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Miami Criminal Law Blog

What is an Insanity Defense?

Have you ever heard about a crime and thought, "they must have been crazy to do such a thing" - sometimes, they do in fact have a mental situation that can be explained with a medical diagnosis. When crimes such as these are committed, the defense attorney on the case may consider entering into an insanity defense.

 

An insanity defense is a type of admission to guilt that relies on a mental disorder defense and affirmation to argue that the defendant is not responsible for their actions due to having episodic or persistent psychiatric disease as the criminal act was being committed. Sometimes the mental disease is so debilitating that the defendant is unable to go on trial because the mental disease prevents them from effectively assisting their hired or appointed counsel.

10 Weird Laws In Florida You Probably Don't Know About

Florida is no stranger to being in the news for committing strange crimes. You've surely heard plenty of stories whose headlines begin with "Florida Man..." Many of those cases are ones where someone in the state of Florida really did commit a crime, sometimes these crimes are ridiculous and other times they are quite serious. Like every state, Florida has many laws that aren't typically on the top of ones mind. These laws that may be dated and unenforced, but are still considered written laws that should be abided by.

How Ancestry Test DNA Can Solve Crimes

As a criminal defense attorney, it's my job to be on top of advances in technology that can be used in the courtroom. The collection of DNA via various genetic test kits like Ancestry and 23andMe has given law enforcement a new pool of DNA samples that they would likely not have access to, but according to the USA Today, in at least eight states, investigators are able to search law enforcement databases to identify likely relatives of suspected criminals.

 

Ancestry and 23andMe both claim that they won't give up information without a warrant, but it appears that Florida-based GEDmatch does not require a warrant to give out ones personal information. The site states in its terms and policy statement that "users participating in this site should expect that their information will be shared with other users."

Falsifying Information Can Get You In Trouble

Growing up we're often told lying is bad, but that doesn't always stop us from telling a lie here or there. On occasion, a simple white lie seems like it might do no harm, but when it comes to the law and those enforcing it - a small lie can lead to big trouble. Falsifying personal information on a legal document including changing or modifying for an unlawful purpose is a criminal offense. It is considered a white-collar crime and can be charged as a felony.

How Does Bail Work?

As a criminal defense law firm, we're often asked, "how does bail work?" You've probably heard the word "bail" before but may not be completely clear on what it means. According to Nolo.com, "Bail is cash, a bond, or property that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the defendant doesn't show up, the court may keep the bail and issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest."

Hosting an Illegal Airbnb Can Cost You

It's no secret that Miami Beach is a hot spot for vacationers from all over the world, and cashing in on those tourism dollars is a great way to supplement ones income. For those considering hosting an Airbnb rental, make sure you're going through the proper channels, because the city is cracking down on illegal Airbnb hosts - there's even the possibility of jail time for those who violate the terms that have been recently put into place.

 

According to the Airbnb guidelines set by city officials and the popular home-sharing platform, in order to legally operate an Airbnb within your property you must have the proper business licenses and a resort tax registration certificate that must be cited on your Airbnb online listing. Airbnb is unable to verify these numbers, but law enforcement has the right to do unannounced visits to each property to ensure validity. Code enforcement will be policing the city and doing routine checks at various listings to check on the accuracy of the posted licenses. Hosts who provide fake business license information listed on Airbnb can be prosecuted by the city.

What Is Return Fraud?

Everyone loves getting a good deal when shopping, but what happens when you're a little too overzealous and take it to an extreme with a tactic like return fraud? Return fraud is when a person purchases an item and then uses its receipt to return another item of lesser value.

 

A 2018 study conducted by the National Retail Federation, says that 11% of retailers' annual sales were returned, and 8% of those returns are likely to be fraudulent. While it seems like a victimless crime as far as actual people are concerned, it's still a crime that is being committed that could lead to harsh consequences.

3 Signs You Had Ineffective Counsel

Did you know that if your legal counsel provides ineffective assistance during your case and that is deemed the reason you lost your case, it may be grounds for an appeal and could even be ordered to a retrial by a judge? Cornell Law cites a case from 1984 (Strickland v. Washington) where it was decided that "to prove ineffective assistance, a defendant must show (1) that their trial lawyer's performance fell below an "objective standard of reasonableness" and (2) "a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different."

4 Reasons You Should Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Miami

Have you made a mistake that got you in trouble with the law? From time-to-time, things happen that may be out of our control or done without being completely thought through that can lead to getting arrested or having to deal with going to trial to sort matters out. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to be on your side can make a world of difference when it comes to how your case is handled and its outcome.

How a Gag Order Can Affect Social Media Usage

Last week's blog post talked about what a gag order is and three important things you need to know about them. As a refresher, a gag order is put into place by a judge restricting the parties involved from talking about the case outside of the courtroom in an effort to keep the information away from the media in order to ensure a fair trial. One way to violate a gag order is to post case details or to talk about people involved in the case on social media.

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