Posted On: July 15, 2011

What is an Appeal from a Criminal Conviction?

If you have been convicted of a felony, such as drug trafficking, or possession of cocaine in a Florida criminal court, such as Fort Lauderdale or Miami criminal courts, you should consider an appeal from your criminal conviction. An appeal must be filed quickly, the rules require a notice of appeal be filed within ten days of the imposition of sentence, and the first step is for the criminal defense attorney who conducted the criminal trial to file a notice of issues. During any criminal trial, such as a DUI, homicide, trafficking or murder, there are always issues, questions of law and criminal procedure that come up during the trial. The criminal defense attorney who is your criminal trial lawyer must object and then appeal for you to have an appellate court review the criminal trial. If there were significant errors, either in criminal law or criminal procedure, and they fundamentally affected the outcome of the criminal trial, then an appellate court will grant you an appeal and review the trial transcript. An appeal from a conviction for a criminal offense, such as possession of drugs or violation of probation, often takes many months, sometimes as long as a year. If you have a question about your rights as a criminal defendant in any South Florida criminal court, contact a local criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Palm Beach and ask for a consultation.

Posted On: July 11, 2011

Where’s The Good In Goodbye!

Ever wonder why some sentences are longer than others? Have you or one of your “peeps” (peoples) been sent to the big house for an extended stay, while others seem to breeze in and out with more major convictions? Wonder why or do you know?
The sentencing process, when one is before a judge and pleading for mercy, does not begin with a well suited lawyer, it begins with a well prepared lawyer. When was the last time any lawyer you know wrote a sentencing memorandum? I’ll wager never, unless I’m your lawyer.
Sentencing memorandums are the Holy Grail to a lighter sentence. Why you ask? Why indeed! The answer is that judges hate them because it means that an appeal is next, and to avoid an appeal most judges will sentence on the low end of the guidelines and leave for another defendant that old thrown away key sentence. Lawyers know this but don’t do it because it takes up time, time they need for golf or relaxation. So here’s what you do: If you are interviewing a lawyer for a criminal case ask her/him to include the promise of a sentencing memorandum in the retainer agreement. It can make a big difference when the pedal meets the medal and it’s time for a reservation in a State residence. Know now and you’ll do better. And, knowing more means buying my app on the Apple Store for you iPad and iPhone: CRIMINAL LAW 101 by Ralph Behr. As of July 2011 after only seven months there were over 1000 copies downloaded and only one buyer asked for their money back…..and he was from England!

Posted On: July 9, 2011

DUI or NOT?

Drunk drivers are a danger on the road, most times they are invading other traffic lanes, taking red lights, or even swerving into oncoming traffic. It is quite obvious in these instances, that the person behind the wheel is not paying attention or is somehow impaired. Although driving under the influence laws usually underline that a person be in “control” or have intent to “operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired, police arrest and pursue charges of DUI-DWI, many times without reviewing the actual particular circumstances and elements of the law.

As a criminal lawyer I have occasionally, answered the question, Can I be arrested for sleeping in the car while drunk?, you will see why almost anyone can be charged with driving under the influence, but at times the charges are not clear or do not adhere to the laws against drunk “driving”.

Many police officers find persons sleeping intoxicated behind the wheel of parked cars some people, do not even have the keys to the vehicle. Other persons may be trying to sleep of a drunken stooper in order to be sober enough to drive off at a later time. Police officers are responsible for the safety of civilians and as such they have a duty to determine if someone is impaired enough, and should not operate a motor vehicle. Police are instructed to perform sobriety tests and use breathalyzer meters to measure a person’s intoxication level.

Therefore, if you sleep in your car after you have been drinking and an officer has to wake you, and performs a blowing test and you fail, because your blood contains more than the legal limit of alcohol, or you stumble trying to do the steps of the sobriety test. You can be charged with DUI, but depending on the situation you may not always meet the standards of the law to prove the charges against you.

IF you have any question or need assistance determining your charges of DUI or DWI call me for a free consultation.

Posted On: July 5, 2011

Should I Pull Over?

Practicing in sunny Fort Lauderdale, I have received queries concerning whether one can be arrested for “Driving under the Influence”.

The answer is yes, you can be arrested for "sleeping under the influence" in your parked car. Why? well the theory is that you were probably driving at some time earlier and were probably intoxicated at the time, or the other scenario is that you intended to drive in your inebriated condition.

What should you do: If you find yourself driving home from a bar and you realize you have had too much to drink?

You should: Pull over and sleep it off, here are a couple of tips to follow:

a. Ensure the car is properly parked off the road leave your hazards on and the make sure the doors are all secure as to ensure your safety;
b. Remove the keys from the ignition, sometimes it is advised to put the keys on the ground in the back of the car, do not keep the keys on your person as you can be still arrested;
c. DO NOT remain seated or fall asleep in the driver’s seat, always go the back of the car.

Attorneys have advised that with the removal of the keys from the ignition and not keeping it on your person; sitting/sleeping in the back seat of the car will all indicate that you have no intent of driving or operating the vehicle.

We have seen some cases where the driver has done all of the above and was still arrested. Always seek legal counsel if you find yourself incarcerated for “driving/parking under the influence” you should hire experienced South Florida attorney who will build you a strong case in your defense.

Posted On: July 2, 2011

Cars of the Future Maybe the Cure

Last but not least, part three of my DUI – DWI segment, involves the use of today’s technology in cars. With the advancement of technology moving at a rapid pace in cars, we have vehicles that are now able to park themselves, Bluetooth capability to be able to answer your phone in your car, not to mention GPS to help you find your way around, the cars in house computer calling for road side service, and should you get into an accident calling 911 if should you be unable. So in order to help the campaign against drunk driving, various agencies are coming together to devise a plan of action that can be used in cars.

The Government and the automotive industry have been testing a new technology which will deter and possibly help stop drivers from driving while under the influence. This technology is still being developed in the United States and in Europe. Some of the technology being developed will test the air directly around the driver’s seat; test the driver’s skin for alcohol levels and emissions through the skin. In a more recent article, there was an actual demonstration performed in Massachusetts with the US Secretary of Transportation in attendance, along with the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Laura Dean Mooney, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The article stated their findings and the pros and cons of this new technology.

Do your research on these recent blogs regarding drunk driving, you may find them very enlightening, and in the mean time, should you find yourself accused or charged with driving under the influence you should contact your South Florida criminal law attorney and seek legal counsel.