Criminal Defense Attorney | Criminal Defense Law

Blog Published By Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

‘Criminal Procedure’

Exercise Your Rights, Call Your Lawyer

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Thanks to the foresight of our founding fathers and the continued vigilance of lawmakers since then, citizens of the United States have rights. When you are in an arrest or accusatory situation, you should exercise your rights by calling your lawyer before you talk to anyone. Nine times out of ten, a situation could have been made much easier just by having your lawyer on the scene from the beginning. It can be scary to say, “I don’t want to talk about it until I see my lawyer,” but often that is exactly what you should say. Traffic Stops Arrests, particularly for possession, are often made at traffic stops. Even though marijuana for medical use is now legal in Florida, people are sometimes mistakenly arrested for possession or other drug offenses. With the focus on opiates, even prescription drugs such as Xanax or OxyContin can trigger an arrest if you do not have your prescription bottle on hand. If you are already feeling a bit under the weather, it can be difficult to know what you should or should not say under those circumstances. Your… Read More

The Crucial Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney

defense attorney's role in society | justice scales

From the bestselling book, To Kill a Mockingbird, to the true-crime television show, “America’s Most Wanted,” and with many fictional arrests and courtroom scenes, the American public is saturated with the idea of the ideal role of a criminal defense attorney. Here are some ideas about a criminal defense attorney’s role. When an Attorney Should Be Involved Whether the alleged perpetrator has funds to pay for a lawyer or he or she does not, the U.S. Constitution and subsequent landmark cases give a person who has been arrested the right to have an attorney present during questioning and to assist with subsequent procedures. One lawyer once remarked that most things would be so much easier if legal counsel was called sooner rather than later. What a Criminal Defense Attorney Does An attorney will explain to the accused his or her rights in the situation, and help the accused to understand the upcoming processes. The attorney will safeguard the defendant’s rights, making sure that they are not violated during the arrest procedure or during subsequent trials. If the defendant pleads guilty, the attorney might negotiate a… Read More

The Line Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor

felony vs misdemeanor

Crimes have a general classification but can be broken down further into several categories depending on the level of severity. A crime can also be ranked as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the serious consequences of the criminal act. The categorization of a crime will influence how the case is handled, which is why it is important to understand the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. The rules that define a criminal act will influence the punishment or potential jail time the offender gets. Let’s first look at what constitutes a felony and a misdemeanor to understand the difference between the two. Felonies vs. Misdemeanors Crimes in Florida The basic distinction between a felony and misdemeanor lies on the penalty meted on the offender. The key difference lies in how much jail time and the type of prison the offender gets depending on the severity of the crime. In Florida, just like in many other states across the country, a felony case is considered to be more serious than a misdemeanor case and will usually attract harsher and lengthier conviction consequences. The District… Read More

Is It Time to Axe Bite-Mark Testimony?

bite marks forensic evidence

Evidence in Criminal Proceedings Evidence is the mainstay for timely resolution of criminal proceedings. It provides the agreeable stand on which the court—judge(s) or jury—makes convictions and acquittals. Understandably, evidence admitted for consideration exists in different forms. Traditionally, these forms include testimony of witnesses, video and/or image data, and forensic evidence—DNA or bite-mark testimony. How Bite-Mark Evidence is used During a trial, it is permissible to call on expert witnesses to testify on whether or not the criminal defendant left the teeth marks or lacerations on the victim in question. The expert witnesses called upon are forensic odontologists. What they do in simple terms is state the degree of semblance between the actual teeth of the criminal defendant to the bite-mark teeth pattern. The odontologists basis his or her decision by comparing the teeth pattern on the victim to a mold of the criminal defendant’s teeth. If a match occurs, then the court will adjudge the criminal defendant to be the source of the teeth marks. Disparaging Stats In a fundamental sense, the bite-mark testimony can be beneficial in a court trial. This has fueled… Read More

Should Kids Be Allowed to Waive Miranda Rights?

miranda for juvenile arrests

Miranda Rights The chances that you have heard a version of the Miranda Rights are high. You do not have to be a crime suspect to have heard it, thanks in part to criminal TV shows and their ubiquitous Miranda warnings read aloud by police officers to criminal defendants as at the time of the arrest. The Miranda Rights starts with the famous “You have the right to remain silent…” Judging by the popularity of the statute, it would appear that most people understand what the Miranda rights actually protect. Wrong. The plain meaning of the Miranda Rights sometimes gets lost. The various ways that law enforcement word Miranda warnings around the country often compound the loss in meaning. Protection Offered by the Miranda Rights By law, a law enforcement officer should read the Miranda rights to the suspect at the time of his or her arrest. The major benefits include: That it is not a must to speak to the police That you are permitted to have an attorney advocate on your behalf at all times of the police interrogation—before, during, and after A… Read More

The Connection Between Expert Witness and Ineffective Assistance

Effective Assistance One of the primary appeals of the United States of America and its Constitution is the protection of the fundamental rights of citizens. The Sixth Amendment guarantees certain fundamental rights of all citizens. A few of these rights include fair and impartial trials, a speedy trial without undue delay, a jury of peers, and effective assistance from counsel. No doubt, the right to effective assistance from counsel is crucial. However, it is subject to significant debate. Apparently, the debate shows no sign of abating soon owing to the widespread nature of the debate. For example, the core of the debate—‘What is Effective Assistance’—affects the primary aspect of the effective assistance right. Nevertheless, case law has established tent pegs that help determine agreeable limitations of the vaguely defined right: specifically to ascertain whether or not an attorney provided effective assistance to his or her client. Ineffective Assistance under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure Due to the nature of the law, an individual can only bring up a case for ineffective assistance by making a post-conviction appeal. The Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 supports… Read More

Why DNA is not Foolproof

dna evidence

DNA Evidence To be fair, DNA evidence would go down in history as one the most influential technologies by the criminal justice system. However, its much-touted “infallibility” is falling like a pack of cards in the face of growing technological scrutiny. DNA Evidence is Fallible For the layman, the premise of using DNA evidence is fail-safe. Our DNA is one of a limited number of biological signatures—another being our fingerprints. Considering that on average we shed 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells per hour, it is overwhelmingly possible for a suspect to leave a bio-trail at the scene of a crime that makes identifying him or her remarkably easy. However, that explanation is also the bedrock of the opposing viewpoint held by professionals—that DNA evidence is easily transferable. Especially in instances where the DNA evidence is culled from skin cells, then the ability of skin cells to move easily can be a limiting factor to the reliability of the technique. Take this illuminating scenario for example. The murder of a multimillionaire was pinned on a homeless man. Unfortunately, this was a false allegation. The paramedics that… Read More

Financial Bail: How It Distorts Legal Fairness

financial bail in the criminal justice system

Introduction A healthy legal system is one that carries out regular reforms to reflect existing values of the society. Over the last decade, a major issue plaguing the criminal justice system has been the high population of incarcerated individuals, which has led to an overpopulation of the jails and prisons. This is in sharp contrast to countries like Sweden and Netherlands that are closing their prisons for opposite reasons. The fact is that for virtually every year from 1993 to 2012, crime rate has been falling. So, why is the incarcerated population increasing then?Among a myriad of reasons, perhaps the most plausible is the number of outdated practices that put more people in jail, while the rate of the clearance remains fairly steady. One of these outdated practices generating a lot of discourse is financial bail. Financial Bail Financial bail refers to the practice of courts temporarily holding onto a deposit of money or property as collateral. This is to ensure that the defendant will return when trial commences to claim their assets, and guard against the possibility of the defendant being a flight risk.… Read More

Florida’s Death Penalty Sentencing System is Unconstitutional as per US Supreme Court Rule

capital punishment in florida | Broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

The State of Florida has one of the highest death penalty rates in the country. This comes to no surprise as many of its citizens are some of the strongest proponents of capital punishment. However, the state is now facing a significant issue regarding death penalty, which may eventually lead to major amendments in their judicial system, after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the state’s death penalty sentencing system is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is of the opinion that Florida’s current death penalty sentencing system is a direct violation of The Sixth Amendment, which proclaims that defendants have the right to a speedy and fair trial, and that the jury for said trial is impartial. The jury shall weigh the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and ultimately determine what sentence shall be given to the criminal. Florida’s current system, however, is different and is considered an outlier compared to the rest of the country as it gives more weight to a judge’s independent judgment instead of a jury’s decision, which could either be unanimous or non-unanimous, another outlier compared to most states. This means… Read More

Consumer Rights

wearable technology and consumer rights | Broward criminal lawyer | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

In the quest for a better and more comfortable life, man has various types of technological gadgets. This has opened up the tech age on which we are part of now. Even if the technological era has made our life simpler, it also brought some disadvantages. It appears that some of the technologies we are enjoying today are also violating our legal right to privacy. Wearable Data Technologies: Harvesting Our Personal Information The popularity of biometric gadgets that people are wearing today might not raise some red flags. The influx of such gadgets is seen by many as a blessing. This is because they can monitor everything about their bodies: pulse rate, metabolism, sleep patterns, and many other things. A lot of these data are stored up in the “cloud” where access can be enjoyed anytime. The alarming thing about this is that with the correct skill and resources, anybody can pry into such private data. Of course, there are also other wearable technologies out there that leave us craving for better levels of privacy. New Generation Television Units as Monitoring Devices Just a few… Read More