"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

                     PRACTICE AREAS


Getting arrested is stressful! Apellaniz Law, P.A. is a full service criminal defense law firm located in Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County, FL. We specialize in all criminal matters and provide aggressive representation at every stage of the Criminal Justice System, from pre-file to trial. No case is too small or insignificant and we represent the criminally accused in everything from misdemeanor to DUI to serious felony charges. 


Home is not always where the heart is! Whether someone is trying to put a domestic violence or stalking injunction against you (respondent) or you need to avail yourself of the protections afforded under Florida Law and file for an injunction (petitioner), Apellaniz Law, P.A. can help. We are sensitive to your issues and we understand the stress that comes with domestic violence injunctions.  


DUI is the only crime where an arrest can occur based on someone's opinion! Successful DUI Defense is a combination of legal acumen, razor-sharp ability to spot issues and creativity. Apellaniz Law, P.A. has the know-how that it takes to navigate the complexities of DUI Law and make sure that your rights are protected! 


Your Ft. Lauderdale Full Service Criminal Defense Firm


We are YOUR criminal defense law firm. Many firms advertise that their services are "premier" or that they "aggressively" defend your rights when in reality all that they care about is taking your money. Often times the lawyers at these firms do not even show up at your courtdates or they have someone else "cover" your case. At Apellaniz Law P.A. we take a personal interest in the outcome of your case and we take pride in vigourously defending your constitutional rights. We personally show up at your courtdates and make ourselves available to you 24/7. You will always know what is going on with YOUR case. 


Mr. Hugo Luis Apellaniz III is a former assistant public defender who has dedicated his entire career to defending the criminally accused; he knows the tactics, strategies and approaches that it takes with judges and prosecutors to get the best results possible. Some attorneys call themselves "aggressive" and say that they will pursue the best result, but they are really former prosecutors who often only want to see your case "plea out" as soon as they have received payment. 


Apellaniz Law, P.A. is a full service Ft. Lauderdale criminal defense law firm. That means that we handle every aspect of a criminal case, from pre-file to bond hearing to arraignment to pretrial motions to calendar call to trial. The beginning stages of a criminal case are often the most important, so call Criminal Defense Lawyer Hugo Luis Apellaniz III now for a free consultation before it is too late. 


The Criminal Justice System is a complicated, confounding and often confusing system that one should not navigate alone. Allow a trusted and aggressive Ft. Lauderdale criminal defense attorney like Hugo Luis Apellaniz III  to protect your rights and make sure that you do not get "stuck in the system." 





An assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent. An assault may become "aggravated" if a deadly weapon is used or if the assault was with an intent to commit a felony. Certain assaults on law enforcement officers may carry minimum mandatory sentences. In order for prosecutors to convict a criminal defendant of assault, all elements of the offense must be proved. 



The offense of battery occurs when a person actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against their will or when a person intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. It is important to note that a simple touching is all that is needed for police to arrest; in other words, there does not need to be any proof of injury for police to take someone to jail. The offense of simple battery can be transformed to "felony battery" if a person has a single prior conviction for battery. A felony battery can also occur if great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement is alleged. A battery may become an aggravated battery if a person intentionally or knowingly cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, if a deadly weapon is used or if the person knows that the victim of the battery was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant. Defendants have an absolute right to use Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law to protect themselves from an attack under certain circumstances and may be barred from being prosecuted. 



Burglary is entering a dwelling, structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein. Remaining in a dwelling, structure or conveyance surreptitiously with the intent to commit an offense therein, after permission to remain has been withdrawn or to commit or attempt to commit a forcible felony is also burglary. A burglary can become enhanced to a first degree felony punishable by life in prison if in the course of committing the burglary the offender makes an assault or battery or becomes armed with explosives or a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors must prove that a criminal defendant had the actual intent to commit a crime therein; simply entering a dwelling, structure or conveyance without the requisite intent to commit a crime is not enough to prove burglary. 



Child abuse is the intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child, an intentional act  that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child, or active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child. Aggravated child abuse occurs when a person commits an aggravated battery on a child, willfully tortures, maliciously punishes , or willfully and unlawfully cages a child or knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in doing so causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement to the child. 





A person commits the offense of criminal mischief if he or she willfully and maliciously injures or damages by any means any real or personal property belonging to another. If the damage of such property is less than $200, it is a second degree misdemeanor; if the damage is between $200 and $1000, it is a first degree misdemeanor. If the damage is over $1000 then the crime is a felony of the third degree. Criminal mischief is also enhanceable in that a prior conviction may result in reclassification of the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. Prosecutors must prove that the property was damaged with a malicious intent. Mere proof of broken or damaged property alone is not enough to sustain a conviction. 



Any person who traffics in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen shall be guilty of the second degree felony of dealing in stolen property. 



Florida criminalizes being intoxicated and endangering the safety of people or property. Further, no person in the state shall be intoxicated or drink any alcoholic beverage in a public place or in or upon any public conveyance and cause a public disturbance. Florida also makes illegal, as disorderly conduct, such acts as are of a nature to corrupt the public morals, or outrage the sense of public decency, or affect the peace and quiet of persons who may witness them, or engaging in brawling or fighting, or engaging in such conduct as to constitute a breach of the peace or disorderly conduct as a second degree misdemeanor. 





Florida statute chapter 893, titled "Drug Abuse Prevention and Control" criminalizes a wide range of drug related crimes, including: possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession of morphine, possession of opium, possession of oxycodone, possession of hydrocodone, possession of hydromorphone, possession of heroin, possession of MDMA, possession of phencyclidine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of GHB and many more controlled substances. Possession of a certain amount of controlled substances can result in felony charges being enhanced and filed as "with intent to sell" or "trafficking." Additionally, certain minimum mandatory sentences may apply if a person is charged with trafficking in controlled substances. An adjudication of guilt or conviction to any drug offense can also result in a two year drivers license suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Possession of drug paraphernalia, which means all equipment, products and materials used or designed for use for introducing into the human body a controlled substance, is also criminalized in Florida. Certain defenses and pretrial motions, like motions to dismiss or motions to suppress, may apply depending on the particular facts of a case.





Any person whose driver's license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked who drives a vehicle upon the highways of the state of Florida while such license is canceled, suspended, or revoked is guilty of a moving violation. However, any person who has knowledge of such cancellation, suspension or revocation and drives any motor vehicle upon the highways is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor in the case of a first offense, a first degree misdemeanor in the case of a second offense and may be charged with a third degree felony in the case of a third or subsequent offense. A person may become a "Habitual Traffic Offender" if in the span of five years they accumulate three or more convictions, arising out of separate acts, for driving while license suspended, felonies in which the commission of a motor vehicle was used, DUI and other listed crimes involving the operation of a motor vehicle. A person may also become a "Habitual Traffic Offender" if they have fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed. 



A person placed on probation or community control may be eligible for early termination of probation or early termination of community control. In most circumstances, Judges want to see compliance with the conditions of probation imposed and payment of costs and fines prior to considering such a motion. It is also often important to get a favorable recommendation from the probation or community control officer and not have a history of serious violations while on supervision. 



After the final disposition of a criminal case, certain people may be eligible for expungement or sealing of there criminal record. Certain crimes are ineligible for expungement or sealing. The process of having a criminal record sealed or expunged includes getting documentation from the clerks office, getting a background check from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and getting the approval of the State Attorney's Office where the crime is alleged to have occurred. 



Fraud in Florida is prosecuted aggressively. Florida criminalizes the following: obtaining property by false personation, making a false statement to obtain property or credit, making false entries on books of corporation, false or fraudulent insurance claims, cheating, fraudulent operation of coin-operated devices, touting, sale of used good as new, unlawfully subleasing of a motor vehicle,  and criminal use of personal identification, amongst many, many other crimes. Florida also criminalizes certain credit card crimes, like false statement as to financial condition or identity, obtaining credit card through fraudulent means, fraudulent use of credit cards, use of scanning device or reencoder to defraud and possession and transfer of credit-card-making equipment. 



Forgery is the crime of falsely making, altering, forging or counterfeiting a public record, certificate or other official document or writing with the intent to injure of defraud any person. Uttering is the publishing as true a false, forged or altered record, deed, instrument or other writing with knowledge the same to be false, altered, forged or counterfeited, with the intent to injure or defraud any person. 



Florida makes illegal for any person to loiter or prowl in a place, at a time or in a manner not usual for law-abiding individuals, under circumstances that warrant a justifiable and reasonable alarm or immediate concern for the safety of persons or property in the vicinity. This is often a very difficult statute for the prosecution to prove. 



Florida criminalizes many different acts under the umbrella of obstruction of justice. Resisting officer without violence, a misdemeanor, is when a person resists, obstructs, or opposes any police officer or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer. Resisting officer with violence, a felony, is when a person knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes a police officer or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer or legally authorized person. Florida also makes illegal the unlawful possession of a concealed handcuff key, depriving an officer of means of protection or communication, obstruction by disguised person, falsely personating an officer, and false identification to a law enforcement officer. 



Whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath, not in an official proceeding, in regard to any material matter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Knowledge of the materiality of the statement is not an element of this crime, and the defendant's mistaken belief that his or her statement was not material is not a defense. Whoever makes a false statement, which he or she does not believe to be true, under oath in an official proceeding in regard to any material matter, commits a felony of the third degree. 







It is unlawful for any person to own or to have in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm, ammunition, or electric weapon or device, or to carry a concealed weapon if that person has been convicted of a felony. It is also unlawful, regardless of whether or not the person has been convicted of a felony, to carry a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device, or a concealed firearm on or about his or her person. 





Robbery is the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear. Robbery is enhanceable if a firearm or weapon is used. Robbery by sudden snatching is the taking of money or other property from the victim's person, with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim or the owner of the money or other property, when, in the course of the taking, the victim was or became aware of the taking. It is not necessary for a prosecutor to prove that the offender used any force beyond that necessary to obtain possession of the money or property or that there was any resistance by the victim or injury to the victim's person. Carjacking means the taking of a motor vehicle which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the motor vehicle, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear. 





Theft is when a person knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently, deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property or to appropriate the property to his or her own use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. Petit theft, a misdemeanor, is when the property stolen has value less than $300. Grand theft, a felony, is when the property stolen: has a value over $300, is a will or codicil, is a firearm, is a motor vehicle (Grand Theft Auto), is any amount of citrus fruit consisting of 2,000 or more individual pieces of fruit, is taken from a designated construction site identified by the posting of a sign, or is any stop sign, and many other fact specific scenarios. Grand theft is enhanceable when the victim is over the age of 65. 



It is against the law in Florida to willfully enter or remain in any structure or conveyance, without authorization, license or invitation or having been authorized, licensed or invited and being warned by the owner or lessee of the premises, or other authorized person, to depart and refuse to do so. Trespassing is normally a misdemeanor but can be enhanced to a felony if a firearm or dangerous weapon is carried, if the trespass is to a properly posted construction site or properly posted domestic violence shelter or other fact specific scenarios. 



Florida prosecutes as crimes the following traffic offenses: driving while license suspended, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, racing on highways, refusal to submit to breath testing, and many more criminal traffic offenses. 





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