May 19, 2015

Ex-NFL player arrested for "extreme DUI"

Saint Petersburg DUI defense attorney.jpgWhile you don't often think of TMZ as a sports news source, they brought attention to a former player and his "extreme arrest".

Ex-Michigan star and high first round draft pick Braylon Edwards was arrested and charged with an "extreme DUI" in Arizona. The third overall draft pick in the 2005 NFL draft was always deemed a "disappointment" and never played up to his ability. He was last on a NFL team three years ago.

The ex-Browns, 49ers and Jets player was arrested for a "extreme DUI". This means that his Blood Alcohol content was above a .20.

This was not Braylon's first brush with the law. In 2010, he was arrested for another driving under the influence charge and the team was under pressure to suspend him for the upcoming Dolphins game. He instead sat on the bench for the first quarter, causing a large public outcry.

For his career, Braylon has 40 touchdown passes and over 5500 receving yards over an eight year career.

LEGAL ANALYSIS

If this had taken place in Florida, there would have been no "extreme DUI". In our state, there is an enhanced blow of .15, much lower then Arizona's "extreme 2.0". In addition, if this had been a second DUI with in five years, he would almost certainly be looking at jail time as well as a mandatory ignition interlock for 24 months.


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May 12, 2015

Policeman uses his patrol car to ram man who had gun

Saint Pete violent crimes defense lawyer.jpg CBS News has another case where a suspect is alleging police misconduct. Is this just another in a flurry of police brutality cases or was the cop a hero who saved innocent lives by his action?

It was like a scene from an action movie. The suspect is walking down a street, holding a large gun and threatening to shoot himself and others. A lone cop sees his chance and disarms the man...by hitting the man with his patrol car! While in an action movie, that would just be a cutaway, in real life the cop may be faced with termination and a lawsuit.

On February 19, Mario Valencia had a stolen rifle and had already fired once near Tuscon, Arizona.

Seeing a brief opening, Officer Michael Rapiejko drove his cruiser on the sidewalk and rammed the suspect. The police chief later claimed it almost certainly saved Mario's life.

According to the local police, Mario was fleeing from a Walmart where he had already stolen the rifle. The police caught up to him near a post office, where he then pointed the rifle at his head multiple times and threatened suicide before firing the gun in another direction and fleeing. It was not clear if he was intentionally shooting at the police or not.

The standoff came to an arupt end nearby when Rapiejko hit him with this cruiser. The police have since released the dashcam footage that shows the officer ramming into the man.

The local police srgt. told a newstation back in February."This was a dangerous felon who'd been on a crime spree throughout the morning. He'd just stolen a weapon, loaded it, was not obeying commands from officers and was walking toward occupied businesses. It's a busy time of morning, a lot of employees at work, a lot getting ready to come out for breaks, he's walking toward those businesses. So we had to take immediate action and make sure he didn't get inside those businesses."
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The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital for several days before he was booked into jail. Besides the armed robbery, assault and arson charge, the suspect is also connected to multiple crimes including a convenience store robbery, grand theft auto and a home invasion.

Mario's criminal defense attorney made no statement other then to mention that his client was in crisis and the car ramming was not necessary. "I've also heard them say that they saved his life and I find that to be a very strange statement -- to then use the deadly force to almost kill them by plowing them into with your vehicle," he said.

He made mention of a possible civil lawsuit against the officer.

The local police say they treated this case in the same way as an officer-involved shooting.

Officer Rapiejko was unhurt and placed on paid administrative leave for the standard three days. While the state attorney's office has already cleared him and he won't be facing charges, he is still being investigated by his own agency while he is back to work.

Continue reading "Policeman uses his patrol car to ram man who had gun " »

May 7, 2015

Florida woman texting before fatal DUI crash

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The local CBS station produced a heartbreaking story about a woman that was texting seconds before her car accident that cost her friend her life...and potentially the woman's freedom.

"I'll be dead thanks to you"..."Driving Drunk- woo"...These were just a few of the messages that 22-year-old Mila Dago sent her boyfriend moments before she ran a red light and crashed into a moving truck. The resulting crash ended her passenger's life and now Ms. Dago has been charged with DUI manslaughter.

Miami police released those texts from Ms. Dago along with several others messages she had sent that night to her boyfriend. Officers painted a scene of the defendant out on the town with her friend. Sometime during the bar hopping she had gotten into a text war with her boyfriend that ended in a break up. This seemed to have set Mila off. Her texts became angrier and angrier until she sent off the above two.

At almost 4:45 a.m., just three minutes after those texts were sent, prosecutors claim that she ran a red light in downtown Miami, plowing her rental car into a moving truck. The truck driver was knocked unconscious but otherwise not harmed. Her friend, who was with her bar hopping throughout the night, was not so lucky. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Arriving police noticed the smell of alcohol and signs of impairment. Blood tests were taken and she was found to have a B.A.C. of .178 over two hours after the crash. This is twice the legal limit of .08!

While this tragedy took place in August, she was not formally charged until January because her blood results took so long to come back. The defendant has pled not guilty and they are still awaiting a trial date. She has been charged with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and two counts of DUI with property damage.

This latest DUI or vehicular homicide incident is one of numerous similar cases that have taken place in South Florida in the past year.

Her criminal defense attorney offered sympathy for the victim's parents but would not comment on the case as it was ongoing.

A seperate wrongful death lawsuit is also pending between the victim's parents and Ms. Dago as well as the car rental company. The lawsuit is claiming that the rental car company was responsible as it was a forseeable risk that impaired people may rent a car. They are claiming that the cars should be equipped with a alcohol ignition device that would measure B.A.C. before the car could start. This is the same device that judges often order certain DUI offenders to install in their vehicles.


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April 28, 2015

Cop gets charged with assault after traffic stop

pinellas police.jpg It seems like every day there is a new report about police misconduct against civilians. What makes this case different is how quick the prosecutors filed criminal charges against. the suspect officer...

For 57-year-old Floyd Dent, what was supposed to be just another day, turned into something much worse. A dashcam video from early this year shows police beating and tasing the retired man who had no criminal history.

Floyd and the police have differing accounts as to what happened. In this suburban Detroit location, the aftermath of this incident may be felt for years.

The video shows that within a few seconds of Floyd being pulled over, the police pull him out of the car and into the street. The cops claimed they thought he was reaching for a gun, Floyd claims he was set up.

There was no sound on the video but according to Floyd, the officers told him to, "get out the car" or they'd "blow [his] brains out."

Once he was on the ground, he was put in a chokehold and hit multiple times-16 according to his criminal defense lawyer. Despite telling the police he couldn't breathe, they continued to choke him.

More police came and Floyd was tasered three times before the bloodied suspect was allowed up and put in the back of a police car.
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According to the police report, officers thought he was reaching for a gun, was threatening to kill them and was ignoring lawful commands.

Police spokesmen said cocaine was found under Floyd's seat. Floyd has denied ownership of the controlled substance and denied that he was uncooperative.

After reviewing the video, the state attorney threw out two of the three original charges, assault and resisting arrest. Floyd still faced the drug charge until just this week when that too was dropped.

Floyd is not happy and says he will not rest until the officer who battered him is "locked up"

This was not the suspect officer's first brush with the law. The arresting officer William Melendez was accused of misconduct previously, when he worked at the nearby Detroit Police Department.

In 2004, federal prosecutors charged Melendez and seven other officers with civil rights abuses, including planting evidence. Melendez and the other officers were acquitted.

It is far too early to know what will happen to the officer this time but a few days ago the state filed battery charges against the police officer.

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Continue reading "Cop gets charged with assault after traffic stop" »

April 23, 2015

Commercial Driver's License? A new case may change things for the better.

saint petersburg traffic ticket defense.jpg In Florida, a brand new legal case just came out that concerns those who have a commercial driver's license ("CDL"). CDL are driver's licenses that are needed for many jobs. Commercial truck drivers, beer trucks and even some furniture movers need to have this license.

The big problem for these CDL carriers happens when they receive a traffic ticket. Speeding, careless driving or even lesser known tickets such as a wide turn brought major problems to these drivers. That is because with a CDL you are unable to receive a withhold of ajudication. Any ticket you receive is an automatic conviction if you are found guilty. A conviction mean points on your driver's license and often automatic termination of your employment!

Unlike us non-commercial drivers, these drivers are unable to take a driving course in lieu of a conviction or have their traffic ticket attorney negotiate a no-conviction plea with the state.

This may all change now with a brand new court case that just came out. If it stands, CDL drivers will now be able to receive a "withhold" on their traffic tickets, saving them both their employment and their jobs.

The case, State v. Bandy, FLW SUPP 2207BAND, was published March 9, 2015. To summarize, the case says a CDL driver can get a withhold, if he enters a nolo plea. The Court says as follows:

"F.S. §318.14(9) prohibits a CDL driver from electing driving school. That enactment was well within the legislature's province. Significantly, the legislature could have, but did not, amend F.S. §318.14(11), Florida Statutes, regarding CDL drivers and withholding ajudication. The legislature could have, but did not amend Chapter 318.14(11) to state, for example, that "withholding ajudication of guilt by the judge or official for a driver who holds a commercial driver's license is prohibited, and the judge or official is required to ajudicate as guilty every case in which the CDL Defendant enters a plea of nolo contendre. The failure of the legislature to amend F.S. §318.14(11) to prohibit a judge or official from withholding ajudication is a CDL case, but enacting F.S. Sec. 318.14(9) to prohibit the CDL driver's election of driving school to obtain a clerk's withhold of ajudication, is an expression of the legislature's intent to allow a withhold of ajudication for a CDL driver who enters a plea of nolo contendere for the court's determination of the disposition of the case."

Continue reading "Commercial Driver's License? A new case may change things for the better." »

April 14, 2015

Epic Fail: Man steals car to drive to court

Saint Pete grand theft defense.jpg From the "Not the brightest idea" file comes a CBS news report about a man who was late to his own courtdate. He did the logical thing in his mind, stealing his friend's car to get there!

21-year-old Jorge Ramirez-Sierra, of New Jersey, stole his friend's car so he could make his court appearance.

Police were called early Friday to a home where the owner of a 2011 Ford Fusion reported his car missing. The owner suspected Jorge of the grand theft because the defendant mentioned he had no ride to court multiple times the night before.

While the police were still at the victim's house, Jorge called him. The soon-to-be defendant told the man he had his car and was on the way back. Police were there to arrest Jorge when he arrived in his friend's stolen car.

Police quickly searched the hapless thief and found drug paraphernalia, a crack pipe, an empty fireball whisky bottle and wax bags in his possession. To top it off, the man was also driving with a suspended license!

Ramirez-Sierra was charged with one count of grand theft auto, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a hypodermic needle, driving while license suspended and having an opening container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

Despite his new arrests, he was released pending an April 15 courtdate. He was lucky that these new crimes did not take place in Pinellas, Pasco or Hillsborough county, otherwise his bond would most likely be revoked because of his new arrests!

Ironically, while driving a stolen car caused his newest arrest, he was going to court that day to deal with criminal charges that took place while he was a passenger in a car.

Previously, police pulled the car over for erratic driving and found a juvenile driver and the suspect in the passenger seat. Eventually, officers discovered he was in possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, and again, possession of hypodermic needles. In addition he also had an outstanding warrant. He was arrested and the driver faced multiple juvenile charges as well.


Continue reading "Epic Fail: Man steals car to drive to court" »

April 6, 2015

Florida woman busted for DUI in a McDonald's drive through

Pinellas dui defense attorney.jpg The New York Daily News chips in on a local Florida woman who got in trouble after a night out.

23-year-old Lydia Kelm, a nurse, was arrested at a McDonald's drive-through early Monday after causing a scene. She might also have been allergic to clothes as she was found clad only in a bra and underwear!

Ms. Kelm was at the McDonald's drive-through in Leesburg, Florida at around 3:30 a.m., less then two miles from the police department. After placing her order, she began to rev her engine multiple times and was backing up in a one-way lane. Employees had to yell at her multiple times to pull forward to the window.

According to the arrest affidavit, Ms. Kelm :seemed to be confused, lethargic and had slurred speech", all signs of impairment. The DUI suspect told the police when they arrived that she only had three drinks.

Officers had her perform field sobriety exercises after letting her borrow a coat to wear in the below 50-degree weather. As one might guess, she performed poorly.

She was arrested and taken to the police station where an alcohol reading of her breath was done. She was found to be over three times the legal limit of a .08!

The underwear-clad woman was booked into the Lake County jail and charged with driving under the influence.


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April 1, 2015

Tampa man caught in bed with young boy

Tampa sex crimes defense.bmp This one will be hard to explain... a Tampa man has been arrested on multiple charges after being found in bed with a 10-year-old boy by the boy's mother!

The importance of being Ernest...just not with a child. 25-year-old Ernest Johnson of Tampa was arrested Monday on multiple charges including burglary of an occupied dwelling, possession of burglary tools and lewd and lascivious molestation.

Per a police report, Tampa PD was called out after 4:30 a.m. for a reported burglary. The victim's mother told police that she found a man naked inside her minor son's bed!

"I turned his light for his room, I see that face," said the boy's mother. "He was laying in the bed. Like normal, like it was his bed." She woke Johnson by hitting him multiple times, jarring him awake.

The man leaped out of her son's bed, dived out of the same window he forcibly entered and was gone before the police arrived. Using a K9 unit, police were able to track down Johnson and make an arrest.

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The man appeared in Hillsborough county court Monday morning and was denied bond. A brief look at his prior criminal record did not show that he was on a sex offender registry. It does appear however, that the defendant has a prior exposing himself to a minor charge out of Sarasota where he was given almost one year in county.

In addition, this new arrest seems to have violated his probation for another charge.

Not even counting what a violation of probation charge may do to him, these new allegations are extremely serious. Burglary of an occupied dwelling, (Florida statute 810.02(3)) is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15years in prison and it will score mandatory prison time.

The L&L, depending on how it is filed, can be anywhere from a second degree felony all the way up to LIFE in prison! In addition, a conviction under this statute will result in mandatory registration as a sex offender/predator.

The defendant may have some mental health issues as he had previously violated parole by not receiving mental health treatment. If this is so, he may have possible competency defenses depending on the nature of any mental illness.

Continue reading "Tampa man caught in bed with young boy" »

March 25, 2015

Lawyers in the "Bubba" DUI setup case get their day in court

Saint Petersburg DUI defense lawyers.jpgWhile it happened almost two years ago, the Bubba the Love Sponge vs. MK defamation trial is still talked about today. Besides the nature of the case itself, the big sideshow was the setting up of MJ's attorney by Bubba's lawyers. The set up resulted in MJ's lawyer getting arrested for a DUI and his trial material being left in the opponent's car! Now the "chickens are coming home to roost" for the lawyers involved...

In Clearwater, Florida three of the lawyers involved in the set up and arrest of an opposing attoney for a DUI are close to a plea deal. This deal may involve surrendering a law license for at least one of the accused.

Stepen Diaco, partner in the Tampa firm of Adams & Diaco, agreed to surrender his license to practice law as part of a plea bargain. This was done in part to protect his law firm. Two other lawyers there, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut agreed to receive a 91-day suspension.

The plea deal still would need to be approved by both a Pinellas County senior judge and the Florida Supreme Court.

Even if the agreement is approved, it is still controversial. The agreement does not call for any of the attorneys to admit guilt for their roles in the arrest of an opposing counsel in the middle of trial. They only would have to admit to poorly supervising a paralegal at their firm. This might have been done as the accused attorneys are still facing a FBI investigation and possible criminal charges.

The details are still talked about today. In early 2013 there was a defamation law suit between radio DJ Todd "MJ" Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge.

The Florida Bar, which filed a formal legal complaint against Adams & Diaco, alleges several underhanded methods the firm used by the firm to help Bubba prevail.

MJ's counsel was eating dinner at a local steakhouse in Tampa (Malio's) after court in the middle of the civil suit. An attractive lady sat next to him and started talking to the attorney. She claimed that she was a paralegal for an unrelated law firm but in reality she lied. In reality, the woman (Melissa Personius) was a paralegal working for Adams.

Phone records that came out during discovery later showed that during the dinner with the attorney, she was texting and calling her boss multiple times. He, in turn, would reply.

After several drinks, she asked MJ's lawyer to drive her home. He offered to get her a cab, he offered a call service and even asked her to keep her car there overnight. The Adams' paralegal insisted he drive her car home.

As soon as he got behind the wheel, the trap was sprung. Tampa Sgt. Ray Fernandez, a friend of Adam Filthaut, was alerted by the law firm and pulled over the attorney immediately. Records later showed that the Sgt. and Filthaut exchanged multiple texts about what he needed to do. One of the texts proved that he was tipped off as soon as MJ's lawyer and Melissa left the restaurant.

While embarrassing for MJ's lawyer, rumors of the DUI being a set up quickly sprung up and it was later revealed that the attorney left his trial briefs in Personious' car...and that Adams & Diaco had full access to them!

Punishment was swift. The cop was fired, the DUI was dismissed and the Florida Bar charged the three attorneys from Adams & Diaco with misconduct, disrupting court and other allegations. The punishment can range from a reprimand to full disbarment.

If this deal is accepted, Diaco will not be able to reapply to the Florida Bar for five years and will need to retake the Bar exam.

At first glance, the 91-day suspensions of Adams and Filthaut seems like an odd number, but there is a method to the madness. Per the Florida Bar handbook, any suspension over 90 days means the attorney cannot practice again until approved by a referee. This means that there is no guarantee the two attorneys will be able to practice again right away and they may need to take further Bar or ethics educational courses.

Meanwhile, the three disgraced lawyers may be facing a civil suit from MJ's attorney. Said a lawyer representing him:
"They agreed to these Bar sanctions because they know what they did that night was wrong and inexcusable. They still do not have the guts or the honesty to testify under oath and be cross-examined about what happened that night".

Continue reading "Lawyers in the "Bubba" DUI setup case get their day in court" »

March 19, 2015

St. Patricks day means plenty of cheer and DUIs

Pinellas DUI defense attorney.jpg Happy belated St. Patrick's Day! Of course, with the festivities comes the alcohol which also means the arrests. One newspaper did some research and found that in this one night, police made 50 Dui arrests!

In Denver, police reported almost 50 driving under the influence arrests alone over a five day enforcement period. Eight arrests Friday, five Saturday, eleven Sunday, five Monday and eleven on St. Patrick's day meant the police were kept busy.

These arrests were not just alcohol based. Besides the 47 DUI arrests, police made an additional three arrests for driving while under the influence of a controlled substance.
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LEGAL ANALYSIS

As previously mentioned, DUI arrests can be from alcohol, drugs or a combination. Possession of most illegal drugs (with the exception of small amounts of marijuana) is considered a felony. Most DUIs if there is no death or injury, are only misdemeanors. This includes drug-based driving under the influence charges as well. For example, possession of cocaine is a third-degree felony, with a punishment of up to five years in prison. However, if a person was found to have consumed cocaine and then was pulled over for erratic driving and failed field sobriety exercises AND a drug test, he could only be charged with a misdemeanor DUI. Even the positive drug test would not be enough to charge him with a felony if no drug was in his possession.

Continue reading "St. Patricks day means plenty of cheer and DUIs" »

March 13, 2015

St. Pete woman hits police car while driving down wrong side of the road

Saint Petersburg DUI defense lawyers.jpgBayNews 9 just broke a story about wrong way driver resulting in a crash into a police car.

21-year-old Madison Best of Saint Petersburg must of had a great Thursday night out...right up to the time she drove on the wrong side of the street and crashed into a police car!

The officer was driving near 9th street and 103rd ave N early Friday morning. and started drivng south. At that time he saw a car, driven by the defendant driving north in the southbound lane at around 50 mph. Despite turning on his emergency lights, the officer had no time to avoid the crash.

The collision caused the officer's patrol car caused him to spin out near Gandy and 9th street. The officer, in a daze, managed to radio in the crash but was otherwise unresponsive. Police and rescue units found the cars by using the patrol car's GPS unit.

Rescue units found the policeman laying by his car but otherwise alright. Said a spokesman, "It could have been a lot worse, the silence that followed his initial radio transmission, in law enforcement, is probably the worst thing that can happen."

Rescue units spoke with the suspect and noticed she was extra animated and showed signs of impairment. While speaking with Madison, a man came by on his bicycle and said she was the same driver who had hit his bike and causing him to be thrown off! There is no word yet if she will be charged with a hit and run as a result of this.

St. Pete Police began a DUI investigation on the suspect. While she refused field sobriety exercises and breath tests but police found multiple signs of impairment and arrested her for driving under the influence.

After her arrest, both Madison and the officer were transfered to Bayfront medical, where to policeman was treated for minor injuries.

Unfortunately for Ms. Best, this was not her first run in with the law. Police mentioned that she had at least three prior incidents including careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and a domestic battery.


Continue reading "St. Pete woman hits police car while driving down wrong side of the road" »

March 4, 2015

Woman charged with battery on officers after DUI arrest

saint petersburg dui defense.jpg From frigid Maine, a woman makes a bad situation even worse when she attacks a police officer after her DUI arrest...

Getting a DUI? That is a bad day. Making the day worse? Going crazy and biting multiple police officers who were arresting you! This woman is now facing felony charges instead of just a misdemeanor driving under the influence...

33-year-old Jennifer Merry of Maine was arrested on Monday on several charges. Responding to a report of a single-car accident, police arrived to find a car rolled over in a ditch and a witness helping Jennifer out of the overturned SUV.

State troopers also arrived and determined that Jennifer was driving north when she lost control of the SUV on a straight stretch of road. The jeep ended up in a ditch facing the opposite way she was traveling. Now while Ms. Merry was the driver she was not helping the investigation.

"Merry was very uncooperative and interfered with Brown's attempts to investigate the crash," an officer said.
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The defendant repeatedly got into the officer's way during the investigation and was warned multiple times to stop. She was eventuallu put under arrest for disorderly conduct but continued to be uncooperative and refuse arrest.

Finally both a trooper and the police stepped in. Jennifer fought back.

"During the struggle, the subject bit [an} Officers... hand and apparently bit the hand of the state police detective who was on scene, assisting," a police spokeman said.

The defendant's night went from bad to worse. Besides the disorderly conduct charge, Jennifer was also arrested for the DUI and two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer.

As of this writing, the defendant had her blood taken and it was being analyzed at a lab. If she has a communicable disease, she may face additional criminal charges if she knowingly attempted to transmit a disease to law enforcement by biting them.

Continue reading "Woman charged with battery on officers after DUI arrest" »

February 27, 2015

Needing a ride, this hospital patient stole an ambulance!

Pinellas grant theft auto defense.jpg Things not to do after being discharged from the hospital: skip out on the bill and skip out with an ambulance!

Meet 29-year-old Ross Crampton. He was transported to Silver Cross hospital after barricading himself in his house in suburban Chicago. At the end of an all-day standoff with the police, Ross was sent to the hospital for a psychological evaluation.

Per the police, Crampton was discharged from the hospital at 5 a.m. Rather then call a friend or Uber, he did the least logical thing possible. The man hopped into an ambulance and sped away.

Officials eventually noticed the vehicle was missing and the GPS located it three miles way at a friend of the suspect's house. Police were clearly not amused.

Crampton was arrested outside the house and charged with grand theft auto, a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison. He was taken into custody where he remains in jail.

Continue reading "Needing a ride, this hospital patient stole an ambulance!" »

February 19, 2015

Jail, Jail Baby? 90's rapper Vanilla Ice arrested in Florida

Pinellas burglary defense lawyers.jpgBreaking news from ABC news where 90's rapper/celebrity turned reality TV star Vanilla Ice (real name Robert Van Winkle) was arrested for burglary in Florida.

The former musician, who rose to fame with his single "Ice, Ice Baby" was bonded out of Palm Beach County jail after being arrested for burglary and grand theft.

Mr. Ice was quick to deny that his arrest had anything to do with his reality TV show "The Vanilla Ice project" and claimed that the whole situation was blown out of proportion.

Per the Palm Beach police, Vanilla was arrested due to a burglary in December near a house that he was renovating. Several of the missing items, such as a pool heater and furniture, were found on Vanilla's property and later returned.

Police are saying that the ex-rapper is cooperative and as of this writing, it is unknown if the stolen property was part of his construction show.

Vanilla has had a few prior run ins with the law including arrests for domestic violence, drug possesion and driving on a suspended license. These new charges are very serious. The grand theft is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. The burglary can be punishable by up to life depending on how it is charged.

Continue reading "Jail, Jail Baby? 90's rapper Vanilla Ice arrested in Florida" »

February 11, 2015

Profession? "Drug dealer"! Arrested man gets points for honesty

Pinellas criminal defense.bmpDo you get time off for honesty? A Florida man may soon find out after his arrest.

Meet 25-year-old Robert Phillips. He may just be the most honest drug dealer in the state...

His most recent arrest sounded like it was custom made for the tv show COPS. While driving a stolen car, Robert had the bad fortune to narrowly avoid hitting another car. That car was being driven by an undercover police officer who immediately wanted Robert to stop. With other police cars giving chase with lights and sirens, Mr. Phillips did his best feeling and eluding.

During the police chase, Robert eventually abandoned his car and ran into an art store. He also collided into an elderly patron, knocking her to the ground. The force of their collision caused him to drop a loaded semi-automatic handgun. As a convicted felon, this is a big no-no and resulted in additional charges as he was captured trying to exit the store from the back.

A search incident to his arrest resulted in police finding a large number of grams of heroin ( a drug trafficking amount) in his pockets as well as 1000s in cash.

Inside the suspect's car, police found over five grams of crack cocaine, needles, a drug scale and a hidden compartment in the car.

While being interviewed after his arrest on multiple charges, Robert was asked his occupation. Without hesitating he blurted out "drug dealer"! His honesty has won him no points with a judge so far. As of this writing, bail is still in the amount of $240,000.

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LEGAL ANALYSIS

This seven-time convicted felon had been in and out of Florida prisons on multiple occasions. Mr. Phillips can be charged with felon in possession of a firearm. As he was in actual physical control of the gun, he is facing a MANDATORY three years in prison for this one charge.

The trafficking in heroin count will also be a minimum mandatory sentence, the exact amount of time will depend on the amount of heroin and any negotiations with the state attorney.

Likewise, the fleeing and eluding, if he is found guilty, will be punished depending on the severity of the charge. Per the facts of the article, it can be charged as a third-degree felony or perhaps a second-degree felony. If it is a second-degree, he could be punished by up to 15 years in prison for just this one charge!

Continue reading "Profession? "Drug dealer"! Arrested man gets points for honesty" »