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30 Aug
The National Sex Offenders Registry – What You Need to Know

The National Sex Offenders Registry – What You Need to Know

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Whether it is you or a loved one who is risk of landing on the National Sex Offenders Registry, you are likely to have many questions. Ending up on this list can tarnish your reputation, hinder your career and prevent you from living where you want to live – it is imperative that you seek a skilled sex crimes attorney. If you or someone you love have been falsely accused of a sex crime in the state of Florida, read ahead.

What is the National Sex Offenders Registry?

The National Sex Offenders Registry is a comprehensive system that has been designed in the US to help law enforcement and other government agencies to keep track of the activities (including location of residence) of those who have been convicted of certain sexually motivated crimes. This includes individuals who have completed their criminal sentences, and in most cases will be applicable for their entire lives.

While this is a Federal database, each state is responsible for setting their own requirements and rules about who ends up on the registry, and what that will mean for their lives. In most states, registered sex offenders will be held to additional restrictions on their parole that do not apply to other parolees. These can include restrictions about being in the presence of minors, access to computers and the internet, living in the proximity of a school or childcare facility and consumption of alcohol.

Who is on the National Sexual Offenders Registry?

As a general rule, individuals who have been convicted of sexually violent behaviour (including rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure, sexually motivated stalking, incest and molestation) are included on the registry.

How long do people remain on the Registry?

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006 (SORNA) set forth guidelines about how long individuals are required to stay listed on the registry. In Florida, this has been implemented, and individuals stay on the registry for lengths of time that are based on the type of crime committed, the severity of the crime and whether children were involved.

What information is an individual required to provide?

While each different state has different requirements about the information that must be available on the National Sex Offender Registry, there are some things that are required for all sex offenders.

• Names and any aliases used in the past
• A detailed physical description and current photograph
• A description of the registration offense and a criminal history
• Social security number
• Any internet names used and email addresses
• Employer name and address
• Telephone numbers
• Vehicle information
• Residence information
• Temporary residence information (in order to prevent offenders from recommitting crimes while travelling away from their primary residence, they must also include information about their travel plans and addresses of hotels etc)
• All travel and immigration documents
• Professional licenses
• School information
• Birth date
• Finger prints, palm prints and DNA
• Driver’s license or state identification card

If you are facing a charge that could land you on the National Sex Offenders Registry, you need expert legal representation. Contact the team at Grozinger Law today for a free consultation about your case.

09 Aug
Penalties for First-Degree and Aggravated Murder

Penalties for First-Degree and Aggravated Murder

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If you have been accused and/or charged with first degree murder (sometimes referred to capital murder) in the state of Florida, you are likely curious about the penalties and punishments for the crimes. Read ahead for valuable information that could affect you and your loved ones.

Remember - before you start worrying about the potential threats you are facing, ensure that you have expert representation by a criminal attorney experienced in first degree murder cases tried in Florida courtrooms.

What is first degree murder?

First degree murder is the most serious level of homicide, and is often regarded as the crime most likely to be punished with harsh sentences. This crime involves the premeditated and wilful killing of a victim (or victims) by a perpetrator who planned their attack and perhaps even lay in wait. These factors make first degree murder very different from manslaughter.

What are aggravating factors?

When considering your verdict and sentence, a judge will carefully assess all of the mitigating and/ or aggravating factors that occurred during or led to the crime in question. These vary dramatically state by state, but in Florida the aggravating factors (also known as felonies) are as listed below:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Distribution of hard drugs, such as cocaine and opium
  • Felony acts of terrorism
  • The murder was commissioned by another individual (i.e. ‘murder for hire’)
  • Arson or the attempt of arson
  • Sexual battery (sexual assault or rape)
  • Robbery (or a home invasion robbery)
  • Aircraft piracy
  • Kidnapping of a child or adult
  • Aggravated abuse of a child, elderly person, or of a disabled adult
  • Escaping incarceration
  • Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb
  • Carjacking (stealing a car while someone else is inside driving)
  • Burglary
  • Gang activity
  • Aggravated stalking
  • Resisting an officer and causing violence to his or her person

These are all very serious crimes, and will likely cause you to be sentenced more harshly.

Life Sentences and the Death Penalty

The state of Florida is one of 31 states in the USA that still allow the death penalty as a punishment for first degree murder (along with the federal government at the US Armed Forces). This punishment is meted out carefully, and is generally used only for the most serious crimes.

In Florida, you must have committed one of the above aggravating felonies listed above to be a candidate for capital punishment. In addition to these factors, you can also be executed for your crime if:

  • It was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.
  • It was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretence of moral or legal justification.

Mitigating factors

If you are eligible for capital punishment, the judge will also take several mitigating factors into consideration before determining your sentence. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Your age
  • Your mental capacity
  • Whether another person was equally responsible
  • Whether you committed the crime under duress
  • Whether you had any prior convictions for serious crimes
  • Whether your played a minor or major role in the crime

If any of these apply, you are likely to be sentenced instead to life in prison without parole. As you can see, it is very important that you seek the finest counsel possible. Contact the expert team at Grozinger Law, P.A.

01 Jul
Differences Between Murder and Manslaughter

Differences Between Murder and Manslaughter

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In the criminal justice world, there are a lot of terms that are often confused with one another. It’s common for these terms to be used interchangeably when they actually have specific differences that can dramatically affect the potential outcome of a case. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is an example of this that we see quite often. Both are incredibly severe criminal charges that can drastically affect your future; however there are unique differences that you should be aware of so that you know more specifically what charges you’re facing.

Murder

The State of Florida defines murder as an individual killing another person, whether premeditated or not. In the case of a premeditated murder, there is evidence to suggest that you willingly knew of your plan to kill another, and that you enacted this plan. However, it’s also possible for you to be charged for murder, more specifically felony murder, if you’re found having killed another while in the act of committing another crime. There is no level of forethought here to the killing, yet your criminal actions did result in another person losing their life. These crimes differ slightly from manslaughter because of the intent behind the death.

Manslaughter

Since we’ve already established that murder is either premeditated or the result of committing another criminal offense, then you may be wondering what manslaughter is exactly. This occurs when there is either gross negligence on your part that results in someone’s death, or the accidental killing of another. Typically we see manslaughter cases involving vehicles, where you are either found driving drunk or erratically, resulting in either hitting a pedestrian or getting into an accident with another vehicle wherein the result is the death of another. In accidental cases, you may have done something not inherently criminal yet another person paid for your mistakes; this too is considered manslaughter.

The critical difference between these two is intent. While it’s possible to accidentally murder someone, it’s whether or not you planned to commit a crime, or you simply were doing something that was dangerous but resulted in someone else’s death. Traditionally, murder is considered the more severe crime of the two because there is a level of forethought and premeditation. Manslaughter still carries with it serious penalties that can drastically affect your future, so it’s not to be taken lightly. If you or a loved one is facing either charge, then it’s imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney, someone who is both aggressive and able to work through all potential conflicts that may arise.

At Grozinger Law, P.A., we will fight for you to protect your legal rights. There are defenses that we can employ because we have years of experience dealing with cases similar to yours. You don’t have to do this alone, and we will be there every step of the way with you. Not only is it our aim to reduce and potentially remove your charges, but it’s our goal to keep you happy and out of jail. Contact us today to see how we can best help you.

23 May
Bail 101 – What You Need to Know

Bail 101 – What You Need to Know

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Any time a criminal suspect is arrested and taken into police custody, a certain set of procedures must be followed. Once the suspect is processed and booked, their eligibility for release is assessed, and their release might be secured in exchanged for putting up a set amount of funds, referred to as bail money.

What is bail?

Bail is a set amount of money (or property) that is deposited and held by the court in order to ensure that the accused will return to court when they are told to do so. If the defendant does indeed return when required, the bail money is returned at the end of the trial, even in the instance that they are convicted of the crime. With that said, if the defendant does not return to court when required, or if they violate their bail conditions in any way the bail money is forfeited, and will not be returned. Your law firm can help to understand when and where you are required to attend court in order to prevent this from happening.

Being released through one’s own recognizance

Bail is not always set as a condition of being released. In some cases, a suspect might be released under their own recognizance, as long as they promise to appear in court at a later date and time. Whether or not an individual is eligible to be released on his or her own recognizance depends on a wide array of factors such as a previous criminal record, severity of the crime, employment history and family life, but will ultimately depend on the judgement of the officials involved.

The booking process

Here is what you can expect from the booking process, as it usually involves these steps in this order.

  • Your personal information will be collected (name, date of birth, relevant physical characteristics)
  • Information and details about your alleged crimes
  • A search will be performed about your criminal background
  • You will be fingerprinted, photographed and searched
  • Your personal items will be confiscated and kept in safekeeping
  • You will be placed in a cell

How does an individual post bail?

In order to get out of jail before your trial, you can usually post bail by paying the set amount by cash or check. If this is not possible for financial reasons or personal preference, you can post bail in the following ways.

  • You can sign over ownership rights to property that has a cash value equal or greater to your bail amount.
  • Acquiring a bond (a promise to pay the full amount if you do not appear when required) from a licensed bail bondsman for the full amount of your bail money. This bond usually costs 10 % of the cost of the bail money.

No matter what, if you have been arrested and released on bail in Orlando, you need to select the best criminal defense lawyer for your needs. The skilled criminal defense team at Grozinger Law P.A. is here to help – call or email us today.

02 May
What is Perjury?

What is Perjury?

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If you’re facing time in court because of a crime that you were accused of, then you want it to be as smooth a process as possible. In other words, you want to avoid perjuring yourself in whatever way possible. It’s commonly thought that perjury and lying are synonymous terms; that in a court of law it is a crime to lie. While there are many similarities, there are some key differences.

If you are facing perjury charges, contact us at Grozinger Law, P.A.

We are here to help you. 407-730-3085

Critical Distinction of Perjury

According the U.S. Code, a person perjures themselves if they do any or all of the following:

  • A person has taken an oath before an officer, another person, or a tribunal
  • In any case where the law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered
  • A person will testify, depose, declare, or certify truly or in any written form as well
  • Lastly, that this person willingly goes against the oath statements or provides material that he/she believes to be untrue

The reason that there exists a distinction is that there is an oath present in the case of perjury. By swearing an oath in a court of law, and then proceeding to break said oath, you are going beyond the traditional concept of lying. An example may be that the person testifying omits necessary information for the purposes of earning a desired verdict. If you leave out information that is not pertinent however, and are still charged, there is likely an unjustified charge.

Possible Penalties for Perjury

Should you be found guilty of this charge, you are looking at a few different circumstances for punishment. Typically there is always a fine of sorts, which varies depending on the severity of the crime. Prison terms of up to five years may also be issued, and it’s possible that you may get both.

In order to be convicted of perjury, you will have to go through the same process like all other crimes. An attorney claiming that you perjured is not enough, and you must be formally charged.

Hiring the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer

Regardless of the severity of your case, if you’re facing charges of perjury, it’s important that you seek out a local law firm, one that has the experience and knowledge necessary to get you the verdict that you desire. At Grozinger Law, P.A., you will have the best attorneys on your side, who will fight to keep your future from being tarnished. Not only can we aid in your perjury case, but we can help you in whatever legal matter you’re facing. Contact our offices today and see how we can help you; you don’t have to do it alone.

14 Apr
Exploring the Rise in Uninsured Motorist Accidents and Your Coverage

Exploring the Rise in Uninsured Motorist Accidents and Your Coverage

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Estimates indicate that one out of every seven drivers in the US is currently operating a motor vehicle without having insurance coverage in place at all. These individuals consistently drive without caring about whether they have insurance or not. Because of this, you might want to review your current coverage to determine if you are going to end up receiving everything you are entitled to after being in an accident with one of these individuals without insurance.

Failing to Drive Without Insurance is Costly for the Injured

With the economy being what it is, countless people in the country make the decision to drive without insurance in place. They figure they cannot afford it, so they can go without it. They might start off with coverage, but they end up not making the payments and the coverage lapses. So, what happens to you in the event you happen to be in an accident with one of these individuals? The answer is actually quite simple, provided that you have uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy and guidance from an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney.

Here is what you need to do:

  • If that is the case, you just need to file a claim with your insurance company, get a copy of the police report and proof of what happened on the date in question.
  • You will need to show that the other party did not have coverage in place when the accident occurred.
  • You have to submit a claim for any past and future medical expenses and any damages that you would have claimed against the other party.

The process is going to vary based on where you live, but most have the same basic practices.

Knowing the Rules of Your Jurisdiction

Based on certain state laws, auto insurance policies issued have to have coverage on them for uninsured motorists that equals the limits of any other types of clams. The only exception is if this coverage is waived when you get your insurance policy. It is best to speak with an Arizona accident lawyer to find out if this applies to you. Not all states have the same requirements, so you would want to verify this information when getting a new policy. You do not want to wait until an accident occurs to find out.

Follow these simple tips:

  • After this information is verified, you will want to get a copy of the police report.
  • The DMV will need a copy of the accident report.
  • You will also have to fill out a request for proof of financial responsibility.
  • If the DMV sends this information back that shows neither the vehicle nor the driver had insurance in place, that is all the proof you need to file for an uninsured motorist claim.

Make Sure You Submit Medical Records for Your Claim

After going through all of your medical treatment, you will need to submit any medical bills, records and reports that show how much your past treatment cost and what you can expect to pay in the future. You will also want to request a settlement for your claim that includes such things as damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress and lifestyle disruptions. If you and your insurance company are not able to come up with an agreed amount for the settlement, you will have no other option than to demand arbitration.

Going Through Litigation

Some states do allow litigation for these claims. In Arizona, there is a mandatory arbitration provision. You would have to conduct a discovery phase that is going to include such things as an interrogatory, oral deposition and any requests for documentation from one another. There might also be a medical exam at this point in time to make sure that all of your injuries can be verified.

After you have gone through the discovery process, you would continue arbitrating the claim. This is quite similar to a trial in that your evidence is presented, testimony is given and witnesses are called into question. The process ends with a decision being issued by the judge. They will determine whether they are going to grant you an award and how much that award is going to be for.

Knowing How Much You Are Going to Get

According to Arizona law, the judgement can be offset by any payments received from collateral sources like an insurance policy that paid out a small amount to the other party. Once the award has been issued, the insurance company will often end up paying out the amount awarded even though they have the power to correct the total award amount. Most cases are able to be settled before going through the whole arbitration process.

Uninsured motorist claims often result in settlements or awards that exceed beyond what you could get if the other party had insurance and they were the one at fault for the accident. Because of this, you want to make sure you have uninsured motorist coverage in place at the highest amount possible for your situation. Review your policy in full to make sure you are getting what you need.

29 Mar
Differences between Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies

Differences between Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies

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So you’ve committed a crime and are now being charged; it’s guaranteed that it’s going to be classified as an infraction, misdemeanor, or a felony. What determines that is the severity of the crime you committed. Typically the more serious the charge, the punishment follows suit. If you’re facing any level of charge, it’s imperative that you have the best representation available. With a skilled criminal defense attorney at your side, you may be able to avoid those punishments.

Infractions

Violating the law, while easy to define, has a lot of variables involved. In the case where your actions result in an infraction, you may not even be committing a crime. Typically, cases involving traffic violations fall into this category, because they’re not “crimes” in the true sense, but they do disobey the law. Punishments for these are traditionally tickets or citations, but that doesn’t mean they don’t set you back. A speeding ticket is an unexpected expense, so why would you just accept it and move on? Finding someone who can fight for you and get that ticket waived could put that money right back into your pocket. Every case can be fought, even the smaller ones.

Misdemeanors

This is the middle rung in the ladder of crime. While infractions may seem like slaps on the wrist, a misdemeanor can seriously affect your life. You may face severe fines, reputation damage, and possibly jail time. These crimes don’t follow you on your record, but they may still have a social implication for you. Misdemeanor penalties are always served on a local level rather than a state or federal level, but you still want to avoid them whenever possible. There’s always a defense to a crime, so if you’re looking at misdemeanor charges, it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Felonies

The granddaddy of them all, the most serious type of crime you could commit. Every state views them differently, and every crime can carry with it different punishments. It’s almost standard that any felony carries with it at least one year in prison, and you may very well have to serve your time in either a state or federal prison. There are a lot of aspects to be mindful of when facing a felony charge and you’re always granted an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford it. The reason for this is because the circumstances surrounding the case are never cut and dry, and there are far too many variables to pay attention to.

Regardless of which level of charge you’re facing, an attorney should be by your side to help you get the best, and avoid any damaging punishments. For many of these, your future is on the line as well as everything else, and you don’t want to have that in jeopardy. You are important, and deserve the best that you can get. At Grozinger Law, P.A., it’s our aim to bring you everything you desire, and get you back to your life, rather than facing punishments for a lifetime.

30 Dec
5 Tips for Selecting the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orlando

5 Tips for Selecting the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Orlando

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Choosing a criminal defense lawyer can be an overwhelming experience – how do you know that you have made the best choice? If you find yourself in need of a criminal defense lawyer in the Orlando area, you already know that you have hundreds of options to choose from.

So how do you know who is the best fit for you and your particular needs? This selection process could be the single most important decision you ever make in your life – after all, your criminal defense attorney could be the only thing standing between you and a lengthy jail term, a massive fine or even worse.

If you are currently looking for the best Orlando criminal defense lawyer, here are five tips that can simplify this process and help you to choose the best representation for your specific case.

  1. Determine the area of criminal law applicable to your case – Are you being charged with assault? Tax evasion or fraud? Breaking and entering? Drug possession charges? Each of these areas demands a lawyer who specializes in the particular area of law that fits your current situation.
  2. Search for an Orlando area lawyer who has the expertise you need – Make sure that you assess their biographical information, including their own website, but also on legal review sites and the sites belonging to applicable local legal organizations.
  3. Ask your friends and family for a recommendation – Does anyone you know have experience going through the criminal defense system in the same (or a similar) area? Ask your friends and family members if they can recommend a lawyer – a personal endorsement is worth a million web reviews.
  4. Arrange a meeting with your short list – Once you have narrowed down your selection to just a few Orlando lawyers, you should arrange to briefly meet with them to determine who you get along with the best. How is their customer service in person? Does their office feel welcoming and inviting? Do you think that they understand your personal needs enough in order to be able to represent you effectively? These are all important considerations when hiring your criminal defense lawyer.
  5. Consult your state bar association – As a final step before you sign any paperwork and officially hire your representation, you should always consult your state bar association in order to confirm that the criminal defense lawyer is in good standing and has no past or current complaints lodged against them. As a final safe guard, this will help you to prevent hiring a lawyer that does not have your best interests at heart.

Once you have gone through these five steps you can be assured that you have chosen the best lawyer for your specific needs. We wish you the best of luck in your upcoming case – and know that your odds are even better now that you have selected the best lawyer possible.

21 Dec
Holiday DUI Task Force and the need for a Peoria DUI Lawyer

Holiday DUI Task Force and the need for a Peoria DUI Lawyer

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Guest Article by: Attorney David Michael Cantor with The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor.

In Arizona, 16 DUI task forces are routinely deployed across the state. Many of the deployments coincide with holidays, and the Thanksgiving to New Year season is around the corner. So is the Peoria DUI saturation patrol. Over the Labor Day weekend alone, local law enforcement task forces made more than 300 DUI arrests, many of which were charged as extreme DUI with blood alcohol contents in excess of .15. Far more arrests are expected over the holiday season. Peoria DUI police participate in one of the strictest DUI task forces in the country. Given the effectiveness and efficiency of Arizona Task Forces, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's handbook relies heavily on the saturation patrols that the Peoria DUI Task Force participates in. On the flip side of the spectrum, an aggressive Peoria DUI Lawyer with a strong DUI defense strategy is always a good resource to have for those that find themselves face to face with an officer inquiring if that person has had any alcohol to drink.

Saturation Patrols

Saturation patrols are legal in all 50 states. They rely heavily on the deployment of highly visible police officers to specific areas during specific hours to arrest drunk or impaired drivers. Other drivers on the road realize that with the number of police enforcement out there, it's highly likely that they are going to get arrested if they drink and drive. Erratic driving or the most minor traffic infraction will be subject as probable cause for a traffic stop. Saturation patrols can even be more effective than DUI checkpoints as they can stop repeat drunken or impaired drivers who often circumvent the checkpoints. A neighboring city of Peoria recently took possession of three new unmarked SUVs. They could be used to arrest drunk drivers who attempt to evade checkpoints.

Task Force Coordination

Two decades of experience in the Peoria DUI task force have refined the process involved in saturation patrols. A command post is established that all participating law enforcement agencies can use. They usually consist of large vans or converted motor homes that are conspicuously parked in a central location. They serve as operation and processing units. If a driver refuses to submit to blood alcohol or drug testing, a judge is on call to issue a search warrant and fax it back to the command post. Some police officers are even licensed phlebotomists who can draw blood then and there at the command post. This eliminates the necessity and inconvenience of having to transport a detainee to a hospital to have blood drawn, and it puts the officer who made the traffic stop back in the saturation patrol far more quickly.

DUI Checkpoints

The Peoria task force also participates in DUI checkpoints. These are temporary sites that law enforcement sets up to check drivers for any indicia of intoxication or impairment. Across Arizona, DUI checkpoints are set up at least once a month. They're usually established at intersections near large parking lots. Officers randomly stop vehicles for a quick license and paperwork check. This gives them an opportunity to view the driver's eyes, smell their breath and quickly scan the interior of the vehicle for anything illegal that might be in plain view. Should the officer have a reasonable belief that the driver might be intoxicated or impaired, a DUI investigation begins. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints are legal so long as the stops are random and the date, location, and time of the roadblock is publicized ahead of time.

The DUI Investigation

If an officer has a reasonable belief that you're under the influence of alcohol and/or impaired by a drug, the usual protocol is to ask you to perform what are known as standard field sobriety tests. Since the law in Arizona doesn't require you to take field sobriety tests, politely refuse to take them. They're subjectively evaluated and focused for failure. Most people that don't drink or use drugs can't even pass field sobriety tests. You might think that the officer is ordering or commanding you to take the tests, but they're merely requesting that you do so with an authoritative voice. If you do choose to perform the tests, they may be audio and video recorded, so you're only giving the prosecutor's office more evidence to convict you with.

Blood Alcohol or Drug Testing 

Whether you take field sobriety tests or not, the officer that stopped you probably made the decision to test your blood for alcohol or drugs within seconds of the time you rolled your window down. The officer is authorized by law to take your driver's license on the spot. While your best bet is to request to speak with a lawyer (or view our Peoria DUI Lawyer Videos) before either submitting or denying to take the test, if you refuse testing, a search warrant can be obtained and blood can be forcibly taken from you for analysis. Refusal also results in a 12 month driver's license suspension. If you consent to testing, and your blood alcohol content is .08 or above, or you're impaired by drugs to the slightest degree, your license will be suspended for 90 days.

Conclusion

DUI law is highly complex. Your best chances of a positive outcome would be to retain a lawyer who focuses their practice on DUI defense, and see them long before your license suspension begins. Be aware of saturation patrols and DUI task forces over the holidays. The Peoria task force will be participating.

 

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At Grozinger Law we offer a free initial consultation, reasonable fees and flexible payment plans that includes service fees and expenses. 

Grozinger Law, P.A.
1217 East Robinson Street Suite B
Orlando, FL 32801

Office: 407-730-3085 | Fax: 407-730-3167
Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am-6:30pm 
Saturday-Sunday: 10:30am-6:30pm

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