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Can A Judge Ask If You Waive Your Right To Testify?

By The Baez Law Firm |

Under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you cannot be compelled to “be a witness against” yourself in a criminal case. In other words, you cannot be forced to testify at your own criminal trial. Of course, you are free to waive that right and testify, but that decision must be made… Read More »


What Is Money Laundering?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The phrase money laundering is commonly associated with large-scale organized crime. But anyone can face a money laundering charge, even when the underlying criminal activity is relatively small. Indeed, many people are not even aware of what activities qualify as money laundering until they are actually charged. Transforming Criminal Process Into “Clean” Money The… Read More »


Supreme Court Sides With Suspended Cheerleader Who Cursed On Snapchat

By The Baez Law Firm |

Social media makes it possible for us to communicate with our friends, family, and even complete strangers on a continuous basis. Fortunately, we also have robust protections for freedom of speech in this country, which ensures the government cannot punish us for making critical–even vulgar–statements online. Of course, that has not always stopped certain… Read More »


U.S. Supreme Court Holds Tribal Police May Detain Non-Tribal Suspects For Apparent Violations Of Federal And State Laws

By The Baez Law Firm |

Florida is home to a number of federally recognized Native American tribes and Indian reservations. As the U.S. Supreme Court has explained, Native American tribes are considered “distinct, independent communities” that exercise “limited” sovereignty within their respective reservations. This includes the ability to regulate their own domestic affairs and maintain their own police forces…. Read More »


Can The Police Legally Track Your Car Using GPS Devices?

By The Baez Law Firm |

GPS and related technologies have made it much easier to track the location of people and objects at all times. Indeed, Apple recently made a big splash when it released its “Air Tags,” which are small tracking devices a user can attach to their key chain, suitcase, or any other item they want to… Read More »


Supreme Court Holds Lawfully Accessing A Computer Database For An “Improper Purpose” Is Not A Crime

By The Baez Law Firm |

Computer hacking has been a known problem since the advent of computers themselves. When a person improperly gains access to a computer system, they violate federal law, specifically the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1986. The CFAA also makes it a crime to “exceed[] authorized access” to a computer system. In other… Read More »


What Constitutes “Wire Fraud” Under Federal Law

By The Baez Law Firm |

White collar criminal charges can do more than affect your public reputation and career. If convicted, you can receive serious prison time, especially if you are tried in federal court. And one of the most common federal white collar crimes is wire fraud. Wire fraud basically refers to the use of any method of… Read More »


When Can the State Civilly Commit a “Sexually Violent Predator”?

By The Baez Law Firm |

Florida law makes it possible for prosecutors to seek civil commitment of a person believed to be a “sexually violent predator.” Even if such a person has already served any applicable criminal sentence, they can still be committed if prosecutors can show they have some personality disorder or mental health issue that makes them… Read More »


Can I “Reassert” My Right to Remain Silent During an Interrogation

By The Baez Law Firm |

When you are arrested or interrogated by the police as a criminal suspect, you have the right to remain silent. This right ensures that you are not compelled to make incriminating statements that could be used against you at trial. Even if you initially waive this right and talk to the police, you are… Read More »


Does “Sexual Activity” with a Minor Require Physical Contact to Be Criminal?

By The Baez Law Firm |

Sex crimes involving children often carry some of the harshest penalties in our legal system. For example, the federal sentencing guidelines call for a five-level enhancement when a defendant is convicted of a sexual offense involving a minor and has also “engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of… Read More »


What Happens When a Juror Lies About Their Background? Can You Get a New Trial?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The right to a jury trial is an essential legal protection for anyone charged with a crime in Florida. It has been long understood that jurors should be impartial and “indifferent” to the case at trial. To put it in simpler terms, a juror should not harbor or exhibit any personal bias against the… Read More »


Can Police Use a Pre-Recorded Interview with a Victim as Evidence Against You at Trial?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to “confront” the witnesses against them. In plain terms, you have the right to cross-examine in court any witness who offers testimony on behalf of the prosecution. This is why, as a general rule, the prosecution cannot introduce hearsay that has… Read More »


What Is a Judgment of Acquittal?

By The Baez Law Firm |

In any criminal case, the prosecution must prove all elements of the alleged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is insufficient to prove any element, the defendant has the right to ask the court for a judgment of acquittal (JOA). Basically, this means the judge can find that no rational jury could… Read More »


Supreme Court Pulls Back on Constitutional Protections for Juvenile Offenders

By The Baez Law Firm |

The United States is the only country on Earth that allows individuals to receive sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for crimes committed as juveniles. Although several individual states have banned this practice in recent years, Florida and many other states keep “juvenile life with parole” on their books. And due… Read More »


How Does the State Prove the Value of Stolen Property in a Theft Case?

By The Baez Law Firm |

If you are familiar at all with criminal law, you probably have heard the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the legal burden of proof that a prosecutor must meet to secure a defendant’s conviction. This standard applies to every element of alleged crime. And depending on the nature of the charge, there… Read More »


Can I Ask to Move My Criminal Trial Due to Negative Media Coverage?

By The Baez Law Firm |

Every criminal defendant has the right to a trial by an impartial jury. “Impartial” basically means that the jurors have not already made up their mind about the case before the trial even starts. For this reason, it is important to screen out any potential jurors who may have learned about the case from… Read More »


How the First Step Act Can Help People Serving Life Sentences for Drug Crimes

By The Baez Law Firm |

In 2018, Congress enacted the First Step Act, a series of reforms to the federal criminal justice system. One such reform was to change the mandatory minimum sentences for individuals previously convicted of certain drug offenses. In some cases, this means a person who received a mandatory life sentence can now ask for re-sentencing… Read More »


Supreme Court Allows Police Shooting Victim to Proceed with Civil Rights Lawsuit

By The Baez Law Firm |

The Fourth Amendment protects you against “unreasonable searches and seizures” by the police. This means that if the police use excessive force in the process of detaining or restraining you, that can provide the basis for a federal civil rights lawsuit against the offending officers. But the mere “application of force” by itself does… Read More »


When Can Prosecutors Use “Pattern Evidence” to Prove You Committed a Crime?

By The Baez Law Firm |

If you are on trial for allegedly committing a crime, the prosecution generally cannot introduce evidence regarding any other crimes you may have committed in the past. This is considered “character evidence” and unless it has some relevance to the alleged crime, it is inadmissible. Essentially, the prosecution cannot use “prior bad acts” to… Read More »


When Can You Raise an Entrapment Defense to a Criminal Charge?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The police often use undercover officers to catch criminals “in the act.” Consider a scenario where a suspect is accused of selling illegal drugs to someone who turns out to be an undercover officer. Can the suspect then argue they were a victim of police “entrapment”? Entrapment is a legal term that applies when… Read More »


Can You File a Civil Rights Lawsuit if All You Ask for is $1.00 in Damages?

By The Baez Law Firm |

When the government violates your civil rights, you have the right to file a lawsuit. But before a court can hear your case you first must establish legal standing. This means you need to show that you suffered an actual injury–not merely a hypothetical one–as the result of the government’s misconduct. You also need… Read More »


Can You Appeal a Criminal Conviction Even if You Pleaded Guilty?

By The Baez Law Firm |

If you are convicted of a crime following a trial, you have the right to appeal. An appeal is basically a request to have a higher court review what took place at the trial and decide if there were any legal errors made that violated your rights. An appeal is not the same thing… Read More »


When Is Evidence of Other Possible Crimes Admissible in a Florida Criminal Trial?

By The Baez Law Firm |

A criminal trial is about a specific act allegedly committed by the defendant. It is not supposed to be a forum to put the defendant’s personal character on trial. For that reason, Florida law generally prohibits prosecutors from introducing “character evidence,” such as information regarding other crimes the defendant may have committed in the… Read More »


What Is Considered a “Speedy Trial” in Florida?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The Constitution guarantees all criminal defendants the right to a “speedy trial.” But what does “speedy” actually mean? That largely depends on where you are tried for a given crime. For example, when a defendant is tried in federal court, Congress has said a trial must begin within 70 days of the defendant’s indictment… Read More »


How Florida Law Continues to Punish Sex Offenders After They Complete Their Criminal Sentences

By The Baez Law Firm |

Sex crimes are treated differently than other types of offenses. For instance, you probably know that many people convicted of such crimes are legally required to register as “sex offenders” even after completing their prison sentences. And in some cases, the state may seek the ongoing “civil commitment” of an offender who is judged… Read More »

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