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The way a society defines child abuse says a lot about the premium it places on the protection of children. Here in the U.S., keeping our children safe is considered a top priority, which is obviously something to be applauded. belt.jpg

However, the way that child abuse laws are written, there is a great potential to apply them in an overly-broad manner, which in turn sometimes results in good parents being ensnared in very serious felony allegations. An arrest for a crime of this nature has the potential to result in the loss of one’s job, child custody rights, reputation and freedom – and that’s even before there has been a conviction.

Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers recognize that parents have differing manners of discipline. Sometimes those methods can be misinterpreted. Sometimes we make mistakes and go a bit too far in a moment of frustration. It doesn’t mean we’re bad parents and it certainly doesn’t mean we’re criminals.
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It’s been well-documented that witnesses to crimes are far too often unreliable in a court of law.
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In some cases, it’s because they’re traumatized. Other times, they simply aren’t sure of what they saw or heard, yet they don’t want to disappoint the police and prosecutors on the case. And then, of course, there are those cases in which they are flat-out lying.

Our Broward felony defense attorneys know this unfortunately happens more often than one might think.
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The alleged perpetrator was a bit unexpected, but the crime accused was not.
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A clerk of the court for Broward County was recently convicted for committing identity theft. Authorities say she used her job-related computer systems in the misdemeanor and traffic division to gain access to people’s personal information – names, driver’s license numbers, bank accounts, dates of birth, Social Security numbers – which she then sold to another person for cash. That second party then used the information to file phony tax returns submitted for government refund checks.

Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys recognize that South Florida has gained a reputation three years’ running: The No.1 hub of identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
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Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi is pleading with the state supreme court to block a measure that would legalize medicinal marijuana, should it be allowed on the state ballot next year.
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Marijuana advocates have begun circulating a petition that requires 700,000 voter signatures by Feb. 1 in order to ensure a spot. The drive, entitled People United for Medical Marijuana, is poised to succeed where previous efforts have failed. Earlier this year, state lawmakers turned down the opportunity to vote on a statutory change to the law that would allow physicians to prescribe the drug to certain patients under tightly-controlled conditions.

As of today, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys know that any kind of possession or distribution of the drug is illegal. According to Florida Statute 893.13, the sale, manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to do any of these with a Schedule I narcotic (as marijuana is) is a second-degree felony. As such, it’s punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
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Criminal drug use in Florida continues to attract national attention – and not in the way residents of the Sunshine State are pleased about. Part of the reason is that, according to federal government statistics, Florida has a significantly higher rate of drug-related deaths than the national average.
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One drug in particular that has, especially in the last decade, received a great deal of scrutiny is methamphetamine. Just a couple of weeks ago, as reported by the Palm Beach Post, four individuals were arrested by Okeechobee law enforcement officials in three different incidents, all involving methamphetamine.

Our South Florida drug crime defense attorneys know that being arrested for drug use in Florida is a serious issue with serious prospective penalties and that when methamphetamine is tossed into the mix, the stakes are even higher than usual.
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Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the controversial piece of legislation that received widespread attention following the death of Trayvon Martin last year, was upheld this past Thursday by a group of Florida lawmakers who rejected a proposal to repeal the law. Additionally, the legislative committee expanded the existing law, allowing a person who believes they are in to fire a warning shot.
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The “Stand Your Ground” law, as it’s commonly called, is section 776.013.03 of the Florida State Statues. The law declares that a person who is not engaged in an unlawful act has no duty to retreat, and that they may meet force with force (including deadly force) if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or someone else – or to prevent the commission “of a forcible felony.”

Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys are well aware of the polarizing nature of the law; those who oppose it criticize the law as one that allows for and even sanctions unjust killings. Those who support the law, on the other hand, argue that the law enables them to exercise methods of self-defense.
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A spate of South Florida “road rage” incidents in recent years has led prosecutors to aggressively press forward with felony charges such as battery, aggravated battery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
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However, two of those cases have recently ended in jury acquittals. A third is slated for trial in December.

Our felony defense attorneys in Broward know that these kind of serious charges can result in years behind bars. It’s a terrifying prospect, particularly given the fact that many road rage defendants have never before been on this side of the law.
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A Palm Beach County man is facing federal child pornography charges for allegedly participating in the production of pornographic photographs of his three (young) daughters. While the crimes being alleged are indeed heinous, the reality is a bit more graspable.
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According to this Sun Sentinel article, the man and his family – who consider themselves “naturalists” – were living on a nudist colony in Palm Beach County. In fact, as the man and his attorney have argued, the photographs that he participated in the production of were simply family portraits; the girls were nude because they’re naturalists.

The South Florida criminal defense attorneys at Leifert & Leifert know that despite public opinion, in the law, there can be a clear distinction between something illegal and something seemingly wrong. That’s because “illegal” is a matter of written law and legal precedent, and “wrong” is a matter of personal opinion and perspective. This issue is brought to light in the aforementioned case.
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A Hollywood police officer, a former star running back fro the Florida Atlantic Owls, was arrested for DUI in Broward County by members of his own department.
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He was immediately relieved of duty with pay, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. He was forced to turn in his badge, his squad car and his department-issued firearm. He stands to lose much more than that if convicted.

His career, his reputation, his freedom and his future are on the line. Cases like this demand the involvement of a defense team with extensive experience. Leaving any part of it to chance could result in lifelong consequences.
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A little over a year ago, as this NY Daily News article describes, a Florida teenager, allegedly “high” on synthetic marijuana, struck a bicyclist who died from the sustained injuries. Right after the crash, witnesses of the crash approached the dazed and confused teen by the side of the road and asked him some questions about the events that had just transpired.
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Cognizant enough to answer simple questions, the teenager acknowledged that he was behind the wheel of the vehicle that hit (and killed) the bicycling father of three and also that he was “high” when he did so. The self-incriminating video was used by prosecutors as evidence – evidence that was key to convicting the teenager and putting him in jail.

The experienced Florida criminal defense attorneys at Leifert & Leifert know all too well the power of one’s words. When arrested, an arrestee is told by officers that what he says can and may be used against him in court. As it turns out, though, what you say even before you’re arrested can also be used against you.
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