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Broward County Drug Court acknowledged more than 10,000 graduates over 20 years at a celebration recently, the Sun-Sentinel reported, marking a huge milestone for a very important program.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorneys believe drug court is a great alternative to by-the-book penalties and sentencing because it allows people to have a second chance in life. While drug court relies mostly on the defendant to want to get help after they are arrested on drug charges in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida, an experienced attorney should be hired in order to help get them into the program.

Drug Court helps nonviolent people who buy or possess small amounts of drugs like cocaine or oxycodone.They must stay clean for a year and participate in intensive counseling, treatment, rehabilitation, acupuncture and random urine testing, the newspaper reported. Completing Drug Court enables them to avoid a conviction and a prison term, or, if already convicted, successfully complete probation.

The county’s Drug Court, which started in July 1991, falls under the Broward Sheriff’s Office. It has three, three-month phases participants must complete. There are group counseling, drug tests, and whatever other measures the judge deems necessary.

Officials laud it as a cost saver, saying it costs taxpayers $954 per client for a year of Drug Court, compared with $24,000 to send someone to county jail. The court graduates about 1,000 people a year and the recidivism rate after two years is about 2 in 10.

While some people like it for the cost savings, we like it because it works and it helps people stay clean. This can be a great program for young offenders and people who may be getting into drugs for the first time. The program is designed to help keep people clean and steer them away from using drugs.

But getting into the program is no guarantee. There are standards for those who are allowed to participate and sometimes prosecutors want to seek harsh penalties of jail or prison time for people arrested on drug charges.

A Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney can be necessary to negotiate with the state and prove that the client deserves a chance to succeed in the program. And that needs to take place early on in the process. That’s why quickly consulting with an attorney is advantageous for someone facing these charges.

Drug court is the best way to avoid jail or prison, if the defendant is willing to work on their drug problem and get help. Consulting with an attorney to determine whether or not this is a fit for the client may be as important as getting the client into drug court. That’s because a failure in drug court could subject the defendant to the penalties — fines, fees, jail time, probation and other sanctions — they would face in the criminal justice system.
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A man was arrested recently and charged by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies with stealing a plane from a Lantana flight school and also stealing a luxury car from a Palm Beach resort, ABC News reports.

According to Florida Statutes 812.014, the value of the property that is stolen determines the degree of the penalty. Theft can range from theft to grand theft to robbery. Grand theft is a first-degree felony and can be punishable by 30 years to life in prison.

So, while some people belief theft is a minor crime, its penalties can be quite severe. And hiring an experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer will help protect a defendant’s rights. Charges of grand theft in Broward County require a lawyer who can look at all the facts and challenge witnesses as well as reports and police findings.

In this case, the man allegedly went to the flight school and asked an instructor about the cost of renting a plane. According to police, he broke into a Cessna and drove it about 50 feet before crashing it into a parked plane at Palm Beach County Park Airport in June.

When deputies released a sketch of the man, Palm Beach police told deputies he resembled a man who had recently been arrested on grand theft auto charges at The Breakers. There, he allegedly took some keys from behind the valet desk and stole an Infinity G37. In that car, police reported they found keys to a different stolen vehicle.

Obviously, this man faces many charges. And if the news reports are accurate, he faces an uphill battle fighting both sets of charges because he was caught in the act. But, there may be mitigating factors that could help his case. It’s unclear why law enforcement needed a sketch of the man to connect him to separate crimes each agency was handling.

In order to successfully defend these cases, an attorney must be hired immediately upon arrest so that as soon as the state has reviewed detectives’ reports and witnesses statements and they decide which charges to file, a defense attorney is able to review the evidence and begin building a defense.

A criminal case is fluid, meaning that as evidence pours in from detectives to prosecutors, the defense also gets copies. So, whether it’s DNA evidence that takes time to be processed at a state-run lab, detectives re-interviewing witnesses, getting surveillance footage that is requested and obtained by police or other pieces of evidence, the case continues developing.

A prepared defense lawyer will aggressively confront witnesses, whether lay witnesses or police, diligently review all the evidence, including reports and statements and seek to ban its entry into the case through filing motions. A good attorney can convince a judge to get enough time to work on the case so that it isn’t rushed to trial.

All of this requires getting involved in the case immediately, so if you face theft charges in Boca Raton or throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties, contact our law firm as soon as possible.
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The recent high-profile case of a Fort Lauderdale self-made millionaire being found dead, wrapped in bedding and his girlfriend being charged with his murder has made headlines throughout South Florida.

But the woman turning herself in to detectives doesn’t make her guilty. According to The Miami Herald, she had found out that police accused her of the homicide and agreed to turn herself in to authorities rather than remain at large. It goes without saying that murder charges in Fort Lauderdale are serious and carry severe penalties. But hiring an experienced Broward Criminal Defense Attorney before answering to the charges can be a critical step in protecting your rights.
According to The Herald, the 70-year-old man’s body was found in June at his newly purchased mansion in the Tarpon River neighborhood. Police arrived after someone called 911 and found that his body had been wrapped in duct tape and covered in bedding and plastic bags.

Police told the media that they had several pieces of evidence linking the man’s 54-year-old girlfriend to the crime and they know how he died, but they declined to release the information to the public. According to police, the couple’s relationship had recently soured.

According to the newspaper, the victim started his career selling Honda motorcycles in San Diego and began selling Honda cars, owning several dealerships as the company became more popular in the United States. He met his girlfriend there and they moved together to Fort Lauderdale, where he purchased several million-dollar-plus houses.

Charges of murder in Florida can be brought by the state in several different formats. The most common charge where a person is killed may be second-degree murder. Second-degree murder, which is punishable by 30 years to life in prison, is defined as “the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual,” according to Florida Statutes 782.04.

First-degree murder in Florida can be charged by prosecutors in two different circumstances: if they can prove the crime was premeditated (thought out in advance) or if it was committed while committing another felony. First-degree murder is punishable by life in prison or death by lethal injection.

Manslaughter is another charge that can be brought by the state in cases where a person is killed. This is defined under Florida Statutes 782.07 as essentially someone being killed by negligence without justification. Manslaughter carries with it a maximum of 15 years in prison.

So, as you can see, charges involving homicide in Florida are severe. And that’s why hiring the right lawyer, attorneys who have been prosecutors and understand how prosecutors think and how police do their job is critical. These aren’t charges that should be taken lightly and a diligent lawyer, one who will put in the research, file scores of motions to restrict evidence and aggressively go after witnesses is crucial.
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Police conducted a high-speed chase through Fort Lauderdale recently that ended with the arrest of a defendant on robbery charges, Fox News reports.

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyers have defended many people charged with robbery, which can be a tough charge for police and prosecutors to prove. But when suspects get into high-speed chases with law enforcement, it can lead to many additional charges, such as fleeing and eluding, traffic-related charges, such as running red lights and reckless driving and also charges that relate to the injury of an officer, if one is hurt. So, if you are facing charges of robbery in Fort Lauderdale, contact our firm today.
Fox News reports that the suspect was wanted for a robbery and was chased up and down State Road 7 near Northwest 16th Street. Police eventually apprehended the man after he crashed into a fence near Northwest 14th Place and 32nd Court. The man fled on foot, but was arrested by officers.

Being arrested for robbery in Florida can have a terrible effect on a person’s reputation, livelihood and well-being. It can lead to job loss as well as the strain of dealing with the criminal justice system.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports that one robbery is committed every 20 minutes, making it one of the more frequent crimes our state experiences. There were 26,074 robberies in Florida, which is actually down from 16 percent from 30,881 that were committed in 2009.

But still, of the 26,000 robberies, 11,106 involved a weapon, which is a scary situation. But while can be terrifying for the victim, a suspect charged with robbery with a weapon faces serious prison time in Florida.

According to Florida Statutes 812.13, robbery with a firearm is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Even without a weapon, a robbery charge carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years in prison as a second-degree felony.

Also in Florida, the use of a weapon can come into play when robbery is alleged. Under the 10-20-Life law in Florida, a person convicted of certain crimes involving a gun can face a minimum 10-year prison sentence. If a gun is discharged, even if by accident, the person could face a 20-year prison term and if someone is injured or killed, they can face 25 years to life.

And a defendant’s criminal history can be applied to the case, as well. If a convicted felon uses a gun in a robbery, they can face an additional three years for a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon. And the law mandates that the prison terms be serve consecutively — one after the other — to any other prison sentence.

So, hiring the right attorney could be critical to a person’s future prospects of freedom. Our firm has years of experience as prosecutors, so we know how the state thinks and how local law enforcement gather evidence. We know the problems they can have in these types of cases and we can apply it to your case.
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A member of the Miami Black Tuna Gang spent the last 31 years on the lam, but he was recently captured and sent to prison for five years on a charge of marijuana smuggling, The Miami Herald reports.

West Palm Beach Drug Defense Lawyers have the experience to handle any drug charge in South Florida, whether it be for manufacturing drugs, possessing drugs, selling drugs or trafficking drugs. West Palm Beach drug possession charges carry tough penalties, up to decades in prison, and require a diligent defense law team.

The Black Tuna Gang was a marijuana smuggling organization active in the 1970s in Miami. The group allegedly smuggled in about 500 tons of marijuana in a 16-month period before the DEA and FBI brought them down.

This defendant was convicted in 1980 of racketeering and possession and distribution of marijuana. He left his trial in 1979 and spent years in Chile, Europe and New York City before settling in a rented apartment at the Century Village seniors community in West Palm Beach.

In 1997, the defendant was convicted in North Carolina and sentenced to five years in prison for a failed marijuana run but never served the term because of his indictment in Miami. While prosecutors were seeking 15 years, his attorneys argued he was a peripheral member of the gang. He was busted after a boat carrying 40,000 pounds of marijuana ran aground off the Bahamas because drunken crew members began cooking steaks and started a fire aboard the boat.

Depending on the weight of the drugs, where they are being sold, purchased or manufactured and a defendant’s criminal history, the potential sentence can vary greatly. Hiring a lawyer who has been a state prosecutor and who has handled scores of drug cases over two decades can be advantageous to a defendant.

A defense attorney must have all the latest tools to be able to suppress a defendant’s statement from being introduced as evidence before a jury and to suppress evidence police collect if officers don’t follow procedures or don’t have probable cause in the first place to make an arrest. Keeping this evidence out of a defendant’s case is critical.

Having the knowledge to file those and other motions and being committed to aggressively defending a client’s case is what we pride ourselves on doing. Our firm will extensively study the case, discuss options with the client and figure out the best resolution. That may mean a plea offer from the state that we consider, going to trial, or, in the best case scenario, getting the charges dropped after getting evidence kicked out.

Don’t feel like your lawyer isn’t doing enough to defend you and your rights. We work with clients to make sure they are well-informed, up-to-date on hearings and motions and apprised of all the details of their case. Before you do anything else, set up a free consultation today.
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A polo magnate from Wellington will go to trial in October on charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in the February 2010 traffic homicide of a 23-year-old man, The Palm Beach Post reports.

DUI manslaughter in Palm Beach County is a serious charge and can be punished by up to 15 years in prison. But it also requires prosecutors to have substantial evidence against a person. Because of the high stakes involved, hiring aggressive West Palm Beach DUI Lawyers is critical to protecting your rights.
In the Wellington case, investigators believe the defendant was drunk when he drove his Bentley into the vehicle of another man, forcing his car into a canal where he drowned. The defendant allegedly fled the scene.

According to the newspaper, the man has also faces a civil lawsuit and has refused to answer questions during depositions and declined to answer questions about the accident or his alcohol consumption that night.

This is an example of a tragic accident, but what should be noted is that the state is required to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Law enforcement simply making an arrest isn’t proof that a crime was committed. That’s why our country’s form of criminal justice is the best in the world.

DUI manslaughter, according to Florida Statutes 316.193, is being in violation of the drunk driving statutes (a .08 blood-alcohol level or higher) and killing a person.

So, the state must not only prove that the driver committed the killing, but that the defendant was driving at the time, the victim wasn’t responsible for the accident and that the driver was drunk at the time. There is a lot to prove.

And what people may be confused about is how a defendant can be charged with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide when one person died and not two. Florida prosecutors routinely are able to charge a person under both theories and prove only one, or both. While a person couldn’t be convicted for both crimes, the state can throw all its evidence at a jury to try to prove one of the crimes.

Vehicular homicide, according to Florida Statutes 782.071, is the killing of a person caused by the operation of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause a death.

Both charges are second-degree felonies, which are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. And DUI manslaughter carries a minimum prison sentence of 4 years. So, these are serious charges and require an aggressive defense of the facts of the case, such as who was at fault for the crash, whether witnesses can 100 percent prove the defendant was the driver, and whether law enforcement had probable cause to seek breath tests, field sobriety tests, blood tests and other DUI-related testing.

Trusting former prosecutors who know how assistant state attorneys think and how many police officers do their investigations can be advantageous for defendants. Our lawyers will diligently study the evidence in the case and seek the best resolution for our clients.
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An elite squad of Fort Lauderdale police officers have been relieved of duty with pay until a criminal investigation into two arrests they made is completed, the South Florida Times reports.

This is a prime example that police are not above the law and should be held accountable. But what this also shows is how crucial hiring the right Fort Lauderdale Drug Defense Lawyer is for your case. Drug cases can be complex and have many differing aspects that must be considered. Sentences can range from treatment in a facility to serious prison time, so don’t leave defense of this type of charge up to just anyone.

The Fort Lauderdale police investigation centers around the Street Crimes Division, a group of officers called the Northwest Raiders because of the predominantly black, northwest area of the city where the group originally operated.

During an August operation, two men were arrested and charged with possession and delivery of cocaine after a confidential informant told police a drug deal would be going down at a local hotel. The group of officers set up surveillance and pulled over the pair, according to the news report. The police report details that one of the suspects dropped a container on the floor of the car that cocaine dropped out of. The officers said the substance equaled one gram and tested positive for cocaine.

The newspaper reports that the officers may have fabricated and lied about what happened and that the state attorney’s office is investigating. They are analyzing a video tape and other evidence.

In any Fort Lauderdale drug case, the amount of the drug recovered by police goes a long way in determining how serious the charges may be. According to Florida Statutes 893.13, purchasing more than 10 grams of a long list of drugs can subject you to punishment for a first-degree felony, which is up to 30 years in a state prison.

But simply the amount of the drug and what type is not all that must be taken into consideration. Where the arrest is made is crucial, too. Florida Statutes 893.13 states that selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, place of worship, assisted living facility, public housing complex, public park or other places can involve enhanced penalties as well.

And multiple convictions can add to the number of years a person may face in prison. This is why attempting to suppress the evidence collected by police because of improper procedure, a lack of probable cause or other reasons is very important. And our experienced lawyers, who have both filed these motions and defended against them in court, are able to best assist you.

Consult with our law firm before you make any statements to police and allow us to fight for your rights. Hiring a lawyer can make a substantial difference in your life. So, choose the firm that has years of experience in the criminal justice system.
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