Articles Posted in Attorney Richard Ansara

Navigating the Florida criminal case process is overwhelming for anyone arrested in the Fort Lauderdale area. Working with a dedicated Broward defense lawyer who knows the law, the local players, and the legal strategy most likely to help you prevail is essential. Broward defense lawyer

That said, we do like our clients and their families to have a basic understanding of how the case is going to proceed from start to finish. It’s worth noting that this process is applicable to state-level cases, not federal. Further, every case is different. One thing they all have in common, though, is that studies show the sooner you hire an experienced criminal defense team, the more favorable the outcome. (One analysis found that criminal defense attorneys in one large city helped reduce the murder conviction rate of their clients by 19 percent and reduced the probability of their client receiving a life sentence by 62 percent. Overall time served in prison was reduced by 24 percent.)

Our battle-tested criminal defense team is prepared to go to bat for each and every one of our clients, whether they’re facing felony or misdemeanor charges.

Arrest and Notice to Appear

This marks the start of your Florida criminal case. If an office of the law (typically a police officer or sheriff’s deputy) has probable cause to reasonably believe you committed a crime, they can make an arrest. Sometimes, this is predicated on the basis of an arrest warrant that has been written and signed by a judge. Other times, it stems from evidence gathered while officers are patrolling or responding to specific calls for assistance. Continue reading

Cops can be intimidating. It’s fully intentional on their part. After all, it can be quite effective in terms of compelling suspects or persons of interest in criminal cases to talk freely during the investigation. But failure to exercise the right to remain silent until there’s a South Florida defense lawyer at your side can quickly cost your freedom. That’s not to say you won’t spend the night in jail if you stay mum. However, defendants almost always benefit long-term when they wait for defense attorney advice and advocacy. Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer

You are probably familiar with the term “Miranda Rights” and “Miranda Warnings” and the paragraph that starts, “You have the right to remain silent…” They’re derived from the 5th and 6th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. If an officer reads them to you, you are considered “Mirandized.” It stems from the 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona, and the purpose is to ensure you are made aware that you do have the Constitutional right not to speak to the officer and to have your own attorney present on your behalf before you answer any questions.

What occurs only belated to a lot of criminal defendants is that these rights are in place before they are ever read aloud- or even if they are never read at all. Miranda is only applicable in custodial interrogations, meaning police don’t have to recite those rights every time they talk to or question someone. In fact, much of the evidence used against defendants in Florida courts are statements they made to authorities prior to formal detention or interrogation by police. It’s important to understand that voluntarily opting not to speak to police about a criminal matter is not a crime – no matter how much pressure you might feel. Continue reading

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. Fort Lauderdale firearm defense attorney

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

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. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

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

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

The internet has been revolutionary, allowing us to connect with others – locally and across the globe – in real time in a way that’s never before existed in human history. But it’s not been without its complications, at least where application of the law has been concerned – and that includes criminal law.criminal defense lawyer

Although many online interactions and exchanges – however heated – can be safely considered “free speech,” its bounds aren’t limitless. In fact, communications over the internet may in some cases be at higher risk of crossing the criminal threshold because they lack the benefit of context, inflection or familiarity of face-to-face or even phone conversations.

Florida criminal defense attorneys know law enforcement agencies are increasingly keen to solicit and investigate tips of threats made online, particularly in the wake of several mass shootings. Some agencies have said that dozens of potential shootings were stopped by this heightened vigilance in the wake of shootings in Dayton and El Paso.

Still, many of those charged find themselves bewildered that words, images or videos posted to a Facebook page or Instagram account might potentially have them facing jail time. Continue reading

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law was recently tested by a jury, which found the defendant guilty of manslaughter for killing another man following an argument over a parking spot last year.criminal defense lawyer

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers understand the local sheriff’s office didn’t initially arrest the suspect, citing the Stand Your Ground law. The defendant was white and armed, while the man he killed outside a convenience store was black and unarmed, setting off racial tensions. Authorities did arrest the defendant three weeks later when prosecutors decided to charge the defendant with manslaughter.

The defense lawyers intend to appeal, believing the state attorney’s office filed the charges to appease pressure from political activists.

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If you are questioned by police in connection with suspicion of a crime, should you talk? What if you’re innocent? Even if you aren’t, won’t it look worse if you refuse to cooperate?Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

As a Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer, we generally assert that where possible, communication with law enforcement in almost any circumstance should be polite – but extremely brief. The exact amount of information to divulge – or not – can be tricky, especially if you are sure they could glean the information elsewhere. If you have any doubt, politely but firmly decline to offer any further information before speaking to an attorney.

The main thing to keep in mind: Information gleaned against your will or without your cooperation might be successfully challenged later by your attorney with a motion to suppress. However, information you offer freely can be much more difficult for your attorney to suppress. Continue reading

Witness testimony is perhaps one of the most powerful – and fallible – types of evidence presented in a Florida criminal trial. One of the most important jobs of a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney is not just to examine the potential weakness in that testimony, but also the competency of each witness. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney

As established in the 1928 Florida Supreme Court case of Crockett v. Cassels, a witness must be competent in order to testify in a trial, meaning he or she must be both capable and qualified. That means, as noted in the 1990 case of Rivet v. State and as outlined in in F.S. 90.603, that one is has both sufficient intellectual capacity to understand the nature and obligation of the oath and the ability to perceive, remember and communicate accurate sensory perceptions to the court. This ability is presumed unless proven otherwise by competent evidence. Witnesses may be disqualified if they are unable to:

  • Communicate to the jury;
  • Understand the duty to tell the truth;
  • Perceive and remember events.

A person’s immaturity (being a child) and mental illness or mental disability won’t necessarily disqualify a witness, but as a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney can explain, courts are required to carefully consider one’s threshold in intellectual ability when weighing whether to allow them to testify. Continue reading

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