Articles Tagged with criminal defense lawyer Broward

A Florida domestic violence conviction can carry many substantial, long-lasting consequences – not the least of which being restrictions on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. This is why it’s so important to work with an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer from the very start of your case. Even if the evidence seems stacked against you, we may be able to deploy legal strategies that could reduce the charges or lessen the impact. Fort Lauderdale domestic violence arrest

The high stakes of these cases were recently underscored in the Congressional action to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” in gun legislation.

Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of domestic violence in Florida or in any other state from possessing guns. However, that provision was only applicable to individuals who were married to, lived with, or had a child in common with the alleged victim. People who were merely dating (not married, living together, or raising a child together) were not subject to this federal provision.

The new bipartisan gun law changes this, closing the “boyfriend loophole.” Proponents of the measure say this was necessary, given that people spend much more time dating now than they did in the past, carrying on romantic relationships for years or even decades without officially tying the knot.

Additionally, the new federal law allows for expanded background checks on young adults purchasing firearms and gives authorities the power to access certain juvenile criminal records. Lastly, the law allows states to use federal funding to enact and enforce “red flag laws” that give authorities the right to remove guns from anyone they suspect may be a harm to themselves or others. This could potentially be someone accused of domestic violence in Florida.

As it stands, 31 states have some rule on the books barring those convicted of domestic violence from possessing guns. Of those, 19 do cover dating partners convicted of domestic violence. Florida does not have any such provision in its laws, so the new federal law will have a direct impact. Those with misdemeanor convictions who have stayed out of trouble for five years may be able to have their gun rights restored. However, there are exceptions for spouses, parents, guardians or co-habitants – all of whom may still face lifetime firearm restrictions.

Florida Domestic Violence Penalties

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It’s been nearly 1.5 years since the City of Miami signed off on an agreement to allow police to issue civil citations for minor misdemeanors like marijuana possession rather than making arrests. Now, The Miami New Times reports the city police chief will be allowing his officers to actually do so.marijuana arrest defense

This delay in implementing the policy has meant that thousands of people – 2,800 – facing minor charges were arrested – and face a permanent criminal record – rather than simply receiving civil citation. Approximately 85 percent of those were for marijuana possession. One of the charges in question – illegally possessing a milk crate – was filed almost exclusively against the homeless.

City Commissioner Ken Russell has been pushing for the city to issue civil citations for some time now, and was reportedly surprised to find the police had yet to put the policy into practice, saying, “I assumed that it had been enacted.” He was anticipating a report on how the first year of it had gone. The former police chief retired earlier this year, and the new police chief said he could not account for why the program was not put into effect previously. He did say that once he took over, it took several months to train police officers on how the new procedures would work. Plus, the department also had to set up an account with the county so those civil citations could be paid, order the paperwork books on which citations would be issued, write the policy and create a radio signal for the violation. Continue reading

In 2001, a Broward County boy became the youngest ever in American to be sentenced to life in prison. That was 15 years ago.

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Recently, a number of those who were involved in the Lionel Tate case, including the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney, convened as part of a panel before the Broward County Crime Commission’s conference on juvenile and adolescent violence. They were there to discuss the landmark case, which involved a 12-year-old boy who in 1999 killed a 6-year-old girl whom his mother had been babysitting. He was reportedly attempting to imitate the pro-wrestling moves that he had seen on television.

An appellate court overturned Tate’s murder conviction in 2004, finding it wasn’t clear he had understood the charges. That led to a plea deal in which he agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a sentence of 10 years probation. Those who were involved in the criminal case say they lacked clear guidelines for how they were supposed to handle matters like this. They had never before faced this type of circumstance, and the courts didn’t offer much guidance.  Continue reading

It should come as little surprise that persons who are mentally ill comprise a significant portion of the incarcerated population. A recent report by the Treatment Advocacy Center indicated that American prisons and jails house an estimated 360,000 inmates with mental illness – or about 10 times the number of mentally ill patients in state psychiatric hospitals.freeimages.co.uk medical images

Now, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has taken a look at that issue from a micro perspective, analyzing how it has affected those specifically in Broward County.

The crux of what reporters discovered is this:

  • Those charged with minor felonies in Broward’s mental health court face punishment even when they are never found guilty;
  • These individuals spend six times longer in the criminal justice system than those in regular court;
  • About one-third of these individuals spend five years or more in the criminal justice system – even with no conviction at all!

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