What You Need To Know About Divorce Court

The courtroom can be a frightening place for divorcing couples. Naturally, you’ll want to know what to expect, especially if you’ve never been inside a courtroom before. It’s quite different from what you see on television; there are some things to keep in mind to help you prepare. Here’s what you should know.

Basic Courtroom Etiquette

Treat the courtroom like you might treat a job interview. Make sure your cell phone is turned off or on silent (not vibrate, you’ll be surprised at how loud a vibrating cell phone can be in a quiet courtroom). Also, don’t bring in drinks or food, don’t chew gum, and make sure to remove your hat or sunglasses. Look for signs in your specific courtroom that list anything else that isn’t allowed.

Be Prepared for the Metal Detectors

All courtrooms screen for weapons. How this is done varies from location to location, but you can expect to go through a metal detector. Metal detectors won’t pick up small pieces of metal in your clothing, like pants buttons, but they will pick up on keys left in your pocket. You’ll likely be asked to put your purse, wallet, or other personal effects in a bin to be scanned while you walk through the metal detector. It’s not much different from going to the airport.

You May See People You Don’t Know

Many people are surprised that divorce court isn’t private. The courtrooms are public and anyone can sit in on a case. While this means you can ask family or friends to come support you (this is not recommended) it also means that you’ll likely see some people you don’t know. Be prepared for strange faces and stay focused on your case.

There Won’t Be a Jury

Juries are typically used for criminal cases and aren’t necessary in divorce cases. Your divorce will be presided over by a commissioner or a judge. Remember to call the judge “your honor” when addressing him or her to show respect.

Contact Our Office Today 

Divorce is best handled by a competent divorce attorney. Facing family court alone, even with a few ideas of what to expect, can be a harrowing experience. Contact our office for a consultation today to discuss your divorce options, to file for divorce, or to get help preparing for an upcoming divorce hearing. Call now at 1-954-765-1900.


Reasonable Child Visitation

Custodial Parent

When a child’s parents separate, they will typically live with one of their parents most of the time. This parent is called the custodial parent, and the other is referred to as the noncustodial parent. If the child is old enough, they may choose with whom they live. 

Courts in Florida understand the psychological and emotional importance of a child maintaining a meaningful relationship with both parents. Often, they will award the non-custodial parent what is known as “reasonable visitation.” What is it and what should you know about it? 

Reasonable Visitation Defined 

Reasonable visitation is a term that is used to describe fair visitation for the non-custodial parent, based on the best interests of the child. In most child custody cases, it’s beneficial for the child to have an ongoing relationship with both of their parents. This is true even when one parent only has partial visitation. 

However, visitation may not be reasonable in certain cases. For example, a non-custodial parent with a history of abuse or domestic violence may find it difficult to be awarded any type of visitation. Or, a court may see fit to award a parent who is actively working towards self-betterment infrequent, supervised visitation.

How Reasonable Child Visitation Works 

If possible, you and your ex-partner should create a visitation schedule that is agreeable for both of you. Take your work schedules into consideration, along with any extracurricular and educational activities that your child has. Make sure you plan in advance for special events and holidays and come up with a proposed visitation schedule that offers your child the most stability. 

When Will a Judge Decide Reasonable Visitation? 

If you cannot reach an agreement with your ex about a mutually beneficial visitation schedule on your own, the court will need to intervene. This means that your custody case is contested, and you no longer have the final say in what visitation looks like for your family. 

Many courts default to “standard” visitation for the non-custodial parent. Many people recognize this as visitation every other weekend and two weeks a year (usually during the summer if a child is school-age), and alternating holidays. 

Why Contact a Boca Raton Family Law Attorney for Your Visitation Case 

The outcome of your child custody dispute hinges largely on the evidence you’re able to present and how you’re able to present it. This is where an experienced Boca Raton child custody attorney can help.


Defenses Against Dealing in Stolen Property

Second-Degree Felony For Stolen Property

In the State of Florida, dealing in stolen property is considered a second-degree felony. In fact, it is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The penalties imposed depend greatly on the value of the goods allegedly stolen. If found guilty, this crime significantly impacts your life, career, and relationships. Find out how to fight for a clean criminal record and also defend your rights under the law.

Florida Statutes

Florida defines dealing in stolen property as:

(1) Any person who traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082775.083, and 775.084.
(2) Any person who initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the theft of property and traffics in such stolen property shall be guilty of a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082775.083, and 775.084.

Potential Defenses Against Dealing in Stolen Property Charges

If you are charged with dealing in stolen property, there are several defenses to employ. However, these defenses depend on the circumstances surrounding your case. Your attorney will evaluate your case and determine what defenses would increase your chances of success. Potential defenses include but are not limited to:

  • Alleging that you had no knowledge the goods you bought or sold were stolen. You could show purchase records or receipts that show how you came to buy the property. In fact, receipts provide evidence that you didn’t know that the goods you bought were stolen.
  • Alleging that you were given the stolen property. If you did not purchase the stolen goods and came into possession of them through a gift or some other means, you can allege that you had no intention of dealing in stolen goods.
  • Alleging illegal search and seizure. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney could also allege that the police performed an illegal search and seizure of the stolen goods. If it is determined that an illegal search and seizure took place, any evidence — including the actual property — obtained during the search can be suppressed. Then, the prosecution will have a much more difficult time receiving a guilty verdict if they cannot produce the “stolen property.”

Contact Leah H. Mayersohn, Esq. Today

Attorney Mayersohn is an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney who can help you defend against charges of dealing in stolen property. Call now for a consultation at 954-400-5000.


The Basics of Burglary

Burglary is not a charge to be taken lightly and if you are found guilty, you could face serious consequences including imprisonment, fines, restitution, probation, community service, and more. It’s important to work hand-in-hand with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who can help you advocate for your rights under the law. Here’s what you should know about the crime of burglary.

Burglary Defined Under Florida Law

Florida statutes define burglary fairly simply. In order to be charged with burglary, a defendant must — without permission — enter a building with the intent to steal something or commit any type of felony. Although theft is a misdemeanor, it is considered separate from felonies and included in the definition of burglary. If you do not take any property or commit any crimes, but it can be proven that you intended to do so, you may be charged with burglary.

How to Defend Yourself Against Burglary Charges

There are a multitude of potential defenses to a burglary charge. Which defenses are used depends on the facts of your case and which defense your attorney thinks is most likely to be successful under the circumstances. Defenses can include but are not limited to arguing:

  • Actual innocence
  • Mistaken identity
  • That there is not enough evidence presented by the prosecution to convict the defendant beyond a shadow of a doubt
  • That no crime actually took place because the defendant:
    • Had permission from the owner of the building to enter
    • Never actually entered the building
    • Did not have the intent to steal property or commit a felony while inside the building

When to Hire an Attorney

If you’ve been charged with burglary, waste no time in contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney who can adequately advocate for your rights. At Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense, we have the skills and resources to help you defend against criminal charges. Our attorneys are dedicated to giving your case the time and attention needed to be successful.

We understand that facing criminal charges is difficult and overwhelming. In fact, we will be there to help you each step of the way. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your specific needs by calling the office at 954-400-5000.


Florida Drug Trafficking Statutes

Drug trafficking is taken seriously in Florida. Therefore, the penalties associated with this crime if you are found guilty are no less than life changing. From prison time to fines and much more, you could be facing a drastic life change if a judge and jury convicts you. In fact, not only will you have a permanent criminal record, but your relationships and career will be negatively affected. Here’s what you should know about Florida’s drug trafficking statutes and also how to get the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Florida Drug Trafficking Statutes by Substance

Florida penalizes drug trafficking according to the substance being trafficked.

Cocaine

  • 28-200 grams — $50,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment
  • 200-400 grams — $100,000 fine and 7 years imprisonment
  • 400 grams – 150 kilograms — $250,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment
  • 150+ kilograms — Life imprisonment without the option of parole

Heroin

  • 4-14 grams — $50,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment
  • 14-28 grams — $100,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment
  • 28 grams – 30 kilograms — $500,000 fine and 25 years imprisonment

Hydrocodone

  • 14-28 grams — $50,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment
  • 29-49 grams — $100,000 fine and 7 years imprisonment
  • 50-200 grams — $500,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment
  • 200 grams – 30 kilograms — $750,000 fine and 25 years imprisonment

Oxycodone

  • 7-14 grams — $50,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment
  • 14-25 grams — $100,000 fine and 7 years imprisonment
  • 15-100 grams — $500,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment
  • 100 grams – 30 kilograms — $750,000 fine and 25 years imprisonment

Methamphetamine

  • 14-28 grams — $50,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment
  • 28-200 grams — $100,000 fine and 7 years imprisonment
  • 200+ grams — $250,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment

LSD

  • 1-5 grams — $50,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment
  • 5-7 grams — $100,000 fine and 7 years imprisonment
  • 7+ grams — $500,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment

Ecstasy

  • 10-200 grams — $50,000 fine and 3 years imprisonment
  • 200-400 grams — $100,000 fine and 7 years imprisonment
  • 400+ grams — $250,000 fine and 15 years imprisonment

 Defenses Against Drug Trafficking Charges

If you’re facing drug trafficking charges, there are a few different defenses to use. In fact, your lawyer will help you determine which one is most likely to be successful in your case depending on the circumstances, facts, and evidence in your case. For example, you could argue actual innocence if the drugs are planted by someone else on you or your property. Or, you may be able to argue that the police illegally searched you. Illegal search and seizure is a very viable defense. It may keep the actual substances out of court evidence, making it harder for the prosecution to make a case against you.

Contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer Leah Mayersohn, Esq. Today

Don’t let drug trafficking charges ruin your life. Get help from an experienced drug trafficking attorney today to defend yourself and protect your rights under Florida law. Call now for a consultation at 954-400-5000.


DUI Manslaughter Charges

 

What Happens When Faced With DUI Manslaughter Charges?

An arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol is one thing. But an accident that causes someone else’s death as a result of drinking and driving is an entirely different and heartbreaking situation. While you never intended to cause the death of another person, the Florida criminal system will treat you harshly as a consequence for driving while intoxicated. Here’s how you can defend yourself against these serious charges with the help of a DUI lawyer.

How Test Results Can Be Struck from the Record

The heaviest evidence against you in a DUI manslaughter case is your BAC results. Field sobriety test results — if performed — are also important. Blood testing is most commonly used in DUI accidents since everyone involved is usually transported to the hospital.

The key in any DUI manslaughter case is to question the validity of the evidence and whether the results are accurate beyond a doubt. If an officer gave you a breathalyzer test but did not calibrate the equipment properly, the test could be invalid. Also, if you were given a blood test, your attorney may question the chain of custody. Any potential issues with how your blood was drawn, transferred to the lab, and tested could result in that evidence’s omission from court.

Should You Accept a Plea Deal?

In some cases, the evidence against the defendant is so overwhelming that the chance of a successful litigation is low. Your lawyer can help you evaluate what the prosecutor has against you and plans to bring in front of a jury. This will determine if it is in your best interest to look into a plea deal.

A plea deal could include pleading guilty to lesser charges, agreeing to mandatory alcohol treatment, both, or other penalties. However, they are almost always less than what you stand to incur if you go to court and are unsuccessful. Each case is different and your attorney can help you find the avenue that elicits the best possible outcome.

Contact a Florida DUI Lawyer Today

At Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense, we understand how difficult facing DUI manslaughter charges can be. We commit to aggressively advocating for your rights and freedoms under the law. Call now for a consultation at 954-400-5000.


The Four Steps to a Criminal Case

 

Dealing With A Criminal Case?

Being arrested and charged with a crime is a frightening and sobering experience. Therefore, if you’ve been charged with a crime, the time to act is now. It’s important to understand what will happen during your criminal case and what to expect as you move through the various stages of the Fort Lauderdale court system. Here’s what you need to know about the four steps to a criminal case.

1. The Arrest

The first stage of a criminal proceeding is the arrest. Once the arrest is made, the defendant can be released from jail on bond or on their own recognizance. In some cases, however, no bond is necessary. This typically occurs when the charges are dropped or when the defendant is taken straight to court for the arraignment.

2. The Arraignment

At the arraignment, you will be informed of your rights. This is your first court appearance, and simply exists to state the charges that are formally being filed against you and your right to contact an attorney. During the arraignment is when a defendant is required to enter in their formal plea of either guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

3. The Preliminary Hearing

A preliminary hearing is conducted in order for the judge assigned to the case to review all the evidence against the defendant and to determine if there is enough evidence available for the defendant to stand trial. Additionally, if it is determined that enough evidence exists, the prosecutor will file paperwork that requires the defendant to proceed to trial.

4. The Trial

Before the trial occurs, a jury must be selected by the attorneys of both sides — typically the prosecutor and the defendant’s criminal defense attorney. Then, evidence is presented by both sides in front of the judge and jury and the jury must use that evidence to determine if the defendant is guilty or not. If the defendant is found guilty, he or she is taken into custody immediately. If a not guilty verdict is returned, the defendant is free to go.

Contact Leah H. Mayersohn, Esq. Today

Leah H. Mayersohn, Esq. is a seasoned Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney with the experience and resources to guide you through California’s criminal justice system. When you work with Attorney Mayersohn, you can be confident that you have a strong, viable defense. Call today for a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case at 954-400-5000.


What You Need to Know About Prescription Drug Crimes

Penalties For Prescription Drug Offenses

Prescription drugs are used widely and regulated across the U.S. This is because many prescription drugs used for pain and mental illness are as potent and dangerous as drugs like heroin or methamphetamine when used improperly. If you were arrested for a prescription drug crime, it’s important that you learn what penalties you may have to face and what your best options are for defending yourself against this type of crime.

Prescription Drug Crimes Defined

Not all prescription drugs are regulated in the same way. It is generally only considered a criminal offense when the medications are of a controlled nature. Controlled medications include drugs used for ADHD, pain, and anxiety. Here are some of the most common forms of prescription drug crimes:

  • Selling prescription drugs to someone else for a profit (either acquiring to sell them or selling your “extra” pills)
  • Giving prescription drugs to a friend
  • Attempting to or successfully robbing a pharmacy in order to obtain controlled substances
  • Possessing prescription drugs that do not belong to you and were not prescribed to you by a licensed physician

What Penalties You May Face If Convicted of a Prescription Drug Crime

If you are charged with and found guilty of this type of crime, you may face severe penalties. A Criminal Defense Attorney will advise that penalties include but are not limited to fines and incarceration. How serious the penalties depends greatly on how serious the crime was that you were found guilty of. For example, if you purchased a few pain pills from an acquaintance, you may not incur as much jail time as if you sold or trafficked a large number of controlled drugs.

Regardless of the severity of the crime, any criminal penalties stand to change your life in a negative way. Jail time, fines, community service, probation, and mandatory drug counseling impact your career and relationships.

Contact a Prescription Drug Crimes Attorney Today

When you face any criminal charges — especially those related to prescription drugs — it’s important to have someone in your corner dedicated to fighting for your rights. At Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense, we will go to bat for you against prosecutors and will petition the court for the charges against you to be reduced or dismissed entirely.

Reach out to us today for a consultation to learn more about your legal options after being charged with a prescription drug crime. Call now at 954-400-5000.


Potential Defenses Against Money Laundering — A White Collar Crime

 

What You Need To Know About White Collar Crime

Money laundering, the mainstay of White Collar Crime, is a serious charge. If convicted, you can spend years in jail, depending on how much money was involved. Also, you will have a permanent criminal record, be ordered to pay high fines, and more.

In order to defend yourself against these charges, it’s critical that you work with a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Here are some examples of successful defenses against money laundering charges and how to protect your rights under the law.

Not Enough Evidence

A common defense is that there’s not enough evidence to convict you beyond the shadow of a doubt. To prove money laundering, the illegal funds are traced to their original source. Additionally, you must prove that the original source was an illegal activity. This is often difficult for prosecutors to do.

Coercion

If you or your family were threatened with death or bodily by another person participating in the crime, you can argue that you committed the crime under duress. Depending on the circumstances of your case, there is a small possibility that the charges are dropped completely when arguing duress. But, more often than not, a successful duress argument results in reduced charges.

You Did Not Intend to Launder Money

As with any crime, it is necessary for prosecutors to prove that you intended to commit the crime. In fact, in the absence of intent, it’s difficult for the charges to stick. In some cases, a person who launders money is not aware that the source of the money was an illegal activity. If you are unaware of what was happening or you had no intent to launder money, you could have the charges dismissed.

Seasoned Criminal Defense

All of these defenses — and more — require a seasoned criminal defense lawyer. The attorney will help you gather the evidence to strengthen your case and combat the evidence presented against you by the prosecution. At Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense, we believe that the Constitution affords everyone the right to a strong defense, no matter the crime. We commit to presenting your case in the best possible light to increase your chances of a dismissal or reduced charges.

Call today for a consultation to discuss the specifics of your case during a consultation at 954-400-5000.


How to Challenge Charges of Shoplifting

 

The Lowdown On Shoplifting

Many people don’t take shoplifting charges seriously, but you have every reason to. A shoplifting charge may or may not cause incarceration. However, you will deal with fines, mandatory community service, and a permanent criminal record. If you are charged with shoplifting, don’t wait to hire an attorney. Here’s how your lawyer might challenge the charges against you.

No Intent to Steal

A primary element a prosecutor must prove in a shoplifting case is that the defendant intended to take the items. Many people actually forget to pay when they leave the store. Or, if they realized they forgot to pay for an item, they may try to return it. If the defendant had no intent to steal, then it logically follows that no crime actually took place.

Mistaken Identity

Many shoplifting cases rely on video footage of the plaintiff taking items from a store. However, surveillance footage is often grainy and it can be difficult to make out specific facial features or other identifying marks that would make it possible to match the person in the video to the plaintiff beyond the shadow of a doubt. While this defense may not always be applicable, it sometimes proves useful if a defense attorney believes they can make the jury question who was really in the video.

Discounting Witness Statements

If no video footage is available, many prosecutors will attempt to call witnesses who will say that they saw the plaintiff take items from the store. However, witness statements can often be discredited for a variety of reasons. In fact, a witness with poor vision may be considered unreliable, or there may be a witness who stands to gain something from pointing the finger at the defendant.

Take Shoplifting Charges Seriously — Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

Don’t let shoplifting charges change your life and make it more difficult for you to get a job, obtain credit, or even rent an apartment. If you’ve been arrested for shoplifting, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can defend you and increase the chances that the charges against you will be reduced or dismissed entirely.

Contact Leah H. Mayersohn, Esq. at Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense today for a consultation by calling 954-400-5000.