On the state level, he has handled hundreds of criminal cases, ranging from first degree murder to DUI manslaughter cases, to over 100 DUI and misdemeanor cases, and the like. He has achieved acquittals in many state crimes cases involving: child neglect, DUI, trespass, attempted murder, vehicular homicide, domestic battery, and other felonies. He served on a local conflict team for several years and has been appointed to hundreds of cases by state and federal judges.
In February 2011, JR, a former corrections deputy for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, was acquitted after a jury trial of all charges associated with his dealings with an inmate. Val Rodriguez argued to the jury that the force he used was reasonable under the circumstances, and that his training was so deficient that he could not be held accountable for his use of force.
A local sports bar owner was charged with DUI after a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy had regularly camped out in the parking lot, waiting for patrons to leave. A judge found the bar owner not guilty, and two additional juries found other patrons not guilty of DUI in 2011 and 2012, who were accused of the same acts by the same deputy.
The choice of a lawyer is particularly critical for state criminal cases. Val Rodriguez is board certified by the Florida Bar in criminal trial law. In particular, the issue for determination in most state cases is whether the defendant knowingly and willfully committed the crime, or whether the Government simply can prove nothing more than a mistake.
DUI Cases Need Special Treatment
A DUI case, unlike most criminal cases, requires special skills in determining whether the State is able to prove that the driver was under the influence of a drug or alcohol to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. Val Rodriguez has handled over 100 DUI cases. Recently, he was able to obtain acquittals in a series of cases where the drivers had refused to submit to breath alcohol tests. Val Rodriguez has also handled dozens of DUI cases involving serious bodily injury and DUI manslaughter. As a board certified criminal trial lawyer, you can be assured that Val Rodriguez has the experience for a DUI defense, and to help you make the best determination on whether to bargain for a plea or proceed to a trial.
It is important to seek assistance of counsel early for a DUI case. For example, because your drivers license has already been administratively suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles, you have only ten (10) calendar days from the date of your arrest to set a formal hearing to challenge that suspension. This formal hearing gives you an important opportunity to question the law enforcement officers involved in your case. My office can set that hearing for you (and you can also do so), but in order for us to help you, you must contact us within 10 calendar days of your arrest!
In addition, the State Attorney’s Office just implemented a first DUI offender program in Palm Beach County, for certain types of cases. However, this program is only available before your arraignment, so it is even more important to contact our office immediately about your DUI case.
A conviction for a DUI carries strict minimum penalties even for a first conviction (and is increased for repeat offenders):
Imprisonment for not more than 6 months for a first conviction (and up to 9 months if the BAC level is 0.20 or greater);
A fine of not less than $500 (up to $2,000 under certain circumstances);
Possible forfeiture of your vehicle;
Completion of a substance abuse course and any recommended treatment;
Immobilization of your vehicle (minimum of ten (10) days), and the possibility of an interlock device;
Probationary period (up to one year and strict conditions attached to that probation);
Community service (a minimum of 50 hours);
Completion of the DUI driver improvement school;
Mandatory suspension of your drivers license by the Court for a minimum of six (6) months (this is in addition to any suspension by the DMV).
In addition, upon conviction, auto insurance rates may increase or be canceled, and points may be assessed on your drivers license if you have been charged with traffic crime violations. Finally, a conviction will be used to enhance future offenses. Obviously, the consequences of a DUI conviction are serious!
For a DUI case, your initial personal consultation is FREE.
Vehicular Homicide and the Successful Self-Defense Defense
January 12, 2006: Gilbert Valdez, originally charged with a vehicular homicide of a bar patron who attacked his truck, was facing 45 years imprisonment, but was cleared by a jury of the homicide charge on the grounds of self-defense, and was later sentenced to 4 year sentence for a misdemeanor culpable negligence and felony fleeing the scene of the accident; he was released in August 2008 from state prison, and was reunited with his children and now supports them. (See Palm Beach Post article titled: Man Who Fled Faces Prison in Bar Patron’s Death, published on January 12, 2006).
First Degree Murder Success
November 25, 2005: Melissa Ringer, facing the death penalty for murder, agreed to testify against her boyfriend, who planned the murder of an FAU college student who was paying her for sex; she received a 17 year sentence after Valentin Rodriguez worked out a plea to second degree murder and established that she had been brutalized by her boyfriend. (See Palm Beach Post article titled: Woman to Testify Against Ex-Fiancé in Slaying, published on November 25, 2005).
September 16, 2004: Keith Adams, facing the death penalty for a double homicide and attempted murder of several co-workers on a construction site, was sparred the death penalty once the trial court was convinced that the death penalty was disproportionate. (See Palm Beach Post article titled: Killer Sentenced to Life, No Parole, published on September 16, 2004).
Attempted First Degree Murder Success
April 2002: A jury acquitted Steven Harper of attempted first degree murder when Valentin Rodriguez cross-examined the victim, who claimed that Harper had stabbed her in the back several times, and determined that she suffered from a disorder of self-inflicting wounds. Harper faced life in prison, and instead left the courtroom a free man after a year of incarceration on the charges.
October 14, 2000: A jury found Vincent Beatrice, who was charged with attempted first degree murder in a scheme where his best friend was being sexually molested by the victim, of a lesser charge of aggravated assault, escaping a potential life sentence. In a strange twist, Valentin Rodriguez was able to impeach the victim so much that the jury foreman was prompted to request that the victim be prosecuted for his heinous acts; Vincent served a ten year sentence and was successfully rehabilitated. (See Palm Beach Post article titled: Juries Split Verdicts in Attempted Murder Case, published on October 14, 2000).
Successful Child Neglect Defense
June 14, 2003: A father, Edward Tidaback, fought a long and hard battle to restore his dignity and get his two young sons back from state custody. His wife left him for another man, and left him to care for two toddlers. Tidaback was at the beach one day with the toddlers, and they ran away from him. He lost them for an hour, and searched for them extensively. Investigators claimed that Tidaback was intoxicated and fell asleep when they ran away, and therefore had neglected the children. At the time, Tidaback was on probation for passing out from alcohol months earlier when the children were left unattended at his apartment. A jury found him not guilty in June 2003. Nevertheless, he then lost his two children to the State, and fought the battle all the way up to the Florida Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the case in December 2006. Unfortunately, the Court decided that since he did not challenge the court-ordered adoption of his children in the interim, he had no rights on appeal. He escaped a possible 30 year prison sentence on the criminal charges. (See Palm Beach Post article titled: Dad Cleared After Toddler’s Found Alone, published on June 14, 2003).
Successful Animal Abuse Defense
December 5, 2002: Monroe Young was caught on video tape prodding his pit bulls into fighting. He was charged with felony animal cruelty, and faced 10 years imprisonment on both charges. A jury convicted him a misdemeanor, resulting in an 8 day sentence. The defense was clear: the dogs were not harmed, they were wagging their tails during the alleged fight, and the fight was really pit-bull horse play. (See Palm Beach Post article titled: Man Gets 8 Days in Jail for Hitting Dog, published on December 5, 2002).