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Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers

Defending Criminal Cases from Misdemeanors to Serious Felonies in Florida

We get it. You never thought you’d be here. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is something most people don’t think they’ll have to experience in their lifetimes. But we’re here for you, we’re ready to fight, and we understand what you’re going through.

Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it’s important to take the charges seriously. Even a seemingly simple charge like a DUI, reckless driving, or petit theft can have a major impact on your life. We can help.

The attorneys at Moses & Rooth have both worked on the other side of the fence. As prosecuting attorneys, we learned effective strategies for defending our clients. There’s nothing we aren’t prepared for when it comes to defending your rights.

We have over 36 years of combined legal trial experience – handling some of the toughest cases in Central Florida. We are the Firm to call when your future is at stake. Get a risk free consultation today.

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Why Choose Us As Your Criminal Defense Lawyers?

Experienced As former prosecutors, Andrew and Jay are uniquely prepared to defend your case. When you’re accused of a crime, you still have rights. Unfortunately, many prosecutors will attempt to bypass these rights in order to get a conviction or a guilty plea. Do not let this happen to you. We’ve successfully defended countless Florida criminal cases - and we’re ready to go to work for you, too.
Strategic Planning and strategy are essential when it comes to fighting criminal charges. We take every case we take seriously - we know how important it is to our clients to fight these charges. The defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth approach each case with the same mentality. We’re focused on creating and executing a strategy that provides our clients with best possible solutions and outcomes.
Determined We are fighters. We don’t give in easily, and we search for solutions from every angle. When you hire us, you’ve gained an ally that will see your case through to the end. Our focus is on achieving the best possible results for our clients, and we have an established track record of success. There is no such thing as a small case when it comes to criminal defense. Reach out and let’s get started today.

How Can We Help?

Moses & Rooth has the experience and skill to fight a variety of criminal charges. Whatever you’re facing, we’re ready to help. Here are just some of the cases we handle:

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Andrew Moses
Andrew has been practicing criminal law his entire career. After graduating from law school he began working as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting cases in Orange County. His experience as a prosecutor helped him gain perspective of the criminal justice system and how the government established its cases. Read More

What Do Former Clients Have to Say About Us?

  • I cannot begin to tell you how very pleased I am with Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law. Attorney Rooth is the benchmark for all attorneys in my opinion. Why? He is knowledgeable , personable , extremely professional and above all else very patient. I never felt as though I was a number or hurried through the process. Attorney Rooth took the time to explain in detail my case , my options, and what I should expect however his defining strength is that he treated me with respect and I never once felt as though he was railroading me. I knew confidently that he was in my corner and fighting for 'ME" and helping "ME" get through my court cases.

    - T. F.

  • I had recently contracted the law firm Moses and Rooth in Orlando Florida/Orange County, Florida to further efforts to protect my CDL-A Georgia drivers license in Orange County traffic court. I feel fortunate to have made contact with Mr. Jay Rooth and the law firm of Moses and Rooth. I found Mr. Rooth and staff as professional, experienced, and confidant in following through on two recent traffic cases. At no time during the court process did I feel as if my needs were not being served. I can't say enough about the level of professionalism and the feeling of having a highly experienced and driven law firm represent me in Orange County traffic court. I feel the positive outcome of my case was a direct result of this firms experience, attention to detail and focus on the task at hand. My request for legal representation was completely satisfied. I could not have asked for a more positive and professional result! Thank you Mr. Rooth and staff for such dedicated and wonderful work!

    - Daniel C.

  • Jay Rooth has been the most professional,knowledgeable, and truthful lawyer I have ever encountered. Not only did he explain how the case would go and the best possible outcome, but he made it happen and was always there if I had a question. His knowledge of the law and contacts that he has will work for you, and he is very easy to work with in regards to payment options and methods. I have given him multiple referrals and all of the outcomesfrom those cases were outstanding. He will be my attorney for life. THANKS JAY!!!!!

    - Michael N.

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Jay R. Rooth
Jay Rooth is one of the founding partners of Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law. Jay Rooth served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Orange and Osceola County State Attorney’s Office Ninth Judicial Circuit. As a criminal defense attorney in Orlando, Florida, Jay is committed to providing his clients with experienced legal representation and achieving positive results. Read More

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How Serious Is a Domestic Violence Charge for a First-Time Offender?

Domestic violence is a serious charge that carries a social stigma that few other offenses do. Even if you are convicted on a first-time domestic violence charge, the consequences could follow you for the rest of your life. Common penalties for domestic violence include incarceration, fines, probation, community service, and compulsory counseling. What Is Domestic Violence in Florida? In Florida, the term “domestic violence” is an umbrella term that does not refer to a single offense. Instead, it refers to a category of related offenses. According to Florida’s definition of domestic violence, some of these offenses include: Assault & battery, Sexual assault, Stalking, Kidnapping,  False imprisonment,  Sexual battery, and Any other offense resulting in injury or death. To qualify as domestic violence, the crime must be committed by one family or household member against another family or household member.  Pre-Trial Issues The risk of a domestic violence conviction is one problem. In addition, you will have several concerns to deal with before a trial even occurs (if it ever does).  Bail The standard bail bond is $500, but that can vary depending on your criminal history and other factors the judge may consider. With a skilled lawyer, however, you might obtain a Release on Recognizance (ROR) which wouldn’t require you to pay any money. The “No Contact” Order Once you are charged with domestic violence, the court will automatically issue a “no contact” order that prevents you from contacting your accuser in any way. This could represent a huge problem. For example, suppose that the accuser is your spouse. Your spouse may want to contact you regarding important custody or financial issues that arose because of your domestic violence charge. But speaking with them can violate the no contact order. We can help you resolve such difficulties by petitioning the court to modify the order for the sake of you and your accuser. Meanwhile, you are going to need to strictly observe the no contact order. Even a slight deviation could result in serious negative consequences — regardless of the validity of the reason. A violation could also jeopardize your defense. The no contact order might expire once your charges are resolved. Counseling For a first-time offense of domestic violence, seeking counseling on your own is one way to soften the prosecutor. In response, the prosecutor might offer a favorable plea bargain or even drop first-time domestic violence charges. Seeking counseling is a move that should be made, if at all, soon after the prosecutor charges you with domestic violence. Plea Bargaining Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain for you. The prosecutor can make the plea bargain favorable in a number of ways. They can offer you a light sentence in exchange for taking classes, for instance. They can even agree to let you plea to a lesser charge without the domestic violence enhancement if they feel the facts warrant such diversion. Prosecutors often agree to a plea bargain to save the time and expense of a trial, or as a reflection of an evidentiary weakness in their case against you. The Domestic Violence Diversion Program  The prosecutor might offer you a plea bargain in which you avoid incarceration and a permanent criminal record in favor of completion of the Domestic Violence Diversion Program. The advantage of this program is that if you complete it within the allotted time, Florida will dismiss the charges against you.   For some defendants, completing the Diversion Program might be the best option. It is not likely to be the best option, however, if you are innocent, or if the prosecutor lacks the evidence to convict you of domestic violence. The disadvantages of accepting such a plea deal may include: The program is expensive and time-consuming; Some professionals, such as teachers, must still notify their professional associations of their participation in a diversion program; and Florida can reject your application to participate in the diversion program. In this case you will end up right back where you started. Seeking an acquittal might be the better option under certain circumstances. Your lawyer can assess your chances of winning at trial and advise you as to the best course of action. Penalties for First-Offense Domestic Violence The penalties for domestic violence vary depending on the type of offense committed, the underlying circumstances, and your criminal history. The prosecutor can charge you with either a misdemeanor or a felony.  In the typical scenario, the prosecutor charges a first-time domestic violence offender with first-degree misdemeanor battery. Conviction of first-degree misdemeanor battery carries a sentence of:  Up to one year of jail time (with a minimum period of incarceration of 10 days if you intentionally injured the victim);  A $500 fine; and  Participation in a 26-week course called the “Batterers Intervention Program.” If the prosecutor charges you with a felony, you could face up to five years in prison. Your sentence could increase if your accuser already had a restraining order or an injunction issued against you. Federal Charges The federal government might charge you with domestic violence if multi-state activity was involved. This might happen, for example, if you lock someone in your car and carry them across a state line. Act Decisively The Florida criminal defense attorneys at Moses and Rooth have worked as prosecutors. That means we understand how prosecutors think and how they are likely to react. There is very little that can happen in a criminal prosecution that would surprise us. We’ve seen it all before. Telephone us at (407) 439-1762 or contact us online for a risk free consultation.

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Florida Drug Possession Penalties and Laws

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Florida Drug Possession Penalties and Laws

Florida drug possession penalties are notoriously strict. If you are facing Florida drug charges, you can expect prosecutors to aggressively pursue a conviction or a brutal plea bargain. If a Florida court convicts you, don’t be surprised if the judge imposes the maximum sentence. Consequently, it’s never in your best interests to even think about trying to defend yourself without the aid of an experienced Florida drug lawyer. Florida Drug Possession Laws: The Five Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) Schedules Florida, like the federal government, has divided illegal drugs into five classifications, known as schedules: Schedule I includes the “hardest” drugs: heroin, LSD, etc., for which there is no known medical use.   Schedule II includes hard drugs for which there is some medical use: cocaine, opium, etc. Schedule III includes drugs with an established medical use but significant potential for addiction, such as anabolic steroids. Schedule IV includes drugs with established medical uses and a moderate to low potential for addiction, such as Valium. Schedule V includes substances with a low potential for abuse and well-established medical uses, such as medications with limited quantities of codeine. New substances are frequently added to these schedules. Florida Drug Laws and Penalties: Categories of Drug Crimes Florida has divided drug crimes into four separate categories, in ascending order of seriousness: Possession or use of paraphernalia, such as bongs, needles, rolling papers., etc., but only if these articles are being used in conjunction with illegal drugs.  Possession of a small amount of an illegal drug for personal use only.  Possession with intent to deliver, sell, or distribute. For this charge to be appropriate, the police need evidence of your intent to sell, such as a scale and baggies — possession alone is not enough.  Drug trafficking charges apply if you possess an excessive amount of drugs. If the police catch you with a large enough quantity of illegal drugs, they could charge you with this level offense without any further evidence of your intent. Although trafficking requires more than simple possession, it is mere possession of a large amount of drugs that raises the inference of trafficking.  Florida Drug Possession Penalties The exact penalties for every schedule of drug across all four offense categories are too extensive to list here. Below, however, are some examples: First-degree felony possession of more than 10 grams of heroin (Schedule I): Up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Third-degree felony possession of CDS drugs listed in Schedules II through V (without a valid prescription), unless an exception applies: Up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. First-degree misdemeanor possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana: Up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Possession of more than $10,000 pounds of marijuana: Up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Conviction of a third or subsequent first-degree felony, whether or not drug-related, can result in life imprisonment. Weight The seriousness of your offense depends largely on the weight of the drugs you were caught with. The prosecution is allowed to count the combined weight of the substance that they seized from you, even if the substance was an illegal substance mixed with a legal substance. Suppose, for example, that the police caught you with four grams of cocaine that someone cut with seven grams of a legal substance, for a total of 11 grams. Suppose further that the police caught your friend with 11 grams of pure cocaine hydrochloride. The police could charge both of you with possession of 11 grams of cocaine each. Common Defenses There are numerous defenses that you could possibly use against drug possession charges, including the following four: Claiming the drugs belong to someone else; Illegal search and seizure; Entrapment; and Claiming that the substance is not actually an illegal drug. These are not the only possible defenses, but they are among the most popular and frequently used strategies. Claiming the Drugs Belong to Someone Else If the police found drugs in your possession (your suitcase, for example), it will be up to you to prove that the drugs belonged to someone else and that you didn’t know what they were. Perhaps CCTV footage showing someone slipping a package into your bag at the airport exists. This might be enough to establish such a defense. Then again, perhaps not. It all depends on exactly what that footage shows. Illegal Search and Seizure Suppose, for example, that the police searched your home without a search warrant when no exception to the warrant requirement existed. In this case, you could suppress the use of the drugs as evidence against you. With no evidence, the prosecutor will almost certainly drop the charges. Entrapment The entrapment defense applies if the police deliberately enticed you into committing a drug crime just so they could arrest you for it. For this defense to work, you cannot be the type of person who was already inclined to commit the offense. The Substance Is Not an Illegal Drug Gray-market chemists are creating new drugs faster than legislatures can write laws prohibiting them. If the substance the police caught you with is one of these, you will probably walk free. Time Is Against You Criminal prosecutions move quickly. If Florida has charged you with a drug crime, you will have to do the same. The criminal defense attorneys at Moses and Rooth have over 35 years of combined experience in representing defendants charged with drug crimes. Some of our lawyers used to work as prosecutors. This fact is particularly valuable when it comes to understanding how the other side thinks.  Call us at (407) 439-1762 or contact us online for a risk-free consultation.

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12 FAQs About Probation in Florida

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12 FAQs About Probation in Florida

Being on probation in Florida is like walking a tightrope. One slip could be catastrophic because it could result in incarceration. It may not be as restrictive as being in prison, but make no mistake—your actions and freedoms are significantly curtailed while you are on probation. It is certainly better than being in jail or prison, but if you don’t want to eventually end up incarcerated you need to strictly adhere to your probationary rules and restrictions. If you have been sentenced to probation in Florida, or if you are seeking probation as an alternative to incarceration, there are some things you need to know. What Is Probation in Florida? How Does It Work? Probation in Florida is a form of court-ordered supervision that does not require you to remain in jail, prison, or on house arrest (in most cases). Instead, your probation involves supervision by your probation officer and includes many rules you must follow and tasks you must complete. You must be very diligent and comply with each and every condition placed upon you to maintain your probationary status and remain free. If you violate any condition, you will likely end up in jail.  How Many People Are on Probation in Florida? Nearly 150,000 people are on probation in Florida. That is almost twice the number of people currently incarcerated. What’s It Like to Be on Probation? Probation typically lasts a long time in Florida. In fact, the average length of probation ranges from three to 15 years, depending on the seriousness of the offense. You can expect probation to be burdensome, expensive, and nerve-racking (since the specter of incarceration constantly looms over you). Losing your job could threaten your freedom. And even if you manage to keep your job, it might yield barely enough money to meet your offense-related financial obligations such as the cost of probationary supervision, fines, court costs, and restitution. Put simply, probation certainly beats incarceration—but it is no walk in the park. What Are the Different Types of Probation? The major forms of probation in Florida include: Standard Probation: You must obey standard terms of probation (see below) and report to your probation officer on a regular basis. Administrative Probation: Administrative probation is a more lenient form of probation that imposes standard conditions but does not require you to regularly meet with a probation officer. Drug Offender Probation: Drug offenders must typically submit to standard probationary rules, any specific conditions the judge ordered, and you must almost always complete a substance abuse program and submit to random drug tests. Sex Offender Probation: Sex offenders put on probation must also submit to standard probationary rules, complete any other conditions set out by the judge, and complete a sex offender treatment program under the supervision of a special probation officer. Community Control: “Community control” essentially means house arrest where you are incarcerated within your own home. If you are placed on community control, you will be under continuously supervised custody. We can help you convince the judge to grant you the type of probation that will be the least burdensome upon you.  What Are the Typical Florida Probation Rules? Florida Statutes Section 948.03 sets forth the standard terms and conditions of probation. Although the court can add details and modify these conditions somewhat, the basic terms include: Regularly reporting to your probation officer; Allowing your probation officer to visit your home, your place of employment, and other places that you frequent; Keeping a job during your period of probation; Paying restitution to anyone you harmed by your crime; Financially supporting your dependents; Remaining within a particular area specified by the court (the state, your county, your city, etc.); Refraining from committing any new offenses—i.e., don’t break the law; Not using any controlled substances unless a doctor prescribed them to you for medical reasons; Refraining from associating with anyone involved in criminal activity, even old friends; Submitting to random drug and alcohol testing; and Not possessing or using any firearms. The court may impose additional conditions as well. What Are the Typical Florida Felony Probation Rules? Since a felony is more serious than a misdemeanor, the terms of felony probation are usually stricter and supervision is more intense than misdemeanor probation. You will probably have to visit your probation officer more frequently. The court is also more likely to require you to complete a stringent rehabilitation program (an anger management course or a drug rehabilitation program, for example). You will still have to pay fines, court costs, and restitution. The judge may impose a requirement to do community service regardless of the level of your offense, but typically, felony offenses carry a higher number of community service hours. You will also have to comply with the same restrictions as misdemeanor offenders, such as keeping a job.  What Is the Difference Between Parole and Probation? Essentially, probation is a sentencing alternative to incarceration while parole is an early release from incarceration. So probation is used instead of incarceration, whereas parole happens after a period of incarceration if a parole board agrees to release you early. However, parole is almost never granted in Florida, due to legislative changes that took place in 1983. When Can I Receive Probation Instead of Incarceration? As long as you are eligible, Florida probation laws give judges the discretion to place you in jail or to put you on probation. A skilled lawyer is an invaluable asset under these circumstances. We have convinced many judges to sentence our clients to probation rather than jail time. Some serious crimes, however, do not allow for probation. Do I Have the Right to a Jury Trial for a Probation Violation? Unfortunately, no. If you violate a term of your probation you do not have the right to a jury trial to determine if you actually are in violation. Instead, the judge makes that decision. In addition, the prosecution does not have to prove your violation beyond a reasonable doubt. All they need is a “preponderance of the...

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