Posted On: February 28, 2010

Your Right to Bail is in the United States Constitution

After an arrest a detained person is brought before an impartial magistrate (a judge) and has a right to a reasonable condition of release. It is the law. The only exceptions to bail are for capital charges, armed drug trafficking, kidnapping and some federal terrorist charges. At the bond hearing you have the right to be represented by an attorney. The magistrate must set a reasonable bond. A reasonable bond is one that is possible for the individual, not some arbitrary amount or standard bond. Pre-trial release is a favored program in Fort Lauderdale, where it has been recently expanded to permit non-indigent criminal defendants to be released with GPS monitors and travel restrictions. All criminal courts in South Florida hold bond hearings 365 days a year. Miami criminal courts, both federal and Florida criminal courts, set conditions of bond that permit the posting of a guarantee by personal surety, Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) does not: there you are required to post the cash amount or have a bond agent issue a “power number” for the bond amount.

Posted On: February 26, 2010

Extradition: Not Your First Choice for a Trip to Fort Lauderdale

An outstanding warrant means a trip to Fort Lauderdale, usually by jitney bus in leg irons. It can take between four and ten days, and the hotels on the way prepare you for a stay at the Fort Lauderdale jail. Not so nice. A warrant, (also called a capias if issued by a judge from the bench), is a pick-up order. All States share the outstanding warrants lists and will hold you until the State that wants you either agrees to pay the transportation (issues a “governors warrant”) or says pass, in which case you are released. If you have been arrested in Fort Lauderdale or Miami, on a Florida criminal charge, or a federal criminal charge, a warrant is issued until you appear before a judge and are granted bail or pre-trial release. If you fail to appear at any court-set hearing a capias (warrant) is issued. Violations of probation warrants are the most common, and the most common violation of probation warrants are issued for missing a check-in with your probation officer, or leaving Florida and moving without permission and without the receiving State agreeing to supervise the probation or community control. Both Federal criminal courts and Fort Lauderdale and Miami criminal courts hear violation of probation matters. If you have been arrested or have reason to believe a violation of probation warrant is out there: call a criminal defense attorney and let him/her help you.

Posted On: February 24, 2010

Criminal Arrests In Fort Lauderdale and Miami Florida

Miami led Florida counties in arrests last year with a total of 154,257. Miami criminal arrests numbers are for Miami – Dade county which includes the major cities of Hialeah (11,765 arrests), Miami Beach (12,740) and the City of Miami (57,466 arrests). Broward County arrests last year totaled 90,820. Included in the Broward totals are the major cities: Fort Lauderdale (13,940 arrest), Hollywood (8,203 arrests), Pompano Beach (6,705 arrests) and Davie (5,097 arrests). The Florida Department of Law Enforcement website has more arrest totals and information on criminal histories, a sex offender database, and unsolved homicides.

Posted On: February 23, 2010

Waiting For the Call? Extradition and South Florida Criminal Courts

A client of mine in 2009 paid over $1000.00 for extradition costs when he was arrested in New York on a Fort Lauderdale violation of probation warrant and transported to jail in Fort Lauderdale. He then waited ten days in jail before he saw a judge. Fort Lauderdale and Miami criminal courts have outstanding violation of probation warrants that are active in the national search system available to every police officer in their cruiser (cop car). If you missed a court date, or left Florida before completing probation call any Florida criminal lawyer and have him/her check for you. It’s not always bad news….some lawyers have mastered Due Process motions to dismiss violation of probation warrants that are very old. Your lawyer can file motions for reprimand hearings or early termination hearings on violation of probations and quash warrants that are legally defective or filed after expiration of a probation term. Miami and Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyers are your problem solvers if you are proactive and don’t wait to be extradited. So if you think there may be an outstanding violation of probation warrant for you, contact any Florida criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, or Miami, today. You will get a better result if you walk into court voluntarily then if you are dragged in from jail.

Posted On: February 22, 2010

White Lite? Federal Judge Gives “light” Sentence to While Collar Criminal

Thinking of adding your name to the growing list of white collar criminals with your own brand of Ponzi? Here’s some advice: New York’s federal courts are sympathetic to late lifers who commit white collar crimes. New York Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein gave a nine year prison term to sixty year old Edward T. Stein who defrauded his investors out of $46,000.000.00, yes… 46 million…a trifle for our local boy Mr. Rothstein. So open a hedge fund with your social security check and go at it! Federal criminal defense attorneys, like me, are anxious to file change of venue motions to move our federal white collar criminal cases to Brooklyn Federal Court for a more ‘sympathetic’ judge. Our South Florida federal criminal judges give out longer sentences. Maybe this will cause a reverse tide of scammers….imagine Mr. Rothstein’s New York branch? So round up your hedge fund white collar scammers, call your “client”-victims and move North! Yahoooooo!

Posted On: February 20, 2010

Elin Nordegren Wife of Tiger Woods; Domestic Violence and the Law

The Wall Street Journal and Slate, continue to ask why local authorities in Florida have not charged Elin Nordgren, wife of Tiger Woods, with aggravated battery.
Florida’s domestic violence law, and the State’s policy of gender-neutral enforcement, has run up against a wall of silence from Florida authorities charged with enforcing the law. Florida’s Aggravated Battery statute has been used by prosecutors throughout Florida in domestic violence cases. The Florida Highway Patrol’s investigation is still active and has not been made public.

Posted On: February 18, 2010

New Drug Court Rules in Fort Lauderdale

On January 22, 2010 the chief administrative judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) issued a new administrative rule which allows Drug Court to accept criminal defendants in Florida with substance abuse problems, even if their drug charges are more than mere possession. Prior to the new rule the only defendants charged with drug possession, such as possession of cocaine, or possession of oxycodone could be admitted to drug court. The expanded rule does not permit those charged with trafficking in cocaine or trafficking in cannabis (marijuana) to enter drug court, but it does permit Florida criminal defendants with drug delivery or drug paraphernalia charges to be admitted. Call your local Florida criminal defense lawyer in Fort Lauderdale for an update on the new rule. Florida criminal defense lawyer Ralph Behr filed the first legal motion to admit one of his drug arrest clients into the drug court program. This will be the first test case to admit a cocaine delivery criminal defendant in Florida into drug court. Stay tuned for an update in March of 2010.

Posted On: February 16, 2010

What To Do If You Think You Have A Violation of Probation Warrant

First: deal with it NOW! Call your Florida criminal defense lawyer and do the following:

1) Read your “Final Disposition” issued by the Judge at your sentencing hearing: note all ‘special conditions’ that were imposed.
2) Read the Florida criminal statute which lists the standard conditions of probation.
3) Have your Florida criminal defense lawyer obtain a copy of your violation of probation warrant and see exactly what violations are alleged in the warrant.
4) Have your criminal lawyer deal with the probation officer and the prosecutor to work towards a resolution.
Not all violations are major enough to send you to jail. But being an absconder (away for a long time) is almost always enough to get you a jail term. Your first court appearance is where you either admit or deny the alleged violations. If you deny the prosecutor has ten days to prepare for a violation of probation Evidentiary Hearing. At that hearing the prosecutor has to prove the violations with witnesses or evidence. Sadly, Florida criminal law permits hearsay to be admitted at violation of probation evidentiary hearings. Call your Florida criminal defense lawyer for an opinion on the violation. Some violations of probation are technical or minor and will not expose you to a jail sentence.

Posted On: February 15, 2010

What Are Federal Criminal Courts and How Do They Differ from Florida Criminal Courts?

Our national government in Washington, D.C. duplicates many Florida criminal laws. Florida criminal laws are enforced by the State of Florida in our State criminal courts. The U.S. government enforces its own set of federal criminal laws in federal criminal courts. Criminal defense attorneys have to be licensed to appear in each court. Florida criminal courts are conducted under the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. Federal criminal courts have their own Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The rules are very different and being familiar with them is essential for criminal defense lawyers. Filing dates and times, rules of evidence, motion practice; all differ significantly. Federal criminal cases have different views of search and seizure, confessions, proper and improper police procedures than Florida criminal laws. Florida has its own constitution which differs from our U.S. federal constitution. Although Florida constitutional rights can give greater protections and safeguards from governmental reach into the lives of Florida residents it cannot lessen or diminish those rights guaranteed by our federal constitution..

Posted On: February 14, 2010

Getting Hot Under the White Collar? Federal Prosecutions Go Postal !

Criminal prosecutions, like skirt heights, seem to go up and down with the economy. White collar crimes, such as money laundering, telemarketing fraud, embezzlement, counterfeiting, kickbacks and honest services fraud cases are increasing in federal court. Criminal law doesn’t change, but prosecutors in federal court focus on certain crimes when the economy changes. And things have changed. Derivatives dissolved but security fraud cases have gone up, as have other federal prosecutions. Criminal defense lawyers have seen federal court white collar crimes become an increasing focus of federal prosecutors in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. If you are a “person of interest” in a federal or state criminal inquiry, call for a consultation. Know your rights and understand the process and gain some insight into how your constitution works and how the police can twist the constitution until most criminal lawyers can’t believe we are all in the same country under the same constitution. Knowledge is power.

Posted On: February 12, 2010

Violation of Probation - The Process in South Florida Criminal Courts

Violation of Probation problems start with a warrant request from a probation officer. If you, or someone close to you, is on probation in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood or Palm Beach, start with knowing the terms and conditions of your probation. A Violation of Probation warrant must list the condition and how it was violated. Some probation conditions are considered “technical” others are “substantive”, i.e. some are not important enough to get one violated, others are. The conclusion of a technical vs. a substantive violation is made by a sentencing judge at a violation of probation hearing.
Step One: KNOW your probation conditions. They appear in your sentencing order, in the probation statute, or ask your probation officer. Step Two: keep close contact with your probation officer. Most violations are merely a matter of bad communication or missed check-ins. A violation of probation warrant means you will be picked-up and held in jail until a judge can hold the first of two hearings. At your first hearing you admit or deny the allegations contained in the Violation of Probation warrant. If you deny them you will be held over (usually a minimum of ten days) and then you can have a Violation of Probation Evidentiary Hearing. The State must prove the condition was in your probation and that it was violated. An experienced South Florida Criminal Defense lawyer from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Davie or most of the towns in Broward County usually has his law office near the Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Like a surgeon needs to be close-by his hospital, a real criminal defense lawyer is located near to the Fort Lauderdale jail and courthouse. Call for a free consultation if you have any questions or issues related to probation or a violation of probation warrant from courts in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach or South Florida.

Posted On: February 11, 2010

Federal Drug Trafficking Laws

Florida has its own set of criminal laws. Each State has their own laws. In addition we are all subject to Federal (US government) criminal laws. Both Federal criminal drug trafficking statutes and Florida drug trafficking laws exist and we can be arrested in South Florida and be charged in either Federal Court for a violation of federal criminal laws OR Florida courts (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, or any other Florida jurisdiction) and charged with a crime in Florida. Federal drug trafficking punishments are different from those of Florida. A basic understanding of federal drug trafficking punishments is posted here on this website (press HERE to go to Federal drug trafficking punishment chart). For an understanding of what it means to be arrested in South Florida and charged with a drug charge, such as drug trafficking, delivery of a controlled substance, possession of cocaine, or possession of any controlled substance: call a South Florida criminal lawyer for more information.

Posted On: February 8, 2010

Fort Lauderdale Pre-Trial Release Program Extends Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Program to Non-Indigent Criminal Defendants

In these hard economic times it is a welcome gift for criminal defendants in Fort Lauderdale jails to be offered GPS bracelets and let out of jail without posting bail. The Pre-Trial Release Program, originally intended for indigent defendants, has broadened itself to embrace criminal defendants who have the financial resources to pay for their bond. The explosive growth of the government financed program has become the focus of a major political struggle. Supporters of expanding Pre-Trial Release are maligning Bail and Bond agents who insist they can do the job of getting criminal defendants to court for less money. Bond Agents say Pre-Trial Release should be pared back and limited to indigents only. State Senator John Thrasher (Republican from Jacksonville) has introduced a controversial bill in the Florida Senate that will curtail Pre-Trial Release. The bill would limit the program to the indigent. National Public Radio shined a national spotlight on this issue in a radio report aired in late January 2010 which did little to calm the waters. The broadcast inflamed the already heated fight by allegedly airing false statistics about the program’s success rate and cost.

Posted On: February 7, 2010

Feds to Push for Arrests in South Florida for "Economic Crimes"

The chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government (our protectors/masters in DC) Attorney General Eric Holder announced his marching orders: Arrest all those who commit “economic crimes”. In his speech to the National Sheriffs’ Association’s at their 2010 Winter Conference he set out on his warpath to end economic crimes. (He omitted to address bankers and stock brokers). In his speech he said the Feds plan ….”To give particular emphasis to initiatives aimed at tackling economic crime, international organized crime, youth violence and the exploitation of children. “South Florida criminal lawyers, like your host, have been inundated with mortgage fraud, credit card fraud and identify theft cases. In fact the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor has a staff working fulltime on prosecuting mortgage fraud cases.

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Posted On: February 6, 2010

What to Ask When Hiring a Federal Criminal Lawyer

Here are a few questions to ask when you are interviewing to hire a federal criminal lawyer:
1. Does he/she have a PACER CM/ECF number? If the answer is “what’s a PACER CM/ECF number? Hang up the phone and call the next lawyer on your list.
2. Does he/she have a subscription to the publication ‘Florida Law Weekly Federal’, it’s expensive and most lawyers won’t pay the $500.00 yearly cost, but if he/she doesn’t read it weekly then he/she is definitely NOT on top the law and federal criminal law IS CONSTANTLY changing.
3. How many federal cases are active in his/her office? Most competent and active federal criminal lawyers have, at a minimum, five active cases in federal court. Don’t bother to ask their success at trial because most federal trials end up in conviction because federal courts have become famous for railroading defendants into convictions.

Winning in a federal criminal prosecution is only a possibility if your federal criminal lawyer is a wiz on procedure, can nail evidentiary issues hard and fast, and has earned the respect (and fear) of Assistant United States Attorneys in the local federal criminal courts. Power in Federal court is earned by fighting and winning motions and procedural issues. Federal court can be a sinkhole if your Florida criminal lawyer isn’t a real federal criminal lawyer, and that means in court, in front of judges and dealing with federal court cases in a significant number of cases. At a minimum it should be 30% of a criminal lawyer’s practice before they can be a real federal criminal lawyer and not a local lawyer trying to grab-off a case that is beyond their capabilities.

Posted On: February 5, 2010

What Is A Federal Criminal Attorney?

Federal criminal lawyers must be current with the explosive increase of Federal criminal laws, federal criminal procedures, federal criminal evidence and the inscrutable PACER Federal online document filing system. It is almost impossible to be an effective and competent lawyer in federal court unless the attorney devotes significant ongoing time keeping current with federal criminal law. Federal court is hobbled by arcane procedural rules, almost Byzantine local rules that overlay the federal criminal rules and procedures, and……it gets worse…... THIS ARTICLE CONTINUES ON PAGE TWO....

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Posted On: February 4, 2010

Violation of Probation in Florida

Probation is a sentence, not a condition of pre-trial release or bond. If you have been placed on probation by a Judge in Florida you need to read and understand the standard conditions of probation. The standard provisions of probation in Florida appear in Florida Statute 948. [Press HERE to go to the statute]. A violation of probation is a serious matter. Most probationers in Florida violate at one point in the term of their probation. If you are on probation and have any questions that are not answered clearly by your probation officer call

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Posted On: February 3, 2010

Criminal Attorneys and Federal Court

Federal criminal defense attorneys in Florida appear before the federal district courts in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Federal criminal prosecutions require defense lawyers who are skilled in federal criminal practice, know the law and statues for federal crimes, have defended white collar crimes such as mortgage fraud, money laundering, cash transaction reporting statutes, wire fraud, federal drug trafficking and drug possession law, know the federal evidence code and federal criminal court rules. A Florida federal criminal lawyer, to be effective, should know federal criminal laws backward and forward: something that comes from years in federal criminal courts. Federal criminal lawyers learn their skills by appearing in federal criminal courts, defending those accused of federal crimes in Florida and out of Florida. [this article continues on page 2 ]

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Posted On: February 2, 2010

Read My Book and Be a "REAL" Out-Of-Jail 'Jailhouse Lawyer'

Published first in 2008 by BookMasters, my book is the book you need to own, I know because I wrote it for you, not for me or my vanity (?). CAN THE POLICE LIE TO ME? is 218 pages of pure information on criminal law, prosecutors and police. The book has one paragraph definitions of the fifty most-charged crimes in Florida: from A to Z. Distilled into plain English it is direct, concise and easy to read. The book then goes into a question and answer format. I have assembled the 100 questions I hear from my clients. It starts with the realization that "CAN THE POICE LIE TO ME?" And the answer is YES. Each question is one sentence and each answer is limited to one page. This is a great first step for students, teachers and citizens to know enough about criminal law to get along in this world. If you read the book and have a question just call me. I'll answer your questions; whether about criminal law in Florida or if you have been arrested and need to know how to defend yourself. Availaable from Amazon or from me in my office (I usually provide copies for my clients to read).

Posted On: February 1, 2010

What You Need to Know When Hiring a Criminal Lawyer

Many people ask me how I would go about hiring a criminal lawyer. I found a very helpful and brief article (two paragraphs) which I want you to read [GO TO ARTICLE PRESS HERE]. Now that you've read it here's some additional advice... ( continued on second page)...

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