Right to Trial by Combat | Bad Idea

Trial by Combat

Trial by Combat | R.I.P Rowdy Roddy Piper

“He Who Represents Himself has a Fool for a Client”

The quote above is attributed to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It might surprise you, but almost every lawyer hires another lawyer to represent him in any type of legal proceeding. Notwithstanding our 6th Amendment rights, when faced with real estate closings, traffic tickets, divorce and yes criminal defense, attorneys typically hire other attorneys. There are numerous reasons why a lawyer would hire another lawyer to handle his/her case.   Initially, lawyers recognize when their legal issue is outside the scope of their own expertise. However, the main reason that most attorneys would never represent themselves is because we know that we lose the perspective that makes our services valuable. We know that litigation gets personal. An independent attorney acts as a buffer between our bad ideas and the court. Basically, we need somebody to tell us “no” and/or to shut up. Some noteable self representation failures include:

Trial by Combat

The most recent self representation failure involves an attorney, representing himself, filing a Motion for Trial by Combat.   The motion is relatively well written.  The argument is based on common law.  For simplicity, common law is the law that the United States inherited from England.  Most states have some type of enabling legislation stating something similar to the following: “The common law of England as in effect July 4, 1776 shall be the common law of the State of_______.”

The basic argument is that trial by combat was legal under the common law of England as of July 4, 1776.  Trial by combat was later made illegal in England, but New York has not specifically prohibited the practice.  Accordingly, the attorney, representing himself, demanded that he be afforded his right to trial by combat.

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The motion, by itself, is a glaring example of why an attorney should not represent himself.  No reasonably competent attorney would file this motion on behalf of their client work injury lawyers.  For the author’s sake, I hope that the judge hearing this case has a very good sense of humor.  If the judge doesn’t find this funny he might be in for a rough ride.

For more information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

 

What is Flakka? | The Truth About A-PVP

Flakka

Not Even Once

Is Flakka as Dangerous as it Sounds on the News?

Yes and no, but mostly yes.  Let’s start with what exactly flakka is. Flakka is alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, but let’s call it A-PVP. A-PVP is a cathinone. Flakka is a Schedule I Controlled Substance under Florida Statute Chapter 893.03 which means that there is no currently accepted medical use for it and the potential for abuse is high. It is also a Schedule I controlled substance on the Federal Register which has essentially the same criteria. The terms A-PVP and flakka will be used interchangeably throughout.

Disclaimer:

There are some of you who may read this and can speak nerd/science jargon better than I can.  Not many, but some.  You will inevitable go back onto a drug bulletin board saying that I don’t know what I am talking about and spreading misinformation, we should be having a consultation.  Delivering information that it not hyper-analytical so it can be processed by the public is neither ignorant or misleading.  While this might not be PhD level chemistry or pharmacology information, it was not intended to be.  The only point I am trying to get across is DON’T USE THIS CRAP!

Misinformation on Flakka

The only stories that you hear on the news are the truly bizarre incidents.  So keep in mind that the local news only shows stories that sensationalize the topic. You will never hear “BREAKING NEWS AT 6 O’CLOCK! High School Student Kevin Smokes Flakka and Says it was Pretty Cool, but Wouldn’t do it Again!” Instead you will hear “BREAKING NEWS AT 6 O’CLOCK! MAN ON $5 DRUG THAT CAUSES INSTANT INSANITY IMPALES NUTSACK ON FENCE POST! ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US!”

Flakka and the current flakka hysteria is similar to bath salts and how bath salts were viewed and portrayed just a few years ago. Remember when bath salts were going to turn people into flesh eating zombies? There was the Miami cannibal attack that turned out to be a case of “this dude is crazy” rather than bath salt intoxication? Yet, that didn’t stop the bath salt hysteria.  There is also my personal favorite, a man in Pennsylvania got out of his car, ran down the street into an occupied residence(thereby committing a felony), was chased out of said house and jumped onto a police car causing damage to the police vehicle. Why? Because he was high on bath salts, believed his car was melting and that he was being chased by electricity.

So enjoy the news for what it is.  It is not an accurate depiction of the ordinary experience.  Watch this video and take a look at the recent “newsworthy” flakka incidents in South Florida.

The Sun-Sentinel is an extremely reputable and reliable news source in South Florida. What did it show?  A guy running naked in the middle of an intersection, a guy trying to break into the police department, a guy diving over a spiked fence with no regard for the safety of his testicles, some guy running around naked on his roof and some truly despicable person that attacked an old lady in her home when he was high.  I’m not going to bother to look, but chances are that guy had a violent history to begin with.  So the media’s portrayal of flakka is skewed.

Q: Ok, so if we are being mislead and Flakka isn’t that dangerous, it is OK to try it right?

Let’s Hear from Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel

“In my 36 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen a drug this dangerous.”

Q: “I know, but he is the Sheriff and he has to say drugs are bad. Is he exaggerating?”

A: No. He is not. Flakka really is that bad.

Anybody who knows me knows that I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t truly believe it. I’ll spare everybody the speech on unregulated Chinese laboratories and quality control. The manufacturers appear to be doing a fantastic job. Make no mistake about it, I firmly believe that A-PVP and its predecessor MDPV are two of the most, if not the most, addictive substances on the face of the planet. While recovery from stimulant addiction is not nearly as debilitating as opiate addiction, the length of time from first use to addiction is faster. Cocaine is widely regarded as the drug with the quickest path to addiction. I disagree. In my experience concerning, flakka and MDPV, users go from experimenting to full blown addiction in a matter of days. While flakka won’t eat your skin away like homebrew desomorphine, it will still destroy your life. Quickly.

In order to understand why flakka is so dangerous you first need to understand the different types of commonly used recreational stimulants and how those stimulants affect your mind and your body. There are four(4) primary types of recreational stimulants. There is cocaine, amphetamines, methylphenidate and cathinone’s. Each of those classes has what are called analogs, isomers and/or derivatives which are structurally similar and have similar effects.  We are going to ignore methylphenidate and its related compounds for this discussion. For some reason, there has never been much in the way of recreational use of cocaine analogs. However, they are freely available and, for the most part, are not scheduled controlled substances. For amphetamines there are different types of amphetamines such as methamphetamine, dextroamphetamie and 4F-amphetamine. There are literally hundreds of amphetamine analogs that are not scheduled and legally available. There is also a wide variety of substances that fall under the cathinone variety such as MDPV, BK-MDMA, Mephedrone, Methylone and even the antidepressant Wellbutrin. Some legal, some not.

How Stimulants Work

All stimulants work in essentially the same way. Stimulants increase the amount of three neurotransmitters in your brain. Those neurotransmitters are dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Dopamine is believed to be the primary neurotransmitter affected by stimulants. Your body and mind associate dopamine with pleasure. The more dopamine that is present in your synapsis, the more pleasurable the activity.  When you are taking part in a pleasurable activity your brain naturally releases more dopamine into your synapsis thereby making the experience pleasurable. As the pleasurable activity ceases to exist or ceases to take place the dopamine is reabsorbed and you go back to a normal mood.

When it comes to stimulants, there are two ways to increase the amount of dopamine in your synapsis. You can produce more thereby flooding the synapsis with dopamine.  This is the way that amphetamines operate. Think of filling up a bucket with water. The bucket is the synapsis and the water is the dopamine. When you take methamphetamine, dextroamphetamine or any other type of amphetamine that chemical compound is telling your brain to pump more dopamine into the synapsis. (Note: I know that ALL amphetamines don’t necessarily act like this. Ecstasy is in the amphetamine class and it releases more serotonin than dopamine, but don’t be so picky and just humor me on this one.)

The second way to increase the amount of dopamine in your synapsis is by not allowing it to leave. Normally dopamine is released into the brain, does its job and is reabsorbed. Cocaine prevents dopamine from being reabsorbed. That makes cocaine a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. Cocaine will let dopamine in but will not let it out. Cocaine forces dopamine to remain in the synapsis and accumulate.

Synthetic Cathinones

There are numerous types of synthetic cathinones and not all of them work the same way. Certain synthetic cathinones, such as methylone, have a more serotogenic effect(huggy, kissy, cuddly) than a dopamine effect. However, the compounds related to pyrovalerone such as MDPV and A-PVP appear to focus primarily on dopamine and norepinephrine.  The increase in norephinephrine is an important concern to law enforcement as norepinephrine provokes the “fight or flight” reaction in people. An increase in norepinephrine can lead to aggressive, hostile, violent behavior and purported acts of superhuman strength in agitated users.

Here is Why Flakka is so Dangerous

A-PVP, like its chemical cousin MDPV, acts as both a dopamine/norepinephrine release and reuptake inhibitor simultaneously. If using cocaine is compared to standing in a rainstorm for 15 minutes smoking A-PVP is the equivalent of standing and a thunderstorm for four hours. Flakka increases both dopamine and norepinephrine by pumping more dopamine and norepinephrine into the synapsis while at the same time preventing it from leaving.  While cocaine is a short acting dopamine reuptake inhibitor, flakka is a longer acting reuptake inhibitor.  While dopamine levels might not rise quite to the level that would be associated with cocaine use, the heightened levels of dompaine and norephinephrine, sustained for hours on end, can induce stimulant psychosis and negative physical side effects quickly.  Due to the intensity of the drug, the compulsion to redose is extreme and tolerance develops very quickly. The prolonged heightened levels of norepinephrine quickly leads to increased heart rate, increase body temperature, grinding teeth and the other negative physical side effects.  Onset of stimulant psychosis develops quickly due to several factors including, but not limited to, compulsive redosing, the sustained large amounts of dopamine in the synapsis and sustained high levels of norepinephrine resulting in decreased sleep.  It is not uncommon to see stimulant psychosis appear within a matter of 2 days with MDPV or flakka.

This is a very basic overview. While you might not run down the street naked and get hung up on a fence by your crotch, even short term use can cause permanent neurological damage. If you are not familiar with the Montana Meth Project. Take a look at their videos. Same goes with flakka. Not even once.

For more information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 E Broward Blvd #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

Constitutional Right to a Speedy Trial

6th Amendment Speedy Trial

“Your Honor, the State requests a continuance.”

Florida has two speedy trials rules.  The right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution is made applicable to the State of Florida through the Fourteenth Amendment.  Additionally, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191 provides additional protections in excess of those that are constitutionally required.  I am only going to focus on the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial in this post.

Constitutional Right to a Speedy Trial

The Sixth Amendment states: “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.”  The very first sentence guarantees a right to a speedy trial.

The term “speedy” is not precisely defined nor is it subject to a precise definition in any of the subsequent case law interpreting the speedy trial provision of the Sixth Amendment.  The trial court is required to conduct a four prong analysis of the facts surrounding the delay in order to make a determination as to whether the defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated.  The United States Supreme Court established the four factor test in the case of Barker v. Wingo.  The four factors are 1) the length of the delay; 2) the reason for the delay; 3) whether defendant asserted his right to a speedy trial and 4) the degree to which the defendant has been prejudiced by the delay.  When the court conducting the analysis, the court is required to assign a certain “weight” to the factor in order to conduct a”balancing test.”  The ultimate question is, do the factors weigh in favor of the defense or the state?

According to lemon law attorney, a defendant’s right to a speedy trial begins with the earliest of the following: 1) the defendant is arrested or 2) when charging documents are filed.  The first factor, delay, is relatively simple.  If there is 1 year between arrest/filing and bringing defendant to trial, the delay is presumptively prejudicial.  However, this does not always warrant relief.  The amount of the delay is simply a threshold which must be crossed in order to examine the other three factors.

The second factor is the reason for the delay.  Who caused the delay?  If the defendant caused the delay, that weighs strongly in favor of the state.  For example, Whitey Bulger knew of an indictment and fled.  He concealed his location and identity for approximately 16 years.  Since he, as the defendant, was responsible for the 16 year delay, the delay factor weighs overwhelmingly in favor of the prosecution.  If the state is the cause of the delay, the court must determine whether the state was diligent in prosecution, negligent in prosecution or  operating in bad faith.  Bad faith will almost always guarantee relief for the defendant.  Negligence weighs in favor of the defendant and the weight increases as the delay increases.

The third factor is whether defendant asserted his right to a speedy trial.  Basically, as a defendant, you have to ask for a speedy trial in order to get it.  However, if the defendant does not know about the charges, the defendant cannot be taxed for his failure to assert his right to a speedy trial.

The fourth factor is prejudice to the defendant.  The defendant, under most circumstances must make a showing that his or her defense has been impaired by the delay.  The shorter the delay, the more likely defendant will need to show specifically how he or she has been prejudiced.  The courts do not mandate that a defendant be able to specify the exact nature in which he or she has been prejudiced in cases with extraordinary long delays.  The courts recognize that memories fade, exculpatory evidence becomes unavailable and, simply, time wears away at a defendant’s ability to present a defense.

For more information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

 

 

 

DUI License Suspension | Administrative Hearing

DHSMV Forms for DUI Administrative Suspension

DUI Administraitve Hearings in Florida

DUI Administrative Hearings

If you are arrested for a DUI and either 1) blow > a .08 on the Breathalyzer or 2) refuse a chemical test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended.  The police officer will seize your license and forward it to the DHSMV.  Within 10 days, you need to decide whether to fight the suspension in an administrative hearing or consent to the suspension.

Whatever choice you make, there is paperwork that should be filed with the DHSMV notifying them of your intention.  Please note that a Public Defender’s role is limited to criminal proceedings.  Accordingly, a public defender will not assist you in the administrative suspension.  You must do it yourself or hire a private attorney.

With regard to the DHSMV paperwork, it can be substantial.  I had a difficult time finding the most up to date version of some forms last week.  At least one was not available anywhere I looked online including the DHSMV website.  The Bureau of Administrative Reviews was kind enough to fax one to me.  Despite its reputation as a “Kangaroo Court”, the employees at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews are some of the most helpful and friendly individuals you will run into in this process.  So if you have a question, ask and be nice.  Nevertheless, due to my difficulty getting all the forms quickly, I decided to post them all in one place.  Enjoy.

HSMV 78065 REQUEST FOR FORMAL REVIEW

Download (PDF, 76KB)

This form is used to request a formal or informal review of your administrative license suspension.  If you prevail, you will not receive any “hard time” suspension from the DHSMV.  Although your license may still be suspended if you are found guilty in the criminal proceeding.

HSMV 72034 REQUEST FOR ELIGIBILITY REVIEW

Download (PDF, 52KB)

This form is used to waive your right to a formal review hearing in exchange for ability to get an immediate hardship reinstatement.  This option lets you avoid any “hard time” administrative suspension.  You are only eligible for this if this is your first DUI.  You must show up at the DHSMV Office of Administrative Reviews within 10 days of your arrest with this form and proof of enrollment in the appropriate DUI course.  You will have a hearing in front of a xarelto lawsuits who will determine your eligibility.

HSMV 78066 SUBPOENA/SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM FOR ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING

Download (DOCX, 13KB)

Use this document to subpoena police officers and/or other relevant witnesses to the administrative hearing.

For more information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286

 

Motion to Suppress Everything for Reasons

The Omnibus Motion to Suppress

Motion to Suppress Because of Reasons

Motion to Suppress Because of Reasons

I started practicing law in Florida in 2004.  I practiced law in both Florida and North Carolina from 2007 to 2011.  I exclusively practice law in Florida now and my license no longer active in North Carolina.  The District Court in North Carolina handles misdemeanor DWI charges. If you’re looking for a Long Island traffic lawyer because of a traffic ticket, call traffic lawyer suffolk county for help with your case.  A defendant did not have a right to discovery in District Court proceedings.  In 2006, the North Carolina Legislature passed NCGS 20-38.6 which required that all motions to suppress and/or dismiss in implied consent cases be made prior to trial.  Most of the time defense counsel would receive a police report, test ticket and alcohol influence report prior to the trial.    However, there was no guarantee that you would get anything since the state was not obligated to provide anything.   This put defense counsel in a position of potentially being required to file a pretrial motion to suppress without any discovery whatsoever.    Failing to file a pretrial motion to suppress was not an automatic waiver of the right to file a motion to suppress.  Any motion to suppress made during trial was required to be based on facts not previously known to the defendant.  Whether to hear the motion to suppress was in the sole discretion of the trial judge.  In my experience, concerning DWI matters, any motion that was not made prior to trial would not be heard.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention and Innovation

The defense bar quickly came up with an Omnibus Motion to Suppress knowing that our crystal ball was unable to predict the contents of the various police reports.  In order to protect your client’s rights, you would simply check all of the boxes and submit the motion prior to or at the first hearing.  You could either amend the motion or withdraw the motion after you received discovery.  The motion has undergone significant changes since I first saw/used it.  The most recent copy that I can find was written by John Fanney and posted on the North Carolina Indigent Defense Services website.  Click here to see a copy of the motion: North Carolina DWI Motion to Suppress 

Reasons for Filing an Omnibus Motion to Suppress

Typically you would want to file a motion to suppress containing a clear statement of the facts and the legal basis to suppress the evidence.  However, that is difficult to do if, for whatever reason, you do not receive discovery.  An omnibus motion to suppress simply states various legal avenues through which evidence can be suppressed.  It does not state any factual basis for applying the legal principals asserted.  A check box omnibus motion to suppress is not necessarily lazy lawyering.  It is a means of protecting your client’s rights when you are being forced into taking a legal position before you know all of the facts.

Kane County criminal lawyer, Matthew Haiduk, publishes a blog titled “Disorderly Conduct.”  Mr. Haiduk mentions his reasoning for filing an omnibus motion to suppress stating “We’d get appointed, not even have police reports, and [the judge would] order that we would have to have any and all defense motions filed within 30 days… even if the trial was 9 months later.”  The entire post is definitely worth reading and can be found here: Setting Every Damn Case for Trial.  A copy of his omnibus motion to suppress is as follows:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Disclaimer:  I am no longer licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina and the preceding analysis was commentary only and not intended to be relied on for legal advice.

For more information, please contact us at:

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 East Broward Boulevard #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286