While monster Hurricane Irma threatens the Florida peninsula after battering the Bahamas, Floridians everywhere are making plans either to evacuate or hunker down. Those who choose to stay (or are unable to leave) may have only one option from this Category 5 behemoth – a designated shelter. warrant defense

As our criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale understand it, one Florida sheriff has made the controversial decision to announce deputies would be checking IDs at the door, and not only would sexual offenders be denied access, but anyone with a warrant would be arrested on site.

The Polk County Sheriff announced days ahead of the storm that anyone who shows up at a hurricane shelter with an active warrant will be “escorted to the safe and secure shelter called Polk County Jail.” It should be noted the deputies have no way of knowing the underlying purpose of the warrant – whether it’s a violent felony offense or a non-violent misdemeanor.  Continue reading

In an explosive video that went viral recently, a Utah nurse is manhandled and arrested by a sheriff’s deputy, irate that the charge nurse refused to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient absent a warrant. He threatened her with charges like obstruction of justice. However, such charges won’t prevail when the officer’s initial directive was unlawful.

As our criminal DUI defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale well know, the nurse was absolutely in the right. As the nurse states correctly in the video, from a constitutional standpoint, a person’s blood is his or her property. Any non-consensual search or seizure of it is subject to approval from a judge in the form of a warrant, barring exigent circumstances. DUI defense attorney

In this case, no such circumstances existed because, first of all, the badly-burned, unconscious patient in question, a truck driver, was not suspected of any wrong-doing. In fact, he is believed to be the victim of a drunk driver who swerved into the trucker’s lane of traffic, causing the rig to burst into flames, resulting in serious injury to the trucker. (The suspected impaired driver died at the scene of the crash.) Continue reading

A number of recent criminal cases in South Florida have involved counterfeit checks.theft defense

Florida Statute F.S. 817.60(6) deals specifically with forgery of credit cards. Violation of this statute is punishable under F.S. 817.67, which classifies it as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

A strong criminal defense is required in these cases.  Continue reading

We all know the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans the right to own weapons. However, that freedom is not without restriction, and it’s important to understand how state law may restrict your rights. criminal defense

It’s common in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach for gun owners to keep their firearms in the vehicle.

You should know that keeping your firearm in your vehicle is as legal as keeping it in your house – so long as it isn’t concealed.  Continue reading

Recently, pro-golfer Tiger Woods agreed to plead guilty to reckless driving and enter a diversion program, in exchange for prosecutors dropping DUI charges against him. criminal defense

ESPN reports the Florida DUI arrest occurred after Woods was found sleeping in his sports car, allegedly under the influence of sleeping medication and painkillers. No alcohol was found in his system. Following the diversion program, he will have the opportunity to ask the judge to expunge the reckless driving conviction.

As our DUI defense attorneys can explain, this is a somewhat typical outcome in a case like this in cases where:

  • Defendant has no prior criminal record;
  • Defendant did not harm anyone or cause property damage;
  • Prosecutors may not have the strongest case (i.e., intoxication via drugs is tougher to prove than alcohol impairment);
  • One is represented by an experienced attorney.

Continue reading

A well-known South Florida sports caster was arrested for battery on an elderly person, identified as a 70-year-old man. It’s not clear whether the two are related, though defendant had been staying at the home where the elder man resides. criminal defense lawyer

The Palm Beach Post reports authorities were called to do a welfare check. Then an hour later, a woman called 911, identifying the NBA radio host and indicating he was beating an elderly man. Following his first court appearance, at which alleged victim stressed the judge he was not afraid of defendant, the court ordered a mental health evaluation before approving a pre-trial supervised release.

Although this case involves a high-profile defendant, it underscores the increasing incidence of cases filed under F.S. 784.08, assault and battery on an a person 65 or older. It also highlights the fact that not all domestic violence incidents occur between romantic partners or exes. Such crimes can result felony or misdemeanor consequences, depending on the details.  Continue reading

A South Florida man has been sentenced to nine years in prison on DUI manslaughter charges after accepting a plea deal to avoid harsher prison time after a fatal crash that claimed the life of an 85-year-old dentist.DUI defense lawyer

The Palm Beach Post reports defendant will have to serve at least six years in prison following his release from prison. The last-minute deal halted the impending trial, which could have resulted in defendant receiving up to 15 years in prison, per F.S. 316.193. DUI manslaughter in Florida carries a minimum mandatory penalty of four years in prison, with a maximum of 15 years. This maximum penalty could be increased if the individual also flees or tries to flee the scene. In that case, it’s considered a first-degree felony, carrying a maximum 30 years behind bars.

Having an experienced defense lawyer can help increase your odds of a favorable outcome – or at least minimize the chances of spending more than a decade behind bars.  Continue reading

A new Florida law signed by Governor Rick Scott takes aim at opioid trafficking and possession, imposing harsher penalties for those convicted of dealing and using pills, heroin, fentanyl and more. The measure, House Bill 477, enacts new mandatory minimum sentences for opioid users and dealers and establishes new bans on trafficking drugs that include synthetic marijuana and fentanyl.drug defense lawyer

The new law sets mandatory minimum sentences for convicted dealers, which will force judges to lock away drug offenders for extended periods of time with little opportunity for discretion.

All this is despite the growing realization that “tough-on-crime” drug laws simply do not work, and disproportionately affect poverty-stricken and minority communities. Meanwhile, the state will receive $27 million in federal grant money to help pay for its enforcement.  Continue reading

Fingerprint matching has long been considered a critical investigative tool. However, despite its longtime claims of being infallible, the practice started to fall out of favor over the last few years with emerging science indicating that finding a “match” on a fingerprint was more likely to indicate a concordant connection than one that is without a doubt identical. criminal defense lawyer

As noted in a 2014 study published in the journal Public Library of Science, examination of latent fingerprints is often a complex task, even with advanced image processing. In many cases, fingerprints gathered at crime scenes contain less information than those collected under controlled conditions. They can be distorted and might only contain part of the total fingerprint. So despite assertions that fingerprint analysis is “infallible” or has a “zero error rate,” there are many cases in which errors are found and we find that certain assertions of infallibility were implausible.

Despite this, police and prosecutors in South Florida are increasingly relying on fingerprint evidence and analysis in making their cases against criminal defendants in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas. Continue reading

A Boca Raton man was recently acquitted of a DUI manslaughter charge, though he is still facing up to 30 years in prison after jurors determined he fled the scene of that fatal crash. Initially, it was defendant’s girlfriend – not him – who was facing charges in connection for the death. However, police combed through hundreds of emails between the couple afterward, ascertaining that he had in fact been the one driving. criminal defense lawyer

This question of disputed fact involved compelling arguments made by both sides, according to The Sun Sentinel, and reveals why having a good defense lawyer at the outset is a smart move. Those emails were likely this defendant’s undoing – but they also helped clear the name of his now-ex girlfriend, who was initially charged. Understand that any communications about an alleged crime – whether via email, text, voicemail or social media – can and probably will be used against you in a court of law. It’s generally wise never to communicate anything you would not wish to be read aloud in a deposition. Your defense lawyer can counsel you on how to limit these communications and protect your chances at trial.  Continue reading