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Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that despite Supreme Court rulings that a warrant is needed for law enforcement officers to search your computer, what you type into search engines in the privacy of your home can come back to hurt you in a court of law.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen many high-profile criminal cases in which what the defendant allegedly typed into a search engine on their computer was brought up in court as evidence. Recall how, in the Casey Anthony trial of 2011, a search for “chloroform” 84 times on the Anthony family computer raised eyebrows in court — prosecutors alleged that this was evidence of Casey researching how to kill her baby daughter using chloroform.

Now, a murder investigation into the death of a Georgia toddler — who died after being left in his father’s SUV in the blazing sun for seven hour — has grown to include searches of the comuter belonging to the father, who is now the suspect in what is being called a “homicide.” Police and forensic experts have announced that seemingly suspicious internet searches draw an eerie connection between the interests of the father and the circumstances in which the son died.
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Americans are entitled to fair treatment by law enforcement officers, and our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that this holds true whether they are interacting with them casually on the street or whether they have been placed under arrest.
This principle was glaringly violated when two Georgia teenagers were kept in a courthouse holding cell without food, lights or toilet paper over this past weekend.

According to the Daily Caller, the teens, 16 and 17 years old respectively, were left in the holding cell “accidentally” after neither boy’s parents showed up.
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In a landmark ruling today, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that police cannot search the cell phones of suspects without first obtaining a warrant. As our criminal defense lawyers know, and as CNN reporter Pamela Brown commented, “this is a big blow to law enforcement and a big win for privacy rights.”
The decision, a much anticipated one, grouped cell phones and other electronic devices in with products such as wallets, handbags and motor vehicles, a category of items “subject to limited initial examination by law enforcement,” according to the article.

The importance of the ruling is further highlighted by the fact that the Supreme Court, one which typically rules on cases along strict party lines, issued this ruling unanimously, quashing any doubt about peoples’ right to privacy when it comes to their cell phones.
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Large tech businesses produce products and services that we rely on each and every day, including smart phones, home security systems, and wireless communications programs. Moreover, these all converge in a relatively new creation by companies such as AT&T, Apple and Google, known as the “Smart Home,” which allows people to turn off the lights, lock the doors and view security camera footage all remotely from their mobile phones.
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that while so-called “Smart home” configurations can prove useful and interesting to the people who own them, they can also end up being used against their owners in legal proceedings.

For instance, video security footage is stored on the manufacturing tech company’s servers; once it is on there, regardless of the fact that it reveals intimate details about the inside of your home, law enforcement agencies contact the tech companies and request access to the data (including video footage) that they have.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that the impression you leave on a judge can have a strong influence on the outcome of your case, for judges often have a great deal of discretion in making judgments about the validity of charges, the stipulations of penalties, etc.
As one Fort Lauderdale man recently learned, yelling and cursing at a judge can also lead you to be found in contempt of court, for which you can serve jail time. According to the Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale man Christopher Colon was appearing before a Broward judge via videolink after being arrested on a domestic violence charge. When the judge decided to block his release from jail, Colon went on an extended rant that included cursing at the judge twenty times.

In his inappropraite tirade, the 27-year-old man used the “f” word eight times, and then proceeded to tell the judge to perform a sex act on him, demonstrating exactly what not to do when you are in front of a judge. As a result, Colon was found in contempt of court and sentenced to 364 days in jail.
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So-called fortune tellers, or “psychics,” purport to be able to see the future in ways that the rest of us cannot. They set up shop in cities, suburbs and strip malls, inviting customers to spend some time — and some money — to have their futures predicted.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that while this practice might seem logically questionable, it can also lead to illegal behavior.

The relationships that fortune tellers develop with their clients is often a close one; many individuals see fortune tellers multiple times per week, establishing a rapport with their psychic that one might have with a very close family therapist or long-time family doctor. Unfortunately, this relationship often times makes the customer vulnerable to fraud on the part of the psychic.
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As life becomes further enmeshed with technology (and social media in particular), private conversations and emotions can become all the more visible to the outside world. Our experienced South Florida criminal defense attorneys know that, in such a technology-reliant world, stalking no longer means simply following somebody around or consistently waiting for them outside of their place of work.
So-called “cyber stalking,” as defined by Section 784.048 of the Florida State Statutes, occurs when someone uses technology to communicate with someone (with no legitimate purpose) in a way that causes the recipient of the messages to become emotionally distressed.

Just last week, according to the Sun Sentinel, a North Lauderdale man was arrested for allegedly cyber stalking his ex-girlfriend. Because of the Facebook messages he sent to her, the 23-year-old man was charged with aggravated cyber stalking, with bond set at $150,000.
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As our experienced South Florida criminal defense attorneys know, and as evidenced in particular by the recent conclusion of an ongoing criminal matter in Plantation, allegations that someone has committed a crime should not be understood as an implication that such a person is guilty of having committed a crime.
Our judicial system is predicated in part on the notion that accused persons are inherently innocent until proven guilty in front of a jury of their peers. Until they have been formally charged, prosecuted and have a had a chance to defend themselves in a court of law, they are not to be regarded as guilty, for guilt is a legal determination that can only be reached by a court of law.

Just over a week ago, law enforcement officials in Plantation announced that they would not prosecute a battery charge against a man who’d they been planning on taking to court. Here’s the twist: it’s not just that the local authorities could not gather enough evidence against the man sufficient to yield a conviction — the alleged victim of the crime actually recanted her accusation, thereby pulling the rug out from under the criminal investigation and shedding light on an ugly problem in society, namely the treatment of the accused as if they were guilty.
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Our experienced South Florida DUI defense lawyers know that you can be pulled over and arrested for DUI simply for drivig home after a dinner at which you and a friend had a glass of wine or two. Because everybody’s body is different, alcohol affects each person differently, and although the amount of alcohol you might have consumed seemed miniscule, police can still book you for DUI if they deem that you’ve had too much to drink.
To be sure, you can be arrested for DUI regardless of whether or not you intended to become intoxicated in the first place; in this respect, intention is irrelevant.

Furthermore, because our criminal defense attorneys are all former prosecutors, we know that the Florida’s laws regarding DUI penalties are not at all cut-and-dry. There is no “cookie cutter” case in the Sunshine State, because penalties in a given DUI case are dependent not only on your internal blood alcohol content, but also on external factors such as whether or not while driving drunk you caused a car accident, injury to someone else, etc.
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The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no man shall be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,” which has been interpreted to mean that individuals retain the right against self-incrimination. Thus, in criminal proceedings or congressional hearings, when asked a question that could implicate the responder in a crime or wrongdoing, said person will often respond, “I plead the 5th,” meaning that they exercise their right not to answer a question that might incriminate them.
Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys know that as society evolves and becomes further inundated with technology, the criminal justice system becomes affected by that evolution. For example, one of the newest fads is to take “selfies,” photographs of onesself typically captured by way of snapping a photo from a smartphone, tablet, or some other handheld device or camera.

Based on multiple recent news reports, it is evident that individuals should be cautious about what information they choose to photograph and send out into the world. While not everything picked up by law enforcement officers can be used as evidence in a court of law, inadvertent tips and the like can certainly be used by police departments to track down a suspect or in determining whether or not to pay attention to the activities of a certain individual.
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