Category Archives: Arrests

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: A Guide

SHOPLIFTING, ROBBERY, BURGLARY, AND MUGGING: A GUIDE

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.