What Does an Accused Person Need to Know About the Florida Grand Jury?

Going through the criminal justice process can be difficult to understand at best and overwhelming and anxiety provoking at worst. Recognizing the roles that parties and groups play in the management of your criminal case is important.

And retaining a criminal defense attorney who knows the lay of the land is extremely helpful for helping to dispel any myths. A common question asked by criminal defendants has to do with the role of the grand jury in filing Florida cases. It is easy to fall subject to assuming this information about the Florida grand jury, but this could make things much more difficult for you than otherwise necessary. When someone has knowledge of a crime or is a victim, they will file a sworn statement with the proper authority and this is known as a complaint.

After a complaint has been investigated and the complaint is determined to meet the probable cause grounds, a crime can be charged either by indictment or information. There must be an arrest with an accompanying police report in order for a criminal case to be filed. At that point in time, a prosecutor reviews the police report and any relevant evidence to decide whether or not any criminal charges should be filed. A preliminary hearing is then scheduled with a judge where a decision is made as to whether or not enough evidence already exists. There are many different facts that can determine whether or not the state decides to move forward with the prosecution.

The grand jury’s role is very similar to a regular jury, although a grand jury’s primary position is only to decide whether or not to charge someone, rather than deciding on the innocence or guilt of that person through trial. The prosecutor presents evidence to the grand jury and then the grand jury is responsible for handing back a verdict on whether or not they feel that those charges are warranted. You can speak to your criminal defense attorney to get a better understanding of what is involved in the grand jury process.   

White-Collar Crimes In Florida

White-Collar Crimes In Florida

White-collar crimes in Florida can carry harsh penalties. If you’re accused of committing a white-collar crime, then promptly contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to fight for your innocence and prove that the charges made against you were unsubstantiated.

What Are White-Collar Crimes?

“What are white-collar crimes?” one might ask. White-collar crimes in Florida can broadly be defined as crimes that involve a deceitful way to obtain money. Great examples of white-collar crimes include:

  • identity theft,
  • credit card fraud,
  • and health care fraud

These are some common offenses just to name a few.

Identity Theft In Florida

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or FDLE, ID theft accounts for more than half of all identity thefts reported in the United States. Victims of ID theft are left to clean up the mess. Not only is this financially draining, but it’s also time-consuming and frustrating.

Fraud Prevention By Florida Law Enforcement

Florida law enforcement agencies do what they can to help prevent fraud in our state including cracking down on people who commit fraud crimes, identity thefts, mail frauds, telemarketing frauds, forgery, and swindling. With these types of crimes rising in Florida, residents should be aware of the penalties that could be imposed if they’re caught committing a fraudulent crime.

According to the FDLE, common white-collar crimes in Florida that are frequently prosecuted by law enforcement include:

  • Insurance Fraud
  • Credit Card or Debit Card Fraud
  • Bank Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Medicaid and Medicare Frauds
  • Embezzlement by an Employee or Officer of a Corporation, Bank, Credit Union, Financial Institution, Governmental Agency or Nonprofit Organization; or Employee Benefits Plan (EBP) Abuse. [This means if you embezzled money from a credit card, bank, or from a corporation you could face this charge.]
  • Unemployment Insurance Fraud
  • Worker’s Compensation Fraud

Consequences For White-Collar Crimes In Florida

The bottom line is that it’s important for Florida residents to understand the consequences of breaking a criminal law. If you’re accused of committing a crime that falls under the category of white-collar crime then be aware that you could face harsh penalties that can impact the rest of your life.

Have You Been Accused Of A White-Collar Crime In South Florida?

Contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf if you’re charged with committing a crime. Your freedom depends on it. Reach out to Mayersohn Law today to learn more about how we can help you.

What Happens If You Are a First Time Criminal Offender in Florida

First Time Offender In Florida

A first-time offender is a person facing a criminal conviction for the first time. Depending on the crime, the courts in Florida can show mercy to a first-time offender. The charges can either be dropped or rehabilitated instead of facing imprisonment. 

This option is not available for all crimes. This privilege is only available for non-violent crimes, where the offender is not a threat to the community. The offenses may include, 

If you are charged with a violent crime or crime involving weapons for the first time, you may not obtain mercy from the court. Severe offenses of first-time offenders include;

  1. Hit and run
  2. Burglary
  3. Robbery
  4. Kidnapping
  5. Murder and manslaughter 
  6. Sex crimes
  7. Aggravated assault
  8. Domestic violence

What happens if it is your first offense in Florida?

  1. Charges Can Be Dropped or Reduced

A criminal defense attorney can use the lack of previous offenses to present your case in court as a first-time offender. The attorney may convince the prosecutor to file a lesser charge or even drop the charges.

  1. Avoiding Conviction

A withhold of adjudication is often available for first-timer offenders in Florida. The state sees rehabilitation as preventing the person from pursuing a criminal career; therefore, the first-time offender that receives withhold of adjudication is not convicted. 

  1. Sealing or Expunging of Record

If you obtain a not convicted adjudication or dismissal as a first-offender in Florida, the court may seal or expunge your record. Sealing or expunging the record is a big advantage because having a criminal record can thwart your future career and educational opportunities. You can get a suitable attorney to help you with expunging your records.

  1. Pretrial Diversion

Pretrial diversion can be offered to a first-time offender by the prosecutors. If it is granted, they may or may not plead guilty. You can be ordered to complete a probation period, be issued a fine, participate in community service and counseling, or anything negotiated by the defense attorney. The charge will be dropped and conviction not entered as long as the negotiated terms are completed. Pretrial is for non-violent offenses only.

What Are My Basic Rights If Pulled Over by a Police Officer in Florida?

What You Need To Know About Being Pulled Over In FL

There should be a valid reason for police to pull you over and detain you. It is important to know your legal rights during a traffic stop since you are likely to be stopped by police once in your lifetime.  Below are a few steps to take when pulled over by police in Florida.

1. Stop your car at a safe location

When a police officer signals to you to pull over, you should find a safe location and come to a complete stop. If there is no safe location close to you, slow down so that the officer will know you are trying to find a place to pull off the road.

Roll down your window, turn off the engine and place your hand on the steering wheel. Keep your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance where you can quickly reach them when the police officer asks for it to afford confusion.

2. Follow police instructions

Do not make any sudden movements; remain calm until the police officer asks you to step out of the vehicle or provide documentation. If they are not close to you, tell the officer where they are and seek permission to pick it.

If you have any weapon in the vehicle, tell the officer where it is. Every other person in the vehicle should follow the same instruction and avoid sudden movements.

3. You have the right to remain silent.

You can invoke your right to remain silent and refuse to answer any question after providing your name and address to the officer, and you should politely tell the officer you have the right to remain silent.

This could escalate the matter, be careful not to answer questions that can incriminate you; politely refuse to answer questions that can incriminate you.

4. You don’t have to consent to a search.

If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you do not need to consent to the search. The officer should not search your vehicle without your consent if he doesn’t have a warrant. Do not resist the search but carefully state that you don’t consent to the search. Resisting can escalate the matter and lead to a criminal charge.

In case you are charged with any traffic-related offense or other offenses, maintain your rights, and don’t forget to contact a suitable attorney to handle your case.

How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody in Florida

How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody in Florida

The rate of domestic violence is rapidly increasing today, which proves the need to get enough legal information about child’s custody. Florida family law frowns against child abuse during violence between parents. The state will then decide to withdraw the child from the parents or give them certain conditions or warnings.

When the involved parents’ divorce, the court chooses who keeps the child based on how each person plays in domestic violence. Sometimes, the court decides to find a foster home for the child if none of the parents is fit enough to bear the responsibility.

Child Custody in Florida

The Florida court considers two types of child custody: “physical custody” and the “legal custody.” Legal custody determines the parent that makes crucial decisions for the child, such as religion, education, and medical subjects. Physical custody determines who the child visits and when the child sees both parties.

However, the judge does not make these decisions without consulting the child and considering some factors.

  • The parents’ alcohol drinking habits
  • The parents financial capacity
  • Any record of child abuse or abandonment
  • The parents’ character and principles
  • Any presence of communication or trust issue
  • The child’s living and school environment

Supervised visitation: If the child agrees to visit an abusive parent, the court will assign a trained supervisor to watch the child. Sometimes, the state can bear the charges of the supervisor, or the parents are asked to pay for it.

What to Do When There is Domestic Violence

The first thing is to contact the emergency line in Florida, 911. After confirming your safety, you can then proceed to press charges.

The court may also give you an injunction, which means the accuser cannot come close or near to you. More so, you may choose the get a temporary request for that day by visiting your local clerk. This is when the situation is very threatening, and cannot seem to wait for court proceedings.

The Florida Commission Against Domestic Violence is available round-the-clock, and you can reach out to them or call whenever danger looms.

Know Your Right to Remain Silent When Charged With Criminal Cases

Know Your Right to Remain Silent When Charged With Criminal Cases

If you are charged with a criminal case, you can either have a right to remain silent or hire an attorney. However, when you have an attorney, you are also invoking the right to be quiet. This means you do not wish to answer to any interrogation until your lawyer is around.

Invoking the Right to Remain Silence and Police Protocol

Usually, the police will read to a suspect the regulations and rights to remain silent. If the suspect agrees not to participate in an interrogation, it does not stop the police from digging up evidence. Also, any implicating statement the suspect makes during the period of silence can still be used by the police as evidence. The best is not to speak until your attorney arrives at the situation.

More so, suspects don’t need to remain silent after being informed of their rights. The suspect may waive the right if there is a need for some voluntary statements. Nevertheless, the law does not support cajoling by the police, even for a criminal case, especially if it is an underage person.

How to Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent

According to the law, you will need to tell your interrogator expressively that you are exercising the right to remain silent. Often, police officers will take your statement as a request for a lawyer.

It would help if you also were careful of ambiguous or uncertain statements. For instance, “I may need to get a lawyer” or “what if I choose to remain silent.” No police will take you seriously in this case, and some may pretend to know you understand what you should say. Hence, they will continue the interrogation regardless.

If you are dealing with a skilled interrogator, you need to be clever with your actions and words. Often, they love to play ambiguity with suspects’ words.

Learn More About Your Right to Invoke Silence Through an Attorney

The best chance you will ever get before going to a court is by consulting the expert opinion. Wherein, invoking the right to remain silent grants you this opportunity. However, you can now learn more about your rights by reaching out to your local legal advisor or defense attorney.

What Are the 4 Elements of a Contract Breach Lawsuit?

Business Litigation – Contract Breach Claims

In contract breach claims, the plaintiff always has the burden of proof. Here are the 4 elements that need to be established and how you can get legal help if you suspect a business partner may not be fulfilling their end of an agreement you made together. 

1. Prove That a Contract Even Exists 

First, you must be able to demonstrate that you have an established contract in the first place. An spoken word agreement or even a casually signed written document may not be sufficient. To decide if your contract is enforceable, the courts must see evidence that an offer was made and accepted and consideration was made in exchange for the offer’s acceptance. 

2. Prove Either You Met Own Your Contractual Obligations or You Had a Valid Reason Not To 

Initially, you should be able to clearly demonstrate that you met your end of the agreement and fulfilled all contractual obligations. If you did not fulfill the agreement exactly as specified, you should offer a valid reason as to why you could not. For example, if you signed a contract that you would perform a certain amount of work for a client by a certain date, but fell ill and was unable to meet the deadline, this may be considered extenuating circumstances. 

3. Establish That the Other Party Did Not Meet Their Contractual Obligations 

Once you’ve proven that you have met your end of the agreement or had a legitimate reason why you could not, you must be able to show how the other party did not meet their contractual obligations and did not have a legitimate reason not to. 

4. Establish That The Other Party’s Breach Of Contract Caused You Damages 

The last thing you need to prove for a successful breach of contract case is that the other party’s failure to meet their end of the agreement caused you to incur damages. Typically, these are financial damages but may rarely include pain and suffering or punitive damages depending on the circumstances of the contract and products or services to be rendered. 

When Should You Contact an Attorney for Legal Representation? 

If you believe a business partner or other person you are in a contract with has failed to meet their contractual obligations, it’s important that you act quickly to protect your rights, assets, and best interests. Call Mayersohn Law for a consultation at: 954-765-1900

South Florida Property Owner Shocked As Someone Tries to Sell Her Home to Someone Else

South Florida Real Estate Fraud

Can someone you don’t know sell your home out from under you to another party? You might think such a situation is impossible, but for one South Florida woman, it’s a terrifying reality. Here’s what you should know about real estate deed fraud, how it can happen, and how to protect yourself. 

The Case 

Shirley Gibson was surprised when she came to find out that her property was listed for sale on Zillow and successfully purchased by an unsuspecting buyer for $230,000. A title company in Aventura, FL claims that it was scammed and now, Gibson’s home is illegally on the market again with a “Not For Sale” sign pinned to the front gate. While unlikely that Gibson would actually lose her home, she’s now embroiled in a costly legal battle that could last for months.   

What Is Real Estate Deed Fraud? 

Real estate deed fraud is a lesser-known form of identity theft. When someone steals your identity and forges your name on the deed to a home or other property, this is considered deed fraud, sometimes called property title theft. Often, deed fraud will occur after a homeowner has died. 

Scammers will often scour the obituaries for homeowners who have passed on with residences that are vulnerable to deed theft. Vacation houses, abandoned houses, and empty houses are the most common targets of deed fraud, although scammers do still target houses that are in use, as in the case with Shirley Gibson. Scam artists may try to live in the home themselves or quickly sell it to someone else and pocket the cash.

When to Get the Help of An Experienced Florida Real Estate Litigation Lawyer 

If you’ve been the victim of real estate deed fraud, there are legal options available to you to stop someone else from assuming ownership of your property. However, these cases can be complicated and require the help of a seasoned real estate litigation attorney. 

At Mayersohn Law, we can assist you with understanding your rights and what legal avenues would be the most beneficial. We’ll go to bat for you in court if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, and we’ll zealously advocate for a verdict in your favor. 

Contact us today to learn more about real estate deed fraud or to schedule your appointment for an initial case consultation. Call now at 954-765-1900 or fill out or simple online form and we’ll get right back to you. 

What You Need to Know About Mounting a Bank Fraud Defense

Have you already been accused of bank fraud? If so, you need a lawyer who can help you prepare right away. The prosecution will likely have a lot of lead time in a case like this, but you cannot ignore the opportunities to protect yourself.

Hiring an experienced Fort Lauderdale bank fraud defense attorney should be the first thing you do after you suspect that you are under investigation for bank fraud or after you have been formally charged. Anyone accused of bank fraud crimes in Florida is protected by the U.S. Constitution and is considered innocent until proven guilty. Bank fraud is defined as attempting to execute or executing any scheme that obtains credits, monies or other property under the control of a financial institution through fraudulent or false pretenses or any scheme that attempts to defraud a financial institution.

With maximum fines of $1 million and decades in prison at stake, it is important to know the value of mooning a proper bank fraud defense. Prosecutors and law enforcement cannot engage in the legal searches or seizures affecting those associated with bank fraud charges and anyone who has been accused has the right not to incriminate themselves and to retain an attorney as soon as possible. Many criminal defendants, especially those who are currently under investigation for bank fraud, don’t have a comprehensive understanding of their constitutional rights and do not know how to navigate the justice system effectively.

Claims associated with bank fraud can be high stakes and complex as prosecutors may do everything possible to seize assets prior to the establishment of a trial. This means that a defendant may be struggling to protect any of their property while mounting a case to defend against these critical criminal charges. The right attorney is a vital asset when preparing a defense involving bank fraud. With so much on the line for your future, you cannot afford to leave this to chance. You need a Fort Lauderdale attorney who is highly experienced with managing bank fraud allegations to begin preparing your defense immediately.




What You Need to Know About Intent and Simple Battery

Being accused of battery in Florida is an unnerving experience and one that should prompt you to contact a criminal defense attorney quickly. Intent is an essential element of a simple battery charge. In order for battery to constitute a crime, there must be a specific voluntary act or something that is substantially certain to result from such an act.

The defendant, therefore, must engage in conduct in which he or she knows that a strike or a touch is certain as a result of their actions or he or she must intend to strike the person. Therefore, accidental touching or touching that is not aimed at making a contact with another individual is often insufficient to establish simple battery charges in Florida.

Whether the person who is accused had the necessary intent, is a question for the jury to resolve by looking at the circumstances and the facts associated with the touching or the striking of the victim. In all prosecutions in Florida, the touching must occur without the consent of the alleged victim or in other words, against the victim’s will. This issue often arises as a complicating factor in allegations of criminal conduct in terms of mutual combat.

You might be curious about how these cases are affected if both parties are involved in the fight.
Mutual combat is a common battery defense that is associated with both parties assenting to a physical altercation and therefore, consenting to be touched, which is not applicable to battery charges. Both parties must be at fault in order for this to apply and the defendant cannot be the primary aggressor or be the one who initiates the fight. Again, the issue of consent is one for a jury to decide and as examined in light of other facts associated with the case. If you have been accused of simple battery in Florida, your willingness to take action quickly by consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital towards crafting a compelling defense to protect you and keep you out of jail. Do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.