Posted On: September 27, 2012

Was it an Assault or a Battery?

In South Florida and all its jurisdictions such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Broward County, Dade County and Palm Beach County, people are often confused with battery and assault charges. Details about what constitute assault and battery can be found in chapter 784 of Florida Statutes.
So why are people confused about the difference between assault and battery? The main difference is simple, an actual touching.
According to the Florida Statute 784.011 an assault is when a person intentionally threats another individual to inflict violence upon them, and is actually apparently capable of doing so. They create fear in the other person who believes that the act of violence will occur.
On the other hand, battery is an actual touching or striking of another human being against his or her will. The battery causes a bodily harm to the victim, while assault is mainly a threat by word.
An assault constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for no more than 12 months. Battery is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to 1 year in prison.
In cases of battery and assault, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call a South Florida criminal defense attorney for a free consultation.

Posted On: September 24, 2012

13 Years Old But Charged as an Adult in Florida

The US Supreme Court ruled this summer that it is unconstitutional for juvenile offenders to get mandatory life sentences without parole. But Cristian Fernandez, a 13 year old boy from Jacksonville, Florida, may change the way juveniles convicted of first degree murder are sentenced. Cristian Fernandez is the youngest inmate awaiting trial in Duval County, Florida and could be facing life sentence. He is being accused of first degree murder of his 2 year old brother and the sexual abuse of his 5 year old brother.
This case is generating controversies all over the country with people arguing about the right actions to be taken against Fernandez. Some are saying he should be convicted as an adult for the heinous crimes he committed in order to pay for his actions. Other believe that he has a painful past that lead him to this and that what he really needs is help, not spending his life in prison.
He is awaiting trial, and it is now up to Florida courts to decide the outcome that may possibly change the way juvenile offenders are handled in cases like this.

Posted On: September 24, 2012

Did You Have A Motive?

Not only in the counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade but also in other areas of South Florida, when a crime is being investigated, one of the most important elements is the Mens Rea. This is a phrase in Latin which means a Guilty Mind.
The guilty mind is an important element in cases involving criminal acts such as homicide, manslaughter, and other felony crimes.
The State of Florida has the burden of proving that the element of mens rea actually existed at the time the crime was committed. In order to prove that the element was present, they may try to identify a possible motive for the perpetrator to commit the offense.
It will be easier for the jury to believe that the element of mens rea existed if they believe that the defendant had a motive to commit the crime. A motive is the reason behind a crime, for example a desire for revenge or financial pressure.
Without finding any possible motive that led the defendant to commit the crime, it is hard for the state of Florida to prove the guilty mind of the individual. However, it doesn’t mean that they will not come up with another element leading to the belief that mens rea was present.
If you are being charged with a felony, call a criminal defense attorney in South Florida for a free consultation.

Posted On: September 22, 2012

They Didn’t Arrest Me! – Am I Free Of Charges?

Sometimes a person can be charged with a crime and still be “on the loose”. This doesn’t mean, of course, that the charge was dismissed or that the person was set completely free of culpability and doesn’t have any further responsibility about what happened at that time. So what happens if you’re not taken into custody then?

What happens is that in the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, not always will an officer arrest you. In some cases in South Florida, mostly in traffic offenses and misdemeanor cases, an officer will issue the person a citation. Even though it is not an arrest, a citation also needs to be taken seriously. A citation is a commitment that says you will show up in court at a certain date and time. When you sign a citation you are making a promise that you will appear in court. In exchange of that, you are allowed to remain in liberty.

If you were issued a citation in South Florida, you need to contact an experienced criminal attorney who will guide you through the process. Call our offices to make an appointment for a free consultation.

Posted On: September 19, 2012

Not Just A Simple Battery

According to Florida Statutes, battery can be defined as one person intentionally touching another, causing bodily harm. This is often confused with assault. The difference is that sometimes assault doesn’t require the actual touching of another human being, but only verbal assault.
In Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach and other regions in South Florida, battery can be divided in armed battery, aggravated battery and felony battery. According to Florida rules, armed battery is when the perpetrator uses or carries a firearm at the time of the offense. Felony battery is when the perpetrator of the crime has the intention of causing great bodily harm, such as permanent disability. Aggravated battery, on the other hand, includes the intention of causing bodily harm but also the use of a deadly weapon while committing the crime.
It is important to know that in Broward County, Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County, a person that is being accused of battery and has already been convicted of a felony battery before, committed a felony of the third degree. Punishment for a felony of the third degree is up to five years in prison.
If you or someone in your family has been accused of committing battery, aggravated battery or felony battery it is important for you to call an experienced defense attorney. If you have been convicted of a felony battery and are now being accused of another battery charge, call a South Florida criminal defense attorney for a free consultation.

Posted On: September 17, 2012

Manslaughter, Murder or Homicide in South Florida

A person who kills another human being may not only have committed homicide. Homicide can be divided into murder and manslaughter. Cases differ from one another and it is the examination of every single detail that will determine if someone will be charged with either manslaughter or murder. You may wonder what the difference is. In the counties of Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Broward in South Florida, when a person kills another without having malice aforethought, it means the person has committed manslaughter. When we say malice aforethought, we mean the premeditation to commit the murder. Many times, manslaughter occurs due to negligence by the perpetrator towards another human being.
In South Florida, a person would have committed murder when he or she planned the killing before the event actually occurred. It is the State who will have the burden of proving that the perpetrator of the homicide had premeditated his actions.
If you are being charged with murder or manslaughter in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, or other areas in South Florida, you have to call an experienced and qualified criminal attorney for a free consultation on your case.

Posted On: September 15, 2012

Diminished Capacity or Legally Insane?

Diminished capacity and insanity are terms often confused in criminal issues. In South Florida, when we talk about diminished capacity we are talking about a mental inability, caused by intoxication, trauma, or disease, that makes the person not accountable for their actions. This means that they were not able, due to their mental status, to distinguish right from wrong. In Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Palm Beach, the person who is alleging a defense of diminished capacity, is trying to convince the state of Florida that at the time the committed the criminal act they were not aware or even capable of being aware of the nature of their actions.
The main difference between insanity and diminished capacity is that while insanity is a legal term that is grounds for an affirmative defense, diminished capacity is a medical term. In South Florida, while insanity may consist of a full defense in a criminal trial, diminished capacity is a way of pleading to a lesser crime.
When dealing with cases of diminished capacity or insanity, it is crucial to speak to a lawyer who is qualified and experienced. If someone you know is being accused of a crime in the counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami, and you believe the person was not capable of knowing the nature of their acts, you should call a South Florida criminal attorney for a free appointment.

Posted On: September 12, 2012

Burglary in South Florida

In South Florida, to be charged with a burglary offense, the State of Florida needs to prove three elements.
First, the state needs to prove that the suspect entered a property that was legally owned by another individual. This means, for example, entering someone else’s home.
The second element the State of Florida needs to prove is that the entering was what is referred to as “wrongful entering”. By wrongful entering, the state means that the person was not welcome in the property.
The most important element is that prior to entering the dwellings of another human being, the individual accused of burglary had to had the intent to commit an offense.
In Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, and other regions in South Florida, the most common cases involve the wrongfully entering of the dwellings of another individual with the intent to commit theft.
It is important to know that the second element does not exist if you are invited to go into the property. If you enter a shop, or a social event, you are not wrongfully entering. In South Florida, the burglary statute also applies to the burglary of a conveyance, which includes motor vehicles.
If you, or someone you know, is being accused of committing burglary in the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, or Miami-Dade, you should call our office for a free consultation.

Posted On: September 10, 2012

Can Someone, in South Florida, Commit Burglary Inside A Vehicle?

Burglaries not only occur in someone’s home, but it can also occur in someone’s car, trailer or truck. For a person to be charged and convicted of a burglary crime in Fort Lauderdale, Miami or Palm Beach, the state has the burden of proving whether that person entered the property of another human being, with the intention to commit a criminal offense. That criminal offense can include, but is not limited to theft, murder and battery.
When someone is accused of committing a burglary offense in a vehicle in South Florida, this is called burglary of a conveyance. The state then needs to prove that the perpetrator entered another person’s vehicle to commit a crime. In Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach and other areas in Florida, it usually happens that in this case, the burglar reaches through a car window to strike the victim.
The most important element of the crime, that the state must prove to convict a person of burglary, is the intent he or she had when entering the dwellings of another. The state must prove the person, before entering the property, had the intent to commit a criminal act.
If you think you are being unfairly accused of burglary and that you didn’t have intent to commit a crime when you entered someone’s property, you must call a defense attorney. Call a South Florida defense attorney for a free consultation.

Posted On: September 8, 2012

“Going Insane” in South Florida

We know that when a person is being accused of committing a criminal act, it is the state’s obligation to prove all the elements of the crime existed. The elements of the crime are stated in the Florida statutes of that specific offense. In the courts of Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, and South Florida in general, the state has the burden of proving that the defendant was guilty.
One of the elements of a crime is what it’s called mens rea. It refers to the guilty mind, or the intent the person had to commit the offense. This is when the defense of insanity comes in. In Florida, insanity is a defense that alleges the criminal, due to a mental illness or retardation, didn’t have the capacity of knowing the wrongfulness of his or her actions at that time.
It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney when dealing with an insanity defense in South Florida. If you think that you or someone you know is being charged with a crime and that at the time of that crime he or she may have been, according to Florida’s rule, “legally insane” you should call a South Florida criminal defense attorney now.

Posted On: September 5, 2012

An Eye For An Eye? Capital Punishment and Life Imprisonment in South Florida

There are cases that South Florida considers as “Capital felonies”. These cases are the ones punishable by life in prison or even death penalty. These cases mostly involve murders, capital drug trafficking, armed kidnapping and rape. The felony courts in Ft Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances when deciding whether a person must be sent to death sentence or sent to life in prison.

If you want to know what the different capital felonies in South Florida are and what could be the different mitigating factors to build a defense, you need to call a criminal attorney. In cases such as death sentences and life felonies, the choice of your attorney is crucial. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in South Florida.

Cities in South Florida such as Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach deal with a high number of felony cases and appeals. In Florida, cases in the state criminal court and also in the United States Supreme Court have been handled by criminal defense attorneys.
If someone you know is being accused of a crime listed, under the Florida rules, as a capital felony, you need to make a call now. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in South Florida.

Posted On: September 4, 2012

What is an “Accessory After The Fact” in the State of Florida?

In South Florida, not only you have to actually commit the crime in order to be accused and sent to prison. For example, you don’t need to be the one who actually shot an individual in order to be accused of a crime. You may have not even been at the time and place where the crime occurred, but you may also be responsible for aiding the perpetrator.
In Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami, and other cities in South Florida, after an individual commits a crime, you can be charged with being an accessory after the fact for helping him or her in any way. It can either be by hiding their gun, or by helping them to avoid getting arrested.
In the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, to be charged as an accessory after the fact, the state needs to prove that you knew the other person committed a felony, that you assisted him or her in any way, and that you are not related to them.
It is important that you contact a qualified attorney if you or someone you know is being accused of being an accessory after the fact. Call an experienced South Florida criminal defense attorney.