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Criminal Defense

Going on Principle?

A civil lawyer’s favorite thing to hear his client say is “I’m fighting this on principle!” When both sides feel that way, it sets up the perfect storm. When the gloves come off, the meter goes on, and usually the only ones happy at the end of the day are the attorneys (assuming they were paid prior to disposition).

In criminal cases its the same idea, only its not just money on the line. Its liberty. Yesterday I watched a guy (not my client) get found guilty of a crime after a trial by jury. The case took a half day and the verdict took about an hour to come back. Obviously, the jury thought it was pretty cut and dry. Here’s the thing: This guy was offered a plea deal of 5 years in… Continue reading

Update Your SH*T!

Especially your Driver’s License.

How many women still have that driver’s license from their 16th birthday with the disintegrating laminate all falling off simply because they will never be 90 pounds again?

How many men have even looked at their license, other than to hand it to the clerk at the beer store?

All is well and good, until you get pulled over. Now, more than ever in today’s transient society, people move. A lot. If the address listed on your license does not match your actual mailing address, you are setting yourself up for big problems.

The story generally goes something like this: I was pulled over for going 38 in a 35and the officer took me to jail and said my license was suspended with knowledge. I didn’t know my license was suspended. Man, jail is disgusting and I never want to go… Continue reading

What is the Oldest Profession?

A physician, an engineer, and an attorney were discussing who among them belonged to the oldest of the three professions represented. The physician said, “Remember, on the sixth day God took a rib from Adam and fashioned Eve, making him the first surgeon. Therefore, medicine is the oldest profession.”

The engineer replied, “But, before that, God created the heavens and earth from chaos and confusion, and thus he was the first engineer. Therefore, engineering is an older profession than medicine.”

Then, the lawyer spoke up. “Yes,” he said, “But who do you think created all of the chaos and confusion?”

Spring Cleaning (Your Florida Criminal Record)

Seal or Expunge your Florida Criminal Record

You can make your Florida criminal record TOP Secret under certain limited circumstances.

I get calls all the time from people who applied for a job, only to miss out on it because of an old arrest that shows up on their Florida criminal record from high school, college, or some other time in the distant or not so distant past. They often want to know how long an arrest stays on your Florida Criminal record. The short answer is forever, unless you do something about it. And some charges will stay on forever no matter what.Well, what can you do to fix that? It depends. According to Florida Law, as long as you have never been adjudicated guilty of anything, you have the ability to Petition the Court in the jurisdiction you were arrested to Seal or Expunge ONE INCIDENT in your lifetime… Continue reading

Did You Know???

Did you know that carrying your prescription pills loosely in the bottom of your purse will probably get you arrested?

Always keep your prescription with you NO MATTER WHAT. Otherwise you will likely be booked for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription (usually a 3rd degree felony!), required to post a bond and hire a lawyer or miss work to go to court – just to show proof that you are innocent.

It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to just keep them in the bottle!

DON’T RUN! You Will Almost Gurantee Your Arrest


Running will almost always result in an arrest, even if you weren’t doing anything wrong before you ran.

Don’t run if a police officer is looking at or speaking to you. If they had any question about whether to arrest you, they won’t after you run!In December, the Florida Supreme Court held that the act of running from an officer in a high crime area is resisting arrest without violence (a first degree misdemeanor) – regardless of whether your behavior prior to flight was legal or might have resulted in arrest on its own.

In Florida, an officer can come up and talk to you and ask you for identification without any provocation. This is called a citizen encounter. Other than providing your ID, you are not required to say anything else unless you want to. If you are uncomfortable with the encounter, ask… Continue reading

Boat Drinks

My good friend Captain Ken Hinsley of Patients Sportfishing in Miami, Florida called me to tell me (brag) that he would be taking out Jimmy Buffet on a sailfish charter during Super Bowl Week in Miami. As I sit here behind my desk wondering what strange twists of fate landed me here instead of there, I began thinking of the Florida Boating Laws (ok, not as exciting as a story about Jimmy reeling in sails, but this is a law blog, right?).

The truth is, even just in the last 10 years or so, there has really been an increase in boaters in and around Florida’s Treasure Coast. Most of them have no idea that there are actually both International and Inland Rules for Navigating vessels in and around Florida’s waters, and that not knowing them could result in a trip to the county jail.… Continue reading

Drugs + Alcohol = Problems!

One thing I have noticed over the past decade of representing clients in criminal court is the relationship between drugs and alcohol, and crime. While my observations are hardly scientific, it seems that generally speaking, most misdemeanor offenses involve alcohol – at least on the periphery. And most felonies involve drugs. Almost every domestic violence case that I have handled starts with a six pack of beer, or an officer’s observation of the smell of an alcoholic beverage on the Defendant’s breath, or bloodshot and watery eyes. Almost every theft is the result of a defendant’s need for cash – frequently, because it has already been spent on a drug bought off the street.

Another common problem is when a person has a psychological or physical disorder whether diagnosed or not, that is not properly treated. Often, the result is that person will take drugs… Continue reading

Holiday Tip #101

With the holiday season in full swing and a tight economy to begin with, one simple act can save you thousands in unexpected expenses. Save the phone number to a local taxi company into your cell phone contacts.

Getting a ride to and from holiday parties that will involve casual drinking reduces your chances of getting a DUI down to ZERO.

On the other hand, if facing a DUI in Florida, you would be looking at a maximum sentence of six months in the county jail for a first offense. You would be looking at a mandatory minimum sentence (the judge MUST impose in every case) which would include up to one year of probation to complete the following conditions: a $500.00 fine, plus court costs; attend and complete the DUI School and any recommended treatment; the victim impact panel; 50 community service hours; a… Continue reading

RJ Ferraro III, Criminal Lawyer and Blog Author

RJ Ferraro, III, Stuart, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

RJ Ferraro, III, has been a criminal defense lawyer serving clients in and around Florida’s Treasure Coast and the Palm Beaches since 2001.  His practices is focused on representing individuals charged with crimes in both State and Federal Court.  RJ has  handled everything from routine traffic tickets to capital felonies.

Despite the fact that the law is constantly changing, ignorance is never a defense. With that in mind, the purpose of this blog is to discuss the issues that continue to re-surface on a consistent basis, and to answer many of the simple questions that people charged with a crime often contemplate.

If you are charged with a crime, the attorneys of the Ferraro Law Group, PL in Stuart, Florida are here for you.

Contact the Stuart, Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys of the Ferraro Law Group, PL today to set up… Continue reading