Firearm charges – even misdemeanors – should be taken seriously in Florida. Conviction could have a lasting impact on one’s ability to drive, secure employment and possibly rent in certain locations. As Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers, we are committed to defending the rights of firearm owners who have found themselves facing gun and weapons charges.
A recent Florida transplant from Alabama was charged with several criminal misdemeanors after authorities reported he was driving while impaired with a loaded AR-15 on his lap. The Daily Mail reported the 20-year-old Clearwater resident was arrested for improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon (in violation of F.S. 790.10), drunk driving (in violation of F.S. 316.193). Continue reading
Entertainer Lil Wayne faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced next month after pleading guilty federal gun firearm charges. The Tampa Bay Times reports the 38-year-old rapper admitted during a virtual hearing in a Miami federal court to illegally carrying a gold-plated .45-caliber Glock and ammunition as a felon while traveling on a private jet last year.
Whether he’ll actually receive 10 years is speculation at this point, though our Fort Lauderdale gun possession defense lawyers suspect that his taking responsibility (under the careful advise of his defense attorney) may result in a lighter penalty. On the other hand, he’s already been convicted of a previous gun possession crime, so the judge may not be feeling charitable.
According to the Times, the artist was arrested in December 2019 after Miami police officers and federal agents, acting on an anonymous tip, searched the jet Wayne had been traveling on and found the firearm (which Lil Wayne explained had been a Father’s Day gift), as well as ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, painkillers, prescription-strength cough syrup (i.e., “Purple Drank”) and tens of thousands of dollars in cash. He was not arrested on drug charges, nor was he accused of using or brandishing the gun in any way. The problem was a prior felony conviction that renders his possession of it unlawful. It doesn’t help that in the interim, he has also previously pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Continue reading
Recently, a Florida woman was arrested for DUI manslaughter and child neglect after she allegedly crashed her SUV with four children and another adult in the car. One child, her 3-year-old daughter, died.
Although this is a profound loss this mother will grieve the rest of her life, the law does not allow for this alone to be “punishment enough.” Per F.S. 316.193, DUI manslaughter is a second-degree felony charge that carries a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
Most DUI arrests, even those that involve crashes, do not involve deaths. However, courts in Florida take very seriously DUI cases involving minor passengers under 18, even if no one was hurt. Continue reading
If you’re searching for a great criminal defense lawyer, chances are you’re not in a great situation. That can make the process even more stressful. There are numerous important factors you need to consider, and it’s a good idea to make a checklist before reaching out to anyone.
The very basic checklist is to find a defense lawyer who is licensed to practice in Florida, has the qualities you’re seeking and can offer the attention to your case that it requires. Doing a little research can go a long way. Continue reading
As a Broward defense attorney, I generally advise people never to talk to police without a lawyer present. This is true whether you’re innocent or not. Even those who don’t believe they are suspected of a crime should use great caution.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution prevents anyone from being compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or herself. You have the right to remain silent. You need to tell them your name, but you don’t need to answer questions about where you’re going, where you came from, what you’re doing, where you live, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or here lawfully. You shouldn’t lie or run. Stay as calm as possible. But be crystal clear that you’re exercising your right to silence. Request a lawyer before you agree to answer any other questions.
Some people are concerned this makes them seem guilty. Especially when they’ve done nothing wrong, it can be tempting just to talk. After all, police can be intimidating and these encounters can cause all kinds of anxiety and most people just want it over with. But here are 6 reasons you really need to refrain from talking to the police at all without your lawyer present. Continue reading
Protests over systemic police brutality against Black individuals has shined a light on the many forms of technology law enforcement has in its arsenal. One of those – surveillance technology and facial recognition – is increasingly being used by Florida police agencies to collar protesters on criminal charges.
For those who may be unfamiliar, facial recognition technology uses a photo of someone to compare it to other photos in an existing database. In Pinellas County, for instance, the facial recognition system used by the sheriff’s office draws from a database of approximately 38 million photos – everything from driver’s licenses to ID cards to mugshots.
It’s a tool that has been gaining in popularity with police over the last 20 years, but it’s been highly controversial, raising concerns about privacy, mis-identification potential and the risk of racial profiling and surveillance. Continue reading
Florida has always been a boater’s paradise, though many have increasingly been taking to the water to get a dose of Vitamin Sea while still following social distancing rules. But don’t expect law enforcement to be lenient on boating under the influence violations just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
Boating and alcohol are a potentially deadly mix that can carry severe penalties in South Florida – even if you don’t crash and no one is hurt.
Recently in Naples, NBC-2 reported the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested a man for boating under the influence on July 4th. There were reportedly more than a dozen people on board the vessel at the time. The officer was patrolling the waters around Keewaydin Island when he noticed not only the boat, but the fact that two women, who were impaired, were in the water and trying to get back onto the vessel but could not due to the strong current. The officer took the women aboard his boat and then pulled up alongside the defendant’s vessel. The operator “appeared to be heavily intoxicated,” and the vessel appeared to be overloaded. The operator refused a breathalyzer test, but was nonetheless arrested for BUI.
Florida law enforcement authorities frequently patrol the state’s rivers, lakes, coastline and ponds – particularly during holiday weekends. Anyone who is arrested on boating under the influence charges should seek immediate legal counsel from a local South Florida criminal defense lawyer. Continue reading
Proving misdemeanor or felony theft in Florida requires proof of intent to deprive the owner of his or her rights to the property. Grand theft, as outlined in F.S. 812.014 is the unlawful taking or using of property valued at more than $300. But as our Fort Lauderdale defense lawyers point out, one’s intent in taking or using that property is key.
That’s why prosecutors in Citrus County recently dropped two grand theft charges against a roofing contractor initially accused of defrauding customers by taking nearly $15,000 in deposits without completing the work he promised. As the prosecutor explained to a reporter from the Citrus County Chronicle, the state attorney’s office would have had to have shown that the defendant took the customers’ down payment and in turn used it all for personal financial gain – not simply for running his business. What the evidence showed, however, was that he used the money to buy materials and contract labor for the jobs, but did not follow through in completing them.
This might tend to show the contractor was a poor business manager, but not that he’d committed theft, as understood by Florida law. Continue reading
Last month, the newly-formed Conviction Review Unit in Broward County convinced a South Florida judge to free a man convicted 16 years ago of robbery and sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors working with the CRU told the Broward County Circuit judge that they likely would be unable to gain a conviction today, given numerous evidentiary issues with the case, including the reliability of witnesses and an alibi that jurors never had an opportunity to hear.
An assistant state attorney leading the CRU told the judge it’s not even clear how the defendant was identified as a suspect, given that there was no physical evidence, no witnesses knew him and the only thing that lead police to him was an apparently questionable search through the TRAP program, a previously-used database of prior offender mugshots in a given area.
Broward County has one of the highest rates of false convictions in Florida. The National Registry of Exonerations notes more than 2,500 cases nationally of convicts later found innocent. More than 80 of those are from Florida and nearly a dozen in Broward. Continue reading