Please Note: Izquerido Law Firm remains open and available to serve you and meet your criminal defense, DUI defense and Federal Crimes attorney needs during the COVID-19 crisis. We can meet with clients, existing or new, in person, over the phone or with your preferred video-chat application. Please call our office at 305-707-7345 to discuss your options.

Get Answers to Common Questions Now

Our clients have many of the same fears and concerns. To get started, we’ve compiled answers to many of the most frequently asked questions about Federal, Florida DUI and criminal law, covering a wide range of topics to help each client understand the potential implications and options of many legal situations.

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  • Why was a hate crime added to my criminal charge, and what does that mean?

    Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Izquierdo LawIf you were charged with a crime such as rape, assault, vandalism, or harassment and the alleged victim is a member of a protected class, you could face additional penalties for “evidencing prejudice while committing an offense.” In other words, you could be charged with a hate crime. However, the state will have to meet a particular burden of proof, and that’s where a skilled defense attorney can help.

    What Is a Hate Crime?

    A violent crime can be reclassified as a more serious offense if it is suspected that the victim was targeted because of one of the following characteristics:

    • Race
    • Color
    • Ancestry
    • Ethnicity
    • Religion
    • Sexual orientation
    • Gender identity
    • National origin
    • Homeless status
    • Advanced age

    However, it takes more than just the personal characteristics of the victim to justify charges of a hate crime. The prosecutor also has to prove that the defendant was motivated to commit the crime by hatred or bias towards to victim. The use of a discriminatory slur is not sufficient to prove that a hate crime has occurred. Evidence must be presented that the perpetrator holds prejudiced views and targeted the victim because of a personal characteristic.

    How a Defense Attorney Will Fight Hate Crime Charges

    Hate crime charges are usually added to a base offense, such as robbery or assault. One possible defense is to prove that you didn’t commit the base crime, and therefore, are not guilty of a hate crime. If you are found guilty of the base crime, your attorney can fight the hate crime enhancement by presenting evidence of the following:

    • You have no history of prejudice against people with the same personal characteristics as the victim.
    • You do not associate with groups that target these individuals.
    • You did not use discriminatory slurs, gestures, or symbols during the commission of the crime.
    • You were unaware of the victim’s personal characteristics.
    • You were not aware that language or markings you used are considered offensive to certain groups.
    • Other evidence that you were not motivated by hate or prejudice.

    A hate crime enhancement can add years to a prison sentence and raise fines substantially, so it is important that you hire the best defense attorney you can to fight these charges.

    Have You Been Charged With A Federal Crime?

    If you've been charged with a federal crime you need to speak with an experienced federal crime attorney as soon as possible. Contact me online or call me at my Miami office directly at 305.707.7345.

     

  • Can video from a doorbell camera be used against me in court?

    Miami Criminal Defense Attorney Izquierdo LawCameras are everywhere these days, and it’s hard to do anything without being caught on video. But can a dark, grainy video be used as evidence that you committed a crime? The prosecutor can try, but your defense attorney should do all he can to discredit the evidence in court.

    More Surveillance Video Is Available Than Ever Before

    There is no doubt that cell phones and surveillance cameras have had a big impact on crime in recent years. When a crime is caught on camera, it becomes much harder for a defendant to deny the accusations against him. Sometimes, this is a good thing for society. For example, both bystanders with cell phones and police officers’ own body cams have caught incidents of police brutality on camera, proving cases that would have otherwise been impossible to prove. However, images caught on camera are not always great quality, and this creates problems for innocent people who are falsely identified.

    Challenging the Evidence in Court

    Surveillance cameras have been around for a long time, especially in stores and businesses. More recently, people have been installing doorbell cameras to keep an eye on what happens on their front porches. These cameras have captured everything from animal antics to heartwarming acts of kindness, but they have also led to misidentifications and false arrests. If you have been identified as a suspect based on a doorbell camera or security camera, your defense attorney should:

    Question the quality.

    Security video footage is often dark, blurry, and grainy. It is very difficult to get a positive facial identification from them because the resolution is just not high enough. If you were identified based on clothing or the model of a car, your attorney should make a point that this evidence is circumstantial at best.

    Look at the evidence chain.

    It is surprisingly easy to hack into security systems and to alter or edit video footage. If the prosecutor cannot establish a clear chain of possession for the video that is being used, your attorney should question its reliability as evidence. Since digital video can be tampered with remotely until it is taken offline, the chain of possession should always be questioned by the defense.

    Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer?

    If you've recently found yourself in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami you should contact me as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact me online or to call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You can also request my free book "The Ultimate Guide To Fighting Criminal Charges In Florida", a detailed download discussing the myths, rumors and hearsay often associated with criminal charges, what to expect from your criminal court proceedings and important steps you must take to battle your charges.

     

  • Can I be charged with drunk boating in Florida?

    Man Drinking Alcohol While Driving a BoatWhat’s a day on the water without a beer or two? Many Miami boaters feel this way, but this thinking can get them into trouble. Just like on dry land, operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs is illegal and the consequences can be serious if you are caught. Just because you were ticketed on the water doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the charge seriously. Understand the charges you are facing and contact an experienced boating under the influence (BUI) attorney if you are arrested.

    What Is Boating Under the Influence?

    Florida’s waterways are patrolled by both local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard. They have the authority to stop your boat and board it if they suspect that you are driving while intoxicated. The statute prohibiting drunk boating is similar to the one prohibiting drunk driving. Under Florida Statute 327.35, if you are operating a vessel and:

    • are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substance to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired
    • have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood
    • have a breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath

    It’s important to note that, under the statute, you can be charged with a BUI if the police decide that your “normal faculties are impaired,” even if you don’t have a BAC of .08 or higher.

    Why Do You Need a Lawyer?

    The penalties for a drunk boating conviction are similar to those for a drunk driving conviction. You face fines and jail time if you are found guilty. If you cause a crash and someone is injured or killed, you face felony charges. An arrest for boating under the influence should be treated just like a DUI. Call attorney Danny Izquierdo to discuss your defense options as soon as possible after you are ticketed. It might be possible to get the charges reduced or dropped, or to argue for a lighter sentence given your unique circumstances. Don’t leave your fate to chance. Call the Izquierdo Law Firm today.

     

  • What is forgery?

    Federal Crimes Lawyer MiamiForgery is the crime of making, altering, using, or possessing false writing in order to commit fraud. There are many types of forgery, from signing someone else’s name on an official document to falsifying a passport or driver’s license. If the forgery involves money or federal documents or is intended to defraud the federal government, then the crime will be charged by federal law enforcement officers.

    Proving the Crime of Forgery

    In order for the government to make its case for forgery, it will have to prove the following:

    The document was legally significant.

    Signing someone else’s name to a letter of complaint you send to an individual or business would not constitute forgery because the letter is not a legal document. However, government-issued documents such as passports, military discharge papers, immigration documents, and the like, would be considered legally significant.

    The writing is “false.”

    Creating a document to look like a standard legal document is an example of false writing, but so is materially altering a legitimate document. For example, deleting, adding, or changing portions of a document that results in a change to the legal rights or obligations represented in the document would be considered forgery.

    The document was altered with the intent to defraud.

    To be charged with fraud, the defendant must have intended to defraud the federal government with the document. A person who has unknowingly signed or received a forged document should not be charged because they did not intend to commit fraud with it.

    A federal criminal defense attorney will examine these elements in order to build the best case for a defendant. The federal crime of forgery carries significant penalties, including up to 15 years in prison and steep fines, so it is important to launch an aggressive defense.

    Have You Been Charged With A Federal Crime?

    If you've been charged with a federal crime you need to speak with an experienced federal crime attorney as soon as possible. Contact me online or call me at my Miami office directly at 305.707.7345.

     

  • Am I eligible for the federal pretrial release program?

    Judge Working on Pretrial Release PaperworkWhat is typically known as “getting out on bail” in state criminal cases is often called “pretrial release” in federal cases. Whether you will be granted a release in your federal case will depend on a number of factors. The first and probably most important thing you can do to increase your chances of being released until your trial is to hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. When you work with the Izquierdo Law Firm in Miami, you can be sure that we will do everything we can to get you released.

    What the Courts Will Consider When Granting a Release

    Federal courts are generally in favor of pretrial release, particularly for first-time and nonviolent offenders. In order to have you held in jail until your trial, a federal prosecutor will have the burden of proving with clear and convincing evidence that you:

    • Are likely to flee
    • Are a danger to the community
    • Have a criminal history
    • Are most likely guilty, based on the weight of the evidence against you
    • Violated probation or parole

    In Florida, most defendants in federal drug cases are considered to be a danger to the community and are unlikely to be granted pretrial release. If the prosecutor argues that you should be held in jail, your defense attorney will have to counter the evidence presented at the detention hearing. If he is unsuccessful, you will be held in federal prison until your trial.

    Conditions of a Federal Pretrial Release Program

    If you are granted a release, it is up to the judge in your case to set the conditions. The terms of your release can include any or all of the following:

    • Executing a bond
    • Being supervised by a third-party custodian, which could be a family member
    • Looking for or retaining a job
    • Not traveling outside the local area
    • Wearing a GPS monitor
    • Submitting to regular drug testing
    • Complying with any other conditions the judge imposes

    If you violate any of the conditions set for you, your release will be revoked, and you will be sent to prison to await trial.

    Hire the Best Federal Defense Attorney You Can Afford

    Attorney Danny Izquierdo understands the importance of obtaining a pretrial release and will do all he can to fight for your freedom. It can take months for your trial to be scheduled, and sitting in prison is the worst place you could be while you wait. If you are arrested and charged with a federal crime in the Miami area, contact Danny as soon as possible as for a free case evaluation. He will also explain your chances of getting a pretrial release.

     

  • What is sexual misconduct?

    Florida Sexual Misconduct Defense Lawyer Izquierdo Law FirmIf you have been charged with sexual misconduct in Florida, you might not think it’s that big a deal. After all, how could “misconduct” be as serious as something like rape or child pornography? However, not taking this charge seriously could be a big mistake that could impact your family and your future. As a sex offense, sexual misconduct carries penalties that could haunt you for many years to come.

    Why Am I Being Charged With Sexual Misconduct?

    Florida and most other states criminalize sexual conduct between a person in a position of power and someone who is subordinate to him. When there is an imbalance of power, the law assumes that the person in the inferior position is not capable of freely consenting to sexual activity and therefore the sexual relationship is forced or coerced, which is a crime. Examples of relationships with an imbalance of power include the following:

    • Employer and employee
    • Doctor and patient
    • Correctional officer and inmate
    • Caretaker and disabled adult
    • Teacher and adult student

    Even if you believed your sexual relationship to be consensual, you could be arrested for sexual misconduct if you get involved with a subordinate and he or she decides to press charges. If you try to convince the accuser to drop the charges, you could be digging yourself an even deeper hole.

    Why You Should Take the Charge Seriously

    A conviction of any type of sex crime, including sexual misconduct, can land you on the Florida sex offender registry. This list is available to the public, so there will be no way to keep your criminal history private. Being on the registry will restrict where you can live and will probably cost you your job.

    A skilled defense attorney can build several possible defenses to a sexual misconduct charge, including offering proof of consent in order to reduce the charges and keep you off the sex offender registry.

    Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer?

    If you've recently found yourself in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami you should contact me as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact me online or to call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You can also request my free book "The Ultimate Guide To Fighting Criminal Charges In Florida", a detailed download discussing the myths, rumors and hearsay often associated with criminal charges, what to expect from your criminal court proceedings and important steps you must take to battle your charges.

     

  • What is the difference between rape and sexual battery in Florida?

    Miami Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Izquierdo Law FirmThese terms can be used interchangeably by accusers, police officers, and even lawyers. However, in an official legal context, you will not see the word “rape” used in Florida. While your accuser and even the law enforcement officers you deal with may use the term, the legal charge will be sexual battery. We take a look at this charge and why you need to hire a criminal defense attorney to defend you if you are accused of sexual battery.

    What Falls Under a Sexual Battery Criminal Charge?

    To answer this question, it is necessary to use the language as it appears in the state statute, which is necessarily graphic. In Florida, sexual battery is defined as “oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or…by any other object, without the other party's consent or capacity to provide consent.” In other states, and under federal law, the term for this crime is rape. Make no mistake; if you are charged with sexual battery in Florida, that means you are being charged with rape, and you will face serious penalties. This is a felony offense and should be taken seriously. If convicted of sexual battery, you face:

    • Life in prison without parole or the death penalty if you are over 18 and the victim is under 12
    • 30 years to life in prison if you are under 18 and the victim is under 12
    • Up to 15 years in prison if the victim is 12 or older
    • Up to 30 years in prison if the victim is 12 or older, and the crime included threats or coercive acts, or the victim was physically incapacitated
    • 30 years to life in prison if you used a deadly weapon or physical force likely to cause serious bodily injury
    • Anyone convicted of sexual battery in Florida will be required to register as a sex offender.

    A possible defense to a sexual battery charge is to argue that the accuser provided consent. Under the statute, consent is defined as “intelligent, knowing, and voluntary, and does not include coerced submission. ‘Consent’ shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the alleged victim to offer physical resistance to the offender.” If you believe you had consensual sex with a partner who later accuses you of sexual battery, you will need an experienced sex crimes defense attorney to make this argument in court.

    Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer?

    If you've recently found yourself in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami you should contact me as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact me online or to call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You can also request my free book "The Ultimate Guide To Fighting Criminal Charges In Florida", a detailed download discussing the myths, rumors and hearsay often associated with criminal charges, what to expect from your criminal court proceedings and important steps you must take to battle your charges.

     

  • Could I be charged with terrorism for spreading COVID-19?

    COVID-19 Coronavirus  Izquierdo Law FirmThere is no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis has turned our world upside down, leaving us with a great deal of uncertainty about so many things. As a criminal defense law firm, we are expecting even more confusion about individuals’ rights, enforcement of executive orders, and prosecution of federal crimes related to the crisis. For example, in a recent memo to federal law enforcement agencies and U.S. attorneys, Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen said that individuals who intentionally spread the coronavirus could be charged with terrorism. What could this mean to the average American? We take a look.

    What Is the Charge?

    Apparently, a reaction to white supremacist groups who have encouraged their members who become infected to spread the virus, Rosen said that the “purposeful exposure or infection of others with COVID-19” could be prosecuted under federal terrorism statutes. He further explained that the virus "appears to meet the statutory definition of a 'biological agent,’” which is included in the statute’s definition of a weapon of mass destruction.

    How Could it Be Applied?

    Because the coronavirus is so highly contagious and easily spread, it is not outside the realm of possibility that someone would intentionally and maliciously try to get someone else sick. In fact, several states have already charged individuals with terrorism for deliberately coughing on people and licking packages in a store. While prosecuting these kinds of actions may make sense, where will federal agents draw the line? If a person who knows they have the virus goes to the grocery store, could he be arrested and charged with terrorism? What if a person with the virus touches another person? We simply don’t know yet how “purposeful exposure” will be interpreted by federal law enforcement officers and U.S. attorneys.

    What Should You Do If You Are Charged?

    If you or a family member is arrested on COVID-19-related federal charges, talk to a federal defense attorney as soon as possible. Federal terrorism convictions carry severe penalties, including long prison sentences and the death penalty. So much is unknown about this virus and how the courts will handle these charges, but one thing is certain—you have a right to be represented by an attorney if you are charged. Izquierdo Law Firm remains open and available to serve you during this time. Call us to arrange a video chat to discuss your case.

     

  • Can I be charged with DUI if I have a prescription for medical marijuana?

    Miami DUI Marijuana Defense Lawyer Izquierdo Law FirmThe fact that marijuana is now legal for some people in Florida might cloud the issue of driving under the influence, but it shouldn’t. The reality is that if a police officer believes your ability to safely operate a vehicle has been impaired by any substance—legal or not—you can be charged with driving under the influence. However, it can be more difficult for a prosecutor to make his case against you if you have been smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes, so you should contact a DUI defense attorney when you are arrested.

    Marijuana Laws in Florida

    In March of 2019, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation to make the use of marijuana for medical purposes legal, two years after voters approved a constitutional amendment. In January of 2020, legislation was introduced in the Florida House and Senate to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults over the age of 21, so it’s possible that marijuana will be legal for everyone in the next few years. However, even if marijuana becomes legal for recreational use, you would still be breaking the law if you drive after smoking it. While some states have set legal limits for the amount of THC you can have in your blood—similar to alcohol BAC—Florida has not. The legal standard here is that you are “under the influence or affected” by THC.

    Defending a DUI for Medical Marijuana

    If you were charged with DUI, tested positive for any amount of THC, and have a prescription for medical marijuana, an experienced DUI defense attorney might be able to defend you against the charge. If we can make the case that your ability to operate your vehicle was not impaired, you could avoid a DUI conviction. To make the case, we would seek evidence from traffic cameras or eyewitnesses that you were not driving erratically.

    However, if your use of marijuana was not legal, it will be much harder to fight the charge. Much like a driver under the age of 21 who has a small amount of alcohol in his system, you could be charged with a DUI even if your driving ability was not impaired.

    Do You Need A Miami DUI Defense Laywer?

    If you find yourself charged with DUI in Miami you need to speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Please contact me online or call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You should also download my free book "A Six Pack Of Questions That Can Cause A Hangover After A DUI Arrest". This free download provides valuable information and answers to questions about DUI charges that can give you the best chance at winning your case.

     

  • Will I be charged in state or federal court for an internet crime?

    Cyber Crime Coding  Federal Crimes Attorney Izquierdo Law FirmWhich court you end up in to face cybercrime charges will all depend on who arrested you. If you were arrested by the FBI, for example, you will appear in federal court. If you were arrested by the Miami-Dade police, you will appear in a local court. Either way, you want a criminal defense attorney with experience in that court who can protect your right to due process. Attorney Daniel Izquierdo represents clients in both federal and state courts and is experienced in a range of cybercrime defenses.

    When a Cybercrime Is Likely to Be Charged by a Federal Agency

    Most states, including Florida, have laws against certain activities on the internet that mirror federal law. Therefore, if you break state law, you are likely also in violation of federal law. Common cybercrimes include:

    Child Pornography 

    Using the internet to transmit explicit images of children is a crime in Florida and at the federal level, although federal law takes a more conservative view of what constitutes pornography.

    Phishing

    Sending multiple emails with the intent to deceive recipients—also known as spam—is often a federal crime because it targets people all over the country.

    Hacking 

    Officially known as accessing stored communication, this becomes a more serious crime when the perpetrator has gained financially from the offense or has maliciously destroyed property.

    Fraud 

    Using a computer to commit any kind of fraud is illegal. If the fraud crosses state lines, you will likely face federal charges.

    Harassment 

    Cyberbullying may remain under local jurisdiction if both the bully and the victim are local.

    In general, the more serious or widespread the criminal activity is, the more likely it is that a federal agency will be involved. If the activity crosses state lines—for example, soliciting a minor to travel to Florida—it will likely be transferred to a federal agency, even if it began as a local investigation.

    Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer?

    If you've recently found yourself in need of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami you should contact me as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact me online or to call my Coral Gables office directly at 305.707.7345. You can also request my free book "The Ultimate Guide To Fighting Criminal Charges In Florida", a detailed download discussing the myths, rumors and hearsay often associated with criminal charges, what to expect from your criminal court proceedings and important steps you must take to battle your charges.