| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

The Criminal Side of Online Dating

Love. Soulmate. Companionship. At some point we all want to experience it. We search high and low for someone who we can call our own and when we find him or her, most of us try to hold on tight. With the increase of technology and different paths available to find love, such as online dating, meeting people has become considerably convenient. However, crime has also increased due to the convenience of “love” and technology. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime associated with online dating, it is important for you to seek legal advice. Contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to help you with your case. Crimes and Online Dating: What You Should Know Though online dating has been around for a while, in recent years online dating has become a trend and although there have been some very successful relationships resulting from online dating, there has also been an increase in crime. For instance, recently in Florida, a woman who moved from Alabama to Florida to be with a man she met online vanished. This is not the first time nor the last time that online dating has led to a potential crime. In 2010 Carol Markin went on a date with a man she met online, and after he asked to use her bathroom, he raped her. Though online dating is a booming industry, it can also be a scary one. Online dating crimes in recent years have consisted of sexual offenses, money laundering, and extortion scams. Targeting women over 40, who are divorced or widowed, money laundering has become significantly easy for those who have joined dating sites. According to the AARP, the FBI says that Americans lost approximately $82 million to online dating fraud in only six months in the year of 2014, and that number is only for those who chose to report the problem. Because online dating crimes have increased and most dating sites do not make their users submit background checks, Florida has proposed bills that would require a dating service to notify their consumers on whether or not they have conducted background checks. Need Legal Advice? Being charged with any crime can be overwhelming, however, this is definitely the case when the crime is considered to be a crime associated to online dating. If convicted, you can face imprisonment, fines, registering as a sex offender, as well as probation and community service. Because of this, it is invaluable to seek legal advice. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime associated with online dating, contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law  at (407) 377-0150  to help you strategize about the best possible outcomes for your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Crimes that Result in Deportation

For many, the United States is a country that represents freedom and opportunity. This is especially so for those who are from developing countries trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. Though your intentions may be good, in Florida, you can potentially get involved in situations that are considered crimes. Though these crimes vary, when you are an immigrant and commit certain crimes, you have more to lose than those born in the United States. For those unfortunate instances, it is important to seek legal advice. If you or a loved one face potential deportation due to a crime, it is invaluable to contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to help you with your case. What Crimes Can Lead to Deportation? The truth of the matter is, all immigrants, including those who have been issued green cards, can be deported if they are found to have violated the laws of the United States. It is unfortunate, but when you commit a crime as an immigrant your punishment may be harsher than when a citizen of the United States commits a crime. Even for misdemeanor charges or instances when you do not have to serve jail time, you could face deportation if you are convicted of a crime. In the case of drugs, you can be deported for almost any form of drug conviction under federal law.   Crimes that can result in deportation include: Aggravated felonies; Firearms conviction; Crimes of domestic violence; Crimes of moral turpitude. Though firearm convictions and domestic violence convictions are more straightforward, aggravated felonies and crimes of moral turpitude are not. According to 8 U.S.C. Section 1101(a)(43), aggravated felonies are the most serious crimes in immigration law and include, but are not limited to: Murder, Drug trafficking, Money laundering over $10,000; Crimes of violence where the sentence is at least one year imprisonment; Rape or sexual abuse. Crimes pertaining to moral turpitude include, but are not limited to: Fraud; Larceny; and Intent to harm persons or property. Lastly, it is important to note that a formal guilty verdict is not the only disposition that may result in deportation, you can also plea nolo contender and receive some form of punishment such as probation or house arrest, as well as deferred adjudication that can lead to deportation. Need Legal Advice? When you have committed a crime, you face several consequences that can result in fines, imprisonment, probation, as well as suspension of licenses. However, when you are an immigrant and commit a crime, the consequences are a lot stricter and oftentimes can lead to you being deported. Though you may feel like there are no other options, seeking legal advice and representation can change your view. If you or a loved one face potential deportation due to the committing of a crime, contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for a free consultation. As former prosecutors, we will not miss details when defending you. Contact our office today!  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Understanding Expungements and Sealed Records

When we are young, we tend to be wild and free. Most youth do not question nor consider the impact of that their actions presently will have on their future. However, youthful bliss and its carefree nature can leave you with life altering consequences. For instance when you are arrested and/or charged with a crime you will have a criminal record. Criminal records follow you a lifetime, and often times are the reason you are turned down from job opportunities, housing, as well as professional licensing. Though you may be frustrated or even feeling like you cannot progress in life because of your criminal record, there may still be hope. If you or a loved one have been unable to progress in life because of your criminal record contact an experienced Florida expungement attorney today to consult about your record. Expungements vs. Sealed Records in Florida Those who have a criminal record know how hard it is to get jobs and even housing and though this can be frustrating, options do exist. In Florida, you have the right to have your criminal record expunged or sealed. Expungements are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.0585 , while sealed records are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.059. Though you may think differently, expungements and sealed records are not the same thing and depending on which one you receive determines who can see your criminal record and who cannot. If your criminal record has been dismissed, if the charges were dropped or if there was no information filed then you may be eligible to get your record expunged, meaning the court will order the clerk, the arresting agency and FDLE to destroy the arrest records. This can be extremely beneficial to you because it should appear that your past actions never happened at all. When your record is sealed, the public, such as landlords and employers, do not have access to your record but governmental agencies will have access to it. It is important to note, that if you have previously had your record expunged or sealed, whether in Florida or another state, you will not be eligible for another expungement or seal. Though expungement and seal laws may seem straightforward, it can become quite complicated; therefore, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice. Need Legal Advice? Having a criminal record could make your life more difficult when you are maturing and progressing in life. Criminal records can keep you from getting a job, obtaining housing, as well as keep you from your inherent rights such as voting or owning a firearm. Frustrating as it may be, you have options. If you or a loved one would like your criminal record expunged or sealed, it is best to speak with an attorney about your case. Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Have You Been Charged with Drug Trafficking?

Most crimes are considered serious crimes, however, amongst the most serious crimes such as murder or rape, are drug crimes. Drug crimes can result in serious consequences and without the right legal representation, you can be sent to prison for decades depending on the drug you possessed or were alleged to have possessed. Even if the drugs were not yours, if you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you may be charged with the drugs if the true owner does not come forth. That is why it is invaluable to seek legal representation. If you or a loved one have been charged with drug trafficking, contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to help you with your case. Drug Trafficking and Possible Legal Defenses Though there have been stiffer laws implemented to keep drugs off of the streets, the truth of the matter is, drugs are still trafficked into Florida every day at an alarming rate. In the United States, as a whole, drugs bring into the black market up to $750 billion a year. Drug trafficking involves the cultivation, manufacturing, and distributing and selling of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Some of the most common drugs charged in drug trafficking include: cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, oxycontin, ecstasy (MDMA), Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), Marijuana, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), and Methamphetamine. In Florida, these laws revolve around the amount of drugs you are trafficking. Florida drug trafficking laws are governed by Florida Statute Section 893.135 and can land you with three to 15 years in prison as well as fines unless your case is governed by the Three Strikes Law. Though these numbers may be overwhelming for you, you may have possible defenses that you can offer on behalf of your case. These defenses consist of: the controlled substance was possessed for personal use and not for distribution or sale; entrapment; whether the drugs were yours; the amount of drugs in possession—which can reduce your drug trafficking charge to simple drug possession; as well as search and seizure violations of the Fourth Amendment. Though these defenses may seem straightforward, they can be complicated. Because of this, it is beyond beneficial to seek legal advice and representation. Need Legal Advice? If you have been charged with drug trafficking, chances are you are looking at some serious time and may be looking at fines as well. Not only is your freedom restricted drastically, but you also, if imprisoned, will lose your job and suffer a strain on your familial relations. We may be able to minimize those consequences or even get some of your charges dismissed. If you or a loved one have been charged with drug trafficking, contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation. Contact our office today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Justice

That’s One Expensive…

You’re out one night at the bar looking for “friend”. You buy a girl a drink but she’s not interested. Strike one. You try Tinder, same result. Strike two. Not wanting to strike out that night, you decide to look for a “sure thing”. Maybe you decide to drive in the seedier part of town, or check out the lovely ladies of backpage.com. Either way you know that you aren’t going to strike out. The problem is that after you attempt to negotiate for her services, you are placed under arrest because the nice girl that you were soliciting was a police officer. You think to yourself, “how bad could this be?” You have never been in trouble, it’s a misdemeanor charge, and aside from the embarrassment of explaining the situation to your friend who bonded you out, this is no big deal. That was probably the same thought process as Nelson Vachon. Mr. Vachon was arrested after making a deal with a prostitute for $20. Unfortunately, the prostitute was an undercover cop working a sting operation. He entered a plea and the government asked the Judge to impose the mandatory $5000.00 civil fine. The County Court found that the $5000.00 fine was unconstitutional and excessive. However, the Fourth District Court of Appeals did not agree. They reversed the trial court’s order and required the sentence to include the $5000.00 civil penalty. So the moral of the story is, first stay away from police acting as prostitutes in an undercover operation. Second, stay away from prostitutes. Third and perhaps most importantly should you ignore the first and second points, hire an attorney who is experienced with the criminal justice system. The attorneys at Moses and Rooth can assist in examining your case and representing you in court. Call 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | finding an attorney

A Florida Man Faces Possible Hate Crime Charges

A man is facing hate-crime charges after authorities allege he broke into and vandalized an Islamic center in North Palm Beach Florida. Authorities brought hate crime charges against the 27-year-old defendant alleging he targeted the Islamic Center of Palm Beach. The defendant was charged with burglary of a dwelling and damaging property at a religious center. Later the defendant was released on $1,500 bail. Under Florida law the addition of a hate crime charge means the defendant may face a possible life sentence if convicted of the alleged crime. What is a Hate Crime? Hate crimes are criminal acts perpetrated against a victim because of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. A hate crime can be almost any type of violent crime, but the most common include assault, assault with a weapon, robbery, harassment, vandalism, rape, and murder. Type of Hate Crime Protections Florida’s hate crime statutes are designed to protect individuals based on actual or perceived characteristics and Florida vigorously prosecutes hate crimes. There are two main categories of hate crime laws that seek to protect vulnerable communities: Laws that protect institutions: These are laws prohibiting institutional vandalism. These laws enhance crimes such as defacing a church, mosque, or synagogue. Laws that protect individuals: These are laws that protect individuals based on their membership in a specific group. Hate crime laws make it crime to perpetrate a crime against a person because of their membership in a protected class. Motivation Matters for Hate Crimes A defendant’s motivation is key to a hate crime charge. If a prosecutor believes that the accused criminal behavior was motivated simply by the defendant’s prejudice or hatred of the victim then the criminal act qualifies as a hate crime. During a trial in which there is a potential hate crime penalty, a prosecutor must be able to demonstrate that a defendant perceived, knew, or had reasonable grounds to know that the victim was a member of a particular group. On the other hand, if a defendant’s primary motivation for the criminal offense was something else (e.g. monetary gain), then crime is not likely to be classified as a hate crime. Florida Heavily Penalizes Hate Crimes Hate crime charges enhance the penalties a defendant might face before a Florida court of law. For example, a second-degree misdemeanor charge can become a first-degree charge if the assault is charged as a hate crime. A defendant convicted of a hate crime can face severe penalties that include long-term imprisonment, probation, high fines, and mandatory community service or rehabilitation. Florida’s hate crime laws also apply to charges brought up against minors. Seek Help From an Attorney If you are facing hate crimes charges, contact a criminal defense attorney at Moses & Rooth. We can help you through the process and seek the best outcome possible for you. Call us today at (407)-377-0150 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | finding an attorney

Finding an Attorney: Why Parents Prefer Referrals Over Any Other Source

Recently, Moses & Rooth conducted a survey to investigate how different demographics prefer to find an attorney when facing legal hardships. One of the findings illustrated that parents prefer referrals to find an attorney rather than any other source. In fact, more than half of the responses indicating a preference for referrals belonged to parents.  How could this be? Why would they not prefer speaking to their friends or using the Internet like other demographics? What is it about referrals that attract such a strong inclination from parents? Privacy Though most people value their privacy, parents have a particular interest in keeping their matters private when they have a family to protect. Many things can go wrong when gossip gets out about legal issues, especially those of a sensitive nature. Parents want to be careful in keeping their children’s best interest in mind. Kids can get made fun of at school when other children’s parents catch wind of the pending legal battle and fail to guide their children how to behave. In addition, kids’ friendships can whither when other parents make judgments and decide to keep their own children away and cease all play dates. Not only must parents protect their children’s well being, but they must also tread carefully about their own standing in the community. When it comes to sensitive legal matters, friends are not always trusted to refrain from gossip. In some communities, the members may often feel compelled to interject their opinion or provide unsolicited advice on how to deal with the issue, which tends to make the matter more frustrating than it already is. Lack of Time Parents are busy and have no time for trial and error when it comes to finding an attorney. Though consulting friends can be helpful at times, it is not always beneficial. A friend may feel that her attorney was the best in handling her case, but that does not mean that her attorney will be great at handling a case of another kind. For example, a friend may say that they had a great personal injury attorney, but he or she might not do well in dealing with a divorce case. Furthermore, parents with already tight schedules might feel as though they do not have time to fiddle around on the Internet, scouring through hundreds of lawyers who all advertise their excellence. Calling different offices and setting up consultations with various attorneys can be a real time-suck and is not ideal for busy parents, who would rather be focusing on the needs of their children. Referrals Could Do the Trick Ultimately, parents want what is best for their kids and family. Although online reviews or friend referrals can be helpful, they are not always the most reliable for specific situations. Parents have a lot to balance and protect, and therefore want to get their legal matters handled correctly the first time. Perhaps referrals are the best way to privately seek out a lawyer that can work well with their circumstances and schedule.

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