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Fort Lauderdale police and Broward County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man they alleged held up a convenience store, shot at officers and then barricaded himself in his home, WSVN reports.

Charges of armed robbery in Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida are among the most serious in our criminal justice system.
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In Florida, a conviction can lead to years or decades behind bars. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers have defended many clients charged with this crime and have helped many avoid the most serious allegations levied against them.

Police say the man opened fire on officers after exiting a 7-Eleven convenience store. Officers had arrived after receiving a call of shots fired in the area. After getting to the scene, officers allegedly spotted the man outside the store.

The 27-year-old allegedly had two handguns and had shot at two different officers — one police officer and one deputy. Driving away, he drove to a house in the Windward Lakes Condominiums, police said. He allegedly refused to come out once police surrounded the complex. SWAT team members were called in.

The standoff lasted several hours, the news report states, until officers gassed the man’s apartment, came in and arrested him. No injuries were reported. The man faces several charges, though the news report doesn’t list them all.

Charges of armed robbery are difficult because the allegation is so difficult. But offenses against law enforcement officers can be an uphill battle for defendants. Not only will the agency try to find as many charges as possible to file against the defendant, jurors tend to not be sympathetic in cases where the police officer is the alleged victim.

Jurors already tend to value the opinion of police above lay witnesses and defendants and labeling them as victims only makes things more difficult. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers must be called in to help a defendant in such a situation.

Jury selection, many lawyers argue, is the most important part of a trial. Get a jury that will favor police and the defendant has an uphill battle. Pick jurors who will consider all facts and follow the law as the judge says, and you have a fair trial, a guarantee of all defendants.

The police officer’s word carries much weight, but the evidence does as well. It may be possible in some cases to prove a situation of mistaken identity in similar situations. As the Florida Criminal Lawyer Blog recently reported, eye witness identification has come under fire in other states as witness testimony has been proven time and time again to be shaky at best. The state often tries to use less-than-credible sources to secure convictions.

Obviously, each case is different and a defense can only be established based on the available facts. With the stakes as high as they are, trust in an attorney who has years of experience and has the skills to ensure your rights are upheld and all the facts come out.
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A West Palm Beach man has been arrested on charges of not only DUI, but also child neglect after a motorist reported a drunk driver with a child inside the vehicle, The Palm Beach Post reports.

This has become a new trend in Florida and nationwide that is slightly troublesome. Law enforcement officers are leaning on drivers who are untrained in what constitutes driving while intoxicated to be extra sets of eyes on the road.
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While there are some instances where it may seem obvious that a person is driving while intoxicated — if they’re swerving heavily or starting and stopping abruptly — there are also often explanations for these poor driving habits. There have been examples of bees stinging drivers or medical problems that have led to them appearing drunk.

So, officers are being sent out on calls from drivers who don’t have the real training to detect drunken driving in West Palm Beach. This is setting a scary precedent for drivers everywhere.

Being falsely accused of DUI may be one of the worst things that can happen to a person. West Palm Beach DUI defense lawyers have represented many clients who were falsely accused and had to fight the stigma of being arrested for years after a not-guilty verdict or when charges were dropped. Sadly, people take a police officer’s word over their own friend’s sometimes.

In this case, a motorist called police after they suspected a man was driving drunk with a child in the car. When police arrived, they found a 50-year-old man driving in a car with his 12-year-old son.

The man allegedly told the deputy his son was sick and needed medical attention, but when asked, the boy shook his head no “with a look of embarrassment on his face,” the officer’s report states. The boy said he was fine.

The man then said his son was going to help him install a raccoon trap. The arresting officer noted in a report that the man didn’t smell like alcohol, but had slurred speech and appeared to be “sluggish” and “dazed.”

The man told the deputy that he takes several medications, yet he was arrested. The boy’s mother came to pick up the child.

It’s possible that despite doctor’s orders, the medications the man was taking could have caused an adverse reaction without his knowledge. DUI can not only apply to alcohol, but also drugs. But the man clearly hadn’t had any alcohol, since the deputy noted specifically that he didn’t smell like alcohol.

While people may see this story and scoff and get offended by the man’s alleged actions, this could be explained as simply a mistake. There is often more to the story than just what the initial police report states and that’s why the criminal justice system provides a checks-and-balance to these cases. That’s why every defendant is entitled to a fair trial. No one should be subjected to arrest without all of the facts coming out.
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The Nebraska case of State v. McCave shows just how aggressive police can be when investigating a crime such as DUI.

Police must have what’s known as “probable cause” to make an arrest in any situation. But sometimes officers are so driven to make an arrest, they don’t consider the consequences of making an arrest without having proper evidence.
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DUI in Fort Lauderdale is one of the areas in which police sometimes throw smart judgment to the wind. Granted, most officers aren’t trained as lawyers, so they may not know the latest court rulings or local rules that could affect cases. But they should be using common sense.

And when they don’t, Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyers will show them the way. We have been defending clients for years who have had their rights violated by overzealous cops and even those who are a bit on the naive side.

This case may have had a little of both.

Jeffrey McCave was sitting in his car in the driveway of his father’s house when the father told him to leave. McCave refused and the police showed up.

When they got there, they decided to arrest him for DUI, refusing to submit a breath test, trespassing and possession of an open container.

He was later convicted of the charges, but at least the Supreme Court had some common sense here. The convictions of DUI, refusing to submit and possession of an open container were all reversed and the convictions and sentences were vacated.

The court ruled that police had no probable cause to arrest him on those charges and the trial court should have granted a motion to suppress the evidence from the arrest. As for the trespassing charge, the state’s high court granted a new trial, saying that the trial court judge should have excluded evidence that was relevant to the trespassing charge.

Simply sitting in a vehicle isn’t grounds for a DUI investigation to commence. The “D” in DUI is driving, so sitting in a parked car isn’t driving. And when police arrived, they were there simply on a call that a person was trespassing, not that someone was driving while intoxicated.

This is an example of police abusing their power and taking things a little too far. Maybe they didn’t want to fill out paperwork for a simple misdemeanor trespassing arrest or maybe their bosses have said to cut down on making arrests because of overcrowding or manpower issues on the force. Whatever the reason, it’s unfair to trump up charges because of policy changes.

Police officers must realize the consequences of their actions. They are affecting people’s lives and possibly ruining their lives by making the decision to arrest. A DUI arrest can cause job loss, loss of reputation and other effects aside from what the criminal justice system can deliver.

The only way to reconcile this is by fighting the charges aggressively and seeking a conviction. That’s the only clear way to prove you’re innocent once you’ve been arrested in Fort Lauderdale.
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ABC News reports that a woman who identifies herself as a prostitute was arrested after allegedly carjacking a man and leading police on a chase in West Palm Beach.

Prostitution in West Palm Beach is the oldest profession known to man and while law enforcement tries to get a handle on it, it will continue in one form or another. And that goes for the people who attempt to purchase the services of a prostitute as well.
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Police officers are constantly putting together sting operations where female officers dress as prostitutes to try to arrest people who may be seeking. But there are situations during these sting operations where officers can entrap a suspect, leading to an unlawful arrest.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers should be called in to defend a person who was enticed by police into asking for prostitute services. Entrapment is rare, but it does happen. It means luring someone into committing a crime they normally wouldn’t commit. Regardless, a charge of prostitution or solicitation should be properly defended.

In these sting operations, an example would be if a person pulled up to an undercover officer in a car and began talking with them about how much it would cost, but they don’t ask the “prostitute” to get into their vehicle, but the officer persists and convinces them to pick them up.

In a situation like this, the person may be having second thoughts, but the officer convinces the “John” to go through with the deal, leading to an arrest. While officers should be trained to avoid such behavior, there have been instances where this happens.

According to the news story, the woman, who claims she is a prostitute, said she was picked up by a man near 10th Avenue North and Dixie Highway one weekday night. As they were sitting in the vehicle, she allegedly decided she didn’t want to have sex with the man and when he got out of his vehicle, she jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off.

As police pursued her, she allegedly hit several vehicles en route to Interstate 95. She eventually ditched the car and ran away before she was chased down by police and arrested. She now faces charges of carjacking and fleeing from police and was being held on $50,000 bond.

The man says that he borrowed his friend’s car and was sending a money order when a woman and a man pulled him out of his car, hit him and took the car, driving over his foot. There’s no word on the other mystery man.

This is an interesting case because there are two completely different stories of how this came to be. In the one situation, the woman allegedly admits to taking the vehicle, but the man, likely fearing people would judge him for picking up a prostitute, says he was pulled from the vehicle by two people.
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The News-Press in Fort Myers is reporting that a challenge to the state’s DUI law there could impact thousands of cases pending throughout Florida.

Attorneys are arguing that the law is unconstitutional and should be stricken from the books. Certainly, a success in this case could have wide-ranging effects. The argument is that the Intoxilyzer 8000, the breath-testing machine used statewide by law enforcement, is defective and therefore a violation of citizens’ constitutional rights.
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West Palm Beach DUI lawyers have seen how breath testing in Broward DUI cases have been challenged time and time again because of faulty equipment. Florida’s DUI defense lawyers have been fighting for access to the system’s code.

Because the State of Florida only authorizes one machine for departments to use, they have all been using the faulty Intoxilyzer 8000 for years. In Sarasota, prosecutors have been dropping DUI cases and tossing out breath-testing evidence because of issues with the machine.

It appears that in Naples, progress is being made to look at cases there as well. It’s possible that as more and more cases enter the system, the state will have to take a closer look at its device and perhaps make a change. In Washington D.C., police have quit using their breathalyzer devices altogether after problems and questions about reliability surfaced.

When a driver submits to a breath test, they are assuming, and the officer too, that the machine works. Even if they aren’t guilty, they can be placed in handcuffs, taken to jail, have their mug shot put online for the world to see and humiliated, possibly losing their job, because of a faulty machine. Even though the law requires the state to prove the case, they must fight to restore their image to friends, co-workers and others who may cast judgement.

And that’s on top of fighting to prove the test was incorrect so they don’t face possible jail time, fines and fees, DUI school, a driver’s license revocation or other penalties.

Experts quoted by the News-Press say that DUI cases are the only in the criminal justice system where there is “secret science,” where defendants aren’t allowed to know how breath machines really work. Even DNA processes are open to defendants.

The machines have not only spit out incorrect blood-alcohol content readings, but also have measured impossible levels of air blown into the machines. The average lung has 5 or less liters of air, but machines have been known to record 12 liters of air, which can’t possibly happen.

Let’s hope that Broward prosecutors begin looking at ways to ensure defendants get a fair trial. Drivers deserve a fair process when they get pulled over and charged with DUI. If they refuse a breath test, their license is automatically revoked; if they take a breath test, they are getting an incorrect reading. It’s a lose-lose situation that must be fixed.
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For the first time in a while, Florida lawmakers have done the smart thing by reducing the sentencing guidelines for a very concerning offense– sexting.

Under the original law, teens could be convicted and punished under the state’s child pornography laws. They could also have been required to register as sexual offenders for sending or receiving nude photos of underage girlfriends, boyfriends or classmates.
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Under the new law, which went into effect Oct. 1, convicted teenagers will be punished with a non-criminal violation for a first offense, a misdemeanor for a second offense, and a felony for three-time offenders, the Sun Sentinel reports.

Sexting in West Palm Beach and nationwide has become a new trend among teenagers because of the availability of cameras on cell phones and the instant access to sending and receiving photos. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers have followed this trend and the Florida Legislature’s pathetic response to it.

Sadly, many teens were branded as sex offenders for simply receiving a photo of a naked person, whether it was the teens’ plan to receive or not. These young people were even required to register as sex offenders in state and national registry databases, which are available online for all to see. Many teens lost an opportunity to attend college, earn scholarships or have any kind of positive future after being convicted of a felony, sent to prison and labeled a sex offender.

The Legislature over-reacted with the original penalties, not taking into account that many teens have poor decision-making skills. We are hopeful there is some help for those who have already been convicted and labeled sexual offenders under the initial poorly thought-out law.

Here’s a breakdown of the new penalties for teens caught sexting:

First offense: non-criminal violation, like a ticket, punishable by eight hours of community service or a $60 fine.
Second offense: A first-degree misdemeanor, punishable with up to a year in jail, fines and fees, and possible community service.
Third offense: A third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Obviously, a third offense can be quite terrifying. Even a second-offense should be taken quite seriously by a teen who has many years ahead of him or her. Thankfully, lawmakers have made a first offense a wake-up call instead of a permanent scar on a person’s criminal history record.

These charges must be aggressively defended because even a first mark can be devastating, and second or third alleged offense is even worse.

The criminal justice system is meant to punish, not rehabilitate. Prosecutors and police must realize that teens make mistakes — as they themselves probably did when they were young — and a criminal record isn’t always the right move.

A West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney knows that and fights with everything available to ensure a permanent mark doesn’t ruin a bright future. Kids do dumb things and they should be punished — by their parents. Not every case deserves a criminal record. It’s a good thing that Florida lawmakers finally got that right.
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A Boynton Beach man has been arrested after he allegedly shot a man who police say was his wife’s lover, the Sun Sentinel reports.

When marriages are collapsing and infidelity is alleged, emotions can run high. This is a prime example of emotions overcoming a person, which leads to a Boca Raton shooting.
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But sometimes in shooting cases, there is more than meets the eye. Police reports are one-sided, and initial media reports are usually the same way because they are based solely on the police report. An experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer can participate in news media information gathering and reporting to help a defendant get a fair trial and ensure his or her rights are upheld.

In this case, a 34-year-old man was arrested after he allegedly went to a house where his wife — who had recently filed for divorce — and another man were after going to dinner. The Boynton Beach man suspected his wife had been cheating on him, and upon entering the home he found the two in bed.

The victim was located in a nearby yard. He had six gunshot wounds in his chest, stomach and arm, according to the police report. He was transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment and was in critical but stable condition, the newspaper reports.

Police say the man gave a statement to police in which he admitted he shot the victim after first telling officers he was attacked with a knife and shot the man in self-defense. He later allegedly said he placed the knife nearby to make it look like self-defense.

Cases like this where suspects, victims and defendants know each other can be difficult to defend because if witnesses live, they are able to pinpoint the perpetrator fairly easily. Mistaken identity typically doesn’t come into play when friends or family members are involved in a crime.

But making a statement to police rarely helps. In fact, it typically hurts a defendant’s chances of obtaining a not-guilty verdict at trial or getting a favorable plea offer from the state.

Police are required to tell suspects what their rights are, called a Miranda Warning. In sum, the warning tells suspects they aren’t required to speak with police, that they may ask for an attorney at any time, and that what they say can be used against them in court.

Most suspects have heard of Miranda Rights, but don’t fully grasp what they mean. It means they don’t have to say anything to detectives, and that fact can’t be used against you if you are prosecuted. In fact, it likely will become an advantage.

If the state has no idea what your perspective on the crime is and can’t use what you say to present against the evidence detectives find, they are less likely to have damaging things to use against you at trial.

In fact, testifying at trial will come out of nowhere to prosecutors, which can give the defendant a big advantage, if the case even goes to trial. But what typically happens is a suspect tries to explain his or her way out of the situation, thinking they will convince a detective they are innocent and just walk out of the police station.

It’s far from that simple. Detectives have heard every story you could imagine, and they are expecting a person to make excuses. The best advice is to simply invoke your rights, ask for a lawyer, don’t say anything and begin preparing your defense.
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