Category Archives: Misdemeanors

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.

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.

What to Expect When You Are Expecting a Trial

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU ARE EXPECTING A TRIAL

Trials are not what they look like on TV. In Florida alone, the statewide criminal caseload was 739,440 in 2015. There are very many criminal cases, but very few understand what will happen. If you or a loved one will have a criminal trial, it is a good idea to understand what will take place. Generally, there are six distinct steps in a criminal trial, which we will discuss in detail.

  1. Choosing a Jury

This is before the trial itself. The Seventh Amendment of the Bill of Rights grants Americans the right to trial by jury. These jurors are randomly selected from a pool of people. People who are selected undergo a vetting process, where they are asked a bunch of questions regarding their ideological stances and personal circumstances.

While this may seem a bit intrusive, it is important to ensure that the jurors are fair. For example, if a teacher is on trial for arson, a prosecutor may ask a juror about their occupation. Should they answer teacher, and then add that their mother is a teacher too, then they might sympathize with the defendant. This is called a “peremptory challenge”.

Another reason a juror might not get selected for trial is “for cause.” Convicted murderers are liable for the death penalty in Florida. During the jury selection process, a potential juror may reveal that they do not believe in the death penalty. This juror would be far more reticent to convict, as they know a conviction might mean the death penalty. Thus, they might not be selected.

  1. Opening Statements

Here, the prosecutor goes first. The prosecutor is laying the groundwork for their case, and elaborate upon the crime. They present the facts of the case. The prosecutor is trying to prove that the defendant did it, how they did it, and why they did it. The burden of proof is always on the prosecution.

The defendant’s council regales the jury with their interpretation of the facts. If there are any positive pieces of evidence or facts, they present it here. During both opening statements, the opposing council is not allowed to rebut or respond. This is just one lawyer talking for a little bit.

  1. Witness Testimony and Cross-Examination

This constitutes a vast majority of the case. This is when the prosecution calls witnesses to the stand and presents their evidence. When a witness is called to the stand, they first must be sworn in. After swearing in, the prosecution asks them questions to try and build a case. This is called direct examination. When they are done, the defense is allowed to ask the witness question, to take apart the case. This is called a cross-examination. This happens in turns and can go through multiple rounds.

Witnesses have rights. For example, witnesses are allowed to take quick breaks from questioning when they are angry or frustrated. Telling the truth is an absolute necessity, but you do not have to tell more than what is asked of you. Focusing on the lawyer asking your questions is important.

  1. Closing Arguments

This is what they show on TV. Both lawyers attempt to sum up the course of the trial in their favor. The prosecution points out the evidence regarding the defendant’s guilt. The defense pokes final holes in the case, and suggests that the burden of proof has not been met.

  1. Jury Instructions

During this phase, the judge explains which legal definitions the jury should be using, what certain legal concepts mean and how they are applied, and damages. Basically, the judge is giving the jury the framework to use when deciding if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

  1. Deliberation and Verdict

The jury then goes to discuss the case in detail and deliver a verdict. In Florida, the decision needs to be unanimous. All twelve jurors must decide that the defendant is guilty. When the jurors cannot come to a conclusion, at which point the judge may declare a mistrial.

If you have any questions about criminal law in Florida, do not wait to call us. Michael Gottlieb is an experienced, resourceful, and skillful Broward County Lawyer who will fight for you.

The Ultimate Guide to Your Rights After You Have Been Arrested

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO YOUR RIGHTS AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN ARRESTED

The Ultimate Guide to Your Rights After You Have Been Arrested

First and foremost, you have a right to be treated humanely. All other rights you have stem from this fundamental, universal right. The cops and the prosecution often try to abridge this right, chipping away at your dignity and your self-respect until they have a conviction. The police legally have the capacity to lie to you and exploit this to get unfair convictions. Sometimes, the police will engage in illegal activities to reach their quota, as the many cases of police brutality in the news show. Before anything else, demand that you be treated with the respect you deserve.

  1. You have the right to an attorney

Cops know the law. They know every in and out of the rulebook and engage in dirty tricks in an attempt to ensnare you. The cops often ask a series of questions designed to lead you and trap you into saying things you would not otherwise say. An experienced lawyer knows how to fight unfair prosecution. During questioning, you have the right to an attorney. The attorney will ensure that you do not sign anything that you should not sign, you do not say anything that you do not want to say, and will get you the best outcome you can get. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint you one.

  1. You have Miranda Rights

We have all seen these in the movies and on TV, but it is important to understand what they mean. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to speak to the officer if you do not want to. No lawyer has ever said that their client said too little to the police. The Fifth Amendment protects you, and good defendant’s trust this protection. They will use everything you say against you, so be mindful not to say too much. Finally, you have the right to an attorney. No one can iterate enough how important it is to have an attorney by your side during questioning.

  1. You have the right to know the nature of what you are being accused of

The police are not allowed to just ask you questions until they get a hit. You have the right to know what you are being accused of, so that you and your lawyer can form a cogent defense.

  1. You have the right to know the identity of the officers you are dealing with

This is a law particular to Florida. When you are arrested, you have the right to know the names and badge numbers of the police who speak with you. This may be vital, as certain cops may have track records of less-than-stellar dealings with the accused.

  1. You have the right to fair treatment

The Constitution of the United States enshrines certain rights to all Americans. You have the right to a speedy trial. The prosecution is not allowed to let you just languish in jail. Police are not allowed to punish you in a cruel and unusual way. No matter what crime you are accused of, you are not to be punished before a conviction.

If you have any questions about the law, feel free to call us. When you have a case, do not delay. Call us right away.

 

Committed a Crime While on Vacation in Florida? Read This

South Florida Criminal Lawyer offers tips

Committed a Crime While on Vacation in Florida? Read This

Vacationing in South Florida can be the experience of a lifetime, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you party too hard or get into a spot of trouble. Running into small problems with the law in Florida, such as a DUI or a minor drug charge, as an out of state resident adds complexity to your situation. In fact, there are a multitude of tourists who get arrested while they are on vacation here. If you are a tourist in Florida, this is some information that is very important for you to know before you visit the Sunshine State.

Consequences for Committing a Crime

There are quite a few crimes that vacationers are regularly charged with while they are in Florida, including drug crimes, traffic violations, theft, and drunk driving offenses. It is very important for you to know that committing a crime while you are in Florida on vacation has severe consequences for you in your own state. If you miss an important court date in Florida, you may end up with a warrant for your arrest. When this happens, the state files an extradition order and forces you to return to Florida. Any penalties that are levied by a Florida judge may also follow you in your home state. For instance, if you have committed a drug offense in Florida, you could end up losing your driver’s license in your own state, or another similar penalty.

Legal Rights You Possess

As a visitor to this state, you have the same rights that you have in your own state. You have the right to an attorney, but your legal counsel needs to be allowed to practice within Florida. It can be especially helpful to have an attorney who has a lot of experience when it comes to working with out of state visitors who run afoul of the law in Florida.

What the Attorney Does

In these cases, an attorney may be able to handle all facets of your case until you can make it back to your home state. Sometimes, an attorney can even handle all of the hearings on your behalf without you having to travel back and forth.  These attorneys will be in constant contact with you, which will allow you to know exactly what is going on with your case. An attorney ought to contact you through email or phone, depending on your preference.

Next Steps

If you find yourself in legal trouble while on vacation in the beautiful state of Florida, having an experienced and highly skilled lawyer in your corner makes a huge difference. This is a unique situation that requires specialized knowledge of the intricacies of assisting and representing tourists who find difficulties with the law in Florida. Your first call should be to an attorney should any legal troubles arise while on vacation. Time is of the essence when you have the long arm of the law reaching out for you, so don’t delay. If you are in the Broward area, then call Michael Gottlieb today. (954) 462-1005