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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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 »

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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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What You Need to Know About Florida’s Kidnapping Laws

By The Baez Law Firm |

In a criminal trial, the prosecution will often try and charge multiple offenses arising from the same action. For example, if someone is accused of robbing a store, but they also allegedly took hostages during the robbery, they could be charged with kidnapping as well. Indeed, Florida law broadly defines kidnapping to include “confining”… Read More »

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Understanding the Florida Clemency Process

By The Baez Law Firm |

Clemency is a process that allows the chief executive officer of a government to set aside a resident’s criminal conviction or penalty. Clemency is sometimes referred to as a “pardon,” although, at least as it applies to Florida law, a pardon is just one type of clemency. The Florida Constitution actually recognizes the following… Read More »

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How Do Florida Courts Assess the Reliability of Scientific Evidence?

By The Baez Law Firm |

“Trust the science” is a phrase we hear a lot these days. But when it comes to evidence presented at a criminal trial, a court cannot simply take the prosecution’s scientific evidence at face value. Instead, the court must decide if scientific evidence–and the methods by which it was gathered–is sufficiently reliable and accurate… Read More »

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How Can Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law Protect Me from Criminal Prosecution?

By The Baez Law Firm |

In recent years there has been a great deal of public attention surrounding Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Much of the controversy arises from cases where the law has been cited to justify the use of deadly force. But the Stand Your Ground rule also applies to situations involving non-deadly force. For instance, it… Read More »

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Is It Possible to Commit Both Battery and Aggravated Battery at the Same Time?

By The Baez Law Firm |

In Florida, battery is the crime of intentionally touching or striking another person against their will, or intentionally causing bodily harm to another person. A first offense for battery is considered a misdemeanor. However, there is a separate felony charge for aggravated battery. This involves a battery that results in “great bodily harm, permanent… Read More »

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What Is the “Good Faith” Exception to the Fourth Amendment’s Search Warrant Requirement?

By The Baez Law Firm |

In any criminal case, the police must normally obtain a search warrant before searching a suspect’s property without their permission. We say “normally,” because over the years, the courts have carved out a number of exceptions to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement. One of these is known as the “good faith” exception. The basic… Read More »

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Florida Appeals Court Rejects “Bump Stock” Lawsuit

By The Baez Law Firm |

Following the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the Florida legislature banned individuals from buying or possessing “bump-fire stocks.” These are devices that make it possible to convert semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons by altering the rate of fire. The bump-fire stock ban took effect in March 2018. The… Read More »

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Does the Fourth Amendment Apply to Private Individuals?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. In broad terms, this means that an agent of the government cannot search or seize your property without either first obtaining your consent or a warrant from a judge. Any evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment is inadmissible… Read More »

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When Is It Okay for the Police to Conduct a Search Without a Warrant?

By The Baez Law Firm |

Anyone who has ever watched a television legal drama probably knows about the Fourth Amendment. It is the part of the United States Constitution that requires police to obtain a warrant before searching a person or their property. Any evidence obtained by police in violation of the Fourth Amendment must be suppressed or excluded… Read More »

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Do the Police Need a Warrant to Search Your Business Website?

By The Baez Law Firm |

The Fourth Amendment protects you against non-consensual and warrantless searches by the government. For instance, a police officer normally cannot search your car for potential contraband–such as illegal drugs–unless you give consent or a judge issues a search warrant based on a finding of probable cause. Similar rules apply to your house or other… Read More »

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