West Palm Beach Criminal Lawyer
Roger P. Foley is a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense attorney, which practices primarily in Palm Beach, Broward, and Martin Counties. We are available to defend criminal State or Federal Court cases in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and anywhere throughout the State of Florida. If you are facing these types of charges, our firm should be considered when selecting your legal team.
The prosecution must prove a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and a thorough investigation of a case often reveals strong arguments for the defense. With offices conveniently located in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, we represent residents throughout Florida in a wide range of criminal matters, including the following types of cases.DUI
The State of Florida may charge a person with DUI (driving under the influence) if they were in physical control of a motor vehicle while they had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. A prosecutor also may bring a DUI charge if a person was in control of a motor vehicle while their normal faculties were impaired, even if their BAC was under .08. Defenses to DUI charges used by criminal lawyers may involve challenging the testing procedures used by the police or the basis for the stop that led to the DUI arrest. If the police did not have a reasonable suspicion to stop the driver, the stop violated their constitutional rights, and the evidence from the stop may be suppressed. A DUI conviction will result in not only criminal penalties but also the loss of a driver’s license, although sometimes a driver can apply for a hardship license if they meet certain requirements.Probation Violations
A West Palm Beach resident who has been convicted of a crime may be sentenced to probation rather than a term of imprisonment. If they complete the period of probation successfully, they will not serve jail time. However, a defendant risks jail time if the court finds that they have committed a probation violation. These can be technical or substantive. A technical probation violation involves a violation of the terms of probation that were imposed by the court. A substantive probation violation means that the defendant committed another crime. The prosecution does not need to prove a probation violation beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the prosecution must meet the more lenient standard of preponderance of the evidence, which means that the defendant more likely than not committed the violation.Drug Crimes
Florida prosecutors aggressively pursue drug charges, such as charges related to the possession, sale, delivery, or trafficking of controlled substances. The type and amount of the substance involved affect the level of the charge and the associated penalties. Drug trafficking charges are especially harsh, since they carry mandatory minimum prison sentences and massive fines. A defendant may be charged with trafficking if they possess an amount of a controlled substance that exceeds a certain threshold, even if they are not involved in organized crime. A common defense in drug cases involves search and seizure rules under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If law enforcement violated the defendant’s rights by conducting a search without a proper basis, evidence seized during the search may be suppressed.Theft Crimes
A Florida resident may face a theft charge if they take property from another person or business without the owner’s consent, and they intend to deprive the owner of the property. The level of the charge depends in part on the value of the property that was allegedly stolen. For example, grand theft is charged if the value of the property was $300 or greater, while petit theft is usually charged if the value of the property was less than $300. A defendant may be able to fight a theft charge by arguing that they lacked the intent required by the statute. They may try to show that they reasonably believed that the owner had consented to their possession or use of the property. Another possible strategy might involve arguing that the value of the property was lower than the threshold required for the charge.Domestic Violence
Many types of crimes in Florida may fall within the category of domestic violence, such as assault, battery, rape, stalking, and kidnapping. For a crime to be classified as domestic violence, the defendant and the accuser must be family or household members. This means that they are related by blood or marriage, they live together or previously lived together, they are married or formerly were married, or they have a child in common. While domestic violence is a serious problem, not all accusations are well-founded. A defendant may be able to show that the accuser’s version of events is not plausible or argue that the accuser consented to the conduct. In some cases, a defendant may be able to show that they were acting in self-defense, which means that their use of force was justified to protect them.
State criminal cases have various phases: Pre-Arrest, Arrest, First Appearance/ Bond Hearing, Arraignment, Discovery, Plea Discussions, Motion Hearings, Trial, and Appeal. A well-trained West Palm Beach criminal lawyer can help you through each part of the process.
Whether you are being investigated about your possible involvement in a crime, such as a drug crime, or any other crime for that matter, or have already been arrested, you need a West Palm Beach criminal lawyer who understands what can and cannot be legally performed at the initial phase of the criminal process. When you find yourself at this point of the process, you should seriously consider invoking your right to remain silent. Always allow your defense counsel to speak for you. Remain silent until Mr. Foley arrives; everything you say will be used against you. The police take your words and twist them to make their case. You should not talk to those investigating you. They are not your parents, family, preacher, friend, or lawyer. The Supreme Court of Florida has held that the police are allowed to lie to suspects to aid in their interrogations/interviews. If you are not a policeman then you are a suspect.
Shortly after an arrest is made, and usually within 24 hours, you will have what is referred to as your “first appearance,” at which the Judge will set your bond. Most bail bond amounts are already determined based on the crime charged so it is recommended that you keep calm and quiet and allow bond to be set. Talking about the case is definitely a mistake. This Judge is not interested in your version of the facts in the case, he is simply there to set your bond. Anything you say will be used against you. The Judge does have discretion to raise or lower the amount of your bond, but most charges are set using a scheduled bond amount. In layman’s terms, the Judge has a list of crimes and their corresponding bond amounts. The Judge looks for the crime you are charged with, reads the amount next to it, and that becomes your bond amount. Keep quiet if you have not yet retained a lawyer. Do not worry if you do not have an attorney at this First Appearance/Bond Hearing. It is preferred but not essential. Once the amount is set, your friends and/or family will be able to bond you out. Keep in mind that not all crimes are guaranteed to receive a bond. (Read about the Bond Process).
Once you are bonded out of jail, it is definitely the time to retain a criminal defense attorney - your arraignment will soon arrive.
Hiring an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney prior to your arraignment increases your odds of reducing or eliminating the charges. Ask questions about this process, in person, with West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer, Roger P. Foley, at your free 30-minute consultation.
Immediately after your arrest and during your free initial consultation, ask us about pre-trial diversion programs. Each county in Florida has different programs, so a diversion program that is available in West Palm Beach may not be available in Fort Lauderdale. If you have questions about criminal diversions programs in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, and Saint Lucie counties, one of our criminal lawyers at The Law Offices of Roger P. Foley will help answer them.
The Arraignment is the first court hearing where the formal charges are read to you. At this hearing you have three possibilities:
- Plead Guilty (never a wise choice);
- Plead Not Guilty;
- Apply for a Pre-Trial Diversion Program.
Accepting a time served sentence or plea bargain at the Arraignment is malpractice, in our opinion, and should never be done, unless it is the entering of a pre-trial diversion program that results in dismissal of the charges. Any other plea-bargain, without reviewing the discovery, ignores any and all defenses available in your case.
The Discovery Process allows your attorney to review all the evidence the State has against you. A skilled and seasoned West Palm Beach criminal lawyer will always review the discovery so that the defenses in the case can be prepared.
During the Discovery Process of all misdemeanor and felony cases, The Law Offices of Roger P. Foley will review all police reports, witness statements, audio and video, and, if permitted by law, take depositions of the essential witnesses in the case. The taking of depositions is where your attorney asks questions and receives answers from witnesses under oath. The questions asked by your lawyer allows us to find discrepancies and conflicts in the evidence and provides us with the necessary information to prepare for motions and/or trial. After completing this process, our attorney(s) will meet with you to review all the information. At this time, the strategy in defending your case will be thoroughly explained to you and any additional questions will be answered.
When the State Attorney forwards the Discovery materials to our office, they often forward it with a plea bargain offer. The offer to plea bargain is an offer to accept a negotiated sentence in your case and forgo any defenses. The principle behind a plea bargain is that you will generally be offered a lighter sentence than you would receive if you were found guilty at trial. Plea-bargaining also speeds up the judicial process. Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Anthony Kennedy, noted in an opinion in 2012 that 94% of State cases and 98% of Federal cases are plea-bargained.
Why are so many cases plea-bargained by Defendants? Criminal cases are plea-bargained for one of the following reasons or some combination thereof:
- The Defendants are actually guilty.
- Defendants are scared of risking incarceration, if they have a probation offer or increased incarceration if being offered a jail or prison sentence, if they lose at trial.
- Defendants cannot afford the financial burden of trial.
- The police lie or exaggerate what occurred to enhance the likelihood of conviction and the Defendant does not trust that a judge or jury will believe their version of events over that of law enforcement.
- Their defense lawyers are lazy, incompetent or uncaring as to the result.
Dispositive Motions, such as Motions to Suppress and Motions to Dismiss, are extremely important in the practice of criminal law. A Motion to Suppress is a written request asking the Judge to eliminate evidence in your case based on mistakes made by the police. The common mistakes made by law enforcement relate to the 4th (Search and Seizure) and 14th (Due Process) Amendments of the Constitution. Without evidence in your case, it makes it difficult for the State to convict you of the crime. A Motion to Dismiss is a Sworn Motion and it lists all the facts of the case and asks the Judge to Dismiss the charges against the Defendant because, even if the court accepts all of the facts in a light most favorable to the State, that the Defendant could not be possibly guilty of the charge(s). In a Motion to Dismiss there can be no conflicts in the facts between the State and the Defense. Motions to Suppress are more common and are often filed, but Motions to Dismiss are rare and are only filed when there is absolutely no dispute regarding the facts of the case. Remember, most criminal law cases revolve around a dispute of the facts and facts are what are before a Jury. If your case goes through the discovery phase and there are Motions to file then we will file the appropriate motions and argue them before the judge. If successful in a Motion to Suppress, all or some of the evidence will be suppressed in your case. Often when evidence is suppressed, the State no longer has sufficient evidence to go forward in the case and the case is dismissed. If a Motion to Dismiss is granted then your case will likely be dismissed, unless the State appeals the decision.
A Criminal Trial is a court proceeding wherein the State places all the evidence in your case before a jury, a sworn body of people convened to decide the guilt or innocence of the accused. The jury will listen to all the evidence and make a factual determination and declare a verdict of Guilty or Not Guilty. A trial is often expensive and is usually an all or nothing resolution. It is often been termed “a roll of the dice,” as juries often do the unexpected. However, if you are innocent, no errors in the law were committed, and no diversion programs are available, then it is the only way to win your case.
West Palm Beach criminal attorney Roger P. Foley has provided the above information to educate potential clients as to what expect during the criminal process. Not all lawyers operate in the same manner and all potential clients should make their own comparison and determine the best defense lawyer for their case.
Remember, if charged criminally, you are allowed to choose your own attorney. Pick a criminal defense attorney that has passion, experience, aggression, knowledge, education and the ability to properly defend your case. Contact our office and meet with R. P. Foley and decide whether he has the traits and abilities you are looking for in a defense lawyer.
If you or someone you care about have been arrested or are being investigated for a Criminal Statute violation, then call our office.
When you have been arrested and the prosecution believes a drug crime, or any other crime, has been committed, call our office to speak with an experienced criminal lawyer.
When your words are being twisted and ignored, call our office.
When you need someone that will step in and fight to prove your innocence, call the The Law Offices of Roger P. Foley.
The Law Offices of Roger P. Foley, P.A. defends Drug Crimes, Theft Crimes, DUI, Domestic Violence Crimes, Violent Crimes, Juvenile Crimes, Weapons Crimes, Sex Crimes, Economic Crimes, Internet Crimes, and White Collar Crime.
Accept our offer for a free 30-minute consultation with Mr. Foley prior to hiring another criminal defense lawyer. He will evaluate your case and discuss your options with you. His priority is doing what is best for his clients.Frequently Asked Questions
Legal Disclaimer: This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship nor is it intended to be legal advice for any individual case or situation. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. You should consult an attorney regarding your individual case.