Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer John Contini offers just a little insight into how you might get some help if wrongfully charged with a crime:
I will just briefly and generally state the legal defense of “mere presence,” a defense that is available to you or your loved ones (along with the doctrine of “corpus delicti”) any time you or your family members are wrongfully accused of being involved in a crime — accused simply because you are right there next to all the contraband or evidence of the crime:
You cannot be convicted of a crime, unless the State first establishes the fact that a crime has, in fact, been committed, and that someone is responsible for the commission of that crime. Burks v. State, 613 So.2d 441 (Fla.1993), citing Ballentine’s Law Dictionary 276 (3rd Edition 1969); See also, Hodges v. State, 176 So.2d 91 (Fla.1965). See also, Jordan v. State, 560 So.2d 315, 318 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); (The State could not establish the “corpus delicti” without reliance on the defendant’s statements; when the only evidence comes from extrajudicial statements, the evidence is legally insufficient to establish all of the elements necessary to establish the charged offense.); See also, J.B. v. State, 689 So.2d 360 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997); (Corpus Delicti of offense must ordinarily be established independent of Defendant’s admissions).
This invokes the “mere presence” defense of being “merely present” along with culpable individuals “acting in an independent fashion,” evidence establishing, e.g., that the Defendant was merely present at the scene when the co-defendant trafficked in drugs, e.g., even with statements implicating the Defendant, etc. This is not sufficient to establish a conspiracy and may not be sufficient to establish that the Defendant was a principal in the crime. See Sheriff v. State, 780 So.2d 920, 921 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001).