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Hiring a Bail Bondsman in Florida

August 2, 2017 • ryan

Bail Bond in Panama City, Florida

Are you looking for the best way to bail your friend or family member out of jail and find yourself confused?  You are not alone. It is at this time that it is most important to hire the best criminal defense attorney in the Panama City area to guide you through the process and secure a good bail bondsman that you can work with for a bail bond.

One of the first things that is going to happen after the arrest is for a judge to determine if a person can be released from jail and under what terms.  The judge will usually take into account the nature of the alleged offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the person who has been arrested.  After the judge determines the amount of the bail, you will need to decide if you are going to pay the full amount upfront (cash bond) or hire a bail bondsman and pay a surety bond.

If you decide to go with a surety bond, this can best be thought of as an insurance policy.   The bondsman will issue a bond for you, which is really just a promise to the court system that you (or the defendant) will appear for hearings. Once the bondsman issues the bond in the required amount you will be released from jail.  This means that the person will be released for less money up front and will remain free while their case makes its way through the legal system.  So what does the bail bondsman charge for this “insurance policy?”  In Florida, the bondsman may charge 10% of the total amount set for bail.  For example, if the bail is set at $5,000, you will pay a bail bondsman  $500 for the surety bond.  The $500 never comes back to you, that is the fee that a bondsman keeps.

Cash Bond vs. Surety Bond

When you decide to pay the entire amount upfront, you are posting a cash bond.  The full amount of the bond is paid in order for you to be released.  If you successfully comply with the terms of the bond, the full amount of the bond, minus court fees, will be returned to you.

If you are unable, or unwilling, to pay the entire amount upfront, you may decide to go with a surety bond.  A surety bond can best be thought of as purchasing an insurance policy.   The bondsman will issue a bond for you, which is really just a promise to the court system that you will successfully comply with the terms of the bond. Once the bondsman issues the bond in the required amount you will be released from jail.  This means that you will be released for less money up front and will remain free while your case makes its way through the legal system.  So what does the bail bondsman charge for this “insurance policy?”  In Florida, the bondsman may charge 10% of the total amount set for bail.  For example, if the bail is set at $5,000, you will pay a bail bondsman $500 for the surety bond.  The $500 never comes back to you, that is the fee that a bondsman keeps.

What happens if I don’t comply with the terms of the bond?

If you disappear and do not comply with the terms of the bond, several things will happen. The court will issue an arrest warrant for your appearance (also called a capias), and the bond will be considered in default. If the bond was set at $5,000 and you paid the entire $5,000 in a cash bond, the court will keep the entire amount and refund you nothing. If you hired a bail bondsman and were released on a surety bond, the bond company will have to pay the court the $5,000. The bonding company may now choose to sue you for their losses or you will lose the collateral that you secured the bond with. Finally, the bondsman may look for you to return you to jail.

Free Legal Advice from a Panama City Defense Attorney with over 17 Years Experience 

If you are in need of advice from a local criminal defense attorney in Northwest Florida with over 17 years experience, please give us a call now at (850) 257-5680.  We will be happy to arrange a free consultation in our office or over the phone to discuss your case and offer our assistance.
Categories: Criminal Defense, General
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FAQ with Panama City Defense Attorney Dana Morris

May 28, 2017 • ryan

Dana Morris, one of the most trusted and highly rated criminal defense lawyers in Panama City, Florida, answers some commonly asked legal questions:

 

1. As a criminal defense attorney, what is one common legal mistake that people make that you wish you could teach everyone?

     You do not have to give consent to a search of your vehicle by law enforcement.  Our 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.  In the absence of strong evidence (probable cause), police need your permission to perform a search of you or your property.   You may believe that if you tell an officer that he/she can search your car, the officer really won’t take you up on the offer.   Perhaps it’s just a bluff by the officer to see if you will act as though you have something to hide.   Please be advised, they are not bluffing.  Most of the time when this question is asked, officers do not have probable cause to conduct a search.  If they had it, they would be busy searching your car, not spending their time asking you for your consent.

2. Practicing law in Bay County, what is your favorite resource to point people to for legal questions?

     There is absolutely no substitute for legal advice provided by a lawyer practicing in the area of law in question.  However, more and more these days, the clerk of courts websites in their respective counties here in Florida have created a substantial online presence that is helpful for frequently asked questions related to legal terms and procedure.  The Bay County Clerk of Courts website can be found here.
 

3. What is one legal myth that you’ve heard of and would like to dispel?

     Myth?  That law enforcement must read you your Miranda rights in order for the arrest to be valid.  It’s not true!  The two circumstances that must come together for a citizen’s Miranda rights to be triggered are for someone to be placed into custody and for that person to be asked questions about the suspected criminal activity. An officer can ask you questions to establish an individual’s identity without Miranda being triggered.  If you are placed in custody and an officer asks you nothing, Miranda is not triggered.  Likewise, if an officer asks a lot of questions about the criminal activity suspected but does not place you in custody, Miranda is not triggered.  So, what constitutes custody?  Custody is generally defined as occurring when a reasonable person would believe that they were not free to leave the officer’s presence.  Being asked to sit in a patrol car uncuffed, being cuffed, or answering questions from an officer whose tone and body language is aggressive in nature, can constitute “custody” for purposes of triggering Miranda.    

Everyone has rights!  We at the Morris Law Firm in Panama City, Florida, can help you defend yours.  We offer free consultations to discuss the details of your case.  We will guide you through the legal process every step of the way.  We are available 24 hours a day, so call now if you need us, (850) 257-5680.
Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI
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A message from DUI attorney Dana Morris: “Everyone has rights.”

April 4, 2017 • Dana Morris

Dana Morris, a DUI defense lawyer at the Morris Law Firm, has handled hundreds of DUI arrests for his clients.

Dana Morris, a DUI defense lawyer at the Morris Law Firm, has handled hundreds of DUI arrests for his clients.  He works aggressively to try to obtain the best possible outcome for their charges.  Also, he stays on top of the changing laws and seeks to help his clients avoid many, if not all, of the crippling penalties that accompany a Florida criminal DUI conviction.

Although Mr. Morris cannot guarantee a particular outcome to a criminal case, it is beyond dispute that retaining a lawyer at the earliest possible opportunity after arrest often spells the difference between a long night and a life-altering one as a result of a Florida drunk driving arrest.

If you have been arrested, you need the help of an attorney.  Call now for a free consultation to discuss your case, (850) 257-5680.  We are available 24 hours a day, so call now if you need us.  “Everyone has Rights.”  We will help you defend yours.

Categories: General
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Spring Break Arrests on Panama City Beach, Florida

March 14, 2017 • Dana Morris

Panama City Beach, FL is enforcing the following “zero tolerance” ordinances during Spring Break 2017.

These are the 9 laws on Panama City Beach this Spring Break that you need to know:

1. During the month of March, no possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on the sandy beach of Panama City Beach so leave the alcohol in the room.

2. No possession or consumption of alcohol in commercial parking lots.

3. During the month of March, all alcohol sales on Panama City Beach end at 2 a.m.

4. No open house parties.

5. Parking in a closed business parking lot is not allowed.

6. Overnight scooter rental is not permitted.

7. It is illegal to climb, jump from or throw things from balconies of hotel or condominiums on Panama City Beach.

8. Parking is prohibited on unmarked or unpaved portions of the road after dark.

9. Metal shovels are not permitted on Panama City Beach, and any holes dug in the sand should not be deeper than 2 feet.

Dana Morris is a Panama City Beach Defense Attorney Who Will Help Defend Your Rights

Recently we were hired to defend some smart young ladies who were enjoying a drink on the sandy white beaches of Panama City Beach before they were arrested and taken to jail.  Before we were hired by their parents, the girls were just willing to plead guilty so they could get out of jail and get this behind them.  Thankfully, we were hired and provided legal counsel to them.  Consequently, now they don’t have a guilty plea on their record.  Furthermore, we can expunge the whole incident and remove it from their record.

Everyone has rights and we can help you defend yours.  A criminal defense attorney at The Morris Law Firm is available 24 hours, when you need us so call now for a free consultation.  (850) 257-5680.

Categories: General
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The Morris Law Firm has Moved!

March 8, 2017 • ryan

The Morris Law Firm has Moved!

We at the Morris Law Firm are proud to announce that we are expanding into a larger office at a great new location.  We are now located at the convenient location  of 400 W. 11th Street, Suite A, in downtown Panama City across from The News Herald.  We have greatly enjoyed our years in the Trustmark Bank building but we are looking forward to this exciting new phase in the growth of our firm.

ABOUT THE MORRIS LAW FIRM

Founded in 2014, The Morris Law Firm is a comprehensive criminal defense firm.  Based in Panama City, Florida, we serve much of the Northwest Florida area. Our firm aims to thoroughly understand the complexities of each of our client’s unique legal situations and work hard to defend their rights.  We are dedicated to working in our client’s best interests and are committed to maintaining open communication with our clients at all times.  We have found hard work and great communication pays off for our clients.  Results matter!  Our clients’ future matters!

Founder Dana Morris has been practicing law since 2000.  He has extensive experience as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney.  Give us a call to set up a free consultation or better yet, stop in to see our new office!  We’d love to see you.  (850) 257-5680.

Panama City Criminal Defense Lawyer Free Consultation

Free Consultation Law Firm Panama City, FL

Categories: General
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What are Opioids? What if I am caught with them without a prescription?

December 9, 2016 • Dana Morris

What are Opioids?

The most powerful prescription painkillers prescribed by a doctor are called opioids.  Opioids are opium-like compounds manufactured to react on the nervous system in the same way as drugs derived from the opium poppy, like heroin. Some of the most commonly abused opioid painkillers are oxycodone, hydrocodone, meperidine, hydromorphone and propoxyphene.

  • Oxycodone is sold under the brand names Percodan, Endodan, Roxiprin, Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet and OxyContin.
  • Hydrocodone brand names include Lorcet, Vicodin, Anexsia, Dicodid, Hycodan, Hycomine, Lortab, Norco, and Tussionex.
  • Meperidine is branded as Demerol, hydromorphone is sold as brand name Dilaudid and propoxyphene is sold with the brand name Darvon.

Opioids are classified as Schedule II controlled substances under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 802.).  A Schedule II drug is a prescription drug that has been found to be safe when used as prescribed but has a very high potential for abuse and significant risk of addiction. The federal government heavily regulates the manufacture, possession, and distribution of Schedule II drugs.  In addition to federal laws, Florida also has their own stringent drug laws under Florida Statutes Chapter 893 that also apply.

Selling vs. possession

Possession of opioids such as oxycodone or OxyContin without a valid prescription is a serious crime with harsh penalties. It is a third degree felony to possess less than four grams of Oxycodone without a valid prescription.

When a person is caught with oxycodone but not in the act of selling it, the prosecutor must prove that there was the intent to sell it in order to convict that person of the more serious crime.

Most drug trafficking charges arise in situations where the prosecution must rely on circumstantial evidence of the defendant’s intent to sell. This is because most defendants will deny that they intended to sell the drug and possessed it only for personal use (which carries a lesser penalty).

Circumstantial evidence of intent to sell a controlled substance includes:

  • amount of the drug in the defendant’s possession,
  • drug packaging such as plastic bags, scales or other paraphernalia indicating dealing, and
  • the presence of large amounts of cash (assumed to be from sales).

A person convicted of attempting or conspiring to sell oxycodone or OxyContin is subject to the same penalties as a person convicted of making an actual sale of the drug.

Sale or attempted sale near a school or other facility

Under the Controlled Substances Act, a person convicted of selling or attempting to sell oxycodone or OxyContin near a school, including a college, or other areas where young people may be present faces twice the maximum prison sentence, twice the maximum fine, and twice the term of supervised release.

A person is subject to the enhanced penalties if he or she is convicted of selling or attempting to sell the drug within:

  • 1,000 feet of a public or private elementary, secondary or vocational school
  • 1,000 feet of a public or private college, state college, junior college, or university
  • 1,000 feet of a playground, or public housing facility, or
  • 100 feet of a public or private youth center, or video arcade

How is Selling Oxycodone/OxyContin Punished?

Under federal sentencing guidelines,  someone convicted of selling or attempting to sell oxycodone or OxyContin faces five to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 to $5 million fine, or both. As previously stated, if the defendant is convicted of selling or attempting to sell the drug near a school or one of the other specified facilities, the penalty (both prison time and monetary fine) doubles. And, if anyone dies as a result of the drug sale (from overdose or otherwise), the defendant may face life in prison.

Categories: General
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Want a Guarantee that I’ll Win Your Case?

April 27, 2016 • Dana Morris

Would you hire me if I said, “I’ll win your criminal case, guaranteed”?

I have potential new clients call my criminal defense firm all the time. Sometimes they ask me, in no uncertain terms, if I can guarantee that I will win their criminal case and get their criminal charges dropped. An actual call can go something like this, “Mr. Morris, I’ve read the great reviews that other clients have posted about you.  I want to hire you if you can guarantee that you will win my case, too.”

Why can’t a criminal defense lawyer give a client a guarantee that he(she) will win his (her) criminal case?

Ok, there are several reasons. First of all, it’s illegal. Did you know that rules from the Florida Bar on ethics strictly prohibit a lawyer from making a guarantee as to any outcome in any criminal case? There are no guarantees as to any outcome for any criminal case. Lawyers who give a guarantee as to a result could get sanctioned, suspended or worse, disbarred. However, some unscrupulous lawyers give people guarantees as to an end result all the time.

Besides being illegal, it’s just plain wrong. Having handled thousands of criminal cases in Florida, I counsel my clients about possible ways to beat their cases and probable outcomes. This comes from years of experience, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, not from a crystal ball that allows me to see into the future.

Everyone wants a guarantee. But when we are working with an officer, a prosecutor, a judge and a jury, there simply are no guarantees on the outcome.

Here is a list of guarantees that I can make:

  • I guarantee to stay in touch with you as your case progresses. In fact, I strive to return all of my phone calls within one hour. When my day is packed with back-to-back court appearances, it may take longer than an hour, but I guarantee that I’ll call you back as soon as possible.
  • As your criminal defense attorney, I guarantee to work extremely hard and to stay focused on my top priority; to win your case and get you the best possible outcome for your charges.
  • As a father, I guarantee you that I will keep your child’s best interest foremost in my defense efforts.  I try to treat each client as if they were my own child and work as hard for them as I would for my own son and daughter.
  • I can also guarantee that if you don’t trust the lawyer that you hire, you’re not going to be happy. Trust your instincts; it’s important that you get along from the beginning.
  • I guarantee that any lawyer that gives you a guarantee as to an outcome in your criminal case is one that you should want to run, not walk, away from. Most likely, this same attorney will tell you anything you want to hear just to get your money. I’d rather not get your business than be dishonest with you.

If you’re looking for a lawyer that you can trust to work hard for you, guaranteed, I’m available 24/7, so call now, (850) 257-5680.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer in Panama City Beach, FL  Best Law Firm in Panama City, FL

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How to hire the best attorney in Panama City

March 21, 2016 • Dana Morris

“Who is the best attorney in Panama City to handle my case?”

If you have found yourself or a friend in legal trouble, I am sure you have wondered or asked others, maybe even Siri, this very question.  Perhaps you’ve even wanted the answers to similar questions like:

  • “Which lawyer gets the best results in Panama City, Florida?”
  • “How do I know which attorney to hire for my criminal case?”
  • “Who is the best attorney to call for a DUI in Panama City?”
  • “Which attorney should I call to get me out of the Panama City jail?”
  • “My son/daughter has been arrested, who is the best attorney to hire in Panama City, Florida?”

We suggest that you do your homework and check the results of the attorney(s) that you are considering.  In a time like this, you don’t want to leave the future of your defense to chance.  You want someone who will work hard to learn the details of your case and strongly defend you.  You want someone who will fight for your rights every step of the way.

Dana Morris is a Panama City criminal defense lawyer who others trust, too.

If you need to hire an attorney, a great place to start is by looking at the reviews that others have left.  A great review site I recommend is Yelp.  The Morris Law Firm has excellent reviews on Yelp.  I also suggest that you check out a firm’s Google+ page. The Morris Law Firm also has really great reviews on Google+ that can be found here. Lots of people share their experience  with lawyers on Facebook, too.  I encourage you to read our Facebook reviews to see what people are saying about the Morris Law Firm.

At the Morris Law Firm, Dana Morris goes the extra mile to make sure that he handles each of our client’s cases as if they were his own.  Don’t just take our word for it, check out what others have said about us.  Take the time to read the reviews and hire the attorney that you think will do the best job with your defense.

I’ll leave you with a great review that a mother recently left for us after we defended her daughter.  Reviews like this one and countless others mean the world to us. This truly is why we do what we do at the Morris Law Firm.  Results matter:

best-review-panama-city-attorney

Give us a call to talk to our attorney, (850) 257-5680.  We are available 24 hours a day, so can now if you need us.

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Questions asked of a Criminal Defense Attorney

March 10, 2016 • Dana Morris

New laws are in place on Panama City Beach this Spring Break leading to more arrests. If  your student has been arrested, you likely need answers to legal questions that you have never even thought of.

As a parent of a college students you probably have questions you are used to asking. Questions like:

  1. What is a typical workload of homework, papers, and tests in your classes?
  2. How much is tuition?
  3. How many credit hours will it take to graduate?
  4. What are some of the reasons students leave or transfer?

The best questions to ask a criminal defense attorney after an arrest are much different than the questions you are accustomed to asking.

Criminal Defense Attorney Dana Morris, at the Morris Law Firm, can counsel you through the entire legal process, from arrest to resolution, answering your questions and easing your confusion and fears.

Panama City criminal defense lawyer, Dana Morris, will help you answer questions like:

  1. What is pretrial diversion (PTD) and is my son/daughter eligible to receive that?
  2. What is a first appearance and when will my son/daughter receive one?
  3. Will you be present for first appearance if I hire you as our criminal defense attorney?
  4. How much is bail and how can I find a bail bondsman?
  5. When is an arraignment and what is it?
  6. Where is the jail and how will my son/daughter get home from there?
  7. How often will we have to travel back to Panama City for court dates or can this be avoided?
  8. How can we get the record sealed or expunged?
  9. What are your legal fees and do you charge by the hour or flat fee?
  10. Do you take payments or do we have to pay all up front?

Dana Morris has extensive experience in criminal law charges and has helped many students and parents in situations just like yours. Keep in mind that the sooner you hire an attorney after an arrest, the better.  

Call our office 24 hours a day at (850) 257-5680.

 

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Panama City Beach Prepares for Spring Break

February 4, 2016 • ryan

Well, it’s official; Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow and Captain Anderson’s Restaurant opened tonight. What does this mean for Spring Break on Panama City Beach?  Winter is coming to an end and Spring Break is upon us.

Spring Break certainly brings a lot of fun to our 27 miles of sugar white sands located right here in the Florida Panhandle. Some fun things to do while on Spring Break on Panama City Beach should include:

  • Parasailing
  • Pontoon Boat Rental for a Dolphin Tour
  • Jet Ski Rental
  • Shopping at Pier Park
  • Putt-Putt Golf
  • Shipwreck Island Water Park
  • Shell Island
  • Spring Break Concert Series
  • St. Andrew’s State Park

Sadly, Spring Break on Panama City Beach can also bring legal troubles.  Some of the most common Spring Break arrests on Panama City Beach include:

  • Possession of Alcohol by a Minor; Underage Drinking
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Public Intoxication
  • Traffic Tickets

Talk to a Panama City Beach Attorney Who’s Helped Students Just Like You

If you or your child gets pulled over, involved in a wreck or into a situation where the police are involved, our best initial advice is to stay calm, provide the basic information required, but make sure you contact a Panama City Beach attorney immediately to guide you through the legal process from arraignment to expungement, and every step along the way.  With over 15 years  of practicing law, we’ve helped a lot of Spring Break students avoid the serious consequences of a criminal record and get on with their lives.

If you are from out of town and are arrested and charged with these or other common Spring Break offenses, you may be able to “waive” your appearance at court in Panama City by having a Panama City Beach attorney appear on your behalf.  This means that you would not have to incur the expense and headache of traveling back and forth to Panama City Beach for many court appearances.  Contact an attorney at the Morris Law Firm right away, (850) 257-5680, to determine if you or your loved one may be eligible for this.

An attorney at the Morris Law Firm is available when you need us, 24 hours a day, so call (850) 257-5680 now.  

Panama-City-Beach-Attorney Spring-Break-LawyerDana Morris Panama City Criminal Defense Attorney

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