May 22, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend and DUI Checkpoints

Our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that Memorial Day Weekend is one of the business times of year in South Florida, especially in terms of DUI accidents and arrests.
The increase in DUI arrests is not necessarily due to the increase in DUI-related incidents that take place during the holiday weekend; as we know, it's during this weekend in particular that police departments throughout South Florida and throughout the country set-up DUI checkpoints to catch drunk drivers.

As we discussed earlier this year, though, many Floridians have been giving law enforcement officers difficulty at these checkpoints by providing the necessary information without giving police the opportunity to smell their breath or hear them speak. Whether or not these tactics will work during this DUI-crackdown weekend has yet to be seen.

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May 21, 2015

Florida Crime Rate Drops while Palm Beach County Violent Crime Rate Rises

According to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), crimes across Florida dropped to a 44-year low in 2014. At the same time, though, violent crime actually rose in Palm Beach County by 115 incidents (vs. the previous year), although the overall crime rate, including nonviolent crimes, did decrease.
As our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers know, looking at state crime statistics is a good idea if you want a grasp on the current criminal justice climate. More specifically, local crime stats (such as those dealing with particular counties), paint an even more detailed picture.

In this blog, we are going to explore the particulars of the newly-released reports covering crime drops and increases across Florida, focusing mainly on Palm Beach County which, as noted above, has produced some puzzling statistics.

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May 19, 2015

Man Arrested in West Palm Beach for Providing Illegal Dental Services

People often feel like they're qualified to offer advice and assistance in areas in which they are not. For example, after watching a legal drama, someone might feel equipped to give a friend legal advice. After watching a medical television show, someone else might feel ready to diagnose a family member's symptoms.
That said, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, you should never provide professional services requiring a license if you don't have a license!

Take a lesson from a certain 43-year-old man who was arrested this week in West Palm Beach. Because he offered undercover police officers illegal "dental" services (installing so-called "grills") at an outdoor flea market, he was arrested and charged with a number of crimes.

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May 16, 2015

Palm Beach Cop Charged for Beating Handcuffed Inmate

Being arrested isn't fun, and there probably isn't anyone out there who'd tell you that when you're arrested, you should expect gentle treatment and a nice, relaxing atmosphere.
That said, as our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, if you've been arrested, you do deserve to be treated safely and with respect.

As one Palm Beach County police officer recently learned, beating a suspect and lying about it can land you in some hot water in the form of serious criminal charges.

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May 11, 2015

A Woman's "Driving Drunk" Text Comes Back to Haunt Her

As our Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach DUI defense lawyers know, fights among those in a relationship are common; moreover, when a relationship sours, individuals tend to say things they might not otherwise say. Sometimes, as was the case for a certain Miami woman named Mila Dago, they say things they did mean and that can come back to bite them in the court of law.
During the summer of 2013, Dago was out barhopping when she texted her newly-ex boyfriend such things as "driving drunk woo" and "I'll be dead thanks to you." Dago didn't end up dying in a DUI crash, but unfortunately, the passenger traveling in her car did.

Aside from showing just how dangerous drunk driving can be, this case demonstrates how damaging text messages can be; when there is a record of something you've said, that record can come back to be used against you in a criminal trial, especially if you've essentially admitted to that which you're being accused of.

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May 6, 2015

Is Synthetic Drug "Flakka" Causing Bizarre Crimes in Florida?

A string of recent, shocking crimes that have taken place in Florida now have national media figures, local law enforcement agencies and criminal attorneys alike wondering whether the new synthetic drug called flakka is behind the bizarre wave of criminal incidents.
As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, flakka (depicted in the photograph distributed by the Broward Sheriff's Office to the right), which has been a nightmare for police officers after it hit the market in 2013, is readily available for $5 or less per vial.

With the evident psychological effects that flakka has on those who use the drug, it has become a clear danger to our society; at the same time, it has also shown yet another problem with the misguided war on drugs. Those who want to get high will continue to get high, and when they are sent running for the hills by archaic drug laws, they will come up with "creative" ways to make and use drugs; unfortunately, it is in this atmosphere that flakka thrives.

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May 1, 2015

Boynton Beach Man Acquitted of Murder by Palm Beach Jury

Late last week, a Palm Beach County jury acquitted 33-year-old Narcisse Antoine of murder and attempted murder charges in a case stemming from a 2009 shooting outside of a nightclub in West Palm Beach.
The verdict was reached after 11 hours of thoughtful deliberations. As our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, this was a retrial for Antoine, after an appeals court, last year, tossed a 2011 conviction of attempted second-degree murder and an 40-year prison sentence in the case involving one shooting victim, Jeffrey Thompson according to the Sun-Sentinel.

We know that this acquittal is an example of our criminal justice system working properly -- when someone has been wrongly convicted and sentenced, a competent and dedicated defense attorney can help.

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April 29, 2015

Who Gets to See Police Body Camera Footage?

Our Hollywood and West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers know that law enforcement departments all across the country are adopting use of body cameras as a means by which to combat the tension stirring between police officers and the communities they patrol.
With police wear body cameras, advocates argue, people will get to see exactly how a police-civilian interaction went; this will both hold police officers accountable and protect them from frivolous accusations of misconduct.

One thorny problem, though, is who gets to see what the body cameras capture? What if it's your arrest or altercation that's filmed, and what if that footage is circulated on the Internet?

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April 27, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court: Drug Sniffing Dogs Require Search Warrant

This past week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that police officers who delay the conclusion of a traffic stop while they wait for a law enforcement canine to sniff for drugs (a process riddled with inaccuracy, as we will explore in this post) violate the Constitution by doing so.
Our West Palm Beach and Plantation criminal defense lawyers know that back in 2005, the Court ruled in Illinois v. Caballes that police could conduct a canine drug sniff during a traffic stop without violating the driver's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Too often, routine routine traffic stops have been turning into drug busts.

With Rodriguez v. United States, the Supreme Court has clarified their understanding of the Constitutional law at play here; their ruling has given another protection to American citizens by making it harder for law enforcement officers to turn a traffic stop into a narcotics arrest.

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April 23, 2015

Abused Florida Teen Won't be Charged with Murder in Brother's Shooting Death

This year, the story of two Florida sisters accused of shooting and killing their brother has gripped much of the country. Early reports indicated that the 15-year-old girl shot and killed the 16-year-old brother, while the 11-year-old girl served as a "lookout" while her older sister retrieved the gun from a bedroom.
Initially, the two were going to be charged with murder. Then, in February, they were both released, with charges ruled out for the younger sister. Finally, last month, it was announced that the older sister would also be spared murder charges, a decision made in light of the alleged abuse the two sisters had suffered.

Our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale juvenile defense lawyers know that this case serves as a great example of how impressionable children are and how seemingly criminal and malicious actions are often just the consequence of abuse and neglect.

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April 20, 2015

Teen's Computer Prank Leads to Felony Charge

Our Delray Beach and West Palm Beach juvenile defense lawyers know that felony charges are not reserved for suspected murderers, drug cartel leaders and armed bank robbers. Earlier this month, a Florida teenage was arrested for and charged with a felony relating to a prank he pulled on his teacher.
The 14-year-old teenager allegedly logged into his school's internet network using an administrative password (without permission, of course) and changed a teacher's computer background to an image the teen thought would be funny.

While the desktop background image prank might seem harmless, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said the arrest and charges were warranted because someone who hacks into a protected internet network, such as a school district's, has access to a great deal of sensitive and confidential information.

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April 10, 2015

Are Police Ever Justified in Shooting a Fleeing Suspect?

Our Hollywood and West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers know that the events which took place in North Charleston, South Carolina, last weekend have shaken the country.
The fact that a uniformed police officer fired 8 bullets at the back of a suspect fleeing on foot, fatally killing him, has raised questions of morals, ethics, and responsibility. But we know that this incident raises an important legal issue, namely whether or not this type of shooting is ever authorized and legal.

The fact is that there are situations in which a police officer would be justified in fatally shooting a fleeing suspect. That said, given what authorities know about the North Charleston incident, the police officer has been charged with murder.

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