Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
American Bar Association Badge
United States District Court - Southern District of Florida - Badge
Published on:

Felony driving while license suspended is a criminal charge that is taken seriously by prosecutors in Broward County. A person charged with driving with a suspended license may benefit greatly by hiring a skillful Broward County criminal defense attorney. In a recent Florida appellate decision, the court considered a conviction for felony driving while license suspended. The case arose when the defendant was charged with a violation of Florida Statute section 322.34(5). Under this law, habitual traffic offenders who drive with a license revoked under section 322.264 face a third-degree felony penalty.

The defendant filed a sworn motion to dismiss. He argued he hadn’t possessed a Florida driver’s license and so he couldn’t be convicted under section 322.34(5). The lower court granted the defendant’s motion and reduced the charge to driving without a valid driver’s license. The government appealed.

The Third District affirmed the lower court’s order on the grounds that possessing a driver’s license is a prerequisite for a section 322.23(5) offense. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the Third District. It explained that under Florida Statute section 322.34(5) anybody whose driver’s license was revoked due to her being a habitual offender under section 322.264 and who drives a motor vehicle upon roads of Florida while the license is revoked is guilty of a third-degree felony. Habitual traffic offenders are people who have accumulated several criminal convictions for specified offenses.

Continue reading

Published on:

If you’re arrested, you’re supposed to be taken before a judicial officer within 24 hours of arrest for a first appearance. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.131(b) requires the court at a first appearance to decide pretrial release conditions for eligible defendants, except where the State has moved for pretrial detention.

In a recent Broward County criminal appeal involving consolidated proceedings, the petitioners argued that pretrial detention without bond was not appropriate. The defendants were charged with felonies punishable by life. At their first appearance, the court found there was probable cause to believe they’d committed the crimes with which they were charged. It refused to set bond without first deciding whether a probable cause affidavit established proof of guilt was clear or the presumption was great. The petitioners argued the refusal to set bond or make requisite findings violated Florida Constitution Article I, section 14.

In order to hold a defendant without bond before an Arthur hearing, a first appearance judge needs to find that the probable cause affidavit shows proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great. The appellate court explained that at a first appearance, the court needed to make a finding about whether the probable cause affidavit or something else shown to the court established proof of guilt was clear or the presumption great as grounds to deny pretrial release without bond. When this very tough standard is met, and the court decides not to set bond, the defendant can later ask that the bond be set aside and ask for a full Arthur hearing. At a full Arthur hearing, a defendant can put forward evidence and ask the court to use its discretion to set bond.

Continue reading

Published on:

Broward County credit card fraud claims are taken seriously. Credit card fraud can be charged under federal or state laws. When charged as a state crime, it’s known as fraudulent use of a credit card. In a Florida appellate case, the defendant was convicted of multiple charges including fraudulent use of a credit card that violated Florida Statutes section 817.61.

On appeal, he argued only the lower court made a mistake in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal with regard to fraudulent use of a credit card. He claimed that in using the stolen credit card, he didn’t represent he was actually authorized to use it.

The case arose when the victim whose card was stolen was on retreat at a monastery when she got an alert her debit card had been used to charge something. The victim testified she didn’t give anybody permission to use the card. She knew she hadn’t made any charges and found her whole purse was missing. A monastery employee was told about the theft and said there’d been someone on the premises acting suspiciously and wearing a construction vest. The person tried to hide when he saw the employee.

Continue reading

Posted in:
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

The improper use of weapons or firearms in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County can result in tragic events. If you are facing firearms charges, contact a skilled Broward County gun crime attorney today. A recent appellate decision arose two men argued about whether a teen should be able to skateboard on a basketball court. A father and his child were playing basketball at the park. A teen was skateboarding. When the teen asked, the father told him he didn’t have a problem with his skateboarding.

A man who lived across the street yelled at the teen and told him he wasn’t allowed to skateboard. The father responded to the man across the street asking where the signs prohibiting skateboarding were since he’d just said it was fine to skateboard. The man went to his garage and then came out to the basketball court. The men argued. Then a couple at the park stopped playing to watch the argument. The man lifted up his shirt showing he had a gun and swore at the man. He started to walk away when the father grabbed him and tried to continue arguing. They wrestled. The man drew his pistol and shot when the father tried to grab it. The man died from the gunshot wound to the chest.

The man was charged with manslaughter, as well as improper exhibition of a firearm under section 790.10 and open display of a firearm under section 790.053. The case went to a jury. Both sides agreed to use standard jury instructions related to the defendant’s defense of justifiable use of deadly force. The instruction was that it would be a defense to the offense with which the defendant was charged if the death resulted from his justifiable use of deadly force, and that using deadly force would be justifiable only where a defendant reasonably believes the force is needed to stop imminent death or great bodily harm to himself while resisting someone else’s effort to murder him or an attempt to perpetrate aggravated battery on someone 65-years-old or older or aggravated battery on that person.

Continue reading

Published on:

Burglary is a charge taken seriously by Broward County prosecutors. There are different degrees of burglary. Recently, a plaintiff appealed his judgment and sentence. He appealed the judge’s denial of his motion to withdraw his nolo contendere plea. He claimed his plea was the result of bad advice or ineffective assistance of counsel, and should be treated as involuntary.

The case arose when the defendant was charged with burglary of a dwelling with a battery after reportedly trying to visit the mother of their son in order to convince her he should be able to visit the son. Burglary of a dwelling with a battery is a first degree felony for which you can face life imprisonment. The defendant was also charged with the first degree misdemeanor of domestic violence battery.

The victim claimed that the defendant came to her home, tried to force his way inside, ripped her clothes, grabbed her by the hair and tried to pull her out of the home. The surveillance footage also showed this. A no contact order was already in place from prior domestic violence episodes.

Continue reading

Published on:

If you are subject to an injunction related to domestic violence in Broward County, it’s important to follow the rules established by the injunction. Typically, an injunction for domestic violence includes restraints on the defendant’s communications with the victim. A domestic violence injunction may require you not to communicate at all with the victim, and to stay a certain distance away from her person, her home, her car, and her workplace. Failure to follow the mandate of the injunction can result in greater charges. In a recent Florida appellate decision related to aggravated stalking, the court considered whether text messages to the victim could be impeachment evidence. There had been texts between the defendant and his wife, who was the victim of his stalking before a domestic violence injunction had been put in place.

When trial started the defendant and the government talked about whether the texts should be admitted. The lower court found that texts couldn’t be admitted because the government had failed to file a timely notice to admit the texts as collateral crime evidence, but it found that they could be used as impeachment evidence by the defense or presented by the government during its rebuttal to the defense.

At trial, the government provided testimony that after separating from her spouse and getting an injunction against him for protection against domestic violence, the defendant had threatened his wife and her family with great bodily harm or death. He’d come to the victim’s workplace without invitation or notice. He’d called the victim’s office more than 100 times in an afternoon. He’d attacked the victim in a pharmacy parking lot.

Published on:

A DUI with bodily injury may be harshly punished in Broward County. In a recent appellate decision, the defendant had rear-ended a car while she was under the influence of unlawful substances. This caused serious bodily injuries to two passengers. With regard to each passenger the defendant was convicted of DUI with serious bodily injury as well as driving on a suspended license with serious bodily injury.

The defendant pled no contest to third degree felony charges and a second-degree misdemeanor charge for not carrying appropriate liability insurance. Five-year consecutive sentences were put in place for the felony counts.

Among other arguments, she argued that her convictions violated the constitution’s rule against double jeopardy. The appellate court explained the case was controlled by an earlier case involving a double jeopardy challenge to dual convictions for DUI with serious bodily injury and driving without a valid license for serious bodily injury, with both convictions arising from the same injury. In that earlier case, the defendant had argued the convictions shouldn’t be allowed because they penalized him twice for causing injuries to one victim with one act. For example, dual convictions for a single death that occurs because of a DUI are a double jeopardy violation. In this case, the defendant’s dual DUI convictions were similar to those in that case because put in place two punishments for a single injury to a single victim by one act of driving under the influence.

Continue reading

Published on:

Most people associate drug trafficking in Broward County with drug lords and kingpins. However, you can be charged with trafficking prescription drugs in Florida even if you do not see yourself this way, based simply on the quantity of drugs with which you were caught. In a recent case, the defendant and five others were charged with multiple crimes including trafficking in contraband drugs, conspiracy to traffic in contraband prescription drugs, organized scheme to defraud, and five counts of money laundering.

The defendant pled guilty to eight counts. In a plea colloquy, the court inquired about whether the defendant was under the influence or prescription medications, drugs, or alcohol. The defendant answered that he was and explained, upon inquiry from the court, that he took prescription drugs for his mental health for brain contusions after being in a coma. He explained that he’d been in an accident and had a lot of problems. The judge explained it was trying to determine whether he could make an intelligent and knowing waiver of rights and couldn’t make this finding because he couldn’t understand the answers. The defendant stated that his mental health symptoms weren’t affecting him at the time of the plea and that his medication was controlling those symptoms. However, he also noted he had multiple seizures every day, several times a day.

The defense attorney said he didn’t have issues with competency. The court inquired further and explained the rest of the standard plea colloquy. The defendant said he understood the plea and its consequences. The court accepted the guilty pleas as voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently entered.

Continue reading

Published on:

Broward County assault cases often come down to testimony. Sometimes there are videotape or audio recordings of what happened, but in other cases, eyewitness testimony is crucial to the case. There are also cases in which another witness’s testimony plays a crucial role; hearsay evidence is not admissible, however, unless an exception applies. In a recent appellate decision, the court considered a conviction for aggravated assault with a firearm. The case arose when the victim was driving home from work. The defendant pulled up behind him. The victim was driving over the speed limit, but braked suddenly. The defendant veered into a different lane. The defendant pulled his car alongside the victim’s car; the victim was a convicted felon. Both drivers had their windows down.

The defendant placed a gun on his car’s windowsill and spoke rudely to the victim. The victim said he had no problem, and the defendant drove on ahead. When traffic stopped, the defendant opened his car door and looked back at the victim. The victim drove in reverse, and the defendant sped off. The victim reported the license plate number to a 911 operator.

The police investigated. The victim described the gun as a silver automatic firearm. The defendant was arrested three weeks later and a gun that had a silver portion was retrieved from his car.

Posted in:
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

Some people in Broward County do not realize that an injunction for domestic violence is a serious order. Violating an injunction can result in penalties. Even a temporary domestic violence injunction may be extended. However, certain rules need to be followed to get a temporary injunction extended. In a recent Florida domestic violence decision, a husband appealed the extension of his wife’s temporary injunction against domestic violence against him.

The appellate court explained that under section 741.30(6)(a), an initial injunction for protection against domestic violence can be obtained if someone is the victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to think she’s in immediate danger of being victimized by domestic violence. The injunction is supposed to last until it’s modified or dissolved. Either the person being restrained or the petitioner who obtained the injunction can make a motion to modify or dissolve the injunction and its terms at any time.

There are no specific allegations that must be made to get an injunction dissolved or modified. The relief can include not only dissolution or modification but also other criminal or civil remedies. It is also possible to extend an ex parte injunction by showing there is good cause to do so.

Contact Information