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Over 100 million Americans have gotten at least one or both doses of a coronavirus vaccine and have received a free proof-of-vaccination card with the logo of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there has been no clear indication or protocol on how to confirm if someone is vaccinated or not. The Biden administration declared it would not create a federal vaccination database, citing privacy concerns, making the CDC-issued cards the country’s default national way to verify if someone has been vaccinated. Since the cards are marked by hand, don’t contain much information, are printed on easily obtainable heavy white paper, and are impossible to quickly verify, it leaves an opportunity for the anti-vaxxer community to beat the system by forging them. In March, the FBI released a public warning that creating or buying a fake vaccine card is illegal. “If you did not receive the vaccine, do not buy fake vaccine cards, do not make your own vaccine cards, and do not fill-in blank vaccination record cards with false information,” the warning from the FBI said.  Individuals might use them to misrepresent their vaccination status at school, work, or in various living and travel situations, potentially exposing others to risk. Crimes associated with making or using fake vaccination record cards include wrongfully using government seals, the FBI said in its warning. That’s because fake cards often use the CDC and Health and Human Services seals seen on the real ones. That’s punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine. Other penalties could include possible termination of employment and be thrown off-campus. If you are caught and charged with having or selling fake CDC Covid Vaccine cards, do not try to fight these charges on your own.

If you have any questions about your case or other legal advice, we are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us fight for your freedom.

The court system is divided into two types, federal and state. Both systems have different cases assigned to them accordingly. The state court is mainly responsible for clarifying state law while federal courts have a wider variety of cases to handle. Many do not know what it takes or how a case goes from state to federal court, so we will take a quick look at how cases get to federal court.

The Levels

The federal system continues to evolve as the years go by and from its initial acknowledgment in Article III of the Constitution, which allowed the Supreme Court to create different court levels below as they felt necessary. Therefore, we now have three levels in the federal court system:

The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional funding, and in December 2020, another $284 billion. Now that the pandemic feels a bit more handled and businesses are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the government is now making a sweep of people who abused PPP loans. Several people are being accused and charged with fraud for claiming businesses and payroll expenses that do not exist. A recent notable case is Jeremie Saintvil, a Florida man who allegedly obtained more than $1.5 million in PPP loans from credit unions and banks. This includes committing identity theft against eight elderly individuals. Before leaving office, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida coined South Florida “the fraud capital of the world” and she may have a point. Over the past year, 38 criminal cases with $75 million in fraudulent COVID-19 relief claims have been filed. This is the highest number of any region in the country. A few things that fall under the umbrella of PPP fraud are:

  • Spending PPP funds for unapproved purposes
  • PPP loans from multiple lenders

Perhaps the country’s founding fathers did not mean to create a constitution that can be as polarizing as it is and yet, that is the case for a few of the amendments. One that always seems to get feathers riled up on either side of the aisle is the second amendment. It clearly states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” However, this is not the case if you are a felon. It is illegal in Florida for convicted felons to possess firearms, unless the convicted felon has had his/her civil rights restored and firearm authority restored by the state’s Clemency Board or the gun qualifies as an antique firearm under Florida statute 790.001(1). However, a deciding factor in the severity of the punishment is if the firearm was actually possessed or constructively possessed. Actual possession of a firearm means the firearm was in the person’s hand or on them, in a container in the hand or on the person, or is so close that it is under the control of the person. Constructive possession means the firearm is placed somewhere the person has control over. Possession of a gun by a felon is considered a second-degree felony. Actual possession brings a three-year minimum mandatory sentence with it and the judge can impose a combination of up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, or up to $10,000 in fines. Constructive possession of a firearm does not have a minimum mandatory sentence however a judge can still impose a combination of those three listed penalties. 

The consequences of a conviction, especially a felony, can have a wide range of negative effects on your life. Therefore, you need to contact a defense attorney immediately. Michael B. Cohen can help you fight a gun charge by thoroughly investigating your case.

One of the most frightening things to go through is being convicted of a federal crime, but even scarier is not picking the right post-conviction attorney to help you navigate through your case and fight for the best outcome.

When Googling post-conviction attorneys, you will get more than 58 million search results, making it very difficult to determine who is the right fit for your case, however, there are certain characteristics you should be looking for in your attorney to help you narrow the list down.

Appeal Experience

There are countless benefits to immigrants who marry a U.S. citizen. For that reason, it is no surprise that many seek to marry a citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining them. However, due to the potential for abuse of these special benefits, authorities apply a high level of scrutiny to immigrants and U.S. citizens who wish to marry. 

The three types of marriage frauds are:

  • A marriage where one or both of the parties know the marriage is a fraud.

There are different definitions and punishments for assault and aggravated assault. Both of these crimes involve intentional harm inflicted on one person by another. Even when a fight is mutually agreed on, it may still lead to an assault charge.

What is assault?

Assault is when someone intentionally makes another fear that they will be physically harmed. Even though the person may not end up physically injured, the definition recognizes that even just making someone fear that they will be is deserving of punishment. This also allows law enforcement to intervene before physical harm is done.

Finding yourself in the back of a cop car being charged with serious criminal charges might be the scariest thing that can happen to you, but even scarier is not knowing who will represent you in court. Of course, there will be a million things running through your head whether you’re innocent or not, however, involving a criminal defense attorney should be on the top of the to-do list.

Although hiring a criminal defense attorney might not be as inexpensive as one may hope, many fail to realize that this will save you thousands and thousands of dollars in the long run. And ultimately, it beats the price of going to prison. Additionally, having an experienced lawyer by your side to help you navigate through the issue and protect your constitutional liberties is priceless.

When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

Grand juries are embedded into our constitution. Their purpose is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a federal felony was committed. A grand jury consists of 16-23 citizens from the community. If 12 of those jurors find there is probable cause, it is signed by the prosecutor which then becomes an indictment: a formal charge the government must prove at trial. 

However, there can be several reasons why you may have received a grand jury subpoena:

  • Target:

There is a common misconception that if you commit a crime, there are only two options: You’re acquitted or you face jail time. However, an experienced criminal lawyer will inform you of pre-trial diversion programs. Everybody makes mistakes and fortunately, the state of Florida recognizes that many deserve second chances. Some offenders with little to no criminal history, including certain felony offenders, may be eligible to enter a pre-trial intervention program. Once the program is completed, the court will drop your charges. The state attorney’s office is also able to grant access on a case-by-case basis so even if you are not a first-time offender, you may still be able to participate in the program.

In most situations, pre-trial diversion programs focus on non-violent offenses and usually a person is ineligible if they are charged with any offense involving violence.

In order to qualify, you must meet the following:

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