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What Happens After a DUI Stop in Palm Beach?

What Happens After a DUI Stop in Palm Beach?As a DUI defense lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL defending those arrested and accused of driving under the influence for over a decade, I am constantly reminded of the two most important pieces of evidence that law enforcement officers use against a driver accused of DUI. In a DUI case, the two most important pieces of evidence are: (i) the field sobriety test video and (ii) whether or not the driver provide a breath, blood or urine sample. Those two pieces of evidence, must be thoroughly examined and carefully reviewed by a trained eye and ear, who understands the rules, regulations, and laws regarding the admissibility of the tests and the significances of whether or not the test are inculpatory towards the suspected dui driver. The field sobriety test of a suspected DUI driver, in a DUI stop, are more than likely videotaped by the stopping officers dash or bumper […]
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Domestic Battery Arrests in Palm Beach County

Domestic Battery Arrests in Palm Beach CountyPalm Beach County, FL has seen a rise in Domestic Battery arrests over the past few months.  The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has a must arrest policy, when dealing with domestic battery calls. If you or someone in your home calls 911 and request a deputy sheriff because of a domestic situation, in Palm Beach County, you can bet someone is going to jail after law enforcement officers arrive at the location of the call. This policy of must arrest on domestic battery situations dates back to 1990’s or to the Lita McClinton Sullivan murder. Domestic battery in Florida is easily defined as: (1) actually and intentionally touching or striking another person against their will; (2) with both the alleged defendant and victim being from the same family or household.  The statute and case law defines family or household member to mean spouse, former spouse, persons related by blood […]
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Implications of the Murray v. State Ruling

Implications of the Murray v. State RulingThe 4th District Court of Appeals, which oversees all appeals in Broward, Palm Beach, Okeechobee, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties just ratified the worst type of police misconduct and exemplifies why a citizen should NEVER speak to Law Enforcement Officers. The 4th DCA in their written opinion of Ungray Murray v. State, actually held that: (i) if law enforcement officials purposefully make false statement in their sworn statement, contained within their affidavit in support of a search warrant, to establish probable cause, the search warrant must be voided, and the evidence seized as a result of the search must be excluded. But on the other hand, the false statement contained within the affidavit of search, made by law enforcement officers, will not invalidate the resulting search warrant if after the erroneous material is excised, there is still probable cause to issue the search warrant. The 4th DCA reasoned […]
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Custodial Interrogation in West Palm Beach and Your Rights

Custodial Interrogation in West Palm Beach and Your RightsAs a practicing criminal lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL I am continually asked the question by those accused of crimes “whether or not the statements and information that they provided to the police will be used against them?”  The answer that I give them depends on many factors, but the most important thing I ask is whether or not they requested an attorney before or at the time law enforcement officers stopped them and began asking them questions. Both the United States and Florida Constitutions protect criminal defendants from compelled self-incrimination or providing statements against themselves. See U.S. Const. Amend. V and Art. I  sec. 9, Fl Const. The United States Supreme Court has been steadfast in holding that law enforcement officers are required to inform suspects of their right to have counsel, a lawyer, present during custodial interrogations. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 at 444 (1966). But […]
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Palm Beach County’s DUI First Time Offenders Program

Palm Beach County’s DUI First Time Offenders ProgramNew Year’s Eve celebrations and News Year’s Eve parties led to drastic increases in arrest for DUI drivers in Boca-Raton and North Palm Beach, Florida. While Palm Beach County in general, saw a rise in DUI arrest over the New Year’s Holiday season, Boca-Raton and North Palm Beach law enforcement officers had the biggest spike in DUI arrest throughout Palm Beach County, according to the PBSO booking blotter. Florida leads the nation in DUI arrest with 61,852 as of last year’s statistics, which are the last recorded numbers available. (Statisicbrain.com). The counties of Palm Beach, Broward and Dade are leading the way in putting Florida on the top of the DUI map. During the holidays DUI arrest rise for two reasons: (i) more people drink and drive and (ii) local law enforcement agencies and PBSO are on heightened alert for DUI drivers. This holiday season, Boca Raton and North Palm […]
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Florida’s Laws on Using Electronic Communication to Threaten Bodily Injury or Death

Florida’s Laws on Using Electronic Communication to Threaten Bodily Injury or DeathIn Florida it is unlawful for a person to write another person through an electronic communication, like an e-mail, text message or Facebook post, a threat to kill or do bodily harm to them or their family.  Under Florida General Statute 836.10 titled “Written threats to kill or to do bodily injury” the law simply states: “Any person who writes or composes and also sends or procures the sending of any letter, inscribed communication, or electronic communication, whether such letter or communication be signed or anonymous, to any person, containing a threat to kill or to do bodily injury to the person to whom such letter or communication is sent, or a threat to kill or do bodily injury to any member of the family of the person to whom such letter or communication is sent commits a felony of the second degree.” A closer look at Florida’s electronic communication […]
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Drug Possession with Intent to Sell Versus Possession Charges

Drug Possession with Intent to Sell Versus Possession ChargesAn appeal from the Fourth District Court of Appeals, for Palm Beach County, Florida demonstrates why; the argument of “personal use of drugs” ought to be made and argued by criminal defense lawyers in Palm Beach County Courtrooms when their clients face serious drug crimes.  Whether the accused is charged with cocaine, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine or any other illegal drug listed under Fl. Stat. Sec. 893.13, the defense of ‘personal use” is available and worthy to be made during their jury trial. On Appeal, the defendant, Angelia Harris, argued she was denied due process in her conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park. The defendant argued the trial court prevented her from arguing, at her jury trial, in front of Lucy Chernow Brown, that the crack cocaine found on her person was for personal use. If this argument was allowed and successfully […]
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Recieving a Downward Departure for a Felony DUI in Florida

Recieving a Downward Departure for a Felony DUI in FloridaHenderson v. State, makes receiving a downward departure for felony DUI in Florida more difficult but not impossible. On Appeal, the Henderson court ruled in November 2014, that a DUI driver, who pleads guilty or is found guilty of a 4th DUI, cannot rely on a non-statutory mitigator for a downward departure from a state prison sentence. In 2012, Henderson entered an open plea to driving under the influence, her 4th DUI, resisting an officer with violence, and driving while her license was suspended or revoked. Originally, the trial court departed from her sentencing guidelines on the basis that she was: (i) in “need of rehabilitation for substance abuse”; and (ii) needed at home to be “financially, physically, mentally and emotionally supportive of her minor son,” who himself was at risk due to his mother’s addiction. On appeal, the same Appellate Court reversed and remanded for resentencing, finding that the […]
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Responding to a Reckless Driving Arrest in Palm Beach County

Responding to a Reckless Driving Arrest in Palm Beach CountyReckless driving arrests in Palm Beach County, FL are on the uptick. Recent data from the Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts shows a rise in law enforcement officers ticketing drivers throughout Palm Beach County, FL for driving reckless. Things you must know about reckless driving and why you need a lawyer. First, reckless driving is a criminal offense. If you are facing a reckless driving charge you must take it very seriously as the law simply reads: “Upon a first conviction, by imprisonment for a period of not more than 90 days.” Second, if the reckless driver causes “damage to the property or person of another” the driver in fact commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one (1) year in the county jail. Third, a driver’s participation in a highly dangerous drag race on the public streets of Palm Beach County constitutes reckless driving […]
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Destroying evidence like cellphone and computer photos is not a crime in Florida?

Destroying evidence like cellphone and computer photos is not a crime in Florida?A recent 4th District Court of Appeals decision has long reaching tentacles into what is considered and isn’t considered tampering with evidence under Florida Law section 918.13.  In Costanzo v. Florida, at 4 D13-3344, appellant Costanzo was a detective at the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Following a jury trial, he was convicted of evidence tampering under section 918.13, Florida Statutes (2013). On appeal, the 4th District Court of Appeals reversed the jury’s decision to convict the Broward County detective, and throw out his conviction. The facts leading to Detective Costanzo’s arrest and conviction stem from him deleting a video from his work cellular phone, which contained a suspect’s statements about an unrelated crime committed by two of Costanzo’s police buddies, Koepke and Dodge. After Detective Costanzo received the video, he texted the video to Koepke, showed the video to his supervisor, and used his work e-mail account to send the video […]
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