Miami criminal defense attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm have been committed to tenacious representation to people arrested in Miami Beach for nearly two decades. We’ve successfully handled just about every kind of case under the Florida sun - from DUI to domestic violence to drug trafficking - and the client reviews speak for themselves.
Miami Beach is a high-vibration kind of place full of heat, color, spice, and culture. A coastal resort community situated on barrier islands to the east of mainland Miami-Dade County, just past Biscayne Bay, it boasts glittery enclaves like South Beach and the Art Deco District. Aquamarine waters make it a boater's paradise. It’s also home to PortMiami (or Port of Miami), the largest passenger port in the world and one of the largest cargo ports in the U.S. Nearly two dozen passenger cruise lines constantly operate out of 10 terminals there. Little wonder Miami Beach has been an exceptionally popular destination for locals and tourists since the mid-20th Century.
But it's not without its issues, particularly with respect to crime. In fact, Miami Beach has garnered a bit of a reputation in recent years for being rather unsafe.Miami Beach Crime Waves
Based on FBI violent crime data and a comparison of Florida’s 65 most populated cities, Miami Beach ranked No. 3, with 980 reported violent crimes. These include offenses like aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and homicide. The number of reported rapes and robberies in particular are very high compared to other communities of similar size.
According to the Miami Beach Police Department’s crime statistics for a single recent year:
- Homicides - 3
- Rapes - 125
- Robberies - 264
- Aggravated assault/stalking - 632
- Burglaries - 580
- Larcenies (thefts) - 5,500
- Auto thefts - 433
These have included a number of high-profile shootings, many of them in night clubs along Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive in South Beach. Fights and violence crimes sometimes spike during high tourist events, such as spring break and the Ultra Music Festival (along with DUIs and other alcohol-related offenses). The city of Miami Beach has been cracking down on unruly spring break crowds the last few years, in some years imposing 6 p.m. curfews, prohibiting the sale of alcohol for off-premises consumption, and even declaring a state of emergency. They said the tourists had become too much for the police to safely manage.
However, some are also related to organized crime (drugs, gangs, and prostitution) or domestic violence. In one six-week-long bust, MBPD chief told reporters detectives were targeting “a problem we’ve had for far too long with open-air drug dealing at or around Ocean Drive.” Their investigation led to dozens of felony and misdemeanor arrests, and seizure of guns, marijuana, cocaine, and cash.
Prostitution/human trafficking offenses are also higher than average on Miami Beach. So-called “street walking” is a lot less prevalent than it used to be, but not because business has tapered off. It’s merely moved indoors - to massage parlors, night clubs, illegal brothels, and the internet. Prostitution is considered a relatively minor offense, a second-degree misdemeanor per F.S. 796.07. That said, in addition to public shaming (including your name added to a prostitution registry), fines, and mandatory prostitution impact classes, there’s the fact that police can seize and impound your vehicle for up to 60 days after your arrest. (Although only about 20 percent of those arrested for soliciting prostitution were actually convicted, it’s not the sort of charge you want tailing you your whole life. Fighting back aggressively with a private criminal defense attorney is often your best bet.)
On the other hand, human trafficking, per F.S. 787.06, can be punished by up to life in prison. Just a few years ago, a man was convicted of federal human trafficking charges for sex trafficking in Miami Beach and sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to the FBI, he allegedly lured vulnerable girls and women to work for him, advertising them online.Why Should I Hire a Miami Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer?
It’s important to understand that Miami-Dade as a whole sends more people to Florida prisons than any other county. It has the 8th largest jail system in the United States. This is a criminal justice arm that has resources, expertise, and all the latest tech to aid in their efforts.
And then there’s you…
If you’re arrested in Miami Beach and facing criminal charges, you’re risking the worst possible outcome by trying to defend yourself in an unfamiliar machine where you don’t know the rules or speak the language. By hiring an experienced Miami Beach criminal defense attorney, you give yourself a fighting chance to substantially minimize the impact this awful experience is going to have on the rest of your life.
If you have been arrested in Miami-Dade County and need to secure immediate legal representation, call The Ansara Law Firm in Broward County at (954) 761-4011.