Articles Posted in Criminal Defense Attorney

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

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

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

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

Authorities investigating a Broward County slaying secured a search warrant to access recording history on an Amazon Echo device present at the crime scene. A 43-year-old man has been arrested for the Hallandale Beach homicide of his 32-year-old girlfriend in mid-July. Police want to know whether the popular voice-controlled smart speakers at the home where she died may provide clues as to what happened, the Sun Sentinel reported. Broward criminal defense lawyers

Broward County criminal defense lawyers have been keenly attuned to police and prosecutors’ increasing reliance on evidence derived from new media and technology – from smartphones to drones – in criminal cases.

This is the latest example, and it raises some interesting legal questions about privacy and the extent to which authorities can access the details of conversations that happen in your own home or in personal messages. Continue reading

With the proliferation of smart phones – each containing a great deal of personal information. In some cases, that information can be incriminating. Courts across the U.S. have been attempting to find common legal ground on the issue of whether persons should be compelled to reveal their cell phone passcodes if it could unlock potentially self-incriminating information.criminal defense attorney

This summer, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys wrote about the recent ruling by the California Supreme Court ruled attorneys can subpoena private social media posts where they are pertinent to a criminal case.

Now, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeal has sided with a criminal defendant who fought against being fought to comply with an order requiring him to supply prosecutors with his cell phone password. This is welcome news for Florida defense lawyers, but it does conflict with a previous state appellate court ruling, making the issue ripe to be heard by the Florida Supreme Court. Continue reading

An appellate judge for the Fourth District Court of Appeal says he sees a recurring problem in Florida criminal cases when it comes to hearsay. Specifically, it’s being confused with the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and therefore subject to being weighted more heavily by case law standards rather than Florida Statute.criminal defense lawyer

The problem, said the judge, is that courts are veering further and further from legislators’ intent in these interpretations.

What is Hearsay in Florida Criminal Case? 

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys know hearsay is one of the most misunderstood criminal laws in its application. Some mistakenly think prosecutors can’t pursue charges based on he said/she said evidence. In fact, the state can pursue charges on nothing but verbal testimony, but there are specific definitions and exceptions. Continue reading

In an unprecedented move that not only greatly concerns criminal defense lawyers but also prosecutors and free speech advocates, the California Supreme Court in a gang-related murder trial has ruled that attorneys can subpoena private social media posts pertinent to the case.criminal defense lawyer

Interestingly, the request for production of those records came from the defense team.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all subject to the order. Facebook’s public relations team issued a statement saying the company was weighing legal options, but believes federal law bars any order mandating the platforms turn over private content of alleged crime victims to defendants and defense lawyers. The Fortune 500 company’s goal, it says, is to protect the privacy interests of its customers. So the company may be slow to comply – or it might not comply at all, though the latter could set off an intense legal battle with potential to reach the U.S. Supreme Court and have extensive implications.

The court’s decision lifted a previous stay imposed by the appellate court on the San Francisco trial court’s order, which high court justices cited as providing compelling enough reason to justify access to the private messages. This is the very first time that an order like this has been imposed in California. Continue reading

Cannabidiol oil, better known as CBD, is touted in Florida stores as a means to alleviate anxiety and depression. But a dose of it with a little too much THC could have you feeling a different kind of anxious – in a South Florida jail cell.Fort Lauderdale CBD arrest

Criminal defense attorneys in Palm Beach know this probably has a lot of folks confused. After all, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized commercial hemp and the CBD that is derived from it. Hemp is used to make a wide range of goods and products, from textiles to soap. CBD is a derivative of hemp which is a type of cannabis, but unlike it’s cousin marijuana, hemp has little-to-no THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol). This is the psychoactive extract of the drug, meaning that’s what makes a person feel that euphoric high.

But while federal the latest Farm Bill removed commercial hemp and CBD from the list of federally-controlled substances, there are two things to keep in mind:

  • The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) still prohibits CBD for use in food, beverage and cosmetics products. (Many business owners are flouting this rule, and currently do so at their own risk.)
  • State marijuana laws are a patchwork, and not every state allows CBD oil. In Florida, you could still run into trouble with CBD if it contains any trace amount of THC (the federal limit 0.03 percent) and you don’t have a doctor-recommended state-issued marijuana patient card.

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