Articles Tagged with criminal defense attorney

Is it possible for your vehicle to be a deadly weapon? Although it might seem a straightforward question, given the fact that a vehicle could in fact be deadly if it’s used to run another person over, the answer isn’t clear when it comes to Florida law. The state appellate courts have reached different conclusions on this front, and the Florida Supreme Court is slated to issue a ruling on one such case, meaning it could settle the issue. criminal defense lawyer

The distinction between vehicle and deadly weapon is significant because it holds the possibility of an additional 15 years to one’s prison sentence if convicted of using a deadly weapon against another person.

In 2004, justices with the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a motor vehicle isn’t something that can be commonly considered an instrument for use in combat against another individual. Based on that ruling, a South Florida appellate court last year ruled that a 30-year sentence on a manslaughter charge imposed on a Fort Myers man for repeatedly running over a woman in 2008 should be reduced to 15 years. (However, he’ll still probably serve 30 years, given that he was also given 30 years for leaving the scene of a deadly accident.)  Continue reading

The state attorney’s office announced in a recent memorandum they would not press charges against Miami Dolphins NFL player Jarvis Landry for an alleged incident of domestic violence in Broward County last spring.domestic violence

The football player had been under investigation since the alleged incident in April.

The decision by the state attorney several months later underscores how these types of investigations work, and why it’s to your advantage to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Continue reading

One of the benefits of having an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable not only about statute, but also about local procedures, policies and players is you have an inside track on what you can generally expect from certain judges, prosecutors and courthouse rules. Some judges may have a reputation for strict adherence to certain dress codes, while others may be a bit more relaxed. Courts are often foreign to many criminal defendants, so knowing exactly what to wear, when to arrive, how to act and how/ when to address the court is important. DUI defense

One thing you will find most judges lack patience for is tardiness. Being on time is essential, and if you don’t have a very good reason for being late or missing a court appearance, you could face serious consequences. It could even result in an additional arrest.

Recently in South Dade, a defendant in a DUI with serious bodily injury case was slated to take a plea bargain, but all that fell apart and she is now facing many more years behind bars – because she was late to court, and the judge was frustrated with her behavior afterward.  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

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 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

Citizens have certain constitutional rights when it comes to interactions with police and other law enforcement agencies. Those rights do not disappear the moment they get behind the wheel of a car. Still, it is true that motorists don’t necessarily have free reign in police interactions. For example, there is implied consent, which per F.S. 316.1932 allows police to compel drivers to submit to breath alcohol testing upon reasonable suspicion of intoxication. A refusal results in an automatic, year-long driver’s license suspension. Police have the right to temporarily stop drivers in sobriety checkpoints, so long as these operations follow certain legal protocols, such as ensuring vehicles are stopped purely at random. policecar

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, considered a case that raised the question of whether police can retaliate against a citizen for refusing to answer police questions. This is a civil case, as opposed to a criminal one, but it deals with important matters pertinent to those in a traffic stop.

According to court records, plaintiff was pulled over and declined to answer police questions. According to his complaint (and the court assumes these facts to be true at this stage, though they could later be proven incorrect), the sergeant at that point retaliated against this refusal to answer questions by ordering plaintiff out of the vehicle and then putting him face down on the ground.  Continue reading

Throngs of spring breakers and tourists start to flood Florida coasts beginning in March, with spring break hitting its peak around the middle of the month. However, those who came for a week may find they are dealing with our court system for much longer. beachparty

The Sun-Sentinel reported spring breakers kept local law enforcement agencies busy, with offenses ranging from slapping the rear quarter of a police horse and underage drinking.

Fort Lauderdale police issued a warning to both locals and visitors in advance of spring break, insisting there would be a “zero tolerance” policy of enforcing state laws and local ordinances. In many cases, that meant arresting spring breakers, who now may face the expensive possibility of having to return to Florida to face the music in court.  Continue reading

Over the last several decades, the American criminal justice system has relied increasingly on forensic testing to definitively identify suspects, nail down timelines and prove or disprove theories about what happened and who was involved. justice

However, there is an increasing amount of data showing that some of these methods are not as bullet-proof as they were previously held out by prosecutors and the scientific community to be. In 2015, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalists at ProPublica detailed the great deal of faulty forensics that had been reported in previous years.

On one hand, the emergence of DNA analysis became a powerful prosectuorial tool – but also one that was valuable for defendants, resulting in the revelation of scores of wrongful convictions. Recently, the Washington Post reported on a substantial study by the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers that found 26 out of 28 examiners in the FBI’s forensic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in more than 200 criminal cases during the 1980s and 1990s. Continue reading