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Knowing when the police are permitted and not permitted to impound your vehicle is important if you are ever pulled over. Getting your car out of impound is a frustrating and potentially expensive process that most people would prefer to avoid. Police cannot impound your car without reason; here is when they can make that choice.

1. Evidence of a Crime

When someone is arrested, the police officer is permitted to search their person to retrieve evidence. This is called “search incident to arrest.” You may not, in other words, be searched simply because you were pulled over for speeding or another minor traffic violation.
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Depending on what type of crime you have been arrested for, an officer may suspect that there is evidence of that crime in your vehicle. They may also consider the vehicle itself to be evidence of the crime. In either of these cases, police are permitted to impound your vehicle.

If your car is impounded for this reason, it could be a very long time before you get it back. If your vehicle is used as evidence, you may have to wait until your trial has concluded to retrieve it. Alternatively, a judge may decide to seize your vehicle altogether.

2. Hazard to Public Safety

Police officers are tasked with the job of keeping the public safe. If an officer believes that you’re vehicle is a hazard to public safety, they can impound it. This may happen when:

  • You are pulled over and arrested and have no one who can come and remove your car from the road for you.
  • Your vehicle is a danger to public safety.
  • Having your car impounded is in your best interest — sitting on the roadside will make it a target for vandalism or theft.

What a police officer cannot do is impound your car because they want to search it later. They have to follow normal procedures to tow your car. What they can do, however, is search it once it has made it to the impound lot in order to take an inventory of your property.

For example, you are pulled over and arrested for DUI. You have no one who can come and get your car for you and you have no passengers who are able to drive. The officer can make the decision to have your car impounded and they may conduct an inventory search once it has arrived at the tow yard.

When your car is impounded you may asked to be different fees to retrieve it. There could be a towing fee and then an impounding fee for the first several days. The impounding fee may go up if you are not able to get your car out quickly. These fees are typically paid directly to the towing company.

If you have been arrested in Orlando, call our team for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your arrest and charges, and we will advise you of all of your legal options. Call now.

You may have missed it if you weren’t watching closely. Late last year, just before Christmas rolled around, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that any person with a prescription for medical cannabis who was charged with DUI had the right to contest those charges. This would force law enforcement officials who issued the charges to prove that the person had an amount of THC in their system that impaired their ability to drive safely. Proving how much THC a person has in their system while they are behind the wheel is difficult as there are no immediately accurate tests available.
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In 2013, Nadir Ishak was arrested in the city of Mesa. An officer watched as Ishak’s car drifted into another lane and pulled him over. The officer noted that Ishak had bloodshot eyes. Ishak was ultimately charged with driving with cannabis in his system and driving under the influence. He was convicted of the cannabis charge, but not the DUI. According to reports, Ishak was denied the ability to present evidence to the court that he was registered through the state as a medical cannabis patient.

In the opinion of the court, Judge Diane M. Johnsen stated that having any amount of cannabis in the system does not preclude a person from driving safely. Driving abilities are not automatically impaired. The opinion also states that there is no wording in the law that says when a person with cannabis in their system is considered impaired. Therefore, it is reasonable that those charged with DUI because of having cannabis in their system be permitted to challenge the charge.

The appeals court ruled that a person charged with DUI due to cannabis can present evidence that they were not impaired through cross examination. The defendant may question the arresting officer and forensic scientists called to testify by the state. How this ruling will affect laws or the workings of other courts across the country remains to be seen.

As it stands, people who a police officer believes to be impaired due to having THC in their system and driving in a way that is not safe may be charged with driving under the influence. If these people attempt to contest their charges, they may, but without a ruling such as this in their own state, the contesting of those charges may be difficult. For now. Thanks to the ruling in Arizona, that may change in the near future.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Orlando, it is important to understand that a conviction could have lifelong consequences. While a first instinct may be to plead guilty and accept your fate, doing so could cost you greatly. It is in your best interest to consult an attorney experienced in DUI law. Reach out to our team for a free case evaluation and learn about your legal options. We are here to help you defend yourself against your charges.

Chances are you have seen the following scenario on a television program or in a movie: A person is accused of a crime and begins to act slightly atypical in preparation for an insanity defense. The person is declared insane, and the case is wrapped up without the defendant going to jail. In real life, being declared legally insane or not competent to stand trial is a bit more complicated.

In order to be declared legally insane, a defendant must prove several things to the court. A court must believe that the person did not know right from wrong, that they did not understand what they were doing when they committed the crime, or that they acted on uncontrollable impulse. These are just a few examples of what a defendant must show in order to be declared insane for the purposes of a defense.
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In states that allow the insanity defense, of which Florida is one, courts may use one or a combination of the following tests:

1. The “M’Naghten Rule” – This is a “disease of mind” test. The defendant’s attorney must show that their client did not understand what they did or could not distinguish right from wrong.

2. “Irresistible Impulse” – The defendant was not able to control their impulses due to some mental disease.

3. The “Durham Rule” – A mental defect on behalf of the defendant directly resulted in the criminal act. This rule does not take into account any diagnosed illness.

4. “Model Penal Code” – The defendant has a diagnosed mental defect and, because of that defect, failed to understand that what they were doing was a crime or could not act within the confines of the law.

Because of these tests or rules, pleading insanity is not a viable option in many criminal cases. It is very difficult to prove that a person acted in a certain way due to mental illness. Even with a diagnosed mental illness, a defendant may still be aware of what is right and wrong or be able to control their impulses.

The rules set forth to distinguish an insanity defense are put in place, partly, to protect the innocent victims of crime. Without the tests, it would be very easy for a criminal defendant to claim that they were unable to control their actions during the commission of a crime. It should be noted that an insanity defense is different from a “heat of the moment” defense in which a defendant reacted to a situation with passion and without forethought or lost control of themselves for a period of time.

If you have been accused of a crime in Orlando, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Reach out to our team of lawyers today for a free case evaluation. We will discuss the details of your charges at no cost to you and advise you of the best way forward. Call now to speak with a member of our team or browse our website for more information about the types of crimes we have successfully defended.

When a trial is not completed successfully, there is said to have been a “mistrial.” The trial is terminated rather than concluded, and the entire process that occurred is declared void. A mistrial occurs at some point in a trial before the judge or a jury returns a decision. A mistrial can be asked for by either side at any point in the proceedings.

A mistrial can occur when:

  • A member of the jury dies. An alternate juror may be seated or the judge may determine that declaring a mistrial is in order.
  • An attorney dies. A mistrial can occur when an attorney for either side passes away during the proceedings.
  • An error occurs during the trial that is fundamentally unfair to the defendant. This error cannot be cured by giving instructions to the jury.
  • Any type of jury misconduct. This may include conducting an independent investigation, having contact with one of the parties involved in the trial, or refusing to adhere to a rule set forth by the sitting judge.
  • The jury is unable to come to a verdict and declare themselves to be hopelessly deadlocked. A judge may instruct the jury to attempt to come to a verdict one more time before declaring a mistrial.

When a judge formally declares a mistrial, the proceedings are stopped immediately. The defendant is not convicted, but nor are they acquitted. When a mistrial is declared, the prosecution has two options: Drop the charges or retry the case. In some instances, a judge may disallow a prosecutor to retry the case but this is not typical. In almost all instances, a prosecutor is given permission to move ahead if they move for a new trial.

There is some question as to whether retrying a case after a mistrial has been declared is unconstitutional. The thought behind this is that double jeopardy should come into play. In other words, a person cannot be tried for the same charges twice. So far, the Supreme Court has held that a retrial does not invoke double jeopardy and is therefor permissible under current constitutional law.

While mistrials do not occur often, they do happen. An experienced criminal defense attorney will stay aware during a proceeding, looking for evidence of juror misbehavior, testimony that prejudices a judge or jury, or other factors that may enforce a mistrial ruling. It is important that criminal defendants are aware that mistrials do not occur in real life as often as they are depicted on television. Most attorneys are very careful to follow the letter of the law during a trial in order to avoid the expense related to having to try a case for a second time.

If you have been charged with a crime in Orlando, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting by your side. Call our team today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your charges and arrest and advise you of the options available to you under current state law.

In the aftermath of the presidential election, many groups are organizing protests and marches. These organized activities can occur for any number of reasons and, when they take place in Florida, it is important for citizens of the state to understand their rights and responsibilities. If you will be participating in one of the upcoming marches or can see yourself protesting in the future, here is what you need to know.

You Have the Right to Protest

Any person in the United States has the right to peaceful protest as outlined by the U.S. Constitution. The government can, however, impose restrictions regarding the time, place and manner in which those protests are held. The government or, in this case, law enforcement officials, can enact these restrictions as long as they are not based on the subject of the protest.

You Have the Right to Speak

When protesting or marching, participants have the right to speak freely. That said, participants do not have the right to incite riots or provoke people to perform illegal actions. Obscene speech and malicious statements against public officials are not protected.

You Have the Right to Act

In general, participants in protests and marches have the right to act. They may march, chant, hold signs and the like. They can also engage observers or protesters on the opposite side of the issue, so long as it is done peacefully.

Participants do not have the right to block building entrances or harass people physically. Participants may not gather on private property without permission from the property owner.

How to Behave With Law Enforcement

Just because people have these rights, it doesn’t mean that they won’t find themselves in an encounter with police. If this occurs, participants do not have to answer an officer’s questions. They do have to produce their identification if asked to do so. A person does not have to consent to a search of their person or their belongings beyond a “pat down” for weapons.

If a protestor or marcher finds themselves under arrest, they have the right to contact an attorney. A person who has been arrested may provide biographical information to the police, but they are urged to enact their Miranda Rights when questioned further. No person should feel forced to answer questions and should consult an attorney before doing so.

Protesting as a way to state an opinion is a right of every citizen, provided that citizen is protesting in a way that doesn’t harm anyone else. Keep this in mind if you will be marching or protesting in the near future. While there is a type of freedom in being able to state your mind in a public way, there is also the possibility of finding yourself on the wrong side of the law if things get out of hand.

If you are arrested in Orlando after participating in a march or protest, call our office. We are here to protect your rights. Reach out to our experienced attorneys to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation today.

If you have been charged with a crime, you may find yourself in court. You and your attorney will have spoken at length, and chances are you already know about the evidence the prosecution will attempt to use against you. An attorney experienced in criminal defense knows how to suppress evidence, and may file motions to suppress in order to get certain pieces of evidence thrown out before it can be used against you.

The Exclusionary Rule

When evidence is gathered illegally, it is thrown out of court using the exclusionary rule. This prevents the prosecution from using evidence which may violate your Fourth Amendment rights. For example, evidence that was gathered during an illegal search of your vehicle cannot be used against you in court. Violations of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments may also be used to suppress evidence.

Reasons to Suppress

The court may use a variety of reasons to suppress evidence in a criminal proceeding. There are few exceptions to the rules the police must follow. Here are common reasons that evidence may be suppressed before it is admitted into a proceeding.

Unlawful Search and Seizure: In almost all cases, police must have a warrant to search your home and vehicle. Probable cause must be used to secure a search warrant in order to gather evidence in a case.

Miranda Rights: You can say anything you want to the police and it can be used against you. That said, those must be voluntary utterances. Once the police decide to start asking you questions, they must first read you your Miranda Rights or the Miranda Warning. These rights tell you that you do not have to speak to the police without a lawyer present. If the police question you with having read you your rights, the answers you give may be suppressed.

Errors in Chain of Custody: When evidence is gathered legally, it must pass through a chain of custody. Every time it is handled, handed off or stored, there must be a form filled out and signed. This is called the chain of custody. If that chain is broken and it can be proved that evidence was mishandled, that evidence may be suppressed by the court.


As in anything in life, there are exceptions. Even if the police make mistakes or behave improperly, there may be situations in which evidence will not be suppressed.

Inevitable Discovery: When evidence is gathered illegally but a judge believes that it would have eventually been discovered anyway, it may still be admitted, a doctrine based on a court case from 1984.

Good Faith: When police make a mistake despite acting in good faith, evidence gathered may or may not be suppressed. For example, a police searches based on what they believe to be a good warrant only to find out the warrant had some type of clerical error, the evidence may still be admitted.

Independent Source: If an independent party could have provided the same evidence that would have otherwise been suppressed, a judge may allow it to enter the proceedings.

This is only a brief explanation of the suppression of evidence. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Orlando, call our office as soon as possible. We will review the details of your unique case and advise you of your options.

I object, your Honor!

If you watch any legal drama on television, chances are you’ve heard this exclamation more than once. We all know that television shows exaggerate in the name of entertainment, but this is one area that they typically get right. Objections are used in hearings and trials every day in an attempt to keep things fair for all involved. Here are some of the most common objections used and what they mean.

1. Hearsay

When you or someone else testifies in court, you cannot tell the court what someone else said. You must have been a firsthand witness to the event in question. You cannot say, “He told me…” or “She said…” without having the opposing side object very quickly. This is called hearsay evidence and is not admissible in court.

2. Speculation

You cannot be asked what you think when you are on the witness stand. For example, your attorney cannot ask you why you think someone may have acted in a certain way. It isn’t for you to say why you believe a defendant may have committed a crime. There is a single exception to this rule, and that is in the case of expert witnesses. These professionals are permitted to offer their opinions when asked to do so.

3. Relevance

The things a person is asked to speak to must be relevant to the case. You cannot be asked to speak about something or answer questions about a topic that has not been introduced in the proceedings. For example, when you are being cross-examined, the opposing attorney can only ask questions regarding what has already been testified to or introduced to the court.

4. Asked and Answered

This is to keep the trial process moving along. Your attorney will offer an objection if the other attorney asks you a question that has already been answered,   XModGames APK Download V2.3.5 or if the other attorney asks you two questions in one. These objections have to do with the nature of questioning.   gmail password reset A judge may tell the attorney to move along or, in the case of multiple questions in one, order the attorney to rephrase.

5. Leading the Witness

An attorney cannot phrase a question in such a way that they lead the witness to the answer. For example, an attorney may ask, “Why did you go into the store?” but not, “You didn’t enter the store with the intent to rob it, did you?” Many leading questions are yes or no questions and easily picked up on by both the opposing attorney and the judge.

While some of the things you see in courtroom dramas are not exactly what happens in reality, the objections you see are typically true to life. If you find yourself in trial, expect to hear at least one of these objections on the part of an attorney.

If you have been arrested for a crime in Orlando, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Reach out to our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your arrest and subsequent charges and advise you of your options.

January is a time when people decide that it’s time to get fit, eat less, quit smoking, and generally get healthier. New Year’s resolutions are made and quickly forgotten as life gets in the way. Instead of making a resolution that you aren’t likely to stick to, why not concentrate on making this year a safer one?

We are generally protected by the police and other members of law enforcement in our communities, but our first line of defense is ourselves. When we are more aware of our own safety and stake steps to protect it, we are much better off. Here are ways that you can make this year the safest one yet for you and your family.

1. Identity Theft

Identity theft is old news to some, until they are dealing with it personally. Don’t get negligent or complacent when it comes to protecting your identity. Review your bank and credit card statements regularly, and remove your personal information from websites where it has been stored.

2. Parking

You will go the store several times in the coming months. Keep parking safety in mind. Always park in well-lit areas, have your keys in your hand when approaching your vehicle, and ask for an escort from the store staff if you are walking to your vehicle alone in the dark.

3. Stay Aware

It is easy to let our guard down when we are walking with a purpose. Whether you are exercising or trying to get into a building, keep your wits about you. Complacency is the enemy when you are moving about. Know where you are, pay attention to the people around you and keep your personal belongings tucked out of sight.

4. Driving

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t drive if you’ve been drinking. That said, it is also important that you keep a first aid and emergency kit in your car. Keep an eye on the weather reports to know what type of conditions you will be driving in. If you come across a disabled vehicle on the side of the road, call emergency services but be careful about stopping.

5. At Home

Make sure that you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed. Help to deter theft by making sure your exterior is well lit and landscaping is cut back away from doors and windows. If you don’t already have one, consider having a security system installed.

Keeping yourself safe in the new year should be a priority. Follow the tips above to make sure that you and your family have the best year that you can have. Don’t make the mistake of relying on anyone else to ensure the safety of you, your property and your loved ones.

If you find yourself charged with a crime and arrested in Orlando, reach out to our team. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation and advise you of the options available to you. Call today or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.

Scams are abound any time of year, but they tend to ramp up during the holiday season when people are a bit more free with their funds. Scammers are not just sitting behind computer screens. They are out and about at malls, airports and anywhere the general public can be found. Here are five of the top holiday scams to be on the lookout for.

1. Internet

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You know about identity theft. You never store your financial information online, and you know to look for the https before a URL to ensure your safety. Unfortunately, people visit and purchase from shops they’ve never frequented before in search of just the right gift. Scammers know this and put up fake sites.

The websites look very professional and safe. The problem is you won’t know you’ve been scammed immediately. You may not even know you were scammed until you do some digging when your package never shows up. If you aren’t familiar with an online store, do a bit of research before you make a purchase.

2. Charities

People have a sense of giving around the holidays that they may not possess during the rest of the year. You will run into bell ringers at several stores, but are they all legitimate? The answer is no. If you want to give to a charity, you can do so online if you aren’t sure about that person standing outside of the store.

3. The Mall

You’re shopping in the mall and you’ve found some great items. You head to the checkout only to discover that your wallet is missing. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to fall victim to thieves, especially in large crowds. Keep your wallet in your front pocket and use a crossbody bag if you carry a purse.

4. Cash Registers

It’s not unusual for shoppers to be short-changed at the register, whether intentionally or not. Be aware of the approximate total of your items and how much change you should be getting back. Pay attention to the bills you are handing the clerk and wait patiently as they count your change. A hurried clerk is more likely to hand you the wrong amount of money.

5. At Home

You are expecting a package and think it is strange that the delivery driver left a note on your door instead of leaving the package. You shrug your shoulders and call the number on the notice. You’ve just been scammed. It doesn’t always happen like this, but it is more common than you may think. Before you make any phone calls, get online and check the tracking information for your package. Some of these phone numbers will find you waiting for hours on hold, racking up your phone bill the whole time.

If you are arrested for any crime in Orlando during the holiday season, we are here for you. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your options. Call today.

shutterstock_251841604It’s something that we’ve all seen on television at least once. Cops in a crime drama slap their handcuffs on a person and read them their rights. They tell the person that they have the right to remain silent, and that anything they say can be used against them in a court of law. This is actually one of the few things that have a basis in truth.

The notorious case of Miranda v. Arizona protects a person’s right to not say anything to police. This correlates with the Fifth Amendment privilege that says people cannot be forced to incriminate themselves. People must be read their rights before being questioned by the police. One of these rights is that to remain silent. A person may also stop any questioning at any point, even if they have agreed to provide answers.

The Timing of Your Rights

Many people believe that they have to be read their rights as soon as they are arrested. This is not the case. A person must be read their rights when they are in custody and going to be interrogated by law enforcement. Miranda rights have nothing to do with being arrested. They solely apply to being questioned.

When a person is not read their rights, anything they say to the police cannot be used against them. This is true of people who are in custody. However, if a police officer asks questions before you are in custody, you do not have to be read your rights. Experienced law enforcement officers will tell a suspect that they are not under arrest and then ask questions.

When Silence Can Be Used Against You

If you are questioned out of custody and choose to remain silent, your silence could be used as evidence of your guilt. This is thanks to a Supreme Court decision handed down in 2013. It said in part, that the prosecution in a case could comment on a person’s silence when:

  • they were out of police custody and not given their Miranda rights
  • they voluntarily submitted to questioning, and
  • they stayed silent without expressing their Fifth Amendment rights.

Even if you are not under arrest, the court says that you must use words such as “I invoke my right against self-incrimination” in order to not have your silence used against you.

What to Say

You want to invoke your rights and aren’t sure what to say. There are several phrases that you can use, but the best is, “I wish to exercise my Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.” If you do not use words to this affect and choose to stay silent, you could be wishing that you had spoken up later.

After stating your wish to remain silent, the only other thing you should say is, “I wish to speak with my attorney.” If you have been arrested in Orlando or the surrounding area, reach out to our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys. We are here for you and ready to defend you. Call now to schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation. We are here for you as you fight for your rights in court.

shutterstock_118347970If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you may want to pay close attention to this next sentence: Social media can hurt your case. If you think that what you post to social media is private, think again. No matter how secure your settings, if the police want to search through your social media account, all they need is a warrant to do so.

You Are Not Anonymous

Many people have a false sense of security sitting behind their keyboards. It’s important to understand that anything you post is ultimately public. Communications on social media may seem harmless, but they can hurt your case faster than you believe possible. Your privacy settings guarantee absolutely nothing.

Examples of Evidence

Anything that you post to social media could potentially used as evidence. Common examples of the most frequent information used includes:

  • Descriptions of behavior
  • Photos of drug use or paraphernalia
  • Information that places people at the scene of a crime
  • Information that shows premeditation
  • Information that may implicate a person in illegal activity

Deleting Information

Some people think that if they hurry to eliminate information from their social media accounts, that it cannot be used against them. When a person takes the time to delete information, they may be found in contempt of court or even charged with destroying evidence.

Lessons Learned

If anyone should learn anything from social media in the criminal court, it is this: If you don’t want someone to know, don’t post it. That includes information, photographs and videos. If you are arrested and charged with a crime, do not delete information from your social media account or remove your page. A best practice is to get into the habit of keeping your private life private. No matter what you post on social media, it can be used against you in a court of law.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Orlando or the surrounding area, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney fighting for your rights in court. Do not assume that you can’t afford an attorney. Call our office and schedule a free case evaluation. It doesn’t cost anything to seek advice. Call today or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.

shutterstock_1244745There are many crimes for which a juvenile may be held accountable in the same way as an adult. When a child commits a serious felony, they may appear in front of a judge and jury in the adult system and have their sentence handed to them by a group of people that doesn’t understand their history or emotional state. This can be very frightening for parents and guardians.

While their are definite disadvantages to being tried in adult court, their are advantages as well. Here is a list of both.

Advantages of Being Heard in Adult Court

In certain cases, it is in the child’s best interest to be heard in the adult system.

  • When in an adult court, juveniles have a right to jury. In most states, this is not possible in the juvenile system, where only a judge or magistrate is present.
  • Juries sitting in an adult court may be more sympathetic to a child than they would to a person of age.
  • A juvenile’s case may move more quickly through the adult system, especially in areas where the juvenile system is bogged down.

Disadvantages of Being Heard in Adult Court

In other instances, being heard in adult court is not in the best interest of the child. Disadvantages include:

  • Juveniles heard in adult court are subject to more severe sentencing. It is rare for a child to be sentenced to life-without-parole, but is is a possibility.
  • The range of sentences in juvenile court is wider.
  • The child may be forced to spend time in an adult prison instead of a juvenile detention facility.
  • A conviction in an adult court will not be sealed once the child turns 18.
  • There is more social stigma for a child who is sentenced as an adult.

No matter where your child is being heard, knowing that your child is facing serious consequences for their alleged actions can be frightening and stressful. When your child is accused of committing a crime in Orlando, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney assisting your child and your family. Call our team today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.