Lonker Law Group Blog
Jacksonville DUI, Divorce, Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Lawyer. Your Justice is our job.

What is involentary commitment?

by Whitney Lonker 27. May 2016 08:00

Image result for Mental health care center jacksonville floridaThe process of voluntary and involuntary commitment in Florida is laid out in the Baker Act also known as The Florida Mental Health Act.  This document lays out the rules and procedure of how people who appear to have a mental illness, present a danger to themselves or others and refuses a voluntary exam or is unable to comprehend the need for such an exam.  The Baker Act allows for family members or concerned friends of an individual to get them help if they will not get themselves mental health help.  After seventy-two hours in a state facility a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist determines if the individual is safe to be released or they file a petition to involuntarily commit them if they are deemed unsafe.  A hearing then takes place where the court determines if the individual needs to be involuntarily committed and if that is deemed necessary then a few different steps can be taken.  The patient could be sent to a State mental health treatment facility, or a short-term residential mental health facility. Initially they can be committed for up to six months which can be extended upon approval of additional hearings. Some counties in Florida also have Involuntary Outpatient Placement (IOP), which is a program which allows participants to not have to live in a facility but still give them the mental health help they require.  IOP is more difficult to be selected for than involuntary inpatient placement due to the list of requirements such as a history of noncompience and being deemed unlikey to be safe unless supervised, they must also have in the last thirty six months received at least two Baker Act involuntary exams; or received private mental health help; or have engaged in serious violent behavior or attempts at self-harm.  If you or anyone you know has any questions regarding involuntary or voluntary commitment please contact us at  904-868-5665 and we will be happy to assist you!




Concealed Carry Permit FAQs

by Whitney Lonker 26. May 2016 09:53

Image result for concealed carry gun permits Florida

The State of Florida allows for its qualified citizens, as defined in Florida State Statue 790.06, to conceal weapons including handguns, electronic weapons (stun guns), and knives.  The question regarding where a citizen who has a concealed carry permit can lawfully bring their weapon is one that comes up frequently.  No citizen or concealed carry permit holder can enter any State or Federally ran building including polling stations, public schools, government meetings, or career centers with a weapon. Buildings which sell alcohol for the purpose on consumption on the premises do not allow for the carry of concealed or non-concealed weapons in addition to any place where carrying firearms is deemed illegal by Federal Law.   So now that you know where you can and cannot bring a weapon, you'll want to know when you can lawfully use it to defend yourself.  A firearm in Florida is considered a deadly weapon, even if unloaded and pointed at someone, which means that any time you decide to take the weapon out you are using deadly force according to the State.  That being said Florida allows for the lawful use of deadly force when you are trying to protect yourself from serious injury or bodily harm and when trying to prevent a forcible felony such as rape, robbery, burglary or kidnapping.  If you are within your house or your place of business the "castle doctrine" allows one to use deadly force on an intruder.  A similar rule applies when you are in your vehicle in that "a person has no duty to retreat in their lawfully occupied vehicle against a person who was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering or had unlawfully and forcefully entered an occupied vehicle or had unlawfully and forcefully removed or was attempting to remove another against that person's will from the occupied vehicle."  The general rule is that if there is not reason to believe that your aggressor could not be stopped by any other form of deterrence other than deadly force then deadly force cannot be lawfully used.  You must also feel as though unless deadly force is used that aggressor would inflict serious bodily harm or use deadly force against you.  If you see another person in trouble you may use deadly force only if you put yourself in their shoes, and the previous rules for the use of deadly force are met.  This is only a more simplified discussion on concealed carry law and for more information the statute, Florida State Statute 790.06, is publicly available online.  If you have any questions regarding law on this subject or need a criminal defense lawyer for any reason, please call our office at 904-868-5665.  We will be happy to help you. 

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10, 20, LIFE Gun Law in Jacksonville, Florida

by Whitney Lonker 25. May 2016 15:42

 With all of the recent shootings in Jacksonville, Florida over the past years, I have had an opportunity to represent many clients on criminal defense aggravated assault charges as well as attempted murder charges.  I have found that many clients do not understand the 10, 20, LIFE rule in regards to guns.  So here it is in a nutshell:  If a person pulls a gun illegally on someone then it's an automatic 10 year minimum mandatory sentence in Florida.  If that person fires the weapon, it's a minimum 20 year mandatory sentence.  If the person hits someone with the bullet from the weapon then that person will be facing 25 years to LIFE minimum mandatory sentence in Florida State Prison.  The minimum mandatory sentencing guidelines are limiting for the courts in that the legislature takes the power of the Judge to sentence the defendant in any other way than the minimum mandatory guideline.  The State Attorney can agree to go below the minimum mandatory guidelines and/or amend the charge, but it is unlikely.  If you have a criminal law or criminal defense question and need a criminal defense lawyer, please call our office at 904-868-5665.  We will be happy to help you.

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