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Ivan Samuel Abrams

Ivan Abrams’s Answers

3 total

  • Are there any pro bono attorneys in Tampa Bay that would be willing to take on a first time offender for possession of cocaine?

    I am being charged with 3rd degree felony for cocaine and misdemeanor paraphernalia. I am a nurse and I want to keep my license but I just got unsuccessfully discharged from a court ordered rehab for non compliance. I am going to be sent back to f...

    Ivan’s Answer

    When you get to court ask the clerk for a financial affidavit- by filling out the affidavit you will be told in court whether or not you qualify for the services of the Public Defender. Because you are currently unemployed you should qualify unless you have several assets. If for some reason you do not qualify, don't panic, instead contact your local attorney bar association and ask to speak with someone from the referral service. The bar association will help refer you to a criminal attorney who has agreed to take part in the low fee panel which means that the attorney will know that you do not have much money. Therefore, the attorney should be able to work out an affordable rate with you. I wish you the best of luck.

    The Law Offices of Ivan Abrams

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  • Not entitled to a Lawyer because no jail time involved, what should I do at trial?

    I went to use a restroom facility at a hotel in Aventura, Florida on my way out I was arrested by the police for loitering, trespassing, and resisting arrest without violence. I applied for indigent status for attorney representation. On first app...

    Ivan’s Answer

    As a former prosecutor in Miami, I can tell you that these charges are not usually dropped especially when you do not have a lawyer fighting on your behalf. I understand that you may not be in a position financially to hire an attorney, so I am happy to provide you with some information that I hope is useful. If you have no prior criminal record - typically a diversion program will be offered for these types of charges- if so, entering such a program is the best way to guarantee that your case will be dismissed. There is a small fee to enter the program and if you complete everything successfully and do not get arrested again for a new charge then your current case will be dismissed. If you have a prior record you will not qualify for diversion. Although you are not looking at jail time there is still the potential that you could be convicted on each charge and placed on up to 3 years reporting probation if the judge decides to sentence you consecutively. Any criminal conviction could potentially effect your employment status in the future. Your criminal trial would be what is called a 'bench' trial whereby there is no jury of your peers who would make the ultimate decision concerning your guilt. Instead, the Judge who told you today that your case is set for trial would act as both the judge and jury. During your trial if you choose you would have the opportunity to questions the witnesses who testified against you.
    Because you do not qualify for a public defender for these types of charges, I would recommend contacting several private defense attorneys who may be able to work out a payment plan with you. You do not want to represent yourself in a criminal case when you do not have a legal background and you are unfamiliar with the rules of evidence and burdens of proof in criminal cases.
    If you have any other questions feel free to email me at or give me a call to set up a free consultation at 305-709-0880. Best of luck to you.

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  • I failed a drug test (marijuana) on Felony probation, If I hire a VOP criminal attorney could they keep me out of jail?

    felony probation for battery LEO, failed drug test (marijuana), my p.o sent the report to the court but recommended me to take drug counseling and courses, I have not heard back from her on if the court denied her recommendation, If I hire a VOP c...

    Ivan’s Answer

    Simply hiring a private criminal defense attorney will not guarantee that you will not go to jail. The issue is not whether you should be represented by a PD or private attorney- the issue is the level of experience your particular PD or private attorney has with VOP hearings. More importantly, if they have familiarity with the Judge and the prosecutor handling your case. Regardless of what your probation officer tells you- the ultimate decision will be up to the prosecutor when it comes to making a VOP plea offer. Although a prosecutor may take into account a P.O.'s recommendation- a prosecutor will look at your prior criminal history and your sentencing guideline score sheet in making a potential offer. Unlike a criminal trial, a VOP hearing requires the State prove solely by a preponderance of the evidence (NOT beyond a reasonable doubt) that the listed violation occurred. Also, the Judge plays jury in a VOP hearing, therefore the likelihood of being found in violation are greater than if a jury were to make the decision. In your situation it will be fairly easy for the state to prove that you failed a drug test. My best advice as a private criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor is to take proactive steps to prove to the Judge and the prosecutor that you are serious about taking drug counseling and abiding by the terms of your probation. For example, if possible enroll in a drug program before your court hearing that will build your credibility with the Court. Also, be very careful if you choose to exercise your right to a VOP hearing. If you are found in violation the Judge will have the discretion to sentence you up to the maximum penalty allowed by the initial charge (Batt LEO) that you were arrested for.

    One last bit of advice for you... in a VOP hearing there are two types of violations - technical and substantive. By using Marijuana and failing a drug test administered by your P.O. you committed a technical violation of your probation as opposed to being arrested for having Marijuana on your person which would be a substantive violation (i.e new arrest). This difference may appear minor but in reality it is a significant because a defendant does not have a right to remain silent if the violation is technical in nature. Therefore, unlike in a criminal trial in a VOP hearing the prosecutor could call you as a witness to the stand and ask about the technical violation.
    In closing, good luck to you and remember the issue is whether you feel comfortable with the attorney you currently have. There are several excellent public defender's- sit down with your PD and talk about your violation with them- then you will get a sense of if this person is the right attorney for you.

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