Category Archives: Blog

What is an Appeal?

What is an Appeal?

No matter how hard you try to fight for your case, the court’s decision does not always go your way. The verdict is influenced by multitudes of factors, including the facts of your case, your strategy, and the court procedures you followed. If the verdict has been unfavorable and you are unhappy with the judge’s or the jury’s decision, you have the right to appeal your case to a higher court.

What You Should Know About Appeals  

An appeal is a call for a higher court to evaluate a lower court’s verdict. However, make no mistake—an appeal is not a retrial by any means. You cannot add new evidence or facts in your case. You also cannot add anything new to the record at all. Instead, it asks for further scrutiny on the judicial procedures made with the decision.

In an appeal, the higher court reviews your case and either affirms or reverses the lower court’s decision. By submitting an appeal, you are basically saying that something went wrong with the initial decision and you want it to be changed. If the higher court finds an error in the judicial process, the appeals court has the power to dismiss the case and the punishments that come with the charge.

How to Initiate an Appeal  

If you want to submit an appeal to a higher court, you need to gather all the relevant information related to your case. These include all court documents, transcripts, evidence, testimony, and other necessary materials needed to sensibly review the lower court’s decision.

While you are gathering all the necessary documents for your appeal, you also need to file a notice of appeal to the appropriate court. This informs the court and the opposing party that you intend to challenge the court’s initial ruling.

Filing an Appeal to the Court  

As soon as you have filed the notice of appeal, you need to prepare your brief and send it to the appellate court. The brief is a document clarifying and advocating your position from a legal standpoint. Apart from your brief, you also have to send the necessary documents, as well as the needed testimony to the court.

Briefs are extremely specialized court documents. They are very specific, and the rules when it comes to drafting them can be somewhat inflexible. Not everyone has the knowledge and capacity to draft an effective brief.

In order to ensure that your appeal is written with the best possible style and technique, you need to seek the help of an experienced attorney. You also need to make sure that you are submitting your appeal within the time limit imposed by the state.

Consult an Experienced Attorney for Assistance on your Criminal Case Appeal

Ensuring your appeal’s triumph is of paramount importance. When you file for an appeal, you are not just putting your existing case at stake. You and the opposing party will also be spending more on attorney’s fees. If you lose the appeal, they might be able to recover costs and fees from you.

You have to balance the cost of pursuing the appeal with your likelihood of winning the appeal. To give you the best advice and assistance, you need the help of experienced appellate attorneys.

A seasoned lawyer can draft your brief, assist you in preparing your documents, prepare them for filing, and argue your case effectively. Here at Broward Criminal Law, we know how the system works. Contact us today and see how we can help you get a reversed decision.

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.

The 411 on Fraud

The 411 on Fraud

There are tons of instances in your everyday lives wherein you are required to give small pieces of information about yourself. In writing a check to pay for your groceries, in applying for a membership in the nearby gym, in changing your phone plans, or even in using your credit card to pay for a flight online, you willingly give out important information about yourself.

In these kinds of transaction, you will always be required to give your full name, and sometimes, your address, phone numbers, bank account, and even your social security number (SSN). However, sometimes, the information that you share, even as a requirement for a transaction, can be used without your knowledge.

Identity theft is the illegal use of another person’s private information. This is usually done for financial gain. Any identity thief can easily use all your information to do illegal acts such as fraud or theft.

How Identity Theft Happens

Identity thieves are experts in the field and they are highly skilled in using different ways to gain access to your personal information. Here are some ways that these thieves get your personal information:

  • Stealing it from businesses or other establishments
  • Bribing employees to give out the information of their customers
  • Hacking a company’s records
  • Stealing any of your belongings which contain credit cards and other important things
  • Stealing information directly from you through email or by phone call
  • Through a skimming practice wherein a device is attached to an ATM machine to get your credit card or debit card’s information when you swipe your card
  • Stealing your mail or rummaging through your trash to find bills or receipts that were thrown away

Once a thief has gained access to your personal information, the sky is the limit in what they can do with it. They can use your credit card to pay for any of their transactions and even take out loans under your name.

Identity theft is a very serious crime. If you unfortunately become a victim, you can spend an awful lot of time and money cleaning after the thief who stole your identity. You can lose a lot of opportunities such as loans and even jobs. Arrests for crimes you never committed are possible.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

Unfortunately, you cannot fully prevent yourself from being a victim of an identity theft. However, taking good care in sharing any of your valuable information can help minimize the risk.

  • Monitor all your incoming mail.

Identity thieves can change your billing address and send your bills to the new one. If you are missing some mail, this could mean that your personal information has been stolen.

  • Always check your bank accounts.

See if you have withdrawals or payments made using your account that you do not remember doing.

  • Be vigilant of calls from banks, companies or debt collectors.

Take note of all the important transactions that you do, especially if they involve large amounts of money.

  • Put passwords on anything that has of your personal information.

Secure your credit and debit cards and bank accounts. Use passwords that are not related to your name, birthday, or anything that can easily be guessed.

  • Keep important information private, even inside your house.

Keep your personal belongings in a hidden space especially if you have roommates living with you or you have workers coming in and out of your house.

  • Never give any of your personal information online, on the phone, or through the mail.

Identity thieves are experts in pretending that they are representatives of different companies.

  • Put your SSN card in a secure place.

Do not carry it around with you. It can easily get stolen along with your wallet. Additionally, if you find out that any of your cards has been missing, report it to the proper authorities immediately.

Contact an Attorney for Legal Advice

When you fall as a victim to fraud, it is important to know exactly what to do next to prevent the circumstance from getting worse. Contact a trusted legal advisor to help you deal with this matter as soon as possible. Michael Gottlieb can be your Broward fraud attorney.

The Four Biggest Errors You Can Make on Probation

The Four Biggest Errors You Can Make on Probation

A criminal can be sentenced in different ways, one of which is to be put on probation. Courts will only impose probation in certain charges such as drug crimes, sex offenses, and driving under the influence. There are also specific terms and conditions that should be followed by the defendant.

If you are on probation, you should be aware of the activities you should avoid doing to prevent committing probation violation.

  • Not paying the fines or restitution set by the court

A judge may require you to pay restitution or fines to the victim depending on the weight of your crime. You must make sure that you are able to secure a job or have another source of income. Not being able to pay fines will put you at risk of being charged with a new offense.   

  • Not following the ban on drugs and alcohol consumption

Defendants on probation assume that they can always get away with the act of taking alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways of knowing if you have done so.

Pre-trial drug tests can be performed depending on your offense or severity of punishment. It may include 5-12 drug panels and an alcohol test. Testing positive for these substances is considered as one of the most serious violations, especially if your previous offense is also related to drugs and alcohol.

  • Missing a court hearing or an appointment with the probation officer

The judge may require a defendant to attend court hearings after some time to check his progress. Those who are on supervised probation may also be required to talk to a probation officer from time to time.

Your probation officer plays an important role in your case because he or she normally testifies during court hearings. He or she provides evidence to the court about the terms of probation and will also give recommendations to the court. Missing an appointment or court hearing may strike a huge blow on your case because it sends out an impression that you are not taking your requirements seriously.

  • Going to certain places or meeting some people without consent

A special term during probation could be to avoid certain people or places that are related to the crime that you committed. For instance, if you were once part of a gang, you can be banned from having any means of communication with its members.

The Biggest Mistake You Can Do: Trying to Handle Your Violation on Your Own

Once you realize that you committed a violation during probation, it is important that you seek the help of an expert criminal attorney right away. You must never take the risk of facing the judge by yourself. Failing to explain your side well will lead to grave consequences such as the extension of probation, addition of probation terms or being sent to jail.

There are a lot of cases wherein an acceptable explanation can justify why these violations were committed. Only an expert in criminal law understands your rights well and will increase your chances at court. Contact Michael Gottlieb today for a consultation.

What is a Pardon?

What is a pardon?

Donald Trump has recently made big news with his pardon of controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It may take some time until that particular case is adjudicated completely. In the meantime, we want you to understand what a pardon is.

What is a Pardon?

According to the laws of the State of Florida, a Full Pardon is defined as the following: “A Full Pardon unconditionally releases a person from punishment and forgives guilt for any Florida convictions. It restores to an applicant all of the rights of citizenship possessed by the person before his or her conviction, including the right to own, possess, or use firearms.”

The Florida Constitution of 1968 grants the Governor the power to give people clemency. This means that the Governor is responsible for deciding who receives a pardon. The Governor, along with members of the cabinet, form the Clemency Board.

Limitations

There are certain limitations to a pardon. When someone has been convicted of treason, or when an impeachment results in a conviction, a pardon cannot be granted. The Clemency Board is not allowed to revoke nor grant parole or probation. No one may apply for a pardon until they have completed all sentences imposed for the applicant’s most recent conviction including parole, probation, or conditional release. Similarly, an applicant must not have any outstanding pecuniary penalties totaling more than $1,000.

There are varying levels of pardons. Full pardons are mentioned above. When people are convicted of certain crimes in the state of Florida, they lose the rights to own, possess, or use firearms. The Governor may grant a Pardon Without Firearm Authority. This means that the person being pardoned may regain all of their rights with the exception of their right to access firearms. The Clemency Board may also qualify the pardon with various conditions. When these conditions are not satisfied, the Board retains the right to revoke the pardon.

Commutations are not the same as pardons. When the Governor commutes a sentence, they make the sentence less severe. This does not restore any civil rights. Remissions of Fines and Forfeitures is comparable in that the Clemency Board may suspend, revoke, or decrease the monetary penalty assessed for crimes.

The Clemency Board may grant or deny a pardon at any time for any reason. There is no appeal process.

Legal debate

It is important to keep in mind that a pardon does not erase any convictions. This is not as trivial as it may first appear. When you are in a situation where you must disclose whether you have a felony conviction, such as a job interview, you still legally have that on your record. In addition, there is some legal debate as to whether accepting a pardon is a formal admission of guilt. This may open the door for civil suits.

Expungements and pardons are two separate legal actions. When a crime is expunged, it no longer exists, legally. It is as if the crime never happened. This means that your record is completely clear. Curiously, expungements are easier to obtain than pardons.

When you need a criminal record expungement attorney, Michael Gottlieb can help. Contact us at (954) 462-1005 today.

Who Has Jurisdiction for Crimes Committed at Sea?

Who has jurisdiction for Crimes Committed at Sea?

Handling crimes committed at sea is quite complex. This is primarily because the issue of jurisdiction has multiple layers and different rules may be applied all at same time.

The Complex Issue of Jurisdiction

A state’s jurisdiction means that it can enforce its laws over a perpetrator or victim of a crime. Jurisdiction may be invoked if a crime happens within their territory if one of its citizens is involved, if the crime has an impact on national security, or a crime so heinous takes place that multiple nations decide to enact punishment.

Most of the time, the problem lies not just in how to take care of a certain situation, but in locating the proper authorities that are allowed or should be investigating a particular crime. Figuring out who has jurisdiction over a crime requires the consideration of many different factors. This includes the state that has territory over the ports and seas, nationalities of the people involved, the flag state of a ship where the crime has been committed, and many others.

Port State Jurisdiction

The Territorial Sea Baseline (TSB) marks where the coast and territorial sea meets. Any waters within this border are within the jurisdiction of that country. The laws of a port in which a vessel is visiting or had visited will be applied to the said vessel.

Moreover, if a crime is committed in international waters, the next port in which the vessel will dock will then also have jurisdiction. The Master of the Ship may alert any incident to the next-port state.

Coastal State Jurisdiction

If a vessel is traveling through a country’s territorial sea, which is technically 12 nautical miles (nm) from the TSB, any crimes committed will be under the jurisdiction of that state. This applies regardless if said vessel is docking on one of its ports or not. The coastal state has every right to head an investigation if the peace of the state is disturbed. It can also investigate if assistance is requested by the Master of the Ship, or if narcotics trafficking is involved.

Jurisdiction in the Contiguous and Exclusive Economic Zones

The contiguous zone is 12 to 24nm from the baseline. Any laws that are applicable within the territorial sea may also be extended to this zone. The exclusive economic zone is the area past the territorial sea that goes no further than 200nm from the baseline. Here, a state may only exercise jurisdiction over economic and environmental crimes.

Jurisdiction Based on Nationality

The nationality of the accused, as well as the victim of any crime, may bring a state to claim jurisdiction over an incident. Regardless if the crime takes place on the high seas or in the territory of another country, a state has the power to sanction or protect an individual based on its domestic laws.

Flag State Jurisdiction

Extraterritorial jurisdiction is applied when a crime is committed on the high seas, or outside of a country’s territory. The flag state is the country where a vessel is registered.

Any crimes committed on board will be overseen by the flag state. This applies even if the vessel is outside of the country’s territorial seas. However, it may often times be seen that the flag state’s role in the investigation of crimes committed away from its borders can be quite minimal. Resources, as well as interest, may become limited.

Contact your Reliable Attorneys at Broward for More Information

There are far more rules and complexities when it comes to the issue of jurisdiction for crimes committed at sea. For now, we are only covering the bare bones. The seas may be vast and boundless, and so too are the laws that govern it.

Your reliable attorneys are happy to answer your questions should you or someone you know become involved in a crime at sea. Call us today for an appointment. Michael Gottlieb will fight for you.

Are Fake Guns Illegal in Florida?

are fake guns illegal

When using firearms, we must be careful not to cause harm or injury to others. However, what we may not realize is that possession of fake guns may lead to serious consequences when not used correctly. In a pro-gun state such as Florida, the legality of using fake guns must be known by all so that we do not put ourselves at risk.

Defining ‘Fake Guns’ or ‘Imitation Firearms’

Firearms are defined as barreled weapons that are designed to discharge a projectile and may cause grave injury or even death. Fake guns or imitation firearms, on the other hand, are anything that has the appearance of a firearm but not its full functionality.

Even if it is able to propel some sort of bullet or missile, but can only cause harm deemed to be trivial, it may still be considered to be an imitation firearm. Moreover, it must also be a rigid object distinct from an individual’s person. A concealed hand mimicking the shape of a gun does not, in legal terms, fit this definition.

Concrete examples of imitation firearms are toy guns, firearm replicas and air-soft guns with nonmetallic projectiles, as well as other objects that appear to have a similar shape and form to a standard firearm. Although relatively safe to use, laws regulate imitation firearms. This is because worry and panic may ensue if an individual is in possession of an object that may lead others to believe that they are in harm’s way of a legitimate firearm.

Gun Laws in Florida

The state of Florida promotes the use and possession of guns and is relatively loose with regards to the laws about firearms. It is recognized that citizens of the state “retain their constitutional right to keep and bear firearms for hunting and sporting activities and for defense of self, family, home, and business and as collectibles.” In addition, it is against the law to carry a firearm out in the open or to conceal one without a license.

Laws With Regards to Imitation Firearms

There are certain design requirements for imitation firearms so as not to confuse them with the real thing. A blaze orange solid plug or marking must be attached permanently to the muzzle of barrels that are no deeper than 6 millimeters. The entire exterior of the imitation firearm must be colored white or any bright and distinguishable color. Transparent or translucent materials may also be used so as to be able to see its contents.

According to the law of the State of Florida, any individual is prohibited from altering or removing features of an imitation firearm that are required by law. It is also not allowed to add features to a real firearm to make it look like an imitation. There are also specifications as regards the manufacturing, selling, displaying and exposing of imitation firearms.

There are, however, certain exemptions from these laws. They are: non-firing collector replica antique firearms designed before 1898, traditional BB, paintball or pellet-firing air guns, and imitation firearms sold or offered for sale for the sole purposes of theatrical productions.

Contact a Reliable Attorney if you Get Involved in an Alleged Violation of Gun Laws

Florida has set laws that require the regulation of firearms, may it be real or imitation. Yes, fake guns are legal. But citizens must still abide by certain rules and specifications in order to create a safe and secure environment.

If you or someone you know is charged with a violation of FL gun laws, contact our law firm right away. Michael Gottlieb will fight for you.

A Helpful Guide to Bail and Bonds

Learn more about bail and bonds

Approximately, there are 15,000 bail bond agents in the United States, and the bond industry as a whole is worth more than $14 billion dollars. We have had bail, in one form or another, since before the United States gained independence. Both bail and bonds are incredibly important to the legal system. Unfortunately, they are not very well understood. As part of our commitment to the citizens of the State of Florida, we have prepared a handy guide to bail and bonds.

Bail

Bail and bonds have some similarities and are related to each other. They are not the same thing. People are arrested because there is some suspicion that they have committed a crime. In order to prove that they did a crime, they must go to trial. The trial and the arrest are rarely on the same day, which means that society needs to decide what to do with people after their arrest but before their trial.

Posting bail is one action that someone who has been arrested can take. Basically, they can pay an amount in order to not reside in jail while they await their trial. The exact amount is determined by a few different factors: how likely you are to show up to the trial, the severity of the crime, and your situation. In certain cases, a judge may deny someone the opportunity to post bail entirely.

The easiest way to think about bail is a short-term loan which is guaranteed by showing up to the trial. You get to live your life as normally as possible until the trial takes place. Once you show up to the trial, you get your money back. We do this because we believe that people should live normal lives until they are conclusively proven guilty. This allows people to take care of their affairs before they go to prison, if they go to prison at all.

The Bill of Rights of the United States stipulates that citizens should be protected against excessive bail. What exactly this means is up for debate. The average bail amount more than doubled between 1992 and 2006, and continues to rise to this day. There are many different types of bail, and many loopholes that judges can exploit. Ultimately, the decision is up to the judge.

Bonds

The bond industry revolves around bail. In many cases, someone who is awaiting trial will not have enough money to post bail themselves. They turn to a bondsman in these cases. The bondsman pays the money to post bail, and asks for a percentage of bail in return. For example, if bail is set at $10,000 dollars, the defendant will arrange a fee of $1,000.

Part of this contract is a guarantee that the defendant will show up to the trial. If the defendant does not go to trial, they will send a bounty hunter after them. When the trial takes place and the defendant shows up, bail is returned to the bondsman. The defendant’s fee, however, will not be returned.

If you have any questions about bail or bonds, contact us today. Michael Gottlieb is an experienced, professional, and persistent criminal lawyer who will fight for you.

5 FAQ’s About Domestic Violence Cases

domestic violence case tips

5 FAQs about Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence is not a rare occurrence. In fact, it is a problem that is deeply rooted and we have statistics to prove it. As an example, domestic violence is the primary cause of injury-related fatalities and female homicide during pregnancy. This is why everyone should be well-informed about it.
Domestic violence can be committed by anyone no matter what your gender, religion, race, wealth, or sexuality may be. Here are the most frequently asked questions about domestic violence cases.

1. What actions are considered as domestic violence?
There are 4 common types of domestic violence. These are the things you should not be doing if you want to avoid getting charged with a domestic violence case:

• Physical assault such as shoving, restraining, kicking, hitting or pushing
• Sexual assault or forcing sexual acts without the consent of the other partner
• Psychological assault such as trying to isolate you from your loved ones, financial dependence, and verbal and emotional attacks
• Destruction of property

2. How does one respond to allegations of domestic violence?
The first thing to do upon being accused of this offense is to follow the orders of the court. You may be given a civil restraining order or criminal charges depending on the authenticity of the allegations. No matter what the case may be, the court will surely not allow you to make any contact with the accuser. Violating this rule may give you jail time, doing so will make your defense in trial weaker.

3. What are my legal options after I have been arrested?

A defendant must talk to a lawyer regarding his legal options. Cases like this can be solved in two ways: you can defend yourself from the allegations during the trial, or you can enter a no contest or guilty plea in exchange for lighter penalties as compared to what might be imposed. Deciding which way to go is hard because each option has its own pros and cons. A criminal defense lawyer can provide you his professional insights and we recommend that you consult a lawyer.

4. What are the penalties given for those who commit domestic violence?
Acts of domestic violence can be considered as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the severity of the injury. Penalties may vary among different states. The offense is greater if the victim is a minor. Some of the penalties given to abusers include:

• Community service
• Jail time
• Paying a fine
• Anger management or counseling sessions
• Restraining order
• Revocation of parental rights
• Deportation for aliens

5. How can you make your domestic violence case stronger?
The strength of the evidence you present will play an important role in the court decision. Cases usually include recorded statements, video surveillance, medical examinations, and testimonies from law enforcers.

Get an attorney to help you with your domestic violence case
The effects of domestic violence cases are significant and long-lasting. If you have been charged with domestic violence and you feel that you have been wrongly accused, then you need a professional who can help you fight for your rights. We are here to help you fight your charges. Call our office today to schedule a completely no-risk, free case evaluation. 954 462-1005.