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.

  • Page 1
  • Will My Domestic Violence (Battery) Charges be Dropped if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges?

    You’d be amazed how many people come to me wondering this very thing.  It is logical to assume that if the alleged victim in a domestic violence case does not want to prosecute that the case will be dismissed by the State Attorney’s Office.

    However, the prosecutor does not have to drop your case simply because the victim does not want to cooperate.  Therefore, the simple answer is: No. Your case will not automatically be dropped because the alleged victim says so.

    Domestic violence cases are prosecuted very aggressively in Florida, and Miami is no exception.  The prosecutor (and the prosecutor alone) determines whether to file formal charges against you and later determines whether your case should be dismissed.

    If you have recently been arrested for domestic violence, please do not think that everything will simply go away and your case will be dismissed because the alleged victim does not want to prosecute.  As you can imagine, domestic violence cases are very emotional. 

    What one day may seem like everything is back to normal can turn into a living hell the next.  Letting your guard down simply because you have reason to believe that the alleged victim does not want to press charges is a surefire way to get yourself in a lot of trouble.  You can end up with a permanent criminal record and even end up in jail. 

    What NOT to Do

    Under no circumstances should you attempt to contact the alleged victim to ask that they drop the case, nor should you intimidate or threaten the alleged victim in any way.  Doing this will be a violation of the court’s stay away order or no contact order.  This is not only another criminal charge that you will have to defend but they can also revoke your bond and put you back in jail.

    Taking matters into your own hands by attempting to contact the alleged victim or simply assuming that everything will get dropped is not the strategy that you should employ when facing these serious charges.

    What Should You Do If the Victim Doesn’t Want to Prosecute?

    If you have reason to believe that the alleged victim in your case does not want to prosecute (or press charges), then you should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you through this emotional court case.  An attorney that handles domestic violence cases will be able to help you navigate this tricky area of law in order to resolve this in the best possible way. 

    If you have questions about your Domestic Violence charge and would like more information, you can download a FREE copy of Daniel Izquierdo's special report, He Said, She Said: Three Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Domestic Violence Case in Florida from our website.  If you are here today because you feel frustrated about a domestic violence battery charge and it is disrupting your life, we should talk.  You can also contact us to set up a Free 4-Point Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy Session with me by first calling (305) 707-7345.  The sooner we talk, the sooner you will have clarity on what you face—and just a little clarity can take away a lot of the stress.

  • What Happens if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Prosecute in a Domestic Violence (Battery) Case?

    You may be thinking that if the alleged victim in your domestic violence case doesn’t want to press charges (or prosecute) that you’ll be in the clear.  That is a very common misconception in domestic battery cases and one that could put you at risk of severe and long-lasting consequences.  See, once a battery case enters the domestic violence division, it is up to the State Attorney’s Office whether to pursue criminal charges.  Meaning it’s the prosecutor and not the alleged victim that decides what happens to the case once an arrest has been made.

    In Miami, the State Attorney’s Office is very aggressive in pursuing domestic violence charges in criminal court with or without a victim.  One can see that if a victim is not cooperating it could very well mean that they have no interest in pressing charges or having the case prosecuted.  It could also mean that the incident was blown out of proportion and things may not have transpired the way they were initially reported. Or the parties have reconciled now that everyone has calmed down.

    However, from a policy standpoint the prosecutor is cautious as it could also mean that the victim is scared to cooperate by helping them move the case forward or, even worse, is being threatened or intimidated by the defendant to “drop the charges.”

    Victim’s Influence

    Even though the prosecutor is the one that files charges and decides whether to dismiss a battery case, the victim does still have an impact on the case.  In domestic violence cases the prosecutor will attempt to contact the victim in order to get a statement from them and also to discuss how the victim would like the case to be resolved. 

    Common sense would tell you that it is more difficult for the State to prove its case and move forward if the victim is not cooperating than if the victim is 100% on board.  However, many domestic violence cases can go from bad to worse because of the mistaken belief that all will be fine simply because the victim is “not pressing charges.” Prosecutors can go forward with or without a victim and oftentimes continue to push cases where other evidence (i.e. reports, statements, 911 calls or photographs) supports the charge. Meaning that a victim's lack of cooperation does not mean that the State will drop the charges against you. 

    What Should You Do?

    First, you SHOULD NOT try to contact (or influence) the alleged victim in any way.  Your Stay Away Order prohibits you from not only coming within 500 feet of their residence, job, school, etc. but it also prevents you from having any type of contact (direct or indirect).  Contacting the alleged victim could lead to your bond being revoked and being thrown in jail.  It can also bring more criminal charges such as violating an injunction or no contact order or witness tampering.

    If you are charged with domestic violence and you have a reason to believe that the alleged victim does not want to prosecute, press charges or cooperate with the prosecutor, consult an attorney.  An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Miami will be able to handle this on your behalf and knows how to proceed when the victim doesn’t want to.

    If you have questions about your Domestic Violence charge and would like more information, you can download a FREE copy of Daniel Izquierdo's special report, He Said, She Said: Three Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Domestic Violence Case in Florida from our website.  If you are here today because you feel frustrated about a domestic violence battery charge and it is disrupting your life, we should talk.  You can also contact us to set up a Free 4-Point Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy Session with me by first calling (305) 707-7345.  The sooner we talk, the sooner you will have clarity on what you face—and just a little clarity can take away a lot of the stress.

  • What to Expect During Your Initial Appearance in Federal Court?

    After you surrender or are arrested by federal law enforcement, you will immediately (usually within 24 hours) be brought before a United States Magistrate Judge for your initial appearance (this may also be referred to as 'first appearance'). You should note that initial appearances occur before a Magistrate Judge and take place the business day after the arrest or surrender. At this hearing the judge will read, explain, or list the offense(s) that you are being charged with.  You will be informed of your rights and the judge will ask whether you are able to hire a lawyer to represent you or if you would need a court-appointed lawyer.  In order to have a lawyer appointed by the court, you will have to qualify for one based on your responses to the court’s questions and by demonstrating a need given a lack of financial resources to retain counsel.

    If you have already hired a federal criminal defense attorney to represent you, they will likely appear on your behalf at the initial appearance and inform the court as to the scope of representation (i.e. whether they’re representing you for the initial appearance and bond purposes or if they are entering a permanent appearance to be your lawyer through the end of the case).

    In addition to sorting out that you are the person named on the criminal charging document as well as who your legal counsel will be, the court will then address the issue of bond.  At the initial appearance you can either receive a bond and be released (either one set by the Magistrate Judge or as part of an agreement between your lawyer and the government), or the government may ask for pretrial detention.  In this case, a detention hearing will usually be set no later than five (5) days from the date of your initial appearance.

    If you are here today because you feel frustrated about an upcoming initial appearance in federal court or issues having to do with bond and pretrial release and it is disrupting your life, we should talk.  Set up a Free 4-Point Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy Session with me by first calling (305) 707-7345.  The sooner we talk, the sooner you will have clarity on what you face—and just a little clarity can take away a lot of the stress.

  • Target, Subject and Witness, what does it all mean?

    One of things of incredible importance when you are under federal criminal investigation is your status in the investigation.  The federal government classifies people in three ways: Targets, Witnesses and Subjects.

    Let’s talk about the different statuses and what each means for you.

    • Target – The status you most have to worry about is that of the ‘target’.  This means that the prosecution has its sights set on you as the target of the investigation.  If the prosecutor feels as though a crime was committed and you are the person they feel committed the crime, they will work their investigation with the primary objective of being to build a case against you.
    • Witness – The witness in a federal investigation typically has very little exposure to facing formal charges.  Being a witness is the preferred place to be if you must be enveloped in a federal investigation in the first place.  Federal prosecutors may believe that you have information that can help them.  You may have seen something take place or you may have documents relating to their case that can help them.
    • Subject – This status falls in-between the previously discussed statuses of a witness or target.  Being a subject is delicate because, while prosecutors may not be gunning for you, your status as a subject likely means that you may have done something wrong in their eyes.   

    If you are under federal investigation, it is important to keep in mind that your status during the course of the investigation may change. As the government investigates its case and gathers evidence you can move from a witness to a subject or from a subject to a target, or even move downward from a target to a subject or subject to a witness.

    Anyone involved in a federal investigation will be well-served by contacting a federal criminal defense lawyer to help protect their interests.  Your lawyer can reach out to the prosecutor and gather information about your status in the investigation and possibly what conduct they are looking into.  It is helpful to know, especially at the beginning, how the government has classified you.

    Learning where you stand can provide some peace of mind.  However, it is important to remember that an investigation is fluid and that your status may change.  An attorney may be able to ensure that your status stays where it is if that is favorable to you and can also work with the prosecutor to convince them that you should not be a target or a subject but merely a witness.

    If you are here today because you feel frustrated about being caught up in a federal investigation and it is disrupting your life, we should talk.  Set up a free 4-Point Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy Session with me by first calling (305) 707-7345.  The sooner we talk, the sooner you will have clarity on what you face—and just a little clarity can take away a lot of the stress.

  • Should I accept a pretrial diversion or pretrial intervention program?

    Pretrial diversion programs are great outcomes for most people that have been charged with a crime in the State of Florida.  However, it may not be the best option for you.  Of course you don’t know this until consulting with a knowledgeable defense attorney that can properly advise if this is truly the best outcome for your case.  Some counties throughout Florida make you sign an admission of guilt prior to being accepted into a pretrial diversion or pretrial intervention program.  They make this a condition of being accepted--meaning there's no way around it!  Is this something you want to do without consulting an attorney?

    If you are not a U.S. Citizen this admission of guilt can hurt your ability to obtain status or even Naturalize as a citizen.  Furthermore, accepting a referral to a pretrial diversion program when your case should be dismissed by the State or there are issues with the evidence, may not be in your best interest.  If for whatever reason you are “bounced out” of the program or do not complete it, your case will be set for Trial and you will have to face the original charges.  Not to mention having to deal with the admission of guilt you gave as a condition of being accepted into the pretrial intervention or diversion program.  This can be extremely damaging if you are not properly advised and accept a program when the State could have been pushed to perhaps offer to dismiss the charges.

    You’ll want to be properly advised and have a lawyer that does all the leg work before advising you on your best course of action—not a lawyer that is looking to make a quick buck off of your case and throw you into a pretrial diversion or intervention program.  

    Remember, a criminal charge can affect everything you try to do in life moving forward.  It is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the players, the process and focuses primarily on criminal defense in Miami. 

  • Will the State offer me a plea deal to close my case at arraignment?

    This is a major problem in misdemeanor cases where you’re not guaranteed a public defender.  It is extremely troubling to sit in court on an almost daily basis and watch as defendant after defendant comes forth and accepts pleas to DUI, possession of marijuana, petit theft, disorderly conduct or driving while license suspended.  All of these and many other misdemeanors carry serious and life-altering consequences that can affect parts of your life such as becoming a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, obtaining a professional license or getting a job, being expelled from school, even getting a loan or renting an apartment.

    If you’re charged with a felony, you will get a public defender at arraignment and will probably have a plea offered. The consequences are also extremely severe. Have you had adequate time to think about the evidence?  Have you been able to review the evidence and discuss it with your lawyer? Do you know how the plea will affect you going forward if you have a professional license or are not a citizen?

    More often than not, it is best to listen to any pleas offered at arraignment and then take some time to think about it.  It is not uncommon for the court to set a plea or status hearing shortly after your arraignment for this very reason.  Not to mention, your lawyer will probably receive some, if not all, of the discovery (evidence) the State intends to use against you.  This will give you some time to review the evidence and discuss any potential pleas with your lawyer.  

    An experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to properly advise you as to whether the plea offered at arraignment is worth considering given the State's evidence and your ultimate goals when resolving the case. 

    A criminal charge can affect everything you try to do in life moving forward.  It is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the players, the process and focuses primarily on criminal defense in Miami. 

    If you or someone you love has been arrested in Miami, don’t delay.  You don’t have time to waste!  Call our office, (305) 707-7345, to schedule your 4-Point Case Evaluation and Strategy Session.  

    Our Guarantee to You:

    We guarantee to have you in and out of the office in less than 60 minutes. 

    We guarantee this will be different than what most other lawyers offer when they say “Free Consultation.”  

    We guarantee that we will actually discuss your case in detail rather than try to scare you while we sell our services and brag about ourselves.

  • Should I go to my arraignment without a lawyer?

    This is one of the most common questions and myths that criminal defense attorneys hear from prospective clients.  While we understand that not everyone has the money to retain a private attorney to fight for them in criminal court; you should try to hire one prior to arraignment (and give them time to reach out to the State) if possible because the benefit to you can be huge.  Why is that?  See, an arraignment is the beginning of every criminal case.  It is where the state announces whether they are filing charges against you and what charges they’re filing. 

    Now, you have to be selective and hire someone you trust as not every lawyer that you hire prior to the State making its filing decision will reach out to them, conduct initial investigation and fight for you in an attempt to get the State to not file charges or to file reduced charges.  Getting the State to file reduced charges may not seem like an outright victory, but its effects can be extremely valuable because oftentimes where you start can determine and affect where you will finish.

    The saddest thing I see day in and day out in criminal court is people that show up to arraignment without a lawyer and just take pleas to close their case without understanding what consequences the plea will have, without analyzing the evidence that the State has against them and if they can even prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  This is extremely common in misdemeanor cases.  While it may seem that you’re good to go and this will all be behind you, I cannot begin to tell you how many people seek us out because a plea they took so many years ago is now preventing them from becoming a U.S. Citizen, getting a job, loan or professional license.

    If you’re charged with a felony and subscribe to this method of thinking, you must really like gambling with your life.  While you will be assigned a public defender at arraignment and not have to go it alone, you are missing out on the chance of having a private criminal defense lawyer reach out to the State before arraignment in an attempt to not have charges filed. In addition to this, chances are that a thorough criminal defense attorney will have reviewed some of the evidence, spoken with the State and will be able to advise you as to whether a plea offered at arraignment is worth considering.

    A criminal charge can affect everything you try to do in life moving forward.  It is extremely important to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the players, the process and focuses primarily on criminal defense in Miami. 

    If you or someone you love has been arrested in Miami, don’t delay.  You don’t have time to waste!  Call our office, (305) 707-7345, to schedule your 4-Point Case Evaluation and Strategy Session.  

    Our Guarantee to You:

    We guarantee to have you in and out of the office in less than 60 minutes. 

    We guarantee this will be different than what most other lawyers offer when they say “Free Consultation.”  

    We guarantee that we will actually discuss your case in detail rather than try to scare you while we sell our services and brag about ourselves.

     

  • What happens if I Get Caught Driving for a Purpose Not Allowed or Covered by my "Business Purpose Only" Restriction?

    If you are driving with a Business Purposes Only license, you likely already have some problems on your hands.  The last thing you want to do is complicate that by being caught driving for a purpose that is not allowed by your restriction.  If you are stopped and the officer believes you are driving for a purpose that is not covered by your restriction, they can issue a Uniform Traffic Citation for a violation of section 322.16(5) of the Florida Statutes.  They can also physically arrest you and take you to jail as this violation is a second-degree misdemeanor. 

    Any time you are charged with a second-degree misdemeanor you are facing up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.  You can also be sentenced to six months’ probation.  If this happens to you, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can take your hardship license away or add time to the revocation or suspension period in addition to adding restrictions. 

    If your driving privileges were suspended because of a DUI arrest, you are jeopardizing your future and risking a lot of further and possibly unnecessary consequences.  If you have been admitted to the Back on Track Program a new-law violation can result in being bounced out from the program.  If your DUI case is still open in criminal court (whether you are in Back on Track or still fighting your charge), it can further complicate things as the State Attorney’s Office is extremely strict when it comes to driving on a suspended license or a hardship license as a result of a DUI revocation.  The standard offer to resolve your case will likely be 10 days in jail and a plea to DUI.  Remember, a DUI conviction can never be erased from your record.  It will follow you for life.   Lastly, if you are currently on probation or serving your DUI sentence, this will be considered a new-law violation as well as a violation of probation. 

    If you’ve been arrested for DUI and your license has been suspended, give us a call at (305) 707-7345, so that we can discuss how you can drive again. 

  • What Does "Business Purpose Only" Mean for my Driver's License?

    When you are issued a “Business Purposes Only” permit, you are allowed to drive for any purpose necessary to “maintain livelihood.” This type of license operates under Restriction C.  The restriction is limited to driving:

    • To and from work
    • School or educational purposes
    • Necessary on-the-job driving
    • To go to church, or
    • To see a doctor or medical reasons.

    When you are driving with a Business Purposes Only license, it is important to keep driving to a minimum and ONLY for the purposes outlined above and in section 322.271 of the Florida Statutes.  If there was ever a time to err on the side of caution, this is it.  Drive only when absolutely necessary.  Meaning if you can have someone take you to church or to the doctor, do it.  If you can car pool when driving to school, take advantage of it.  If you can use public transportation or it’s feasible to take Uber or Lyft to work, I would definitely consider it.  I always advise my clients to do this and if you happen to work at a job that requires you are present at off-hours such as a server, bartender, nurse, security guard, I always recommend that you have your work schedule and paystubs handy so that you can dispel any suspicions should you be stopped.

    Just because you are driving for a valid purpose under your restricted license does not mean that the police officer that stopped you will agree.  It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when driving with a hardship license.   The consequences are if you are caught driving with a suspended license are severe.

    If you’ve been arrested for DUI and your license has been suspended, give us a call at (305) 707-7345, so that we can discuss how you can drive again. 

  • What is a Hardship License for "Business Purpose Only"?

    Living in Miami it can seem like all is lost after your license is suspended, revoked or canceled.  However, you may still qualify for a restricted license that allows driving for certain purposes.  You need to be aware that no hardship restriction can be added to a Commercial Driver License (CDL). 

    Therefore, anyone who seeks a hardship reinstatement of their driver’s license, must obtain a Class E license.  The Class E license can include one of two restrictions: C Restriction or D Restriction.

    Restriction C is known as a “Business Purposes Only” license which allows you to drive for the limited purpose that is “necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and medical purposes.”  See Florida Statutes, § 322.271(1)(c).

    Restriction D is known as “Employment Purposes Only” and that a driving privilege that is limited to driving to and from work or any necessary on-the-job driving.

    Violating any of the above restrictions results in a Misdemeanor of the Second Degree and you will lose your driving privilege for the rest of the suspension/revocation period. 

    If you’ve been arrested for DUI and your license has been suspended, give us a call at (305) 707-7345, so that we can discuss how you can drive again.