Doctors Charged in Pain Clinic “Pill Mill” Cases

A concerted drive by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and a task force comprised of State and Federal agencies, police and sheriff agencies in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach County has resulted in over a dozen major cases in Florida and U.S. District Court in the Middle and Southern District(s) of Florida. (DEA's "Operation Pill Nation" and "Operation Pill Nation 2") pills.jpg
The initial investigation by the joint federal and state task force resolves with a criminal case filed in Florida court or Federal Court. The press calls them “Pill Mill” cases. (See CNN Article)

Doctors, Physician Assistants, Pharmacists and nurse practitioners are the focus. The federal agencies have succeeded in many instances by charging conspiracy counts coupled to sale, distribution and trafficking charges (Florida criminal courts). The objective is to stem what was a rising number of deaths by drug overdose of oxycodone, oxycontin, and a slew of opioids drug cocktails by accidental overdose and in some instances, suicide. As a result, doctors have abandoned the practice of pain medicine resulting in a lack of medical services for those suffering from chronic pain from cancer, injuries and long term disabling diseases such as arthritis, joint conditions, automobile accidents and end of life issues. (See "Florida's pill mill crackdowns hurting those in real pain")

South Florida has been the focus of these cases and a small cadre of criminal defense lawyers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale have developed an expertise in these cases due to the number of cases filed in this district. Political pressures and excessive prosecutorial zeal has resulted in a rush to charge and charges by the medical establishment that patients are suffering because doctors are afraid to prescribe pain medications for fear of prison.

Sealing and Expunging in Florida

Florida provides a limited opportunity to seal and or expunge criminal records. The good news is not as good as one would hope and the bad news is a deal breaker. Here's what is going on...

First: sealing and expunging doesn't erase your arrest or the result. It doesn't eliminate your biggest issue: getting it off of Google. The State of Florida will permit you to seal and or expunge but only if it is a non-violent crime, and only once. The list is very long and includes any crime involving children, seniors, crimes of dishonesty and a long list which you can get by viewing the statute. But, even if you get the State to seal or expunge, it doesn't disappear. Any state agency can get at it, all law enforcement, any Federal agency, any employer where you are working with children, seniors, or people with mental disabilities. Worse still, it only applies to records kept by the State, it doesn't apply to records kept by non-State entities. For example, when I Google your name it will always come up on any website that dumped the arrest: which is all of them. So if we get your records sealed and you apply for a job, a loan, a rental, a credit card: they will find it on a search engine.

The sealing and expunging gives you, under the Statutes (Florida Statute §943.0585 & Florida Statute §943.059), the right to say that the event didn't occur, but not really, it says you can say the records were expunged: which is as a practical matter useless. Worse still, if anyone has looked online and asks you if you have any criminal event in your history and you deny it...game over. It is your lack of candor that will harm you and probably more than the actual fact that you were arrested or convicted. What to do???

First: understand the very limited advantage you get with a sealing and expunging. You get the moral high-ground to say that you are so concerned with your record that you sought to have it sealed and expunged. Second, know that it will never go away: like a bell cannot be "un-rung".

My advice is to relax and know that arrests and convictions have become so common in our society that most companies have to deal with the fact that a high percentage of Americans have a criminal history and so you can realize that having a record is not always a deal breaker. Just acknowledge that you have a criminal event in your history, that you have changed and are now a better person and that you want them to know so they don't think you're hiding anything. If you interviewed me you would be okay with getting past the fact that I had an arrest and look at the whole person. An employer interviewing 20 people will find that a majority have a crime in their background and that is the reality of our times.

The process: first sent a fee to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and they will respond by telling you that your record is, or is not, eligible for sealing and or expunging. Step two: file a motion in your local circuit court for a sealing and expunging. You will get a case number and a judge. Next: the State Attorney has to be approached and asked if they have a position either opposing or not opposing. Next: get a court hearing date and then a Judge will either grant or deny your petition. Once granted then you send it to FDLE and they will, in about three months, seal and expunge. They don't notify you when it's done and you get nothing formal. Most people need a lawyer to help them through the process which, years ago was much simpler, but now requires two court hearings and a motion in written form to get it done.

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Confession: Good For the Soul, Bad If You are Arrested

Don’t confuse clearing one’s conscience with yourself and your maker with talking to the police. I wrote the book on it: CAN THE POLICE LIE TO ME?
Yes….the US Supreme Court calls it “aggressive interrogation” but to normal folk it means lying. The police can promise you anything short of a walk to induce you to make a statement and the courts will consider it voluntary. “I’ll go easy on you”, “I’ll speak with the prosecutor for you…” “Tell me what you did or I’ll go hard on you”….all spoken by a cop to get you to make a so-called voluntary statement. Do not go there!!
If you are the subject of a police investigation you have no duty to give any information that will be used to prosecute you in a criminal court. If the police are there to arrest you then you must go with them. Do not resist. Do not oppose them taking you in custody. You may have a bad night in the local jail, but any criminal defense lawyer can help you get a fair trial if you don’t make any statements to the police. Remember the mounted fish on my wall, the one that has the following brass sign below it, which reads: ‘IF I ONLY KEPT MY MOUTH SHUT I WOULD NOT BE HERE TODAY”.
When in doubt, if you have any questions: go to my FREE! App and download it to your smartphone, iPad, iPhone, or tablet…. The name of the free app is SAY NO TO POLICE. It’s easy to use, fun to read, and can inform you on most of the things that judges and cops know, but don’t want you to know!

Democrats, Republicans, and the "Stand your Ground" Law

After an innocent 17 year old boy was shot by accident by a neighborhood watch volunteer, his mother, Sybrina Fulton and Democratic lawmakers are asking for the repeal of the Stand your Ground law.

The stand your ground law gives a person the right to justifiably use deadly force as long as there is a reasonable belief of an unlawful threat. In Beard v. U.S. (158 U.S. 550 (1895)), the Supreme Court ruled that a man who was on his property when he came under attack, did not provoke the assault, and had reasonable grounds to believe, that the other individual intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm, did not have a duty to leave and was entitled to stand his ground.

This basically means that if someone enters your home in the middle of the night and you have reasonable belief that this person has a gun and may take your life, you don't have an obligation to leave your home, but you have the right to self defense and to use deadly force to protect yourself.

The case of Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old boy shot and killed by George Zimmerman, has brought even more criticisms of the stand your ground law and whether it should continue to exist or not.

George Zimmerman is being charged with second-degree murder. He is claiming self-defense and is now awaiting trial.

13 Years Old But Charged as an Adult in Florida

The US Supreme Court ruled this summer that it is unconstitutional for juvenile offenders to get mandatory life sentences without parole. But Cristian Fernandez, a 13 year old boy from Jacksonville, Florida, may change the way juveniles convicted of first degree murder are sentenced. Cristian Fernandez is the youngest inmate awaiting trial in Duval County, Florida and could be facing life sentence. He is being accused of first degree murder of his 2 year old brother and the sexual abuse of his 5 year old brother.
This case is generating controversies all over the country with people arguing about the right actions to be taken against Fernandez. Some are saying he should be convicted as an adult for the heinous crimes he committed in order to pay for his actions. Other believe that he has a painful past that lead him to this and that what he really needs is help, not spending his life in prison.
He is awaiting trial, and it is now up to Florida courts to decide the outcome that may possibly change the way juvenile offenders are handled in cases like this.

They Didn’t Arrest Me! – Am I Free Of Charges?

Sometimes a person can be charged with a crime and still be “on the loose”. This doesn’t mean, of course, that the charge was dismissed or that the person was set completely free of culpability and doesn’t have any further responsibility about what happened at that time. So what happens if you’re not taken into custody then?

What happens is that in the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, not always will an officer arrest you. In some cases in South Florida, mostly in traffic offenses and misdemeanor cases, an officer will issue the person a citation. Even though it is not an arrest, a citation also needs to be taken seriously. A citation is a commitment that says you will show up in court at a certain date and time. When you sign a citation you are making a promise that you will appear in court. In exchange of that, you are allowed to remain in liberty.

If you were issued a citation in South Florida, you need to contact an experienced criminal attorney who will guide you through the process. Call our offices to make an appointment for a free consultation.

Not Just A Simple Battery

According to Florida Statutes, battery can be defined as one person intentionally touching another, causing bodily harm. This is often confused with assault. The difference is that sometimes assault doesn’t require the actual touching of another human being, but only verbal assault.
In Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach and other regions in South Florida, battery can be divided in armed battery, aggravated battery and felony battery. According to Florida rules, armed battery is when the perpetrator uses or carries a firearm at the time of the offense. Felony battery is when the perpetrator of the crime has the intention of causing great bodily harm, such as permanent disability. Aggravated battery, on the other hand, includes the intention of causing bodily harm but also the use of a deadly weapon while committing the crime.
It is important to know that in Broward County, Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County, a person that is being accused of battery and has already been convicted of a felony battery before, committed a felony of the third degree. Punishment for a felony of the third degree is up to five years in prison.
If you or someone in your family has been accused of committing battery, aggravated battery or felony battery it is important for you to call an experienced defense attorney. If you have been convicted of a felony battery and are now being accused of another battery charge, call a South Florida criminal defense attorney for a free consultation.

Burglary in South Florida

In South Florida, to be charged with a burglary offense, the State of Florida needs to prove three elements.
First, the state needs to prove that the suspect entered a property that was legally owned by another individual. This means, for example, entering someone else’s home.
The second element the State of Florida needs to prove is that the entering was what is referred to as “wrongful entering”. By wrongful entering, the state means that the person was not welcome in the property.
The most important element is that prior to entering the dwellings of another human being, the individual accused of burglary had to had the intent to commit an offense.
In Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, and other regions in South Florida, the most common cases involve the wrongfully entering of the dwellings of another individual with the intent to commit theft.
It is important to know that the second element does not exist if you are invited to go into the property. If you enter a shop, or a social event, you are not wrongfully entering. In South Florida, the burglary statute also applies to the burglary of a conveyance, which includes motor vehicles.
If you, or someone you know, is being accused of committing burglary in the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, or Miami-Dade, you should call our office for a free consultation.

Can Someone, in South Florida, Commit Burglary Inside A Vehicle?

Burglaries not only occur in someone’s home, but it can also occur in someone’s car, trailer or truck. For a person to be charged and convicted of a burglary crime in Fort Lauderdale, Miami or Palm Beach, the state has the burden of proving whether that person entered the property of another human being, with the intention to commit a criminal offense. That criminal offense can include, but is not limited to theft, murder and battery.
When someone is accused of committing a burglary offense in a vehicle in South Florida, this is called burglary of a conveyance. The state then needs to prove that the perpetrator entered another person’s vehicle to commit a crime. In Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach and other areas in Florida, it usually happens that in this case, the burglar reaches through a car window to strike the victim.
The most important element of the crime, that the state must prove to convict a person of burglary, is the intent he or she had when entering the dwellings of another. The state must prove the person, before entering the property, had the intent to commit a criminal act.
If you think you are being unfairly accused of burglary and that you didn’t have intent to commit a crime when you entered someone’s property, you must call a defense attorney. Call a South Florida defense attorney for a free consultation.

“Going Insane” in South Florida

We know that when a person is being accused of committing a criminal act, it is the state’s obligation to prove all the elements of the crime existed. The elements of the crime are stated in the Florida statutes of that specific offense. In the courts of Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, and South Florida in general, the state has the burden of proving that the defendant was guilty.
One of the elements of a crime is what it’s called mens rea. It refers to the guilty mind, or the intent the person had to commit the offense. This is when the defense of insanity comes in. In Florida, insanity is a defense that alleges the criminal, due to a mental illness or retardation, didn’t have the capacity of knowing the wrongfulness of his or her actions at that time.
It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney when dealing with an insanity defense in South Florida. If you think that you or someone you know is being charged with a crime and that at the time of that crime he or she may have been, according to Florida’s rule, “legally insane” you should call a South Florida criminal defense attorney now.

What is an “Accessory After The Fact” in the State of Florida?

In South Florida, not only you have to actually commit the crime in order to be accused and sent to prison. For example, you don’t need to be the one who actually shot an individual in order to be accused of a crime. You may have not even been at the time and place where the crime occurred, but you may also be responsible for aiding the perpetrator.
In Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami, and other cities in South Florida, after an individual commits a crime, you can be charged with being an accessory after the fact for helping him or her in any way. It can either be by hiding their gun, or by helping them to avoid getting arrested.
In the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, to be charged as an accessory after the fact, the state needs to prove that you knew the other person committed a felony, that you assisted him or her in any way, and that you are not related to them.
It is important that you contact a qualified attorney if you or someone you know is being accused of being an accessory after the fact. Call an experienced South Florida criminal defense attorney.

Burglary in Florida..Seeking an Understanding of the Law

Always begin by reading the jury instructions. Florida jury instructions are online and can be found by a simple Google or Bing search. All my clients read jury instructions with me at our first intake meeting. Burglary is a two-part crime: that means there are two separate crimes that must exist before the government can seek a conviction. First there must be a trespass and concurrent with the trespass a criminal act. If I walk across your property and then leave, it is a simple misdemeanor: trespass. If while walking across your property I take your bicycle, then I have committed a theft. Burglary is trespass plus another crime. It's simple yet complex: a trespass is an intentional act, and theft is an intentional act. Both intentional acts require the State prove intent (knowing what you are doing and intending to do it)....so intent is always an element of both charges. If you have more questions about burglary contact your South Florida criminal defense attorney. Remember the more you know the more you can protect yourself from aggressive prosecutors, of which we are mightily blessed here in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and South Florida.

Bond in Florida: You Have a Constitutional Right

Florida’s constitution is clear: the right to bond (pre-trial release) is a right, not a privilege. Our constitution says that pre-trial release (bail) cannot be denied by a judge unless he makes a finding that there are no conditions (restrictions) that can assure your appearance in court, or can assure the safety of the community. Written in the constitution, but treated lightly by the legislature and most judges. How so? Go to Florida statute 903.0471, your legislature said a judge can deny you bond if you have a new arrest while out on another charge. South Florida criminal defense lawyers, yours truly among them, have been reminding judges that bond is a right than can only be taken away if the judge makes a finding that the arrestee is a danger of flight or danger to the community. The legislature and most criminal judges in Florida avoid dealing with the constitution in a rush to judgment. It may appeal to common sense that if you are arrested once and then a second time, you may be a habitual or repeat offender. But being a repeat offender is not a constitutional basis for denying bond. I have been fighting in court, just again last week, to overturn the law that denies bond to re-offenders. Constitutional rights exist, they are there to preempt passions and imagined fears and should not be taken away easily. Contact a Florida criminal lawyer to know your rights to bail.


How Do I Get Information About Florida Criminal Law?

If you have a need to know and understand Florida’s criminal laws here is the best way to start: go the Florida’s Jury Instructions and read the jury instruction for the Florida criminal law you are interested in learning about. That’s where I start and I’ve been a criminal lawyer since 1976! Here’s why: Juries don’t read statutes, judges don’t read statutes to juries. Only lawyers read law, so skip the law and go to the jury instructions. After the trial the judge doesn’t explain the law, he reads the jury instructions. Jurors base their decisions on their understanding of the jury instructions. So what does a statute mean? It’s anyone’s guess, and it often is just that: something lawyers and judge’s wrestle with in motions and hearings. But when the tire meets the road and a criminal defendant is on trial the only law that matters is what the jury hears, and the judge just reads them the jury instructions. Florida criminal jury instructions can be found on the website of the Florida Supreme Court, or just Google it! Once you’ve read them then call me for a consultation. Start with a little basic research and you’ll get better results from your Florida criminal lawyer. Be informed, it’s your best defense! Knowledge is power.

Criminal Arrests In Fort Lauderdale and Miami Florida

Miami led Florida counties in arrests last year with a total of 154,257. Miami criminal arrests numbers are for Miami – Dade county which includes the major cities of Hialeah (11,765 arrests), Miami Beach (12,740) and the City of Miami (57,466 arrests). Broward County arrests last year totaled 90,820. Included in the Broward totals are the major cities: Fort Lauderdale (13,940 arrest), Hollywood (8,203 arrests), Pompano Beach (6,705 arrests) and Davie (5,097 arrests). The Florida Department of Law Enforcement website has more arrest totals and information on criminal histories, a sex offender database, and unsolved homicides.

White Lite? Federal Judge Gives “light” Sentence to While Collar Criminal

Thinking of adding your name to the growing list of white collar criminals with your own brand of Ponzi? Here’s some advice: New York’s federal courts are sympathetic to late lifers who commit white collar crimes. New York Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein gave a nine year prison term to sixty year old Edward T. Stein who defrauded his investors out of $46,000.000.00, yes… 46 million…a trifle for our local boy Mr. Rothstein. So open a hedge fund with your social security check and go at it! Federal criminal defense attorneys, like me, are anxious to file change of venue motions to move our federal white collar criminal cases to Brooklyn Federal Court for a more ‘sympathetic’ judge. Our South Florida federal criminal judges give out longer sentences. Maybe this will cause a reverse tide of scammers….imagine Mr. Rothstein’s New York branch? So round up your hedge fund white collar scammers, call your “client”-victims and move North! Yahoooooo!

US Leads the World in Prison Population

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Our next competitor is China. Here are the numbers for the USA:
-Over 7 million people are in prison, probation or parole
-With 5% of the world’s population the USA has 25% of the world’s incarcerated
-70% of US prisoners are “non-white”
-1 of 3 non-whites males between 20 and 29 years of age are in prison or parole
-In Federal prisons 57% are in on drug related charges
-93% of prisoners are male

In Broward Count Florida (composed of Fort Lauderdale, Pompano, Davie, Weston, Hollywood, Coral Springs, etc)
-in 2008 there were over 90,000 arrests

Florida Continues to Lead the Charge Backward in Refusing to Restore Felons’ Rights

It came as no surprise that a case coming out (of all places!) the 2nd Circuit: Hayden v. Paterson, (Federal) refused to restore civil rights to felons even after re-stating the obvious racial disparity in our prison populations: “Blacks and Latinos are sentenced to incarceration at substantially higher rates than Whites, and Whites are sentenced to probation at substantially higher rates than Blacks and Latinos. For example, in 2001 Whites made up approximately 32% of (continued on page 2)

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Florida Man Kills Bicyclist During a DUI

Carlos Bertonatti was arrested in the manslaughter of a bicyclist on the Richenbacker Causeway in Miami this past Sunday. Miami-Dade Police stopped Bertonatti in his silver Volkswagen as he dragged the crushed bicycle for blocks. Christopher Lecanne was the bicyclist killed in the incident. Bertonatti was charged with vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter. Bail was set at $32,000.

An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense, and a driver can be charged with a DUI offense if his or her blood alcohol level tests at .08% or higher. The state of Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the United States.

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Daughter of Famous Football Player Busted for Marijuana in South Florida

Olivia Namath, 19, was arrested by Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies during a traffic stop last Sunday. Deputies smelled marijuana upon stopping the car and a bottle of rum and beer in vehicle too. Namath told police on scene she did not know anything about the drugs. Namath was arrested for possession of liquor by a person under 21 and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. She is the daughter of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath.

A first degree misdemeanor: includes a fine of up to $1000 and up to one year in prison.

A first degree felony: includes a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison.

Drug trafficking: can include up to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

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Self Defense Statute Litigated by South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Ralph Behr

Your host and writer, South Florida Criminal Defense attorney Ralph Behr appealed an adverse ruling on self defense in Florida and made new law.
The Florida legislature created a new statute concerning when it is okay to use force to defend yourself or others. The law formerly only permitted the use of self defense when you are standing your ground in a protected area, such as your home. The new Florida criminal statute said that a claim of self defense creates immunity from prosecution unless a determination is made that the use of self defense was wrong.
The statute uses the term immunity. South Florida criminal defense attorneys understand immunity means the State cannot prosecute. Immnity is a bar, not a defense. No means no, right? Well maybe.
The appellate court did not agree with south Florida criminal defense attorney Behr and ruled that the correct procedure is to file a motion to dismiss and argue law. Attorney Behr argued that immunity means immunity, not a hearing on the facts. No said the local court of appeals and now it's off to the races?
Two differing opinions came from two courts of appeals in the State which makes this ripe for review by the Florida Supreme Court, and so it shall be. If you are charged with a crime in South Florida contact attorney Behr: he just made some new law on a very important issue: self defense.

Daughter of US Rep Gets a DUI in Florida

D'Anne Leigh Mica, 34, was arrested by police in downtown Orlando last Friday in the wee hours for driving under the influence. Her blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit in the state of Florida. She just left a Mexican restaurant and divulged to officers that she has downed one or two cocktails. A $500 bail was put on her release from Orange County Jail.

An arrest for Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense, and a driver can be charged with a DUI offense if his or her blood alcohol level tests at .08% or higher. The state of Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the United States.

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Florida Football Player Suspended from Team Following DUI

Carlos Dunlap, a football player for the Florida Gators college team, was arrested for driving under the influence in Gainesville this past weekend. He was pulled over at 3:25 am by an Alachua County Sheriff's officer and tested positive for impairment while operation a motor vehicle. In the world of college football and especially for the Florida Gators, this is a big loss because the coach for the Gator's football team will not be starting the defensive end due to this criminal infraction. The Gators are scheduled to play in the SEC Championship game this coming Saturday. DUI and other criminal offenses are not acceptable or given "free passes" to by the police in Gainesville, even to their star football players.

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No New Florida Pain Clinics to Be Opened

Palm Beach County will no longer allow new pain clinic centers to be opened in an effort to crack down on illegal operations and put in place more stringent codes and laws. Illegal prescription drug abuse are being peddled by convicted drug dealers and even serial killers, some who have been opening these clinics for the public. Authorities have said that fatal drug overdoses are on the rise in relation to the spread of pain clinics opening up in the area. New laws coming in to legislation by December 2010 will allow the state to set standards on prescriptions from these facilities and the creation of a statewide database of prescriptions made and filled.

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Home Invasion Suspects Arrested in Florida

Oscar Hernandez, 19, Miguel Santiz, 25, and Victor Sanchez, 20, were all arrested in the two-day abduction of a couple and their son in Winter Garden. A victim, Marcela Borges, 27, was forced at gunpoint to withdraw $24,000 from a bank and then she was shot when trying to escape. Lt. Keith Ralston of the police department in the area stated, "It appears to us that it is not a random act." The four armed intruders got into the house of the victims, kept them blindfolded and transported them north to where they were to be kept captive overnight.

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Florida Expunging Of Records Is a Reality for Students

Getting a criminal record expunged is a common thing to do today. Students are taking advantage of this process in order to make clear records for any future employment and career opportunities they may be pursuing. One student, Debbie Robinson, 20, will be applying for a expunging of her record before she starts applying to become a nurse. She used some weed and got caught a high school football game a few years ago. There are some catches though to do this. In order to have records sealed or expunged, no adjudications of guilt or prior expunges must have occurred in the State of Florida. It costs another $75, a fingerprint form and a certified copy of some forms then one can become eligible to have their records sealed or expunged.

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Former Florida Jaguar Football Player Guilty for Cocaine Possession

Jimmy Smith, a former Jacksonville Jaguar football player, will be doing 18 months probation on a conviction of possession of cocaine. Smith was stopped by Florida Highway Patrol last April for dark tints on his vehicle. 6 grams of cocaine were found in the vehicle as well as 3 grams of marijuana and some other drug paraphernalia. Smith was place on probation following his hearing regarding all the drug charges and suspended license. Driving with a suspended license is illegal in the state of Florida. Probation is not something new to Jimmy Smith. He was on probation for a DUI last year.

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Florida Baby Found Alive Under Bed; Mom in Custody

Chrystina Lynn Mercer, 25, has been charged with neglect of a child with aggravated circumstances and interference of child custody. The 7 month old child was reported missing and found 4 days later in a box at a babysitter's house. "They gave us consent to search the home and we found the baby in a box under a bed, with stuff pushed around the box to hide the baby," said Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock. The baby was taken to a hospital and found to have no health issues. The child has been put in protective custody. Police say they have never had a case like this.

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Florida Prescription Pain Killer Dealers Arrested En Masse

The Kentucky State Police and FBI have partnered in their prescription pill war efforts, resulting in more than 300 people being arrested in 2 days recently. The drugs the individuals obtained are usually bought at pain clinics in Florida and a few other states on the way from Kentucky. 518 arrest warrants were issued in total during the 3-year investigation known as Operation Flamingo Road. The traffickers from Kentucky, according to Lt. David Jude, would send droves of individuals to pain clinics in South Florida to obtain pills with falsified medical records. They would drive back up to put all the pills on the black market.

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Tampa Police Officer Shot at, Suspect In Custody

Jeffrey Lee Ervin, 21, was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and one count each of obstructing or opposing an officer with violence, carrying a concealed firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Hillsborough County Sheriff involved was not injured and is doing fine. Paulo Santos-Rizzo, the 3 year veteran for the sheriffs office, was shot at 4am while establishing a perimeter during an investigation of 2 people reportedly breaking in cars. The suspect fled after being spotted by a K-9 handler. During the pursuit, the suspect Ervin shot at police, striking the rearview mirror area of the officer's vehicle, nearly hitting his head with the bullet. There was no return fire and the suspect was quickly apprehended. A severe and swift trial is in order for this repeat offender, with his last arrest being in July 2008 stemming from an aggravated assault incident involving a pellet gun and a violation of probation.

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Florida Man Asks for Sex in 911 Call

Joshua Basso, 29, is accused of asking for sex from a 911 dispatcher. "The caller advised the 911 dispatcher that he was in the bathroom looking for sex and continued to make several obscene comments regarding masturbation and body parts," according to a report from Tampa police. Basso called back 4 times after being hung up on by the dispatcher. He was arrested immediately during the phone calls by Hillsborough police officials on charges of making a false 911 call. Basso ridiculously told police that "he was out of (cellphone) minutes and he called 911 because it was free." A mental evaluation is most likely in order for this deranged individual.

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Florida Football Player Arrested for Hit and Run Accident

Lawrence Taylor, a football star in Florida, was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, according to Miami-Dade County jail records. This is a second degree misdemeanor in the State of Florida. Taylor is a former player for the New York Giants. He has a marred history with incidents of cocaine use during his football career, yet his is still hailed as one of NFL's all-time best players.

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Florida Teen Gets Drunk, Uncle Charged with Child Abuse

Tyron Hamilton Oliver, 38, is being charged with two counts of child abuse and assault. Oliver gave a near-lethal amount of alcohol to his 14-year-old nephew, according to police. The child received grain alcohol and cigarettes to his nephew when the 14 year old's father was not at home. The child was severely impaired to the point of 0.267 BAC; 0.3 can be deadly, for reference. The nephew's father came back home and held a combative Oliver down until police arrived on the scene.

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Florida Student Charged with Felony and Marijuana

Ruben Lopez, 19, was arrested by University of South Florida police and charged with a third-degree felony for disabling a fire alarm as well as misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The USF student was smoking marijuana in his dorm room at Beta Hall and disabled the alarm in his room so he could get away with smoking drugs. Police searched the room after the arrest and found a marijuana joint in Lopez's furniture drawer. Bail is set at $7500 for Lopez.

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Two Florida Men Arrested for Cocaine Smuggling

Mark Pinder, 41, and Parson Exana, 38, were sentenced for smuggling cocaine. Pinder got a sentence of 12 years in federal prison and Exana received 9 years. The cocaine was transported by the two from the Bahamas into South Florida. Investigators took part in an undercover drug sting where they bought 297 kilos of cocaine from Pinder via a vessel to vessel transfer. The investigators then made a controlled delivery of the cocaine to Exana and Pinder when they were in Jupiter, FL a day after the original purchase. Exana and his partner Pinder are still in custody and awaiting trial.

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Florida DUI Woman Not Found Guilty in Fatal Crash

A Palm Bay woman was found to be not guilty of the 2007 rollover crash resulting in her sustaining injuries and the death of her friend. The verdict was returned after 3 days of deliberation regarding the DUI manslaughter of Jennifer Carty, 20. State prosecutors say that evidence clearly shows the girls' injuries not coinciding with charges placed against the defendant. Florida Highway Patrol reported that Carty had a BAC of 0.126 whereas the other girl in the car, Ravin Billington, had a BAC of 0.167. Both are under the age of 21 and are not be having any readings of BAC by law. Defense attorneys said that witnesses to the accident could not determine who the driver of the vehicle was and after the accident, due to the ejection of Carty, could not determine that Billington was the driver. Carty was later determined to be the driver of her mother's car.

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Florida Truck Driver Arrested for Marijuana

Edward Gross, 53, was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Gross was stopped by Louisiana State Police for a routine safety inspection. Upon further examination, officers became suspicious of certain features regarding Gross' big rig truck and decided to call in a police dog. The dog sniffed out the stash of 31 pounds of marijuana Gross was hiding under a bunk in the cab. Gross was immediately arrested and jailed at the Iberville Parish Prison pending his court date.

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Florida Deputy Defends Himself Against Aggressive Florida Man

Jerry Wesley Camp, 43, was shot and killed by a Seminole County Deputy after having a rifle aimed at him. The police officer located Camp's truck after a 911 dispatch call reported a sexual assault at 10 am in the city of Winter Park. Camp exited his vehicle, raised his weapon at the officer leaving the deputy with no choice but to shoot in self-defense. FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) is currently underway in the investigation of this shooting.

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Israeli Man Says Broward Sheriffs Roughed Him Up

Guma Aguiar, 32, claims that officers punched him, called him anti-Semetic slurs, and broke his fingers. Broward Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Leljedal said that the accusations made by Aguiar are ridiculous. Aguiar, a multimillionaire, has used an attorney to formally file a complaint that mistreatment occurred during him being in police custody. "He tried to intimidate me and said that he had money, he would fight and he would embarrass us," Leljedal said. For the plea deal that Aguiar faced, he paid $536 for fees in court and was guaranteed that both drug charges will be expunged.

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Florida Student Stabs Another in FSU Dorm

Luis Pinto, a student of the University of Miami, was stabbed by Erik Dettenmayer after attacking him over a domestic argument. Pinto was told by his girlfriend he was visiting for the weekend, Tiffany Geisland, that she was interested in Dettenmayer. Dettenmayer stabbed Pinto in the ensuing fight with non-fatal injuries resulting. Pinto was treated for his injuries and released yet he could face assault and burglary charges. The whole incident took place in a dorm room on the campus of Florida State University. According to police, no charges have been filed at this time.

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Florida 21 Year Old Arrested for Intent to Distribute Drugs

Gary Evan McCormack, 21, was stopped by Florida Highway Patrol near the St. Lucie exit for doing 26 mph over the speedlimit on I-95. After having the young man shake his shorts, a baggie filled with Xanax fell out. More pills were found on his person, with a total of 81 being discovered. Nearly $2000 in cash was also found on McCormack. Troopers were told by McCormack that he has a drug problem and is in fact addicted to them. McCormick, from Boca Raton, is being charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of a control substance with intent to distribute and marijuana possession less than 20 grams.

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13 Year Old Boy Charged With Voyeurism in Florida

An unnamed minor was arrested under charges of burglary, criminal mischief and voyeurism by Palm Bay police. Police reported that the boy secretly watched a mother and her child. The young teenager was seen at the rear patio door of the lady's home. Police used a dog to track the child back to his home. The kid broke down and cried once he saw the officers and promised to never do it again. The teenager also allegedly cut a screen in the woman's pool patio to gain access while observing her on numerous occasions in the past.

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Florida Man Carjacked in Florida, Still on the Loose

An employee for the city of Boca Raton was carjacked recently at a local Swim and Racquet Center. Frank Lovince, the victim, told Boca Raton Police that the men ordered him out of the car at gunpoint. One woman was also involved in the carjacking of Lovince's black Chevrolet Blazer. The other suspect without a gun held Lovince down while the gun-wielding suspect rummaged through the victim's pockets taking his cell phone and cash. Lovince sustained no injuries from the incident. The woman involved with the 2 men at the crime scene just stood there and watched, according to Lovince. The stolen vehicle was recovered soon after in Lake Worth. Police are asking the public for any clues related to this incident. If you have any tips, please contact Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at 800-458-8477.

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Illegal Horse Meat in South Florida Worries Stable Owners

17 butchered horse carcasses have turned up in Miami-Dade county alone, a record for the year and the highest number ever recorded for the county. The illicit meat is making a rise in appearance at restaurants across the area. Customers of the meat are dealing with restaurants in a "speakeasy" fashion in procuring the meat. Horse meat is not illegal in and of itself. Selling horse meat is a legal proposition as long as the meat is "stamped, marked and described as horse meat for human consumption." The problem is most of the meat turning up in investigations across South Florida have not been. Two men were arrested last month by Miami Police and charged with animal cruelty and burglary in the connection with two horses killed.

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Florida Teacher Tells Students He's Going to Kill Them All

Jerrold Gabriel, a West Orange High School science teacher, threatened that he was going to shoot multiple students and kill the principal in 13 days from his notice. He was arrested for assault soon after the threat he told to a guidance counselor at the school. Numerous court documents show that Gabriel said he “wanted a student to be first on a list to get into a class and he would take a gun and shoot any student that was ahead of him on the list.” No students were named in the incident so Principal Larsen of the high school did not alert parents of the incident. Gabriel is currently on paid leave from the school and under a full investigation.

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Florida College Student Gets Arrested for Stolen Property

Melanie Sinclair, a gymnast from the University of Florida, was arrested on charges of storing televisions, computers, and firearms from burglaries in Gainesville. Three felony counts in total were stacked against her, listed as burglary of an occupied dwelling unarmed, larceny theft of less than $5000 and grand larceny of firearms. All nine of the shotguns/rifles and two computers were recovered from her apartment. Sinclair's boyfriend, Leonard Williams, 21, was arrested earlier this month for walking around an apartment complex with a 12-gauge shotgun.

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Florida Man Gets DUI After Taxi Ride to His Bicycle

Jeremy B. Bowen, 45, blew a .234 and .239 according to the Hernando County Sheriffs Office. Deputies charged man with driving under the influence (DUI) after he rode in a taxi cab then got out to ride in his bicycle along SR 50 in the Tampa area. He admitted to police that he drank five beer at a local restaurant. Police were notified of the man after a taxi driver called him in due to him being belligerent and causing a scene in his taxi cab.

An arrest for Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense, and a driver can be charged with a DUI offense if his or her blood alcohol level tests at .08% or higher. The state of Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the United States.

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Florida Man Steals Cereal and Some Massive Jail Time

Mark Anthony Griffin, a homeless man from Bartlow, FL, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing a box of cereal and a can of evaporated milk. The reason for this man's incredibly steep penalty is due to the fact that he has been labeled a "prison release re-offender." This title carries some heavier penalties for individuals who are convicted of a crime within three years of prison release. Griffin's petty theft would have landed him 3 years in prison and 2 years of probation according to the plea deal he rejected.

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Florida Man Tased During a DUI Stop

Stephen Crowley was arrested and charged with DUI and resisting an officer without violence. Crowley was found slumped in his car while it was running. Officers took medical action on the man since they saw that he was breathing from the open window. Eventually he woke up after numerous attempts by police to wake him up. He said he was "just waiting for the light to change" yet conflicting reports from the Navy base he was found on said he had been in that position for 30 minutes. The officer on scene had to turn off the car physically while Crowley was in the car and refusing to comply with commands. After being wrestled to the ground and tased for repeatedly not complying, Crowley was finally handcuffed. Crowley was taken into custody official on charges of driving under the influence.

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16-Year-Old Florida Boy Will Not Get Bond After Murder

Amer Ejak, 16, will be facing first-degree murder as an adult after his move a juvenile detention facility into the county jail. We covered this murder in a previous blog post weeks ago, but to briefly go over the event, Ejak and Christopher Cox, 22, killed a 34 year old man after hitting him in the head with a whiskey bottle in his own apartment. The two hid the body in a closet and fled the scene. Ejak will not be allowed bond and will be held by the state in preparation of his trial. The victim's parents attempted to contact their son for a few days before they notified police of his disappearance. Detectives searched the victim's apartment after serving a search warrant and then found the dead body.

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Fort Lauderdale Marijuana Bust Yields Impressive Arrest

Ramiro Rodriguez, of Hialeah, was arrested after being caught with hundreds of pounds of marijuana in his vehicle. He was transporting all the pot in individually-wrapped packages. The GMC Yukon was towing a trailer full of the stuff when detectives discovered it. Broward Sheriff Office and DEA agents worked together and believe that the two men arrested in the aforementioned bust were actually members of a larger group in the area that are smuggling heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The two men were formally charged with drug trafficking.

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Florida Traffic Stop Leads to Marijuana Arrest

Jason Rivera, Hiram Maldonado, 24, and Nathanael Desmornes, 24, were arrested by Orange County Sheriff's Office with charges related to possession of a stolen gun and marijuana. The three were pulled over in Rivera's vehicle after officers noticed that the front passengers were not wearing seat belts. According to Florida's Click-It-or-Ticket law, police were authorized to stop the vehicle and thus proceed with their investigation. The investigation turned out four Xanax pills with no medication prescription and a stolen 9mm pistol fully loaded. The firearm was stolen from an unlocked vehicle near the campus of the University of Central Florida according to records. Maldonado and Desmornes were identified as members of a street gang, as well.

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Infamous Florida Child Predator Dies in Prison

John Couey, 51, died in prison according to a Florida Department of Corrections spokesman. He had been on death row for four years in the murder, abduction, and rape of Jessica Lunsford age 9. Couey had been ill for some time, according to prison officials. The murder of Jessica Lunsford was quite graphic and disturbing, even to some court officials and officers. She was lured to his trailor from her own, raped, and when he thought he was going to be caught, buried her alive in garbage bags which would suffocate her. Couey explicitly told all the events to police including every gory detail while saying in a nonchalant manner to the press "this kind of thing happens every day." "To me, death is sad," stated Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford. "But her death, Jessie's death, has been redeemed ... I'm relieved. I'm glad it's over with."

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Florida Cocaine Runner Sentenced to Federal Prison

Todd Jackson Sr., 42, was charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. The US Attorney's Office indicted Jackson after investigating his career as being part of a cocaine distribution network that reached from Broward County north to the Treasure and Space coasts. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison in lieu of possession of more than 5 kilos of cocaine. Haiti and the Bahamas were the primary sources of Jackson's smuggled cocaine. From the entry into the US, distribution would be made to other smaller dealing sources in Broward, St. Lucie, Brevard and Palm Beach counties. Many sites were raided by federal agents totaling in 243 kilos of cocaine, 80 grams of crack cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy, guns, over $100,000 in cash and nearly half a million dollars worth of jewelry.

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Family Killed by Father in Florida Makes Headline News

The Dieu family is at the center of media attention revolving around their gruesome murder by the man of the house. He fled to Haiti after killing at children and his wife. Police in Haiti caught him once he was off the flight and he is now in custody. Mackindy Dieu, a relative to the family murdered, never noticed any abusive behavior involving the couple. "He never showed any aggression toward her, when I was around, because he knew I wouldn't put up with that crap," he says. Police say this incident was one of the most tragic they have seen in a long time.

Under Florida law, a person who is arrested for domestic violence (DV) can be charged with battery, assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or certain kinds of sexual abuse. The accused must also be held in jail without bond until he or she speaks with a judge.

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Florida Teenager Charged in Horse Killing Case

Santiago Cabrera, 19, was arrested by Miami-Dade Police under the charges of armed burglary and animal cruelty. Police say an incident involving Cabrera and the horse's death was for the horse's meat while he held the horse down for another person to come and slit its throat. Miguel Cordero, 18, was arrested recently by police in the area on similar charges.

The burglary statute in Florida covers not only wrongful entries into real property, such as a building or home, but also a conveyance: a conveyance in Florida can be an automobile, truck, bus, or anything that moves on the highways. If you are accused of burglary of a conveyance the state must prove that you wrongfully entered the conveyance with the fully formed intent to commit a crime. It is a burglary of a conveyance if you reach through a window of an automobile and hit someone.

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Florida Marijuana Growers Busted in the Florida Panhandle

Investigators for the Blountstown Police Department have been underway in a large marijuana operation involving some large, key producers in the state. Charles and Salenna Stephens were the owners of one residence where police found tens of baby marijuana plants. Another home caught in the sting had 17 marijuana plants, owned by a Thomas MaClean, age 44. These arrests have shown officers that marijuana cultivation is booming as usual in the panhandle and further sting operations will be conducted in the future.

Because Florida is a major center for illegal international drug trafficking, drug offenses are aggressively prosecuted in the state. The amount of drugs involved in a person's arrest can determine whether the person will be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor.

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Florida Inmate Used as Corrections Officers' In-House Weapon

Prison Sgt. Obe D. L'Bert, 30, Officer Cordell J. White, 22, and Officer Christopher W. Bonnet, 21, were all charged in the mistreatment and coercive use of inmate Larry "Monster" Williams. Williams was "hired" by the men to beat up uncooperative inmates at the Dade Correctional Institution. All officers were charged with conspiracy and civil rights violations of an inmate. Williams was originally incarcerated for possession of cocaine in January 2007. The department head at the institution has called the alleged violations "unconscionable." In one incident, an inmate identified by the moniker D.T. was attacked by "Monster" while two of the officers charged with the crimes were waiting outside. Florida Corrections Secretary Walter A. McNeil has shown dismay over the conduct of his officers and made a release saying, ``Our mission is to ensure not only public safety, but the safety and well-being of inmates."

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13 Year Old Boy Murder Results in Arrest of Florida Man

Tyrone Ward, a man from Volusia County, has been arrested as the fourth man in connection with the murder and shooting of a 13 year old boy in Daytona Beach. Numerous agencies from the US Marshals to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have been involved in the case's investigation. Lloyd Robinson, Jr., 13, was shot in the head after opening the door to his home when someone knocked on it from the outside. A lot of information is still unknown about who the precise killer in this crime is yet many tips have been flooding the law enforcement agencies regarding who the killer might be. One more fifth suspect is still on the loose and being searched for by authorities. "Four out of five are in custody and if you're number five, it's probably in your best interest to come and surrender because it's only a matter of time before we get you too," said Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood in a press conference to the public.

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Florida Man Murdered by Two Others in Tampa

Christopher J. Cox, 22, and Amer E. Ejak, 16, were arrested in Tampa in connection with the murder of Thomas M. Johannesen, 34, a resident of Long Island, NY. It is still undetermined what the precise relationship between the two individuals and the deceased is, but authorities say that the two were arrested in Johannesen's apartment when the man was hit in the head with a bottle of alcohol. Johannesen was then suffocated and then shoved in a closet under some clothes. Police are investigating the circumstances of the homicide and are holding both of the arrestees without bail at a local sheriffs office.

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Florida Man Shows Bong Instead of Drivers License to Cops

Straight out of Fort Walton Beach, a 22 year old man was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office after being stopped in a traffic violation and being cited for driving without a driver's license. The man showed the officer a pipe which the violator explained was to smoke marijuana with. The police report stated this explicitly and was released to the public after the arrest. The bong in the car had marijuana residue, according to the report.

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Florida Law Firm Sued in Fraud Case

Arthur Nadel of Holland & Knight, an investment group in Sarasota, is being sued due to a fraudulent investment program him and the firm engaged in. Holland & Knight is being sued for the failure to discover the fraudulent program despite the fact that a basic examination probably would have revealed this glaring issue to investigators. Nadel vanished in January, worrying his family with a suicide note left to them. Nadal is currently being held on $5 million bail and formally charged with federal securities and wire fraud.

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Former Baseball Player On Trial in Florida for DUI

Jim Leyritz, a former player for the New York Yankees, has had his trial postponed under further questioning of a video brought to the court's attention. The Honorable Judge Marc Gold delayed the trial until December or, at the latest, January. The video will allow Leyritz' criminal defense attorney to argue that Leyritz was less drunk than the prosecution has charged him with which was at a .14 BAC level. 10 minutes are in question as the video shows the crash victim's vehicle passing through an intersection before the actual crash. The legal limit for blood-alcohol content in Florida is .08.

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ICE Agent Arrested on Cocaine Charges Will Be Sent to Florida

Richard P. Cramer, a high-ranking agent at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agency, was arrested in his Arizona home for suspicion of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine. Cramer was formerly stationed in Mexico during his active duty and later retired in 2007 in the U.S. An investigation reaching back into 2006 was discovered to be the source of the warrant and arrest. Authorities claim that Cramer assisted a big time drug trafficking organization by alerting them to inside informants working for the government via illegal use of a confidential law enforcement database. One shipment the organization involved with Cramer was worth $400,000 and weighed about 660 pounds. That's a lot of cocaine. Officials seized the shipment once it landed on U.S. soil, stopping its journey which originally started in Panama and was going to conclude in Spain. Cramer will be extradited to a holding center in Florida because most of the criminal acts occurred here.

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Florida Man Kills Cheerleader and Faces Death Penalty

Eric Rodriguez, 23, will be looking at the death penalty in his trial involving the murder of a 17 year old cheerleader in Bartow, FL. Rodriguez was one of three men who pleaded guilty to luring the girl, Angelia Headrick, into an apartment early in 2007. They men robbed her of money and drugs which she was possessing, and then killed her. Another man in the accused group accepted a deal giving him 15 years in prison due to testimony he gave in court. The third man was not been in trial for the murder yet.

First-degree murder must contain the following two elements:

1. The killing of another human being is premeditated and intentional.

2. A homicide is also a First-degree murder when one person kills another in the act of perpetrating, or in the attempt the perpetrate serious felonies that include the following Arson, Burglary, Robbery, Home-Invasion Robbery, Killing of Another Human Being, Carjacking, Drug Trafficking, Kidnapping, Escape, Aircraft Piracy, Aggravated Child Abuse, Aggravated Stalking, Unlawful Throwing, Placing or Discharging of a Destructive Device such as a Bomb, Resisting an Officer with Violence to His Person, Terrorism.

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20 Year Old Floridian Arrested For Police Scanner and Marijuana

Nathaniel Fine was stopped by police for a few items that made his car appear to impersonate that of a police officers. Marijuana was found in the vehicle, along with a police scanner and a Massachusetts State Police patch. Fine claimed that he was not impersonating a police officer, yet the evidence appears to say otherwise. Police scanners are prohibited from use in vehicles unless the user has a valid operator radio license or their job requires the use of a scanner in a vehicle. He was arrested formally on charges of marijuana possession and possession of radio scanner tuned to law enforcement frequencies.

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Mortgage Broker and Others Prosecuted in South Florida Mortgage Fraud

Mike Ohana, 39, Ryan Dosen, 30, and Paula Ramos, 52, were among nine people involved in a complex mortgage fraud scheme skyrocketing into the millions of dollars of theft. The group allegedly defrauded $3 million from two banks by use of fraudulent loans. Authorities stated that Ramos verified the loan applications on two properties in Miami in a fraudulent fashion. Washington Mutual was the bank defrauded by Go Expert Mortgage, the group owned by Ramos. Fraud occurred when Ramos vouched for the applications as true. Dosen was the attorney that worked as a title attorney for the deal.

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Florida Teen Arrested for Marijuana Possession

A 14 year old boy was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, a felony charge of escape, and resisting an officer without violence. The teen struck a classmate at his school and ran from the police while being handcuffed. After being caught nearly a mile from the origin of incident, he was brought into custody. He struggled once returned to the school and ran again, where he was caught soon after. A bag was found dropped in the school by the boy and retrieved by authorities. The substance in the bag was tested and found to be marijuana.

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DUI Caught at Fast Food Restaurant in Florida

Machelle Coleman, 33, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Crestview, FL after stopping her car at a What-a-burger. Officers found her slumped over in her vehicle with a burger on her leg and lettuce all over her lap. Coleman arose soon after EMS arrived on the scene. The officer on scene smelled no alcohol in the car; just a smell of food emanated from the vehicle. She reportedly said she had been drinking gin with her "man" at Helen Back, a local bar, earlier in the evening. No one else was in the car, reports say. Police say this is her fifth DUI in 10 years.

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Florida Man and Woman Arrested in Traffic Stop for Drugs

Aurora Kay James, 28, and Peter Howard Whitney, 49, were stopped in Gainesville, FL for driving into a bicycle lane. The stop led to the discovery of crack pipes underneath the driver and passenger seats and vials that contained prescription drugs and crack cocaine. A canine was called on the scene to alert the officers of the drug's presence. Both parties blamed the other for possession of the drug paraphernalia. Both were charged with possession of drugs without a prescription, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Florida laws are always being modified by the legislature. If you've been arrested in South Florida, or arrested in Fort Lauderdale and charged with a drug possession count, or possession of cocaine or possession of heroin you should immediately consult a South Florida criminal defense attorney. The legislature imposes minimum mandatory sentences which started a mandatory one year, then a mandatory three-year, then a mandatory seven-year, 15 year and 25 year sentence for trafficking in controlled substances.

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West Palm Beach Man Arrested for Murder

Bruce Strachan, 25, was arrested in West Palm Beach for the death of Yamika Murphy and two others. Murphy was his wife, according to police. He was arrested with no incident in Delray Beach according to Palm Beach Sheriff's Office. Strachan was roaming Palm Beach County with a warrant for his arrest after the shooting spree which occurred recently. He was charged with three counts of first degree murder. A judge at the local Gun Club Road jail will be adding further charges to Strachan's case pending further investigation.

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Florida Woman Arrested for Drug Production Operation

Crystal Beth Williams, 21, and Jason Clayborn, 52, were arrested by sheriffs of DeFuniak Springs for operating a crystal methamphetamine production center. The two were followed by investigators for over eight months in order for a solid case to develop. Both of them together are thought to be responsible for the production of the a massive supply of meth that supplied the Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama areas. The list of charges levied again the couple included manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of listed chemicals, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of methamphetamine.

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Geriatrics in Florida Get Caught Stealing Goods

Warren H, Goldman, Sam Lamport, Gary Richard Powell, Stephen Walton, Aaron Walton, and Kenneth D. Struve have all been arrested and charged in the theft of millions of dollars worth of products from the Publix supermarket chain. Central Florida was their target and police say the criminals were clever. All the men except for one are ranging in age from 53 to 68. The individuals would use their elderly figure to use motorized carts and load up on expensive goods like razors and other health/beauty items. The crimes took place over the past decade so a lot of money was accumulated by the thieves. They would sell the goods on the internet and through local flea markets. Brevard County police disclosed that one of the six suspects had an extensive criminal history. The final charge for most of the men were shoplifting, yet Struve and Goldman were charged with trafficking in stolen property.

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Basketball Player Arrested for DUI in Florida

Renaldo Balkman, 25, was arrested by police in Temple Terrace for suspicion of driving under the influence. Balkman refused to comply with officers' request of a blood-alcohol test. HIllborough County Sheriff's Office stated that Balkman was released on $500 bond soon after his arrest. Refusing to comply with a breath test in Florida does not automatically result in a revocation of one's license unlike what many people might claim. The Denver Nugget's star was left out of the commentary by executive of the basketball team Mark Warkentien.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you have only ten days to file a written demand for an administrative hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Failure to do so could also result in the suspension of your driver's license.

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Cocaine Traffickers Arrested in South Florida

Mark Pinder and Parson Exana have pleaded guilty on charges of smuggling cocaine from the Bahamas into Florida. The two men were arrested by Palm Beach County police on May 26 in a Jupiter parking lot. The cocaine moved by the men was estimated to be at a street value of $500,000. Pinder and Exana face a $4 million fine in lieu of the charges, not to mention life in prison.

Cocaine possession, cocaine delivery, cocaine trafficking, in fact all criminal cases filed in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and throughout the state of Florida in which the state seeks criminal sanction for possession of controlled substances begins with a study of Florida statute 893. Statute begins by defining the important words and phrases used in this chapter. In a prosecution for possession of cocaine or possession of any other controlled substance begins with an indictment, which is called prosecutor information, under this statute.

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Florida Mother Arrested for Handgun and Drugs

Anastasia Usher, 31, was arrested for child neglect, armed trafficking of cocaine, and possession of cocaine. Other charges of maintaining a drug dwelling with minors present were also added. The charges against Usher were not assisting in her maintaining custody of her children because of the fact that they showed her to be negligent as a mother. Police say she was held on a substantial bond after the arrest and will face court sentencing in the near future.

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Florida DUI Law Suit Aims For Letting Some Defendants Off

DUIs in Florida may be getting a pass after the recent mess up in Broward County. Circuit Judge Lee Jay Seidman will rule on a request that all DUI charges be dismissed based on the fact that the breathalyzer systems in place recently were handled improperly thus becoming inadmissible in court. FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) recently fired the employee responsible for the 79 breathalyzer machines in operation throughout Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. The employee turned off power to a small number of them before inspection because they "looked like they would fail."

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Florida Man Convicted of Attempted Murder with a Gun

Albert Guilder, 66, was charged and convicted of attempted murder in the death of Zilvinas Kuliusas in the 2006 shooting. Guilder will be looking at up to 25 years in prison, minimum. The two men were involved sexually with a Russian immigrant, and Guilder was said to have "felt jealous and threatened." Kuliusas, 33, was shot by Guilder in what he claimed as self-defense. Guilder had called the police due to evidence he saw that child abuse was taking place with Korzum's children by Kuliusas. The complicated situation ended with Kuliusas coming over to shoot Guilder, then with Guilder shooting back in self-defense. Somehow the fight went into an SUV and continued at 45 mph down a local road. The prosecution "scoffed at Guilder's 'incredible' testimony and theory of self defense."

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Prescription Drug Abuse by Florida Man Leads to Arrest

Roy Cleary, 35, and Leslie Woody, 33, have been arrested and charged with prescription drug fraud by police in Mississippi. Cleary is a resident of Miami yet was caught with the crime he committed up in Iowa. The two tampered with medical records in order to get prescription pills out of a hospital in the western Iowa area. Iowa police say that Cleary attempted to get drugs by going to the emergency room under the pretense of having a shoulder injury. A false address was used by Cleary in the forms to obtain prescription pills, as well as a false signature on all the documents.

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Florida Man Arrested for Guns and Marijuana

In a strange arrest over the weekend, William Scott Clark, 43, and Elizabeth Haley, 22, were arrested on production of marijuana charges and possession of an explosive device. After a standard protocol traffic stop conducted by Osceola Police led to a small amount of marijuana, an even larger amount of marijuana was found at the home of the individuals stopped earlier. Haley voluntarily led sheriffs back to the couple's trailer located at Cypress Cove in Kissimmee. The investigation there led to a discovery of numerous firearms ranging from a .50 caliber sniper rifle to a semi-automatic Browning "machine" gun. Exotic pets and a voodoo doll with needles stuck in it was found at the scene as well. A few indoor-growing lights were found inside but the marijuana in conjunction with the lights was gone, according to police. Clark made a statement that he possesses licensing for all the firearms and ATF approval for the machine guns.

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Florida Drug Trafficker Receives a 10 Year Prison Term

Gabriel Soto Garcia, 37, was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in a state prison for conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and trafficking in cocaine in excess of 400 grams. Central Florida was the prime location where all the trafficking in cocaine took place, according to investigators. From their introduction of the drug onto the street there, they would distribute to drug dealers spread all over the area.

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Florida Cocaine Trafficking Woman Found Guilty

Marta Pagan was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for drug trafficking. She was arrested in 2000 during an investigation being conducted by the DEA. The investigation led to the discovery of Pagan's heroin drug trafficking ring running through Central Florida. Pagan became a fugitive after her arrest and was later caught in Connecticut. She was extradited back to Florida and sentenced for her fleeing the state and for her drug trafficking charges. A 5 year probation sentence was tacked on to her prison term, as well as fines for repayment of extradition fees due to her fleeing Florida.

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Florida Highway Patrol Arrest 50 During Checkpoint

Alabama State Troopers teamed up with Florida Highway Patrol last Friday in a "Take Back our Highways" initiative with the goal of making roads safer for all. Most of the arrests were for drivers with no insurance, no seatbelts, or having broken equipment. No DUI arrests were made, yet of the fifty arrests made, a surprising seven were arrest warrants wanted by authorities. Located at the Alabama/Florida border along a major highway, the troopers' checkpoint was quite successful and commended by other agencies as a positive operation.

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Florida Death Row Inmate May Be Executed

John Richard Marek, 47, will likely go on with his scheduled execution in Tallahassee. Marek was charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of a Broward County woman in 1983. The original execution slated for May 13 was delayed by the court to allow Marek's defense counsel to argue that he was not the actual killer, but his accomplice was. Six witnesses were brought in to the appeal as new testimony, according to Marek's lawyer. The six witnesses were also in prison with Raymond Wigley, the new accused murderer. Justices overseeing the appeal reviewed the case and denied it with a unanimous decision. 'Given the inconsistencies in Wigley's statements and the strong inference that the statements constituted prison `tough talk' and were calculated by Wigley to obtain some advantage for himself, the probative value of the testimony recounting Wigley's statements is negligible,'' wrote the justices. Both Marek and Wigley were convicted of first-degree murder yet Marek was the only one of the two sentenced to death.

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Two Florida Women Arrested for Marijuana Possession

Haley Oreskovich, 18, and Sharine Gregory, 22, were arrested under the suspicion of intent to sell. The Otoe County Sheriff's department of Nebraska City, Nebraska found the marijuana by use of a new canine sniffer they recently acquired. Gregory denied there being any significant amount of marijuana in the car by stating to the county court judge “there was no way there was a pound of marijuana”. No further deliberation in the case was recommended by the judge to the defendants until the appointment of legal counsel.

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Florida DUI Woman Gets Arrested for Drugs

Janet Landrum, 42, of Manatee County was arrested recently for possession of cocaine, marijuana, and other drug paraphernalia. Landrum has a record of a whopping ten DUIs from a variety of states including Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky, not to mention a prior arrest of driving with a suspended license. This will be the first time though that jail time is on the plate for Landrum's offenses. She faces up to ten years in prison with the recent onslaught of felony driving under the influence and felony driving with a suspended license charges.

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Florida Man Arrested in Nebraska for Multiple Charges

Manual Ramirez, 62, was arrested in Scottbluff, Nebraska for being wanted on charges of assault, violation of probation, and vehicle theft. Nebraska State Patrol are responsible for the arrest. Troopers had to resort to using tire-puncturing strips to disable the driver, who reached speeds up to 100 mph. The emergency maneuvers resulted in the vehicle going out of control and flipping several times before finally resting right side up. Ramirez was treated for minor injuries and arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle as well as fleeing to avoid arrest, speeding and reckless driving.

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Former NFL Player Sentenced to Florida Prison for Cocaine Trafficking

Travis Henry, 30, was sentenced to federal holding facilities on federal cocaine trafficking charges. The former Denver Bronco player was arrested for a drug transaction in Colorado involving multiple kilos of cocaine. After this incident it was brought to the federal authorities' attention that Henry was a major financier of a prominent drug ring known to push cocaine from Montana to Colorado. Henry was charged with a single count of trafficking cocaine by this admission. Henry's final verdict resulted in a 3 year prison sentence in Florida followed by a five year supervised probation.

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Florida Murder Fugitive Caught By Community Assistance

Alvin Adderly was arrested in Georgia last Sunday in connection with the shooting and murder of Kenneth Moore Jr. of Brevard County. Moore was killed in his home, leaving police with little clues to go off on in the direction of his assailant or his last known location. The community is being commended for their participation in nabbing Adderly. Tips came in that Adderly might be stay with a close friend in American, Georgia. Deputies followed up on the information and arrested Adderly in the residence stated with no incident. The arrest bring tremendous relief to the grieving family of the deceased. "We are prepared for a speedy and just conclusion. We are prepared for the criminal justice system to take over now," said Moore family spokeswoman Jennifer Collins-Mostert.

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41 Floridians Charged in Mortgage Fraud

US Attorney Jeffrey Sloman was the acting official in charge of launching an investigation and resulting criminal charges against the recent wave of 41 individuals caught in the mortgage fraud net. Nearly $41 million were amassed from the six cases the charges are stemmed from. Feds say that almost every level of the transactions were fraudulent including the purchasers, lenders, and title companies. US Attorney Sloman has accumulated 218 people in the wake of an anti-fraud initiative conducted throughout South Florida. It is said that the total damage created by these mortgage fraud schemes are around $268 million. Florida ranks in the top five states in the country for mortgage fraud. Many don't realize how damaging mortgage fraud and these white-collar crimes are as they injure homeowners by effectively creating more foreclosures and the resulting inflation or deflation of home prices.

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Florida Man Guilty of $1 Million in Credit Card Fraud

Maikel Soto, 29, will be charged with credit card fraud by federal officials. Soto used gift cards from Wal-Mart and Sam's Club to purchase items, all in all totalling over $450,000. The gift cards were bought using stolen credit card numbers, and counterfeit ones as well. Topping over $550,000 in bills from two separate credit card companies, Soto took the money and deposited into into private bank accounts. The fraudulent activities primarily took place between October 2006 and April 2007, says the US Attorney of the Southern District of Florida.

A white collar offense can also lead to civil lawsuits filed by the government or the persons who were allegedly victimized by the crime. Unlike in a criminal case, the accused in a civil lawsuit does not have the right to remain silent, and they may be obligated to testify at their own trial. An attorney will not be appointed for them if they cannot afford one on their own.

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Man Charged In Murder of Florida Couple in the News

According to one of the eight suspect of the recent, heinous murder of Byrd and Melanie Billings, the ringleader of the group named Leonard Patrick Gonzalez, Jr., was the solo shooter in the crime. As well as this affidavit strengthened by Thornton's testimony, a safe was also recovered in connection with the killing and robbery. The couple of 17 children, mostly with special needs and disabilities, was murdered in their own home in Pensacola. The safe stolen from their house was found buried in the backyard of a local antique mall owner in connection with the organized murder. The antique mall owner, Pamela Long Wiggins, 47, was arrested with being an accessory after the fact to the home invasion.

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Florida TV Actor Arrested for DUI in Miami

Jeffrey Donovan, 41, was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) on July 11 following a late evening near-collision. Donovan, the main actor of USA's "Burn Notice", swerved his vehicle to avoid rear-ending a police vehicle on the road. Donovan claims that he "wasn't that impaired" after being stopped by police following the incident. Officers wrote in their paperwork that Donovan had consumed "Benadryl and three glasses of wine." Refusing to take the breath test, he was arrested and taken down to Miami Beach police headquarters where he was later released.

Most people don't know that they are not legally obligated to take any DUI test while out in the field. In this instance, police may escort the driver to a police station where he or she must then undergo DUI testing. A test that results in a 0.08% or higher blood alcohol level, evidence of impairment of one's normal faculties, or a complete refusal to take the test can lead to a DUI charge and the suspension of one's driver's license.

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Another Seat Belt Stop Yields Drug Arrest in Florida

Jose Luis Burgos, 39, and Chelsey Burgos, 25, were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, possession of marijuana, trafficking in opium products, and distribution of opium products. Chelsey Burgos is a pharmacy technician. She stole the drugs from her place of employment and wanted to make money with her husband, Jose Luis Burgos. The couple volunteered a search of the vehicle after being stopped by an Alachua County Sheriff in lieu of a seat belt violation. Jose Burgos was also charged with driving with a suspended license. Chelsey Burgos was devastated by the arrest and wrote included in her statement to police "an apology to her employer for taking the pills and for letting them down."

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Haitian Drug Trafficker Gets Sentenced Reduced in Florida

Jean Eliobert Jasme had his prison term reduced to 10 years in US District Court recently. Jasme used to big one the biggest smugglers in the cocaine market through Haiti. He had connections with the former president's administration and was capable of moving thousands of kilos. Prosecutors received alot of information of Jasme in the court proceedings that would tie in many other key players to many of the drug rings that current law enforcement have to this day been facing. Cocaine trafficking is big money to criminals and according to federal authorities other serious figures have been nabbed. Oriel Jean, one of the closest officials to Aristide, was another conviction made by authorities. DEA are using leads from current investigations to arrest others like Guy Phillippe, a former police official prosecuted on trafficking charges three years ago.

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Florida Resident Charged For 41 Car Burglaries

Aaron J. Franck, 19, was charged by Slidell Police in Louisiana with forty-one counts of simple burlgary. Franck crime spree occurred last year in August. He broke into numerous vehicles for two nights, taking anything in sight. Loose change, music equipment, and cigarettes were a few items noted to be stolen by Franck. Franck is being held in St. Tammany Parish Jail with a whopping $410,000 bond, for $10,000 each count.

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Florida State University Football Player Gets Probation

Marcello Church, a football player for FSU, was arrested and charged with sex with a minor. The alleged victim had wrote a succinct and heart-felt letter which lawyers say impacted the sentencing of Church in a lenient fashion. The two page letter claimed that she "wasn’t a victim by any definition and she in fact was the 'aggressor.' " The victim in this case was seventeen at the date of the incident, qualifying for sex with a minor given Church's age.

Florida Statute 794.05 defines "unlawful sexual activity with certain minors" as:

(1) A person 24 years of age or older who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this section, "sexual activity" means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another; however, sexual activity does not include an act done for a bona fide medical purpose.

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Florida Man Commits a Hit-and-Run and a DUI; Arrested

James Defalco, 48, was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in connection with a hit-and-run incident that occurred in the area of Longwood near Orlando. Police say he rear-ended a vehicle with reckless abandon and fled the scene. 24 year old Megan Chywski was the victim of the incident. Her vehicle was impacted in the rear left corner, resulting in her car spinning around into the median and flipping. Chywski was treated for minor injuries, amazingly. Florida Highway Patrol state that following the collision, Defalco was found on I-4 and arrested immediately.

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12 Year Old Florida Boy In Jail For Murder

A 12 year old child from Tampa is being held in jail for murder. Allegedly he killed his 5 week old cousin while remaining in a vehicle for a few minutes as the mother of the boy went into a store briefly. The 22 year old mother came back and saw that the baby was unresponsive. The baby was officially pronounced dead at the hospital soon after. Autopsy reports show the baby died of blunt force trauma, something that startled police and the boy's mother. The unnamed minor is being held at Cobb county youth detention center. The charges the young individual will face are murder and cruelty to children.

Homicides can be classified as manslaughter or murder. It is very fact-specific. If you are convicted of a criminal homicide, the consequences of a conviction for this charge can include life in prison or even the death penalty. Homicide is often used synonymously with murder. However, there are many different types of homicide charges. Murder, which is the unlawful taking of another human life, can be committed under various circumstances, which affect the nature of the crime and the severity of its punishment.

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Pregnant Florida Woman Arrested on Drug Charges

Reanna Lynn McElhinny, 29, and John Thomas McElhinny, 32, were arrested following a search of their home following lawful police protocol. The woman was about 8 months pregnant, police say. Her husband faces the same charges as her, being possession of oxycodone and drug paraphernalia. John McElhinny had additional charges of violation of probation (VOP) in connection with a grand theft charge. In addition to those aforementioned charges for Reanna McElhinny, she had another violation of probation charge in connection for a prior cocaine possession conviction. Police say they saw open track marks on the woman's arms. Reanna McElhinny is being held without bail on the premise of her being a threat to her unborn child's safety.

Florida statute makes it a crime for anyone to distribute or possess drugs/controlled substances. Punishment for drug possession can depend on the amount of drugs involved. A first degree misdemeanor: includes a fine of up to $1000 and up to one year in prison. A first degree felony: includes a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison. Drug trafficking: can include up to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

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Florida Water Park Attracts a Sexual Predator; Leads to Arrest

Robert Chester Double, 51, was caught by authorities in Orlando after being identified as the man who has been groping girls in the water. Aside from the "Chester the Molester" jokes, Chester Double actually was a molester in this case. He allegedly would collide with girls in the water, by using the rolling waves, to pull their suits aside and grope them. Disney security eventually located the man, but investigators said it was difficult to make a positive identification on him due to the crowds and busyness. Orange County Sheriff's Department has a video of the man in the criminal act thus making some conclusive evidence that will very likely hold up in court. Double was formally charged with lewd and lascivious conduct while being held on a $5000 bail.

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Florida Man Sentenced 27 Years for Child Sex Crime

Seth Jerchower, 47, was charged with soliciting sex with a minor. Jerchower was caught in an undercover operation online chat. He believed he was talking with the mother of 2 children, age 9 and 11, who were being made available for sexual relations. Sentencing for Jerchower took place at the Gainesville federal courthouse two years after his December 2007 arrest. The University of Florida had not renewed Jerchower's contract by the February deadline. The main organizations taking credit for this arrest are the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Gainesville Police, and the FBI. Child Predator CyberCrimes Unit was the main central command being led by the attorney general in Jerchower's apprehension as well as other child sex offenders across the U.S.

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Florida Child Rape Suspect Apprehended

Aaron Lamar Howard, 21, took a child under the age of 12 at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her. Howard gained entry into the home by use of a key and kidnapped the child. While maintaining a knife to her throat, he kidnapped her into his truck and drove away from the home of the child. She was then raped in the backseat after being punched in the face and bound down. Howard was a family friend, the victim's family claims. Yet they were uncertain how he obtained a key to the domicile. Howard was arrested later, after releasing the young girl immediately and threatening her not to tell anyone. He was charged with marijuana and cocaine possession, as well.

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Florida Seat Belt Stop Leads to Felon's Arrest

Palm Bay Police Department conducted a seatbelt checkpoint stop recently. During the checkpoint, officers apprehended Travis Lee Brown, 22, for possession of cocaine, possession of controlled substance, and resisting arrest. Brown fled the stop and had to be tasered down to the ground in order to be taken into custody. While in the station he became "irate" and had to be bound in restraints in order to protect himself. Police found cocaine and oxycodone on Brown prior being taken downtown to the station. Bond was set at $4500, as well as orders for his transport back to Richmond County, GA.

Florida Statute 843.01 defines "resisting arrest with violence" as a third degree felony with up to 5 years in a state prison. The other portion of Chapter 843, "resisting officer without violence" is a first degree misdemeanor with a maximum of 1 year in a county jail or detention center. This crime is defined by the state as "whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer ... in the lawful execution of any legal duty without offering or doing violence."

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Death of Florida Man Triggers Push for a New Law

After the death of John Waldo, 42, in Gainesville, FL, fiancé Monica Kraft has pushed for tougher laws regarding ticketed cars and vehicle inspections. Back in February, Waldo was found dead in the backseat of his vehicle parked on a residential road. The BMW was ticketed a whopping seven times but no one had found the body until Waldo had been missing for twelve days. A University of Florida student ended up discovering the body after closely looking in through the car window. No foul play has been detected and police are still investigating for evidence of murder.

Kraft has met with numerous city officials including the Gainesville Police's Captain Ed Book in an effort to see what can be done to prevent this from happening again. Currently under way in city government is the enactment of an ordinance that would would require city employees to visually inspect the inside of any vehicle after being accruing three consecutive unclaimed tickets. This law would be known as the Waldo Law. The exact design of the law would be to require law enforcement agencies to run the tag number of an abandoned vehicle that is receiving any ticket.

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New Florida Law To Cut Down Prescription Abuse

Governor Charlie Crist has signed into law a prescription drug tracking bill that will put a damper on the pill pipeline into eastern Kentucky. One such case that recently has been completed revolving around this "pipeline" is that of a Broward County pain clinic patient accused of obtaining pills and selling them in Kentucky. Oxycodone was the drug involved in this crime.

The new law will "definitely help," says Sheriff Terry Keelin of the Boyd County Sheriff Department in Kentucky. 90 percent of the suspects in the Boyd Sherrif Office have been obtaining their pills from Florida. "Operation Pill Crusher" has received 105 people indicted during the program, and of those a large number were also from Florida clinics.

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Florida Man Caught Out of State as a Rape Suspect

Crescencio Rojas, 43, was arrested in Brownsville, Texas. Rojas was wanted in the perpetration of rape of an elderly person. More precisely, he was accused of sexual assault, battery, and lewd and libidinous acts against an elderly person. US Customs and Border Protection intervened at the Veterans International Bridge in the Brownsville area and apprehended Rojas as he was riding a bus coming back to the United States from Mexico. A warrant check on the national system showed that he had a warrant for sexual assault out of Dade County.

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Florida Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Charges

Michael Mayer, 55, pled guilty to federal charges regarding his actions of supplying oxycodone pills and cocaine on a major level to street-level and other small distributors. Drug trafficking charges in this situation carry a sentence of at least 10 years of imprisonment as well as $4 million dollars in fines.

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute
is not a charge to be laughed at and Mayer will be paying the price for this. $2.64 million and forfeiture of real estate, cars, watercraft and other personal property in Mayer's homes in Costa Rica and Columbia are on the chopping block.

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Florida Man Arrested for Murder

Alex Smart, 30, was arrested Monday afternoon with 2 counts of first degree murder and a count of second degree murder. Three slayings in the Orlando are allegedly connected to Smart, prompting federal agents to arrest the man. The murders were called "heinous" and "bloody" by many involved in the investigations. The shootings took place at the Palms Apartments on July 30.

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Florida Coast Guard Seize Lots of Marijuana

A 29-foot US flagged white boat was found to be in possession of roughly $2.5 million dollars worth of marijuana. The Coast Guard boarded the vessel and found the 1250 pounds of pot and offloaded it at Sector Miami soon after detection and seizure. Initially the Coast Guard went on board to conduct a standard safety inspection but then quickly became alerted to the marijuana which was in plain view. This would be Cutter Dolphin's first drug bust in service for the Coast Guard. The smugglers caught on the ship were detained and transferred into custody of the US Customs and Border Protection. Overall, supervisors said this was one of the largest busts in recent history and a proud first for the crew of the Cutter Dolphin and Sector Miami Coast Guard division.

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Multi-million dollar settlement of Florida mortgage company

Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp. will be paying $9 million in a settlement to the state of New Jersey. In part of a multi-state settlement with a Florida-based mortgage company, the corporation was accused of mortgage fraud by selling high risk mortgages and using shady lending procedures. The state banking agency identifying as the plaintiff in this case also claimed that half of the money to be dispersed in the settlement will go to the national system in progress that will attempt to prevent fraud and make the mortgage regulation process more efficient.

Over $3 billion in assets were apparent in the Ocala, FL company. $30 billion in loans were made annually as well. TBW gave over $100,000 in refunds in response to erroneously charged fees to all their New Jersey customers from 2006. The Obama administration's foreclosure prevention program, known as the Making Home Affordable program, will be used in the guidelines the TBW corporation will adapt with in relations with their customers with loans.

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Florida Mortgage Fraud Investigated by Attorney General

Gideon Rechnitz currently faces two lawsuits of mortgage fraud in Sarasota County, including one by 71-year-old Yolanda Rodriguez. She claims that in 2006 Rechnitz improperly evicted her and her deaf brother from their home, which he acknowledged in a deposition was worth far more than the $150,000 Rodriguez owed on her mortgage. Rechnitz said in the fall that his foreclosure rescue business had slowed considerably in 2008 because it was harder to find people like Rodriguez with substantial equity. But as home­owners who got 100 percent financing now struggle to renegotiate their mortgage terms, state records show he recently started a new company called Loan Modification Enterprises.

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Florida Woman Sentenced in Fraud Case

Lorraine Rich, 58, from Bangor, Maine, has been sentenced to jail for four months in a case US Attorney Paula Silsby has pursued. Rich received $33,000 from the government in a fraudulent manner. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been ordered as the recipient of fines to be paid in restitution by Lorraine Rich and her crime. Rich was documented as using veterans' benefits for her family member. Rich's aunt had continued to collect money even after the aunt's death. This fraudulent crime is a white collar crime of sorts and is just one of many that the government is currently collecting on during the massive tax and money crunch we all face in this economy.

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Cocaine Florida Trafficker Sentenced Severely

Marco Antonio Perez Torres, 36, is in custody now stemming from charges of narcotics trafficking. Torres was arrested in 2007 during an operation conducted by the Volusia Bureau of Investigation. He pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking and conspiracy of 400 grams or more of cocaine. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement will take custody of Torres following this conviction in order to process his deportation.

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Florida Mortgage Fraud Ring Under Arrest

Nine people have been charged in connection with a $2.4 million dollar mortgage fraud conspiracy. The ring was led by a leader based in Alachua County as well as among for other counties. FDLE made all 9 arrests last Tuesday and said that 17 homes are under investigation in Marion County. William H. King, 52, and Beverly Ann King, 52, are the alleged leaders of the group. The formal charges levied against King and the other 7 in the ring were criminal racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering (RICO).

A chief investigator in the arrests said that the organization they had just apprehended is no different than any other organization in that it requires "a lot of people ot get the job done - mortgage brokers, notary publics, people working in a title company, people who are appraisers. It takes all of these people to get a loan through. And what these people did was work together to deceive the mortgage lenders."

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Florida Burglary Suspects Nabbed in Deerfield

Four suspects from Palm Beach County were apprehended after breaking into an elementary school with the intent of stealing laptop computers. This wasn't the first time the thieves tried this. The first attempt occurred last Memorial Day weekend. A janitor came in to the school to find one of the classrooms was broken in to. Nearly $20,000 dollars in Apple iBooks were stolen from a locked cabinet which had been snapped open. Emboldened by the robbery, the thieves came back for another score, this time snagging 31 iBooks. Little did they know that Broward Sheriff Office deputies had been alerted by a silent alarm and were waiting outside for their immediate arrest.

The suspect plead to charges of grand theft, burglary, possession of burglary tools and obstruction without violence.

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Florida Man on Probation For Impeding Investigation

Michael Hernandez, a computer technician for the Department of Children and Families, is being placed on probation for supplying false information to authorities in their investigation of a former employee's child pornography case. The Tampa man admitted to deleting files off the person in question's computer, Al Zimmerman, yet later he attempted to assist federal investigators in building substantial evidence in the case against Zimmerman.

Violation of probation has not occurred in this offense, yet VOP is one of the most common charges faced in the criminal law field. A competent attorney can handle these criminal matters quickly and efficiently. Do not go with a lawyer that will not meet your requirements in legal skill or prowess.

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Florida Man Gets Arrested For Drugs in Relations to a Local Prosecutor

Anthony Mercer, 35, was arrested in possession of a significant amount of drugs located in a Fort Lauderdale warehouse. Mercer is married to a prosecutor in the Broward County State Attorney's Office and has been for 7 years. While in the warehouse, officers seized atleast an ounce of cocaine and approximately a pound of marijuana. As well as the cocaine and marijuana, he was found to be in possession of 21 prescription pills.

Cocaine possession, cocaine delivery, cocaine trafficking, in fact all criminal cases filed in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and throughout the state of Florida in which the state seeks criminal sanction for possession of controlled substances begins with a study of Florida statute 893. Statute begins by defining the important words and phrases used in this chapter. In a prosecution for possession of cocaine or possession of any other controlled substance begins with an indictment, which is called prosecutor information, under this statute.

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Florida Mortgage Brokers Caught by SEC

Steven Shrago, a St. Petersburg mortgage broker, has been indicted among many other mortgage brokers in the area of disguising the risks of investing in mortgage backed securities. The original complaint filed against the defendants in the US District Court of Florida claimed that retirees were targeted by falsely marketed investments in derivatives of mortgage-backed securities. They were called "safe" and "suitable for retirees and others with conservative investment goals." The name of the company targeted by the charges was Brookstreet Securities Corp. Shrago was a registered representative and investment adviser for Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. Many other residents of Florida were charged along with Shrago, many living in Boca Raton, Pompano Beach, Parkland, and Weston.

The original complaint filed by the SEC said that over $18 million in combined salaries and commissions were dispersed to the defendants while more than $36 million were suffered in losses by nearly 750 investors. As well as the SEC being involved in this matter, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority filed charges in suit with the original charges against six other brokers formerly with the company in question. Mortgage fraud occurred here and is clearly the general charge in question.

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South Florida Fire at synagogue Spikes Fears

In a blatant anti-Semitism attack on a Miami Beach synagogue, a man lit some wood pallets on fire resulting in a intense fire contained to the garage of the building. Officials say if they arrived minutes later, it could have ripped through the main area of the building. Not more than a week ago another anti-Semetic attack occurred at a local rabbi's house in Miami Beach. Miraculous in timing, a day earlier the synagogue where the fire took place had a camera installed. The camera got the arsonist smoking a cigarette yet reports show inconclusive evidence as to how he ignited the fire exactly. No arrests have been made yet according to a detective of the Miami Beach police department.

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Florida Gang Members Arrested, Community Joyous

14 individuals of the Winter Garden-based Westside gang were apprehended recently in a gang arrest initiative created by local law enforcement in the Central Florida area drug unit. This particular gang was responsible for millions of dollars in value of drugs being shipped into the Central Florida area for over 10 years. Severe jail sentences loom over the heads of these criminals caught and for good reason. The gang has been linked to many cases of witness intimidation and money laundering by the use of several business fronts in the Winter Garden area. Drug sales were hidden at these discreet locations in order to cover their money trails and police heat. Bales upon bales of marijuana and cocaine were seized at several of the sites where arrests took place.

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South Florida Jamaican Gets Mortgage Fraud Charges

Yvette Scott Patterson appeared in court recently in connections with a mortgage fraud operation. She fled the country to Jamaica, trying to avoid being detained. Her business front used fraudulent bank statement, fake employment verifications, stolen drivers licenses and other false documents in order to secure loans for the homes purchased by the company during the real estate boom.

The Magistrate in charge of her case will determine by the end of the week whether Patterson will be eligible for bond. Originally when Patterson was apprehended in Jamaica, she waved her right to fight extradition back to the United States.

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Florida Drug Warrants and Seizures Spike in Polk County

Numerous drug growing houses were targeted in Polk County. Officials say these marijuana-cultivating houses are a problem for the community for a multitude of reasons. One obvious reason is the fact that they are growing points and primary centers where drugs enter the market. Secondly, the guns and cash usually found at these houses are a target for criminal activity besides the fact of the drug growing.

Many of the charges facing the criminals arrested in the entire operation ranged from trafficking in cannabis and cultivation of cannabis to maintaining a dwelling for drug trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Florida Attorney Discusses Penalties on Bullies

After an incident at a middle school in Florida where a 13 year old was raped, critics and lawyers say the laws have been softened regarding bullying. The Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act requires schools in Florida to establish concrete policies to discourage bullying in person and online or risk losing state funding. Lawyers to the raped individual aforementioned have claimed that if the law on the books had been enforced in the school, the incident would not have even occurred.

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Florida DUI Family Awarded $6.2 Million

In an unprecedented law suit ruling, Mary Taylor Christensen has been ordered by the courts to pay $6.2 million to the family of the victims in her drunk driving hit-and-run incident. In 2005, Christensen drank too much, took painkillers, hopped behind the wheel and ended up slamming into a car on the side of I-95 belonging to Thomas Bowen, who was instantly killed as he changed a flat tire. Christensen has been serving an 11.5 year sentence for the vehicular manslaughter and will now pay a massive amount of money in restitution for her crime.

Driving under the influence is a deadly motor vehicle crime that costs many people their lives, physically, financially, and in their freedom. Drinking and driving should already be a definite 'no' activity and must be seen in light of the damage it creates and the wide ripple effect that it creates.

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Florida Prescription Drugs Get Hit By Law Enforcement

Last week, Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar implemented a drug task force on the highways. Many patrol cars were assigned to their stretch of highway, pulling over vehicles that sped or had other minor traffic violations in hope of discovering illegal drugs or other criminal activity. Of the cars pulled, surprisingly many had drugs on them or were wanted on warrants. One car was a rental car, driven by a suspended license driver, headed to Georgia, with marijuana in the car. Others involved one driver having numerous pain-killer scripts from travelling all across South Florida for doctors and their signatures to write off drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicotin. The law enforcement agency in this article had felt like they took a chunk of crime off the streets and done well in one days simple work.

Prescription pills used illegally or in possession by those without prescription is a felony in most if not all cases and are dealt aggressively by state prosecutors. Trafficking amounts can be as low as one pill in certain cases.

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Florida Mortgage Fraud Criminals Running Rampant

Victor Thomas Clavizzao, 46, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison on convictions of conspiring to commit mortgage fraud. The court also ordered Clavizzao to pay $2 million in restitution and to forfeit an additional $6 million. Clavizzao had entered a guilty plea on September 23, 2009. Court documents stated that Clavizzao worked as a mortgage broker in the purchase of 13 real estate properties. He conspired to submit false and fraudulent information to a variety of lenders in the hopes of inducing the lenders to fund bad loans.Clavizzao's co-defendant, a Pinellas property flipper who procured bogus loans with Clavizzao's assistance, was sentenced earlier by a US District judge to 13 months in prison in his actions related to the conspiracy.

Mortgage fraud is a popular charge being seen in the news these days. If you are involved in such an incident, do not forgo your rights to the state. Defend your rights in court with a lawyer that knows the law and that will fight for you.

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Florida Crime Goes Down, According to FDLE

Incidents of major crime ticked up in 2008 over the previous year but were significantly down from 10 years ago, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which today released the annual statewide crime report. "The number one priority of government is to make our neighborhoods safe and secure for Floridians," Gov. Charlie Crist said in prepared statement included in the announcement. "Our state is committed to implementing the necessary tools and resources to deter criminal activity and protect the people."

The report also said that domestic violence offenses dropped by 1.8 percent compared with the previous year. Nonviolent crime, which includes burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, increased 1.7 percent, the report said.

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Florida Keys Teenagers Make Sex Video; Arrested

Ten teenagers in the Florida Keys have been charged in making child pornography videos. The tape allegedly had a 16 year old runaway girl engaging in sexual intercourse with a 19 year old man, with witnesses around in the Key Largo apartment. The camera operator and surrounding people would direct movements at times and yell things at them. A 14 year old runaway girl there notified officials of the incident because she believed rape was involved at certain points when the female subject of the video had said "no" during portions of the filming.

All 10 -- the six juveniles and Kenneth Carter, 19; Michael Thelus, 18; Derek Williams, 19, who deputies say was the one having sex on camera; and Ceasar Gjerde, 18 -- face charges of sexual performance by a child, a second-degree felony. Gjerde also was charged with directing and producing the performance. Williams was also charged with promoting a sexual performance by a child. Bail was set at $175,000 per count for the adults involved.

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Florida Cocaine Trafficker Breaks Probation

Alexis Arocha of Miami-Dade county has recently been sentenced to 55 months in prison in response to violation of probation in his 3 year probation deal. What a trade, from a 3 year probation in the outside world to a 4 year prison term in the penitentiary. Arocha had been originally sentenced to 2 years of community control as well as 3 years of probation following a cocaine trafficking conviction and marijuana possession. Not more than 3 months into his probation, Arocha broke his terms of probation while he fled the county and was busted on drug charges in Miami-Dade county soon after.

Cocaine possession, cocaine delivery, cocaine trafficking, in fact all criminal cases filed in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and throughout the state of Florida in which the state seeks criminal sanction for possession of controlled substances begins with a study of Florida statute 893. Statute begins by defining the important words and phrases used in this chapter. In a prosecution for possession of cocaine or possession of any other controlled substance begins with an indictment, which is called prosecutor information, under this statute.

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Sexting in Florida A Reality in a Court of Law

The recently documented rage of "sexting," a form of sending picture text messages with nude photos, is turning up nasty results. Many minors are engaging in these activities at a fervent pace, making legislators uneasy and drawing lines in the sand for where legal measures must step in. Technically and according to the law, this is child pornography, even if the victim takes the picture consensually of themselves and sends to their boyfriend/girlfriend that is a minor as well. Both are in trouble. A recent case law out of Florida can only make this fact more evident in that no matter who is involved or what was sent to whom, both parties are breaking the law.

The Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act in Florida Statute states the following:

An offender less than 18 years of age who commits a lewd or lascivious exhibition using a computer commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

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Florida Woman Drives on Wrong Side of Road in DUI

Gail A. Touchton, 54, was connected to two separate incidents that occurred along I-10 on one day recently. The first incident involved a crash near a local supermarket warehouse at around 11 pm on the alleged day. Soon after at around 11:30pm, Touchton was observed by a Department of Environmental Protection officer to be driving on the shoulder of the highway. Touchton ended up rear ending the DEP vehicle, resulting in no injuries except her immediate arrest. She is looking at charges of DUI, DUI property damage, and failure to drive in a single lane.

Drinking alcohol before operating any motor vehicle from a car to an ATV to a jetski to even a bicycle, can lead to your arrest for driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Don't tempt fate to see if you can "just get home this one time." Just say no, wait til you sober up, or get a ride home so you can pick up your car the next day. AAA provides Tow & Go services where they will tow your car back home for free and give you a ride.

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Palm Beach Police Officer Kills Criminal During Crime

Nicholas Burdett, 25, was shot during the commission of a robbery by Deputy Justin Clayton on South Beach, Miami. Burdett, who is from Massachusetts, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Reports say Burdett had a knife and attempted to forcefully rob the off-duty deputy. The police officer defended himself, just as any other individual should in a armed encounter.

This seems to be a clear case of self-defense for the victim, and being a police officer only bolsters his defense in court because it will be made evident he had proficient knowledge and skill in weapons usage or at the very least in how to engage an armed threat.

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University of Florida Player Free of Rape Charge

Carl Johnson, an offensive lineman at UF, will only face a temporary injunction placed on him by an ex-girlfriend. Johnson will not be charged with rape and will not be charged for violating the injunction last month, Johnson’s lawyer said Monday. “There will be no charges filed against him, period, by the state of Florida,” said his attorney. “There will be no charges pressed against him for any sort of date rape. There will be no charges pressed against him for violating the restraining order.”

Johnson, who started eight games on Florida’s offensive line in 2008, including the BCS Championship game, had an injunction for protection against sexual violence placed on him on February 9th.

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College Football Potential with Florida Violation of Probation Trouble

Jamar Hornsby, Ole Miss football signee, is already in trouble in Mississippi, after being arrested and charged with aggravated assault in Starkville on March 2nd for allegedly using brass knuckles on a man resulting in his severe injury. Hornsby was arrested in May 2008 while a member of the Florida football team and eventually convicted of four misdemeanor counts of credit card fraud in Alachua County, FL. He used a friend's credit card following her death in 2007, buying almost $3,000 worth of gas. After his arrest, Hornsby was kicked off the Florida team. As part of his punishment, he was sentenced to a year of probation in December.

Theft and violation of probation (VOP) are criminal matters dealt with by local authorities and prosecutors with zeal and veracity. Do not let them throw the book at you; you need to fight back with an experience and ready lawyer.

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Gun Fire Sends a Florida High School into Lockdown

Gunfire erupted between two high schoolers at a Jacksonville high school recently. Police say no injuries occurred when gun shots rang out between two school buildings in the morning of a normal school day last Tuesday. Six students have been detained for further questioning in result of the discharge of weapons in relation to a fight between two groups of students. FCAT testing was going on the day of the incident and has been postponed. One student was found to be in possession of one of the guns; the other firearm was located in a trash can.

Despite Florida Law, and many laws across all the states, the school's designation of being a "Gun-Free Zone" had no bearing on the criminals. Potential lives could have been lost in the crossfire and police could only arrive on the scene after the fact. Florida Statute 790.115 states:

A person shall not possess any firearm, electric weapon or device, destructive device, or other weapon as defined in s. 790.001(13), including a razor blade or box cutter, except as authorized in support of school-sanctioned activities, at a school-sponsored event or on the property of any school, school bus, or school bus stop
This means people can not possess firearms, regardless of licensing, on any school property. In this incident, obviously the age of the minors in question makes it an automatic offense ANYWHERE for possession of a handgun.

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Miami Abortion Doctor Throws Away Live Baby

Belkis Gonzalez, 43, has been charged with felonies on both practicing medicine without a license and tampering with evidence. The charges stem from an event in 2006 where she performed a botched procedure in Hialeah and then disposed of a live infant in the trash. Her charges face at least a year in prison and can escalate up to 15 years behind bars.

Horrific news likes this seems to be commonplace today, yet the crime is no less valid than it would have been years ago. I can not even begin to imagine how someone could throw away a nearly fully developed baby that's alive and not feel a tinge of regret or remorse. Gonzalez's history in medicine will be noted duly in court and most likely used against her.

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UPDATE: Turnpike Killers Get Convicted

In the case of Daniel Troya and Ricardo Sanchez Jr, both were found guilty of murder resulting from an armed carjacking, drug conspiracy and weapons charges; both are facing life in prison. The incident revolving around this case that we have been following for quite some time was the tragic Turnpike murder incident of an entire family, thought to be drug related. A federal jury deliberated for almost 24 hours before finally reaching a verdict. A few others have been convicted of the charges against them; Danny Varela, 28, and Liana Lopez, 20.

Recapping the events that happened with this crime, a family of four along a dark stretch of the Turnpike was gunned down in a drug debt related incident in 2006. The bodies of Jose Luis Escobedo, 28; his wife, Yessica Guerrero Escobedo, 25; and their sons, Luis Julian, 4, and Luis Damian, 3; were found alongside the road. The bodies laid in a twisted mound in the grass, shot at close range.

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Florida Man Gets DUI Manslaughter as a Repeat Offender

William Edward Ham, 31, was arrested a week ago on charges of felony DUI manslaughter. He is being held without bail at Orient Road Jail in Tampa, FL. Not only was he arrested under a new charge of driving under the influence, but he violated his probation as well. Ham was found passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle by a police officer who stopped behind him at a traffic light. Ham failed to continue through at the green light and thus the alerted officer got out of her vehicle and woke Ham up from his drunken stupor. He then reported tried to give the officer $20s in his severely drunken state.

According to his probation, Ham was not allowed to be in possession or under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.

DUI, violation of probation, and DUI manslaughter are ridiculous crimes that people commit every day with no reprehensibility in their minds. Ham was obviously drunk, a repeat offender, and a potentially violent criminal.

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Florida State Player Finally Turns In Self in Florida

Preston Parker, 21, formerly of the Florida State University football team has turned himself in to authories in Palm Beach Gardens on charges of violation of probation. Police arrested the young man in April 2008 for weapons and drug charges, which is where the probation violation stems from. He technically violated his probation when he was last arrested in Tallahassee on a charge of driving under the influence.

A person is guilty of Driving Under the Influence if all the following can be proven by the state:

1. The defendant was in actual physical control of a vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, boat, motorbike).

2. The person was under the influence of alcohol, a chemical substance, a controlled substance; to the extent that one’s normal faculties are impaired.

3. If the person has a blood alcohol level over the legal maximum (.08% in most states, 0.1 in a minority of states), you can be found guilty of DUBAL (driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level) or the law creates a rebuttable presumption of impairment.

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Florida Man Gets 190 Arrest Milestone

Henry Farrell, 46, has been charged recently with carjacking. Farrell attempted to carjack a man in the parking lot of a coffee shop in Boca Raton last January. Police say the incident is the man's 190th arrest, an arrest rap record loaded with many charges from numerous marijuana and cocaine possessions. Family of the man say he suffers from bipolar disorder.

It's sad to see when recidivism is clearly evident from our court and rehabilitation systems even when millions of dollars are spent each year to have these types of incidents not occur. The man involved is clearly of unsound mind and needs to have some life changes in order to correct himself.

Florida Statute 812.133 defines "carjacking" as:

the taking of a motor vehicle which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the motor vehicle, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.

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Florida Rape Incident Leads to Criminals Turning Selves In

ORLANDO, FL

Two rapists have turned themselves in to authorities after perpetrating their recent crime on an 11 year old. Authorities say the two confessed to the crime conducted on the Florida girl as she was on her way to school. She was held at knifepoint then pulled into a car being driven by the two individuals. Then she was taken several blocks away to a vacant house where she was raped. Police received a tip on the phone lines later that day confirming DNA that was found on the victim. Orange County Sheriff's Office are giving Richard Morales-Marin, 23, and Juan Hernandez Monzalvo, 24, charges of kidnapping and rape.

Sex crimes damage the community at large, not just individuals. People get hurt in the process and there is little offer of forgiveness to the criminals who commit such crimes. This incident is just one of many that continue to happen when sexual offenders are in the vicinity of schools and playgrounds that hold their potential prey. Be watchful of your children and make sure they don't walk alone to school or talk to strangers without adults they know around.

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Columbian Cocaine Running Is In "Coffins"

Packed with cocaine and grimly christened "coffins," sleek jungle-built submarines are steaming their way north from Colombia through Pacific waters to deliver tons of illegal drugs headed for the U.S. market. These vessels travel just below the water surface leaving a small glass cockpit or tubes visible to the world. They are the latest in shipment methods used by drug cartels in transporting large amounts of their products into the US with no detection by authorities. Sometimes three or four crewmen plus a pilot cram into the dingy, humid hulls, suffocated by the noise of a diesel engine rumbling right next to their heads. Key West has been a new target point for unloaders of these vessels and local authorities are worried.

"They call it either the coffin or the tomb," said Rear Admiral Joseph Nimmich, the officer who commands the U.S. Coast Guard's Joint Interagency Task Force South. "The intent is to be as low-profile, and to make it as difficult for us to find, as possible."

Drug trafficking carries stiff charges if prosecuted in a court of law in the US. Drug trafficking can include a fine up to $500,000 and life in prison. This is incredible severe and life-altering in punishment level. You need a lawyer who can minimize the impact this charge could have on your life.

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Domestic Violence on Cupid Day in Florida

Christina Garcia of Polk County, Florida, has been charged with two counts of domestic violence in the abuse of her daughter Mercades Nichols. Nichols claimed the two had a verbal argument that progressed rapidly into a physical altercation. Police statement report Nichols saying she was "grabbed by her hair, kicked ... several times in the pelvic area and spit [on] her face." Another fight between the two broke out an hour later after the subsiding of the first confrontation. Nichols is no innocent in this incident. In 2008, she was charged in the videotaping of a beating of another teen in Polk County.

Domestic violence is a destructive crime that separates families, homes, and lives. In this incident, a mother and daughter were amidst the fog of conflict and struck blows to each other. Whenever assault and then battery are evident in some encounter, the results can never be good unless it was in self-defense.

Florida Statute defines "domestic violence" as:

any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

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Florida Drug Charges Result from Traffic Stop

WCTV-TALLAHASSEE

On Tuesday investigators with the Jackson County Drug Task Force arrested Marcus D. Bell. The arrest came as a result of a traffic stop on Salem Church Rd. Bell was found to be in possession of approximately six grams of the illegal substance, Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Bell was also found to be on Pretrial Intervention on charges of Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon. Bell was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine, with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and also charged with Violation of Pretrial Intervention.

Also arrested was Julie Marie Dalton. Dalton was charged with Fleeing and Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement after failing to stop the vehicle she was driving.

On Wednesday February 18 after further investigation of the contents of the vehicle, more evidence was located and seized. In the passenger floorboard of the vehicle, where Bell was seated, a black bag was found that contained a bottle of a bi-layered liquid that is suspected to contain meth oil. Also found in the bag were coffee filters, a funnel, suspected red phosphorus, tin foil containing suspected lithium metal shavings, and several unknown substances. Another bag was located in the passenger floorboard containing measuring spoons, syringes, unknown liquids, suspected MSM, and more suspected Methamphetamine. The contents of these bags are consistent with the use and manufacture of Methamphetamine, Bell was additionally charged with Attempted Manufacture of a controlled substance, Methamphetamine.

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Dangerous DUI Fatality in Largo, South Florida

James E. Laier, 57, is being charged with DUI manslaughter and DUI with serious bodily injury almost seven months after an incident in Largo that resulted in the death of John Prado, 21, and the serious injury of Heather Lynn Cook, 20. Prado was riding a motorcycle with Cook when at 2 a.m., a drunken Laier ran a stop sign and struck Prado. Prado was killed instantly while Cook was ejected from the crash, suffering a leg amputation. Laier's BAC was found in excess of 0.195, extremely over the legal limit. As officers pulled him out of the car, Icehouse beer cans were tumbling out. He fled Florida after a 2 night stay in the hospital, and was found in Illinois where he has currently been extradited from back to Pinellas County Jail. Bond was at $55,000.

This incident is just one of the many tragic ones that occur involving alcohol and motor vehicles. Innocent lives were lost and the driver who committed the crime will be prosecuted because a fatality and injuries occurred. DUI of any level is eagerly prosecuted by court systems across the country, and Florida is no different.

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Sport Agent Violates Probation in Florida

Scott Helfand, 42, was arrested by US Marshals in Arizona after a warrant was issued regarding his fraudulent activity as a sports agent for a former NFL athlete. Helfand operates Pro Athletes Only, a company that handles sports players and agent affiliations. In 2003, a Florida court found him guilty of stealing $150,000 from Oliver Gibson in 2001. In addition to this, an active lien is on Helfand in regards to a former filing by NFL defensive back Devin Bush in the amount of $115,000.

He remains book into Fourth Avenue Jail with a felony arrest for violation of probation in Florida and will extradited back to Florida pending the felony count.

A spokesman of the State Attorney's Miami-Dade Office said that an individual notified the office of their concern regarding Helfand and his practicing as an agent in Arizona without acknowledging indiscretions with prior clients.

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Florida DUI Manslaugther Trial Commences

Carlos Ortiz, 31, is going on trial for the vehicular DUI manslaughter charges originating from an incident in 2007 along the Beachline. Prosecutors say Ortiz was drunk and swerved into the emergency lane, killing an entire family parked in their vehicle. The three fatalities in the incident were Alexis Rodriguez, 33, his wife Jacqueline Dieppa, 33, and their 2 year old son Nayi Suarez. Sources say they were just waiting along side the road for family members to arrive for a beach outing. FHP identified the offending vehicle as a 2002 Chevrolet truck, last seen weaving through traffic moments before the collision. Blood alcohol of Ortiz was determined to be at 0.176, gravely over the legal limit in Florida.

Ortiz is being charged with three counts of DUI manslaughter. This is a second degree felony with up to 15 years behind bars for each count.

DUI
affects the lives of everyone, not just the driver. Collisions result in unnecessary deaths and are very tragic. Please remember the next time you drink to not go driving afterward. Taxis and readily available, many times for free, and certain towing companies will provide a free "tow and go" service where they tow your car to your house and give you a ride home as well, all for free.

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Florida Probation Officer Budget Cuts

Florida budget cuts have come to hit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 66 probation officers were laid off recently in response to the shortage of funds for the program. "Cutting probation officers statewide ''minimizes the impact to public safety,'' said spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger. 22 of the 66 officers cut were in South Florida. The ones let go were officers in the program for less than a year, totaling only a 3% reduction in probation officers statewide.

It is unclear how this will affect those on probation, yet it seems to be obvious that it would lead to more strain on the already limited resources of law enforcement and their subsidiaries. Those on probation with officers already will be put on a longer leash because probation officers will probably have to be in more places at once.

Violation of probation is something that happens to criminals on probation and should not be left alone or thought of as "just going away." An experienced lawyer can help represent you at all your probation hearings.

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DUI Driver in Florida Crashes into FHP

A drunk driver slammed into the rear of a parked FHP with warning lights on a highway in Orlando. The officer was sitting in his car with safety lights flashing to protect road crew working nearby. The officer sustained no injuries in this incident. The driver, who's identity has not been released, was charged with careless driving, DUI and driving on a learner's license.

This is a sad incident in that not only was a deadly collision situation made, thankfully with no serious injuries, but it was a drunk driving case with a minor. The juvenile driving the vehicle was by law illegal to be drinking in the first place, and then drove while intoxicated. All parents need to monitor their children closely in order for the following not to occur.

DUI at any age is one of the most common and serious life-affecting offenses on the books, and for good reason. Drinking and driving don't mix. There is no way anyone can weasel their way out of that one, when its obvious that being impaired does not help in the activity of anything requiring focus and attention, driving included.

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Florida State Receiver UPDATE: Violation of Probation

BACK IN THE NEWS, ITS PRESTON PARKER

After his recent DUI arrest, Preston Parker, receiver at Florida State University, has been dismissed "due to his latest violation of team policy." Bobby Bowden is sad to let the guy go, but he had to do what he had to do.

Recapping what his last DUI arrest entailed... Parker was found passed out in an idle-running Dodge Charger at a McDonald's in the early hours of the weekend. He was arrested for DUI, yet tested under the legal limit for alcohol via breath test. Marijuana was found actively in a urine sample immediately after the arrest.

Parker faces new problems now as a Violation of Probation will come into play in reaction to a previous charge of marijuana possession and an illegally carried firearm charge out of Palm Beach Gardens. He was placed on a plea deal of 12 month probation stemming from that marijuana possession charge. According to Florida Department of Corrections records, May 18 was the end date for that probation, so he will likely face a misdemeanor probation violation.

VOP (Violation of Probation) is something you must deal with immediately; the sooner the better.

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Cocaine Transaction in Florida Lands Men Behind Bars

Larry Sullen, 23, Rudolph Peacock, 19, and Bridgette Pelham, 24, have been arrested and charged with the sale of a controlled substance, namely cocaine. The three are accused of selling crack cocaine in Esto, Florida to a undercover agent. Originally living in Alabama, all three will most likely be extradited and prosecuted under Florida Law regarding illegal substances and distribution.

Cocaine is a serious drug that carries severe penalties and charges under Florida Statute 893. A controlled substance:

encompass all chemicals, which are regulated under law as having a medicinal or psychotropic effect. These include cocaine, cocaine distillates in cocaine derivatives, synthetic heroin such as Demerol and other branded synthetic painkillers, oxycodone, MDMA, cannabis and other or newly created so-called designer drugs.
Felony charges are to be expected if you are caught with drugs other than marijuana. Having a lawyer is one half of the battle, in the unfortunate instance you actually do have the drugs and get caught, but not doing the drugs to begin with solves alot.

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Florida State Receiver Gets DUI at McDonalds

Preston Parker, a football player at Florida State University, was arrested in the wee hours of Saturday for DUI. This is probably going to be devastating for his career due to his prior record. Officers found him "passed out" on his steering wheel stopped in a McDonald's drive-through. Officers finally aroused him by tapping on the window and then arrested him after securing the still-running vehicle.

Breath tests showed .054, which do not break legal limits in the State of Florida, yet urine analysis showed positive levels of marijuana. Parker admitted to officers in the report that he had in fact been smoking marijuana and drinking that evening.

DUI means driving under the influence of any substance that can impair your driving abilities. Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and any other substance counts and can be used in a court of law against you. DUI is a serious offense and carries strict penalties such as license revocation, jail time, and fines.

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Florida Possession of Firearm In Parking Lot Law Tested

The first case in Florida regarding legal gun storage in cars on employer parking lots is being tested. A Boca Raton funeral employee is suing his company for firing him on the premise that he had a gun in the parking lot of his place of employment. He is claiming that the employer violated the new state law that permits people with concealed-weapons licensing to have their firearms secured in their cars on workplace property. A spokesman for the funeral parlor declined to comment on the situation. The accusations that Collazo, 36, even had a gun on the premises were said to be made by two anonymous tipsters in the area claiming to have seen " a bulge in his pocket" which resembled a gun.

This is groundbreaking legal news as far as concealed weapons on employee property goes. The "Preservation and Protection of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008" states that:

The statute provides that an “employer”—that is, a business with at least one worker who has a concealed carry permit—may not: (1) prohibit a worker with a concealed-carry permit from securing a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot;(2) prohibit a customer—whether or not he or she has a concealed-carry permit—from securing a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot; (3) ask a worker with a concealed carry permit or a customer whether he or she has a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot, take any action against such a worker or against a customer based on a statement about whether the worker or customer has a gun in a vehicle in a parking lot for lawful purposes, or search a vehicle in a parking lot for a gun; (4) condition employment on whether a person has a concealed-carry permit; (5) terminate a worker with a concealed-carry permit, or otherwise discriminate against such a worker, or expel a customer, for having a gun in a vehicle on the business’s property, unless the gun is exhibited on the property. A business that does not have at least one worker with a concealed-carry permit is not subject to any of these provisions.

Certain places of employment do not allow guns at work under law, but storing of your firearm securely in your car at work is OKAY. Be sure to follow this blog to see where the courts go with this one.

Continue reading "Florida Possession of Firearm In Parking Lot Law Tested" »

DUI Manslaughter in Florida News

Eric Dwayne Wilkerson, 38, has been charged with felony DUI manslaughter in relation to the death of a man crossing a road at night in Tampa. Wilkerson is being held without bail and the man struck by him has not been identified. Police reported that Wilkerson's black vehicle dragged the pedestrian for 150 feet til his death at 11:55pm. "I just killed a man. I was driving north, and he got in front of me," said Wilkerson in an affidavit to Tampa police. A strong odor of alcohol was in Wilkerson's breath, police noted. Refusals to sobriety tests were also noted by police, yet blood-alcohol levels taken at the station revealed a level of .10, over the legal limits in Florida law of .08.

Florida DUI law states that there are three types of tests a police officer may ask a suspect to take in order to test for alcohol in the bloodstream: blood, breath, or urine test. Florida has one of the strictest levels of laws regarding DUI among all states of US. You are not legally obligated to take any field sobriety test in the field, or where you are stopped by police. If you do not comply, you will have your drivers license suspended immediately. There are many other facets of the law that an experienced and knowledge lawyer can tell you in a consultation.

Continue reading "DUI Manslaughter in Florida News" »

Florida Cocaine Sting Operation Successful

Six pounds of cocaine have been confiscated in a drug bust of a Sanibel Avenue home in Fort Pierce. Five people have been arrested, according to investigators with the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, FDLE, BATF, and the DEA.

Multiple cocaine trafficking charges have been distributed to the offenders by local authorities. The large amount of cocaine found here would at one point in time been an incredible amount to find in such a warrant arrest, but these days they are becoming more and more common. This results in harsher prison times and more fervent prosecution.

Trafficking, possession, and use of cocaine in Florida is a serious matter and arrests are made day in day out. You cannot afford to not have a defense lawyer that is capable of navigating you through the court proceedings and trial.

Continue reading "Florida Cocaine Sting Operation Successful" »

Florida Turnpike Executioners Face Sentencing

Daniel Troya, 25, and Ricardo Sanchez Jr., 25, are now facing sentencing in federal trial regarding the Florida Turnpike executions of Jose Luis Escobedo, 28, Yessica Guerrero Escobedo, 25, and their sons, in what has been claimed to be one of the most horrific and disheartening murders on the state's roads.

The family of four was murdered execution style on a dark stretch of the Turnpike two years ago on October 13, 2006. The suspected killers will face the death penalty for the actions committed on that evening. A drug cartel feud was the suspected cause of the altercation and resulting slayings. A "civil war" of sorts had been escalating between certain drug organizations and led to this incident.

The defendants are facing charges of armed carjacking resulting in multiple deaths, weapons counts, conspiracy and drug offenses. All the defendants have current plead not guilty.

Continue reading "Florida Turnpike Executioners Face Sentencing" »

Law and Disorder: Drug Traffickers Caught

Temario D'Andre, 23, Frederick Antonio Campbell, 20, and Alex Lee Campbell, 21, were arrested by police on charges of drug trafficking in a marijuana distribution case spanning from California to Florida. According to Jacksonville Police, nearly $573,000 in cash, 100 pounds of marijuana, a few high-powered rifles and handguns. Other agencies involved were a regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives), and FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement).

Police say a tip from the community gave up where all the contraband would be found, with the marijuana totaling up in a street value of a hundred and twenty five grand. The traffickers were bold enough to send 50 pounds of marijuana at a time via UPS.

Drug trafficking of marijuana, cocaine, and oxycontin or other prescription pharmaceuticals carry a hefty prison term and are very damaging to oneself and to the community. Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer when you're chips are down and you need to defend yourself to the best extent of the law.

Continue reading "Law and Disorder: Drug Traffickers Caught" »

Sports Betting Strife In South Florida

A criminal sports betting syndicate has been busted in Philadelphia.

Wagering is illegal in most states, Florida has extensive laws concerning gambling and illegal betting. South Florida is a hotspot for this sort of criminal activity. Criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr has had over 10 cases in the last two years: arrests in Fort Lauderdale, and Miami.

Wagering and betting on sports events is a felony in Florida you face arrest, and conviction after trial, just like in Philadelphia, only it's worse…… here it carries a 15 year felony prison term.

If you place wagers you can be arrested as under the principle rule. Know thy bookie. Call thy attorney. His name is Mr. Behr. Phone lines standing by.


Violation of Probation Is A Serious Matter

If you're under probation for any conviction, you are under contract with the State to maintain certain restrictions and activities. There are different types of probation you may be under.
Administrative probation means:

a form of noncontact supervision in which an offender who presents a low risk of harm to the community may, upon satisfactory completion of half the term of probation, be transferred by the Department of Corrections to nonreporting status until expiration of the term of supervision.

Administrative probation is only one type of probation out there. You may be under community control, drug offender probation, or sex offender probation. All are serious matters and must be dealt with accordingly. It's your life and if you want to keep it on track, you are advised to follow orders as specified in your specific case.

Continue reading "Violation of Probation Is A Serious Matter" »

NEW DUI PUNISHMENTS IN FLORIDA

FLORIDA DUI LAWS

The DUI punishments in Florida have been increased. Starting October 2008 fines are doubled for first DUI convictions to $500. A maximum of $1000 fine can be imposed on a first DUI conviction in Fort Lauderdale, South Florida, Broward, Miami and West Palm Beach.
In Florida a breath-alcohol reading of .15 now doubles or enhances punishments for DUI convictions.
If you have been arrested in South Florida on a DUI charge it is now more important than ever that you seek a good South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, criminal attorney. You can defend yourself when you know the law. Seek and obtain a Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney and protect your rights!


Mortgage Fraud

South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach, have become a hotbed of prosecution for mortgage fraud.

The US Attorney, Broward, Miami and Palm Beach State Attorneys (prosecutors) and the Florida Attorney Generals Office of the Statewide Prosecutor have filed several dozen criminal prosecutions in Fort Lauderdale and Miami in both State and Federal Courts.

These investigations involving mortgage fraud have taken off and are growing. Prosecutions in Fort Lauderdale and Miami have become a daily grind in the local news. The charges of fraud and property investment schemes related to the mortgage market are being prosecuted as follows:

Fraudulent application: Applicants and mortgage brokers are accused of falsifying income status of the buyers or investors to reflect false reports of employment history, income forms, asset statements or credit record.

Flipping: When a buyer or investor pays a low price for a property then sells it at a higher price by falsifying statements to the lender.

Duplicate Statements: One settlement statement is provided to the seller, it shows one price for the property. A second settlement statement is presented to a lender: It shows a higher property value. A loan is given based on the higher value, and the excess loan proceeds is taken by the "actors", i.e. those accused of mortgage fraud.

DUI CASES BACK TO COURT

In Florida DUI cases a blood alcohol reading from a breath-test device allows the prosecutor to tell the jury that the defendant is presumed intoxicated.

The breath-test machines, usually an Intoxilizer (brand) were upheld again by a Florida court.

The over 200 DUI cases in South Florida, Broward and Dade (Miami) that were stopped until the decision are now back in court.

If you have been arrested for a DUI in Fort Lauderdale, contact attorney Ralph Behr for a free consultation.

SHOULD JURORS KNOW THE SENTENCE?

All my loyal blog readers have a chance to let me know what to do about the law. Vote by emailing me at ralph@ralphbehr.com
A YES vote means: yes: the jury should hear from the judge about the penalty (jail sentence) if they convict a defendant.
A NO vote means: No: the jury should not hear the possible sentence if they convict.
If you have a reason to vote yes or no I'd like to hear it. I will let you know how the voting went on October 15th. Thanks, R Behr

BAIL, BOND AND BONDAGENTS IN FLORIDA

SHOULD I POST BAIL FIRST? CALL A LAWYER? CALL A BONSMAN?

Call a lawyer first, why?

First: a local lawyer knows the local bondagents, your lawyer can get a good bond and control the bondsman: use the lawyer as a problem solver.

Second: the lawyer may be able to get a quick bond hearing and reduce the bond amount.

When a good local lawyer and a good local bondsman are in front of a local judge you benefit all around. The judge is confident you are well repersented and may be inclined to lower the bond.

If you or a family member or friend has been arrested in South Florida, Miami, Fort Lauderale or West Palm Beach contact a south Florida criminal defense attorney. Ask about bond. Ask about the judge. Ask about how an arrest and a trial work.

Information is the cure for agitation and aggravation. Let a local professional guide you through the criminal process. Call Attorney Ralph Behr at 1-800-761-3446.

HOW TO HANDLE A VIOLATION OF PROBATION

VIOLATION OF PROBATION & VIOLATION OF COMMUNITY CONTROL IN FORT LAUDERDALE

Probation and Community Control are sentences, not pre-trial release; and sentences must be followed.

If you fail to follow any condition of probation, the probation officer will report to his supervisor. If the violation is willful and substantial then a request for a pick up order (warrant) is sent to a judge.

If the judge signs the request it becomes a warrant.

In Broward, Fort Lauderdale, by local order; anyone arrested on a violation of probation warrant waits ten days in the Fort Lauderdale jail before being brought up before a judge.

The first apperance is a first violation of probation hearing. At that hearing one admits or denies the allegations. If admitted the judge can do one of three things:

1. Return you to probation
2. Modify or add new conditions or increase the length of the probation or community control or
3. Send the violator to prison for any term of years within the sentencing or punishment code guidelines.
If you have a concern call a south Florida criminal defense attorney. Not all violations result in prison, some can be modified, some call be dismissed.

WHAT IS A BURGLARY IN FLORIDA?

FLORIDA LAW ON BURGLARIES

If you've been arrested in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach and charged with burglary make sure your criminal defense attorney checks the most recent changes to the burglary statute.

The law in Florida, of which Fort Lauderdale is a part, is a burglary means entering a dwelling or structure or conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein.

Burglary cannot be charged unless the state can prove the intent to commit a crime at the time of the trespass. If the intent to commit a new crime comes after the entry it's not a burglary: it's a trespass and a theft.

Some Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys omit this point in their thinking. If you want a clear thinking South Florida criminal defense attorney call Ralph Behr at 954 -761-3444.

VIOLATION OF PROBATION IN FORT LAUDERDALE

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A VIOLATION OF PROBATION WARRANT IS FILED?

If you are under a sentence of probation or community control beware. Fewer than one in three succeed without a violation.

The most common violation of probation is a failure to check-in, after that comes moving without notice, and then "dirty urine" if you are on drug offender probation.

Failure to pay costs of supervison are more common, but most of the Judges in Fort Lauderdale will not sign a violation of probation warrant unless the failure to pay is willful: that means you have the money but refuse to pay.

Rule One: Call a lawyer. Contact a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer BEFORE, not after. Your South Florida criminal defense lawyer can get you a hearing before your judge and avoid the probation violation by obtaining a modification of probation terms.

Prevention is the best way to avoid a violation of probation warrant. Call a south Florida or Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer and get a consultation. Call Ralph Behr at 954-761-3444 for a no-fee consultation 24/7. Out of State: call 1-800-761-3446. Call Now, the call is free, the peace of mind is priceless.

ARRESTED IN FORT LAUDERDALE FLORIDA?

IF I'M ARRESTED IN FORT LAUDERDALE DO I HAVE TO TALK TO THE POLICE?

No. A police officer can stop you can talk to you but you don't have to respond. If you believe you are the focus of a criminal investigation, or a person of interest, ask for a lawyer.

The only person who can force you to answer any questions is a judge. Police can ask, you don't have to answer,

A CONFESSION ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH FOR A CONVICTION IN FLORIDA

CORPUS DELICTI: IT'S NOT DEAD IN FLORIDA

If you been arrested in Fort Lauderdale and made a confession, it's not enough for a conviction.

The corpus delicti rule means the state must have actual evidence in addition to a confession before judge will allow a jury to deliberate.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr recently litigated that very point before a Fort Lauderdale criminal judge, and won.

If someone is arrested, and then makes a confession, that's not enough to seek a conviction and sentence. Consult with your South Florida criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale or Miami to get clear on this. Or call Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr.

FLORIDA LAW AND CANNABIS PLANTS

MARIJUANA GROW HOUSES IN FORT LAUDERDALE

Effective August 2008 Florida has enhanced the penalties for marijuana production.

Possession of marijuana in smaller amounts remains a misdemeanor. However for those who grow marijuana plants the previous threshold of 300 plants for a first-degree felony, has been lowered.

Manufacture of marijuana, a big business in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach, may soon be out of business. As Florida enhances penalties for growing plants arrests may soon peak.

The Statewide task force investigating the crime of growing marijuana commercially have increasingly focused on eradicating grow houses in the Fort Lauderdale Miami area. The new law is expected to increase the importation of marijuana from out-of-state.

ARRESTED IN FORT LAUDERDALE?

ARRESTED IN FORT LAUDERDALE? WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A PRINCIPAL

In any criminal courtroom in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale or Miami or West Palm Beach, those charged with possession of cocaine or possession of any controlled substance are convicted for things they didn't do? How can that be?

The principle rule, derived from Florida criminal statute 777.0 11 says if a criminal defendant helped another person to commit a crime, the defendant is a principal and will be treated as if he had done all the things the other person did. The only thing they prosecutor needs to establish is that you did some act or word which was intended to encourage or assist the other person with the intent for them to act criminally.

If you have been charged with a crime in Fort Lauderdale, or Miami, or If you've been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, for example possession of cocaine, you should and must understand the so-called criminal principal rule. In simple terms: in for a penny, in for a pound.

IDENTITY THEFT: A SOUTH FLORIDA PRIMER

IDENTITY THEFT BASICS: FORT LAUDERDALE IS A HOT LOCATION

Fort Lauderdale and Miami are hot spots for identity fraud. Sadly or not it is a fact of life for those living in Broward County, Miami and Palm Beach.

Taking a victim's identity to obtain credit is the most common identity fraud committed here in Fort Lauderdale. The thief can capture identity information by attacking your computer or capturing data online.

To protect oneself you can go to the Florida identity theft website. Your credit card company, or bank can help. Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyers serve on various committees to help reduce identity theft. You can speak with a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer by calling the Florida Bar, or the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

MIRANDA WARNINGS FORT LAUDERDALE STYLE!

IF I'M ARRESTED: DO THE POLICE HAVE TO READ ME MY RIGHTS?

No. Huh?

Your right to remain silent only applies AFTER an arrest, not before.

If you are arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Miami or West Palm Beach you MUST know the difference between a stop, a detention, police contact, and the ultimate situation: an arrest.

To answer the question more fully know this: The arrest is valid even if no rights are read to you. If the police intend to use any statement of yours (confession) it cannot be used in court unless under the totality of the circumstances the statement is freely and voluntarily given and not the product of coercion or force.

For a fuller understanding of an arrest, and a stop, and your Miranda rights speak to a South Florida criminal defense lawyer. Contact the Broward Bar Association in Fort Lauderdale, or the Florida Bar for a list of South Florida criminal defense lawyers with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Palm Beach.

SOUTH FLORIDA CRIMINAL RESTITUTION PROBATION TERMS UNDER ATTACK

Many of those accused of crimes in South Florida are forced to agree to excessive amounts of money payments under the restitution element of their sentence.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals, which reviews South Florida criminal cases, clarified the rule. The court found that a Broward judge abused his discretion in ordering a restitution amount with insufficient evidence to support the dollar amount.

If you are on probation in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Miami, South Florida: contact your criminal defense attorney concerning the restitution amount of your sentence.

This new case clearly states that defendants who were forced to agree to pay restitution when there is insufficient evidence to support the dollar amount may appeal the restitution amount and have it reversed.


VIOLATIONS OF PROBATION IN FORT LAUDERDALE: CHANGE OF RULES

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Ralph Behr has sent an advisory to his clients on probation. It concerns the recent ruling from the appellate court that covers South Florida: particularly Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.

The ruling clarifies when drug offender probation terms are added to probation for non-drug crimes

The new ruling clearly states: a defendant may not be sentenced to drug offender probation unless he has been convicted of an enumerated chapter 893 offense or agreed to such probation in a plea agreement.

If your probation has been violated because you failed to comply with drug offender probation requirements contact your South Florida criminal defense attorney. Ask if the charge was a drug-related charge; ask if the final disposition includes your voluntary agreement to drug offender probation.

FLORIDA DUI LAW CHANGES FOR 2008-2009

Florida DUI penalties were enhanced starting in 2008.

The principal change has been an increase in the fine: from $250 for a first DUI to $500.

If you are arrested and refuse to provide a breath exemplar your first refusal counts towards the newly enacted misdemeanor charge of breath-refusal.

Now it is a misdemeanor to refuse to provide a breath exemplar if you are stopped, and detained, and the officer undertakes a DUI investigation. The misdemeanor charge only arises on your second DUI arrest.

In South Florida, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, many criminal defense attorneys are asked by their clients if they should "blow", which means provide an air exemplar.

For a complete explanation go to the book Can The Police Lie To Me? Or ask a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney.

SOUTH FLORIDA PAPER MONEY CONTAINS COCAINE

US currency (paper money) that circulates in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and south to Miami has the highest traces of cocaine in the world.

Possession of cocaine requires actual possession, knowledge and control. If you hold on too tight to your money you cannot be convicted of possession.

Former President George Bush (the senior) once produced a ten dollar bill that tested positive for cocaine. Of course he was in Miami when it happened.

You cannot get "high" from paper currency in Fort Lauderdale, but you can still spend it at the beach for a beer.

VIOLATION OF PROBATIONS IN FORT LAUDERDALE

In South Florida a Probation Violation means ten days of jail in Fort Lauderdale before you see a judge. Fort Lauderale is in the 17th Judicial Circuit, it does not include Miami.

A willful and substantial violation of probation generates a probation officer filing a request for a pick-up order: i.e. a warrant.

In Fort Lauderale, Broward County Florida, by local custom every probation violator comes before the judge after a stay in the Fort Lauderdale jail.

The Clerk usually makes you wait ten days before scheduling a first violation of probation hearing. At that first hearing we deny or admit the violation(s).

If you admit then the judge can sentence you immediately.

A denial requies a full hearing. At the hearing the State must prove the violations before the judge can revoke, sentence or return you to probation.

For more information call a South Florida criminal defense lawyer.

POLICE ARRESTED FOR BEATING SUSPECT

Two West Palm Beach police officers were fired and one quit when their video camera, mounted in the front of the police cruiser, video-taped the officers kicking and punching a suspect who was in handcuffs.

South Florida criminal defense lawyers have been aware of the police brutality for years. Many lawyers represent those who are the victims of police abuse and then charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale have similar problems with police violence. If you have been the victim of police abuse contacts a local lawyer. You have rights, you can file complaints and your lawyer will see to it that a proper investigation is undertaken.

DO THE POLICE NEED A WARRANT TO MAKE AN ARREST?

No.

If the police have probable cause they can make an arrest without a warrant. Probable cause means a reasonable person would believe a crime has been committed and you did it.

Police must have a warrant to enter a home: with two exceptions: hot pursuit and exigent circumstances.

If the police are in your home just remain calm. A judge can sort things out later, you cannot.

Just remember to remain silent and do not agree to a search. You will learn from a criminal defense lawyer what a totality of the circumstances test means for consent to be free of coercion.

South Florida criminal defense lawyers know how to conduct suppression hearings, you don’t. If you have a concern contact a lawyer and ask. Remember that knowledge is power.

What is an arrest? What is a stop?

UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS FROM ARREST TO CRIMINAL CHARGE

Police contact begins with a stop, proceeds to a detention and culminates with an arrest.

When contact is voluntary you are always free to go.

A detention is lawful only if the officer has articulable suspicion that a crime has been committed and you are a person of interest.

An arrest occurs when you are no longer free to go.

Understanding the difference between a stop and an arrest is key to understanding your constitutional rights. Miranda warnings are only required after an arrest. So what to do?

If you are having contact with the police and are concerned that you are a person of interest: ask for an attorney. Police cannot offer you freedom or a pass. Don’t negotiate with a police officer. Only a prosecutor can give you a deal that stands up in court.

For more information go to CAN THE POLICE LIE TO ME?

NEW RULES FOR SOUTH FLORIDA DRUG ARRESTS WHEN MAN'S BEST FRIEND GOES BAD

FIDO IS A FINK!

A dog working for the police validated a drug possession arrest because it happened fast. The four minute rule is under assault.

Drug trafficking and drug possession cases are a top priority for cops in Fort Lauderdale. Searches incident to a traffic stop have always been a major suppression issue. Miami and Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyers are always litigating the time between a lawful stop and a drug dog search. Here's the latest doggerel...

A dog sniff at the time of a traffic stop which took only a minute was not a violation of the search and seizure rules. See: Barbee, a July 2008 Federal case out of Ohio.

The court determined that the traffic stop was justified by the trooper’s suspicion that Barbee had committed two traffic violations. The drug arrest was validated by the drug sniffing dog's signal drugs were in the car.

At hearing the cop said he was writing citations when the drug-sniffing dog alerted.

The cop didn't need any additional suspicion to justify the canine sniff and the arrest was upheld.

FLORIDA MAKES CELLPHONES IN PRISON A FELONY

Possession of a cellular phone in a Florida prison is a felony punishable by five years in prison.

Cellphones have been tossed over prison walls, smuggled in by guards, and sold for commissary rights. In fact in Texas prisons heroine sells for $50.00 and a cellphone for $200.00.

Citing Florida's increase in cellphones being smuggled, corrections spokeswoman Ellyn Rackleff has been quoted as saying cellphones can be deadlier than weapons.

"We are constantly after the cell phones," she said. "It really undermines the security for everyone there and for the public outside

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POLICE INTERVIEW AND A POLICE INTERROGATION?

In one word: everything.

An interview is a fact gathering contact. An interrogation is what the police do when you are a suspect and the purpose is to get an incriminating statement that can be used to convict you.

If you are talking to the police ask: is this an inteview or an interrogation?

Every first year police cadet knows the difference. If the officer doesn't give you a clear answer STOP and ask for a lawyer.

The police know how to end run around your Miranda rights, it is done by setting you up for a "voluntary" statement, which is not the product of a police interrogation.

Your Miranda rights only apply when you are under arrest.

A "stop" and a "detention" come before an arrest. Remember; your Miranda rights only apply when you are in police custody under arrest. Confusing? You bet it is.

The best thing to do is ask for a lawyer whenever you are being asked questions by the police. Don't try to charm a police officer out of an arrest, it cannot be done..

Ask a Florida criminal defense attorney for an explanation, go to CAN THE POLICE LIE TO ME? for more information.

FLORIDA COCAINE POSSESSION LAWS

Cocaine possession in Florida is charged three ways:

1. Personal use amounts are usually filed as possession cases: a maximum of five years in Florida prison. Drug rehabilitation is offered to first time arrestees with no prior felony convictions.

2. Sale or Delivery of Cocaine carries a 15 year sentence. Proof of a sale, or attempt to sell any amount usually less than 20 grams.

3. Trafficking in Cocaine is charged when over 20 grams is sold, or offered for sale.

Giving cocaine is considered a sale, even if no money is contemplated. Giving a controlled substance (prescription pills) is charged as a delivery or trafficking felony in Florida.

EARN MORE IN PRISON THAN WITH A COLLEGE DEGREE

The North Carolina legislature voted to pay $50,000.00 for every year exonerated defendants spend in prison.

Currently the going rate is $20,000.00 per year. At the urging of Senator Elie Kinnaird of North Carolina the legislature is increasing it to $50,000.00.


U.S. LEADS WORLD IN PRISON POPULATION

PRISON IS THE ANSWER. WHAT IS THE QUESTION?

25% of all prisoners in the entire world are in U.S. prisons.

The U.S. has 5% of the world population.

Why? The U.S. puts more people in prison for theft, forgery, bad checks, drug possession then any other nation in the world.

USA: 751 people in prison for every 100,000 in population.

If you count only adults in the U.S. one in every 100 is in jail or prison.

Only Russia comes closes with 627 for every 100,000 people.

RESTORING FELONS THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN FLORIDA

In Florida convicted felons cannot vote. Governor Crist has advocated returning civil rights to convicted felons after they have served their time.

Southern states such as Florida have a history of racially based obstructions for minority voters: tactics such as poll taxes, literacy laws, and political gerrymandering.

There are currently over one million African-Americans incarcerated, on parole or probation. Almost all of them are disenfranchised. They cannot vote.

Florida may have to reconsider the voting ban. The argument goes as follows: If the Supreme Court has ruled that the constitutional right to own guns cannot be outlawed by a legislature, then the right to vote should have similar constitutional protections.

If you have been arrested and charged with a felony in Florida contact your local criminal attorney. Know you rights and advocate for a change in the law.

Most criminal defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale can and will help you to know the law and your rights. Call now, get active!

FLORIDA LEGISLATURE MAKES THE WORLD SAFE FOR DEMOCRACY

Florida travel agencies are suing Florida to repeal a law making it more expensive to travel to….Iran?

The Florida legislature took time from its busy schedule of fixing Florida to repair the world.

SB 1310 requires a $1000.00 registry fee and a minimum $100,000.00 security bond of anyone traveling to Iran. The bond is to pay for services to anyone seeking to visit nations that sponsor terrorism.

Governor Crist signed the bill into law on June 23rd.

Florida has the 6th largest Iranian community in the US.

DUI IN FLORIDA: COURT RULES BREATH TEST ADMISSIBLE

The judges of the second judicial circuit on July 9, 2008 ruled that breath results can be admitted in evidence.

That means the 200 DUI cases currently on hold are going back to trial with the breath results.

Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyers last year took the same issue up to the appellate courts, and lost.

Gangs, Law and Fort Lauderale

2008 is a bumper year for new criminal laws.

Soon the prosecutors of Florida will have a new statute to use against those arrested in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The Anti-Gang crime statute.

Singed into law it is now a first degree felony punishable by life in prison for those designated as leaders or organizers of criminal gangs to initiate, organize or pay for gang activities.

South Florida criminal defense lawyers are waiting for the State Attorney to sweep up 7th graders at local McDonalds there for after-school burgers and gang meetings.

Senate President Jeff Atwater of North Palm Beach sponsored the bill. He called it the legislature's taking back street corners from criminals.

The law offices of Ralph Behr issued a press release to the Fort Lauderdale, Broward and Miami community newspapers advising them of the new law and its implications. South Florida is long in the news when it comes to crime: drug crimes, violation of probation and murders.