April 22, 2014

Court: DUI Blood Test Warrant Must be Substantive

Last spring, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Missouri v. McNeely that in all except for the rarest circumstances, police seeking to force you to submit a blood sample for the purpose of having it tested for its alcohol content must have a warrant.
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This was an important clarification in terms of ensuring the Fourth Amendment protections of the accused. However, our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys know that your rights don't end there. Any warrant that is issued has to have a strong basis in probable cause. Absent that, the search may be illegal and therefore any evidence suppressed.

This is what happened recently in Snell v. State, a case heard before the Wyoming Supreme Court. In reversing a lower court's findings, the state supreme court found that a police affidavit used to obtain a search warrant did not contain enough information to establish the necessary probable cause.

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April 14, 2014

Fighting for Reduced Restitution in Fort Lauderdale Criminal Cases

In some Fort Lauderdale felony defense cases, the defendant can be ordered to pay restitution and compensation to any victims who may be involved.
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In traffic cases, if you are or were an insured driver, depending on your policy, it's possible that your insurance company may cover your restitution costs. If you weren't insured or if the insurance won't cover that amount, you will be expected to pay it out-of-pocket. This is separate from any compensation you may be compelled to pay as part of any civil lawsuits brought against you by the victims.

Keep in mind that if you are found guilty in the criminal case, that information can be used against you in subsequent civil action. Another reason to invest in an experienced Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer.

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April 5, 2014

Poor Condition of Vehicle Can be Grounds for Traffic Stop

Historically, courts have given a broad leeway to police officers when it comes to traffic stops, often granting a greater weight to public safety than to the rights of the accused.

However, these powers are not limitless. If a police officer didn't at the very least have reasonable suspicion of a crime prior to initiating the traffic stop, Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers know that evidence gained thereafter is subject to suppression.
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Reasonable suspicion is defined in the 1968 case of Terry v. Ohio, and it holds that an officer has to be able to show specific and articulable facts which, when taken together with rational inferences, justify the intrusion.

This is a fairly broad definition, and police have a tendency to stretch it as far as they can. In some cases, when officers can't find fault with a person's driving, they may look to minor deficiencies in the vehicle as grounds to initiate the stop. This can be anything from a burned-out taillight to a dragging muffler.

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March 27, 2014

Florida SB 1118 Would Impose Stricter Standard for Drug DUI

Florida voters are on the verge of determining whether marijuana should be legal in this state for medicinal purposes, as so far 21 other states and D.C. have done.
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It's important to note that such a measure wouldn't make driving while intoxicated legally acceptable under any circumstances. This is why our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorneys are unclear about why state legislators felt it necessary to introduce Florida Senate Bill 1118.

If passed, this measure would result in substantial changes to the state's current DUI statutes, under FL Statute 316.193. The rewrites are extensive (and can be read here), but the crux of the issue is this: Police and prosecutors would no longer need to prove that a driver who consumed any federally-controlled substance was actually impaired by that substance. Rather, the measure would establish an arbitrary "metabolite DUI" provision. In these cases, prosecutors would only need to show that the drug was present in the driver's system prior to getting behind the wheel.

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March 22, 2014

Huff v. Reichert - Police Must Follow Rules in Traffic Stop

The law recognizes that in any traffic stop, the balance of power is skewed in favor of the police. This is why there are very specific legal protections in place for those who are the subject of these stops. driverglance1.jpg

When police fail to follow the rules, it could mean that whatever evidence was collected as a result must be suppressed, leaving prosecutors with little left to press forward in the case against you.

Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys have been successful in these cases in having the charges significantly reduced or even dismissed.

A recent case reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit illustrates why officers must follow the letter of the law. In Huff v. Reichert, the primary question was whether the officer had qualified immunity in a civil case alleging Constitutional violations for unreasonable search and seizure. The court's response? He did not, and the civil case against him could move forward.

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March 16, 2014

Broward DUI Defense: Marijuana Impairment a Growing Issue

Colorado, one of just two states in the country to approve the use and sale of marijuana for recreational purposes, also has one of the strictest drugged driving laws in the nation, holding that the presence of 0.5 nanograms of pot in one's system necessitates a DUI.
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The state's department of transportation has recently unrolled a series of advertisements aimed at discouraging driving while stoned. The primary message: "Get high, Get a DUI."

Our Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers recognize this approach as a bit misguided. Here in Florida, the drug remains illegal for any purpose, but voters will be given the opportunity in November to decide whether to green light medicinal marijuana, following in the path of 21 other states and the District of Columbia.

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March 10, 2014

Broward Criminal Defense Watch:Pleading to a Domestic Violence Charge No "Deal"

It's not unusual in Fort Lauderdale domestic violence cases for prosecutors to offer defendants a plea "deal."
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However, experienced criminal defense lawyers know that all too frequently, these offers are not advantageous to the accused - particularly when there may be grounds to have the charges significantly reduced or dismissed.

Prosecutors pose the offer as if it is one or the other: Plead guilty and take the "deal" or go to trial and face jail or prison time. Public defenders, who are often overworked and underpaid, may not have the time or resources to mount a viable defense. You may be urged to simply take the deal.

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February 23, 2014

Warrantless GPS Tracking - Police, Technology and Your Legal Rights

Nearly two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement’s installation and use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device is a “search” generally subject to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

But a federal appeals court recently decided that the failure of police to obtain a search warrant did not prevent the use of evidence obtained from the GPS tracking of a Ford Expedition used in the commission of several South Florida robberies.satellite-1389651-m.jpg

While the courts decide the precise rules regarding GPS tracking, understand that our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer has the experience to challenge the legality of every form of electronic surveillance used by law enforcement.

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February 16, 2014

Miami-Dade Murder Charges Tossed Under ‘Stand Your Ground’

A Florida appeals court has applied the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to throw out second-degree murder charges against a man who shot two other men outside an Opa-locka Chili’s in 2008.hand-cuffs-12754-m.jpg

The case exposes the trouble state judges are having in applying the controversial law, and emphasizes the need for experienced representation whenever a defendant claims that his use of deadly force was justified.

Although most people understand they have they have a right to defend themselves against a violent attack, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer understands what it takes to mount a defense in a Stand Your Ground case.

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February 6, 2014

False Domestic Violence, Child Abuse Allegations Can Mar Your Future

The Florida Department of Children and Families received a spate of calls regarding alleged abuse involving a father and his young son.
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Authorities dug deeper to learn the accused had recently been embroiled in a custody battle with his ex-wife over the son in question. Investigators found no evidence of abuse, and this resulted in three individuals - the ex-wife and two of her friends - being arrested for making a false report of child abuse.

Our Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorneys know that such outcomes are rare. In a great number of these cases, authorities are hasty in making arrests, for fear of being held liable in some way if they fail to act and something more serious occurs.

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February 5, 2014

South Florida DUI Arrest of Justin Bieber: What May Go Wrong, and Right, For the Star

Since pop singer Justin Bieber was arrested in South Florida for DUI recently, it has become apparent that there were some things that the singer did that may not work in his favor with regard to his criminal case. However, there are some things that his DUI defense lawyers will no doubt work to his advantage. sportscar.jpg
The case is relevant not so much because of Bieber is a relatable celebrity (many would argue the opposite) but because the situation resembles so many others involving young people arrested for DUI.

To start out with, we have these basic facts, as gleaned from the news media's reporting:

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January 30, 2014

Covington v. United States - Defending White Collar Crimes

An appellate court recently denied an appeal by a defendant in a white collar criminal case, following his conviction on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, theft from an organization receiving federal funds, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
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The denial of this appeal means the nine-year prison sentence for the former city official will stand.

Although many people who are convicted of white collar crimes are fairly well-educated, what our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers often find is that they don't recognize the severity of the crimes of which they are charged - particularly at the start of the investigation.

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