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Criminal Defense

EDWARD J. CHANDLER, ESQ. represents clients in state and Federal criminal defense cases in the following areas:

Federal Criminal Trials

State Felony Trials

Drug Trafficking Cases

Conspiracy Cases

RICO Cases

Health Care Fraud

Bank Fraud

Money Laundering

Security Violations

IRS Violations

White Collar Crime

Asset Forfeiture

Grand Jury Representation

Business Fraud and Theft



Grand Theft

Battery on a LEO


Attorney Chandler also represents individuals charged with criminal offenses including:

DUI Driving under the influence

  • BUI Boating under the influence
  • Traffic Cases Driving with Suspended License
  • Drug Cases prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine
  • Felonies and Misdemeanors
  • Juvenile Delinquency Cases
  • VOP’s Violations of Probation

  • Also offering representation in the following matters: DUI & DUI MANSLAUGHTER

  • Providing representation for first and multiple DUIs as well as trial representation for both DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Manslaughter. 
    Providing strategic advice on surrender, the bond process, the withdrawal of warrants, and the  resolution of  underlying charges.
    Providing representation at hearings to set or reduce bond, including the preparation of witness testimony and the coordination of various bond options.
    Providing strategic advice to minimize the impact of a violation, as well as representation for plea bargain and Evidentiary Hearings.  Causes of violations differ from “technical” to “new charges”; a difference which can affect the defensive strategy to be applied.
    Providing strategic advice to protect the client’s freedom upon release from custody, as well as providing representation at trial.  The charge of domestic violence is often misused by friend or spouse, as leverage to obtain an advantage in related litigation.
    Providing defense in civil court to what are often dishonest and damaging  allegations of abuse.  Restraining orders are often linked to criminal allegations of assault and battery and represent a threat to a person’s reputation and freedom.
    Providing strategic advice and trial defense to what is one of the most damaging allegations in criminal law.  Punishment for felony sexual offenses frequently includes incarceration in the Dept. of Corrections and can have a profoundly detrimental effect on a person’s reputation.
    Providing strategic advice for potential rehabilitative/treatment alternatives to incarceration.  The defense of drug offenses often involves the application of laws related to search and seizure, which if successful, can result in the dismissal of charges.
    Providing investigative and trial representation for the charges of Assault & Battery.  Felony punishment of these charges can include incarceration and should be taken seriously.
    Providing strategic advice for alternatives to conviction and incarceration, as well as providing representation at trial.  Burglary of a residence is automatically punishable by imprisonment in the Dept. of Corrections, and therefore presents a significant threat to freedom.
    Providing technical assistance with the application process, involving both the Fla. Dept. of Law Enforcement and the court system.  The sealing or expungement of criminal records offers an excellent opportunity to guard a person’s reputation from public view.
    Providing representation in both misdemeanor and felony  courts on a wide variety of criminal charges.  This includes representation in traffic, county and circuit courts, throughout the South Florida, including Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Countoes..
    Providing strategic advice for rehabilitative alternatives to adjudication and commitment as a juvenile offender.  Juvenile offenders are being certified for prosecution as adults at an alarming rate.  All crimes, misdemeanor and felony, are represented at both the adult and juvenile levels.

  • If You Are Arrested In Florida
    What are your rights after your arrest?
    What rights do you have when questioned by police?
    Should you make statements to law enforcement?
    Do you have a right to an attorney?
    Can a law enforcement officer detain you without arresting you?
    Can an officer use force when making an arrest?
    What procedures are usually followed when you are arrested?
    What happens to personal property when arrested?
    How are you released from jail?

    You have a right to know the crime or crimes with which you have been charged. You have a right to know the identity of the police officers who are dealing with you. This is your right to statute and by custom.

    You have the right to communicate by telephone with your attorney, family, friends, or bondsperson as soon after you are brought into the police station as practicable. The police have a right to complete their booking procedures before you are allowed to use the telephone.

    1. You have the right to remain silent. If you choose to speak, anything you say can be used against you in court.
    2. If you decide to answer any questions, you may stop at any time and all questioning will cease.
    3. You have a right to consult with your attorney before answering any questions. You have the right to have your attorney present if you decide to answer any questions, and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you or appointed for you by the court without cost to you before any further questions may be asked.

    Constitutional rights may be waived or given up voluntarily. Before you say or sign anything that might result in waiver of a constitutional right, weigh your decision carefully and consult with an attorney.

    If you cannot afford a private lawyer, you should advise the judge of this fact at your first appearance or as soon after that as possible. The judge will ask you some questions to see if you are eligible for the services of an attorney at public expense. You will probably be asked to take an oath of indigency, which is a sworn statement as to your inability to afford a private attorney.

    NO. If you are arrested in Florida, the decision whether to answer any questions is entirely your own. You should give this matter your careful consideration because oral statements, as well as, written statements will be received as evidence in court against you. If you are offered any inducement to sign a document or if you are threatened, coerced, or forced to sign anything, advise your attorney immediately and the senior police official in charge. If you do not have an attorney, you may ask to speak to one immediately.

    YES. If you are unable to afford an attorney, you have a right to be put in touch with the Public Defender immediately. The Public Defender, a lawyer, is available to give you important legal advice following your arrest. If you are in doubt about whether you should talk with the arresting officer or other law enforcement officers, you should wait until you have spoken with an attorney before giving up your CONSTITUTIONAL right to remain silent. Asking for an attorney should stop all questions by the police.

    YES, WITH LIMITATIONS! Under Florida law, based upon reasonable suspicion that you may be involved in criminal activity, a police officer may require you to identify yourself and explain your presence at a particular time, without arresting you. Under Florida law the officer may not remove you from the immediate vicinity without making an arrest, unless you voluntarily accompany the officer to some other location.

    If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you are armed, he or she may conduct a limited pat-down of your outer garments for the purpose of detecting weapons. If this "frisk" results in reasonable belief on the part of the officer that you are carrying a weapon, the officer may remove the suspicious object for protection. The officers must return to you any unlawful object found unless they places you under arrest. Unless the officer places you under arrest, the frisk or search must be limited to suspected weapons.

    The officer may ask you some questions in order to complete the field interrogation card. You have a constitutional right to not answer them, or give your name, unless the officer has an reasonable suspicion that you are involved in a crime. At the conclusion of this temporary detention the officer must either arrest you or let you go.

    If you should enter a retail establishment where goods are placed on display and for sale, the merchant or the employees may detain you on the premises for a reasonable time for questioning if they have probable cause to believe that you have stolen or have attempted to steal goods for sale. Under such circumstances police officer called to the scene may make an arrest for shoplifting even though the alleged offense was not committed in the officer's presence. Under Florida law, there are a few specified misdemeanors for which an arrest may be made without a warrant, even when not committed in the presence of the arresting officer. These exceptions to the general rule are shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon other than a firearm, possession of not more than twenty grams of marijuana and a few others.

    The officer may employ all reasonable and necessary force to overcome resistance in making a lawful arrest. The legality of the arrest has nothing to do with whether or not you are ultimately convicted. As long as the officer has reasonable grounds for making the arrest at the time for the arrest, you cannot claim later that the arrest was unlawful merely because you were found not guilty.

    Resisting arrest with violence is a felony under Florida law. Resisting arrest without violence or offering to do violence is a misdemeanor. You could be convicted of either of these crimes, even if you were found not guilty of the crime for which you were arrested.

    Obstructing an officer with violence is also a felony under Florida law. Obstructing or interfering with an officer on duty without violence is a misdemeanor. If you believe that your rights are being violated, make it a point to remember exactly what the police officer did and then advise your attorney concerning this at the earliest possible time.

    1. The officer will take you to a police station.
    2. You will be advised generally as to the charges against you. However, these charges may be changed later and stated in more detail by the office of the prosecuting attorney or in some instances by the grand jury.
    3. You may be required to participate in a lineup, to prepare a sample of your penmanship, or to speak phrases associated with the crime with which you are charged, to put on certain wearing apparel or to give a sample of your hair. You should ask to have your attorney present during any of these procedures. You have an absolute right to counsel, if you are asked to participate in a lineup after you have been formally charged by the prosecuting attorney or indicted by a grand jury.
    4. You also may be required to be fingerprinted and photographed.
    5. You will be arraigned at a court session or your attorney will file a written plea on your behalf. An arraignment is no more than a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest to the charge. If you plead not guilty, a trial date will be set. If you plead guilty or no contest, a sentencing date will be set, generally after the court has received a pre-sentence investigation report from probation and parole.

    If you should be booked into a jail, the police may take money and property from you for safekeeping. They will carefully inventory your money and property and give you a copy of the inventory. At the time of your release or at the conclusion of your case, such money or property that was not seized as evidence in the case may be returned to you, subject to your criminal status. You will be given an opportunity to sign the property list. You should make certain that the list includes all the items taken from you.

    Upon arrival at the jail or shortly thereafter, you will be given an opportunity to contact your attorney. The attorney, in turn, may arrange for the posting of a bond and may appear with you in court and ask the court to lower the bail if it is believed to be excessive under the circumstances. You may be released upon personal recognizance (your promise to appear in court when directed), or you may be released on bail, which involves the posting of either cash money or a surety bond as security for your court appearance. Bail bonds from licensed sureties are usually available at a cost of 10 percent of the amount of the bail.

    If you are taken into custody and booked into the jail and remain there, you must be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours of your arrest. At that appearance, you may request that the magistrate lower your bail in consideration of your ties in the community, financial resources, employment record or any other factors, including your past criminal record and your past history of failure to appear in court when scheduled.

    (Reprinted from ).

    Legal Resources

  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Broward County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • As a service to our current and prospective clients, we provide a guide to the most frequently-visited URL addresses.

    Please take a moment to browse, and you’ll appreciate both its breadth and value. In a larger view, the guide is a mark of our overall commitment to delivering the kind of tools and resources our clients need. Even if it goes beyond the realm of traditional legal advice.

    As a client, you can expect no less.



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    DUI FAQ's
    Drugs / Narcotics FAQ's

    DUI FAQ's

    What is "Drunk Driving"?
    What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the highways?
    What is the officer looking for during the initial detention at the scene?
    What kind of evidence does an officer need to arrest a motorist suspected of "drunk driving?" The officer never gave me a Miranda warning. Can I get my case dismissed?
    If I was stopped for another traffic violation, can the police also arrest me for a DUI or DWI?

    What is "drunk driving"?
    Drunk driving, sometimes called driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), has two meanings:

    Driving with a blood alcohol level over the state's maximum permissible blood alcohol limit. The limit for adults is either 0.08% or 0.10%. As of October 2000, the following 19 jurisdictions used the 0.08% standard to define drunken or impaired driving: Alabama, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington State. All other states used 0.10% except Massachusetts and South Carolina which do not use numerical limits.

    You may also be guilty of DUI / DWI for driving when your physical abilities are impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. In the eyes of the law, it makes no difference whether the drug is legal or illegal, prescription or over-the-counter. If taking that drug impacts your senses of seeing, hearing, talking, walking and/or judging distances, you may be guilty of a drunk driving offense.

    What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the highways?
    The following is a list of symptoms in descending order of probability that the person observed is driving while intoxicated. The list is based upon research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Administration:

    (1) Turning with a wide radius;
    (2) Straddling center of lane marker;
    (3) "Appearing to be drunk";
    (4) Almost striking object or vehicle;
    (5) Weaving;
    (6) Driving on other than designated highway;
    (7) Swerving;
    (8) Speed more than 10 mph below limit;
    (9) Stopping without cause in traffic lane;
    (10) Following too closely;
    (11) Drifting;
    (12) Tires on center or lane marker;
    (13) Braking erratically;
    (14) Driving into opposing or crossing traffic;
    (15) Signaling inconsistent with driving actions;
    (16) Slow response to traffic signals;
    (17) Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane);
    (18) Turning abruptly or illegally;
    (19) Accelerating or decelerating rapidly;
    (20) Headlights off.

    Speeding, incidentally, is not a symptom of DUI; in some circumstances it may suggest quicker reflexes and sobriety.

    What is the officer looking for during the initial detention at the scene?
    The traditional symptoms of intoxication taught at the police academies are:

    (1) Flushed face;
    (2) Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes;
    (3) Odor of alcohol on breath;
    (4) Slurred speech;
    (5) Fumbling with wallet trying to get license;
    (6) Failure to comprehend the officer's questions;
    (7) Staggering when exiting vehicle;
    (8) Swaying/instability on feet;
    (9) Leaning on car for support;
    (10) Combative, argumentative, jovial or other "inappropriate" attitude;
    (11) Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing;
    (12) Stumbling while walking;
    (13) Disorientation as to time and place;
    (14) Inability to follow directions.

    What kind of evidence does an officer need to arrest a motorist suspected of "drunk driving"?
    Generally speaking, there are three kinds of evidence that a police officer will consider and gather in the investigation:

    (1) gross observations of behavior in general;
    (2) specific observations of balance tests and the like (usually called "field sobriety tests"); and
    (3) chemical test results of the motorist's blood, breath or urine.

    A police officer may arrest a motorist if the cumulative effect of the evidence convinces the officer that he has "probable cause" or "reasonable cause" to make an arrest. This is a far lower standard than the one the state must prove at trial. There the case must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt." Although this is a high standard, it is met every day in courts all over the country.

    The officer never gave me a Miranda warning. Can I get my case dismissed?
    No. The officer is supposed to give a warning of your right to remain silent and tell you that anything you say may be used against you in a court of law (your 5th Amendment rights) and that you have a right to consult an attorney, and if you can not afford one you have a right to have a lawyer appointed for you (your 6th Amendment rights) after s/he arrests you. Sometimes officers do not. The only consequence of failing to tell you is that the prosecution cannot use any of your answers to questions asked by the police after the arrest.

    Of more consequence in most cases is the failure to advise you of the state's "implied consent" law, that is, your legal obligation to take a chemical test and the results if you refuse. This can impact the suspension of your license.

    If I was stopped for another traffic violation, can the police also arrest me for a DUI or DWI?
    The original cause for the officer's stopping you need not be related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

    Routine detentions for equipment and registration compliance, such as a cracked windshield, inoperative taillight, headlights not turned on, and so forth, maneuvering and parking violations, and many other reasons have been held by the courts to constitute sufficient cause. If the stop was the result of racial profiling, that may give a lawyer more to work with in an effort to have charges dismissed or reduced.

    (from )

    Drugs / Narcotics FAQ's

    I use drugs, but I have never sold them. The police arrested me with some heroin and charged me with possession for sale. Is that right?
    I got busted with two rocks of cocaine and the first time in court prosecutor offered to let me plead to the possession for one day in jail and probation. Should I take it?
    What gives? My buddy Reno gave me a drive downtown and the cops pulled him over. They found a balloon of heroin in the open ash try and they charge me along with him. Those were not my drugs. How can they do that?
    I got stopped by a traffic cop for a busted tail light and then, without my permission, he searched my car and found some pot in the trunk. At the hearing he said he knew I had drugs because he saw seeds on the floor and they were in "plain view", but the drugs in the trunk weren't. Can a lawyer get the drugs excluded from evidence as illegally seized?
    I have heard the term "unwitting possession". What does it mean and is it a valid defense?
    I had been using drugs for some time. Right after I purchased new supply I was arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell. How can they do this when the police have no evidence that I ever sold any drugs to anyone?
    The narcs planted a rock of cocaine on me when they arrested my buddy with his stash. The particular cop who did it doesn't like me because I refused to snitch for him and laughed when he said "looks like payback time." I do have a drug history but I've been clean for two years. I know the judge will believe the cops and not me. What can I do?

    I use drugs, but I have never sold them. The police arrested me with some heroin and charged me with possession for sale. Is that right?
    The law does not require the police to prove you DID sell, just that your intent was to sell. This is done by the circumstances of the possession and by expert opinion of the police. Factors such as the way it is packaged (many small bindles -- "packaged to sell"), and what is found with it (such as scales) can fill in the person's likely intentions. In addition, experienced narcotics officers will be allowed to testify that from their experience these factors and the quantity found are consistent with an intent to sell the drugs.

    I got busted with two rocks of cocaine and the first time in court prosecutor offered to let me plead to the possession for one day in jail and probation. Should I take it?
    That depends on a number of factors. Why did the prosecution make such an offer off the bat? Is there a problem with his case? Could it get thrown out on legal grounds? What are the consequences of prior convictions in your state? How much time can you serve if you are found in violation of probation? What are the chances of avoiding any conviction at all by trying the case? What effect will this conviction have on your immigration status? Your ability to get a government job? Your ability to get bonded, or to get a professional license? You could even lose your eligibility to receive public assistance or to drive, depending on your jurisdiction's laws. There may even be programs that allow you to do drug counseling and other things in exchange for an eventual dismissal of the charges. In other words, the issue is so complicated and far reaching that even if you want to plead guilty, you still need a lawyer's advice so you know fully what you are doing.

    What gives? My buddy Reno gave me a drive downtown and the cops pulled him over. They found a balloon of heroin in the open ash try and they charge me along with him. Those were not my drugs. How can they do that?
    This is a common misconception: that ownership of the drugs controls. It's the POSSESSION that is illegal, and you do not have to have something in your hand or pocket to "possess" it. The police don't know that it was the driver who put the heroin in the ash tray (which sits right between the two of you). Unless your buddy talks and claims it, he's leaving the possibility open that he was innocent and they were yours. As a result the police will arrest everyone who was within arm's reach of it. This is a case you will certainly want to fight aggressively, but also be aware in the future that whom you hang out with can have serious consequences. Just being near illegal drugs is dangerous, even if you are not into drugs.

    I got stopped by a traffic cop for a busted tail light and then, without my permission, he searched my car and found some pot in the trunk. At the hearing he said he knew i had drugs because he saw seeds on the floor and they were in "plain view", but the drugs in the trunk weren't. Can a lawyer get the drugs excluded from evidence as illegally seized?
    Not if you assume the fact that he did see the seeds. That would give him "probable cause" to search for drugs elsewhere. But did he seize any seeds from the floor to mark into evidence? Do you dispute his claim that there were seeds on the floor? If so, your lawyer might attack his testimony on the lack of physical evidence. In addition, there is the issue of whether you KNEW the drugs were in the trunk. You should see a lawyer. Any drug case has many issues that can determine whether you get convicted or the case dismissed.

    I have heard the term "unwitting possession". What does it mean and is it a valid defense?
    Unwitting possession means that you possessed a contraband substance without knowing you had it. The classic case is mail carriers - they deliver a package containing cocaine but are not guilty of possessing cocaine because they didn't know (and had no way to know) that cocaine was in the package. The other classic case is borrowing someone's car and the owner had cocaine stashed in the door frame. Some states allow unwitting possession as a defense, some add the 'had no reason to know' element, some don't allow it at all. The defendant usually has the burden of proving unwitting possession by a preponderance of the evidence.

    I had been using drugs for some time. Right after I purchased new supply I was arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell. How can they do this when the police have no evidence that I ever sold any drugs to anyone?
    If you were charged with possession with intent to sell drugs the police do not have to prove an actual sale; only your intent to sell the drugs. If you had just purchased the drugs you might have more in your possession than required for one or two uses. Also it might be packaged in several small packages which might indicate you intended to sell it to others. It might be important where you were arrested: at home or in the vicinity of a drug market. Many times these charges are highly speculative. However, if you are successful in rebutting the charge of possession with intent to sell, the police would still have the conviction for simple possession.

    The narcs planted a rock of cocaine on me when they arrested my buddy with his stash. The particular cop who did it doesn't like me because i refused to snitch for him and laughed when he said "looks like payback time." I do have a drug history but I've been clean for two years. I know the judge will believe the cops and not me. What can I do?
    This is a difficult situation. Many more people claim they were set up than actually were, but it does happen. There is a lot of research and investigation to do before you decide what to do. If the law allows it in your state, your lawyer should bring a motion to find out if this cop has had citizen complaints about lying and planting evidence before. Gather up witnesses who know you well and know you have been off drugs for two years, especially people present when you have refused offers of drugs. Your lawyer might have an investigator talk to the other cops involved in the operation, or do so himself. If one was not really comfortable with what happened, he might assist in some way, perhaps behind the scenes. Don't expect any officer to testify that he saw evidence planted.

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      1. What is an arrest?
      2. What rights do I have?
      3. Once I am told my rights, can I be questioned?
      4. When should I see a lawyer?
      5. How can I find a lawyer?
      6. What if I can't afford a lawyer?
      7. Who can arrest me?
      8. Can someone other than a Police Officer arrest me?
      9. When is an arrest warrant issued?
      10. When can I be released?
      11. What is bail and how is it set?
      12. Who maintains arrest records and what do they include?
      13. What happens at an arraignment?
      14. What happens at a preliminary hearing?
      15. When can an officer conduct a search?
      16. When can an officer search you, your car, or your home without a warrant?

      What is an arrest?
      When you are arrested, you are taken into custody. This means that you are not free to leave the scene. Without being arrested, you can be detained, however, or held for questioning for a short time if a police officer or other person believes you may have been involved in a crime. For example, an officer may detain you if you are carrying a large box near a burglary. You also can be detained by storekeepers if they suspect you have stolen something.

      Whether you are arrested or detained, you do not have to answer any questions except to give your name and address, and to show some identification if requested.

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      What rights do I have?
      Whether you are an adult citizen or a non-citizen, you have certain rights if you are arrested.

      Before the law enforcement officer questions you, he or she must tell you that:

      • You have the right to remain silent.
      • Anything you say may be used against you.
      • You have the right to have a lawyer present while you are questioned.
      • If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.

      These are your "Miranda" rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. If you are not given these warnings, your lawyer can ask that any statements you made to the police not be used against you in court. But this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed. This does not apply if you volunteer information without being questioned by the police.

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      Once I am told my rights, can I be questioned?
      You can be questioned, without a lawyer present, only if you voluntarily give up your rights and if you understand what you are giving up. If you agree to the questioning, then change your mind, questioning must stop as soon as you say that you want a lawyer. If the questioning continues after you request a lawyer and you continue to talk, your answers can be used against you if you testify to something different.

      You may be required to give certain physical evidence. For example, if you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may be requested to take a test to measure the amount of alcohol in your system. If you refuse to take a test, your driver's license may be suspended and the refusal will be used against you in court.

      Once you are booked, meaning your arrest is written into official police records and you are fingerprinted and photographed, you have the right to make and complete telephone calls that are free within the local dialing area.

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      When should I see a lawyer?
      If you are arrested in a crime, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. He or she has a better sense of what you should and should not say to the law enforcement officers to avoid being misinterpreted or misunderstood. The lawyer also can advise you or your family and friends of the bail process.

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      How can I find a lawyer?
      A friend, a co-worker or your employer, as well as doctors, ministers, or teachers may be able to recommend a lawyer.

      Ask for a lawyer who is qualified in criminal law. If you decide to hire a lawyer, make sure that you understand what you will be paying for, how much it will cost, and when you are expected to pay your bill. For more information, see the state bar pamphlet, "How Can I Find and Hire the Right Lawyer?"

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      What if I can't afford a lawyer?
      The Public Defender's office may provide you with a lawyer or the court will appoint one for you.

      The U.S. constitution guarantees anyone charged with a crime the right to legal counsel experienced in criminal law.

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      Who can arrest me?
      All law enforcement officers - such as police officers, county sheriffs, investigators in a district attorney's or an attorney general's office, and highway patrol officers - can arrest you whether they are on or off duty, in most cases. A probation or parole officer also can arrest you.

      They can arrest you - even if they do not have an arrest warrant - if they have probable cause or good reason to believe you have committed a felony, such as an armed robbery. (A felony is a crime of a more serious nature than a misdemeanor, and is usually punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.) They do not have to see you commit a felony in order to arrest you. They do, however, have to see you commit a misdemeanor in order to arrest you.

      If you commit an infraction, instead of taking you into custody, they may ask you to sign a citation or notice. This is a minor offense, such as a moving violation, where the punishment usually is a fine. If you sign the citation, you are not admitting guilt; you are only promising to appear in court. If you have no identification or refuse to sign, however, an officer may take you into custody.

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      Can someone other than a Police Officer arrest me?
      Any person, such as a private security guard, can make a citizen's arrest if they see a misdemeanor being attempted or committed (A misdemeanor is a criminal offense usually punishable with a fine or short prison term). They also can make a legal arrest for a felony if it actually was committed and they have good reason to believe that you did it. They must take you to a police officer or judge who is required by law to take you into custody.

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      When is an arrest warrant issued?
      Usually a warrant is required before you can be taken into custody from your home. But, you can be arrested at home without a warrant if fast action is needed to prevent you escaping, destroying evidence, endangering someone's life, or seriously damaging property.

      The warrant must be signed by a magistrate or judge, who must have good reason to believe that you, whom the warrant names, committed the crime. If your name is unknown, "John Doe" be used on the warrant - along with your description.

      Once an arrest warrant is issued, any law enforcement officer in the state can arrest you - even if the officer does not have a copy of the warrant. Generally, there is no time limit on using a warrant to make an arrest.

      Before entering your home, a law enforcement officer must knock and identify himself or herself and tell you that you are going to be arrested. If you refuse to open the door - or there is another good reason - the officer can break through a door or a window.

      If the police have an arrest warrant, you should be allowed to see it. If they don't have it with them, you should be allowed to see it as soon as practically possible.

      The police may search the area within your reach. If you are arrested outdoors, they may not search your home or car.

      Resisting an arrest or detention is a crime. If you resist an arrest, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony in addition to the crime for which you are being arrested. If you resist, an officer can use force to overcome your resistance or prevent your escape. The officer can even use deadly force if it appears you will use force to cause great bodily injury.

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      When can I be released?
      If, during the questioning and before a charge is filed, the police are convinced that you have not committed the crime, they will give you a written release. Your arrest then will be considered a detention and not recorded as an arrest.

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      What is bail and how is it set?
      The amount of bail - money or other security deposited with the court to insure that you will appear - is set by a schedule in each county. You may be notified that you can forfeit or give up bail instead of appearing in court if you receive a traffic citation. However, if you have any doubt, go to court so a warrant is not issued for your arrest for failing to appear. Bail forfeiture does not mean that charges will be dropped and usually works as a conviction for a traffic offense.

      Officers at the jail may be able to accept bail. If you cannot post or put up the bail, you will be kept in custody. Depending on where you are arrested, you may have the opportunity to request a bail reduction through a bail commissioner.

      When you are taken to court for bail setting or release, the judge will consider the seriousness of the offense you are charged with, any prior failures to appear - even for traffic tickets, any previous record, your connections to the community, as well as the probability that you will appear in court. The amount of bail is set according to a written schedule based on your charges. The law presumes you are guilty of the charges for the purposes of setting the bail or release.

      Instead of paying bail, you might be released on your own recognizance or "O.R." (or "supervised O.R."). This means that you do not have to pay bail because the judge believes that you will show up for your court appearances without bail.

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      Who maintains arrest records and what do they include?
      Local police departments and the State Department of Justice keep arrest records. According to law they cannot show them to anyone except law enforcement officers and may only show records of your convictions to certain licensing agencies which have a right, by state law, to investigate your criminal background.

      The arrest record includes when and why you were arrested, whether the charges against you were dropped or whether you were convicted of the charges, and the subsequent sentence imposed. Both pleading guilty and being found guilty after a trial count as convictions.

      If you are convicted of committing a misdemeanor, placed on probation and stay out of trouble, you are able to have the conviction removed from your record for the purpose of employment background checks after probation is over. If you are convicted of certain felonies and you successfully complete probation, you can have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor on your record. You must contact the probation officer in either instance to clear your record.

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      What happens at an arraignment?
      You have the right to be arraigned without unnecessary delay - usually within two court days - after being arrested. You will appear before a judge who will tell you officially of the charges against you at your first arraignment. At the arraignment, an attorney may be appointed for you if you can not afford one, and bail can be raised or lowered. You also can ask to be released on O.R., even if bail was previously set.

      If you are charged with a misdemeanor, you can plead guilty or not guilty at the arraignment. Or, if the court approves, you can plead nolo contendere, meaning that you will not contest the charges. Legally, this is the same as a guilty plea, but it cannot be used against you in a non-criminal case, unless the charge can be punished as a felony.

      Before pleading guilty to some first time offenses, such as drug possession in small amounts for personal use, you may want to find out if your county has any drug diversion programs. Under these programs, instead of fining you or sending you to jail, the court may order you to get counseling which can result in dismissal of the charges if you complete the counseling.

      If misdemeanor charges are not dropped, a trial will be held later in a superior court. If you are charged with a felony, however, and the charges are not dropped, the next step is a preliminary hearing.

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      What happens at a preliminary hearing?
      During the preliminary hearing, usually within 10 court days of the arraignment, the district attorney's office must present evidence in showing a reasonable suspicion that a felony was committed, and that you did it, to convince the judge that you should be brought to trial.

      You may have a second arraignment. If the felony charges are not dropped at the preliminary hearing, you will be arraigned in superior court where your trial will later be held.

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      When can an officer conduct a search?
      An officer always may make a search with either your consent, a search warrant, or with probable cause. You have a right, however, to see the warrant before the search begins.

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      When can an officer search you, your car, or your home without a warrant?

      • Body Searches: If you are arrested, an officer can search you - without a warrant - for weapons, evidence, or illegal or stolen goods. Strip searches should not be conducted for -offenses that do not involve weapons, drugs, or violence unless police reasonably suspect you are concealing a weapon or illegal goods. If you are booked and jailed, you may undergo a full body search, including body cavities.
      • Home Searches: In emergencies, such as when an officer may be trying to prevent someone from destroying evidence, your home can be searched without your consent and without a warrant. If you are taken into custody from your home, an officer without a warrant can search only the limited area in which you are arrested. Other rooms - and even other parts of the same room - are off limits, unless the officer believes that other suspects are in other rooms. While searching your home, an officer can seize evidence of any crime, such as stolen property or drugs, which are in plain sight.
      • Car Searches: Your car and trunk can be searched without your consent or a warrant if an officer has good reason to believe that it contains illegal or stolen goods or evidence. If the police stop your car for any legal reason - such as a broken tail light - they can take any illegal goods that are in plain sight.

      If you, your home, or your car are searched illegally, a judge might say that any evidence found during the search cannot be used against you in court. If you or your lawyer, however, do not object to the evidence before trial, the court might allow the evidence to be used. Even if the judge does decide that the evidence cannot be used against you, that does not always mean that your case will be dismissed.

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      If You Have Been
      Arrested for a Crime or are being Investigated for A Suspected Criminal Action, you need legal advice and the assistance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Edward J. Chandler, P.A.
      to begin protecting your rights TODAY….

      (954) 788-1355


      Although the laws are complex and each case is different, the procedures for criminal cases are basically the same.

      If you are suspected of a crime, an arrest warrant may be issued and you may be taken into custody. In serious cases, evidence is first presented to a grand jury, and, if the charges are justified, the government will proceed with an indictment against you. While you are awaiting trial you may be released on bail.

      You have the right to choose an attorney or have the courts appoint one to represent you.

      You have the right to choose whether your trial is by judge and jury or judge alone. The prosecution will present its case by introducing evidence to prove their charges. Remember that you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof is on the prosecution and they must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

      You have the right to enter a “not guilty” plea. If you are found innocent, you are free to go. If you are found guilty, the judge will pronounce sentence.

      You have the right to file an appeal if you are found guilty, but the prosecution cannot appeal against you if you are found innocent.
      Criminal procedure rules are generally applied to more serious crimes called felonies. Less serious offenses, called misdemeanors, are usually handled in a different way.

      A warrant is a written order usually issued by a judge or court clerk and given to a law enforcement agency (sheriff, marshal, local officer of the peace and constable). The most common types are search warrants and arrest warrants.

      You may be arrested for an alleged violation of civil or criminal law. A criminal arrest is most often accomplished by presenting an arrest warrant but any one can exercise their right to make a “citizen’s arrest” without a warrant if they witness you committing an alleged felony. Please note that you have the right to immediate counsel regardless of the circumstances surrounding your arrest.

      A search warrant is a written order by an official of a court authorizing an officer to search a specific place for specific objects and to seize them if found. Your Fourth Amendment rights guarantee that a search warrant may only be issued on oath or affirmation that a crime was probably committed. The U.S. Supreme Court does not recognize evidence presented if it was obtained without a proper search warrant.

      An indictment is a formal written accusation naming specific persons and crimes. An indictment may be issued by a grand jury if they determine that the evidence presented to them is sufficient to support the charges brought against you.

      The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution safeguards your right to a preliminary hearing by a grand jury in major federal cases. The U.S. Constitution stipulates that no person may be tried in a federal court for a serious offense without a formal indictment, but beware that less than 50% of the states honor your constitutional right to a preliminary hearing. Make sure that your attorney insists on your Fifth Amendment rights.

      If you have been accused of committing a serious offense you may be eligible to be released from custody while you await your trial. The court has the power to decide whether or not you are entitled to bail and you do not have the absolute right to bail. However, the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States does provide that "excessive bail shall not be required”.

      If you qualify for bail, the court will place a monetary value on your freedom. You may pay the ordered amount in cash, or by signing over the title to any property you have, or by using the services of a Bail Bonds company. A Bail Bonds company is like an insurance company because they require a cash premium from you (approximately 10% of the total amount of your bail). They rely on you to comply with the court’s instructions and, if you don’t, they have the authority to apprehend you, return you to jail, and keep your money.

      Evidence presented in court must be directly related to your charge. The rules governing evidence (Common Law, the basis of our judicial system) began in Britain during the 16th century. Even though the rules regarding evidence have been modified to reflect modern times, they are still extremely complicated. In short: the prosecution must establish that the evidence presented pertains specifically to the charges against you, each juror must prove neutrality, each juror must swear to being unbiased, and must advise the court of any immediate knowledge of the dispute.

      Defending a DUI in Florida

      Law enforcement officers ("LEOS") are notorious for stopping a vehicle on a "hunch" that the driver has been drinking. Once stopped, the tools used by LEOS to evaluate a driver's possible impairment are crude and inaccurate. Many LEOS making DUI arrests have limited or no experience in evaluating the effects of alcohol on the body. In turn the machines relied upon by LEOS to test your breath, blood, or urine for alcohol are subject to error. Additionally, these machines are tightly regulated and often are not properly maintained.

      Before a trial is ever held, a DUI can be challenged on constitutional, legal, or administrative grounds. A successful challenge can result in key prosecutorial evidence being thrown out by the State. The primary areas for challenging a DUI are:

      * The Stop * Field Sobriety Tests * The Breathalyzer (Blood Alcohol Measurement Tests) * Your Statements

      So what does all of this mean? Simply put, the State needs all of their evidence to prevent a Court from dismissing the case due to lack of evidence or in order to present a strong case to a jury. If I challenge one link in the State's case that results in evidence being thrown out (suppressed), the State may be prohibited from proceeding or forced to negotiate a deal to a lesser charge. In DUI defense, winning one battle can result in winning the war!
      Challenging The Stop

      The law is very clear that a law enforcement officer may only stop you for one of two reasons: (1) If the LEO has a reasonable suspicion that your are committing a traffic infraction, or (2) if the LEO has probable cause that you are committing a crime. However, many times it can be shown that the officer was mistaken in his reason for stopping you. If this is proven, all of the evidence in your case will be thrown out and the State will be forced to dismiss your case.

      A rather simple example would be if an officer stopped you for an expired license plate and subsequently arrested you for being under the influence. If I can prove that your motor vehicle license was not expired and that the officer was therefore mistaken, the Judge will find that the officer made an illegal stop and throw out all of the evidence against you.

      Challenging Field Sobriety Test

      In most DUI cases, law enforcement will administer Field Sobriety Tests to determine if you should be arrested. The officer's interpretation of these tests can be challenged or suppressed based on many factors. Does the officer know what your true balance and coordination is? Do you have any physical disabilities like a bad back or bad knees? Physical disabilities or injuries may affect your ability to perform the test, thereby making them unreliable and inadmissible. Is the officer qualified to perform the specific Field Sobriety Test? Some Field Sobriety tests, such as the HGN test (eyes following pen test), may only be performed and testified abut by certified alcohol recognition experts. Other tests, such as the reverse alphabet test are not deemed reliable by the courts.
      Beating the Breathalyzer

      As previously mentioned, the machines used by law enforcement are tightly regulated and subject to strict maintenance requirements to be deemed reliable. Additionally, the testing itself must be done in a very specific manner. The failure to either properly maintain the machines, or to conduct the tests in accordance with the standard testing procedures, can result in the breath test being thrown out altogether, no matter how high your test came back.

      Did the officer observe you for a period of 20 minutes prior to taking the breath test? Did the officer tell you to "keep blowing" during the breath test? Did the officer calibrate the machine properly prior to beginning testing? Did the officer read you Florida's Implied Consent Law or did the officer incorrectly state the implied consent law to you? The failure of an officer to do any of these simple steps, or possibly other steps not mentioned, may result in the breath test results being thrown out.

      Throwing Your Statements Out

      One of the most well known Miranda Warnings states: "Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law." However, contrary to popular belief, an officer does not have to immediately read you your rights when stopping you for a traffic infraction. Upon initially being stopped, an officer is free to ask you common questions such as where are you coming from, where are you going, have you had anything to drink. Therefore it is important you watch what you say, especially if you have been drinking.

      Nevertheless, if you do say something incriminating to law enforcement, I may still be able to suppress your incriminating statements. Generally, statements are challenged for either being obtained without informing a suspect of their right to remain silent or because the statements were made under Florida's accident report privilege.

      Your Right to Remain Silent

      An officer only has to read you your rights when you are under arrest, or if you are no longer free to leave. Once an officer reads you your rights you should politely decline to speak with him any further and request an attorney.
      A common problem that arises in DUI arrests is when it is clear that you are no longer free to leave, the officer never reads you your rights, and continues to question you about your activities prior to being stopped. This practice is illegal and any incriminating statements gained by an officer during this time can be thrown out by a judge.

      Florida's Accident Report Privilege

      Many times, persons involved in an automobile accident are later accused of DUI. And in Florida, persons involved in an automobile accident are required by law to report the accident to authorities, raising the possibility that a person suspected of DUI may make incriminating statements to law enforcement regarding the accident. Fortunately, Florida law prohibits most statements given to law enforcement by drivers, owners, or occupants regarding an automobile accident from being used in a later civil or criminal trial. This is known as Florida's Accident Report Privilege and the purpose of the privilege is to encourage witnesses to cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation of automobile accidents.

      However, the Accident Report Privilege is not absolute and there is one major exception. If a law enforcement officer suspects that you are were driving under the influence, or committed another crime related to the crash, he may "switch hats" and inform you that he is no longer conducting a crash or accident investigation and that he is now beginning a criminal investigation related to the accident. To continue questioning you, the officer must then read you your rights if he wishes to continue. At this point you should decline to answer anymore questions and request a lawyer.
      Many times the officer fails to state that he is "switching hats" and read you your rights. If an officer fails to properly "switch hats" or to read you your rights, any statements you make to the officer may be suppressed as being privileged under Florida's Accident Report Privilege.
      Be Careful with Spontaneous Statements

      The biggest exception to your right to remain silent and the Accident Report Privilege occurs when you make a spontaneous statements. A spontaneous statement is one that is volunteered without being asked a question. Any spontaneous statements you make before or after being read your rights can be used against you, regardless if other statements are thrown out due to illegal police misconduct or the accident report privilege.


      DUI Drivers License Suspensions in Florida

      As a result of your DUI arrest, your Driver License is subject to two separate suspensions and it is important that you know the difference between each type of suspension. * The first is known as an Administrative Suspension. * The second is known as a Criminal Suspension.

      Most importantly, it is imperative that you are aware of Florida's Ten Day Rule regarding your right to fight the Administrative Suspension. Administrative Suspension

      The first Driver License suspension you are subject to is known as an Administrative Suspension. This suspension is imposed if, after your DUI arrest, you either

      1. Refused to submit to a breath, urine or blood test, or

      2. Submitted to a breath, urine or blood test and your blood alcohol level was found to be .08 or higher.

      If you refused to submit to a BAC/BAL test, or if your BAC/BAL was over .08 your Driver License will be suspended for either 6 months, 1 year, or 18 months from the date of your arrest. If your license if suspended for either reason, you will be issued a temporary driving permit that expires at midnight on the 10th day following the date of your arrest.

      Florida's Ten Day Rule You only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a formal review hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles to contest the Administrative License Suspension and attempt to get your license back. If you fail to request the hearing with the 10-day period, your license will be suspended for either 6 months, 1 year, or 18 months depending on the circumstances. It is important to contact me within the 10-day period.

      If a formal review hearing is requested within the mandatory 10 days of your arrest, you will be issued a temporary license that is good until seven days after the hearing. The hearing will be set approximately 30 days after your arrest. At midnight of the 7th day after the hearing, however, until we either receive notice that we won, or if the suspension is upheld, your license is suspended. Otherwise, you only have 10 days to drive after you are arrested using your citation as a driving permit.

      Obtaining a Hardship Driver License

      If attorney Chandler is unable to successfully challenge the administrative suspension, you may still be eligible for a hardship license. To be eligible for a hardship license you must: (1) enroll in a DUI School, (2) serve the first 90 days of your one year of the administrative suspension, and (3) provide proof of enrollment in a DUI school to your local DHSMV Administrative Review Office. The review office will then process your hardship license application. If the review office gives you approval to reinstate your license early for hardship purposes, you must then present this approval to your local driver license office. Finally, you must complete the DUI school within 90 days of being given the hardship license. Failure to complete the DUI school will result in cancellation of your hardship license until the DUI school is completed.

      At the time of your license reinstatement you must take the required examination, and pay an administrative fee and a reinstatement fee and any license fee required. Additionally, proof of liability insurance on the arrest date, proof of current liability coverage, and a reinstatement fee will be required.

      Criminal Suspension

      As previously mentioned, there are two suspensions involved with a DUI charge, the administrative suspension and the Criminal Suspension. Unfortunately, if you are eventually convicted of DUI, another mandatory 6 or 12 month suspension begins on the date of conviction and the judge will suspend your hardship license.

      Therefore, if there is a strong possibility of a DUI conviction, it may not be worthwhile get your hardship license until the Criminal Suspension has been imposed. Otherwise, you would then have to pay another fee to reinstate your hardship license. However, you would not be required to re-enroll in the DUI school. Nevertheless, if you eventually beat the DUI, your license will not be suspended a second time and you will only have to complete the administrative suspension.

      Criminal Suspension Periods

      Depending on the degree of DUI you are charged with, the following criminal suspension periods would be imposed if eventually convicted. After that are the eligibility requirements for a hardship license if your were to experience a Criminal Suspension.

      1. First Conviction: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum 1 year.

      2. Second Conviction Within 5 Years: Minimum 5 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year. Other 2nd offenders same as "A" above.

      3. Third Conviction Within 10 Years: Minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 2 years. Other 3rd offenders same as "A" above; one conviction more than 10 years prior and one within 5 years, same as "B" above.

      4. Fourth Conviction, Regardless of When Prior Convictions Occurred) and Murder with Motor Vehicle: Mandatory permanent revocation. No hardship reinstatement.

      5. DUI Manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation. If no prior DUI related convictions, may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years.

      6. Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: Minimum 3 year revocation. DUI Serious Bodily Injury having prior DUI conviction is same as "B-D" above.

      Eligibility for Hardship License

      Depending on the degree of DUI you were convicted of, the following requirements must be met in order to be eligible for a hardship license following a criminal suspension.

      * First Conviction: Must complete DUI school, apply to department for hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock device for six months for BAL of .20 or higher, effective 07/03.

      * Second Convictions (or more): No hardship license except as provided below. Mandatory ignition interlock device for one year, effective 07/03.

      * Second Conviction Within 5 Years: (5 Year Revocation) May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after one year. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in cancellation of the hardship license). Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement.

      * Third Conviction Within 10 Years: (10 Year Revocation) May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after two years. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in the cancellation of the hardship license). Applicant may not have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock device for two years, effective 07/03.

      * DUI Manslaughter With No Prior DUI Related Conviction: (Permanent Revocation): May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years have expired from date of revocation or expired from date of term of incarceration provided the following requirements have been met: (1) Has not been arrested for a drug-related offense for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; (2) Has not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; (3) Has been alcohol and drug-free for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; and (4) Must complete a DUI school and must be supervised under the DUI program for the remainder of the revocation period (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in cancellation of the hardship license).

      * Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: (3 Year Revocation): May immediately apply for hardship reinstatement hearing. Must complete DUI school or advanced driver improvement course.

      The specific and most current DUI penalties may be found in Section 316.193, Florida Statutes.


      Violation of Probation in Florida

      When you are placed on probation or community control you are advised of the conditions of that supervision. Should you violate those conditions by intentionally and materially breaking the rules, you run the risk of having that probation or community control violated. A judge will be asked to sign a warrant for your arrest and you may be kept in the County Jail pending the results of the violation hearing without bond. A judge has the authority to set bond, but the judge is not required to set a bond. " You have the right to an attorney to represent you at the violation hearing."

      Violation of probation proceedings are much different than a new law offense:

      * There is not a statute of limitations for a violation of probation ("VOP"), meaning that if you violate your probation you can not wait out the VOP charge.

      * You do not have a right to a trial by jury on a violation hearing.

      * The burden of proof is by preponderance of the evidence, rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.

      * You can be called as a witness by the State at your own hearing.

      As you can see it is much easier for the State to prove a violation. Nevertheless, there are defenses to accusations of violation of probation, and I have successfully defended hundreds of clients accused of violating their probation.

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