I see many websites advertising National Criminal Defense Law Firms. What is this?
There is no such thing as a National Criminal Defense Lawfirm. What you are seeing on the web is one lawfirm (or person) who pays the internet search engines to advertise in your home town. If you look closely, these “National Law Firms” will never reference a local address (or any address for that matter) where you are. Chances are that this “National Law Firm” charges some local lawyer (an “Associate”) a fee to be placed on that website to “handle” your case. You call an 800 number and may be speaking to someone clear across the country. He or she then takes down your information and has someone call you back who may or may not be in your area.
We don’t do that. We have our own separate and independent law practices and are simply “of counsel” to each other’s law firms. We don’t scam the accused into thinking we have an office in any other location. As such, we do not advertise in any other jurisdiction! When you call us you will speak directly to Thomas Morse.
I hired someone else. How do I know if my other lawyer is going to fight for me?
First of all, go to my home page and read about how some of these unscrupulous lawyer’s never go to court. They sit in their nice air conditioned offices and count the hard earned money that you paid them and they send an “associate” attorney into court who you have never met before. Well guess what, the chances are good that the “associate” attorney doesn’t know the first thing about your case and quite possibly the law also. An even bigger shame is when Mr. or Ms. “Shyster” lawyer hires an “appearance” law firm to “handle” your case. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s when you truly know that you have just been screwed by the very person who promised to fight for and protect you. An appearance law firm is just that, they only make appearances to continue cases to another day. It’s basically someone showing up who has two things, (1) a bar card and (2) a heartbeat. Do not be fooled! Every stage of a criminal case is a critical stage. If your attorney doesn’t care enough to go to court on your behalf when he or she promised to then grab something to bite onto because it’s going to hurt. To determine if your “lawyer” has a jar of KY in his or her briefcase, on your next scheduled court date, if you do not recognize the lawyer making the court appearance on your behalf, confront that person to see if he or she is an “associate” or an “appearance” lawyer.
If he or she is one or the other, ask them if they have a cigarette because chances are good that you just got ….
You guys are just jealous of the competition right?
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a defendant in a criminal case get shafted by his or her own attorney. Prior to becoming licensed to practice law, Mr. Morse worked as a an intern for the public defender and legal aid. Here the skill of cross examination is born.
If your lawyer is a former state attorney chances are they have no cross examination skills. State Attorney’s put witnesses on and ask to tell their ‘version’ of events. The real skill in defending is knowing how to take there ‘version’ of events and how it differs from other witness statements.. His own prior statements and any and all evidence that has been introduced at trial and use these differences to show that he cannot be trusted. Because of his inconsistent statements or lies while he is under oath testifying against you. This is a skill that requires practice and experience. Not asking a witness a question like…”and what happened next officer?”
How do I know which Attorney to hire?
It’s actually quite simple. Go with an attorney who (1) has never been a prosecutor and (2) has a proven track record of favorable results for his or her clients such as case dismissals and not guilty trial verdicts. Ask your attorney how many jury trials he or she has personally conducted that resulted in a jury verdict. Ask your attorney if he or she will be the one going to court or if an “associate” or “appearance” lawyer will “handle” the case.
Should I hire an ex-prosecutor to defend me?
If you don’t mind that he or she may have previously put Uncle Tommy in State Prison to rot away for the rest of his life. Or worse yet, that h e or she prosecuted that nice homeless man who found it necessary to steal a piece of bread in order to satisfy those constant hunger pangs. Do you really want an attorney to defend you who “learned the ropes” putting people in County jail or State Prison. Ask yourself where their heart truly is.
But you didn’t write a book or make a video?
We are not lawyers in theory but by practice. That means that we go to court everyday fighting to keep the government and it’s henchmen from throwing the accused into Jail or Prison. We do NOT have the time to write books and we do NOT scam the accused into thinking that because we authored a book or filmed a video that you should hire us solely based on that. We do NOT hire “appearance” lawyers to “handle” your case. Again, results speak for themselves.
What we do is go to court on your behalf and personally fight to keep the accused from being labeled a convict. So cheers to the defense attorney’s who are in the trenches every single day slugging it out with the Judges, cops and prosecutors. We know who we are but most importantly, we know who isn’t.
Who should I trust?
No one. Do not talk to your family, friends, co-workers, police, investigators, prosecutors or other inmates about your case. No one cares about your rights being protected except your defense attorney. If you are caught up in the criminal “justice” machine by facing criminal charges and possible jail time, no one is your friend except your lawyer. Too many cases result in a conviction based simply on what the defendant said to the police. Had the defendant exercised his right to remain silent from the beginning then the prosecutor would have had an uphill battle to prosecute or the cop may not even have had enough information to file a report to send to the prosecutor’s office.
What are the two most important things I should know if I am arrested?
(1) Exercise your right to remain silent! Say nothing and be calm and cooperative. If an officer asks to see your identification, show it to him. Don’t be an asshole, that’s the officer’s job. Remember, delaying and obstructing the duties of a law enforcement officer is a crime.
(2) Call us toll free at: 866-684-8221 or directly at: 954-522-3205
What if I am pulled over in my car and an officer starts asking me lots of questions?
(1) Ask the officer if you are under arrest. If he says yes, then exercise your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer immediately. Be calm and cooperative. Don’t screw this part up, remember – REMAIN SILENT.
(2) If he says no, then ask him to let you go and to stop violating your constitutional right to be left alone. Lots of cops will bulls&*$t you and try to utilize legal jargon by telling you that you are just being detained and all they want to do is to search your car and/or your person. Get educated, don’t let them search anything personal to you like your person or your car. You have a 4th Amendment right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures without a warrant.
What if an Officer knocks on the door of my home and asks for permission to search?
Never let an officer into your home without a warrant. Period. Let’s face it, the cop is not there to ask you your opinion on the local Neighborhood Watch Program. If a cop bangs on your door and asks for permission to come in, chances are good that someone is being investigated for a crime. Beware it just may be you!
When can a police officer conduct a search?
As long as you provide consent an officer can make a search. Or, the officer can make a search upon presentation of a search warrant. In some cases an officer can search if sufficient exigent circumstances exist.
When can an officer search you or your possessions without a warrant?
An officer can conduct random searches of the car, body and home upon probable cause. An officer can search your car in an emergency or for probable cause. Home searches are confined to the area the defendant is taken into custody. Body searches can occur at the time of arrest.
What rights do I have at the time of arrest?
The Miranda rights for each citizen and non citizen are guaranteed by the United States Constitution. They are not required to be issued by police at the time of arrest. If this happens, your lawyer may ask that any statements made to the police not be used against you in court. These rights include:
(1) the right to remain silent
(2) the right to a lawyer present while you are questioned
(3) the right to an appointed lawyer if you cannot afford one.
When do I tell my side of the story?
The defendant’s story is a critical piece of information that helps the judge and jury decide a case. The defendant presents his story to his attorney ONLY. After that, the attorney will tell the defendant’s story. It is critical to remember that what the defendant says may be used against him. What the defense attorney says will not be used against the defendant. Of course the trial is the primary period of time where the defendant has the opportunity to present his story.
Do I have to talk to the judge or jury?
No. The defendant has a Constitutional right to remain silent. Whether to put the defendant on the witness stand is a decision the defendant and his attorney must make. Defense attorneys agree that it is sometimes better to keep the defendant off the witness stand, except in special cases. Once the defendant testifies, he opens himself to cross-examination by the prosecution. Because of this Constitutional right, the judge will instruct the jury that the defendant’s failure to testify must not be considered in any way a sign that the defendant is guilty. Of course, if a defendant is entering a plea or accepting a plea bargain, he must answer the judge’s basic questions with regard to his understanding of these actions.
Why do I keep seeing different District Attorneys and Judges?
It is important that the defendant be comfortable with his legal team. That’s why Thomas Morse makes his appearance personally. I do not send an “associate” into court UNLESS I am engaged in a Jury Trial or defending in a different courtroom at the same time. A defendant may see the same or different D.A.’s assigned to prosecute the defendant’s case. After all, D.A.’s are fungible and may work in teams. Your privately retained criminal defense attorney shouldn’t be. The defendant may appear before several judges throughout the process.
Must the police officer come to court?
The police officer is a member of the prosecution’s team. He will come to court only if the prosecutor wants him or needs him to. The police officers and the prosecutors work together to present a case against the defendant. In some cases, if the police officer fails to show in court, the case may end in a dismissal.
When do I bring witnesses to court?
Witnesses may be key allies to the defense. The defense attorney is responsible for gauging the proper time to introduce witnesses in court. Witnesses usually first appear during trial.
What type of sentence may the defendant expect to receive?
There are a myriad of sentencing options for the judge to consider. Sentencing is based on the nature of the case, the defendant’s past history, and the defendant’s threat to the community. Some sentencing options include jail time, probation, fine, community service, treatment or imprisonment in a penitentiary.
When should a defendant plead guilty or no contest?
Sometimes the best result is a guilty plea, most times it is a plea of “no contest” which means that you are not saying you are guilty but that you do not wish to contest the charges. By avoiding a possible court trial, the defendant may plead to a lesser charge and therefore avoid a potential stiffer penalty. Most judges will offer a lighter sentence in exchange for a guilty on no contest plea at the arraignment. In addition, a guilty or no contest plea speeds the process forward and eliminates a long, drawn out trial process.
Will people know the defendant has a conviction on his record?
A conviction is public record and may be reviewed by the general public. The ability to seal/expunge a conviction in Florida depends on the nature and final disposition of the offense.
How long does a misdemeanor trial take?
A misdemeanor trial may take anywhere from one day to two weeks.
Is a misdemeanor conviction public record?
How long does a felony trial take?
The length of a felony trial depends on the nature of the case. Generally, felony cases take between two days to one year to complete. A felony trial may last between five days to several months.
Is a felony conviction public record?
Will a conviction result in my deportation if I am an illegal citizen?
Probably yes. A misdemeanor or felony conviction will result in deportation or exclusion from re-admission to the USA depending on the charge and if the person convicted is an illegal citizen or LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident).
What is the difference between federal and state laws?
Federal laws supercede state laws when the two come into play against one another.
Can I withdraw my plea of guilty or no contest?
The defendant may withdraw a plea by bringing a motion to withdraw a plea. A written motion has to be filed. In some jurisdictions the attorney prepares a written motion. In others, a court clerk will provide a form. In either case, the written document must be filed and a hearing for the request takes place.
May I represent myself without the benefit of an attorney?
Any defendant can represent himself without the benefit of an attorney. But remember the old adage which states – “One who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
How can I get bail reduced?
Bail is set upon the booking of an arestee. It is determined by the seriousness of the defense. Bail is not mandatory. The judge has the right to refuse to issue bail. The defense attorney may bring a motion to reduce bail during any proceeding in front of the court. The judge will look at factors such as family history, background, professional responsibilities, past criminal history, and circumstances surrounding the case.
What if I don’t like my public defender?
A request for a new public defender is rarely granted. The defendant’s rights are limited to the appointment of an attorney and not to the attorney of their choice. The defendant must prove to the court that representation is sub-standard, even incompetent. That may be done through claiming personality conflicts, or differences in communication, ethics, strategy, or through a potential bias. Or better yet, call us. After all you have gotten this far reading my website.
What if I think the judge or prosecutor is biased?
The defense attorney may ask the judge to recuse himself (withdraw from the case) or he may file a motion with the court. In some states it is the automatic right of the defendant to recuse a judge on the basis the defendant believes the judge to be biased.
Law Office of Thomas A. Morse, Esq.
1330 SE 4 ave. suite G
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
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