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As Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers, we’re all too familiar with the unfortunate case of Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman thrown in prison for firing a warning shot in self-defense.
Back in 2010, Ms. Alexander fired a warning shot near her estranged husband who had been threatening her (and had a history of domestic violence). Although nobody was injured, and because of archaic mandatory minimum gun laws, Ms. Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison — the jury deliberated for a mere 12 minutes.

For Ms. Alexander, the criminal justice system failed to deliver justice. It did prove effective in one significant way, however: it shed a light on the ugly reality that comes with mandatory minimum gun laws in the Sunshine State.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that anti-terrorism security checks often overlap with domestic law enforcement, in no place more than in the airport. Unfortunately, as it relates to that combination, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is receiving a lot of unfavorable attention.
For the second year in a row, the airport has ranked in the top 10 of all airports across the country (3 of which are in Florida) in terms of number of guns seized by security personnel, according to the Transportation Safety Administration.

In 2014, security officers confiscated 49 firearms at security checkpoints at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, compared with 45 the year before. But are all of the gun seizures that took place at the airport evidence of willful terrorist, or even criminal, activity?
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When you’re pulled over by a police officer, you should reasonably expect a few things to happen: they will probably ask for your license and registration and they may even ask you to step out of your vehicle for further questioning. You should not expect the law enforcement officers to seize your cash, especially when you’re not charged with a crime.
All over the country, law enforcement officers from thousands of departments are regularly seizing cash from motorists they pull over — and it’s a federal government program that’s allowing them to do so.

As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, in the last 13 years, over $2.5 billion has been taken away from people who were never charged with a crime; most of that money, which was taken from innocent motorists, was spread out among state-level law enforcement agencies for their own use.
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As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, it’s fairly common for people to hand out legal advice that they might have heard on “Suits” or offer medical opinions they might have seen on “Grey’s Anatomy.”
But this incident out of West Palm Beach illustrates a stunt gone too far: a teenager was caught impersonating an OB/GYN at St. Mary’s Medical Center. This case reminds us of a case from 2012, in which a different Florida teen posed as a medical assistant at Osceola Regional Medical Center and treated patients.

We know that there are a number of legal issues brought up by these cases, including laws being violated and the possibility of charges being filed. Still, there are other issues — such as mental health — that must be considered.
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As we all know, different parents have different parenting styles. The customs employed in child-rearing vary by culture, region, and neighborhood — and many differences of opinion on the matter exist within single homes.
In this area of life, as our criminal defense lawyers know, the law frequently comes into play in the form of child abuse and child neglect laws, which are designed and enforced to ensure the well being of the most vulnerable members of society.

However, as we will discuss below, recent reports of child neglect charges in various questionable cases reveal that perhaps the line between acceptable parenting styles and instances of child abuse has been blurred; perhaps law enforcement authorities are turning parents into criminals — when they haven’t actually broken any laws.
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Over the past 2 weeks, police departments throughout the South have been on the lookout for two teens in the midst of a crime spree. The suspects, an 18-year-old and his 13-year-old girlfriend, are drawing comparisons to Bonnie and Clyde, a Great Depression-era couple who traveled the country committing crimes.
Finally, early on Sunday morning, the teens were arrested in Panama City, Florida, after having been found sleeping in a stolen vehicle.

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that the age of the suspects has sensationalized the story; that said, the fact that they are both teenagers, and that one of them is a minor (at 13 years old) complicates the story and may impact the impending legal proceedings.
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As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defenese lawyers know, this story is making national headlines: a Ft. Lauderdale teen helped save the life of a police officer who was booking him into jail.
17-year-old Jamal Rutledge, who had just been arrested on suspicion of violating the term’s of his probation by committing burglary, was waiting to be booked into jail when he saw the booking officer, 49-year-old Franklin Foulks, keel over and fall off his chair. Acting quickly, as surveillance video shows, the arrested teen (while still handcuffed) ran over to the security fence and started kicking it, yelling for other officers to assist.

Thankfully, the other officers made it over in time and were able to resuscitate Foulks. Later, doctors informed the officers that it was in large part due to the actions of the arrested teen that Officer Foulks’ life was saved.
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It should come as no surprise to learn that Florida’s prison system is a mess, and by more than one measure. Incarceration rates are increasing as crime is decreasing, reports of torture emanate from our correctional facilities, living conditions are often unbearable, etc. — the list goes on.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that Florida’s 56 prisons, of which seven are private (more on this later), house more than 100,000 inmates at any given time. How we treat prisoners and would-be prisoners is not only a reflection on us as a state, but it runs the risk of reversing the slow-down in crime that Florida has witnessed.

There is a seemingly mechanical transition of offenders to prisons in Florida, and that process does very little in terms of “correction.” By tossing wayward Floridians in jail and locking the cell door, we are giving up the opportunity to truly correct and refine behavior.
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Until the first day of this new year, Florida had the most relaxed child safety seat law in the United States — according to the old law, children were required to be in a safety seat only through the age of 3 years-old.
Now, that’s changing, and Florida parents and other drivers need to be aware of the new requirements, as fines and other types of punishment will be handed out if the requirements aren’t met (with a few exceptions to be detailed below).

Our Palm Beach and Broward County traffic ticket attorneys know that the new law requires that drivers use a crash-tested child restraint seat, which has been approved by the federal government, for children at least until they reach the age of six years old. Thereafter, it’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure that any child under seven is “properly secured,” according to the Miami Herald.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County DUI defense lawyers have learned that a Miami woman will face charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in the 2014 death of a motorcyclist.
According to reports, the 22-year-old woman was driving the wrong way on I-95 in Ft. Lauderdale back in July, when she struck and killed a man, age 42. At the time of the accident, she was under the influence of alcohol. When her blood was tested three hours after the crash, it was revealed that the woman had a BAC level of 0.189, well over double the legal limit.

As we know from experience as former prosecutors and now as tested criminal defense lawyers, DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges can yield serious consequences, and someone facing such charges needs to hire an experienced criminal defense team in order to mount a viable legal defense.
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