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Criminal Defense

Three Ways The Death Of Kim Jong Nam Could Impact You

In order for an arrest to be made and a crime prosecuted, the State has to have some sort of Just over a month ago, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Nam, was murdered in Kuala Lumpur. The incident heated up political tensions between North Korea and Malaysia, and it does not appear that the dispute will come to an end any time soon. Most recently, both nations undertook actions to bar citizens from the other country from leaving their country. North Korea issued a statement that said they would bar any Malaysians from leaving the country until there was a resolution to the issue, and Malaysia replied in kind by prohibiting North Koreans from exiting Malaysia until assurances of Malaysian citizens’ safety in North Korea were made. Many times this type of news seems a million miles away, both geographically and also in our everyday lives. But the truth is that the things that happen across the globe help to shape some of our own domestic policies. A good example is the push for immigration control, which has really hit home in the past few months.

Three ways the death of Nam could affect you could be:

  • Tighter travel restrictions.
  • An increased speed in implementation, or attempted implementation, of new immigration laws in the United States.
  • Possible increases in security alert levels, which might increase the time it takes to complete travel or gain entry into governmental facilities and buildings.

Often times we take our freedoms for granted in the United States, but when international incidents such as these take place, it is always good to pay attention. The events that happen in other countries have a way of producing a ripple effect on the things we do each day, so knowing what has occurred helps you to plan. For instance, when the Twin Towers fell it wasn’t long before the price of gas started inching upward. The political environment across the globe is a good measuring stick for changes in our country, and sometimes those changes make their way down to local government as well. We stay on top of changes in our local laws, but also keep an eye on the international scene for any events that may start legal trends we need to know.

For more information about criminal defense, call our office. Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

 

Two Things To Know About Russia

Now that the Presidential election is over, some of you may have been hoping for an end to the media frenzy. But, that has not been the case. In fact, there seem to be more reports now than during the campaign and many of them are casting a shadow over the Trump Administration. One of the most recent stories surrounds Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the ongoing allegations about Trump ties to Russia.

It is no secret that Democrats have claimed Trump’s personal, political, and financial ties to Russia are improper; but now the country’s highest-ranking legal official is also under fire. Here are two things to know about Jeff Sessions, and the Russia scandal:

  • Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren have called for the resignation of Sessions, claiming an independent investigation is needed to determine the extent of President Trump’s ties to Russia.
  • Other leaders have demanded Sessions recuse himself from any investigation by the FBI into the President’s Russian connections.

This sounds simple enough, but there is likely a whole lot more to this story and only time will reveal all the facts. But, on the issue of recusal, it is important to know that when any party to a legal proceeding has an interest in the proceeding, they should not remain involved in the action. Removing oneself as an active player in a case is done through a process called recusal. We see this most typically in our practice with Judges and when it is appropriate, a Judge’s recusal from the case is the proper remedy. Recusal ensures an impartial proceeding, which should be expected by all parties to a legal matter. Whether you have been arrested for DUI, possession of marijuana, a violation of probation, or have questions about what to do when you receive a speeding ticket; we can help. Our office focuses a large part of its practice in these areas of criminal defense, and makes sure to explore every aspect of your case to make sure the proper procedures are followed. Let us help you today. Call to find out more.

If you have questions about criminal defense, contact us for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Three Types Of Punishment For Possession Charges

Even though a lot of states are starting to legalize marijuana, at least for medicinal purposes, possession of marijuana is still a common criminal charge. Considering that several issues surrounding legalized use for medicinal purposes has been put to a vote (and generally accepted by the voters), it can be hard to know what is allowed and what is prohibited. Even with a legalization of marijuana for medical necessity, there are still several circumstances where possession of marijuana is illegal. And while many cases are classified as misdemeanors, the range of possible punishment can still be severe. Knowing what you might face is helpful; because it will help you put together the facts of your case and develop an effective defense.

If you engage in one or more of the acts still classified as illegal where marijuana is concerned, here are three types of punishment you can expect a for possession of marijuana charge:

  • The possibility of going to jail and serving a term of incarceration, which takes away your freedom.
  • Losing your driver’s license, which will mean you will be forced to find another way to get around.
  • Resolving the case by agreeing to go on probation. While on probation you will be required to follow certain rules, much like if you are placed on probation for a DUI or other criminal charge, and if you are successful the charges can be either reduced or dismissed at the end of your probation.

Each of these possible forms of punishment is disruptive and requires you to change your day to day activities, especially if you are sentenced to a jail term. But the impact can be minimized with the right defense team by your side. We have experience defending possession charges, and can let you know what types of possession are being legalized. If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, call us for help. We will examine the facts of your case and let you know your options. Our goal is to get you satisfactory results and make sure any agreement you make is one you can handle.

If you questions about drug possession charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Three Things NOT To Expect While On Probation

If you have been charged with a crime and are considering going on probation to resolve the charges against you, it is important to understand exactly what is involved. A lot of people leave the Courtroom uncertain about the rules and requirements of their probation, and so make a mistake that leads to a violation and revocation of their probation. This is truly tragic, because in most instances the violations can be avoided and the defendant given the benefit of the probation agreement made. Our job is to help walk you through the process, so you go into your probationary term fully prepared. A good way to start is to understand what probation involves, and also what probation does not involve.
Three things you should not expect while on probation are:

  • That it will be a cake walk. That is not to say that all of the terms are going to be burdensome, but the reality is probation is still a form of punishment. So if you enter your probationary term with the idea that it will be “no big deal”, you are more likely to make a mistake.
  • That it is an automatic get out of jail free card. While you do get to avoid jail time by agreeing to go on probation, one misstep can land you behind bars. So take your probation seriously, and you will be successful.
  • That you can commit minor offenses and still remain on probation. One of the hallmarks of any term of probation is that the defendant remains “trouble free”. This includes getting tickets for traffic violations, or being arrested for a new crime.

We want you to be successful, so that you get the benefit of the bargain you made when negotiating your probation. In many cases the agreement calls for the defendant to do or refrain from doing certain things for a period of time, and at the end of that timeframe the charges are either dismissed or reduced. Let us help you make decisions that make sense, and that include terms you can handle. Call our office today for help with criminal defense, and to learn more about probation and probation violations.

If you questions about probation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

 

The Three Best Ways To Violate Probation

If you have decided to take an offer of probation in order to avoid going to jail while also resolving criminal charges against you, you must take special care to follow all of the rules if you expect a good result. The Court will expect you to know what you are allowed to do, and what you are not allowed to do while on probation. If you do not understand any of the terms of your probation, you will not be given a “free pass” for that misunderstanding and the results can be quite harsh. But it is not always clear what the rules are, so before you take an offer of probation to resolve your case, be sure to get an explanation of the terms.

The three most common violations of probation, and thus the three best ways to commit a violation are:

  • Being arrested for a new crime. This is the number one no-no when on probation, and most people will tell you to avoid even a minor traffic ticket while you are on probation. If you get arrest for something new before your probation is up, you will be charged with that new crime and also with violating your probation. This is like a double whammy and requires a strong defense to resolve.
  • Failing to pay costs and fines when they are due. We understand that money can be tight, but if you decide to skip out on a court cost payment you can be found to have violated the terms of your probation.
  • Skipping out on the requirement to attend court ordered rehabilitation or other programs. It is common in cases that involve drinking and driving, like a DUI, to be required to go to driving school. If you decide not to go, you will not be given the required certificate of completion needed to meet the terms of your probation. The best idea is to schedule attendance at these types of schools and programs as soon as possible, so you don’t get in a time crunch too near the end of your probationary term. Once you complete these courses you will have one less thing on your plate and can focus on what is left to be done.

Our approach is to work with you for a full understanding of the terms of your probation. If you are not clear, we will give a satisfactory explanation. If you do not think a particular term is manageable, we need to know as soon as possible so other options can be explored.

For answers to questions about how to stay on track with probation or how to best defend a violation, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Three Parts To Defending A Probation Violation

Agreeing to go on probation as a way to avoid jail time is a good idea if you are prepared to follow the rules of the probation. Every case is different, but in all cases you will be required to pay court costs and fines, and to stay out of trouble while on probation. If you are successful, you will enjoy a reduction in charges or even dismissal of the charges at the end of your probationary term, depending in the bargain you made. But if you make a mistake, you will be fully responsible for the charges, as well as have to defend new charges and the violation of probation charge.

Defending a charge of violation of probation can be tricky, but when you know how the case is structured, you are better prepared for the task. There are three parts to defending a probation violation, and these include:

  • Defending either an actual or technical violation. A technical violation might be hard to spot, because it is a violation that includes failing to abide by certain administrative terms of your probation. But an actual violation, on the other hand, is easy to identify because it involves committing a new crime.
  • Determining the possible range of punishment for the violation, and then developing a defense that addresses that punishment. Knowing what you are up against will help you to pinpoint which facts are relevant to your defense, and which ones should be kept out of Court.
  • Making sure you appear in Court when required, to defend not only the violation of probation charge, but also the new crime.

It is not always easy to tell what you are supposed to do while on probation, so if you have questions, be sure to ask your attorney. We have seen it all, and can help you to be clear on what is required of you while serving a term of probation. If you are on probation and have been charged with a violation, of if you are not sure whether to accept an offer of probation, call us for help. We will go over your options with you and help you make a decision that works for you.

If you have questions about how to defend a probation violation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

 

Four Quick Facts About Making A Murderer, And How They Might Apply To You

The Netflix show Making a Murderer was hugely successful, and has made armchair lawyers out of a lot of people. The show focused on two men from Wisconsin, one of whom was initially accused of rape. The show highlighted the case, and left many viewers with the belief that the prosecution trumped up the facts in order to get a rape conviction. A conviction, for those of you that have not seen the series, which was found to be wrongful. This sounds like a good result, right? Well in most cases it would be, but while the defendant, Steven A. Avery, was out of jail he was arrested again and this time the charge was murder. Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also charged in the murder case.

The murder convictions were the subject of the show, and in the time that passed since it initially aired, Dassey’s conviction has been overturned. But the story is once again making headlines, with a second season potentially in the works. Before that happens, here are four quick facts about Making a Murderer:

  • The investigator in charge of the case has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Claims evidence was planted have been denied, as well as any questioning of the defendants. If this sounds familiar, it might be because another famous case made claims of evidence planting, and it worked: the case of O.J. Simpson.
  • Dassey’s attorney appeared underprepared in the series, which could be a contributing factor to the conviction. This “fact” makes it clear how important it is to have the right defense counsel by your side, regardless of the severity of charges.
  • Your actions outside the courtroom can come back to haunt you during a case against you, in this case it was well-known that Avery was prone to violence against women. In a case for murder, this is just the type of character evidence the defense would seek to keep out of court. In other cases, like a DUI, it is a good idea to prevent evidence of prior alcohol abuse or photos on the internet from the night in question from being let in Court.
  • What you say can be used against you: they say Dassey gave information that only someone at the crime scene would know. This is the classic example of knowing when to keep quiet vs. providing information when questioned. It is always best to zip your lips rather than give details that may link you to wrongdoing.

If you have been arrested and don’t know where to turn, call our office for help. We represent people charged with various types of crimes; ranging from DUI, to drug possession, and even reckless driving. Our team understands the stress you are under, and will work with you to develop a defense strategy that fits the facts of your case.

 

For more information about criminal defense, call us today to schedule an appointment. One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast is here to help you and your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Three Important Things To Know About Probation Before Agreeing To A Term

When you get arrested for a crime one of your first thoughts is probably along the lines of what you can do to stay out of jail. One option is to deny the charges and take your case before the Judge or jury to ask for a finding of not guilty. But there are other options, and for many it is nice to know what choices exist because putting your fate in the hands of the Court or a jury is too risky. One of the most popular options is to go on probation. The point of probation is to punish defendants without sending them to jail, and is available in certain types of cases. If your case is eligible for probation, there are some things you will need to know before you make an agreement. Without knowing what you are getting into, it will be hard to be successful, so we explain things to you fully beforehand to ensure your success after making the agreement.

Three important things to know about probation before agreeing to a probationary term are:

  • It only works if you follow the rules. The minute you stray from the course of requirements, your probation can be revoked. If your probation is revoked you will no longer get the benefit of the agreement made, and will also have to defend against the new charge of violation of probation.
  • It is not easy, and will require you to put forth some effort. There may be terms that require you to have equipment installed in your car, like an interlock device if you are charged with DUI. Or, you may have to perform a certain number of community service hours or attend court ordered drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation programs. It is essential that you make the time to comply with these requirements, or you will be hard pressed to complete all that is required of you in time.
  • It requires you to make a commitment to see it through to the end. We find that making arrangements to comply with things that you do not normally do as soon as possible after entering probation increases the chances of your success. No one likes to run out of time on a big project at work or school, and if you look at probation the same way and plan in advance you will be more likely to be pleased with the end result.

We can help you negotiate probation terms you can stick to, and that you understand. We can also help if you have violated your probation. Call us today to find out more.

If you questions about probation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for answers. Your first visit is a free consultation and we work with you to reach results that fit your needs.

Three Reasons To Follow The Rules Of Your Probation

The idea of going to jail is not appealing…to anyone. But if you get arrested for a crime, even a misdemeanor, there is a chance that you could spend some time behind bars. One good way to avoid this outcome is to agree to go on probation. Probation allows you to stay out of jail while still serving your sentence and being “punished”. The key is to follow all of the terms of your probation though, so at the end the charge against you are either dismissed or reduced (whatever agreement you made when deciding probation was the answer for you).

Three reasons to follow the rules of your probation are:

  • A violation will get you in trouble by leading to a new charge, that of violation of probation. Plus, you will have to now stand and face the full range of punishment possible for the original offense. This requires you to defend two cases now, at the same time
  • Your probation will be revoked, which means that whatever agreement you thought you made will now no longer be available. So if you were expecting charges to be reduced, that will no longer be a possibility.
  • If you get arrested in the future and want to resolve that case by going on probation, the offer may not be made to you. The reasoning is that if you have already violated probation before, the State attorney will not be likely to think you can be successful later. This can make it hard to defend a future case without the chance of going to jail as part of the punishment.

So, it is best to follow the rules of your probation and stay out of trouble for the duration of the probationary period. While each case and probationary term is different, the one thing that is always expected of you is to avoid any new arrests or tickets. If you get a new ticket or are arrested for something new that is when the violation takes place and the revocation of you probation happens. If you have questions about how to stay on track, or what you will be expected to do during probation, call our office. We can help you decide if probation is the right answer for you.

For more information about violations of probation, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you today. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.

Two Or More Reasons To Seal Your Criminal Record

If you have ever been arrested, there will be a public record of your case. This is a scary thought when you think about how many people have access to the internet, and free time on their hands. With a simple search, the details of your case may be visible to a complete stranger or even worse, a friend or family member. If you want to keep your private life out of public viewing, there are things you can do to make it so your criminal record cannot be seen. But there are some restrictions on the process, and some important things to know about what you can accomplish.

A few good reasons to have your criminal record sealed, called expungement, are:

  • Cleaning up your record can make it easier to get a job. Many potential employers perform background checks on new hires, and if your record shows up you might miss out on a great job opportunity.
  • Clearing your record will work for not only one charge, but all charges associated with your case. This means if you got a speeding ticket AND a DUI, you can have both expunged. This is helpful for a variety of reasons; the most important may be the ability to keep your driver’s license.

It is important to remember that in order to have a record expunged you cannot have been convicted of the crime. Those people who are eligible for an expungement include those who were arrested but charges were never filed, the charges were dismissed, or there was a finding of not guilty made. This information could come in handy when you are negotiating a plea agreement in a case, because it is always important to look to the future and possible consequences when trying to resolve a current case. These criteria are also good to know when you are making the determination as to whether you should seek an expungement. You would not want to undertake an action that is not going to lead to the desired results, and we can take a look at your case to help you understand what type of outcome is likely. If you have been arrested for a crime and are wondering if it will stick around on your record, or whether you can have it wiped clean, call us for help.

For questions about expunging your criminal record, call us to schedule an appointment. Let one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast to help you with your case. Your first visit with us is a free initial consultation.