Arrested for Speaking Spanish…? South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys share Common Policing Mistakes

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Arrested for Speaking Spanish…? South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys share Common Policing Mistakes

Arrested for Speaking Spanish…? South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys share Common Policing Mistakes

The purpose of having a police force is to ensure the safety of the local community. Police are responsible for public safety, namely, making sure that people abide by the law and don’t cause harm to others. We teach our children to respect police officers, and appreciate the service they provide us.

In my experience practicing criminal and DUI law in Fort Lauderdale and all of South Florida, unfortunately, there are too many times when the police have the opposite effect—they make us feel unsafe.

A misunderstanding and a language barrier turned arrest in South Florida

For one of our clients, the police created a nightmare situation for him just because Spanish was his first language, and he had trouble understanding what they were yelling at him in English.

Before I jump into this story, I want to clarify that I’m not anti-cop. Not all cops are bad, and not all cops are good. That’s just the way it is. But I am anti-bad cop. And this case was one of those situations where the cop couldn’t care less about justice.

My client, Juan, was from Venezuela. He and his family had been in the U.S. for a few years already, but English was still difficult for him. 

In his profession, he dealt mostly with South American companies, so at work and home he primarily spoke Spanish (which we all know is fairly common in South Florida, and certainly not out of the ordinary).

When Juan and his wife got into an argument one night over his 22-year-old stepson, who is a disciplinary nightmare who was still living at home, the stepson (who did not like Juan at all) called the police hoping to get Juan in trouble. Neither Juan nor his wife knew the police had even been called until an officer showed up on their doorstep.

Juan answered the door. His wife was standing a few feet behind him in the living room. Her face was flushed from yelling, but she had no bruising or marks anywhere on her body. The officer informed Juan that someone had called in to say there was a domestic violence situation.

Juan tried to explain that there must be a misunderstanding, but the officer refused to listen. He started firing off incriminating questions at Juan in English. When Juan tried to explain that he couldn’t understand what the officer was asking, the officer placed him under arrest.

Juan’s wife started protesting when she saw the officer take out his handcuffs. But the officer didn’t listen to her either. He hauled Juan out to the cop car and took him down to the station for booking for a domestic violence crime.

Once he saw the judge, Juan posted bail, but unfortunately he could not go home. There was a no contact order in place pursuant to the criminal domestic charges against him, meaning he was unable to initiate any kind of communication with his wife.

That’s where Rossen Law Firm comes into the situation.
Now, we were able to get the charges against Juan dismissed, but the damage was already done. He had a mugshot online, which is almost impossible to get rid of, he had a criminal charge against him – which goes on your record the moment you’re arrested, not the moment you’re convicted – spent the night in jail, and racked up expensive legal fees to pay. He also underwent a lot of stress, was afraid he might lose the ability to see his children, and was worried about potentially losing his job, too.

And the really frustrating part of this situation is that if the cop had taken a few minutes to speak with both Juan and his wife at their home, this whole awful situation could have been avoided. 

Have you been arrested due to a language barrier in South Florida? Or due to an alleged domestic violence situation

Reach out to Rossen Law Firm today by filling out the contact form on this page, speaking with our live chat operator, or calling our office now. We’re here for you in any way that you need.

See all locations Rossen Law Firm practices Domestic Violence Defense.

For more information on domestic violence, visit our frequently asked questions page

How We Win South Florida Domestic Violence Cases 

Attorney Adam Rossen

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South Florida Criminal & DUI Defense Attorney
Second DUI, 0.19 Breath
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How We Win
Second DUI, 0.19 Breath
DUI Charge Dismissed
Federal Child Porn Possession
Mandatory Prison Time Avoided
Attempted Murder
Charges Dismissed

Google Reviews

kevin tabronkevin tabron
00:07 08 Sep 22
In one of the most stressful times in my life, Rossen Law Firm was there for me. Leaving no stone unturned they provided patience and knowledge in every detail of my case. I’m very thankful and proud of this law firm family and especially of my lawyer, Scott Simmons for guiding, defending and helping me in every way possible. He and this law firm family come highly recommended from personal experience!!!
Jason HigleyJason Higley
15:24 26 Aug 22
I had an unfortunate situation with a family member that lead to my arrest and being charged with DV Battery. This was the first time I had ever been arrested so I was very nervous and afraid of what was going to happen to me. After talking with Adam I decided to retain him and let me tell you this was the BEST decision I could have ever made. Adam made me feel so comfortable and confident that everything will turn out the best in my favor. He is professional, ethical and supportive. He was always available too answer any questions or concerns.Not to mention, his team at the office is awesome they are so friendly and welcoming. Anytime I had a question when I called the office they were able to guide me in the rightdirection. They always were in contact with me with any information or updates regarding my case. Adams team is GREAT!Adam delivered, my case was DISMISSED. So if you want an attorney the is gonna fight for you and get the job done retain the BEST there is Adam Rossen!!!
Felix I HFelix I H
13:27 28 Jul 22
Adam Rossen and the team at Rossen Law took great care in handling my case. They are very professional, and get the job done. I was particular relieved to see just how much empathy they showed with me, and how effortless it was to be their client.I literally visited them twice. My initial consultation, and then to pickup the final docs. I have nothing but great things to say about these folks, and I would highly recommend them to anyone. Thanks Guys.
Terry ChristopherTerry Christopher
12:32 09 May 22
I had an amazing experience with The Rossen Law Firm. The staff were very professional. Attorney Susan Lawson went above and beyond working on my case. We were thoroughly prepared for trial. Mrs. Lawson reviewed hours of body and dash camera footage multiple times and aggressively performed depositions on witnesses and law enforcement.The final outcome for me was the state dropped my case, due to the great work Susan and the Rossen team performed. I didn’t even need to go to trial.This law firm does not play around. They pay attention to detail and they FIGHT FOR YOU!Thank you Adam, team, and a special thank you to Susan for your amazing work! I really appreciate you.
Ketiana ProvinceKetiana Province
20:27 23 Mar 22
My experience with Rossen Law Firm was excellent. From the consultation to the end.. My attorney Susan Lawson gave my son's case all the time and attention that was needed to be successful in court. She was confident during all the court proceedings. My favorite part was when she said we are family, never once my son and I were treated other then that. I very much appreciate the knowledge and support I received through Rossen Law Firm.
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Rossen Law Firm’s legal team understands what’s at stake when you’re charged with a crime in South Florida. We’re committed to defending you and protecting your rights. Our legal team is ready to create a customized strategy for your case to fight for the best possible outcome. We handle Criminal, DUI, Federal, Domestic Violence, Marchman Act & Baker Act cases and more.

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