and after New Year’s celebrations, but also to be aware of your rights in the event that you are arrested.

When confronted by police, people often become nervous because they are unsure if they may be in violation of some ordinance or law. The difference between merely being detained by police and arrested creates different limitations to your rights. It is important to understand what you can do. Police may stop you, and it is not considered an arrest if you are just briefly detained.

A detainment occurs when an officer stops and questions a person of interest, generally for a shorter period of time, and requires less than “probable cause” to make a detainment. An officer can detain anyone if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person committed or was involved in any criminal activity.

In the event you are stopped for questioning, it is important to remain calm, be polite, keep your hands visible at all times, and do not attempt to flee. You do have the right to remain silent, however, it is best to identify yourself first and then notify the officer that you are exercising your right to silence.

If you are unsure of the situation, you can ask the officer why you have been detained and if you are under arrest. If at that time you are not under arrest, you have the right to leave. If the officer proceeds to arrest you, you have the right to speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney.

An arrest occurs only upon a determination of “probable cause”, this means the officer must have more than just a “suspicion”, the officer must have a “reasonable belief” that you committed a crime. Once the arrest is made, an officer can lawfully conduct a search incident to arrest of your person for weapons, evidence, and contraband. At this point, the officer can hold you in jail for up to 24 hours or until a warrant is issued for the charges.

Anytime you are stopped and arrested it is important to quickly consult a Criminal Attorney regarding your rights and advice on what you should do. If you have been arrested for a criminal offense, or even issued a citation for a traffic violation, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840 to schedule an appointment for a free 15 minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer. Think quick, call Blick!

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Juvenile Crimes in Florida

In Florida, persons under the age of 18 are considered minors and tried as juveniles for crimes they commit rather than as adults. The distinction in Florida, as in all states, is made to separate offenses perpetrated by those under a certain age determined as the age of majority. When a Juvenile is taken into custody, they may be placed temporarily in a secure detention facility while awaiting court disposition and can be confined for up to 21 days; in situations where a juvenile violates a court ordered sanction, they may be detained even longer. In certain cases, the court will sentence a juvenile as an adult depending on the severity of the crime committed.

In contrast to the objective to punish adults for their crimes, the state seeks to rehabilitate juveniles and prevent future misconduct. With the focus of juvenile justice set on rehabilitation, the courts seek to assist minors in functioning properly in a normal adult society. However, many juveniles face strict sentences for their crimes, and often times detainment of the juvenile can last for extended periods.

Many people expect juveniles to receive a slap on the wrist for their offenses, but courts often times attempt to deliver a strong message to youths in order to enforce a positive awareness of the consequences of their decisions.

If your minor child has been arrested for a crime and you have questions or concerns about their rights, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer.

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Holiday Legal Aid

With the Holidays winding down quickly and the New Year approaching, everyone is now returning to their daily routine. Spending time with family and celebrating the gift-giving Holiday provided a pleasant break from the rigors of daily life. While everyone looks forward to starting the New Year off right, it is important to consider that the burden of legal trouble can happen to anyone at any time; and knowing where to turn in the event you encounter legal problems is critical.

Blick Law Firm offers a wide array of legal services to help serve the public including Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Real Estate, and Bankruptcy; we also provide help in Family and Probate Law matters. As a result, our blog topics range from auto accidents to short sales.

Grounded in Christian values, Blick Law Firm strives to not only meet the legal needs of its clients and their families, but also to provide physical and emotional support. We treat each client equally and with the utmost respect; offering high-quality legal representation and counsel to those who need us most. We pride ourselves on our motto of Helping the Hurting, and reach out to the community in a variety of ways.

Our website provides useful information on our blog that may be helpful in addressing your legal concerns; additionally, we offer details about our services aimed at providing reassurance that your legal needs will be handled effectively. With over 25 years of knowledge and practice, including a broad range of trial and courtroom experience, we will work hard for you.

If you or a loved one have legal concerns and are seeking quality legal representation, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer. Think quick, call Blick.

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Holiday Safety Tips

It is important to remember that injuries can occur anywhere; and during the holidays many people fail to take adequate safety measures to prevent injury. With the Christmas holiday approaching and a growing influx of travelers, a steady trend of increased traffic on Tampa roads continues to create safety concerns. In an effort to encourage safety, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges that people help ensure their own safety while traveling. Remember to always keep in mind the following:

  • Don’t drink and drive; and don’t allow other to drink and drive.
  • Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
  • Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age.

Furthermore, note that most residential fires occur during the winter months, so keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended; and don’t use generators, grills, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage.

If you or a loved are injured over the holidays and need legal advice, call Blick Law Firm today @ (813) 931-0840. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer.

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Short Sale: an alternative to foreclosure

Over the holidays Federal Mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agreed to hold off on foreclosure evictions of families until after the New Year. The response to this moratorium on foreclosure evictions has been mixed as protestor’s have gathered to denounce the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s fruitless efforts to delay the inevitable.

Homeowners are often unsure of what options are available when they reach financial hardship and are faced with foreclosure. A short sale can be a helpful tool when trying to alleviate the burden of a looming foreclosure.

A short sale is an agreement by a mortgage lender to sell property for an amount lower than the balance owed in order to relieve the buyer of the mortgage obligation.  Depending on the negotiated amount of the sale and the timeliness of past mortgage payments, a short sale may help avoid the huge hit to your credit score that foreclosure causes. Additionally, short sale participants can later purchase a home in a shorter time than those who foreclose on their property.

A short sale can be completed by finding a buyer to purchase the home who is willing to pay current market value, and having the mortgage provider agree to the sale. Any shortage after the sale will then either be written off by the lender and an IRS 1099 is issued to the seller, or a deficiency remains which the lender may pursue to collect against the seller.

The short sale process can be complicated, and the lender may not be willing to negotiate. It is important to know that a real estate attorney can help negotiate the sale and terms with the mortgage lender and provide you peace of mind that your sale is being handled by an accountable professional.

If you have legal questions regarding your short sale or you are considering your options, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840 to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer.

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Foreclosure Problem Continues to Grow

Florida now leads the nation in home foreclosure rate for the third month in a row in December. Florida’s rate is more than double the national rate, and this report confirms that Florida continues to struggle to recover from the recent housing crisis. Though indicators suggest that the housing market is improving, foreclosure still appears to be a significant problem in Florida and is continuing to increase in number.

Foreclosure is the process by which a lender attempts to recover the unpaid balance of a loan after the borrower discontinues payments. Foreclosure allows the lender to force a sale of the home in order to satisfy the remaining balance of the loan.

In Florida, if you have received a foreclosure summons complaint, you have 20 days to answer in order to avoid a default judgment being issued against you. Once your home is threatened by foreclosure, it is important to seek legal advice and explore what options may be available.

Some valid defenses to foreclosure may include:

  • Ownership.  Mortgages are sold every day.  The bank suing must prove that the original mortgage was properly sold, transferred or assigned and that they are the rightful owner of the original note.
  • Lack of Written Notice.  Proper written notice of a default and a 30-day opportunity to cure before filing a foreclosure lawsuit must be received by the homeowner.
  • Incorrect amount owed.  Banks routinely miscalculate the amounts owed on a note and mortgage.

If you are facing foreclosure, it is important to consult a real estate attorney who can offer you peace of mind that your potential foreclosure is being defended by an accountable professional.

Foreclosure continues to be a growing problem in Florida, and if it happens to you, the worst thing to do is ignore it. Call Blick Law Firm today @ 813-931-0840. Schedule an appointment for a free 15 minute consultation with Attorney Michael Blickensderfer to see what your legal rights are in defending a foreclosure action.

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