The Florida Highway Patrol is reporting a state wide increase in the number of hit and run crashes. In 2015, there were 92,000 hit and run related crashes investigated by law enforcement in the State of Florida. The Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach areas have also seen their fair share of increases in hit and run crashes. In most cases, Florida makes it a crime to leave the scene of an accident. The nature and extent of property damage and/or personal injury will determine whether or not law enforcement will pursue either misdemeanor or felony charges.

leaving-the-sceneWhy do people leave? Some people leave out of pure fear or panic. Others have attendant legal issues that will create additional legal troubles if they stay. Common examples are not having a valid driver’s license, having a suspended driver’s license, no insurance, an outstanding arrest warrant for an unrelated case or immigration related concerns. Often times, people may leave the scene of an accident if they are under the influence or alcohol or a controlled substance and they fear being investigated for Driving Under the Influence.

As a result of the spike, law enforcement has become increasingly aggressive in their pursuit of investigating hit and run cases. More often than not, a witness will obtain a tag number and a description of the fleeing vehicle. These reports usually result in an unexpected visit by law enforcement to the address listed for the reported vehicle’s owner. Police agencies in the West Palm and Fort Lauderdale areas have also been known to mail very intimidating letters demanding a response within ten (10) days of receipt. These letters normally originate from the department’s “traffic homicide division” (even in cases not involving fatalities) and threaten a driver’s license suspension and other action for failure to comply.

As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale drug crime defense lawyers know, you should feel safe, (even encouraged) calling the police if you believe something has been stolen from you — that is, of course, unless the items you’re complaining about having been robbed of are illegal drugs.
As a man here in Florida learned the hard way earlier this month, going to the local police department to report stolen marijuana plants (still illegal in the Sunshine State) will only lead to trouble.

Given the facts of this particular case, it seems that the Jacksonville man should have known that his report to the police would not go routinely: he went in to the police station complaining that police officers had stolen his marijuana.
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Previously on this blog, we have written about how misuse of the 911 emergency line can lead to arrest and criminal charges. The 911 system is designed to keep communities safe; when a community’s 911 lines and resources are tied-up with non-emergency matters, the safety of that community is compromised.
As our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers know, you should always feel comfortable dialing 911 in the event of an emergency. However, as one man from Palm Beach County recently learned, dialing 911 when there isn’t an emergency can get you arrested.

Earlier this month, a man in his late fifties apparently dialed 911 from a parking lot on Military Trail just west of West Palm Beach. When authorities arrived, his story of an alleged assault didn’t quite add up; neither did the the strange request he made toward the end of the encounter.
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Many parents disagree over the proper way stop raise their children. From which foods they believe is safe to eat, to how much sun they think is suitable for young ones, to which schools they feel their kids should hope to attend, parents all have their own opinions as to what is best for their offspring.
Sometimes, as our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale family law and criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert have learned, these disagreements lead to one parent and/or another taking matters into their own hands, which sometimes results in illegal activity.

At what point does the exercise of parental preference become a matter of criminal activity? The line is often-times blurred, but a case concerning objections to the vaccination of a child, which has made national headlines recently, is putting the important line in the spotlight.
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Back in May, our Palm Beach and Broward County drug crime defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert wrote a blog about a series of bizarre crimes, seemingly influenced by the new drug called flakka, that were committed here in Florida.
Now, as the Sun-Sentinel has reported, it seems flakka is officially taking hold in South Florida and in Broward County in particular; according to crime statistics, Broward now leads the entire country in number of flakka cases.

Stats supplied by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) show that Broward was, by far, the county with the highest number of flakka confiscation cases in 2014 throughout the United States. The county with the second-highest number, Chicago’s Cook County, had less than half the number of cases that Broward supplied.
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It is said often and it should be repeated frequently: what you post on social media can get you in trouble with the law. As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, there is very little that you can expect to do privately on the internet.
Just this past week, two Fort Pierce residents were arrested after Florida law enforcement officers became aware of a questionable and disturbing photo they had posted on Facebook.

The photo of a tied-up alligator, which the couple posted to Facebook in April, was recently brought to the attention of law enforcement officers, who eventually arrested the couple for having hunted the 7-foot alligator without a permit.
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Last week, in Delray Beach, a man was arrested after what could have been a routine traffic stop went terribly wrong.
During the traffic stop, a gun allegedly dropped out of the glove compartment of the vehicle which had been pulled over; apparently in a panic, the driver of the pulled-over car recklessly sped off down the road, giving officers even more of a reason to place him under arrest.

Eventually, as our Delray Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers know, the man was arrested and booked in Palm Beach County jail, where he remains held on $12,000 bail.
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Fleeting are the days during which the South Florida’s criminal markets were notorious purely for international drug smuggling; new reports published late last month show that crime in South Florida is an increasingly white collar, fraud-related affair.
Florida in general, for instance, ranks No. 1 in the country for identity theft complaints at a rate of 193 per 100,000 residents; but Miami itself blows the Sunshine State out of the water, with 340 complaints per 100,000 residents.

Our Palm Beach and Broward County white collar criminal defense attorneys know that in addition to the fact that South Florida’s fraud schemes are increasing in number, they are also dwarfing all other organized fraud rings throughout the United States. As Fortune bluntly states, the South Florida “region is the fraud capital of America.”
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Calling someone accidentally by inadvertently pressing a button (or touch screen) on a cell phone can be a nuisance, but so-called “butt-dialing” is something we’ve all done at one point or another. Most of the time, the call is cancelled or otherwise ended and no issues arise.
But other times, as our West Palm Beach and Hollywood criminal defense lawyers know, the call is recorded and the content of the call is used against the person who made the call. Such a situation was at issue in the case of Huff v. Spaw (2015), which we will explore in this blog post. In the case, a federal court ruled that your butt dials aren’t private.

Specifically, if you butt dial someone and they hear you on the other end disclosing certain information, that information can be used against you. According to the federal judge presiding over the case, cell phone owners know the dangers of butt dialing and should take precautions to prevent it from happening; if they fail to take such precautions, it’s their own fault.
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It just can’t be said too many times: guns are not toys. As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale juvenile defense lawyers know, firearms can be deadly, and they present a danger to anyone living in or visiting a home in which a firearm is kept.
A story that emanated from Broward County last week highlights the true dangers of fooling around with guns; apparently, two 14-year-olds were playing with a gun when the firearm went off and killed one of the two friends.

In addition to demonstrating the risks associated with keeping guns in the home, this case serves as a reminder that just because someone is shot and killed does not mean that there was malicious intent and, as such, in many cases, a charge such as manslaughter is far more applicable than a charge of murder.
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