| Read Time: 2 minutes | Firearm Crimes

Florida Law Enforcement Officers Attempt to Preemptively Find Potential Mass Shooters

The devastating mass shootings that have occurred across the United States have spurred citizens to unite and urge their lawmakers to find solutions. Gun reform activists are using their collective voice to push for tougher gun laws.  National retailers are taking steps and banning certain sales of guns and ammo. Several states are promoting legislation that creates more restrictions on the purchase of guns. In addition, law enforcement officers in Florida are also trying to combat mass shootings.  They have come up with an idea – but the question is – at what cost? Law enforcement officers in Florida want to try to predict mass shooters before they act to commit their attacks. Police arrested a Florida teenager after he allegedly posted an online comment that he would use his father’s gun to kill people at his school. How Will the Police Attempt to Identify Potential Mass Shooters? Florida law enforcement agencies will train law enforcement officials to predict mass shooters before they take action. Agencies are attempting to create a statewide alert system that recognizes potential threats. In order for the system to work medical providers, the public, local governments, and police all would share information. A law enforcement official recently requested $24 million over a five year period to upgrade the agency’s record system. He also requested an extra $3.6 million for additional software and to hire more crime analysts. Potential Problems With the Proposed Alert System Senator Janet Cruz of Tampa recently stated that the panel is nothing more than an excuse to spend tens of thousands of dollars. She also expressed concerns that the program could lead to racial profiling. Others argue that the program will ultimately infringe on the rights of innocent Florida residents in its attempt to identify potential criminal defendants. Some have compared the program to the “see something, say something” campaign after the September 11th attacks. The program could lead people to falsely report their neighbors. Critics argue that creating and maintaining lists of potential terrorist suspects could be used to unlawfully profile citizens who are residents, violating their right to privacy. Could the New Program Work? Proponents of the new system state that the program could have stopped the Florida man who shot six women, killing two of them at a yoga studio in Tallahassee two years ago. The shooter had been fired from jobs as a substitute teacher. Others had accused the man of hating women. He planned the attack several months in advance and purchased a weapon and 100 rounds.  In this case, police would have likely learned about him, proponents of the system say. It is unclear how exactly the program would have stopped him. Perhaps reports of him being fired would have triggered a red flag warning.  Would the system catch the Las Vegas shooter? He did not interact with the police at all and had no other apparent red flags. He did purchase a large amount of military-style rifles and at least 6,000 rounds of ammunition. State law prohibits state agencies from maintaining a list of residents who legally own firearms. We can Help If you have been accused of a crime in Florida, Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law can help. We have successfully represented many clients in  Orlando criminal defense cases. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Internet Crimes

Florida Police Arrest 23 Child Predator Suspects

At the end of September, Florida law enforcement officials arrested 23 suspected child predators and human traffickers. The arrests came after the police engaged in a four-day sting operation. During the sting operation, the officers used popular online phone applications to pretend to be underage children. Police officers called the sting operation “Operation Intercept VII.” Law enforcement officers arrested 23 suspects ranging in age from 21 to 77.  How Did Law Enforcement Officers Discover the Alleged Predators? The law enforcement officials involved set several snares to catch alleged child predators. The officers set up online advertisements, profiles on popular applications, and profiles on social media websites. The alleged child predators responded to the advertisements and social media profiles. One suspect sent over 90 sexually explicit photographs to the detective on the other end of the snare.  The detectives behind the operation sent the alleged sexual predators their addresses. Several of the suspects brought condoms with them to the meet-up. One suspect brought candy and another brought a sex-toy.  Parents Should be Extremely Careful When it Comes to Online Access A Florida sheriff’s office has warned parents about the dangers of online application usage. In a recent statement, he reminded parents that they are the first defense between their innocent children and sexual predators. Some of the following applications as the most dangerous for young adults and children: Kik Snapchat Ask.fm Whisper Blendr WhatsApp GroupMe Chatous Zoosk Plenty of Fish Grindr Bumble TikTok When teenagers are more technologically savvy than their parents, they may be able to successfully hide dangerous application usage. Nonetheless, there are several applications that parents can use to block apps known to be dangerous. It can be challenging to protect children from online predators.  Traveling With the Intent of Having Sex With a Child Florida law enforcement officers have arrested all 23 suspects for traveling with the intent of having sex with a child.  Florida Statute 847.0135(4) makes it illegal to travel any distance within, from, or to Florida “for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with an after having used an online service or electronic device to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice the child to engage in unlawful sexual conduct.”  In many instances, prosecutors who charge a defendant with traveling with the intent of having sex with a child also charge the defendant with the crime of soliciting a child for unlawful sex through a computer. It is important to understand that suspects cannot make the defense that a law enforcement agent was undercover, pretending to be a child. Law enforcement officers are free to pose as a child or child’s parent during the undercover investigation.  Another undercover investigation technique that cannot be raised as a defense is known as the “bait-and-switch.” This occurs when the law enforcement officer begins the conversation by proposing to engage in lawful sexual behavior. But the undercover officer then quickly changes the conversation from having a legal sexual relationship to an unlawful sexual encounter with a minor child. In Florida, those convicted face up to 15 years in jail, 15 years probation and up to a $10,000 fine. If you are facing a criminal charge of Traveling to Meet a Minor to commit an Unlawful Sex Act, we can help. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys can skillfully advocate on your behalf.  Contact our law office today to set up your free initial consultation. 

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Firearm Crimes

Florida’s Red Flag Gun Law: What You Need to Know

Red flag gun laws have gained wide publicity in light of recent mass shooting events around the country. Red flag gun laws allow state courts to order the confiscation of guns from individuals the court deems to be a risk. President Trump recently called for a federal red flag law. Currently 17 states, including Florida, have passed red flag gun laws. Red flag laws are triggered when a person is a threat to themselves or others. Florida’s Red Flag Gun Law Florida Statute 790.401 was passed by the Florida legislature in response to the devastating 2018 Parkland school shooting. The law allows law enforcement officials and advocates to seek “risk protection orders” when they or anyone close to the person notices red flags that an individual poses a threat of harm him or herself.  The court receives an emergency request to temporarily prevent the at-risk individual access to guns. After reviewing the submission, Florida judges can order the confiscation of guns from the at-risk person.  Since the enactment of the law, Florida judges have signed off on 2,434 risk protection orders. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which oversees gun licensing reports that 595 of these orders involved licensed Florida gun owners. Courts ordered a suspension of those resident’s gun licenses. Advocates or law enforcement can request that a judge have someone’s weapons removed for 14 days. After a full hearing, a judge can extend the order to up to a year at a time.  Criminal Gun-Related Charges in Florida Due to the complexity of some of Florida’s gun and weapons laws, many Florida residents may be violating a gun law without knowing it. The most commonly enforced criminal gun-related charges in Florida are the following: Allowing a minor (under the age of 16) access to a loaded firearm Possession of a firearm by a person who is a convicted felon Dischargement or possession of a weapon at any event sponsored by a school Improper exhibition of any dangerous weapon Carrying or concealing a firearm without a license to do so The penalties for conviction of a gun-related crime in Florida depend on the degree of the crime and other factors. For example, carrying a firearm without a license is a third-degree felony. Those convicted could face up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, or up to five years of probation.  Orlando Criminal Gun Charges Defense Attorneys If you are facing a gun-related charge in Florida, it is vital to secure skilled legal representation. Florida’s weapon enhancement charge can result in a 10 to 25-year minimum prison sentence. Hiring attorneys who will fight assertively on your behalf is essential. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our skilled Orlando criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your criminal charges. Contact our law office today to schedule your free initial consultation. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our attorneys have experience representing clients against all gun-related criminal charges.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Theft

Criminal Activity During Florida Hurricanes

In the last five years, Florida residents have experienced severe hurricane seasons. Nearly every summer, Florida residents worry about evacuations and making their homes hurricane proof. In addition to worrying about physical safety, Florida residents also worry about hurricane looting and theft. While Hurricane Dorian descended on the eastern United States, the police were out in large numbers in an attempt to prevent looting and theft.   Experienced Florida Defense Attorneys At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we represent defendants in criminal matters throughout Orlando and the surrounding areas. If you have been charged with a burglary or theft crime, we can help. The penalties for looting or committing theft during a state of emergency are more severe than in normal circumstances. Contact our Central Florida criminal defense law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.  Those Who Commit Crimes During a State of Emergency Face Enhanced Penalties Police have already arrested several residents for looting and theft during Hurricane Dorian. Police found three men stealing sandbags from a construction site. Many Florida police officers patrol Florida streets during evacuations. The Volusia County Sheriff’s office issued many warnings that prosecutors pursue enhanced penalties for crimes committed during a state of emergency. When the Florida governor declares a state of emergency, theft crimes may become classified as one degree higher in severity. If someone commits a second-degree grand theft crime, they will face a first-degree charge of grand theft. Defendants only face enhanced charges when the state of emergency facilitated their crime. In other words, the state of emergency must give the defendant the opportunity to commit the crime. If someone knows that houses in his or her neighborhood because of evacuation and breaks into those houses because they are empty, the state of emergency facilitated his crime. In this case, the defendant could face an enhanced criminal charge and sentence. Categories of Florida Theft Crimes Florida criminal laws separate theft crimes into two categories — petit theft and grand theft. Florida defines theft as taking the property of another person with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of the right to the property or appropriate the property. Petit theft is the unlawful taking of any property valued at less than $750. Petit theft of the second degree requires that the defendant take property worth less than $100.  Defendants convicted of petit theft of the second degree may receive penalties any combination of six months in jail, a fine of $500 or six months of probation. If the defendant had a prior theft conviction or take property valued between $100 and $750, he or she may face a year in jail, a year of probation, or a fine of up to $1,000. Florida divides grand theft into three different degrees. A charge of grand theft of the first degree is extremely serious. The sentence for this crime can include a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years.  If You are Facing a Florida Theft Crime Charge, We can Help Facing a theft crime charge is serious, especially if the alleged crime occurred during a state of emergency. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys can skillfully advocate on your behalf. Contact our law office today to set up your free initial consultation.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Firearm Crimes

Self-Defense and Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law

A recent Florida manslaughter trial received national attention when a jury convicted a licensed gun owner of manslaughter for killing another man in a Clearwater parking lot.  The case involved Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which makes it legally justified for a person who is in fear for his or her life to use deadly force to stop an attack.    Orlando Self-Defense Attorneys If you are facing a murder or assault related charge, you may have a valid claim to self-defense. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our criminal defense attorneys have successfully represented clients who have faced a wide variety of criminal charges.  If you would like to discuss your case with experienced, skilled attorneys, contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation. We will evaluate your case and discuss possible defense strategies, including self-defense or the stand your ground law, if necessary. Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law In 2005 the Florida Legislature enacted Florida Statute 776.012 which has been popularly known as “Stand Your Ground.”  This new law widens the scope of self-defense. The law provides a person the right to use lethal force to defend themselves against threats without imposing a duty to retreat. In some states, a person cannot shoot an aggressor with the intent to kill without first attempting to retreat or flee from the danger.  Under the stand your ground law, a person does not need to attempt to retreat the altercation. Instead, he or she can shoot the aggressor without attempting to retreat when a reasonable person would believe he or she was in danger of great bodily harm or death in similar circumstances.  The jury in the trial mentioned above convicted the defendant of manslaughter, despite the defendant claiming the stand your ground defense. The defendant and the deceased person argued over a disabled parking spot. The deceased person shoved the defendant to the ground.  Seconds later, the defendant pulled out his handgun and shot the other man as he turned away from the defendant. The jury found that a reasonable person would not have believed he was in imminent threat of bodily harm or death in that situation.  Florida law categorizes manslaughter charges into the following three categories: Manslaughter by act or voluntary manslaughter involves committing an intentional act that was not justified or excusable that resulted in another person’s death. Manslaughter by procurement occurs when the defendant induced, persuaded, or encouraged someone else to kill another person. Manslaughter by culpable negligence occurs when the defendant engages in culpably negligent conduct that causes another person’s death. If You are Facing a Criminal Charge in Florida, We can Help Facing manslaughter, assault, or gun-based charge is serious. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys can skillfully advocate on your behalf. If you were involved in an altercation during the event that resulted in the alleged crime, you may have valid self-defense or stand your ground defenses. Contact our law office today to set up your initial consultation.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Florida Man Faces Aggravated Battery Charges After Firing Shots

A 25-year-old man from Cocoa recently fired gunshots into the air near his girlfriend as he sat in a car driven by his mother. Prosecutors charged the suspect with multiple gun-related charges. The punishment for Florida gun-related convictions can be serious. If you are facing a gun-related charge in the Orlando, Florida area, Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law can help. We aggressively represent our clients throughout the criminal defense process. To schedule your free initial consultation, contact our Orlando, Florida, law office today.  In the incident mentioned above, the defendant’s mother picked her son and a friend up and took them to the defendant’s girlfriend’s apartment. The mother did not anticipate what would happen next. The man got out of the car and confronted his girlfriend. According to witnesses, he pointed a gun at his girlfriend’s head then verbally threatened to kill her. He then allegedly fired off several rounds of ammunition out of the window of the car. Prosecutors have charged the defendant with aggravated battery with a deadly firearm. Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Firearm Florida criminal law states that aggravated battery occurs when a defendant intentionally strikes or touches another person and, in doing so, does one of the following: Knowingly or intentionally causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability, or  Using a deadly weapon, or Battering a person who the defendant knew or should have known was pregnant  Penalties for aggravated battery increase substantially in Florida when the incident involves the discharge or possession of a firearm. When the offense includes discharge of a firearm, judges must impose the following minimum sentences: When the defendant possesses a firearm during the incident, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 10 years If the defendant possessed a semiautomatic firearm or a machine gun, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 15 years  If the defendant discharges a firearm during the incident, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 20 years If the discharge of the firearm causes great bodily harm or death, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 25 years The Importance of a Defense Attorney Facing an aggravated assault charge is serious enough. However, if firearms are involved, the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines are incredibly serious. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our attorneys are skilled at aggressively defending our clients. Common defenses to aggravated battery charges include the following:  Self-defense Stand your ground doctrine Defense of others, or  Lack of intent to strike or touch.  If you are facing a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly firearm, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney. The penalties for an aggravated battery charge serious and could include a minimum 25-year jail sentence. Contact the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Burglary

The Criminal Trial of a Notorious Florida Burglar has Begun

One of three Immokalee men will face charges stemming from a stretch of Florida home burglaries. The group became known as the “Ninja Robbers” and allegedly participated in burglaries from December 2013 to 2014. The dubbed “Ninja Robbers” dressed like ninjas by wearing all black and would break into houses all throughout the State of Florida. One of the defendants faces several charges, including kidnapping with the intent to commit a felony and robbery with a firearm or deadly weapon. Florida law defines burglary as entering the home of another person with the intent to commit an offense. The Criminal Trial of One of the Ninja Robbers is Underway Two of the three men known to the public as the “Ninja Robbers” recently pled guilty to 34 different Florida criminal charges. The Florida judge presiding over the case ordered lengthy prison sentences of 45 years to each defendant.  The men dressed in all black wearing masks entered Florida homes through unlocked doors and proceeded to hold the occupants at gunpoint. They used zip ties and duct tape to restrain them in some instances. The criminal charges to which they pled guilty include the following: Kidnapping with intent to commit a felony Carjacking with a firearm Dealing in stolen property Aggravated battery causing great bodily harm Home invasion robbery with a firearm Conspiracy to commit racketeering Racketeering The remaining man who rejected a plea deal will now face trial. A jury panel of six jurors and four alternate jurors will form, chosen out of a pool of 150 potential jurors. Finding jurors who have not seen any new articles, blog posts, photos, or heard any news about the “Ninja Robbers” will be difficult.   Fighting a Florida Burglary With a Firearm or Deadly Weapon Charge The crime of burglary in Florida requires someone to enter a dwelling, usually someone’s home or other dwelling structure, without permission and with intent to commit an offense. Entering a dwelling legally and remaining there without permission with the intent to commit an offense also constitutes burglary in Florida law.  Florida Burglary in the First Degree Charges First degree burglary is the most severe type of burglary crime. To commit burglary in the first degree, the offender must commit a burglary along with other aggravating factors. The suspect must enter a dwelling without permission with the intent to commit an offense, and also do one of the following: Enter with explosives or a dangerous weapon or weapons,  Commit an assault or battery upon another person, or Enter the structure using a motor vehicle as an instrument in committing the offense or causes damage to the property above $1,000. If You are Facing a Burglary Charge, We can Help Are you facing a Florida robbery or burglary charge? If so, Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law can help. Our skilled Orlando criminal defense attorneys have helped many clients secure dismissals and receive not guilty verdicts. Burglary is a serious charge in Florida, especially if the defendant used a firearm or deadly weapon in the process. Hiring a skilled Orlando burglary defense attorney is wise. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Federal Agents Make More Drug Ring Arrests

In mid-September, federal prosecutors charged eight additional defendants with drug trafficking offenses. Drug trafficking is the crime of selling, transporting or illegally importing unlawful controlled substances, such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana or other illegal drugs.  In Florida, Federal prosecutors are aggressively pursuing charges against the suspects. The federal investigators may bring more charges in the coming weeks.  Federal drug charges are extremely serious. If you have been charged with a federal drug crime, the experienced litigators at Moses & Rooth can help. Contact the Orlando federal criminal defense attorneys today to schedule your initial consultation.  Federal Investigators Have Been Investigating a Drug Ring in North Central Florida The federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) have been investigating a drug ring in north-central Florida for the last two years. The drug ring in question is allegedly responsible for distributing MDMA, cocaine, and methamphetamine throughout the Florida panhandle. The prosecutors returned the original indictment in May. The recent indictment of eight more suspects is a continuation of the original indictment. The suspects could face serious penalties, including life imprisonment and fines up to $20 million. Federal Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys The recent arrests of multiple suspects for drug possession and trafficking demonstrate law enforcement’s focus on the war on drugs. Prosecutions for federal drug crimes make up the majority of criminal prosecutions in the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are actively involved in arresting suspects for drug trafficking.  The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is a federal drug policy that used to regulate the distribution and manufacture of certain controlled substances. The CSA classifies drugs into five different schedules based on their potential for abuse. The schedules are as follows: Schedule I: Marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, and heroin Schedule II: Methamphetamine, morphine, cocaine, oxycodone, Dexedrine, fentanyl, Vicodin, and Ritalin Schedule III: Ketamine, Vicodin, and anabolic steroids Schedule IV: Tramadol, Valium, and Ambien Schedule V: Lyrica and cough suppressants  Possession of an Illegal Substance The Controlled Substance Act makes it a crime to possess some types of illegal controlled substances. It also criminalizes the possession of chemicals used to make illegal controlled substances and some accessories to drug use. Federal prosecutors must be able to prove that the defendant did the following beyond a reasonable doubt: Knew that the drug in their possession was a controlled substance, and Knowingly had possession or control over the controlled substance Federal prosecutors must prove each element in a drug crime. In many instances, prosecutors do not have the necessary evidence to bring a charge. Our attorneys will find any discrepancies in the prosecutor’s case and use them to defend our clients.  Seeking Legal Help for Your Federal Drug Possession Charge As federal prosecutors seek to make more drug-related arrests, it is wise to understand federal drug laws. If you are facing a federal drug possession charge, it is essential that you seek help from skilled defense attorneys. Those convicted of federal drug possession crimes face serious consequences. That is why our attorneys fight hard for the rights of our clients throughout the entire process. Contact our Orlando criminal defense law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 4 minutes | Scholarship

Announcing the 2019 Legal Scholarship Winner

We received exactly 100 applications for this year’s scholarship! After carefully reviewing all of them, we are pleased to announce the winner of our 2019 scholarship. Brandon Osowski! Congratulations Brandon! Brandon recently graduated from Florida State University this past spring and has been accepted to the University of Virginia School of Law, which he’ll be attending this fall. Brandon interned with Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta of the 13th Juicial Circuit of FL, and this experience instilled a desire within him to legal education in order to help protect vulnerable citizens from entering the court system. Brandon tells more of his story in his scholarship essay, which he has agreed to have published below. We invite you to read it. Introduction: Before I even graduated high school, I had developed a desire to be a lawyer. If you asked me what sparked this interest, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. As I continued my academic career with this unfounded desire, I was able to earn experience in the legal field. The most influential experience occurred during my internship with Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta of the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida. During my time with Judge Ficarrotta I noticed a disproportionately high number of offenders being from poor backgrounds. This disappointed me and inspired me to utilize my legal education to help keep this population from entering this cyclical system. Having the opportunity to receive this scholarship would be used to take some of the enormous financial burden law school poses for me; allowing me to pursue my passion of protecting vulnerable citizens from entering the court system. Aside from these goals, in my free time I am an avid golfer. Golf serves as an outlet for me, an escape from the stresses of the real-world. It challenges me and teaches me lessons that help me progress as a student and a professional. Why we should be allowed to warn of DUI checkpoints: The legality of DUI checkpoints has been tested many times in the past. The argument that a DUI checkpoint violates the fourth amendment was shut down in the Supreme court case Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz. The court ruled 6-3 that these checkpoints were constitutional and that they only caused a minor inconvenience to motorists, not violating their 4th amendment right. With the legality of these checkpoints being settled, the right to freely talk about them is now being questioned. Even though DUI checkpoints are legal, the existence of these should not restrict the first amendment right of free speech. Any person can let a fellow motorist know “be careful, there may be a DUI checkpoint tonight”, just like a mother can tell their 16-year-old kid driving on the 4th of July, “be careful, there will be many cops out tonight.” Just like it is legal to let someone know to be careful because of the possibility of something occurring, it should be legal to be more specific, saying “be careful, I heard there will be a DUI checkpoint on the corner of Tampa and Racetrack road.” On the surface, this seems like it would inhibit the police from doing their job. Regardless of if this is the case, the existence of these checkpoints cannot, and should not legally restrict one from talking to another person about a given checkpoint at any given place or time. The justification for this argument is clear when we look at a very similar police operation, speed traps. Speed traps are an operation where many officers are directed to work at a certain location and pull people over for speeding. During these traps, many motorists will flash their headlights to let oncoming traffic know of the speed trap. Similar to letting motorists know of a DUI checkpoint, flashing headlights can be seen as “inhibiting the police from doing their job.” Recently, a federal judge in Missouri, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey, ruled on the headlight flashing issue. Judge Autrey stated that it is protected under the first amendment that motorists are allowed to flash headlights to let other motorists know of a speed trap. Because of the parallels between DUI checkpoints and speed traps, Judge Autrey’s reasoning can be extended to DUI checkpoints; protecting citizens from letting other motorists know of DUI checkpoints. Some may argue that this justification from Judge Autrey does not apply because a speed trap and a DUI checkpoint differ in the fact that a DUI checkpoint is aimed at catching people driving under the influence, a state that cannot be changed from last-minute knowledge of a DUI checkpoint. With this argument, many claim that knowledge of a DUI checkpoint incentivizes drunk drivers to avoid a given area, putting other drivers in danger. Even though these points are valid, arguments can be made that knowledge of a DUI checkpoint incentivizes drivers to not drive under the influence and to operate their vehicles more safely. From the arguments presented above, it is clear that it is 100% legal to let motorists know of a DUI checkpoint. Even though it is legal to do this, it is tougher to determine whether this should be allowed. Both sides make valid and convincing arguments. Since there is a level of uncertainty to this question, it is important that the 1st amendment right to free speech is protected. Therefore, letting motorists know of a DUI checkpoint is not only legal, but it should be allowed. Works Cited Headlight flashing OK, Missouri judge says. (2014, February 06). Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/06/police-speeding-headlightsaclu/5253337/ Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz (1990).

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Criminal Defense

What Happens if I Plead the Fifth Amendment?

Pleading the fifth in real life is not as funny as Dave Chappelle’s skit on pleading the fifth, however, it may be necessary to protect yourself from self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that no person in a criminal case can be compelled to be a witness against themselves. An experienced criminal defense attorney at Moses & Rooth can help you determine if pleading the fifth is the right option for you when testifying. Pleading the Fifth as a Criminal Defendant In Malloy v. Hogan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a defendant has the right to plead the fifth in State criminal cases, as well as, Federal criminal cases. As a criminal defendant you can choose not to take the stand in order to protect yourself from self-incrimination, however, once you have chosen to do so you have waived your right to testify. Criminal defendants cannot choose to answer some questions and not others. It’s an all or none scenario in criminal cases. In Griffin v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a jury may not infer that a defendant is guilty because the defendant pled the fifth and refused to testify. The U.S. Supreme Court later strengthened this ruling in Ohio v. Reiner. Pleading the Fifth in a Civil Case Defendants in a civil trial may also plead the fifth, but not without risk. A jury in a civil trial, unlike a criminal trial, may make assumptions if a defendant chooses not to testify. Pleading the Fifth as a Witness A witness, like a defendant, may assert their Fifth Amendment right to prevent self- incrimination. A witness may refuse to answer a question if they fear their testimony will incriminate them. The criminal activity that the witness fears does not have to pertain to the case at hand. If a witness chooses to plead the fifth, unlike criminal defendants, this does not allow them to avoid testifying altogether. Witnesses subpoenaed to testify must testify, but can plead the fifth for questions that they deem are self-incriminating. Prosecutors may offer witnesses immunity in exchange for their testimony. Witnesses with immunity will not be charged for any incriminating statements made while testifying. When immunity is not on the table there is another option. Prosecutors may offer to reduce the charges if the witness agrees to testify. When Pleading the Fifth Will Not Protect You Defendants cannot assert their Fifth Amendment right to protect themselves from self-incrimination against evidence the Court deems to be non-communicative. A defendant cannot plead the fifth when objecting to the collection of DNA, fingerprint, or encrypted digital evidence. In Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus brief in support of a defendant whose right to protect himself from self-incrimination was being threatened by an order to decrypt his computer, however, the Court ruled it was not a violation of the defendant’s rights. Before testifying as a criminal defendant or witness let the criminal defense lawyers of Moses & Rooth in central Florida advise you on your options of pleading the fifth and protecting yourself against self-incrimination. Our lawyers have a depth of knowledge because we only handle criminal defense cases. If you fear testifying will lead to criminal charges contact us today for information on how to protect yourself. Related articles: https://www.mosesandrooth.com/self-incrimination-defense-may-block-forced-decryption/ https://www.mosesandrooth.com/supreme-court-limits-power-miranda-related-silence/

Continue Reading