Posted On: August 31, 2008

A CONFESSION ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH FOR A CONVICTION IN FLORIDA

CORPUS DELICTI: IT'S NOT DEAD IN FLORIDA

If you been arrested in Fort Lauderdale and made a confession, it's not enough for a conviction.

The corpus delicti rule means the state must have actual evidence in addition to a confession before judge will allow a jury to deliberate.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr recently litigated that very point before a Fort Lauderdale criminal judge, and won.

If someone is arrested, and then makes a confession, that's not enough to seek a conviction and sentence. Consult with your South Florida criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale or Miami to get clear on this. Or call Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr.

Posted On: August 28, 2008

CANINE COP DIES AT THE HAND OF HIS HANDLER

FORT LAUDERDALE NARCOTICS OFFICER CAUSES DEATH OF CANINE OFFICER

Fort Lauderdale Florida news broadcasters are howling for justice.

A narcotics undercover officer from Coral Springs left his canine police officer dog partner in a hot car and the dog died.

It's now a hot topic: do we arrest and convict the human cop who is responsible for the death of a canine cop?

Do the authorities let him cop a plea?

Should he be sent to prison for canine murder? Is this a homicide? A dogicide? Is it the same as causing of death of a human police officer? Will it be swept under the proverbial rug?

Stay tuned. Your Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr is watching this case closely.

If you are reader, look up Florida statute 849.19, it makes it a third-degree felony to injure or cause the death of a canine police officer through negligence or criminal intent.

Posted On: August 27, 2008

FLORIDA LAW AND CANNABIS PLANTS

MARIJUANA GROW HOUSES IN FORT LAUDERDALE

Effective August 2008 Florida has enhanced the penalties for marijuana production.

Possession of marijuana in smaller amounts remains a misdemeanor. However for those who grow marijuana plants the previous threshold of 300 plants for a first-degree felony, has been lowered.

Manufacture of marijuana, a big business in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach, may soon be out of business. As Florida enhances penalties for growing plants arrests may soon peak.

The Statewide task force investigating the crime of growing marijuana commercially have increasingly focused on eradicating grow houses in the Fort Lauderdale Miami area. The new law is expected to increase the importation of marijuana from out-of-state.

Posted On: August 26, 2008

ARRESTED IN FORT LAUDERDALE?

ARRESTED IN FORT LAUDERDALE? WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A PRINCIPAL

In any criminal courtroom in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale or Miami or West Palm Beach, those charged with possession of cocaine or possession of any controlled substance are convicted for things they didn't do? How can that be?

The principle rule, derived from Florida criminal statute 777.0 11 says if a criminal defendant helped another person to commit a crime, the defendant is a principal and will be treated as if he had done all the things the other person did. The only thing they prosecutor needs to establish is that you did some act or word which was intended to encourage or assist the other person with the intent for them to act criminally.

If you have been charged with a crime in Fort Lauderdale, or Miami, or If you've been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, for example possession of cocaine, you should and must understand the so-called criminal principal rule. In simple terms: in for a penny, in for a pound.

Posted On: August 25, 2008

SEX OFFENDER GETS LIFE SENTENCE IN FLORIDA

FLORIDA SEX OFFENDER GETS LIFE SENTENCE

Although not a South Florida criminal case, Fort Lauderdale criminal attorneys have taken note of a sex offender sentenced to life by a Tampa court.

Although there was no physical evidence to link the defendant to the killing and the judge suppressed a tainted tape recorded confession, the jury found defendant Onstott guilty of killing the daughter of a former romantic partner.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Miami and West Palm Beach criminal courts hear more sex offenses than most other jurisdictions. For that reason many Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyers have more experience handling sex offenses than most other jurisdictions

Posted On: August 24, 2008

IDENTITY THEFT: A SOUTH FLORIDA PRIMER

IDENTITY THEFT BASICS: FORT LAUDERDALE IS A HOT LOCATION

Fort Lauderdale and Miami are hot spots for identity fraud. Sadly or not it is a fact of life for those living in Broward County, Miami and Palm Beach.

Taking a victim's identity to obtain credit is the most common identity fraud committed here in Fort Lauderdale. The thief can capture identity information by attacking your computer or capturing data online.

To protect oneself you can go to the Florida identity theft website. Your credit card company, or bank can help. Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyers serve on various committees to help reduce identity theft. You can speak with a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer by calling the Florida Bar, or the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Posted On: August 23, 2008

MIRANDA WARNINGS FORT LAUDERDALE STYLE!

IF I'M ARRESTED: DO THE POLICE HAVE TO READ ME MY RIGHTS?

No. Huh?

Your right to remain silent only applies AFTER an arrest, not before.

If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Miami or West Palm Beach you MUST know the difference between a stop, a detention, police contact, and the ultimate situation: an arrest.

To answer the question more fully know this: The arrest is valid even if no rights are read to you. If the police intend to use any statement of yours (confession) it cannot be used in court unless under the totality of the circumstances the statement is freely and voluntarily given and not the product of coercion or force.

For a fuller understanding of an arrest, and a stop, and your Miranda rights speak to a South Florida criminal defense lawyer. Contact the Broward Bar Association in Fort Lauderdale, or the Florida Bar for a list of South Florida criminal defense lawyers with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Palm Beach.

Posted On: August 22, 2008

DUI IN FORT LAUDERDALE BECOMES MORE RISKY

FORT LAUDERDALE SEEKS PART OF $19MM TO CURTAIL DUI

The US Department of Justice announced it is awarding $19,000,000.00 to States that focus or arresting drunk drivers.

Fort Lauderdale prosecutors are very aggressive in arresting and criminally charging drivers who are stopped for a DUI investigation.

The money will be spent in South Florida to support compliance checks and enforcement of under-age drinking laws.

If you are arrested in South Florida for a DUI contact a local criminal defense lawyer for advice and assistance. Your best defense is knowledge of the law, so get informed now!

Posted On: August 21, 2008

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS IN FORT LAUDERDALE

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURT IN FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

Fort Lauderdale is the county seat, so you will find the Circuit Court in downtown Fort Lauderdale. There are two courtrooms which handle only domestic violence crimes: a misdemeanor courtroom with Judge Gonzales, and a felony courtroom presided over by Judge Cohen.

If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale for any battery crime on a domestic partner, spouse, or roommate you will most likely find yourself in one of those two courtrooms.

Bail (bond) is the first issue. Bail is posting money to assure you will appear at all court-set hearings. The Domestic Violence courts in Fort Lauderdale usually require a high bond, and sometimes will not allow bond at all.

Speak with a Miami or Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer for more information on how domestic violence matters are handled in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and South Florida.

Posted On: August 20, 2008

SOUTH FLORIDA CRIMINAL RESTITUTION PROBATION TERMS UNDER ATTACK

Many of those accused of crimes in South Florida are forced to agree to excessive amounts of money payments under the restitution element of their sentence.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals, which reviews South Florida criminal cases, clarified the rule. The court found that a Broward judge abused his discretion in ordering a restitution amount with insufficient evidence to support the dollar amount.

If you are on probation in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Miami, South Florida: contact your criminal defense attorney concerning the restitution amount of your sentence.

This new case clearly states that defendants who were forced to agree to pay restitution when there is insufficient evidence to support the dollar amount may appeal the restitution amount and have it reversed.


Posted On: August 19, 2008

VIOLATIONS OF PROBATION IN FORT LAUDERDALE: CHANGE OF RULES

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr has sent an advisory to his clients on probation. It concerns the recent ruling from the appellate court that covers South Florida: particularly Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.

The ruling clarifies when drug offender probation terms are added to probation for non-drug crimes

The new ruling clearly states: a defendant may not be sentenced to drug offender probation unless he has been convicted of an enumerated chapter 893 offense or agreed to such probation in a plea agreement.

If your probation has been violated because you failed to comply with drug offender probation requirements contact your South Florida criminal defense attorney. Ask if the charge was a drug-related charge; ask if the final disposition includes your voluntary agreement to drug offender probation.

Posted On: August 17, 2008

FLORIDA DUI LAW CHANGES FOR 2008-2009

Florida DUI penalties were enhanced starting in 2008.

The principal change has been an increase in the fine: from $250 for a first DUI to $500.

If you are arrested and refuse to provide a breath exemplar your first refusal counts towards the newly enacted misdemeanor charge of breath-refusal.

Now it is a misdemeanor to refuse to provide a breath exemplar if you are stopped, and detained, and the officer undertakes a DUI investigation. The misdemeanor charge only arises on your second DUI arrest.

In South Florida, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, many criminal defense attorneys are asked by their clients if they should "blow", which means provide an air exemplar.

For a complete explanation go to the book Can The Police Lie To Me? Or ask a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney.

Posted On: August 16, 2008

SOUTH FLORIDA PAPER MONEY CONTAINS COCAINE

US currency (paper money) that circulates in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and south to Miami has the highest traces of cocaine in the world.

Possession of cocaine requires actual possession, knowledge and control. If you hold on too tight to your money you cannot be convicted of possession.

Former President George Bush (the senior) once produced a ten dollar bill that tested positive for cocaine. Of course he was in Miami when it happened.

You cannot get "high" from paper currency in Fort Lauderdale, but you can still spend it at the beach for a beer.

Posted On: August 15, 2008

VIOLATION OF PROBATIONS IN FORT LAUDERDALE

In South Florida a Probation Violation means ten days of jail in Fort Lauderdale before you see a judge. Fort Lauderale is in the 17th Judicial Circuit, it does not include Miami.

A willful and substantial violation of probation generates a probation officer filing a request for a pick-up order: i.e. a warrant.

In Fort Lauderale, Broward County Florida, by local custom every probation violator comes before the judge after a stay in the Fort Lauderdale jail.

The Clerk usually makes you wait ten days before scheduling a first violation of probation hearing. At that first hearing we deny or admit the violation(s).

If you admit then the judge can sentence you immediately.

A denial requies a full hearing. At the hearing the State must prove the violations before the judge can revoke, sentence or return you to probation.

For more information call a South Florida criminal defense lawyer.

Posted On: August 13, 2008

US Supreme Court Extends 4th Rights

The US Supreme Court held that the 4th Amendement can apply in deportation cases.

This is a big step towards granting constitutional protections to those without legal status in the U.S.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami have large populations of non-US residents without status. South Florida criminal lawyers are always mindful of the deportation consequences of arrests in Florida for criminal law violations.

The ruling creates a legal basis for lawyers to argue that an egregious violation of the 4th Amendment requires the courts to act.

The argument is that if the government doesn'f follow the law then law has no meaning. It doesn't matter if the violation is upon a citizen or non-citizen: the rule of law must prevail.

Posted On: August 12, 2008

POLICE ARRESTED FOR BEATING SUSPECT

Two West Palm Beach police officers were fired and one quit when their video camera, mounted in the front of the police cruiser, video-taped the officers kicking and punching a suspect who was in handcuffs.

South Florida criminal defense lawyers have been aware of the police brutality for years. Many lawyers represent those who are the victims of police abuse and then charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale have similar problems with police violence. If you have been the victim of police abuse contacts a local lawyer. You have rights, you can file complaints and your lawyer will see to it that a proper investigation is undertaken.

Posted On: August 9, 2008

DO THE POLICE NEED A WARRANT TO MAKE AN ARREST?

No.

If the police have probable cause they can make an arrest without a warrant. Probable cause means a reasonable person would believe a crime has been committed and you did it.

Police must have a warrant to enter a home: with two exceptions: hot pursuit and exigent circumstances.

If the police are in your home just remain calm. A judge can sort things out later, you cannot.

Just remember to remain silent and do not agree to a search. You will learn from a criminal defense lawyer what a totality of the circumstances test means for consent to be free of coercion.

South Florida criminal defense lawyers know how to conduct suppression hearings, you don’t. If you have a concern contact a lawyer and ask. Remember that knowledge is power.

Posted On: August 8, 2008

What is an arrest? What is a stop?

UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS FROM ARREST TO CRIMINAL CHARGE

Police contact begins with a stop, proceeds to a detention and culminates with an arrest.

When contact is voluntary you are always free to go.

A detention is lawful only if the officer has articulable suspicion that a crime has been committed and you are a person of interest.

An arrest occurs when you are no longer free to go.

Understanding the difference between a stop and an arrest is key to understanding your constitutional rights. Miranda warnings are only required after an arrest. So what to do?

If you are having contact with the police and are concerned that you are a person of interest: ask for an attorney. Police cannot offer you freedom or a pass. Don’t negotiate with a police officer. Only a prosecutor can give you a deal that stands up in court.

For more information go to CAN THE POLICE LIE TO ME?

Posted On: August 6, 2008

EXECUTIONS IN 2007

470 CHINA
317 IRAN
143 SAUDI ARABIA
135 PAKISTAN
42 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
33 IRAQ
25 VIETNAM
15 YEMEN
15 AFGHANISTAN
9 JAPAN
9 LIBYA
7 SUDAN
7 SYRIA
6 BANGLADESH
5 SOMALIA
3 EQUATORIAL GUINEA
2 SINGAPORE
1 KUWAIT
1 BOTSWANA
1 ETHIOPIA
1 BELARUS
1 INDONESIA

Posted On: August 5, 2008

NEW RULES FOR SOUTH FLORIDA DRUG ARRESTS WHEN MAN'S BEST FRIEND GOES BAD

FIDO IS A FINK!

A dog working for the police validated a drug possession arrest because it happened fast. The four minute rule is under assault.

Drug trafficking and drug possession cases are a top priority for cops in Fort Lauderdale. Searches incident to a traffic stop have always been a major suppression issue. Miami and Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyers are always litigating the time between a lawful stop and a drug dog search. Here's the latest doggerel...

A dog sniff at the time of a traffic stop which took only a minute was not a violation of the search and seizure rules. See: Barbee, a July 2008 Federal case out of Ohio.

The court determined that the traffic stop was justified by the trooper’s suspicion that Barbee had committed two traffic violations. The drug arrest was validated by the drug sniffing dog's signal drugs were in the car.

At hearing the cop said he was writing citations when the drug-sniffing dog alerted.

The cop didn't need any additional suspicion to justify the canine sniff and the arrest was upheld.

Posted On: August 4, 2008

FLORIDA RULES ON IMPOSING DEATH IN CAPITAL MURDER CASES

Florida has a death penalty process created by statute and court rule.

Florida criminal courts are divided into regions or jurisdictions, but they all follow the same rules. Different districts encompass Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Dade County or Palm Beach County, but they all follow the same process.

When a murder defendant is convicted of capital felony, the court will have a separate sentencing proceeding and have testimony before the jury determine whether the defendant should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

Aggivators and mitigators are heard. The jury hears about the character of the defendant and the manner of homicide.

The decision to impose a sentence of death or life imprisonment is made by the judge, not the jury. The judge does take into consideration the jury's vote.

The court makes the decision after weighing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

The Supreme Court must, within 60 days after certification by the sentencing court, review the decision or let it stand.

Posted On: August 3, 2008

CRIMINAL ADJUDICATION AND FEDERAL LAW

Florida courts permit those charged with a crime to avoid a conviction with a "withheld adjudication".

You can truthfully answer "no" to the question: "Have you been found guilty of a felony?" if the criminal court in Florida "withheld adjudication"

But.....in Federal court a "withheld" adjudication is considered a finding of guilt.

If you are facing federal removal proceedings (deportation) over a conviction you have in Florida for a crimiinal charge you should contact a criminal lawyer in South Florida and ask about having your Florida plea withdrawn. There is a procedure to withdraw a plea IF your plea directly results in deportation and you were not advised by the judge at your sentencing of the possible immigration consequences.

Posted On: August 2, 2008

THE BASICS OF FLORIDA CRIMINAL LAW

If you need to know practical definitions of crimes such as as assualt, burglary, drug possession, drug trafficking (a total of 50 definitions), there is a book for sale on Amazon.com which can help.

South Florida criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr has published an easy-to-read book about criminal law.

No complex terms, just straight understandable explanations of 50 crimes.

Also, the "most asked" questions are answered about Miranda warnings, DUI arrests, drug searches and more...

The book CAN THE POLICE LIE TO ME? can be bought on Amazon.com and at the book's website CANTHEPOLICELIETOME.COM for $18.50.

Posted On: August 1, 2008

CRIME IN SOUTH FLORIDA AND GEORGIA

Florida and Georgia unite to fight crime.

A joint effort between law enforcement officials in Georgia and Florida to collect and share criminal intelligence will bring criminals to justice. Criminal intelligence…? Oxymoron, dumb oxen, or just police-talk?

With this news criminal defense lawyers throughout Florida now know the task force is functioning and its focus.

Law enforcement agencies in Florida and South Georgia announced they will share leads on unsolved crimes.

Focusing on murder, drug trafficking, theft and sex crimes this joint effort to cobble together criminal intelligence is a new attack on crime.

Major cases from Fort Lauderdale north to the Georgia state line are targeted for joint state efforts to find the criminals and bring them to trial. Stay tuned for more news!