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Aslam v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

November 6, 2019

ARSLAN ASLAM, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Ernest A. Kollra, Judge; L.T. Case No. 163349 CF10A.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and J. Woodson Isom, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Jessenia J. Concepcion, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

         On Remand from the Supreme Court of Florida

          MAY, J.

         We review this case upon remand from the Supreme Court of Florida following its decision in Born-Suniaga v. State, 256 So.3d 783 (Fla. 2018). Because the supreme court changed the law on speedy trial in Born-Suniaga, and we have for review an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, we again affirm.

         While driving, the defendant hit a pedestrian crossing the street. He left the scene in a panic, but later called the police to report the accident. The police issued a notice to appear and did not arrest the defendant.

         Pursuant to the notice, the defendant appeared in court in December 2015, but no hearing took place. In March 2016, the State filed an information under seal charging the defendant with leaving the scene of a crash resulting in injury. The clerk's office issued, but the State did not serve, a capias for the defendant's arrest.

         In November 2016, defense counsel filed a notice of appearance and a notice of expiration of time for speedy trial. The trial court heard the speedy trial issue two days later and set the trial six days after that, within the ten-day recapture period.

         When the defendant appeared for trial, the trial court immediately granted an ore tenus motion to unseal the information. Defense counsel informed the court that there was a defect in the information because it listed the incorrect statute number for the crime charged. The cited subsection defined "serious bodily injury," rather than the crime of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury.

         Counsel argued that if the State amended the information to fix the error, his client would be entitled to an additional 24 hours before having to enter a plea. That additional time would take the case outside the recapture period and entitle him to a discharge. Nevertheless, the State orally amended the information. It argued that Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.140(m), which entitles the defendant to 24 hours before entering a plea, applies only if the information is so vague as to mislead the accused.

         The defendant responded that the amended information was a substantial change that prejudiced his defense because it changed the charge from a third to a second-degree felony, resulting in different punishment levels. He explained that he believed the State was proceeding under the theory that the accident resulted in a serious bodily injury, rather than a "leaving the scene" theory. Prior to entering a plea on the amended information, the defendant requested 24 hours under Rule 3.140(m).

         The trial court concluded that the amended information merely corrected a scrivener's error. It was not substantive, did not prejudice the defendant, and did not require the extra 24 hours under Rule 3.140(m). The court announced the trial would begin at 1:30 that afternoon.

         The defendant accepted the court's offer of two years' probation, entered a plea of no contest, and reserved his right to appeal. The court withheld adjudication and placed the defendant ...


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