Criminal Defense

The Miami criminal defense lawyers at Jacobs Keeley are dedicated to providing aggressive representation and sound legal advice to those facing any allegations of criminal wrongdoing. As former prosecutors, we understand the criminal process and how to most effectively represent our clients no matter what stage of the investigation. While we primarily focus on cases within the State of Florida, we also represent those being prosecuted in federal courts throughout the nation. Whether there is merely an open ongoing criminal investigation or an active case where an arrest has been made, we stand ready to defend you against the government.

We understand that an allegation alone can have disastrous consequences to your reputation, livelihood, family stability and overall wellbeing. While everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless guilt can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, the wheels of the criminal justice system are actively churning against you before you ever see a pair of handcuffs. As former prosecutors, we know how law enforcement operates as an investigation is initiated and develops.

Early intervention from an experienced criminal defense attorney can often serve to greatly minimize the consequences of a criminal arrest. Many times, our early intervention can prevent an arrest from ever being made. Where some defense lawyers adhere to a “wait-and-see” approach when investigations are just beginning, we believe in a proactive approach in order to obtain the results we seek. There is a critical time window for your defense to be developed effectively, and that often begins when an investigation has just begun. Before or after an arrest is made, we use our experience with and close ties to the law enforcement community in order to intervene on our clients’ behalf.

Acting immediately allows us to intervene in the police investigation, influence the filing decision of any formal criminal charges, locate favorable witnesses, locate favorable evidence, develop an early defense strategy and prevent you from doing or saying something that could later hurt your case.

Some areas of criminal defense in which our legal team has had proven successes include:

  • White Collar Crimes
  • Corporate Business Crime
  • Internet Crimes
  • Money Laundering Crimes
  • Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Crimes
  • Medicare Fraud Crimes
  • Health Care Fraud Crimes
  • Drug Crimes & Drug Trafficking Crimes
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Violent Crimes
  • Marijuana Business Consulting

Each of these areas of law is complex and evolving constantly. Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, it is critical to consult with a criminal defense attorney who knows the law, recognizes the stakes and is dedicated to protecting your rights.

Florida’s Criminal Justice System

According to research from the National Institute of Corrections, the crime rate in Florida is 27 percent higher than the national average, with property crimes accounting for 87 percent of arrests. The remaining 13 percent involves violent crimes, which is almost 50 percent higher than the U.S. average.

Law enforcement officials and state attorneys have made themselves popular by being “tough on crime” and backing harsh mandatory minimum sentences, even for first-time, non-violent offenders.

The incarceration rate in Florida is 38 percent higher than the national average. The Florida Department of Corrections has an inmate population of more than 102,000, with the department being the largest employer in the state. The system has a vested interest in locking you up.

Our Miami criminal defense lawyers are committed to doing everything we can to minimize the potential penalties you are facing. No defense attorney can promise specific results, but with our team of seasoned investigators and professionals, we will carefully analyze each element of your case to determine the most effective defense strategy.

While it is true there are some very good public defenders in this state, it can be a gamble. Even if you end up with a competent public defender, he or she is almost certainly overworked and will not be able to dedicate the time and energy to your case that it deserves.

When faced with the possibility of jail or prison, it’s not a risk worth taking.

Formulating a Defense Strategy

Each criminal case is different. That’s why it’s imperative to have an attorney dedicated to thorough investigation, comprehensive motion strategy and exhaustive preparation.

Even if you haven’t been arrested but have reason to believe you are under scrutiny or investigation by law enforcement, contacting an attorney can help mitigate the risk to your liberty. We will advise you of your rights, the criminal process and possible outcomes of your case.

One of the most important rights that everyone has in the United States of America is the right to remain silent. Beyond offering basic identifying information, you are under no obligation to speak with law enforcement. Recognize that whatever statements you make to police might be used against you later, so it is best to wait until you have had the opportunity to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before saying anything to law enforcement. If you have already made statements to the police that might somehow incriminate you, we will analyze whether these statements can in fact be used against you and how we can best protect you from prosecution. If the statements were made during a “custodial interrogation” the police are required to give you your Miranda warnings pursuant to the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). If the police failed to give you your Miranda warnings or violated your constitutional rights in some other way, we can seek to exclude or suppress any statements you made so that they cannot be used against you.

We begin our investigation the moment we agree to represent you. We don’t rely simply on the version of events set forth by law enforcement in police reports and arrest affidavits. Too often these reports are one-sided and erroneous. We carefully initiate contact with witnesses and conduct interviews in order to fully investigate the allegations against you. We will hear your side of the story. We will visit the site of the alleged offense. If necessary, we will hire private investigators or seek opinions from experts who can refute the position that the government has taken against you.

It should be noted that you should seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to investigate your case. You should never attempt to contact any witnesses that may have provided law enforcement with information against you. Such actions can result in your being charged with witness tampering, which is a serious offense in the State of Florida. Depending upon how serious the underlying crime is, witness tampering can be a life felony and a non-bondable offense.

Beyond the investigation that we conduct outside of the courtroom, the next phase to our representation is comprehensive motion strategy and practice inside the courtroom. You’ll hear the word “motion” a lot in criminal proceedings, and it basically just means a request made to the judge asking him or her to do something.

Discovery motions are requests for the prosecutor to produce evidence intended for use against a defendant or for some other evidence that might be useful in your defense. While prosecutors are bound by certain discovery rules, defense attorneys can file requests seeking additional information that may be relevant. A well-crafted discovery plan often uncovers evidence helpful to your case. As former prosecutors, our criminal defense team knows how the prosecutor’s office works and what evidence is likely to be in the government’s possession. Making demands for certain discovery is just one of the ways we seek to uphold our clients’ rights.

Beyond simple discovery motions, there are other important substantive motions that you need an experienced criminal trial attorney to investigate, strategize and litigate. In a criminal case, one of the most valuable substantive motions is the motion to suppress evidence. These types of motions typically allege some sort of violation of your rights warrant the exclusion of certain evidence, such as drugs, statements you made or some sort of other evidence that the government is seeking to use against you. These types of motions focus on evidence the prosecutor intends to use against you. Evidence can be suppressed if it was gained in violation of your Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. Motions to suppress can be also be used in cases where confessions were obtained illegally, before a defendant was advised of his or her Miranda rights. Motions to suppress evidence can also be granted for misconduct of the police or prosecution. Evidence obtained illegally as a result of such misconduct can be excluded under the “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” doctrine.

Motions to suppress evidence are our way of seeking to uphold your constitutional rights. Evidence obtained in violation of your constitutional rights should not be able to be used against you. By carefully articulating the reasons why evidence should be suppressed, our team can convince judges to grant our motions to suppress evidence against you. The primary constitutional rights that we seek to uphold for our clients are:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

While the above constitutional amendments contain only some of the important rights that we seek to uphold for our clients, there are other important motions that you need an experienced criminal trial attorney to investigate and litigate. Besides motions to suppress and motions to obtain additional discovery or evidence, our team of seasoned trial attorneys also conduct extensive investigation to determine whether certain other motions should be filed in your case. One such motion is a Motion in Limine, which can limit or clarify the admission of certain evidence based on the established rules of evidence. Sometimes when these motions are granted, it can effectively end the entire case against you. Sometimes these motions are key to the successful defense of a case in trial. You need an criminal trial attorney with the experience to foresee what might arise in trial that could impact your defense in order to litigate these types of motions effectively.

If a criminal case does go to trial, we engage in exhaustive preparation, which allows us to effectively fight the evidence against you and cross-examine the witnesses called to testify against you by the government. At Jacobs Keeley, we prepare every case as if it is actually going to go to trial. By doing so, we do not sit by and allow favorable evidence to perish and disappear. Not many other law firms are willing, or able, to treat every criminal case this way. By doing this, we gain a tremendous amount of leverage to negotiate with law enforcement and the prosecution. Even if a case has been filed against you, we have at times been able to negotiate with the prosecution to dismiss a case outright if certain issues are discovered. If your case is not going to be dismissed outright, having significant leverage over the prosecution can allow us to negotiate an acceptable plea agreement with the government if that is your goal. If an acceptable plea agreement cannot be reached, we are prepared for trial. At Jacobs Keeley, we advise our clients and follow their direction. If the day comes to pick a jury and go to trial, we will stand ready to defend you.

The bottom line when you hire Jacobs Keeley to represent you is that you are not in this alone. Our team of seasoned criminal defense attorneys recognize that being accused of a crime is likely one of the most difficult things you will ever have to deal with in your life. We will zealously defend your rights and fight for the most favorable resolution possible.

Contact the Miami Criminal Defense Lawyers at Jacobs Keeley Trial Lawyers for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

Call us at (305) 358-7991.

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