Coral Gables Criminal Attorney
There is much more to a criminal prosecution than just arrest and trial. There are many different stages in a criminal proceeding, and having skilled and knowledgeable representation at every stage is essential to obtaining the best outcome possible. Coral Gables criminal attorney Alfredo Izaguirre fights for his clients at every stage, working to protect their rights and promote their interests in every phase of the criminal law process.
- Alien Smuggling
- Drug Crimes
- Drug Possession & Trafficking
- DUI Defense
- False Statement
- Federal Extradition
- Fraud Defense
- Identity Theft
- Medicare Fraud
- Money Laundering
- Money & Property Forfeiture
- Probation Violation
- Prostitution Defense
- RICO & Racketeering
- Theft Defense
- Tax Evasion
Coral Gables criminal defense attorney Alfredo Izaguirre, P.A. provides knowledgeable, skilled and effective representation in Florida felony and misdemeanor charges and federal offenses involving drugs, guns, white collar crime and more. Mr. Izaguirre provides sound legal advice and strong advocacy at every stage of a criminal proceeding, from grand jury investigations to appeals and probation matters.
Alfredo Izaguirre’s federal practice takes him to federal courts throughout the state of Florida and beyond. Federal practice areas include drug crimes and drug-related offenses such as possession, trafficking, conspiracy to import and money laundering. Mr. Izaguirre also represents individuals charged with white collar criminal offenses, including Medicare fraud, tax evasion, and identity theft. Other federal practice areas include defense of individuals arrested for alien smuggling, murder or other crimes which are prohibited by federal law or where interstate travel or commerce are implicated in the commission of the alleged offense. Mr. Izaguirre also helps individuals fighting interstate and international extradition.
One particularly troubling area of federal criminal law is Title 18, U.S.C. section 1001. This law makes it a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, to knowingly and willfully make any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation in any federal matter. Law enforcement officers are specially trained to elicit incriminating or contradicting statements, making this statute a favorite of prosecutors, often to use as leverage in the prosecution of other offenses.
State Criminal Charges
Alfredo Izaguirre provides strong, effective representation across the full range of state misdemeanor and felony charges, from traffic offenses and DUI to theft and violent crime, prostitution and drug crimes. Post-conviction, Mr. Izaguirre represents people charged with probation violations and helps people to seal or expunge their criminal records when applicable.
Criminal and Civil Forfeitures
Taking private property away from people accused of crimes has become big business for the government. Local police departments pull in millions of dollars in “suspicious” cash from traffic stops, many falling disproportionately on racial minorities, to fund new upgrades and perks for their departments. However, this amount pales in comparison to the activity of U.S. Attorneys and federal seizures in drug cases. Over $1.75 Billion was seized in 2010, and the number is growing every year. Cars, boats, homes, jewelry, cash and other items are all fair game to the government. Mr. Izaguirre fights property seizures and asset forfeitures in criminal and civil courts, helping people hold on to what belongs to them.
Unless the police themselves actually witness a crime in progress, most arrests come only after some investigation has been done to determine that there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed by the person under suspicion. Arrests are often not made until the prosecution decides it has gathered enough evidence to win the case at trial. Some investigations are quite lengthy, and many federal investigations, such as those involving drug trafficking, money laundering or white collar crime, can go on for years while the government builds its case.
If you are under investigation, Alfredo Izaguirre can often provide invaluable assistance at this stage. Mr. Izaguirre can advise you on how best to deal with the investigation while protecting your rights and not incriminating yourself. He can also interface with police and prosecutors and may be able to influence what charges are brought, how an arrest is made, or even convince the government not to file charges at all. If the government knows it does not have a strong case and that you have obtained skillful legal representation, they may decide not to expend their resources on your prosecution. Avoiding arrest when possible is crucial to maintaining a clean criminal record, which can be vital to protecting your reputation and maximizing your ability to get or keep certain jobs and professional licenses.
Depending upon the nature of the offense, the police may make an arrest and take the suspect to jail, pending an arraignment or bail hearing, or they may instead issue a notice to appear for an arraignment. A lawyer can help at the arrest stage by making sure you receive advice and representation during any questioning. A criminal defense lawyer can also help with issues related to hiring a bond and preparing a Nebbia package, which is proof required by the judge and prosecutor that the money posted is not from illegally-gotten gains.
The arraignment is the proceeding where the charges against the accused are read, and the accused is asked to enter a plea, which are generally guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere (no contest). In most cases, a criminal defendant will initially plead not guilty, although there are important strategic and tactical reasons why a different plea should be entered, so this decision should not be made without first consulting an attorney for advice.
Preliminary Hearing/Probable Cause Hearing
At this hearing the judge decides whether probable cause exists to believe the accused is guilty of the crime alleged and that a hearing should be held. The accused is entitled to be represented by counsel at this hearing and to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses or otherwise challenge the evidence asserted by the prosecution. It is possible to have the case dismissed at this stage if forceful and persuasive arguments are made.
The decision whether to accept a plea bargain or go to trial lies with the defendant, but the attorney can provide advice on the benefits of a plea versus risking a trial, and can negotiate the plea on the defendant’s behalf. There are many factors to consider in deciding whether to plea bargain, including the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case and the defenses available, and how the jury might react to the case. The vast majority of criminal cases in the United States are settled by plea bargain rather than by a jury trial. Alfredo Izaguirre takes the time to advise his clients on their options and negotiates a favorable plea or puts on a strong defense at trial, according to his clients’ wishes.
The case can be tried before a judge or a jury, at the defendant’s request. In a jury trial, the judge decides questions of law and keeps the trial running smoothly, while the jury hears the evidence and decides the defendant’s guilt or innocence, per the judge’s instructions. At trial, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. After the prosecution presents its case, the defense has an opportunity to present its own witnesses and other evidence. The defendant may testify on his or her own behalf but cannot be forced to testify. The defendant cannot be convicted unless the jury unanimously agrees on a guilty verdict.
Sentencing follows a conviction, but may be done in a separate proceeding after the trial. Both the state of Florida and the federal government have sentencing guidelines which limit the judge’s discretion on what sentence to impose within a certain range, but there are a number of factors which can influence making the sentence more or less severe. The defense attorney may also argue for any number or alternative sentencing options available through which a convicted offender can avoid jail time, including probation and community control.
Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief
Convicted individuals have a right to appeal the conviction to a higher court. An appeal is not a new trial, however, and the appellate court is limited to examining the record and determining if errors were made that would require a new trial, resentencing or even a complete discharge of the defendant. It takes a special set of skills to prepare a detailed, persuasive brief and argue successfully on appeal. Alfredo Izaguirre helps clients in trial as well as on appeal and helps them obtain other forms of post-conviction relief, such as habeas corpus.
Experienced Legal Representation at Every Stage of the Criminal Law Process
If you are being investigated for a crime, including grand jury investigations, or if you have been arrested, convicted, charged with a probation violation or need help in any other criminal law matter, contact Coral Gables criminal attorney Alfredo Izaguirre at his Coral Gables office for immediate assistance. Your initial consultation is free, and Alfredo Izaguirre, P.A. accepts cases throughout the state of Florida and federal cases anywhere in the country. Call anytime. Se habla español.