Saint pete violent crimes defenseFrom the Washington Post, it looks like troubled singer Chris Brown is starting 2016 like he ended 2015…with allegations of a battery and yet another police investigation.

Talented but troubled pop/R & B singer Chris Brown is now being named a suspect of an alleged battery of a female fan in Las Vegas.  This comes right after his history of violence caused his overseas tour to be canceled along with a canceled television appearance.

In his latest incident, after Chris Brown performed in a Las Vegas nightclub, police received a call from the alleged victim.  The woman claimed that Chris stole her phone and hit her after she tried to take his picture.  By the time police arrived at the Palms Casino Resort, Brown had fled.  As of the time of this writing, he is a suspect in a misdemeanor battery and petit theft.

The singer has not commented on any allegations other then a cryptic instagram photo of himself with a caption that read “I’m going to be hella rich after all the lawsuits I file from these crazy individuals who keep lying on my name…”.

A spokeswoman for the singer has called the allegations completely false and said the alleged victim was escorted out of a private after-party for being disruptive.  Once kicked out of the party the woman began threatening people and slamming her purse to the ground.

The spokeswoman further claimed that the victim has a history of making false accusations.

As for Chris Brown, he is perhaps most well known for his beating of Rihanna, a fellow singer.  Brown pled guilty to assaulting her in 2009 and photos of her badly beaten face were all over the internet.  Despite the injuries, Brown only received probation.  He quickly violated probation by punching a man in the nose in Washington.  This led to multiple anger management programs, a few months in jail and a major lawsuit.  Not learning his lesson, Brown continued feuding with fellow singers Frank Ocean and Drake. Continue reading

dui 317th time is not the charm for a woman as she picked up yet another DUI, what will happen to her?

In Shelbyville, Tennessee, a woman has been arrested for her 17th DUI and her 16th driving while license  suspended!

Dorothy Hanson began her DUI marathon in 1985 and it has only escalated.  She has picked up six more in the last 10 years!florida dui

In the latest crime, she crashed head on into another woman, causing severe facial fractures.  The victim, Emily Boyt, is furious and spoke out.  “it makes me feel better knowing it was me [instead of someone else].  It’s upsetting.  Just hearing she was drunk actually made me cry, because I don’t know how anyone could be that selfish to get behind the wheel and put somebody’s life in jeopardy”.

Police claim the suspect had open liquor and beer bottles in the car and she was so dehydrated from drinking that paramedics were unable to draw blood from her!

Local law enforcement chipped in on the outrage. “She’s a convicted habitual offender and we need those types of people off the road”, a spokesman said.  “It could be a terrible accident sometime in the future if this continues on”.

Dorothy was back at work and would not comment but her father told a local newsman that his daughter was a good person who needs help with her drinking.

Have you or a loved one been arrested for driving under the influence or dwlsr?  Then call the Saint Petersburg DUI defense lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today!  These former prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys.

The lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handle all criminal and personal injury cases along the Gulf Coast including Saint Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Largo, Seminole, St. Pete Beach, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Feathersound and Kenneth City.

To speak directly to your Pinellas criminal defense attorney, click on the contact button or call 727.286.6141.  Blake & Dorsten, P.A…when your case matters!

Pinellas violent crimes defense

A blurb from the ever popular Thesmokinggun.com website shows how one woman’s anger towards another resulted in a felony charge of aggravated stalking.  The allegations?  That she set up a fake profile of someone she knew on Plenty of Fish asking men to rape her as part of role play…

39-year-old Frances Lee Tapscott of Largo,  is in Pinellas County jail on a $10,000 bond, charged with one count of aggravated stalking.  With the help of a friend, Ms. Tapscott made a fake plenty of fish profile of a real girl, complete with her real pictures and contact information.  The victim, a 25-year-old woman, was made out in the fake profile as a woman who fantasized about rape scenarios.  Calling it role play, the fake site begged men to come over to her given address and rape her!

According to the complaint, “The fake profile contained a request for an individual to come over and rape the victim, stating that she liked to ‘role play,’”.

When the profile began to get replies from male “suitors” Frances Tapscott allegedly gave them  the victim’s home address and telephone number.  Men soon showed up at the victim’s home, forcing her to flee in terror before contacting the police.

At the time of this writing, it is unknown of the relationship, if any, between the victim and the defendant.

Making this case even stranger is that Ms. Tapscott does not have any local prior record.  The best guess of what happened is either jealousy of the younger woman or a neighborhood feud that got out of hand.

Finally in Florida, the charge of aggravated stalking is found under Fl. Statute 784.048.  This particular subsection is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Have you or a loved one been arrested for stalking or internet crimes?  Then call the Largo criminal defense lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. today!  These former prosecutors are experienced trial attorneys.

The lawyers of Blake & Dorsten, P.A. handle all criminal and personal injury cases along the Gulf Coast including Saint Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, Tampa Bay, Treasure Island, Madeira, St. Pete Beach, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Feathersound, Dade City, and Kenneth City.

To speak directly with your Pinellas computer crimes defense attorney, click on the contact button or call 727.286.6141.  Blake & Dorsten, P.A…when your case matters!

Florida dui defense attorneyThe Washington Times has a brief blurb on a drunk man and his 15 minutes of fame as he crashed into Rod Stewart‘s Palm Beach home’s mailbox…

A Niceville, Florida man was charged with driving under the influence with property damage after he crashed his Toyota into singer Rod Stewart’s Palm Beach home.  The only casualty was the “Do you think I’m sexy” crooner’s mailbox.

37-year-old Michael Hutson Lutz was pulled over by the Palm Beach police shortly before 8:00 p.m. when the officer noticed his vehicle weaving on the road and crossing the center lane.  As he pulled over for the police, his car struck Stewart’s mailbox along South Ocean Boulevard.  Mr. Lutz’s night only went down from there.

When asked for his driver’s license, the defendant gave the cop his credit card.  The arrest report noted that the man had bloodshot, watery eyes, a “distinct odor of alcohol on him” and spoke with a heavily slurred speech.

The officer called in the DUI squad and Michael performed and failed five separate “Field Sobriety Exercises”.  These included the “walk and turn”, “finger-to-nose” and “one leg stand”.

The impaired suspect was arrested and per the police report he made “several inappropriate statements” on the way to the police station.  He was booked in and was offered a breathalyzer.  He blew almost three times the legal limit of a .08!

As far as the innocent mailbox, the Palm Beach Police Department estimated damage in the amount of $500.  Being that Rod Stewart is worth between 25-100 million dollars (at least), it is safe to say that the mailbox will be replaced.

At the time of this writing, Michael Lutz was unavailable for comment and his criminal defense attorney declined to make a statement.  It was unclear if the defendant had any prior DUIs but his driving record showed traffic infractions for speeding, running a stop sign and others.
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pinellas policeTwo former Tampa’s finest were arrested and charged with federal tax fraud last Wednesday and the husband and wife team are looking at serious time.

Shortly after claims that thousands of dollars in fraudulent tax refund money was used for bills, 54-year-old Eric Houston and 49-year-old LaJoyce Houston surrendered to United States Marshals.

The former Tampa police detectives were released on their own recognizance (ROR) and ordered to surrender their passports and sat in the state.

At press time they had hired federal criminal defense lawyers who had pled them not guilty.

The government claims in their indictment of the couple that there is overwhelming evidence of tax refund fraud.  They further state that this fraud is being committed by a small group of former and current Tampa Bay policemen and employees.  The indictment goes into details of police identities stolen by thieves including the identity of a policeman killed in the line of duty!

Federal officials state that evidence shows an extremely close relationship between the Houstons and Rita Girven a police informant whose name came up in the tax-fraud investigation.  The Houstons adopted Girven’s child, gave her money and spent social time with her.

Rita Girven had previously pled guilty in March to two federal charges of stolen identity tax refund fraud totaling over $33,000!  She is scheduled to be sentenced this month and may testify against her former friends.  The government is claiming that part of this money was used to pay for Gary and LaJoyce Houston’s pool service and credit card bills.

The affidavit continued by stating in an odd bit of coincidence that over 4,500 people that Eric Houston ran through police databases over three years had later filed fake federal tax returns in their names…with the money going to Eric!

Home town Tampa Bay is almost always in the national top 10 nationally in identity fraud which costs American tax payers billions per year. Continue reading

Pinellas DUI defense attorneyA local man is arrested for a DUI after fleeing from police.  He blames his four-legged best friend, saying his dog was driving.  Police investigated and found out a problem with his story…

26-year-old Reliford Cooper was arrested in Manatee and booked for Driving under the influence with property damage and obstruction after police found him hiding in a church.

The suspect led police on a long chase through residential neighborhoods before crashing into a ditch and fleeing on foot.  He was found hiding in a bathroom at a local church where parishioners helped the cops gather up the defendant.

“My dog was driving that car. I ran because I wanted to. You ain’t gonna find no drugs or guns on me.”  These were the first words out of Cooper’s mouth, according to the police.

The report also stated that he smelled of alcohol and marijuana.  The suspect then threw up and complained that his back was injured.  At the time of this writing, the man was still in jail.dui 3

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driving-while-high

A guest post from Maria Stefanski, who is part of a nonprofit.  The link has several interesting articles on heroin and drug abuse.  If you or someone you love is facing addiction, please get the help that is needed!

Over the past few decades, politicians, corporations, and community leaders have focused much attention and effort in an attempt to curb drunk driving. Much of this social movement can be traced back 35 years, to the establishment of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Since 1980, MADD has become one of the most widely supported and respected non-profit organizations in the U.S.

To understand the impact MADD has had on American society, some milestones are worth considering:

  • 1982
    • Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving formed
    • Bill enacted giving states federal highway funds for anti-drunk driving efforts
    • 100 MADD chapters by year-end
  • 1983
    • An NBC made-for-TV movie about MADD airs
    • 129 new anti-drunk driving laws pass by year-end
  • 1984
  • Federal 21 Minimum Drinking Age Act signed into law on July 17
  • More than 330 MADD chapters in 47 states by year-end
  • 1988
    • All states and D.C. pass federal 21 drinking age law
    • Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act signed—amendments include extending crime victim compensation rights to DUI/DWI victims and increased incentives for states enacting key DUI?DWI laws
  • 1994
    • Alcohol-related deaths drop to a 30-year low
    • Chronicle of Philanthropy survey names MADD America’s most popular charity
  • 2000
    • MADD grows to approximately 600 chapters and 2 million member/supporters
    • National .08 BAC measure (part of the Federal Transportation Appropriations Bill) signed into law Oct. 23
  • 2004
    • First Law Enforcement Leadership Council held
    • MADD testifies before Congress in the U.S. House Education Reform Subcommittee on underage drinking issues
    • All states and D.C. pass .08 BAC as the legal drunk driving limit (MADD).

drugged-driving

The changes MADD has spearheaded rival those of any other social movement in American history. In the U.S., because of MADD, since it was founded in 1980, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Perhaps now it is time begin efforts at targeting and isolating the dangers of driving while high—that is, the dangers of driving under the influence of prescription pills, heroin and other illicit drugs.

Studies have shown that, much the same as alcohol, heroin, prescription opiates, and the class of sedatives known as benzodiazepines slow reaction time, decrease motor coordination, and cause dizziness and drowsiness—each of these factors alone increase the likelihood of accidents. At present, no measure of drug impairment (like BAC in drunk driving) has been determined to reflect exactly how much of a drug effects ones driving ability. But, because even small amounts of certain drugs can have a measurable effect, some states have zero tolerance laws for drugged driving: if there is any amount of drug in the blood or urine of a driver in these states, the driver can face charges for driving under the influence (DUI). Some drugged driving detection techniques used by law enforcement include testing drivers identified as impaired who do not have a BAC exceeding the legal limit and employing Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) at roadside checkpoints (Stop Drugged Driving). While the prevalence rates of drugged driving are difficult to determine because of this lack of specific legal limit for BAC, the following data clearly illustrates a need for further, and prompt, research and action:

In 2013, 9.9 million persons, or 3.8 percent of the population aged 12 or older, reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year. This rate was lower than the rate in 2002 (4.7 percent), but was similar to the rate in 2012 (3.9 percent). Across age groups, the rate of driving under the influence of illicit drugs in 2013 was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (10.6 percent); this rate for young adults was lower than the rate in 2012 (11.9 percent). Additionally, the rate of driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year among youths aged 12 to 17 decreased from 2.3 percent in 2012 to 1.9 percent in 2013 (SAMHSA 2014).

Just as it is difficult to accurately determine the prevalence of drugged driving, determining the number of accidents caused by drugged driving offers a similar challenge. A few reasons for this challenge include: a) a good roadside test (like the breathalyzer test for alcohol) for drug levels in the body does not yet exist. b) people are not usually tested for drugs if they are above the legal limit for alcohol because there is already enough evidence for a DUI charge. c) many drivers who cause accidents are found to have both drugs and alcohol or more than one drug in their system, making it hard to know what substance had the greater effect (NIH, 2015).

The problem, and dangers, of drugged driving are most apparent within the teen/young adult portion of the population. According to data presented by Teen Driver Source (2015), putting aside the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among adolescents and the greatest lifetime chance of crashing occurs during the first six months after obtaining a driver’s license. While distractions, following too closely, and an overall underestimation of the dangerousness of a situation are commonly cited factors in teen crashes, add drugs to the equation and it’s a recipe for disaster. For example:

A study of college students with access to a car found that 1 in 6 (about 17 percent) had driven under the influence of a drug other than alcohol at least once in the past year. Of those students, 57 to 67 percent did so at least three times and 27 to 37 percent at least 10 times. Marijuana was the most common drug used, followed by cocaine Continue reading

Florida theft crimesTheft can cover just about anything, but as a quick article in the Orlando Sentinel shows, this theft had a distinct Florida flair to it…

In nearby Winter Haven, Florida local resident Brad Reiter is accused of a most unusual crime.  Think of the plot of Ocean’s 11 but with more vitamin C.

State agricultural investigators are claiming that Reiter unlawfully took over 4 million pounds of oranges and other citrus.  These fruits came at an estimated loss of over half a million dollars!

The agricultural commissioner held a press conference in which he explained the details of the grand theft crime.  Brad Reiter entered into at least three contracts to harvest citrus groves back in March, 2014.

The grove owners clearly did not do their research as it turned out that the suspect was not even a licensed citrus dealer!  That didn’t stop him from harvesting all of the oranges and grapefruits from the groves.

The scurvy-resistant thief made off with over 50,000 boxes full of fruit without paying for it.  The estimated amount of the stealing?  Over $530,000!

The unlucky suspect was booked into Polk County Jail on first degree larceny and fraud charges.  At the time of this writing he did not yet have a criminal defense attorney

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LEGAL ANALYSIS

Grand Theft is found under Florida Statute 812.014.  Because the amount that allegedly was taken was over $100,000, this would be a first degree theft, punishable by up to 30 years in prison!  This does not even take the separate felony fraud cases into consideration.

Common sense will tell you that many times prosecutors are willing to reduce prison time or even agree to probation if the defendant pays back restitution.  In this case what was stolen were perishable items.  These are not stolen goods that can just be returned and almost certainly the defendant did not sell all the citrus.  This means a lot of the fruit he stole became spoiled and worthless.  Any fruit he managed to sell would probably not cover the over half a million dollars in loss.  In other words, unless he happens to have hundreds of thousands of dollars ready for restitution, he is almost certainly looking at a lengthy prison stay.

Finally, if he had attempted to resell any of this fruit, the state can add second degree felony charges of dealing in stolen property to him.

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Florida violent crimes defenseThis blog has previously wrote several articles involving the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case that captivated the country back in 2012 and 2013.  The volunteer neighborhood watchman shot teenage Trayvon Martin.  Prosecutors called it murder, George Zimmerman’s criminal defense attorney called it self defense.  After much media attention, multiple protests and new phrases being introduced into our vocabulary (such as “white hispanic” and “stand your ground”-which was never even used in the trial by either side), the trial ended with a not guilty for Zimmerman.

Now George Zimmerman prepares for ANOTHER trial...but this time he is the alleged victim and the new defendant is charged with his attempted murder!

Same courtroom, same judge; but this time George Zimmerman is back in court as a victim.  Unlike his previous trial in 2013, this time George elected to take the stand and testify.

After hearing testimony, the judge ruled that the attempted murder charge can go to trial.  The allegations are frighting.  On May 11, Winter Park, Florida resident Matthew Apperson fired his .357 revolver at Zimmerman as they drove in separate vehicles.

As a result, Apperson was arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder, aggravated assault and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

On the witness stand George Zimmerman testified that he was driving on a street alone in his car.  Another vehicle, driven by Matt Apperson, approached him rapidly while flashing his lights and honking his horn.  The defendant pulled up next to him and began yelling at George.

trayvon“Do you remember me, you fat f___?  You owe me your life”!  Zimmerman testified that after hearing that, he laughed and called Matthew a clown.

At that time he saw into the defendant’s car, noticed a barrel of a gun and then heard a loud bang.

George continued his testimony, claiming that the gunshot went through his windshield, leaving blood on his face and clothes.  At first he feared he was shot but a trip to the emergency room confirmed that shattered glass caused the minor injury.

Zimmerman further told the judge that he kept driving until he saw a parked sheriff’s deputy whom he flagged down.

Further testimony suggested that this was not the first time that Apperson and Zimmerman had a confrontation.  There were reports back in September 2014 that Matt began taunting and pushing George about his role in the Trayvon Martin shooting.

In an ironic twist, Matthew’s criminal defense lawyer told reporters that his client most likely will claim self defense and may even do a stand-your-ground motion to dismiss. Continue reading

Clearwater marijuana defenseA quick blurb from the Miami Herald about the federal government stepping up their efforts to curb synthetic marijuana.  Also known as “spice”, this drug is potentially deadly.  What makes it so dangerous is the unknown chemical mixtures that are added, sometimes at random.  As there is no purity and no set recipe, “spice” has already been implicated in dozens of hospitalizations and even deaths in Florida.  Now the feds may be striking back…

Last week, ten men were charged with conspiracy for their roles in manufacturing synthetic marijuana, some of it laced with dangerous or deadly chemicals.  Their plan?  To distribute the drug throughout New York City.

Known as “spice” or K2, this drug is smoked like normal pot.  As mentioned above, hospitals nationwide are seeing the results of bad “spice”.  There has been a large uptick in emergency room visits because of bad reactions to this drug.  Victims are suffering from hallucinations, psychotic episodes and even heart problems.

In this case, the federal indictment came from a yearlong investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  The indictment claims the defendants were importing large amounts of illegal synthetic ingredients from China.  This included a mix of chemicals that are illegal in the United States.  The defendants were mixing the chemicals with tea leaves and selling them for only $5 a packet.  Using brand names such as “Green Giant”, “Psycho” and “AK-47”, the defendants were doing a brisk business, selling them in head shops and convenience stores.

While the men were being arrested, agents were simultaneously raiding businesses and warehouses that were suspected of making and/or selling the “spice”.  Agents seized 275,000 of the K2 packets (valued at $30 million!) and  over 450 pounds of chemicals used to make the product.

Pinellas drug defense lawyers

In New York alone, there were over 1,100 emergency room visits per month as a result of synthetic marijuana.   Poison control centers calls about this drug were up over 225 percent over 2014 calls.  Will this federal crackdown help?  It is a good start.  From the ten defendants named, four are currently fugitives and six have already appeared in a Manhattan federal court.

When marijuana is being decriminalized in so many states, why the uptick in this synthetic drug that is proven to be so dangerous?  Experts don’t know for sure but think that the low price and easy availability in most cities make it a “go to” drug for both poor addicts and bored suburban teens alike. Continue reading