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.


Do You Have A Right To Remain Silent In Florida?

Were you or a loved one arrested in Florida?

If you have been arrested or have concerns for a family or friend, you may be interested in what your legal rights are. You may have heard of the term Miranda Rights and want to know more.

Miranda Rights

Miranda warnings are often misunderstood.  Some believe that if your Miranda rights are not provided to you, your charges are not valid or that your arrest is not legal. This is not necessarily the case.  It must be understood that after your arrest if you are questioned without having had your Miranda Rights read to you, your arrest may still be legal, while the second element, the element of questioning may not be legal. When you are under arrest, if law enforcement questions you without providing you with your rights, the questioning itself is questions but the arrest may not be.

My Miranda Rights Weren’t Read To Me

If you were arrested and questioned by a police officer and did not receive your Miranda Rights, you will want to relay this to your Florida Criminal Defense attorney immediately. Any statement that you may have made while under arrest without Miranda may be considered illegal and illustrate that your statement was not voluntary. The latter can indicate that any statements that you made without your Miranda may not be used against you.

In addition, any evidence yielded as a result of the statements that you made may also be inadmissible.  The Miranda sets out your rights and when provided to you states that you have the right to remain silent,i.e. “anything you say can and will be used against you”. A Criminal Defense Attorney will advise that remaining silent is a right that you have under the Miranda Warning and thus, cannot be used against you in a court of law.

Remain Cooperative While Invoking Your Rights

Always remain calm and cordial when dealing with law enforcement in any situation or circumstance, this is for your own safety. With that said, this does not mean that you have to provide additional information or cues that may ultimately result in your conviction.  It is not your job to prove your guilt.  Get help from a qualified criminal defense attorney today.

 


Criminal Charges In Florida

The Consequences Of Criminal Allegations

Many situations can culminate in circumstances where one may find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Regardless of our classifications in social or societal normals. It does not matter what your level of education is, what professional title you hold, or your place of residence. Any one person can either be in the wrong place at the wrong time or be susceptible to a mistake that leads to an arrest.  Depending on what those circumstances are, it is possible to have severe fines, penalties, and imprisonment imposed on you.

Your Rights And Your Freedom

Your freedom may depend on the help of an experienced Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer.  The fact is, you cannot expect law enforcement to guide you to a favorable outcome as your interests and their interests are not the same. A qualified defense attorney will relay your rights to you, investigate and comb over all of the facts that lead to your arrest and strategize on how best to defend you.

Common Criminal Charges In Florida

Law Enforcement is tough on suspected criminals and the accused in the state of Florida. This means that you may have been in a situation or part of a situation that could be perceived as criminal activity.  The most common criminal charges in Florida are related to drug charges, including, abuse of drugs, trafficking, and possession. In addition to those crimes, DUI, Assault, and theft are commonly on the radar.

Drug crimes most notably at the center–can cause havoc on an individual.  Facing drug charges in Florida can mean that you are facing very harsh charges and even penalties that become mandatory under the law. Drug charges do not have much leniency.  The same is true for Theft Crimes which can encompass crimes like misappropriation or even conversion or larceny.

Get Immediate Assistance With Fighting Your Criminal Charges

Both Drug and Theft crimes can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, and both are incremental with the charges. It is vital that you speak to a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney immediately as both theft and drug crimes carry serious consequences that will alter your life and future. Get ahead of your defense by speaking to our office today.


What Should I Do If I Have Been Accused of Domestic Violence in Florida?

Domestic Violence Charges In Florida

A fight that got out of hand or a person who is trying to place the blame on you for a heated argument that went two ways can put your individual reputation or even your freedom at risk. This is what happens when the police are called to a domestic situation or when a loved one accuses you of domestic violence in the state of Florida.

Have you been accused of the crime of domestic violence in Florida? You cannot afford to wait to get experienced criminal representation. A Fort Lauderdale domestic violence defense attorney is there to advise you about your rights and to verify the strength of the alleged evidence on the part of the prosecution.

Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges In Florida

Engaging in a Fort Lauderdale domestic violence defense lawyer immediately after being accused will give you much more peace of mind about what to anticipate and common mistakes to avoid. Unfortunately, because domestic violence is on the rise throughout Florida and around the country, there are basic guidelines you need to follow if you have been accused. What seems like a minor mistake after being arrested could haunt you for a long time. Domestic violence can include aggravated battery, sexual battery, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, false imprisonment, kidnapping, or criminal offenses that lead to physical injury or death of a household or family member.

Wait For Guidance From Your Attorney

Do not tell the police anything about what happened when you have been arrested. Do not sign any written statements and beware that if a restraining order has been applied in your case, that you should not reach out to the victim under any circumstances. As soon as possible after you have been accused of domestic violence, you need to express your right to speak to your Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney immediately.

Protect Yourself

The police must provide you with this opportunity, and they might try to get you to cooperate by providing additional information directly to them, but you should not do this until you have had a chance to speak directly to your lawyer. This helps to avoid common mistakes and to protect your reputation and your freedom.  


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.   


Understanding White Collar Criminal Allegations in the State of Florida

Facing any type of crime should prompt you to retain a criminal defense attorney immediately, but it is also extremely important to recognize when white collar crimes can have a damaging impact on your future. It is a huge mistake to assume that because you are under investigation for a white collar crime, that you can ignore this matter. The penalties for nay white collar crime in the state of Florida can be steep, depending on the amount of money allegedly involved and the nature of the crime.

You could be facing felony or misdemeanor charges and time in jail and fine may be applied even with first degree and second degree misdemeanors. There are many different types of white collar crimes and many fall under the general umbrella or fraud. White collar crimes are typically committed for financial gain and are nonviolent crime.

They can include insurance fraud, forgery, credit card fraud, Medicaid fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and more. Even being accused of a white collar crime can have a significant impact on your future and understanding appropriate defense strategies for white collar crimes is critical.

The right defense, and being able to get your lawyer involved in the process as soon as possible, are both very important for you to be able to fight back when accused of a white collar crime. 

The elements of evidence in the crime must be looked at and there may be evidence or pieces in the case that need to be viewed differently. There are many different documents typically included in the discovery package, making it all the more important to retain a criminal defense attorney in Florida who is highly knowledgeable about responding to white collar crime allegations. You deserve to have an attorney who has represented others in this situation before and has helped to protect the victim as well as the reputation.   

 


What to Do If You’re Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Being accused of any crime is an unwelcome experience, but being accused of domestic violence can have far-reaching implications for you and your family. You must be prepared to know what to do if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence.

 

Being able to handle the situation in a calm manner can make a difference between enjoying a free and happy future or facing jail time. The sooner that you schedule a consultation directly with an experienced criminal defense attorney, the better position you will be in to proceed with protecting your best interests.

 

The first thing to do after being falsely accused of domestic violence is to remain calm and to contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney. It is strongly recommended that you avoid contact with your accuser during this time period, even if you believe that the situation is a simple misunderstanding.

 

The truth is that if the other party has gone after a restraining order against you, or is accusing you of harassing him or her, this information could be used against you if you try to reach out to resolve the issues on your own. The support of an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you to avoid some of these costly mistakes that could end up leaving you behind bars. It is far better to get the support of a lawyer who understands how an allegation of domestic violence cannot only affect your freedom and the possibility of a criminal record, but also your overall reputation and character.

Don’t let a domestic violence allegation turn your life upside down. Make sure you have a criminal lawyer who will uncover all the evidence possible to support you. 

 


What You Should Know About Florida’s Most Commonly Charged Violent Crimes

Violent crimes involve criminal offenses, using violence or the threat of force. They may also even involve the mere threat of force or violence, even if that threat was not pursued by the person accused. The term violent crime in the state of Florida covers a broad spectrum of offenses, including simple assault, sexual assault, aggravated assault, murder and robbery. Violent crimes can happen in two ways.

First of all, they may happen where violence is the primary objective of the crime, but they can also occur when the violence is seen as a means to an end. One of the most common types of violent crimes alleged in the state of Florida is assault. Assault means that if there was an intentional threat or use of force against another person, that actual contact does not need to occur in order for the person to be effectively charged with assault.

Assault is often charged as a misdemeanor but it can also be elevated to the felony level. Battery is another common violent crime that is similar to assault, except it requires that actual physical contact occurred between the victim and the suspect, or between the victim and a weapon.

In more than half of all the robberies that occur, a victim is confronted with a weapon, such as a gun or a knife.

The primary use of this weapon is to instill fear. But someone who has been accused of a violent crime with the commission of a weapon may face much higher penalties and outcomes. Sexual assault is a form of forcible rape, or non-sexual contact that may also be charged as a violent crime.

The most serious of all violent crimes charged across Florida and the remainder of the country are those involving homicide, such as manslaughter and murder. If you are facing any of these types of charges, it is imperative that you consult with a criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later to figure out your next steps and how to protect yourself.     

 


Scheme to Defraud in FL: What You Must Know

Understanding a scheme to defraud in Florida — if you have recently been accused of a scheme to defraud in Florida, it is imperative that you retain experienced legal representation as soon as possible. There are three primary elements associated with a violation of Florida Statute 817.034, also known as a scheme to defraud. The first is that the accused person must have engaged in an ongoing or systematic course of conduct, with the intent to obtain property or defraud one or more persons, through fraudulent representations, pretenses or willful misrepresentation.

Organized fraud is punished very severely, because it is committed when a person actually obtains another person’s property associated with a scheme to defraud. This is distinct from the allegations associated with communications fraud. Communications fraud is committed when an individual communicates with a person by telephone, the mail or electronic means with the intent to obtain property fraudulently. The penalties for organized fraud are based on the value of the property that was actually obtained during a scheme to defraud. The penalties can — the penalties are associated with whether or not the property involved was less than $20,000, valued at between $20,000 and $50,000 or valued at $50,000 or more.

Organized fraud of $50,000 or more can carry thousands of dollars in fines and up to 30 years in prison or probation. These serious consequences associated with organized fraud make it all the more important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

Any serious criminal allegation holds the potential for you to face penalties including time behind bars. If you want to avoid these situations, it’s best to talk directly with a lawyer who will help you protect your life going forward. 


Do I Have Any Defenses to Driving with a Suspended License?

If you have recently been informed that you are being accused of a crime or another violation associated with driving with a suspended license, you need to take action quickly to figure out the most appropriate way to proceed. There are possible defenses to driving with a suspended license, but you need to take action immediately and hire a lawyer who has been practicing in this field for numerous years. It can be hard to figure out what to do next when you find yourself in this situation, but the support of an attorney who can help you raise a compelling defense could help you avoid serious consequences. Many strategies and defenses may be available to help you defeat a suspended license charge or to decrease the potential penalties. Examples include:

·      The accused person was not driving at the time.

·      There were legal challenges to question the validity of the traffic stop.

·      The Florida driver’s license had been reinstated or there was adequate reason to believe that it had been reinstated at the time the person was pulled over.

·      The vehicle was not classified as a motor vehicle for the purposes of the Florida driver’s license statute.

·      The accused was not driving on a public highway at the time.

·      The accused did not know the cancellation, suspension or revocation.

When there are no viable defenses available to a charge like this, your criminal defense attorney should look to renegotiate with the prosecution or have the charge amended to no valid Florida driver’s license. This can often happen when you have a minimal driving record to begin with or in which you get a valid Florida driver’s license prior to going forward with trial. An experienced attorney is there to help you for the duration of your claim and you should never minimize the potential consequences of being accused of a crime involving driving on a suspended license. The consequences can be severe.