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CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS - MIAMI
CABRERA & ZACCA, LLP

Miami Lawyer » Notable Cases

Notable Cases

DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH MULTIPLE COUNTS OF SEXUAL BATTERY GETS ALL FELONY CHARGES DISMISSED.

In June 2009 after two years of intense litigation the State of Florida agreed to drop all felony charges including two counts of Sexual Battery.  The Defendant was originally facing over thirty years in prison.  The State of Florida alleged the Defendant sexually assaulted a woman on two occasions after having drinks.  The lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP challenged every aspect of the case and were able to uncover numerous inconsistencies with the accuser's statement as well as inconsistencies with the lead investigator's findings.  As a result, the State of Florida agreed to dismiss the Sexual Battery charges.

FELONY CHARGE OF FAILING TO SECURE WORKERS' COMPENSATION IS REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR CHARGE.

In August 2008, the Department of Financial Services, Fraud Division, arrested and charged the Defendant with Failing to Secure Workers' Compensation Insurance Coverage, a Third Degree Felony.  The lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP were able to find numerous Constitutional and Regulatory violations committed by the investigators from the Department of Financial Services which led the State of Florida to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor without any penalties whatsoever.

TOURISTS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH GRAND THEFT GET ALL CHARGES DISMISSED.

In November 2007 two tourists were arrested and charged with Grand Theft by the Miami Beach Police Department after enjoying a night at a local South Beach nightclub.  The nightclub and the Miami Beach Police Department claimed the tourists committed Grand Theft because of their failure to pay the bar tab.  The lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP were able to obtain proof through several international financial institutions that the Defendants in fact paid and there was no fraud whatsoever.  After providing this information, the State of Florida had no option but to dimiss the case in its entirety.

HOME BUYER CHARGED WITH MORTGAGE FRAUD GETS CHARGES REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR.

The lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP defended a home buyer accused by the State of Florida of committing mortgage fraud.  The State of Florida charged the Defendant with Grand Theft in the 1st degree and Organized Scheme to Defraud in the 1st degree.  Together both charges carried a maximum penalty of sixty years.  After taking several favorable key statements of witnessess in and out of Florida and obtaining numerous documents in support of the defense, the State of Florida in April of 2009 agred to dismiss the charges in exchange for the Defendant pleading to a misdemeanor offense.

DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH ALIEN SMUGGLING GETS CHARGES DISMISSED ON THE EVE OF TRIAL.

In May of 2007, the United States Attorney’s Office filed a 59 count indictment charging the Defendant and 11 other co-defendants with conspiracy to commit alien smuggling.The indictment followed a 12 month government investigation of a sophisticated and complex smuggling ring which unlawfully smuggled Cuban migrants into the United States.

The lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP initially focused its defense on identifying and exposing the government informant in an effort to refute the government’s allegations.Through defense investigation, the lawyers at  Cabrera & Zacca, LLP learned the informant’s identity and motive to be an informant which was to help his brother receive a sentence reduction.The informant’s brother was serving 10 years in federal prison.The lawyers at  Cabrera & Zacca, LLP also learned that the informant and his brother were separately involved in staging car accidents for the purpose of filing false insurance claims.The Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud was investigating both the informant and his brother.The Florida Department of Financial Services was also investigating the informant for threats he made against a state witness who was willing to testify against the informant’s brother.

On the eve of trial, the government learned of this evidence.Once it learned this evidence, the government dismissed all counts against the Defendant since it could not prove its case against the Defendant without calling the informant as a witness.The government realized that if its informant was willing to physically harm another to assist his brother avoid state prosecution, he most certainly was willing to lie for his brother in order to ensnare as many people into the conspiracy.

DEFENDANT AVOIDS PROSECUTION FOR SEXUAL BATTERY.

In April of 2006, the Defendant, along with a friend, went to a nightclub in Fort Lauderdale for a night out on the town.  At the nightclub, the Defendant and his friend met a group of girls. They spent the night together drinking and dancing.

The alleged victim eventually left the club with the Defendant.At some point in the night, the alleged victim claimed that she was drugged rendering her unconscious for periods of time.During the times she regained minimal consciousness, she claimed that the Defendant was on top of her with her pants down.She claimed that she was raped.The Rape Treatment Center found evidence of irritation and bruising but no DNA.

The lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP asked the Defendant to participate in a polygraph examination.The Defendant passed the polygraph examination and the results were revealed to the State Attorney’s Office.The polygraph results together with other defense evidence submitted to the State Attorney’s Office persuaded the State Attorney’s Office to cease its investigation and not file charges of sexual battery against the Defendant.

DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING IN HEROIN GETS CASE DISMISSED AFTER EVIDENCE GETS SUPPRESSED.

In December of 2005, the Defendant was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Heroin.If convicted, the Defendant was facing at least a 15 year minimum mandatory sentence.After reviewing the discovery and conducting depositions of all of the State’s witnesses, the lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP filed a motion to suppress all evidence arguing that there was insufficient evidence to find probable cause.After an evidentiary hearing, the Court agreed with the defense and suppressed all evidence in the case.The Defendant was released, and the State did not appeal the ruling.

DEFENDANT FOUND NOT GUILTY OF DUI.

In May of 2005, Defendant was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence (“DUI”).According to the State Attorney’s Office, two police officers, who were assigned to a DUI Task Force, observed the Defendant slumped over a steering wheel with his car stuck in drive at a Taco Bell drive-thru at 3:00 a.m.The curb at the drive-thru kept the car from rolling forward.The Taco Bell was closed.According to the police officers, the Defendant smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and was swaying while standing.The police officers alleged that the Defendant could not answer simple questions.After he was arrested, the Defendant refused to blow into the intoxilyzer.

At trial, the lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP argued to the jury that there was insufficient evidence to find the Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.The Defendant could have just as easily been tired, but not legally impaired due to alcohol.During discovery, the lawyers at  Cabrera & Zacca, LLP discovered that the two arresting officers had a financial interest in making a DUI arrest on a close case because they earned overtime when appearing for court.Their payroll records showed that the two officers made up to a third of their salary on court overtime for DUI arrests they made.The jury found the Defendant not guilty.

DEFENDANT CONVICTED OF BURGLARY WITH A BATTERY AND AGGRAVATED STALKING GETS CONVICTION AND SENTENCE SET-ASIDE AND CHARGES ARE EVENTUALLY DISMISSED.

In October of 2004, the Defendant was arrested and charged with Burglary with a Battery (a first degree felony punishable by life) and Aggravated Stalking.The Defendant initially retained another attorney.This attorney advised the Defendant to plead no contest to the charges as the evidence against him was strong.The Defendant reluctantly agreed.

After serving his sentence, the Defendant retained the lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP to review the case in its entirety.After reviewing all the facts in the case, the lawyers at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP discovered that there was no factual basis for the plea.Based on this argument, the lawyers atCabrera & Zacca, LLP filed a motion to vacate the plea, judgment and sentence in the case.After extensive discussions with the State Attorney’s Office, the State agreed to vacate the plea, judgment and sentence and the Defendant was allowed to participate in the pretrial diversion program which ultimately led to his case being dismissed outright in 2007.

DEFENDANT INITIALLY CHARGED WITH SECOND DEGREE MURDER IS FOUND NOT GUILTY.

On May 17, 2003, the deceased and the Defendant were involved in a traffic accident in Miami-Dade County. According to a security guard witness who was at the scene, the dispute escalated to the point where the Defendant allegedly punched the deceased in the face, knocking him to the ground. The Defendant then fled the scene. The deceased suffered a fractured skull and died.

After extensive discovery and depositions, the State reduced the charge to manslaughter.

At trial, the Defense argued to the jury to find the Defendant not guilty based on the defense of "Excusable Homicide". Excusable occurs when a killing is committed by accident and/or misfortune resulting from a sudden combat which did not involve a dangerous weapon and if the killing is not done in a cruel and unusual manner. This defense was based on conflicting testimony at the scene and the fact that a defense witness testified that the deceased fatally injured himself after he lost his balance. 

 

The jury found the Defendant NOT GUILTY as there was reasonable doubt of the Defendant's guilt.

DEFENDANT CONVICTED OF MANSLAUGHTER GETS CONVICTION AND SENTENCE SET ASIDE AND CHARGES ARE EVENTUALLY DISMISSED.

On June 11, 1994, the Defendant was driving his truck and had three passengers with him. One of the passengers grabbed the steering wheel of the truck causing the truck to weave and slide on the wet road. Although the Defendant tried to correct and re-gain control of the truck, he could not and the truck hit a six inch concrete curb causing the truck to flip, killing one of the passengers. All four had been drinking. The Defendant had a blood alcohol level of .17 and was eventually charged with DUI Manslaughter.

The Defendant had initially retained another attorney. That attorney advised him that the case against him was very strong and that he would be surely convicted if he went to trial. As a result, the Defendant entered a plea of guilty and served 2 years in the Dade County Jail followed by 2 years of community control. His driver’s license was revoked for life.

After serving his sentence, he retained the attorneys of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP to assist him in applying for a hardship license. After reviewing the facts of the case, the firm’s attorneys recognized that there was a causation defense that was never raised in the case. The firm’s attorneys filed a motion to vacate the plea, judgment and sentence in the case.

After presenting the causation defense to the State Attorneys Office, the guilty plea to the DUI Manslaughter charge was VACATED and the State DISMISSED the case. The Court signed an order restoring his civil rights finding that he was never legally responsible for DUI Manslaughter. The Defendant also was able to obtain a valid driver’s license.

TEACHER SUSPECTED OF MAIL FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING AVOIDS PROSECUTION.

A federal agent suspected a teacher working in South Florida of committing the crimes of mail fraud and money laundering while she was employed at a money transfer store. According to the federal government, a large amount of federal funds in the form of college tuition grants were stolen using forged checks cashed at the money transfer store. After she was interviewed by a federal agent, she contacted the lawyers of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP for consultation and representation.

Eventually, a federal prosecutor subpoenaed her to testify in front of a federal grand jury. The lawyers of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP represented the teacher throughout the entire grand jury process. The firm’s lawyers continued to cooperate with the federal investigation by providing requested information and documentation. Her grand jury testimony along with the documentation produced demonstrated her non-involvement in the criminal activity.

DEFENDANT ARRESTED FOR DUI FOUND NOT GUILTY IN JURY TRIAL.

According to a Hollywood Police Department Officer, the Defendant ran a red light and pulled into a Taco Bell drive-thru sometime after 3:00 a.m. The Officer testified that the Defendant turned off his headlights and remained stationary in the drive-thru lane. The Officer further testified that he approached the vehicle and noticed that the Defendant was passed out behind the wheel of the vehicle with his foot on the brake, the vehicle engine running and the brake lights illuminated. An Officer on the DUI Task Force was summoned to the scene who testified that the Defendant had an odor of alcohol and bloodshot eyes. He was described as very lethargic in his mannerisms and speech. He allegedly swayed side to side. The Defendant refused to blow into the intoxilyzer.

At trial, the lawyers of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP argued that there was insufficient evidence to convict for DUI. The firms' lawyers pointed out that the alleged evidence of intoxication could easily be interpreted as evidence of fatigue. Furthermore, the firm's lawyers were able to secure a videotape of the stop from the DUI Officer's police vehicle. This videotape contradicted much of the Officers' collective testimony and showed how the Defendant was simply tired.

The Jury agreed and found the Defendant NOT GUILTY.

DEFENDANT ARRESTED FOR MAINTAINING A HYDROPONICS LAB FOR GROWING MARIJUANA GETS CHARGES REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR.

After Florida Power & Light tipped police that the Defendant was using an excessive amount of energy at his residence, the police started an investigation and eventually arrested the Defendant for maintaining a hydroponics lab to grow marijuana. He was also charged with theft of utility services.

The attorneys of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP focused its defense on the weight of the marijuana that was recovered from the Defendant’s residence suspecting that the police improperly weighed the marijuana plants at the time of arrest. This defense strategy worked and the State Attorneys Office was forced to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor from a felony. The theft of utility services was dropped.

STATE ATTORNEY'S OFFICE VOLUNTARILY DISMISSES A DUI PROSECUTION AFTER THE FIRM'S LAWYERS ELICIT TESTIMONY SHOWING THAT THE INITIAL TRAFFIC STOP WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

On April 1, 2005, a Miami-Dade Police Officer stopped the Defendant for careless driving. Following the stop, the Officer alleged that the Defendant had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and an order of alcohol on his breath. After alleging failing the field sobriety exercises, the Defendant was arrested and eventually blew into the intoxilyzer. His breath reading was .137 and .151.

From the beginning, the lawyers of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP focused on the constitutionality of the traffic stop. The firm's lawyers filed a motion to suppress any all evidence on the basis that the stop violated the Defendant's fourth amendment rights under the United States Constitution. After eliciting Officer testimony that the Defendant's only alleged improper conduct was "squealing" his tires during a turn without endangering person or property, the State Attorney's office conceded that the motion was well taken, and voluntarily dismissed the case.

FORFEITURE COMPLAINT DISMISSED AGAINST DEFENDANT ACCUSED OF SELLING METHAMPHETAMINE IN VEHICLE.

Defendant was arrested and charged with selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant and an undercover officer in her vehicle on two separate occasions. Upon her arrest, the sheriff’s office seized her vehicle under Florida’s Forfeiture Laws for using her vehicle to facilitate the commission of a felony offense.

The Defendant consulted and retained the attorneys of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP to recover her vehicle. After filing the necessary responses to the forfeiture complaint, the firm’s attorneys determined that the sheriff’s office failed to comply with certain procedural aspects of Florida’s Forfeiture Laws. The attorneys of Cabrera & Zacca, LLP convinced the judge that Florida Law required the dismissal of the forfeiture complaint, and the judge ordered the vehicle to be returned to the Defendant.

COURT SUPPRESSES EVIDENCE AGAINST DUI DRIVER.

The Defendant was stopped after an officer allegedly observed the Defendant follow other traffic too closely and strike a median curb on two different occasions. The officer allegedly observed bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and detected an odor of alcohol. After the Defendant allegedly failed the field sobriety exercises, he was arrested and charged with DUI.

After investigating the case, the attorneys at Cabrera & Zacca, LLP advised the Defendant that he should reject the plea offer from the State and move forward with a motion to suppress the evidence against him because of the police officer’s unlawful traffic stop.

At the suppression hearing, the Court heard the testimony of the officers and agreed that the traffic stop was unconstitutional and suppressed all evidence against the Defendant. The State Attorney’s Office subsequently dismissed all charges.