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DUI versus DWI

what is the difference between dui and dwi? | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. | DUI lawyer

So, Are They The Same? It is easy to use DUI and DWI as synonyms, seeing how often we use them and differing definitions between jurisdictions. However, they are distinct offenses that, in some jurisdictions, carry separate charges. What is DUI? First, the more common of the two; DUI is the acronym for “Driving Under the Influence.” Typically, it relates to driving a car while you are drunk after taking copious amounts of alcohol. Nonetheless, DUI is not exclusive to alcohol. It also covers being under the influence of drugs or medications. In some states, you need not be noticably drunk or visibly impaired. This is referred to as a per se offense. What it means is that, you only have to drive a motor vehicle on a highway or road with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08% to receive a DUI charge. It really doesn’t matter if you are  slurring your words or not. Furthermore, more states are buying into the use of phrases such as “operating a vehicle” or “being in physical control of the vehicle” with the intention of widening the net of… Read More

Citizen’s Arrest and the Likelihood of False Imprisonment Charges

citizen's arrest is it legal or can it lead to felony false imprisonment charges? | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. | Criminal Lawyer

It is laudable, it sparks a feeling of accomplishment, and it is the foremost attribute of humanity: It is being a “HERO.” Our society’s fondness with the concept of heroism is very distinguishable. Many instances get media spotlight and thumbs up from social commenters. Heroic acts vary. It could be pulling someone from the smoking wreckage of an overturned car or spraying a gunman with pepper-spray and tackling him to the ground saving countless lives in the process. However, the bottom line is to be a good citizen and Good Samaritan if you are in a position to be of help in the event of an emergency. In the law, most of these acts fall under the purview of “citizen’s arrest.” The Term “Citizen’s Arrest” Citizen’s arrest, according to the law, refers to the act of a regular citizen intercepting another individual committing a crime, with the intention of catching the person and turning him or her to the police. Florida does not have any specific laws that dictate the practice. Nevertheless, guidelines and parameters do exist that detail how anyone should engage in the… Read More

Supreme Court to Law Enforcement: Do Not Freeze Untainted Assets

seize assets by law enforcement | supreme court ruling | criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

The precedent was set in 1989. In a United States v. Monsanto case, the Supreme Court held that a suspect who violated the Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) should not have access to the funds obtained through illegal activity. Accordingly, the criminal defendant may not use the illegal funds to pay for counsel. Furthermore, the defendant may not benefit from the illegal activity he or she partook in. This is doubly so if the monies obtained from the illegal activity constitutes part of the evidence of the crime perpetrated. Luis v. United States For a while, it seemed that the U.S. Supreme Court decision offered prosecution carte blanche to freeze just about any asset belonging to the defendant. It appears that wasn’t the exact interpretation of the 1989 verdict, as a recent decision proves. The recent decision, occurring almost 27 years later, emanated from the Luis v. United States case. It sought to put an end to the age-long practice of freezing all finances and assets of anyone implicated for white-collar crimes. Background The Luis v. United States… Read More

Stop and Frisk

florida stop and frisk law | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

In the US, human right is the thread that holds the fabric of America’s diverse identity. One very important right: to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects this right. In addition to protecting the right of a person to unreasonable search and seizure, the Fourth Amendment also extends this right to homes, cars, etc. belonging to an American citizen. The bottom line of this right is to ensure that the government and its officials can only enter the premises of an individual when they meet any of the following conditions: Obtains consent from the homeowner Government official has probable cause Government officer obtains a warrant signed by a magistrate based on probable cause If exigent circumstances exist “Stop and Frisk” and Fourth Amendment Protections The protections accorded to homes and personal effects are also binding on our bodies. Thus, our bodies may not be searched or seized/arrested/incarcerated by the government or officials. However, as realities evolved, the law loosened to permit law enforcement officials to effect searches and seizures on people, especially when such action… Read More

Seventh Graders “Prank” Leads to First Degree Felonies Arraignment

chili flakes lead to felony charges | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A. criminal defense attorney

These days, the law and an increasing number of people are less forgiving of bad behavior from children, especially behaviors that objectively carry the criminal tag. If it says anything, it is that the responsibility and liability bore by the young in our society for their behavior is getting heavier. Chain of Events A small group of 12 year olds learned this the hard away after a “prank” led to their arrests and subsequent arraignment for first-degree felonies. It all started when one of the girls poured glue into the backpack of a classmate. The teacher found out and disciplined the girl accordingly. This did not go down well with the girl who upset by the teacher’s discipline, embarked on a retaliatory mission. She enlisted the help of two of her friends who distracted the teacher while she spiced the soda can of the teacher with red pepper flakes. When the teacher drank from the can, she found herself coughing and sputtering. Furthermore, the teacher emphasized that she “choked,” had “shortness of breath,” experienced “stomach pains,” and had an “agitated, sore throat.” Consequently, the teacher… Read More

Debate Ensues Over Florida Bill to Protect Real Estate Agents and Brokers

real estate agent missing after showing home | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

The law and most people agree on the need to dole out punishments to individuals who commit crimes against other individuals. Going further, certain crimes of this nature tend to be graver, often because of the age, mental health, general health, and/or physical capabilities of the victim. In response, the law stipulates stiffer punishments for these crimes that appear to target certain populations. The reason for the stiffer punishments is twofold. First, to fulfil the basic tenet of justice that offenders face appropriate punishment. The second reason is to serve as a practical deterrent to those who may contemplate committing these graver crimes. Increased Protection of the Most Vulnerable The success of a crime hugely depends on the vulnerability of the victim. Knowing this, the law protects persons (or more accurately populations) who show overreaching inability to protect themselves. These populations include the elderly, the sick, and individuals with limited mental and/or physical capabilities.Furthermore, the law also protects individuals who belong to certain racial or ethnic populations that historically have disproportionately been victims of certain crimes. The legal terminology for crime against individuals in these… Read More

Prohibiting Access of Firearms to Minors in Florida

gun laws in florida | broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

Introduction: Firearms in Florida Any list of pro-gun states in the US will have Florida on it. The Florida state gun-related laws and legislation protect the right of citizens to possess and use firearms as well as carry openly or concealed firearms. Furthermore, Floridians have the right to protect themselves with firearms as part of self-defense, referred to as Stand Your Ground. Regardless, the many protections that gun owners receive do not occlude the presence or enactment of limitations to protected rights. What the Stats Say If the stats are anything to go by, then the enactment of these limitations is for good reason. For example, in 2015 alone, at least 265 people received accidental gunshots from kids. Of this number, 83 of the accidental shootings were fatal. Scary and shocking are not the only adjectives that qualify this fact. The stats therefore point to a growing issue of domestic gun safety. The issue is of high importance, especially when current estimates state that 1.7 million children live in households where guns are either stored fully loaded or left unlocked and easily accessible. More chilling… 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

Ban the Box | Ex-Felons and Employment

criminal background check

“Ban the Box” is seeking for ex-felons to have the right to be employed. This is argued to be one of the most helpful ways to keep them from going back to prison. In fact, when authorities talk about unemployment among convicted ex-felons, they also allude to recidivism. Recidivism is the act of a person committing the same crime again. It is directly proportional to the unemployment cases among those who have been in prison. Get A Job The answer is clear: For those who were sentenced to jail, find yourself a job and contribute to the good of society. However, it is not as easy as it seems. An ex-felon has hurdles that other job applicants with no criminal records don’t have. This is where the “Ban The Box” cry comes in. Whether Guilty or Not Guilty In America, more than 70 million have landed on the list of people who have violated the law, but not every one of them has been convicted. Many in the list were just arrested for having been implicated in a criminal case one way or the other.… Read More

Revenge Porn Bill – A “Hardcore” Assessment of the Law

revenge porn - broward criminal lawyer Kenneth Padowitz

It may be time for scorned lovers living in Florida to back off from toying with the idea of posting on the Internet, evidence of their once-heated moments. That practice should completely be done away with as the state’s governor, Governor Rick Scott, has already signed into law the Revenge Porn Bill, which makes it unlawful in the state to post “revenge porn” images and videos on the Internet. Florida became the 18th US state criminalizing the said offense. Currently, 23 states in the US have revenge porn laws. First Amendment People have different takes. To some, the bill allows encroachment into people’s business and privacy, particularly on the part of the violators. Furthermore, the bill may be limiting free speech enshrined in the First Amendment. Others think that the bill is good enough to limit harmful acts against unsuspecting ex-partners, stating that such acts can have longtime emotional, reputational, and psychological effects on the part of the victim. Many advocates lament the fact that the House session when the bill was put on the floor, ended too early for legislators to have a longer… Read More

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