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.Broward defense lawyer

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.Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

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.Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer

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.Fort Lauderdale defense lawyers

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.Broward County criminal defense lawyer

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

Can police in Florida legally compel a defendant in a criminal case to unlock their cell phones? Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers understand that question for now remains unresolved, after the defendant reached a plea deal, rendering appeal to the Florida Supreme Court moot. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

As a local NPR affiliate reported, the question arose from a case out of Alachua County, an alleged drug-deal-turned-robbery. One of the victims reportedly recognized one of the defendants whose mask was temporarily removed. Police questioned the defendant (now 22) and seized his cell phone from his vehicle. But it was locked by a passcode.

Police asked asked a judge to compel the defendant provide the passcode. Like many government agencies in recent years, police argued this type of digital encryption, protecting personal information stored in an electronic device like a smartphone or iPad, can impede criminal investigations. Continue reading

Recent reporting by The New York Times reveals that breathalyzer tests, used in almost every police department in America, routinely generate skewed results – even though they’re marketed as being precise to the third decimal. Last year, judges in New Jersey and New Hampshire tossed more than 30,000 breathalyzer test results as evidence in DUI cases due to human error and a lack of government oversight. The same thing has happened thousands of times over across the country after tests showed that improperly-calibrated machines can show blood-alcohol percentage results that are 40 percent too high.Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer

But does that mean drivers suspected of DUI shouldn’t take it?

Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers know the answer to this truly depends on the situation, but you should know two things: Continue reading

Narcotics detectives investigating Florida drug crimes in Miami-Dade recently employed a police drone to capture an alleged cocaine sale between a suspect and an undercover informant. According to The Miami Herald, this was a first in a criminal investigation. Its use had to be first approved by a judge in a case against a 31-year-old accused of numerous drug and weapons charges. Fort Lauderdale defense lawyers

Our Fort Lauderdale defense attorneys understand this news comes right as lawmakers in Florida are weighing whether to approve limited expansion of police drone use. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have increased their purchases and use of drones as the technology has gotten cheaper – even as defense lawyers have raised concerns about civil rights and privacy intrusions.

The Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College reports some 900 agencies in the U.S. (most of those law enforcement) purchased the lightweight, unmanned aerial devices in 2018. That number will soon be updated for 2019, and it’s expected to be much higher. Some police agencies anticipate that the use of drones by cops will someday be as ubiquitous as body cameras. But there is legitimate skepticism about the legality of these devices, particularly where agencies have declined to provide information to the public about their drone programs. For instance, police agencies in Southern California won’t release any details of their drone operations, despite one city claiming it has carried out more than 1,000 drone missions in a single year leading to well over 100 arrests.

Some departments have been criticized for flying drones over certain crowds of protesters, raising concerns about government spying. Continue reading

Super Bowl Sunday, slated for February 2nd in Miami this year, has historically been tied to an uptick in Florida domestic violence arrests. Given that numerous football players themselves have been arrested in high-profile domestic violence incidents, the NFL in recent years has begun devoting valuable Super Bowl commercial air time to promote anti-domestic violence public service announcements.domestic violence arrest

Of course, the Super Bowl itself isn’t responsible for a higher-than-average number of domestic violence arrests anymore than Memorial Day is responsible for a higher-than-average number of DUI arrests. It’s true that emotions are running high for many fans during the game, but alcohol is probably the bigger culprit in many cases.

An Fort Lauderdale domestic violence arrest can come as a shock for those involved, especially if both parties got physically involved. It’s easy to accuse someone in the heat of the moment, but those statements can be difficult to walk back before real damage is done. It should be noted that the alleged victim’s preference of dropping the matter is almost entirely out of their hands by the time police arrive. Police will investigate the matter and take suspects into custody if they believe there is evidence a crime has occurred. Prosecutors are ultimately the ones who decide whether to pursue domestic violence charges. They may take into account the victim’s preference or willingness to cooperate, but that alone won’t dictate whether a case moves forward. In fact, victims can be compelled by subpoena to testify against their will. Continue reading

More than 1,000 inmates in Florida’s prisons are serving time for drug crimes that are either no longer illegal under state law or for which sentencing has been substantially reduced. That’s according to a report by The Tampa Bay Times, where reporters took a hard look at how long-running minimum mandatory sentences for non-violent drug crimes in the Sunshine State have adversely impacted individuals, families and entire communities. Those sentencing guidelines have largely been eased, but as our Broward criminal defense attorneys can explain, the new standards have little impact for someone already convicted, sentenced and serving time. Broward drug crime defense

Some are calling for state lawmakers to address the issue, describing these inmates as in a state of “legal purgatory.”

The problem dates back to the 1990s, when cocaine addiction was wreaking havoc on South Florida communities. At the time, Florida had the highest rate of violent crime in the country. It was the “get tough on crime” era, and lawmakers enacted measures that would impose severe minimum mandatory penalties for repeat violent offenders AND those convicted of drug trafficking. At the time, lawmakers said they were after the drug lords – not people carrying a few ounces of illegal substances for personal use.

What ended up happening, however, was that those who were not drug lords were swept up as well. People with chronic pain and addiction to opiods who had run out of their monthly medication would turn to the streets – and be labeled drug traffickers for the amount they carried. Continue reading

Contact Information