Articles Posted in Uncategorized

The debate over legalizing medical marijuana is blazing in the Sunshine State. While Floridians will head to the polls and vote on the fate of medical marijuana this November, our criminal defense attorneys know that the wheels of discord are already in motion with still more than five months remaining before the polls even open.
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The legislature is anticipated to pass a a bill that would allow children with intractable epilepsy to use a specific strain of marijuana. “Charlotte’s Web,” a form of marijuana that is very low in THC (the drug that gets some users “high”) is administered as an oil extract mixed with food and has been shown to help children suffering from epilepsy. Still, according to the Sun Sentinel, many people expect Governor Rick Scott to veto the bill.

Furthermore, Florida Sheriffs have recently initiated a campaign to oppose medical marijuana. The Florida Sheriff’s Association hopes that it can influence voters to such a degree that the medical marijuana bill will die at the polls in November.
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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 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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A family of fortune tellers is facing a host of federal fraud charges, accused of fleecing customers out of some $40 million. tarotcards.jpg

But whether they are convicted may hinge, in part, on the actions of the lead detective, who the family now alleges accepted a business loan from one of the alleged victims, a well-known romance novelist.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know that while not all cases are as high-profile, a good attorney must analyze every available aspect – and that includes not only the quality and details of the actual investigation, but any possible alternative motives held by witnesses, or potentially even those spearheading the case.

Here, nine family members are accused of a multimillion-dollar fortune-telling scam in which they allegedly told people that if their advice wasn’t followed, awful events would befall them.

Federal prosecutors are alleging that the individuals targeted by the fortune tellers were vulnerable, often having recently lost loved ones or jobs or otherwise enduring tough times. They were convinced to give the fortune tellers money, gold, jewelry and other valuables. The defendants reportedly promised not to spend the money. However, prosecutors say they then refused to return it.

In the case of the novelist, federal prosecutors say the family scammed her out of $20 million after telling her that her deceased son was “somewhere between heaven and hell.”

Authorities say the family operated in South Florida since the early 1990s. When authorities raided the home where they resided, they reportedly found hundreds of rings, watches, diamonds and upscale jewelry.

However, the defense has said that the family provided valuable counseling services to those with nowhere else to go. The family’s business was licensed by the state and operated with the full knowledge of local authorities as well.

They were arrested in August of last year. But now, as they await trial, new details have emerged about the relationship with the lead detective and one of the victims, who is slated to be one of the star witnesses against the defendants.

According to the family, the primary investigator in the case has part ownership in a local gym. It’s alleged that he borrowed tens of thousands of dollars for the venture from the novelist back in July of last year, just before the family was arrested. The novelist was reportedly repaid just a month later.

The family also alleges that the detective and his businesses received more money from the witness, and say that prosecutors have actively sought to conceal this fact, which essentially amounts to an improper relationship that would cast doubt on the prosecutors’ case.

The investigator maintains he’s done nothing wrong. He also denies allegations that he helped the novelist edit one of her books for profit.

The defense team is requesting that prosecutors turn over any and all evidence of the alleged business deals. If those claims are validated, it’s possible the defense could ask the judge to dismiss charges against each of the family members, who have pleaded not guilty.

We can’t say what the future holds for this case, but we know that if you are facing criminal charges, having an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer on your side often makes all the difference.
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A Lake Worth man is facing a charge of domestic battery in Palm Beach after authorities say he struck his ex-wife and her 16-year-old son in the face, the Palm Beach Post reported.

A Lake Worth criminal defense attorney should always be called to handle domestic violence allegations. More than many other crimes, a domestic violence conviction can have a long-term impact on your quality of life, your ability to earn a living and your visitation rights with children. Unfortunately, because it is often charged as a misdemeanor, defendants too often fail to adequately defend themselves against the allegations.
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A conviction may prevent you from owning a firearm or being employed in certain professions, such as law enforcement. Restraining orders may prevent you from returning home or visiting your children. And mere allegations can impact your relationship with friends, relatives and co-workers. Unfortunately, false allegations are not at all uncommon, particularly during divorce or child custody proceedings, or during a breakup with a former spouse or partner.

Cases in which the Department of Children and Family Services gets involved may be particularly problematic. The agency is chronically underfunded and understaffed; turnover in some offices exceeds 50 percent a year; and the bureaucracy can be difficult or impossible to rid yourself of once a case is opened. Having an experienced attorney will also help protect your rights when dealing with the state.

The 40-year-old defendant was jailed on $145,000 bond on charges of domestic battery, violating a domestic violence injunction and child abuse. He was arrested after his 37-year-old ex-wife called police and told them the defendant had punched her and her son during an altercation. The couple has been divorced for almost 20 years but had been dating for the last 18 months.

Domestic violence may encompass charges like assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, stalking, kidnapping or false imprisonment and may involve a spouse, former spouse or family member.
Penalties for conviction may include mandatory jail time, no contact orders with a spouse or your children, loss of access to your residence, fines and court costs, mandatory anger management classes and a permanent criminal record. A conviction may also impact pending divorce or child custody cases. And, as discussed, you may be prevented from owning a firearm or working in certain professions.
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FL_prescription.jpgLast Friday, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with CVS and the United Way, held a drug takeback campaign to collect unwanted or expired medications. The goal of these campaigns is to ward off prescription drug abuse and prevent the drugs from entering Florida’s water supply or landfills.

As an added incentive, the first several people to drop their medications at the community office of Florida Rep. Ari Porth, of Coral Springs, received a $5 CVS gift card while supplies lasted. Donors were permitted to take off labels with identifying information.

Source: Broward Sheriff’s Office to accept unused drugs in Coral Springs Friday, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 28, 2010 Continue reading

FL_video_camera.jpgFor years, TV viewers have enjoyed watching Cops. Now some are getting in on the action themselves by posting their own videos of police arrests online. Some of them are bystanders posting arrest videos, while others post videos from their own arrests.

However, several states make it illegal to videotape unless you have everyone’s consent. In fact, a Florida man who posted several police arrests on YouTube now faces up to 16 years in jail.

Some states allow police officers to carry a concealed video or audio recording device and tape conversations between officer and suspect, but they make it illegal for the suspect to do the same. Below, you’ll see a video taken by a Maryland man who was pulled over for speeding by a plainclothes officer. He now faces up to five years in jail.

 

 

As more and more people carry cell phones equipped with video cameras, this could become an even bigger issue in the future.

Source: More and more citizens getting arrested for videotaping police arrests, Examiner.com, July 20, 2010 Continue reading

FL_facebook.jpgOur Miami defense attorneys have been following a case involving a South Florida school principle and a teen who was suspended for setting up a Facebook page criticizing one of her teachers. The student took down the page and later sued the principle for violating her First Amendment rights.

The principal had attempted to have the suit thrown out, but a magistrate judge ruled that the teen will have her day in court. The Florida lawsuit is moving forward, and it could create a precedent for punishing students for speed outside the classroom as well as students’ free speech on social networking sites.

A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the law needs to adapt to the changing internet landscape.

Source: Facebooking Teen Wins Day in Court, NBCMiami.com, February 16, 2010 Continue reading

These days it seems like there’s an iPhone for everything: finding local restaurants, calculating the distance to the nearest gas station, now there’s even an app for conducting background checks. BeenVerified is one such application that allows users to conduct background checks instantly via a mobile phone. The first three background checks per week are free, then users must pay $8 per month for unlimited access.

Some people say the app is a convenient way to do background checks on potential dates, employees, babysitters, and others.

But some people worry that applications like this could be a privacy infringement, particularly if someone has had their criminal record expunged and the information available on the app hasn’t caught up yet. As mobile apps and internet records become more sophisticated, our criminal defense lawyers anticipate that this issue will only become more important.

Soure: iPhone App gives you free background checks, KDVR.com, January 6, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_traffic.JPGLast month, the Supreme Court upheld a Virginia Supreme Court ruling that police officers cannot stop suspected drunk drivers until they actually observe the driver doing something erratic, such as swerving in a lane. They can, however, follow the driver’s car. This ruling does not require other states to follow Virginia’s example; however, the case makes it unlikely that police stops based on anonymous tips will be upheld in the future.

As a result of the ruling in Virginia, a Virginia driver was freed after he was pulled over and later arrested based on a call reporting his vehicle and giving a partial license plate number. The driver was found to be drunk when an officer tried to question him; however, the Virginia court ruled that it was an “unreasonable search” to pull over a driver based solely on a caller’s tip.

In their ruling, the judges cited an earlier case involving a Miami youth who was arrested at a bus stop and the Supreme Court stated that police cannot frisk a pedestrian based on an anonymous tip. Most state courts have upheld car searches based on caller’s tips assuming the vehicle matches the description given by the caller.

Supreme Court upholds ban on traffic stops based on a caller’s tip, PoliceOne.com, October 27, 2009
Supreme Court upholds ban on traffic stops based on a caller’s tip, Los Angeles Times, October 21, 2009 Continue reading

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