Posted On: February 27, 2009

South Florida Woman Mixed Poison in Baby Food

Very distressing and repugnant news out of Tamarac... a 50 year old South Florida woman, Shirley Ybarra, was arrested and charged with poisoning food or water and violation of probation. She was caught by supermarket employees after having nearly 15 minutes of uninterrupted mixing time in the baby food section of Publix. A customer finally notified an employee before that employee intervened and called the police. Her first comment was "she was mixing baby food for her son" but she doesn't have a baby son, but instead a 21 year old son who lives outside the area. In response to this, all baby food was taken off the shelves and sent to the FDA for testing. Reports say no other stores were targeted by this sick and sadistic woman.

Two charges emerged from this one case. First a violation of probation and second, a first degree felony charge of poisoning food or water. Violation of probation is a common offense among people charged and convicted of certain crimes and can be dealt with accordingly and quickly by a lawyer who you entrust with your case.

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Posted On: February 26, 2009

Sport Agent Violates Probation in Florida

Scott Helfand, 42, was arrested by US Marshals in Arizona after a warrant was issued regarding his fraudulent activity as a sports agent for a former NFL athlete. Helfand operates Pro Athletes Only, a company that handles sports players and agent affiliations. In 2003, a Florida court found him guilty of stealing $150,000 from Oliver Gibson in 2001. In addition to this, an active lien is on Helfand in regards to a former filing by NFL defensive back Devin Bush in the amount of $115,000.

He remains book into Fourth Avenue Jail with a felony arrest for violation of probation in Florida and will extradited back to Florida pending the felony count.

A spokesman of the State Attorney's Miami-Dade Office said that an individual notified the office of their concern regarding Helfand and his practicing as an agent in Arizona without acknowledging indiscretions with prior clients.

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Posted On: February 25, 2009

Detective in Fort Lauderdale in Trouble With Ecstasy Connection

Fort Lauderdale police detective Jeremy Aguayo, 32, is in deep water after a connection to a convicted Ecstasy dealer and pimp is discovered. He has been suspended without pay a month ago, and is scheduled to be fired today. According to an internal affairs report, Aguayo checked on Reyes' driver's license status in March after a prostitute driving his car illegally ran through a SunPass toll; checked on warrants for Reyes' arrest days before he was arrested in August; and gave Reyes information on a bogus police sting mentioned by another detective. The two men exchanged hundreds of phone calls and spent nights out at strip clubs and nightclubs, according to Internal Affairs.

Drug charges and prostitution or sex crimes are prosecuted firmly in the state of Florida.

A person arrested for a drug crime can be charged with at least one of the following offenses:

* Possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia.
* Delivery of illegal drugs.
* Trafficking/Distribution of controlled substances.
* Manufacturing narcotics.
* Cultivation/growth of a narcotic.
* Fraudulent sale or possession of prescription drugs.
* Possession of drugs with intent to sell them.
* Illegal use of a drug.

Prostitution is defined by Florida Statute 796.07 as:

the giving or receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire but excludes sexual activity between spouses.

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Posted On: February 24, 2009

Fort Lauderdale Robbery Attempt Ends In Knife Injuries

Philip Danforth, 32, is in stable condition at Broward General Medical Center following an attempted robbery at knifepoint. He tried to escape two men approximately 30 years old at around 7:50 am last Tuesday. The robbery attempt took place in the 900 block of NE 16th Avenue in our very own backyard, Fort Lauderdale. No suspects have been apprehended, but if anyone has tips for police to follow they should call Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

This is a horrific incident where a deadly weapon was used to gain leverage on an innocent citizen and steal their property. Knifes, guns, and other deadly weapons should be properly stored if you own them. The use of them in any robbery attempt increases penalties from minor felonies to major felonies. Armed robbery and armed battery in Florida are serious offenses and will be prosecuted usually to the fullest extent of the law in your area. Do not play around with a public defender on these sort of cases because you will get a hefty time in sentencing.

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Posted On: February 23, 2009

South Florida IHOP Manager Caught in Fake Robbery Scheme

In a brazen lie to take just $3300 in cash from his own business, Phillip A. Collins, a South Florida IHOP manager, was taken into custody over charges stemming from a fake robbery report.

On the 21st of December last year, Collins went to complete the night deposit drop of his restaurant's income for the day when he decided to fake a robbery. Soon after the direct incident, police found the claimed robbers which Collins said to have him at gunpoint.

Detectives began to become speculative of Collin's story as inconsistencies were found along the investigation. Soon after, Collins confessed to making up the whole incident. North Miami detectives immediately released the formerly accused while detaining Collins under the charges of False Accusation of Armed Robbery and filing a false report as well as grand theft.

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Posted On: February 20, 2009

Florida DUI Manslaugther Trial Commences

Carlos Ortiz, 31, is going on trial for the vehicular DUI manslaughter charges originating from an incident in 2007 along the Beachline. Prosecutors say Ortiz was drunk and swerved into the emergency lane, killing an entire family parked in their vehicle. The three fatalities in the incident were Alexis Rodriguez, 33, his wife Jacqueline Dieppa, 33, and their 2 year old son Nayi Suarez. Sources say they were just waiting along side the road for family members to arrive for a beach outing. FHP identified the offending vehicle as a 2002 Chevrolet truck, last seen weaving through traffic moments before the collision. Blood alcohol of Ortiz was determined to be at 0.176, gravely over the legal limit in Florida.

Ortiz is being charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter. This is a second degree felony with up to 15 years behind bars for each count.

affects the lives of everyone, not just the driver. Collisions result in unnecessary deaths and are very tragic. Please remember the next time you drink to not go driving afterward. Taxis and readily available, many times for free, and certain towing companies will provide a free "tow and go" service where they tow your car to your house and give you a ride home as well, all for free.

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Posted On: February 19, 2009

Florida Probation Officer Budget Cuts

Florida budget cuts have come to hit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 66 probation officers were laid off recently in response to the shortage of funds for the program. "Cutting probation officers statewide ''minimizes the impact to public safety,'' said spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. 22 of the 66 officers cut were in South Florida. The ones let go were officers in the program for less than a year, totaling only a 3% reduction in probation officers statewide.

It is unclear how this will affect those on probation, yet it seems to be obvious that it would lead to more strain on the already limited resources of law enforcement and their subsidiaries. Those on probation with officers already will be put on a longer leash because probation officers will probably have to be in more places at once.

Violation of probation is something that happens to criminals on probation and should not be left alone or thought of as "just going away." An experienced lawyer can help represent you at all your probation hearings.

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Posted On: February 18, 2009

DUI Driver in Florida Crashes into FHP

A drunk driver slammed into the rear of a parked FHP with warning lights on a highway in Orlando. The officer was sitting in his car with safety lights flashing to protect road crew working nearby. The officer sustained no injuries in this incident. The driver, who's identity has not been released, was charged with careless driving, DUI and driving on a learner's license.

This is a sad incident in that not only was a deadly collision situation made, thankfully with no serious injuries, but it was a drunk driving case with a minor. The juvenile driving the vehicle was by law illegal to be drinking in the first place, and then drove while intoxicated. All parents need to monitor their children closely in order for the following not to occur.

DUI at any age is one of the most common and serious life-affecting offenses on the books, and for good reason. Drinking and driving don't mix. There is no way anyone can weasel their way out of that one, when its obvious that being impaired does not help in the activity of anything requiring focus and attention, driving included.

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Posted On: February 17, 2009

Florida State Receiver UPDATE: Violation of Probation


After his recent DUI arrest, Preston Parker, receiver at Florida State University, has been dismissed "due to his latest violation of team policy." Bobby Bowden is sad to let the guy go, but he had to do what he had to do.

Recapping what his last DUI arrest entailed... Parker was found passed out in an idle-running Dodge Charger at a McDonald's in the early hours of the weekend. He was arrested for DUI, yet tested under the legal limit for alcohol via breath test. Marijuana was found actively in a urine sample immediately after the arrest.

Parker faces new problems now as a Violation of Probation will come into play in reaction to a previous charge of marijuana possession and an illegally carried firearm charge out of Palm Beach Gardens. He was placed on a plea deal of 12 month probation stemming from that marijuana possession charge. According to Florida Department of Corrections records, May 18 was the end date for that probation, so he will likely face a misdemeanor probation violation.

VOP (Violation of Probation) is something you must deal with immediately; the sooner the better.

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Posted On: February 16, 2009

Cocaine Transaction in Florida Lands Men Behind Bars

Larry Sullen, 23, Rudolph Peacock, 19, and Bridgette Pelham, 24, have been arrested and charged with the sale of a controlled substance, namely cocaine. The three are accused of selling crack cocaine in Esto, Florida to a undercover agent. Originally living in Alabama, all three will most likely be extradited and prosecuted under Florida Law regarding illegal substances and distribution.

Cocaine is a serious drug that carries severe penalties and charges under Florida Statute 893. A controlled substance:

encompass all chemicals, which are regulated under law as having a medicinal or psychotropic effect. These include cocaine, cocaine distillates in cocaine derivatives, synthetic heroin such as Demerol and other branded synthetic painkillers, oxycodone, MDMA, cannabis and other or newly created so-called designer drugs.
Felony charges are to be expected if you are caught with drugs other than marijuana. Having a lawyer is one half of the battle, in the unfortunate instance you actually do have the drugs and get caught, but not doing the drugs to begin with solves alot.

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Posted On: February 13, 2009

Florida State Receiver Gets DUI at McDonalds

Preston Parker, a football player at Florida State University, was arrested in the wee hours of Saturday for DUI. This is probably going to be devastating for his career due to his prior record. Officers found him "passed out" on his steering wheel stopped in a McDonald's drive-through. Officers finally aroused him by tapping on the window and then arrested him after securing the still-running vehicle.

Breath tests showed .054, which do not break legal limits in the State of Florida, yet urine analysis showed positive levels of marijuana. Parker admitted to officers in the report that he had in fact been smoking marijuana and drinking that evening.

DUI means driving under the influence of any substance that can impair your driving abilities. Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and any other substance counts and can be used in a court of law against you. DUI is a serious offense and carries strict penalties such as license revocation, jail time, and fines.

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Posted On: February 12, 2009

Florida Possession of Firearm In Parking Lot Law Tested

The first case in Florida regarding legal gun storage in cars on employer parking lots is being tested. A Boca Raton funeral employee is suing his company for firing him on the premise that he had a gun in the parking lot of his place of employment. He is claiming that the employer violated the new state law that permits people with concealed-weapons licensing to have their firearms secured in their cars on workplace property. A spokesman for the funeral parlor declined to comment on the situation. The accusations that Collazo, 36, even had a gun on the premises were said to be made by two anonymous tipsters in the area claiming to have seen " a bulge in his pocket" which resembled a gun.

This is groundbreaking legal news as far as concealed weapons on employee property goes. The "Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008" states that:

The statute provides that an “employer”—that is, a business with at least one worker who has a concealed carry permit—may not: (1) prohibit a worker with a concealed-carry permit from securing a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot;(2) prohibit a customer—whether or not he or she has a concealed-carry permit—from securing a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot; (3) ask a worker with a concealed carry permit or a customer whether he or she has a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot, take any action against such a worker or against a customer based on a statement about whether the worker or customer has a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot for lawful purposes, or search a vehicle in a parking lot for a gun; (4) condition employment on whether a person has a concealed-carry permit; (5) terminate a worker with a concealed-carry permit, or otherwise discriminate against such a worker, or expel a customer, for having a gun in a vehicle on the business’s property, unless the gun is exhibited on the property. A business that does not have at least one worker with a concealed-carry permit is not subject to any of these provisions.

Certain places of employment do not allow guns at work under law, but storing of your firearm securely in your car at work is OKAY. Be sure to follow this blog to see where the courts go with this one.

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Posted On: February 11, 2009

Knowing The Law SHOULD Be Required, Especially in Florida

A prominent South Florida defense lawyer and fellow classmate of mine from the good old days of law school at Hofstra, Norm Kent, posted a write-up on a book I recently published, Can The Police Lie To Me?, regarding laws in an easy-to-read format. I just would like to thank Norm for the free advertisement and would also like to point how the 'non-lawyer' person should have some method of obtaining information regarding the law as it is pertinent to them.

Did you know that the police can search you on the basis of someone's lie? This is true, BUT anything found under the search can be thrown out under the following tests: basis of the informant's knowledge, veracity, credibility, reliability, and totality of the circumstances.

Don't be intimidated by anyone and especially the police, if you are a legal citizen in your actions. The book also has many other important pieces of information that you might be interested in learning.

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Posted On: February 10, 2009

DUI Manslaughter in Florida News

Eric Dwayne Wilkerson, 38, has been charged with felony DUI manslaughter in relation to the death of a man crossing a road at night in Tampa. Wilkerson is being held without bail and the man struck by him has not been identified. Police reported that Wilkerson's black vehicle dragged the pedestrian for 150 feet til his death at 11:55pm. "I just killed a man. I was driving north, and he got in front of me," said Wilkerson in an affidavit to Tampa police. A strong odor of alcohol was in Wilkerson's breath, police noted. Refusals to sobriety tests were also noted by police, yet blood-alcohol levels taken at the station revealed a level of .10, over the legal limits in Florida law of .08.

Florida DUI law states that there are three types of tests a police officer may ask a suspect to take in order to test for alcohol in the bloodstream: blood, breath, or urine test. Florida has one of the strictest levels of laws regarding DUI among all states of US. You are not legally obligated to take any field sobriety test in the field, or where you are stopped by police. If you do not comply, you will have your drivers license suspended immediately. There are many other facets of the law that an experienced and knowledge lawyer can tell you in a consultation.

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Posted On: February 9, 2009

Florida Cocaine Sting Operation Successful

Six pounds of cocaine have been confiscated in a drug bust of a Sanibel Avenue home in Fort Pierce. Five people have been arrested, according to investigators with the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, FDLE, BATF, and the DEA.

Multiple cocaine trafficking charges have been distributed to the offenders by local authorities. The large amount of cocaine found here would at one point in time been an incredible amount to find in such a warrant arrest, but these days they are becoming more and more common. This results in harsher prison times and more fervent prosecution.

Trafficking, possession, and use of cocaine in Florida is a serious matter and arrests are made day in day out. You cannot afford to not have a defense lawyer that is capable of navigating you through the court proceedings and trial.

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Posted On: February 6, 2009

Florida Turnpike Executioners Face Sentencing

Daniel Troya, 25, and Ricardo Sanchez Jr., 25, are now facing sentencing in federal trial regarding the Florida Turnpike executions of Jose Luis Escobedo, 28, Yessica Guerrero Escobedo, 25, and their sons, in what has been claimed to be one of the most horrific and disheartening murders on the state's roads.

The family of four was murdered execution style on a dark stretch of the Turnpike two years ago on October 13, 2006. The suspected killers will face the death penalty for the actions committed on that evening. A drug cartel feud was the suspected cause of the altercation and resulting slayings. A "civil war" of sorts had been escalating between certain drug organizations and led to this incident.

The defendants are facing charges of armed carjacking resulting in multiple deaths, weapons counts, conspiracy and drug offenses. All the defendants have current plead not guilty.

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Posted On: February 5, 2009

Attorney Ralph Behr's Book Should Be On Your List

Can The Police Lie To Me?

The short answer is YES, and they want to because they, in a lot of case, have to in order to get a conviction. Sounds unfair because you can't lie back to them, but you must deal with the legal and court system if you unfortunately get involved in it.

Attorney Behr provides some of the excerpts of answers he has compiled in his published book, but having a physical copy will provide you with the rest of the answers to many commonly asked questions regardling actual law that affects people every day. Don't fuss with googling an answer only to get some vague definitions or interpretations from someone not experienced only to find out they don't apply to your situation. Copies are available via book distributers through and other online outlets, as well as through the Law Office in Fort Lauderdale.

Posted On: February 4, 2009

New Law in South Florida Regarding Sex Offenders

Davie has recently finalized a new law that will put in place restrictions of landlords in renting to sex offenders or sex predators. Those in violation of the newly authorized law can be jailed or fined, according to the Town Council. Florida Law states that a 2500 foot buffer must be in place between where a sex offender can live and everywhere children congregate, such as school bus stops, parks and playgrounds.

The new Davie law will force landlords to be subject to fines up to $500 and/or 60 days in jail on first violation. Multiple violations step up to $1000 and/or a year in jail. All sex offenders regardless of date of conviction are subject to the new law and will be dealt accordingly by law enforcement.

Sex crimes are one of the most saught after and heavily prosecuted by many state departments. An experienced lawyer is required and one with the utmost knowledge of case law and state court systems is even more heavily needed in such a situation.

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Posted On: February 3, 2009

Florida Law and Breath Tests For DUI

Many people who call in to the Law offices on the phone and clients of Mr. Behr's ask the legality regarding breathalyzer and other such tests when in a traffic stop. The short answer is YES. You have to submit to the officer. Basically, not doing so will not deter your arrest; it will probably only aggravate it because then they will take you down to the station for a urine or painful blood test. Do not do this to yourself. You shouldn't drink and drive in the first place, but if you do get pulled over, submit to the breath test or else lose your license automatically AND then get arrested and charged with DUI still.

Laws of Implied Consent are present in Florida, which means if you are driving on Florida roads, in or out-of-state license or no license at all, you have to give police all requested evidence of sobriety. Yes, you can refuse to blow, but automatically lose your license and a whole bunch of other hassle in retaining it back. Even if you do not prove intoxication on the breath test, prosecutors will attack other aspects of the case and break your credibility.

First Time Offenders for DUI/DWI:

* Must pay a minimum fine of $250
* Can serve up to six months in prison
* Suspension of driver's license for a minimum of six months
* At least 50 hours of community service
* Ten day impoundment of vehicle
* Up to one year probation
* A permanent misdemeanor conviction
* Increase of auto insurance by up to three times

A good lawyer can analyze your case, see to it that proper procedure was indeed conducted, and if not, can attack that and get your case thrown out. Just because someone has a J.D. doesnt mean they are the lawyer you want to hire. You want someone that's handled many of these types of cases, knows the court system in which you are arrested, and can thus maneauver through proceedings accordingly.

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Posted On: February 2, 2009

Fort Lauderdale Hit By Armed Robberies

Fort Lauderdale is shaken up by a string of shootings and robberies committed by who police believe to be one man. The first incident occurred at a Subway on Sunrise Blvd. The individual leaped over the counter and discharged his firearm randomly while demanding the register till. The second incident took place at the Sea Beach Plaza Hotel. A black male entered and gained the cash from the counter as he pointed a gun at him forcing the clerk to comply. Police are still looking for the suspect and can use any help the community can supply.

He is described as a man in his mid 20s, 5' 8" and around 135 pounds with a scar on his right side of face. He was seen driving a '96 Nissan Maxima with dark tint. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Donald Gauntner at 954-828-5527 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

Robbery and burglary are felonies. Florida Statute defines robbery as:

the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.
Being armed only adds more to the final sentence and results in:
a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Thats a first degree felony!!

If you have committed any form of burglary or robbery and only want to be defended by the best, Attorney Ralph Behr is here to serve you. He will be with you in court through all precedings and trial meanwhile making sure you get the lowest sentencing possible. You can't do it alone; you need a lawyer that knows how to get your case heard.

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