Vigorous Defense of all Criminal Allegations in the Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Palm Beach County Cities of South Florida
Welcome to my Website. I am a South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney with offices in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
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If you’ve arrived here, it’s more than probable that you, a relation or friend has a problem concerning a criminal offense which has been alleged by either the State of Florida or the Federal Government. You now need proper guidance and must explore how to move forward by understanding the charges alleged, and comprehending what steps need to be taken next.
A lot of information can be found on the pages of this site that can address some of the questions you may have as well as providing a basic understanding of how to move forward. Depending on the charges brought by the prosecution, you may need a talented, experienced criminal defense attorney to go to bat as your advocate and address any charges that may have been filed or are pending.
Please watch the above video to get a feel of who I am, what my qualifications are as a proficient criminal defense attorney, and what my law firm can do to assist with any obstacles encountered during this difficult period of uncertainty.
Why a Skillful Criminal Defense Lawyer is Necessary to Lead Your Defense
When you’re notified that you are the focus of an investigation or when charges of a crime are lodged against you, the most critical choice to decide is which lawyer who practices in the field of criminal defense should be chosen to represent your interests and defend your rights.
Retaining an effective and qualified criminal defense attorney can result in the difference between undesirable definitive consequences, more than likely resulting in a prison sentence and/or stiff fines, as opposed to an outcome of charges being completely dismissed or substantially reduced at the least.
The Law Offices of Michael B. Cohen, Esq. integrates close to forty years of experienced familiarity in the category of State and Federal Criminal Defense with an enthusiastic assurance of courtroom experience, defending the constitutional rights of clients facing all varieties of criminal allegations.
Extensive Trial Experience You Can Depend On
Prior to my appointment as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, I began my legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Broward County Florida where I learned the basic parameters of how to charge and ultimately based upon this experience defend a criminal case.
I have been privileged to be categorized as a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer with an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating SM by Martindale-Hubbell® , a publication whose purpose has been to list reliable lawyers for over one-hundred-forty years and is recognized as a leader of the legal profession for this service. This honor is only maintained by a minimal proportion of all lawyers in the state of Florida.
As a defense attorney I have effectively defended clients throughout numerous criminal trials, including those where prosecution by the government has alleged charges of murder, fraud, drug trafficking and additional sophisticated federal cases in addition to charges by the state. If the unfortunate event arises where you, a friend or loved one is charged with allegations of a capital offense, felony or a less serious misdemeanor, my criminal defense law firm is committed to protecting your rights under Florida state laws as well as federal charges protected under the Constitution. To find out more about Peer Review Ratings™ listed by Martindale-Hubbell® click here
Florida State Criminal Law
Over the course of my career as a criminal defense attorney I have represented clients throughout the state of Florida, focusing but not limited to the geographic locations of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. My representation has been administered throughout the complete scope of all criminal law processes, comprising: appeals, bail hearings, criminal investigations, extradition proceedings, grand jury investigations as well as jury trials, motion hearings, and petitions to vacate guilty pleas, among others. My experience is also proficient in matters regarding probation and sentencing hearings.
A Strong Understanding of Criminal and Grand Jury Investigations
Criminal investigations can be independently initiated or may be introduced by a Grand Jury. A Grand Jury is principally used in federal prosecutions. In a Grand Jury hearing, evidence is presented by the government to a group made up of sixteen to twenty-three persons. Most of the time this is a one-sided method of displaying evidence, in contrast to a jury trial where the *petit jurors (*A standard jury for criminal as well as civil trials supervised by a judge) gets to weigh both the prosecution and the defense point of view and the evidence presented.
Over the development of my 35+ year career, I have represented a substantial amount of individuals that have been called to testify in front of a grand jury, as well as those who have been served with subpoenas whose testimony could be compelled. My proficiency in this category of the criminal law process provides these individuals with critical guidance regarding their presence at the hearing by acquiring immunity from prosecution in the case at hand or by directing individuals of their right to assert Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
Although many assume that a grand jury proceeding is secret, legitimate means exist to acquire the material content and dialogue of this type of proceeding. Representation by a proficient criminal defense attorney as an ally at this serious juncture of a criminal case is vital.
To read more about the Grand Jury Process, click here
What is a Petition to Vacate a Guilty Plea?
Many would think that once you plead guilty to charges brought against you and convicted of the related offense, it’s the end of the road and all that’s left to do is wait for sentencing and hope for the best.
Well… not exactly.
In some cases there may be reason to throw out a guilty plea.
Evidence of a defendant's innocence may lead a jurist to the conclusion that a guilty plea must be set aside. If so, in cases of irrefutable proof it is the Judge's responsibility to set aside the plea. This situation also holds true if the judge decides that the defendant did not fully understand the charges brought against him as well as what the potential consequences could be for their admission of guilt. These two examples may hold true even if the defendant did not make the request personally or through their attorney.
In addition to these examples, there are many others.
If it is found that your attorney did not represent you properly, a guilty plea can also be set aside. An example of this would be a lawyer who failed to inform you of possible loss of your civil rights relating to a guilty plea or an attorney that may have stated that you’d be deported if you are a non-citizen as a result of the plea you enter.
This is known as ineffective assistance of counsel and there are many instances where this may apply. The one thing they all have in common is that if recognized by the presiding judge, any of them will give the defendant the entitlement to a new trial.
I have been involved in many of these types of cases in the federal system, Florida courts, and other state courts. I am recognized for my argument in one of the most prominent cases of this type before the State Supreme Court of Florida. To hear and view the video of the argument I presented in the State of Florida v. Green, click the link above detailed: “
For more information regarding Petitions to Vacate, follow this link
Hearings When Motions Are Filed
A key phase of any criminal procedure regards the filing of relevant motions either preceding a trial or during the proceedings. Motions can also be filed after a trial concludes (post-trial motions).
Motions to the Court can be given orally as well as being submitted in written format. All allegations maintained against my clients in any criminal matter are vigorously contested. This is the area of the criminal law process where a superior knowledge of Motion practice comes into play.
There are numerous Motions that can be filed pre-trial, such as a Motion to demonstrate a defendant’s inability to understand charges brought against them or to show the prospect of insanity, just to name a few. During a trial, a skilled lawyer for the defense will commonly raise what are known as motions in limine (translated as: at the start). These Motions can vary from those that may exclude evidence presented, to those that request complete dismissal of charges.
To read about Motions in complete detail, click here
Removal proceedings and Extradition
When you or someone close to you is charged with a criminal offense or arrested in a different state or federal jurisdiction apart from where the original charges are pending, or in a foreign country where an extradition treaty exists between the United States and that country, it is vital to be able to rely on an experienced lawyer who has dealt with extraditions or removals as the case may be relating to such matters.
I have handled many such state and federal cases over the years both from the standpoint of a federal and state prosecutor as well as a defense attorney.
A defendant who is facing extradition proceedings in State Court or Federal removal proceedings in the Federal Court will first be facing the issue of whether or not they can obtain a bond after their arrest by authorities. Special rules apply to bond hearings in such matters which differ greatly from the statutes relating to bond in conventional criminal proceedings.
The Court of first instance for these hearings is the United States Magistrate Court in Federal cases and specific Judges assigned to these cases in the State Court. Sometimes a Circuit or County Court Judge may sit in such cases in the State Court depending upon their assignment to these specific cases.
Different rules relating to deadlines for the extradition or removal proceeding apply to such matters and if a defendant is not taken from the responding jurisdiction after an adverse finding or waiver of removal or extradition within certain periods of time then the extradition or removal proceeding may be dismissed.
Moreover there are certain substantive defenses to a removal or extradition proceeding like the political offense exception to crimes alleged against a defendant detained in the responding jurisdiction.
I have handled many of these cases over the years and am available for consultation and retention in such matters of vital importance.
For more on this topic, click here
Succeeding as a versatile trial lawyer is a skill that is gained and polished over many years of experience through genuine application and presentation. In the close to forty years of my accomplished career as a defense attorney, I have attained the needed expertise which has led to the qualification of an adept, practiced trial attorney.
The authors of our constitution were intuitive when they included the critical passage of the right to a trial by jury. My overall experience administering my craft, in and outside the State of Florida has made me the appropriate choice when a client decides to exercise this guaranteed constitutional right.
Trying cases within the federal system as well as in State Court has broadened my capabilities and overall value as an instrument to battle all allegations brought forth by the prosecution and convince an assemblage of a client’s innocence when there is the slightest question of doubt.
From white collar, charges to allegations regarding narcotics offenses, to complex federal death penalty cases as well as other charges which become dependent on a jury of your peers, I am recognized as the obvious selection to lead your defense, resulting in the best possible outcome achievable.
Nothing is more critical than the right guaranteed by our constitution to a jury trial. I have tried a multitude of trials by jury both before the State and Federal Courts in and outside of Florida. It takes years to become an exceptional trial lawyer and I have done just that by trying cases concerning white collar, narcotics, and complex federal death penalty cases throughout an extensive period of years.
Visit more pages explaining Jury Trials by clicking here
After an arrest takes place, and processing is completed, in most cases the individual is detained awaiting trial. Most likely, the primary thought in the accused’s thoughts as well as their loved ones and friends are how they can obtain their liberty during this early phase of the process.
A bail/bond hearing in most cases will take place 24 to 48 hours after the accused’s arrest. The hearing is held before a judge either in person or by electronic means such as by video camera. Bond is basically collateral, attempting to guarantee a defendant returns for future trial dates. The amount of the bond to be set is protected under the US Constitution from being excessive specified on a formula of minimums and maximums of monetary amounts which can be contemplated, dependent on the charges filed as well as other considerations.
The severity of the offense as well as the client's ties and standing in their community is also considered by the judge, relating to whether bond will be granted and when. My overall expertise is extremely useful when filing and arguing a Motion for Bond and this element guarantees my clients’ the most favorable outcome possible while awaiting trial, if one is to take place.
This process is generally referred to as a detention hearing in the federal court and I have handled hundreds of them over the course of my extended career both in Federal Court and Florida State Courts as well as other Courts throughout the State of Florida and the New York City Metropolitan Area.
To read about Bail Hearings in detail, follow this link
Sentencing and Probation
After a trial where a negative outcome occurs, or if a guilty plea is accepted, a defendant facing incarceration will still benefit from the experience provided by my firm. It is critical to assist a client in attaining the best possible sentence available; whether a fine is involved or if actual prison time has become a reality. Knowledge of State and Federal sentencing guidelines, motions for sentencing departures, and expert testimony are some of the vehicles employed in the sentencing process with the goal of obtaining the most lenient possible sentence for each individual client. In the appropriate case my firm will seek to obtain either a probationary sentence or home detention in lieu of jail time where possible.
If the best case scenario of probation or community control is achieved at the judge’s discretion, particularly if adjudication of guilt is withheld (withholding adjudication under state law is not a conviction), it is important for the client to understand that if during the allotted time-frame of these penalties if they become in violation of their terms the possibility of being taken back into custody are a strong prospect. If this occurs, the individual would now face a probation violation hearing where a conviction could possibly result in the full term of his original statutory charge becoming reinstated.
Once a trial concludes and verdict of guilty is pronounced, perhaps the Judge or Prosecutor made an error in trying the matter before a jury whether that error was comprised of erroneous evidentiary rulings which gutted your defense or perhaps the argument made by the prosecutor in his closing argument was inappropriate or outrageous. These are all reasons that would permit an appeal. That's the reason appellate courts exist, sitting to correct such errors of law. My firm has handled an ample amount of cases of State and Federal appeals over the years. I review the transcript of the trial, isolate the issues that are ripe for review and write the best brief possible based on the circumstances. When permitted, I will argue your appeal before the appropriate State or Federal Appellate Court.
To learn more about the Appeal process, click here .
When you need an experienced, committed criminal defense lawyer you can put your trust in and expect the best results under the law contact me at 954-928-0059 in Dade and Broward County or 561-366-8200 in the Palm Beaches.
Passionate Defense and Protection of Your Constitutional Rights
In addition to my individual practice I have recently become "of counsel" with the New York City based law firm of McLaughin & Stern LLP. Through this partnership, I can now lead your defense in the New York Metropolitan area as well as all counties within the state of Florida.
Please follow this link to visit the website.