Palm Beach, Florida — Jewel of the South
Palm Beach is the easternmost town in Florida situated on a narrow barrier island wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Lake Worth Lagoon. Known for its pristine beaches, historic landmarks, and extravagant wealth, Palm Beach is a place unlike any other.
In 2018, Bloomberg ranked Palm Beach as the 27th-wealthiest place in the United States and it’s easy to understand why. Many “captains of industry” call Palm beach home. In fact, 40 billionaires with residential ties to Palm Beach made the Forbes’ Global Billionaires list. Everywhere you look, there are gated mansions, 5-star hotels, designer boutiques and upscale restaurants. Bentleys, Rolls Royces, and Porches frequently line the famous Worth Avenue, a glamorous shopping district reminiscent of NYC’s Fifth Avenue and LA’s Rodeo Drive.
Palm Beach boasts many exclusive amenity-rich country clubs, some of which include: the Bath and Tennis Club, the Everglades Club, the Sailfish Club, the Palm Beach Country Club, the Beach Club and Mar-a-Lago, the “Winter White House” resort of President Donald Trump. These communities offer access to golf courses, tennis courts, spa services, athletic centers, and much more. A membership to one of these clubs isn’t cheap. Most charge an initiation fee plus annual dues totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Though affluent, residents of Palm Beach are extremely charitable and donate more money per capita to charities than any other community in America.
Palm Beach History
Palm Beach is an island steeped in rich history. In the 1890’s, oil and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler happened upon an “alligator infested jungle” and envisioned a “paradise for the wealthy.” He became the town’s first commercial real estate developer, erecting dozens of resorts along Florida’s east coast as well as a Railway system to transport visitors. Henry Flagler paved the way for the emergence of an opulent society in Palm Beach and many rich families came to settle thereafter including the Vanderbilt’s, Rockefellers, Carnegies, and Kennedy’s.
Henry Flagler’s most iconic contributions have stood the test of time including the 538-room Italian-Renaissance style Breakers Hotel which sits on 140 acres overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and the White Wall mansion; Flagler’s former residence which has now been transformed into a museum open to the public. Both properties reflect the Mediterranean Revival architecture design of the Gilded Age.
Ideal Place To Live and Work
Palm Beach has a population of nearly 9,000 and welcomes over 7 million visitors each year. Residents and snowbirds alike enjoy year-round sunshine, 47 miles of beaches, and a countless array of attractions and entertainment options. It is a multigenerational town that attracts millennials, young families and senior citizens. A thriving local economy offers many opportunities for businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs, especially given the close proximity to all of the major cities in Florida. There is a healthy work-life balance which many professionals appreciate.
Education is a major priority in Palm Beach. The Palm Beach County School District is the tenth largest in the nation and the fifth largest in the state of Florida with 185 schools serving more than 193,000 students who speak 146 different languages and dialects. There are several local community colleges in the area and two universities, Florida Atlantic and Palm Beach Atlantic. Palm Beach is also not far from two Top 50 Universities — the University of Florida in Gainesville and the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
A Golfer’s Paradise
Palm Beach County boasts over one hundred private and public golf courses, the most of any county in the nation. This has led many to refer to Palm Beach as the “golf capital of the world.” Some of the biggest names in golf call the area home – Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Greg Norman to name a few. Popular places to play golf in the area include: PGA National, Harbor Ridge Yacht & Country Club, Osprey Creek at Martin Downs, North Palm Beach Country Club, Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course, Abacoa Golf Course, Sailfish Point, and the Ibis Golf & Country Club.
Palm Beach hosts several major golf tournaments and events throughout the year. The most prominent includes the Honda Classic played on the Championship Course at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens; and the Allianz Championship played at the Broken Sound Golf Club in Boca Raton.
Nature and Wildlife
For all its extravagance, Palm Beach offers simple pleasures. The County is very committed to preserving its natural lands and providing a habitat for a variety of wildlife. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts have access to beautifully landscaped parks, trails and natural preserves. Many like to walk or bike on the paved Lake Trail which runs the length of the island along the Intercoastal Waterway and offers great scenic views of the marina and mansions. Other popular includes:
- Grassy Waters Everglades Preserve
- Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands
- Frenchman’s Forest
- Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area
- Daggerwing Nature Center
- Mount’s Botanical Garden
For those who want to catch a glimpse of exotic animals up close, many visit the Lion Country Safari Park – a drive through safari where lions, rhinos, zebras, ostriches, giraffes and many other animals roam freely. For those who prefer a barricade between themselves and wild animals, the Palm Beach Zoo is an excellent alternative.
Arts and Cultural Attractions
The cultural offerings in Palm Beach County are plentiful and include art galleries, museums, live music and theatre, film and dance. Some of the top-notch performance venues include the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Delray Beach Playhouse and Palm Beach Dramaworks in Downtown West Palm Beach. The Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation also manages three amphitheaters – Sunset Cove, Seabreeze, and Canyon, where live concerts, festivals, and other events take place throughout the year.
Crime Statistics in Palm Beach County
Two cities in Palm Beach County — Riviera Beach and Lake Worth ranked among the top 100 most dangerous cities in America (#30 and #31 respectively), according to a report by Neighborhood Scout. Statistics revealed that there is a 1 in 72 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Riviera County while there is a 1 in 74 chance of falling victim to a violent crime in Lake Worth.
In 2016, the Riviera Beach Police Department investigated nine murders, 23 rapes, 56 robberies, and 387 assaults in the year 2016, with a reported population of 33,957. Sheriff deputies in Lake Worth investigated a total of 10 murders, 36 rapes, 185 robberies and 279 assaults in 2016, with a reported population of 37,475.
For non-violent crimes, Riviera Beach and Lake Worth have one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the nation.
Palm Beach County Criminal Court System
When you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, it is natural to feel overwhelmed. Some of the stress you feel may be due in part to the uncertainty surrounding the criminal process. The following is a brief overview of what you can expect after being accused of a crime in Palm Beach.
Arrest & Booking
The manner in which your criminal case proceeds depends on whether the alleged crime is categorized as a misdemeanor or felony. For a misdemeanor crime (including, but not limited to, petty theft, battery, marijuana possession, driving under the influence, vandalism) the police officer will issue a notice to appear which requests your appearance in court on a future date.
A felony crime (including, but not limited to, homicide, robbery, burglary, sex offenses, forgery, child abuse, distributing drugs) will result in a physical arrest in which you will be transported to the Palm Beach County jail located at 3228 Gun Club Road. If you were arrested for DUI, you may also be taken to the station to take a breath test.
If you live in the western part of the county, you will most likely be taken to the West County Detention Facility in Belle Glade at 38811 James Wheeler Way.
Once you arrive at the designated police station, you will begin the booking process which involves getting searched and fingerprinted.
Within 24 hours of your arrest and after the booking process is complete, you will appear before a judge who will advise you of the charges against you and determine if there was probable cause for your arrest. The judge will ask if you have hired a personal attorney and will decide if you are eligible for a pre-trial release.
In Palm Beach, there are a number of ways you may be released:
- Released on your own recognizance: the judge concludes that you are not a flight risk and trusts that you will return to court on a specified date
- Cash bond: the judge sets bond and if you can afford it, you pay the full amount in cash to the jail you were booked into (this money will be returned to you
- Surety bond: if you cannot afford bail, you can use a bail bondsman who will pay the bond amount but charge you 10% fee of total bond. They may also require collateral.
- House arrest: you are allowed to leave jail but must wear an electronic monitor around ankle and stay confined to your home
Some crimes are automatically assigned a bail amount in which case you do not need to go before a judge. On the other hand, certain crimes may not qualify for bond at all such as murder and capital sexual battery. If bond is not set or is too high, your lawyer can file can file a written motion to set or reduce bond and set it for a hearing before the judge.
It’s important to know that being arrested doesn’t automatically result in formal charges. The State Attorney’s Office will review all the reports and evidence from the law enforcement officer and then make a decision whether or not to file formal charges.
If charges are indeed filed, an arraignment is scheduled within 30 days. At this hearing, you will plead guilty or not guilty in front of a judge. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a favorable plea deal may be reached to resolve the case and help you avoid harsh punishment. If a fair deal cannot be reached, your case will go to trial.
Depending on where you live and whether you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor, your case will be heard at one of the following courthouses:
- Main Courthouse, 205 North Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, FL 33401, 561-355-2996
- North County Courthouse, 3488 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410, 561-624-6608
- South County Courthouse, 200 West Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach, FL 33444, 561-274-1530
- West County Courthouse, 3844 S.R. 80, Belle Glade, Fl 33430, 561-996-4843
Hire a Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer
Don’t try to navigate the criminal justice system on your own. You need an experienced skilled attorney with the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively defend your case. Call Michael T. Rabideau today at (561) 820-4848 to schedule a free consultation