Criminal Defense Questions

1Do I have to speak to an officer when I’m arrested?
No, you have a constitutional right to remain silent. Also, you should never speak to an officer because whatever you say will be used against you.
2I am charged with domestic violence. If my girlfriend does not come to court will the state attorney drop the case?
No, not necessarily. The state attorney and go forward with the charges and obtain a writ of bodily attachment and bring in the alleged victim.
3Can I expunge my record if I receive a withhold of adjudication?
No, but you can apply to have it sealed. However, after it has been sealed for ten years you can apply to have it expunged.
4What happens if I refuse the breathalyzer?
If you refuse the breathalyzer the department of motor vehicles will suspend your license for 6 months and 18 months for any subsequent refusal.
5I was illegally stopped and arrested for DUI. Can the police do that?
No, the police need a valid reason for making a traffic stop. If the stop was not valid then the stop and everything found after the stop can be suppressed.
6What is the difference between a violation of probation and a regular criminal charge?
For a violation of probation the state only has to prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence. However, for a criminal charge the state needs to prove the offense above and beyond the exclusion of all reasonable doubt.
7How many times can I receive a youthful offender sentence?
A defendant is only permitted to receive a youthful offender sentence once.
8I was arrested for a drug sale charge but the state will not disclose the confidential informant. What can I do?
Your attorney can file a motion to compel the identity of the confidential informant, especially if there were no other witnesses to the alleged incident.
9Can an officer search me without my permission?
An officer can only search you without your permission when they have a reasonable suspicion that you are carrying contraband or weapons or if its incident to a lawful arrest.
10Can I be charged with burglary of a dwelling if I did not physically enter into a person’s house?
Yes, if you entered into a person’s yard with an enclosed fence and steal something then that can be considered a burglary of a dwelling.

Family Law Questions

1If my spouse lives in another state but I still live in Florida can I still seek a divorce?
Yes, you can. Florida law states that only one spouse must reside in the state for 6 months preceding the filing of the petition for dissolution.
2Does my spouse have to be served with a petition for dissolution or can I just give it to them?
Your spouse (respondent) must be served with a summons. It must be from a deputy or process server for the summons to have any effect.
3What happens after the divorce papers are served my spouse refuses to provide support for our children?
Your attorney can file a motion for temporary relief for child support until the divorce is finalized. Temporary relief can also be for alimony, attorney’s fees and time-sharing.
4What do I do once I am served with a petition for divorce?
Florida law allows you 20 calendar days to respond with an answer or counter-petition. If the 20th day falls on a Saturday you will be allowed to respond two days later on Monday.
5What happens if my spouse refuses to give me her bank statements and other discovery?
Your attorney can file a motion to compel discovery and the Judge will compel his/her production of the documents.
6If I owned a house before the marriage does my spouse have a right to it upon divorce?
Under Florida law if you bring real property into the marriage your spouse has the right to any passive appreciation. Also, if your spouse has made mortgage payments the house will become marital property for the portion of the mortgage payments.
7I put down 20% ($40,000) into my house before the marriage, does it become marital property subject to equitable distribution.
If you put your spouse’s name on the deed then your 20% down payment will considered a gift and thus your house will become marital property subject to equitable distribution.
8Is my pension subject to equitable distribution?
Yes, any increase in your pension during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution.
9Is my spouse entitled to the profits of my business after a divorce.
No
10Is my spouse’s $30,000 credit card debt accrued during the marriage considered a marital liability whereby I’ll be responsible for it.
Yes
11Can my spouse exclude his bonus from the computation of child support?
No, bonuses, commissions, allowances and tips are included.
12Do I have to pay child support if I am unemployed?
The court will look at whether your unemployment was voluntary and if there are available jobs out there. If it was voluntary but there are available jobs out there then a modification will be difficult.
13If my former spouse is not exercising their time-sharing rights can I modify the current child support amount?
Yes, the court views a parent not exercising their time-sharing rights as a substantial change in circumstances justifying a modification in child support.
14Can I get retroactive child support?
Yes
15When does my child support obligation end?
It ends when your child reaches 18. However, it can go beyond 18 if the child is suffering from a mental or physical incapacity.
16Can my spouse seek alimony from me?
It depends. Florida law has many different types of alimony depending on the length of the marriage and particular circumstances of your case. However, there must be a need and ability to pay.
17Do I have to continue to pay alimony if my spouse remarries?
If your spouse is in a new supportive relationship that may be grounds to terminate your court ordered alimony.
18What happens if my former spouse refuses to pay alimony?
Have your attorney file a motion for contempt with the court. Your former spouse will have to go to court and explain his non-compliance to the court.
19My former spouse is stating he is unemployed so now he is looking to get his alimony payments reduced, what I can do?
First, the court will look to see if his unemployment was voluntary and if he is looking for other employment. If the court believes their unemployment was not voluntary or if they are not looking for a new job then no modification will occur.
20Can I get retroactive alimony?
Absolutely, have your attorney file a motion with the court for any alimony payments that are in arrears.
21Will my spouse after the divorce have to consult with me regarding decisions regarding our child?
Yes, unless the court finds that the parents having shared responsibility will be detrimental to the child and if it is in the child’s best interest.
22Will the court take into consideration my spouse’s history of violence regarding his right to have shared custody?
Yes, the court will look at what harm has resulted to the child but also the possibility of future harm.
23Can I have my spouse pay my attorney’s fees?
Yes, but the requesting spouse must have a need for it and the paying spouse must have an ability to pay the legal fees.
24If my spouse makes a lot more money than I do can I get him to pay my attorney’s fees?
Possibly, just because your spouse earns more then you do does not necessarily mean the court will compel your spouse to pay all of your legal fees. If your spouse has paid a portion of your legal fees and you have received a substantial amount of property in the equitable distribution then the court may deny your request for all your legal fees to be paid.

Personal Injury Questions

1Do I Have a Legal Claim?
Whether there is a legal claim will be contingent on who is liable. This determination will be based on the facts of the case. For example, the accident report will help in the fact-finding process. Also, whether there were any witnesses to the scene. It takes an experienced attorney to review all the information and make a educated opinion whether a legal claim exist.
2What to do after a car accident?
Getting into a car accident is always a traumatic experience. However, once a person has regained their composure our firm recommends contacting the authorities and insurance company. Also, speaking to witnesses who have witnessed the accident is helpful.
3How much is my case worth?
Determining the worth of your personal injury claim will depend on the severity of your injuries, the details of the case, insurance limits and the identity of the defendant. A case's worth is based on factors such as current medical bills, future medical bills, future procedures or surgeries that need done and any pre-existing injuries. There is no exact formula for determining a case's value; it is based on evidence, such as whether there are discrepancies in the testimony, medical records, or other pieces that may detract from the integrity of the injured party's case. The following factors will be considered when determining the amount of compensation owed for your injuries: the severity of your injuries; the details of your accident; your degree of fault; your employment history; your ability to work; and your life expectancy. The manner in which you obtain medical treatment, your lifestyle, and your litigation history will also be considered.
4How much will I have to pay for my lawyer?
At The Ledezma Law Firm, we abide by the contingency fee contract, which is approved by the Florida Bar. This means that we will only collect if the case is successful. We accept a fixed percentage, typically one-third, of the recovery.
5Will my personal injury lawsuit take a long time?
That question will hinge on many factors. First, who is the insurance company involved, the extent of liability, injuries and how reasonable the adjuster wants to be in forwarding a good offer.
6What questions will be asked during deposition?
Some questions that may be asked during a deposition may include the following:
  • What types of illnesses and injuries have you suffered from during the course of your life?
  • Have you previously been involved in any other lawsuits or legal claims (i.e. workers compensation)?
  • Were there any witnesses to the accident?
  • Did you file an insurance claim?
  • What is the nature of your injury?
  • What is your job history?
  • How has your injury affected your life?
  • When was your last treatment?
An attorney can prepare you for a deposition by reviewing documents, such as police reports or medical records, which are related to your personal injury claim. He or she will also prepare you for questions that may be asked during the deposition and will be there during the questioning to assist you.
7How soon should I file a lawsuit?
Florida law only allows a person involved in an accident to file a lawsuit within a certain amount of years. As such, speaking to a personal attorney as soon as possible following an accident is imperative. Additionally, the sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can be advised on the proper steps to solidify your claim and ensure everything is documented and handled properly
8What is negligence?
To have a strong personal injury claim, the victim must have been injured from the negligence of another individual or entity. Negligence is founded on the theory that every individual is required to exercise a reasonable standard of care for the safety of others. If an individual or person fails to act as a reasonable person would, they may be liable for any resulting damages which were the proximate cause of their actions.
9Can I still pursue compensation if I was partially at fault for my injuries?
Most jurisdictions maintain that victims can still receive compensation if they were partially at fault for their injuries. In these cases, the amount of compensation awarded to the victim may be decreased in accordance with the victim's degree of negligence. Only an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to properly review the facts and determine if your claim is compensable.
10Who can be held liable for a catastrophic injury?
To determine liability, it's important to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case. More than one person may be responsible for your injuries. Depending on your type of personal injury, the liability may rest on a hospital, doctor, motor vehicle driver, truck driver, employer or drug manufacturer.
11Should I sign a release of my rights?
Before signing anything, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. If you sign a release, you may be unable to recover future damages. In some instances, the insurer may offer an early settlement, which may not fully compensate the victim, as he or she may still be unaware of the extent and future costs of their injuries.
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