Category Archives: Arrests

The Three Degrees of Burglary in Florida

The Three Degrees of Burglary in Florida

Burglary is a crime that is defined as entering or occupying another person’s property with the intent to commit an illegal activity. In order for a charge of burglary to be proven, the prosecutor assigned to the case under Florida law must be able to show that the subject entered the property with the intent to commit a crime, such as theft. The prosecutor will also be required to show that the subject entered the property without the permission of the property owner or manager.

In an alternative situation, the prosecutor might also need to show that a person’s initial invitation to a property expired, yet the subject continued to remain at the property in an unwelcome manner. Let’s take a look at the three degrees of burglary in Florida in today’s post from the dedicated team at the office of Michael A. Gottlieb.

Burglary is a Felony in Florida

All burglary charges in Florida are recorded as felonies. This means that you will be facing the most serious of penalties if convicted of first, second, or third-degree burglary in the Sunshine State.

Third Degree Felony Burglary

Third-degree felony burglary occurs in Florida when a subject enters a property uninvited and the property is unoccupied at the time. If you are charged and subsequently convicted of third-degree felony burglary you can face up to five years in state prison and a fine of no more than $5,000.

Second Degree Felony Burglary

Second-degree felony burglary in Florida happens when a subject enters a property without being invited and it is occupied at the time. The subject does not harm anyone during the commission of the burglary and is unarmed. Being convicted of second-degree felony burglary comes with a maximum sentence in prison of 15 years and a fine of no more than $10,000.

First Degree Felony Burglary

A subject is charged with first-degree felony burglary in Florida when he or she enters a property without being invited, there is someone else present, someone is harmed, the subject is armed, or there is more than $1,000 in damage done or more than $1,000 in items are removed from the property. This charge, if convicted, comes with a prison sentence of no more than life in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.

Schedule a Consultation with a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Were you arrested in Florida and charged with burglary? This is a serious crime that can land you in prison for life and cost you thousands of dollars in fines. It’s important for you to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about the charges in Broward County. Call the office of Michael A. Gottlieb at 954-641-8129 today to schedule a consultation about your case. When you work with an experienced criminal defense attorney you won’t have to worry about missing filing deadlines, where to look for evidence to support your defense, and mounting a defense on your own.

Internet Crimes and Subsequent Penalties

internet crimes

Internet crimes continues to grow and expand the more the internet is used by people all over the world. Most of these crimes are not new, but newer ones are being recognized all the time by law enforcement agencies throughout Florida and the rest of the country. Internet crimes are also referred to as cyber crimes and they often involve a fraudulent activity or some other illegal activity that takes place over the Internet. Today, we will take a brief look at the various crimes that occur using the internet and the penalties that come with them.

Common Internet Crimes

The most common types of internet crimes are:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Hacking
  • Gambling
  • Phishing scams
  • Child pornography
  • Identity theft
  • Theft of trade secrets or other data

This is just a sampling of the various internet crimes our firm has experience with when it comes to defending clients facing cybercrime charges.

internet crimes

Penalties for Internet Crimes in Florida

Under Florida law, the following penalties can be assessed if you are convicted of an internet crime:

  • Crimes involving intellectual property: third-degree felony. second-degree felony if a plan is created to defraud or acquire property.
  • Crimes involving other internet users: third-degree felony. second-degree felony if the defendant causes damage to a computer or other electronic equipment that caused a loss of at least $5,000. first-degree felony if the defendant endangered human life or interrupted equipment that is used to medically treat others.

Possible Defenses for Internet Crime Charges

If you have been charged with an internet crime in Florida you need to begin building a defense to those charges immediately. Some of the possible defenses to these charges you can use include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • You lacked the willful knowledge of participation in the crime
  • You were given permission by the computer’s owner or cyber network
  • You committed the crime under duress or were forced to do it
  • You can show a lack of intent to commit the crime
  • You are able to provide evidence that the crime was an honest mistake made when using the technology involved

The best possible defense to a charge of any internet crime is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who has represented clients facing cybercrime charges in the past. Your rights and freedom are at stake when facing a criminal charge and it’s smart to consult with an attorney before making any statement to law enforcement.

Contact an Attorney Today

Were you charged with cybercrime in Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in Broward County? It’s time to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has represented clients facing cybercrime charges. Call the office of Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. at 954-462-1005 today to schedule a consultation about your case. You can also complete the contact form found on the website and someone will respond to you in a prompt manner. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can begin building a defense to the charges levied against you.

What Happens If I’m Arrested While Carrying A Gun?

arrested and have a gun

Breaking the law can result in harsh punishments as is, but you will find across the land that the severity of the penalties can be intensified if you are found to be carrying a firearm at the same time. This is true even in the state of Florida, which has many laws protecting the rights of legal gun owners. Anyone caught committing a felony with a gun in their possession will not receive friendly treatment. Here is what happens if you are arrested and have a gun on your person.

The Charges

As an answer to the question of what happens if someone in Florida is found to have a gun on them while they are under arrest, Florida Statute 790.07 spells it out quite clearly. It states, “Whoever, while committing or attempting to commit any felony, displays, uses, threatens or attempts to use any firearm or carries a concealed firearm is guilty of a felony of the second degree …”

This means that if the arrested person did not use the weapon at all, they can still be charged with a felony. If the person did not even pull out the weapon or indicate in any way that they had one, this would still be the case. The case can be made, through this law, that just having the firearm at all is enough of a signal that this person’s intentions were potentially lethal, even if they did not do anything with it.

It should be noted that the possession of a gun while committing a felony is itself a felony, separate from the one they were committing. This means that anyone who does this will be charged with at least two felonies.

The Penalties

In addition to Statute 790.07, the most pertinent law for the consequences of this action is Statute 775.087, also known as the “10-20-Life” Law. It imposes mandatory minimum sentences for having a weapon while committing a felony-level offense, “regardless of whether the use of a weapon is an element of the felony.”

In accordance with Statute 775.087, if someone is convicted of committing a felony while having a gun in their possession, the court must sentence them to 10 years in prison (15 years if the weapon is a semiautomatic or a machine gun). This goes up to 20 years if the accused fired the gun, and increases to between 25 years and a life sentence if they killed or injured someone by firing the gun.

However, this additional charge applies only to specific felony convictions. A partial list includes murder; sexual battery; aggravated abuse of a child, elderly person, or disabled adult; robbery and burglary; arson; and trafficking in or capital importation of certain controlled substances such as cannabis, cocaine, and amphetamines. A few felonies only require courts to sentence the accused to a minimum of 3 years in prison – specifically, aggravated assault, burglary of a conveyance, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

That last details brings us to one more consequence of doing this: anyone convicted of a felony is not legally allowed to possess a firearm in the state of Florida, whether they committed it in state or elsewhere in the country. Florida law believes that if you abuse your right to own a gun and so much as have one on your person while committing a crime, you do not deserve that right at all.

 

Contact an Experienced Criminal Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one are in need of legal assistance regarding Florida gun crime laws, you will want to reach someone who is knowledgeable and experienced. The attorneys at Broward Criminal Law are both, and willing to represent you. For a free consultation without obligations, call today at (954) 462-1005.

What Qualifies as Evidence Tampering?

what qualifies as evidence tampering

Evidence tampering is the act of altering, concealing, or destroying anything related to a legal investigation. This might lead to delay or difficulty in proceedings. People may become tempted to tamper with evidence in order to avoid incrimination or sentencing. However, this may instead lead to greater troubles, including increased jail time and fines.

What is Evidence Tampering?

Florida Statute 918.13 deals with tampering with evidence. This law defines evidence tampering as when a person alters, destroys, or conceals a record or physical evidence. Tampering is done with the intent of discrediting the use of that evidence, while being aware of its relevance to an ongoing or future investigation or criminal proceeding.

Two elements must be established beyond any reasonable doubt in order for the state of Florida to prove evidence tampering. The first is that the defendant had knowledge that a criminal proceeding or investigation is underway and is overseen by a duly constituted prosecuting authority.

The second is if the defendant knowingly tampered with evidence to purposely impair its use in an investigation. The same goes for evidence presented to the court by the defendant when the defendant knows that it has been falsified.

What Qualifies as Evidence Tampering?

There are several actions that may qualify as evidence tampering. These include, but are not limited to:

  •     Throwing away or swallowing of evidence upon being chased or confronted by law enforcement
  •     Wiping fingerprints from the scene of a crime
  •     Destroying or hiding items related to a crime with intent to impair the integrity or availability of the object
  •     Deleting emails and other electronic transactions that may prove incriminating
  •     Withholding testimony, records, documents, or other items from an investigation
  •     Evading legal summoning as an official witness, as well as failing to produce records, documents, or other objects in an investigation
  •     Being absent from a proceeding in which you have been legally summoned
  •     Hindering, delaying, or preventing of communications and relaying of information to law enforcement, relating to the violation of an offense or conditions of probation or parole
  •     Untruthful testifying in an official investigation or proceeding

The Consequences of Evidence Tampering

In the state of Florida, evidence tampering is considered a criminal offense. If committed, you will then be charged with a crime classified as a third-degree felony.

Anyone found guilty of evidence tampering may face up to 5 years in prison. In addition, there is a fine that may reach the amount of $5,000. Being convicted of evidence tampering can mean jail time, along with the creation of a criminal record.

Evidence tampering may seem like a move to protect yourself, but can result in very serious offenses. For all questions and inquiries about evidence tampering, contact Michael Gottlieb today. We offer unparalleled counsel when it comes to criminal law anywhere in the Sunshine State!

What are the Cops Allowed to Search in Florida?

What are the Cops Allowed to Search in Florida-

As an American citizen, you must know your rights when it comes to search and seizure. To search you or your property, generally, the police must have a warrant with them. However, warrants are not necessarily needed during traffic stops. This exception applies to your car and motor homes.

During this kind of situation, a probable cause is enough reason for a police officer to search you and/or your vehicle.

What is a Probable Cause?

Any real circumstance that the police officer had observed to make him or her believe that a criminal activity is happening or has happened is probable cause that allow them to search you in Florida. An example of a probable cause is when an officer sees or smells contraband. Hearing a confession of guilt for a crime is also a probable cause.

With probable cause, a police officer who stopped you can actually search you and your car. However, remember that they can only search parts of your car that can logically hide the suspected contraband.

For example, if the police officer has probable cause to believe that you have cocaine in your car, they can go ahead and search all parts of your vehicle. This is because the said contraband can be hidden in any part of the car, including a purse.

It is not the same if, for example, the police officer believes that you are carrying a rifle in your car. The officer is not allowed to search for contraband inside a purse as the latter would be too small to hide the rifle.

Know Your Rights on Consenting to Search

You must always remember that it is your right to not give the officer a consent to search your vehicle. As he is the only one who can do this, the driver of the car in question can refuse to let the officer search the vehicle.

Do not panic if an officer stops you on the road and asks, “Do you mind if we search your car?” If the officer asks for your consent, determine first if there is a probable cause for the search. Remember that a police officer has no right to search your vehicle without probable cause. If there is none, under Florida Law and the Federal and Florida Constitutions, the police officer must let you drive on.

Things to Remember When Being Searched

  • Stay Calm

Pull over immediately when the police flag you down. Once you have parked your car on the side of the road, keep your hands on the wheel where the officer can see them. Unless they request to see your paperwork, do not reach for anything, anywhere.

  • Always be courteous.

Like any other person, police officers should be treated with kindness and respect. Greet them with “Good day, Officer,” when pulled over.

Never talk back to an officer. Do not raise your voice or use profanity when talking to them. Showing any kind of hostility to an officer is dangerous and can lead to unnecessary trouble.

  • Know your rights.

Remember that you always have the right to say no to a police officer who is asking for consent to search your car. Say no respectfully, but firmly. The 4th Amendment gives you the right to refuse search consents. Saying no to a search request is not admitting you are guilty of any crime.

  • Call out witnesses nearby.

If you think you are being harassed or a police officer is abusing their power on you, having witnesses and evidence will help you in court in case a criminal charge is filed against you.

  • Ask if you are free to go.

Do not wait for the officer to tell you that you can go. If you think everything has been cleared, ask the officer politely if you are free to go. If the officer’s answer is vague, ask the question persistently. If you are not free to go, and are being detained, remain silent and ask to see your lawyer.

If you believe you are being searched without probable cause and your right to the 4th Amendment is being compromised, call an attorney as soon as possible. Seek for legal advice from trusted and experienced attorney in your area. Michael Gottlieb can be your criminal defense lawyer in Broward.

What Tourists Who Have Been Arrested Should Know

What tourists who have been arrested should know

In 2016, 13.4 million tourists visited Broward County. It is easy to see why we have so many visitors. Our white sandy beaches provide travelers with a place to relax in the sun, and Port Everglades is a natural starting spot for thousands of happy voyages on cruises.

People have fun in Fort Lauderdale. Unfortunately, some people have too much fun. There were 1,720 arrests for DUI in Broward County in 2016. There is a great temptation to go outside of your usual bounds while you are on vacation. We recommend that you obey the law at all times. However, if you flout regulation, as a local criminal defense attorney, here is what you should know:

  1. There May Be Consequences for You in Your Home State

Many people have the misconception that committing a crime in another state will not bring consequences in their home state. This is entirely false. Florida is a signatory of the Driver’s License Compact. This agreement is used to transfer traffic data between states, in order to ensure the safety of all drivers.

This means that if you commit an infraction with a license suspension as punishment, you may have your license suspended in your home state. There are certain qualifiers that come with the Driver’s License Compact, but the exercise of caution is warranted here.

  1. Florida Might Not Have the Same Drug Laws as Your State

Marijuana’s status in the state of Florida is still the subject of a considerable amount of debate. Currently, you may smoke pot if you have a prescription for it. Florida voters decided to curtail some of the regulation on recreational marijuana, but the Florida Legislature is still wrangling with it.

If you are coming from out of state, it may be a good idea to leave certain drugs at home. Many young people are busted year in and year out on Spring Break because they do not know the law. It may be wise to employ some prudence here.

  1. You May Not Need to Fly Between Florida and Your Home State

People come to Florida from all over the country, if not the world. Getting to and from the Sunshine State is awfully pricey, especially if you have to do it repeatedly. Those who are charged with misdemeanors, such as DUI, marijuana possession, or battery, are sometimes issued what is known as a Promise to Appear.

This Promise to Appear, otherwise known as a PTA, allows you to waive your presence in writing. This means that a lawyer is permitted to represent you in court. In addition, this PTA grants your attorney the right to accept a plea bargain on your behalf or fight your case for you. For certain steps in the legal process, you may not have to physically be there.

You will have to be present for your arraignment. This is usually done within ten days of your contact with police. The time between your arrest and your arraignment is limited, and in this time, it is vital that you contact an attorney.

If you have any questions about the law, Michael Gottlieb is here to help. When you need a Broward criminal lawyer, call us at (954) 462-1005 today.

Shoplifting, Robbery, Burglary, and Mugging Charges: What is the difference?

Criminal law is applied to conduct that is seen as putting the property, safety, and welfare of others at risk. Examples of crimes that fall under criminal law are shoplifting, robbery, burglary, and mugging. These four may seem very similar in that they are all related to the taking of another person’s property. However, these have distinct definitions that set them apart from one another.

Below, we give you a brief explanation of each.

Shoplifting

Shoplifting is the possession or concealment of goods that are being sold in a business establishment without the intention of purchasing said goods. Some supporting evidence includes demeanor while in the store and insufficient funds. It may also be a crime when one keeps the goods out of the store owner’s sight. These three may establish intent for a person being accused of shoplifting.

Shoplifting is differentiated from larceny and other acts of theft. The crime of shoplifting involves the taking of property that is particularly from a place of business. Note, however, that if a store wrongfully accuses anyone of shoplifting, they will in turn face their own charges.

Robbery

Robbery is the theft of personal property from an individual, with the perpetrator having the intention of taking away possession from its rightful owner. There must be a lack of consent, an intention to steal, and direct removal from the individual’s person or immediate presence.

Robbery also involves a certain degree of violence or intimidation. It is set apart from larceny, which is generally considered to be nonviolent theft, making the penalty for robbery more severe in comparison. The property in issue must be under the victim’s control such that had there not been violence or intimidation, the theft could have been prevented. The force used must be enough for the property to transfer possession to the offender.

Apart from direct violence, the offender may also induce fear, threaten, intimidate, or use demonstrations of force so as to prevent the victim from resisting the theft. Moreover, so long as the robber was in possession of the property, regardless if it was abandoned, it is still considered a robbery.

Burglary

Burglary pertains to criminal trespassing or unauthorized entry into another individual’s private property. Initially, burglary requires entrance into a place of habitation but has since been updated to any enclosed structure.

While inside the premises, there must be intent to steal for the crime to be considered a burglary. This intention, regardless if the taking of property was successful or not, is what makes a simple trespassing case into burglary.

It is also still considered burglary even if the breaking and entering occurred without sneaking in or using force. Misrepresenting your identity or going through an unattended entrance satisfies the element of trespassing.

Mugging

Mugging is robbing by force or threat. This involves being physically attacked, being threatened enough for the victim to be rendered unable to retaliate. It is very similar to the lawful definition of a robbery such that there must an unauthorized intention to take possession of the victim’s property, and there is a use of force and intimidation. What makes a mugging distinct from a robbery is that this takes places in a public place and is usually out in the street.

Have you or someone you know been accused of any of the above crimes? Broward Criminal Lawyer is here to help ensure you are represented. Book an appointment today and let us discuss the facts of your case. We offer free consultations.

4 Common Mistakes After an Arrest

common mistakes to avoid after an arres

In 2015, law enforcement officers made 10,797,088 arrests. This number is absolutely staggering. Many of these did not even commit a crime. Even the innocent need to know what to do after they have arrested. The cops try and do their best, and in some cases, they do not know the whole story. They will try to get something out of you, and that something may not always be in your favor.

As part of our commitment to you, we have prepared a list of mistakes people make after they have been arrested.

  1. Not Getting a Lawyer

This is the biggest one. Cops are given tremendous berth when they question suspects. They are not allowed to torture, drug, or threaten a suspect. Police are permitted to do everything else. That means when you are under interrogation, they can mislead you, exaggerate to you, and directly lie to you. These are considered non-coercive. The police almost always say it will be better if you just come clean. This is rarely the case.

A lawyer knows these tricks, and knows how to fight against them. Quite a few people think they can explain their actions, justify their actions, or otherwise cooperate with the police in a way that helps them. Many facts that you may not find important have the potential to be incredibly harmful to you and your case. An experienced lawyer will ensure that you do not sink your own case.

It is unwise for people to defend themselves during a trial. Very few people know what evidence would be good for proving their case, let alone how to admit items into evidence. There are many procedural rules that must be followed strictly. Attorneys know these like the backs of their hands, and can avoid the smaller mistakes which can culminate into a guilty verdict.

  1. Agreeing to a Warrantless Search

Even if you have been arrested, you still have rights. The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights gives you some protection, but there are a few searches the police can perform. For example, police can perform a protective sweep, if they think their lives are in danger. They may also search to stop the destruction of evidence.

There must be a spatial relationship between the place of arrest and the search. If you got arrested in a library, they cannot search your home without a warrant. Generally, it is not a good idea to let the police search wherever they want. When you do not want police to search something, make sure you let them know.

  1. Talking with Friends and Family Too Much

Your family members can be subpoenaed. Once they have been subpoenaed, they cannot lie to police. The best way to limit their exposure to the arduous process of dealing with the police is to tell them only limited info. You should tell them what you can, but ensure that you do not say too much. Often, friends and family may try to offer advice. They might not necessarily know the law to its full extent, and provide you the wrong advice.

  1. Talking to the Complaining Witness

In criminal cases, the complaining witness cannot drop any charges. When you have charges against you, only the state can drop the charges. Not affecting anything is the best outcome of talking to the complaining witness. In some cases, you can have the additional charge of Tampering with the Witness, or could be violating a restraining order. In all cases, it is a bad idea. Chances are, you cannot talk your way out of it with just the complaining witness.

If you have any questions about the law, do not hesitate to contact us. Our highly-professional, tenacious, and resourceful team will work hard to ensure that you have the best outcome possible.