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Florida_motorway.jpgDelray Beach traffic lawyer Doug Leifert was recently quoted in a South Florida Sun Sentinel article about statistics recently released by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. According to statistics, 2008 marked a 5-year low for traffic citations in Broward County. The most dramatic decrease was in “non-criminal moving” violations such as speeding, careless driving, and running red lights.

The trend statewide showed a decrease in overall traffic citations, although Palm Beach County actually saw an increase in traffic tickets in 2008. The most significant increase in Palm Beach County was in DUI convictions, though may have been because of statistical reporting issues in previous years.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, it is unclear why there were fewer tickets issued in 2008 than in previous years. A spokesman for Broward’s Florida Highway Patrol troop said it may be related to the economy because fewer drivers are on the road.

Broward County traffic tickets down in 2008, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 29, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_crime_fingerprint.jpgAccording to recently released statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, crime in both Broward and Palm Beach counties decreased slightly in the first half of this year compared to last year.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement tracks crimes including murder, robbery, forcible sex offenses, burglary, and auto theft. The mid-year statistics are used as a barometer for the rest of the year.

Overall, crime decreased eight percent statewide. In Broward and Palm Beach county, overall crime rates decreased by about four percent. Each category with the exception of auto theft saw slight increases or decreases.

Local crime down slightly, mid-year statistics show, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, September 23, 20009 Continue reading

Our Broward County criminal defense lawyers have been following a developing story about allegations of corruption involving a sitting Broward county commissioner and School Board member. According to federal prosecutors, the investigation continues, but they would not comment on many details.


On Wednesday, FBI agents arrived at the Government Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale and set up shop in the executive suite of offices used by county officials. They reportedly also went to the district’s downtown headquarters to speak with School Board members and pull voting records of the suspect.

One School Board member was arrested on Wednesday, and a Florida defense attorney said it’s likely that more people will be arrested. Among the possible defenses in these types of cases are suggesting there was not a direction admission of a crime or that undercover agents entrapped the defendant into going along with the crime.

Prosecutors say corruption inquiry in Broward continues, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 23, 2009 Continue reading

Our South Florida criminal defense lawyers recently read about a police dog in Plantation, Florida who died earlier this week. The Plantation Police Department dog, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois K-9 named Kimbo, passed away after suffering from heat stroke. He was one of six Plantation police dogs. According to officials, Kimbo had assisted in 67 arrests in Broward County and countless drug seizures.

Police said the dog and his handler responded to a call for assistance in a Broward Sheriff’s office search for a robbery suspect. Kimbo reportedly collapsed from a seizure within minutes of the start of the search and he was rushed to Hollywood Animal Hospital, where he was put to sleep two days later.

The police department is working to finalize the details of Kimbo’s funeral and they said they plan to bring in a replacement.

Plantation police dog dies in the line of duty, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 23, 2009.
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Florida_parking_lot.jpgLast week, 13 Florida drivers were apprehended as part of Operation DL-Core, a statewide crackdown using undercover troopers at Palm Beach county courthouses. The Delray Beach sting used plainclothes troopers to monitor court proceedings in which the judge suspended or revoked the driver’s license of a defendant. The troopers followed offenders to the parking lot and alerted uniformed troopers as each defendant got into their car and tried to drive away.

Two of the 13 drivers who were apprehended were arrested and transported to Palm Beach County Jail for an outstanding warrant violation and a habitual offender charge. According to Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle records, the state suspended or revoked close to 2.4 million licenses in 2008.

Officials say they are planning future operations in Broward and Palm Beach County, but they did not disclose the date or location of the courthouse.

Busted! FHP nabs 13 drivers after judge revokes licenses, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 15, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_property_crime.jpgOur South Florida criminal defense attorneys have been reading about crime statistics released by the FBI earlier this week. According to the stats, crime decreased nationwide in 2008. However, while violent crime in South Florida has declined, Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics from earlier this year show that property crimes such as auto theft, larceny, and burglary are actually increasing in some parts of Florida.

In Broward County, property crimes increased by 4.32 percent, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, and Tamarac saw double-digit increases in property crimes. Most agencies in Palm Beach County saw decreases in violent and property crimes, but violent crime in Boynton Beach increased by 2.7 percent.

Law enforcement officials in Broward and Palm Beach cited the economic downturn as a motivating factor for property crimes, because some people are becoming increasingly desperate.

Broward, Palm Beach County violent crime drops in 2008, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 14, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_Stand_Your_Ground_law.jpgFlorida’s “Stand Your Ground” law went into effect in 2005. The law is an extension of the Castle Doctrine, which allows people to respond to an attacker with deadly force in the home or in public. However, the person must reasonably believe that he or she is in danger of death or great bodily harm. As long as they act within the limits of the law, homeowners who kill or injure intruders are usually not charged with a crime.

Several recent cases in Palm Beach County and Miami involve the Castle Doctrine, but experts say these cases do not represent a larger trend. Last week, a Wellington resident shot and wounded one of the two men who into his house. On that same day, a Miami father and son used deadly force against a man who jumped the fence and entered their yard (police as still investigating the cause of death). Earlier this month, a burglar wielding a baseball bat had his arm broken after a group of men in a Lake Worth house used the bat against him to protect the house.

It is important to note that if an intruder surrenders or is incapacitated and someone uses deadly force against the intruder, that person may face criminal charges. According to a homicide prosecutor with the Broward State Attorney’s Office, people should not respond with deadly force unless they are in immediate danger.

South Florida residents strike back at intruders, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 11, 2009 Continue reading

Florida_alligator.jpgDue to growing concerns over the buying, selling, and possession of exotic animals in Florida, legislators and wildlife officials said they are attempting to limit sales over the Internet. While Florida law requires permits and registration for those who own exotic animals, only about 10% of exotic animal owners actually comply with the law.

According to officials, a first-time offense is a misdemeanor with a small fine attached, but repeat offenders could face jail time and fines of up to $10,000. The licensing fee is $100 and will remain at $100 so it does not become a burden for exotic animal owners.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold an amnesty day on October 3 so that any exotic animal can be surrendered no questions asked. Officials have also identified six species they are especially concerned about, because of their large size. Hunters are encouraged to kill the following reptile species: Burmese, African rock, scrub and reticulated pythons, the green anaconda, and the Mile monitor lizard.

Legislators, wildlife officials examine Florida’s exotic animal laws, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 9, 2009 Continue reading

Our South Florida defense lawyers recently heard about an incident involving reality TV starlet Tila Tequila (real name Tila Nguyen) and San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman. Merriman allegedly tried to choke Nguyen when she tried to leave his home. She signed a citizen’s arrest warrant accusing him of battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.

Merriman was arrested on Sunday morning and claims he was trying to protect her, because he thought she was drunk and didn’t her to leave and hurt herself. Merriman statement said, “I in no way caused any harm to Ms. Nguyen, however, paramedics were called and she was examined but no injuries were reported.”

Merriman and his attorney expect that the football player will be found blameless, while Nguyen’s attorney predicts that will his story will be discredited. Prosecutors are still deciding whether to press charges.

Tila Tequila’s lawyer blasts Shawne Merriman’s denials, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 9, 2009 Continue reading

The old system of storing criminal records in handwritten or typed form has been phased out, and now most agencies store records in computer database. These databases are stored at state and local levels. Every time a police agency makes an arrest, they keep a record of it, and every time a court convicts someone of a crime, they record that conviction. The public can view or search records of court convictions.

Every state keeps records of arrests and convictions that occur in that state, but each state has different rules about what crimes must be reported in its repository.

The National Crime Information Center manages a database called the Interstate Identification Index (III), which includes information on felonies (for instance, sex crimes, grand theft, or homicide) and serious misdemeanors (such as assault, drug possession, or petit theft). This database is only accessible to justice agencies in the United States, so it cannot be used for employment checks by private citizens. You would only be added to the III if the FBI has obtained fingerprint data.

Criminal records do not include traffic offenses, so there is a separate national database for serious traffic offenses. Managed by the Department of Transportation, the National Driver Registry includes information on convictions likes DUIs, fatal accidents, and lying about the operation of a motor vehicle. If someone will be driving as part of their job responsibilities, their potential employer can check this database for major traffic offenses.

Sember, Brette. “How U.S. Criminal Records Work.” 28 May 2008.
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