RJ Ferraro, III, has been a criminal defense lawyer serving clients in and around Florida’s Treasure Coast and the Palm Beaches since 2001. His practices is focused on representing individuals charged with crimes in both State and Federal Court. RJ has handled everything from routine traffic tickets to capital felonies.
Despite the fact that the law is constantly changing, ignorance is never a defense. With that in mind, the purpose of this blog is to discuss the issues that continue to re-surface on a consistent basis, and to answer many of the simple questions that people charged with a crime often contemplate.
If you are charged with a crime, the attorneys of the Ferraro Law Group, PL in Stuart, Florida are here for you.
Contact the Stuart, Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys of the Ferraro Law Group, PL today to set up a free and confidential consultation. We are available by phone at (772) 221-0600 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being arrested for a DUI requires fast action and an aggressive defense. A DUI case is a multi-part case, and you have to pay attention to each part in order to get a satisfactory result. If you focus on only one of the moving parts of your case, you could end up without a license or spending time behind bars. Neither of those outcomes is appealing, and we know how to work your case to give you the best shot at avoiding an adverse result.
Three parts to every DUI case, and what you can do to defend each part of the case, includes the following:
- The part of your case that takes place at the Courthouse is the criminal portion, the actual charge of DUI. This is where you will want to offer a defense to the charge of driving under the influence, and challenge the breath test results. You might also consider attacking the initial traffic stop as invalid, in the hopes of getting a reduction in charges or maybe even a dismissal.
- The part of your case that deals with your right to drive is an administrative function, and it happens outside the Courthouse walls. This is the part of your case that requires you to seek reinstatement of your driving privileges, or be given at least a limited right to drive. The arresting officer is likely to show up and give testimony, but that does not mean your chances are zero. Even if you only get a modified license, this part of your case gives you a chance to hear what the officer has to say and this can come in handy in the criminal portion of your case.
- The part of your case that is on you is the probationary period, if that is how you decide to resolve the matter. You will be responsible for following the rules of your probation, and if successful you will receive the benefits promised when you agreed to probation. This typically includes a reduction in charges, but only if you do as required while on probation.
The key to success is acting fast. As soon as you are able to make a call, call our office. We will get right to work on your case for you so you don’t miss important deadlines. The first deadline is the one where you have to request an administrative review of your license suspension. That has to happen within ten days of arrest. If not, you will not be able to ask for your license back or even a limited license. For help with DUI defense call us today.
If you have been charged with DUI, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. Call today to schedule an appointment.
Websites and smart phone apps like Facebook and Instagram are a lot of fun, and a good way to share your life with your friends and family, but not everything about your life should be made public. Certain things are best left private, but with easy access to online documents it is getting harder and harder to maintain your privacy. When the information that is available to anyone with a connection is damaging to your reputation or could harm your chances of getting a job, it is time to take steps to get that information out of public viewing. One way to do this is to seek an order of expungement, of any criminal cases where you were a defendant.
Three ways having your records cleared can help you are:
- When you get an order of expungement to clear your record, potential employers or landlords will not be able to find information about cases against you when doing a background check. This might mean the difference between getting that dream job, or being able to rent in a desirable part of town.
- An order of expungement will keep telemarketers from finding out information about you and selling that information to companies that create “lists”.
- Having your records expunged ensures your private information is not visible to the public, which can help if you want to keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Identify theft is a huge problem and the more data that can be found out about you by a simple internet search, the worse off you might be when trying to protect yourself.
In order to be eligible for an expungement, the facts of your case must meet certain legal requirements. We know what the facts include, and how to determine if they exist in your case. If so, we know how to file the paperwork to ask the Court to grant your request for an order of expungement, and then fill you in on the impact of that order. It is important to know that not everything is subject to being expunged, and for the things that you can get off of your record, some governmental agencies may still have access.
For answers to your questions about records expungement, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. We offer representation for a wide range of offenses, call us to schedule an appointment.
Agreeing to go on probation is a good way to stay out of jail if you have been charged with a crime. But, it only works if you are able to stick to the terms of your probation. When you do that, you get the benefit of the bargain you made, which most times includes a reduction or dismissal of the charges against you. However, if you make a mistake, it can cost you your probation and more. A probation violation is a new charge, so you will now have to defend that charge and the original charge. And when you violate probation, you are likely to be punished to the full extent of the law for the initial charge filed against you. So, knowing what to do while on probation becomes of the upmost importance, and we are here to help get you through this phase of your case successfully.
The first step to making sure you don’t commit a probation violation is in knowing what constitutes a violation. The top two ways to violate probation are:
- By committing a new crime. Any new crime is a probation violation, and you will then be defending the new crime, the original crime, and the crime of probation violation. If you need to change your circle of friends to stay away from opportunities to get in trouble, we recommend you do so. You will be happier in the end, when you are successful on probation, and can move forward with things that matter.
- Committing a new crime is an actual violation of probation, but there are also things that are classified as technical violations that will cause your probation to be revoked. The biggest technical violation is falling to pay fines and costs. If you are having financial difficulty, let your attorney know so alternate arrangements can be made if possible. It is also a technical violation to miss an appointment, or fail to check in when scheduled. We recommend you put all important dates on your calendar, and refer to it regularly so you know when and where you are supposed to be taking action to comply with the terms of your probation.
For more information, call our office. We will help you to understand what is expected of you and answer any questions you have about what you can or cannot do while on probation. And, if you have been charged with a probation violation, we can help there too.
For more information about probation, call our office today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.
We all make mistakes, and hopefully when we do there are remedial actions that can be taken to get back on track. But when the mistake is made during an arrest, the repercussions can be scary, so it is good to know how to handle yourself if you are put in this position. Take the instance of a DUI arrest as an example; it can be natural to try and talk your way out of the arrest and say you have not been drinking when you have, but that can only make things worse. The best thing to do is stay calm, but we know that is a tall order. Another good thing to do is know what mistakes are commonly made, so you can take steps to avoid making these mistakes.
The top two DUI mistakes most people make, and what you can do to avoid them or minimize their impact on your case are:
- Accepting the breath test results without raising a challenge. We understand how the idea of challenging scientific data might be intimidating, but if you don’t do this in every DUI case then you miss out on potential defenses. Not all breath tests are accurate, and the reasons vary. It might be that the test was given to you improperly, or that the machine was not in proper working order. But if you don’t raise a challenge to the result and ask these questions, you will not know if this is a possible defense in your case. Let us handle this for you, we have experience challenging breath tests and will do it in your case too!
- Waiting too long to take any action. This is true for a few reasons; the biggest one being the longer you wait to call for help, the chance that you will lose your driver’s license is great. You only have ten days to ask for your license back, or even for a modified license. If you wait too long you might miss this chance. You might also miss out on vital pieces of evidence from the breath test or from the arresting officer if you don’t take quick action. Call our office as soon as you can after bonding out of jail, so we can get right to work for you.
Most DUI cases can be defended; you just have to know where to look. We know which parts of your case are vulnerable, and which parts require more careful analysis. For more information, contact us today.
If you have been charged with DUI, call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast to help you. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.
Being arrested for DUI can leave you without a license, facing possible jail time, and with the requirement to pay hefty fines. If this happens to you, you will need to develop a solid defense, and this take the help of a qualified DUI defense attorney. This is true whether you are a first time offender, or have had prior cases. And, even though each case is made up of its set of particular facts, there are some things that need to be done in every instance of DUI arrest. This should be your starting point, and from there we will work on the specifics of your case for you.
The top three things to explore if you have been arrested and charged with DUI are:
- Take a look at the traffic stop that lead to the arrest. If that stop was not valid, then it is possible that anything that happened thereafter is also not valid. There are certain things that have to be present in order to make a traffic stop lawful, and we will let you know if those exist in your case.
- If a determination is made that your traffic stop was legal, the next thing to examine is the way the breath test was given to you. The police have to follow certain protocols when administering a breath test, and if those protocols are deviated from the test result is not considered reliable. Without a reliable test result to show you were driving while intoxicated, it is hard for the prosecution to make the charges stick.
- Exploring other explanations for the test result is always a must! There are times when medicine or other physical characteristics that are unique to you and you alone will impact the testing. If any of these exist in your case, it is imperative to identify them and bring them to the attention of the Court as part of your defense.
These factors are not the only factors that play a role in the defense of your case, and in order to figure out what else is needed for your defense a thorough analysis must be performed. We know how to look at the facts and apply the law to those facts. If you have been charged with DUI, call our office for help.
Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.
Being able to drive is a big deal, and is a necessary task for most all of us. Without a car or a license we lack the ability to go where we want, when we want. Having to find alternate forms of transportation can be hard, and can start to wear on you and those that you call on for rides regularly. So if you get pulled over and arrested for DUI, one of the most important parts of your case will be to try and save your driving rights. It can be done, but there are procedures to follow and some things you need to become familiar with before asking for a limited license.
Three things to know about a limited license when you get a DUI include these critical pieces of information:
- You only have ten days from the date you are arrested to ask for a limited license. If you do not make a written request for review of your license suspension, you will lose your right to drive temporarily. This puts you in the position of having to find another way to get where you need to be, and can add to the frustration you are already feeling from having been charged with DUI. We know the deadline is tight, so we take special care to make sure your request is made on time. We are familiar with the process and know how to follow the rules in place to ask for your limited right to drive.
- After you have made a written request, you will be given a date to appear at an administrative hearing. This hearing will not take place within the same ten days that you had to make the request, and in the meantime you will be allowed to drive with a paper license. Be sure to keep this piece of paper on you at all times, or you can face charges of driving without a license.
- At the hearing you will have to put on evidence in support of your request for reinstatement of your driving privileges, and most first time offenders are given at least a limited license at this time. This license gives you the right to drive under certain, limited, circumstances. It is crucial that you drive only as allowed, or you can face additional charges.
If you have concerns about how you are going to drive after a DUI arrest, call our office. We will explain the procedure to you, and work together to come up with a plan of attack that works.
For help with questions about DUI defense, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. We offer representation for a wide range of offenses, call us to schedule an appointment.
For those of you that still rent DVD’s, a recent movie became available, telling the story of fast food giant McDonald’s. The movie focused on the McDonald brothers and Ray Kroc’s interaction with the brothers as Kroc built the McDonald’s empire. Sadly, the McDonald brothers lost out in the end, and their downfall was reminiscent of another pair of brothers who had a great idea and then saw it slip through their hands. The other doomed duo is the Winklevoss brothers, who famously took Mark Zuckerberg to task for “stealing” Facebook. When Facebook was first rolled out, it was for the exclusive use of college students. However, and as we all know, it has grown exponentially since that time. Facebook has millions of users, all of whom take to the site daily (sometimes multiple times a day) to post a photo or a few lines about what they are currently doing. This is fun and can be a good way to stay in touch with out of state friends and family, but it can also get you in trouble if your posts are of a certain type.
Three ways social media can hurt your defense are best illustrated by looking at a DUI case. Consider these things:
- If you post a photo or check in to a bar or other place where alcohol is served, and are later pulled over for drinking, your posts can be used as evidence against you in a DUI prosecution. So, before you pose with a shot or a glass of wine, think about how that photo could incriminate you.
- If you don’t make a post, but a friend tags you, that friend’s post can be used against you. Be careful about who you give tagging rights to, and ask to approve a photo before being tagged. If you get tagged without being asked, you can remove the tag and help to eliminate incriminating information.
- A time frame can easily be established by following your social media activity. So if you get behind the wheel shortly after having a few drinks, it will be hard to argue that you had “sobered up” before driving.
Some things you can do to minimize the impact social media has on defense of a criminal action is to stay off sites until the next day, or make your accounts private. Even then, there are ways to access your data. And, we understand that taking part in events often times includes posting on social media. For those times where you are not able to keep damaging information off the internet, we can help. Our job is to analyze all of the evidence and create a defense that will work for your case.
For more information about DUI cases, call our office today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.
Anytime you do something drastic, you wonder just how lasting that impact of new actions may be down the road. For instance, if you decide to get serious about your health and start making changes to diet and exercise, you should only expect these changes to last as long as you are practicing healthy habits. This is a positive long term effect, but not all actions have this same kind of result. A good example is an arrest, and your natural inclination to wonder if the arrest will have any kind of effect on your future. The answer depends on the type of case, the outcome of the case, and a few other factors.
Criminal cases are usually disposed of by a finding of guilt or innocence, or the charges get dropped (dismissed). If your case was not dismissed, you can take steps to have the record cleared. But, when doing this it is good to know the difference between a dismissal and an expungement (clearing) of your record. Here are two ways a dismissal is different from an expungement:
- A dismissed case is the same as if the case was never filed. You cannot be found guilty or innocent of a case that was never filed, so if you get a dismissal there should be no notation of anything other than the dismissal.
- A case that gets expunged has the effect of removing the charges from public viewing of your record. This means a search should not yield any results with data about the arrest or case.
To get an expungement you do have to meet certain requirements. One way to get an expungement is to successfully complete a term of probation. If you do that, you may be able to get an order from the Court that clears the matter from your record. For more information, call our office. We will review the facts of your case and let you know if you qualify for an expungement and can also handle the paperwork for you. Do keep in mind though that even with an expungement there may be some law enforcement officials that are still able to see your record. So, it is important to know why you want an expungement before you make a request for one, and we can help with that too.
For help with questions about how to clear your record, call our office to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. We help people charged with all sorts of crimes in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Call today to schedule an appointment.
There is no greater thrill for a sixteen year old than taking the driver’s test, and passing! A driver’s license brings with a certain amount of freedom, and that is something all of us can crave. But if you have had too many tickets, been convicted of a DUI, or committed some other act that has caused the State to take away your right to drive, you have to be extra careful. Until it happens to you, you might not think you’d ever sit down behind the wheel of a car without a license, but it does happen.
Three types of driver’s licenses that can get you in trouble with the law are
- A suspended license.
- A revoked license.
- An expired license.
Your license might get either suspended or revoked if you are charged with DUI or have accumulated too many points on your driving record. In those instances, there are alternatives, but if you do not avail yourself of those alternatives and decide instead to drive without a valid license, you can end up in more trouble than just the DUI or having too many tickets. In the case of a DUI you can ask for a limited right to drive, and the good news for most first time offenders is that this request is granted. The trick is to make the request on time, because if you miss the deadline you miss your chance. A trickier type of license is the expired license. It is not unheard of to forget to renew on time, or simply not even be aware your license has expired. It is a good idea to keep track of when your driver’s license is set to expire, and make a plan well in advance of that date to go get it renewed. If you do not and are caught driving, you will face penalties. If that happens, give our office a call. We can help with all sorts of driver’s license issues, and help keep you on the road lawfully. We know how important it is to be able to drive, and work hard to help you maintain your driving privileges.
If you have questions about probation violations, call our office for help today. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.
Drinking and driving is not reserved only for driving a car. There can be cases where a defendant is arrested and charged with boating and driving. This is a common type of case in Florida, where there are plenty of spots to hit the water, so it is important to understand the charges. There are some similarities between a DUI and a BWI, but there are also some factors that are unique only to BWI that might help with your defense.
Some of the typical defense that are raised in DUI cases have to do with the breath test results, such as challenging the way the test was administered or showing that there was another substance in the driver’s system that gave off a false positive. A BWI has unique factors that might lead an officer to believe you have been boating and drinking, such as:
- Having spent too much time in the sun, which can affect your body’s physical properties.
- Not drinking enough water while out in the sun, which can lead to dehydration.
- Being a novice boater, which might mean you are driving erratically.
- Choppy waters, which can lead to becoming sea sick.
If you are facing a drinking while boating charge, let us help. The type of defense you use could be similar to a DUI case, but with additional evidence needed. Our team of experienced DUI and BWI defense attorneys knows how to develop a defense for this special type of case that will fit the facts of your case. The possible punishments for BWI are not as harsh as those that accompany a DUI, but can still be disruptive to your life. You can also take steps before going out on a boat, like designating a driver. The risks of danger are high when water is involved without involving alcohol, but if drinking is part of your boating experience it may just pay off to have someone else take the wheel. Even so, we understand not all plans go as predicted, and are here to help you if you have been charged with drinking while boating.
If you have questions about BUI and DUI defense, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.