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Tag Archives: criminal process

Criminal Law and Arrests Involving Non-Citizens

Criminal Law and Arrests Involving Non-Citizens

The Federal Government’s “get tough” policies on immigration-related issues is creating havoc for hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of non-citizens wanting to remain in the United States. An ever increasing number of people in South Florida are being deported, sometimes years after being found guilty of the types of criminal offenses which, prior to the 1996 enactment of two immigration reform laws, were frequently overlooked by U.S. immigration officials. Aliens granted temporary stays for academic studies or temporary work and legal permanent residents (LPR’s) face devastating consequences when arrested for the types of criminal offenses which have significantly less life-disrupting impact on U.S. Citizens. Convictions for a number of criminal offenses, including but not limited to those listed below, jeopardize one’s ability to remain in the United States: Certain… […]

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Federal Conviction, Criminal Records and Expungement

Federal Conviction, Criminal Records and Expungement

Depending on a state, a job applicant may not have to reveal any or some types of potentially damaging information, such as arrests not resulting in convictions or convictions for minor matters. Some states have procedures to judicially “erase” a criminal record. A criminal defense attorney can help determine whether you may be eligible to get a conviction sealed, expunged or otherwise legally minimized. Criminal records are technically public records, which means that anyone can access them. Public records are those records which are available for public inspection. These records are often offered for free to the public for review at the location where they are stored. In other cases, they may be available for a small fee. Public records are often named according to where they are kept, or… […]

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Refusing A Breathalyzer Test During DUI Stop

Refusing A Breathalyzer Test During DUI Stop

In every state, refusing to take a breathalyzer is allowed, but it’s also grounds for punishment. That’s because of “implied consent” laws (source). All states have adopted this law in some form and with varying penalties. In essence, the law forces drivers to consent to all field sobriety and chemical tests as a condition to being given a driver’s license. There’s no way to get around it. If you want to be a licensed driver, you have to consent. The penalties for refusing differ across the country. Typically though, drivers can be fined around $500 and/or even jailed. In most states, refusal results in an automatic license suspension for generally about six months. But the fun doesn’t end there. As with most crimes, the punishment tends to create a ripple… […]

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What is Illegal Search and Seizure?

What is Illegal Search and Seizure?

The topic of illegal search and seizure seems to be creating a lot of buzz lately as the exact law and definition of what makes a search and seizure illegal is in flux. The law is changing as recent court decisions are having an impact on police conduct. Law enforcement officers have a new code of conduct when it comes to searching you or your property. The Fourth Amendment usually limits the amount of authority police have over searching you or your property but several precedents have been set by court decisions that have greatly altered the dynamics of the law. Search and Seizure The Fourth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from what is called “unreasonable search and seizure” by government or otherwise authoritative figures. The Amendment does… […]

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Criminal Intent, Malice and Motives

Criminal Intent, Malice and Motives

Generally, two elements are required in order to find a person guilty of a crime: an overt criminal act and criminal intent. The requirement of an Overt Act  is fulfilled when the defendant purposely, knowingly, or recklessly does something prohibited by law. Criminal Intent Criminal intent must be formed before the act, and it must unite with the act. It need not exist for any given length of time before the act; the intent and the act can be as instantaneous as simultaneous or successive thoughts. A jury may be permitted to infer criminal intent from facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that it existed. For example, the intent to commit Burglary may be inferred from the accused’s possession of tools for picking locks. Criminal intent may… […]

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Misdemeanor Crimes, Felony Crimes and Their Differences

Misdemeanor Crimes, Felony Crimes and Their Differences

Florida laws are clear cut and the penalties for breaking the law are strict. A misdemeanor is any “lesser” criminal act in some common law legal systems. Misdemeanors are generally punished less severely than felonies, but theoretically more so than administrative infractions (also known as minor, petty or summary offenses) and regulatory offenses. Many misdemeanors are punished with monetary fines. Misdemeanors can include: Petty theft Battery Marijuana possession Domestic violence Disorderly conduct Driving on a suspended license Driving under the influence Traffic offenses Shoplifting Vandalism Unlike aggravated assault or aggravated battery, which are considered felonies, simple assault and battery and those crimes that fall under Florida domestic violence laws are considered misdemeanors in Florida. Along with numerous other misdemeanor offenses, these crimes carry penalties of up to one year in… […]

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Your Legal Rights: Remain Silent and Have An Attorney Present

Your Legal Rights: Remain Silent and Have An Attorney Present

Investigatory and Accusatory Police Procedure The U.S. Constitution, the Federal Rules and the federal court system’s interpretations of both provide guidance and procedural canons that law enforcement must follow. Failure to follow such procedure may result in the suppression of evidence or the release of an arrested suspect. Substantive due process requires police to make criminal defendants aware of their rights prior to the defendant making any statements if the government intends to use those statements as evidence against the defendant. For example, law enforcement must ensure that the defendant understands the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present, as the Fifth and Sixth Amendments respectively provide. The defendant must knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive those rights in order for the government to use any… […]

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Criminal Law Cases, Legal Errors and Appeals

Criminal Law Cases, Legal Errors and Appeals

An appeal of a lower court decision is a legal process by which a higher court is asked to review the trial court’s record and rule on the legal issues raised by the appellant (a party to a case–in a criminal case, it is usually the defendant). The Circuit Criminal Department handles all appeals for convictions and court rulings from the Circuit Criminal and County Criminal Courts for Palm Beach County’s 15th Judicial Circuit. All correspondence regarding a County or Circuit Criminal appeal can be sent to:: Clerk & Comptroller Circuit Criminal Department P.O. Box 2906 West Palm Beach, FL 33402-2906 Attention: Appeals Clerk A Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date of the conviction or the court ruling that is being appealed. Grounds for… […]

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Facing a Criminal Charge

Facing a Criminal Charge

A criminal charge is a formal accusation made by a governmental authority asserting that somebody has committed a crime. A charging document, which contains one or more criminal charges or counts, can take several forms, including: complaint information indictment The charging document is what generally starts a criminal case in court, but the procedure by which somebody is charged with a crime, and what happens when somebody has been charged, varies from country to country. Any person who is facing a criminal charge, no matter how minor, will benefit from consulting a competent criminal defense lawyer. Even if the lawyer is not retained to provide representation in court, a consultation will help a criminal defendant understand the nature of the charges filed, available defenses, what plea bargains are likely to… […]

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What Happens After Arrest

There is a difference between being arrested and being detained. “Arrested” means you have been taken into custody and can’t leave. For example, if you’ve been handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser, you’ve probably been arrested, even though the officer didn’t say, “You’re under arrest.” This is because you can’t leave the car without getting into more trouble. You can be “detained” for a short period of time if a police officer believes you were involved in a crime or are about to commit a crime. Few people understand the criminal justice process. The following provides an overview of what you can expect if you are arrested in Florida. Posting Bond In most cases, you are entitled to a reasonable bond set by the court. Generally,… […]

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