Articles Tagged with Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

guns-300x200The United States Attorney General recently proposed a new initiative aimed at better enforcing the U.S. gun background check system, coordinating state and federal gun prosecutions, and ensuring that prosecutors review records rapidly to demonstrate when a defendant is unable to own a weapon due to issues with their mental health.

Called Project Guardian, the program will allow prosecutors to coordinate with law enforcement officials on a local and state level to evaluate possible federal charges should a suspect be arrested for possessing weapons, if there is a belief a gun was used to commit a violent crime or drug trafficking offense, or if the suspect is believed to be a member of a violent gang.

The program allows alcohol, tobacco, and firearm office agents across the country to either create new procedures or update existing protocols to bring federal charges against individuals attempting to get a gun from a firearms dealer by lying. Prosecutors will concentrate in particular on criminals with violent histories, who are members of the gang, or who have faced charges of domestic violence. Furthermore, United States attorney’s offices would also need to promptly enter details into government databases regarding individuals who are unable to possess guns due to reasons of mental health.

mj-300x199Lawmakers in Florida are working hard to keep pace with Florida’s constantly changing cannabis and hemp industries landscape. As lawmakers build the foundation for a vote on adult use next year (commonly known as recreational marijuana), some recently proposed bills may result in forbidding recreational marijuana, while others would focus on a less strict approach to drug sentencing.

Among these bills is SB 670, banning marijuana smoking in state parks. Miami Beach already took a stance on this by prohibiting marijuana smoking in public, including parks and beaches. A Florida lawmaker is now seeking to expand on this law and extend it to the entire state. SB 670 would ban all types of smoking as well as vaping within state parks. Should the bill become law, it would go into effect in summer 2020.

Another bill known as HB 399 would reduce minimum sentences for crimes involving marijuana. The House bill would permit judges to deviate from Florida’s minimum sentencing standards for crimes involving marijuana sales and trafficking. Although the legislation would still provide rules, more discretion would be granted to judges to make decisions case-by-case on sentences.

marijuana-300x200After Florida made hemp legal back in July of this year, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office made the announcement it would cease prosecuting most minor marijuana charges since the substance is almost identical from hemp.

Even with these developments, Miami Beach recently passed an ordinance banning people from getting the urge to smoke weed or hemp in public. Florida’s ACLU had criticized the new restrictions, saying that the law could have a disproportionate impact on children and people of color. The group argued that making the offense a felony was unnecessarily harsh as the city could dissuade people from public smoking just as easily with a civilian warning system.

Despite the concerns, Miami Beach has proceeded with the ban. With the new law, anyone seen smoking cannabis, hemp, or marijuana on a public right-of-way may receive a fine of up to $500 and a maximum of sixty days in county jail.

metoo-2859980_1280-300x200With the #MeToo movement more important than ever, there may be individuals curious as to whether sexual harassment itself is a crime. Is it possible to receive jail time for sexual harassment?

To get a better understanding of this, it’s worth defining what constitutes sexual harassment. Will giving a person of the opposite sex be considered sexual harassment? How about hugging a coworker?

At its essence, sexual harassment is behavior that is “unwanted”. This may include comments or touching a person. Though sexual harassment is often seen as something men do to women, a harasser can be male or female and they may harass another person regardless of their gender. Although it can happen anywhere, legal recourse for sexual harassment when out on the street may be limited.

After a tough day at the office or an exhausting work week, you may decide to head to the bar for some drinks and unwinding. Speaking of drinks, altercations are common. This means there may be criminal charges involved depending on what happens during the fight, resulting in charges like disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication, or aggravated battery, for example.

Disorderly conduct is a way of saying the peace has been breached. When you are out in public, you’re expected to behave in a way considered decent. Because bars are public places, becoming involved in a bar fight means it is possible to be charged with disorderly conduct for disturbing the peace. This second-degree misdemeanor charge may result in fines and a jail sentence.

When an individual consumes an excessive amount of alcohol and becomes belligerent to those around them, it may result in disorderly intoxication. Bar owners and law enforcement officers have the authority to ask a person to leave if they believe a situation may escalate. Should the situation turn physical and an injury occurs, a second-degree misdemeanor may be charged.

twitter-292994_1280-300x200The internet and social media have facilitated communication around the world immensely. However, with the greater reach of communication, there is greater scrutiny on what is and isn’t considered free speech. While certain speech is protected regardless of whether a person says it or posts it, some speech is not protected and may lead to prosecution.

Threats to commit bodily harm or kill someone, for example, are not considered free speech, whether it’s posted online or sent via a letter. This may also include hate speech which crosses the line into a threat. It is also illegal to make false reports or make a firearm threat against a group of people.

Another type of online crime that has emerged is sexual cyber harassment, which includes posting explicit images of someone without their consent. The crime is informally known as “revenge porn”. Even if a former spouse or love interest intentionally shared the explicit images, it is illegal to post them.

Our cell phones contain a lot of personal information, from credit card numbers to our bank info, photographs, text messages, call logs, and more. Should all of this information fall into the hands of the wrong person, it may be used against an individual.

A part of the Miranda rights states a suspect has the right to remain silent. But what about smartphones? Can your phone “speak on your behalf”? Are law enforcement officers allowed to force you to turn over your phone and online records?

The simple answer to this is no, a police officer cannot simply seize your phone. Since your phone belongs to you, a warrant is required for an officer to seize it or look at it. The same thing applies for access to phone records from your wireless provider.

textDrive-2-300x200Next week, several new laws will go into effect in Florida. Among these new laws is the expansion of the state’s texting while driving law. Motorists will be prohibited from using their wireless mobile devices while they are driving through designated school crossings, a school zone, or a construction/work zone. This means drivers are not allowed to even hold their phone or mobile device while driving through these zones.

In addition to the expansion of the texting while driving law, two additional laws are worth mentioning. SB 1080 is aimed at the issue of hazing in universities. Individuals who plan hazing acts or solicit others to participate in hazing may be charged with a third-degree felony if the hazing ends in permanent injury. The bill would also grant immunity to individuals who call security on campus or 911 to request medical assistance due to a hazing incident.

SB 96 would upgrade killing or causing great bodily harm to police, fire or search-and-rescue dogs or police horses from a third-degree to a second-degree felony. The bill would also increase the maximum jail sentence from five to fifteen years.

dui-300x244Anyone who gets behind the wheel when they are impaired is running the risk of being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) as well as putting their lives and those of others at risk. Though a DUI has serious penalties which include having a license suspended, fines, or spending time in jail, a fatality due to drunk driving comes with even more serious implications. A driver may be charged with what’s called DUI manslaughter if a person or even an unborn child passes away due to the driver’s actions.

In Florida, DUI manslaughter is considered a second-degree felony. The charge may be escalated further based on factors such as the number of victims, the driver’s recorded blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level following the crash, and the driver’s possible criminal or driving record, to name a few. Should the driver be convicted of DUI manslaughter, he or she may be sentenced to at least four years in state prison.

This update is published by The Law Offices of Mark Eiglarsh, a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer. Areas of practice include criminal defense, white collar crimes, drug crimes, fraud, DUI, sex crimes, domestic violence, and more. With over two decades of experience, Mark is committed to obtaining the best possible outcome for his valued clients under difficult circumstances. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 954-500-0003 in Broward or 305-674-0003 in Miami.

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