Articles Posted in Drug Offenses & Drug Trafficking

aerogondo2-300x200Sometimes, obtaining a reversal of your conviction may not be feasible. The state may simply have amassed too much evidence against you at trial. Even if you cannot reasonably expect to obtain a reversal of your conviction, that definitely does not mean that you should abandon filing an appeal altogether. Sometimes, pursuing (and succeeding in) an appeal of your sentence can provide you with very significant benefits, including a lot less time behind bars. To make sure that you get a truly fair hearing, whether it is at your trial or at your sentencing hearing, be sure to obtain the services of an experienced Tampa Bay defense attorney to represent you.

An example of a such a case where the defendant received a fair trial but not a fair sentencing hearing took place recently in DeSoto County. K.L. was arrested and charged with selling meth within 1000 feet of a place of worship and possessing drug paraphernalia. The state secured a conviction at trial. At the woman’s sentencing hearing, the prosecution called K.L. a “consistent drug dealer” and stated that multiple police officers could testify that K.L. had a “predisposition for dealing drugs multiple times to multiple people, not just this one drug sale.” The court allowed the state to use this evidence in the sentencing hearing.

The woman appealed her conviction and her sentence. The appeal of the conviction went nowhere, but the appeals court concluded that the woman was correct in her challenge of her sentencing hearing. This meant that K.L. was entitled to have her sentence thrown out and to get a new sentencing hearing before a different judge. The problem with the first sentencing hearing that triggered a reversal and a new hearing was the trial judge’s allowing in impermissible evidence. The state argued during the sentencing hearing that K.L. had a history of engaging many instances of dealing drugs subsequent to the sale upon she was arrested. The state, however, had never charged the woman with any drug-selling crimes other than the one deal that was the subject of this trial. Based on charged offenses, the state had a record of K.L. dealing drugs exactly once.

Legal News GavelSometimes, Florida can be famous – or infamous – for news stories with strange twists. While some of those twists might elicit a chuckle or two, the possible legal consequences for the subjects of those news articles can be profoundly serious. If you are facing arrest, it’s no joke. Make sure you retain a skilled Tampa Bay defense attorney.

One possible takeaway from a recent South Florida news story is this: if you are going to cut off someone in traffic in Miami-Dade County, make sure it isn’t a law enforcement officer. One man made that mistake and found himself the subject of a traffic stop, according to a recent Miami Herald report. Once the police initiated the traffic stop, they found several things they deemed suspicious inside the man’s car. These included six guns, several bottles of strong cough syrup (without a prescription), suspected marijuana oil and nearly $20,000 in cash.

The Herald report also noted that the police proudly touted the bust on a local TV station. “It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” the police told CBS 4. There was one not-so-small problem: it wasn’t a “good” bust.

Cocaine PowderSometimes, one might find oneself in an uncomfortable encounter with law enforcement. The officer suspects you of a crime. The officer is questioning you. The facts look bad, and you do not have a clear reply to dispel the officer’s suspicions. You have a couple of options at this point. You can invoke your right to legal counsel and refuse to explain anything, or you can go for a “far-from-run-of-the-mill” explanation. More often than not, if an officer is questioning you toward the end of possibly arresting you, the less you say the better. Instead, retain counsel and let your experienced Florida drug crime attorney handle the interactions with the police.

A woman recently stopped by police in Fort Pierce went with a long shot of an explanation in her interaction with police, according to a news report from Local10.com. Law enforcement officers allegedly noticed her vehicle driving erratically and made a traffic stop. According to the police report, the officer detected an aroma of marijuana upon approaching the vehicle. The officer searched the woman’s car. The officer also searched the woman’s purse. Inside the purse, the officer found marijuana and cocaine in separate bags inside the purse.

The woman informed the officer that the marijuana was hers, but the cocaine was not. What’s more, she professed not knowing for sure how the bag of cocaine found its way into her purse. Instead of leaving it there, she attempted to offer a possible alternative theory of the case. “I don’t know anything about any cocaine. It’s a windy day. It must have flown through the window and into my purse,” the woman theorized, according to the police report.

Legal News GavelIf you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Florida, there are many things with which you’ll likely need to concern yourself. However, one thing that you likely won’t expect to have to address is being found in criminal contempt of court unless you engage in some very improper behavior. In the case of one man facing drug charges, the Second District Court of Appeal reversed a contempt finding against him because he neither disrupted nor embarrassed the trial court. For all of the twists and turns of your criminal case, it is important to have an experienced Florida drug crime lawyer defending you at every step along the way.

The case began when Ulysses was arrested in Hillsborough County on multiple drug charges, including cocaine possession, marijuana possession, and drug paraphernalia possession. On the morning of the man’s scheduled hearing, the man’s lawyer asked the court to “pass the case” (meaning to delay it briefly) because he and the prosecution were working on a plea deal, and he needed to discuss the terms with his client. Eventually, Ulysses’ attorney informed the prosecutor that he couldn’t ethically go forward with discussing plea deal terms with the defendant because the lawyer was concerned that the defendant was impaired.

The judge called the lawyers to the bench, where the defense lawyer acknowledged, under questioning from the judge, that he smelled alcohol in the vicinity of the defendant. The judge then put the defendant under oath and asked him if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ulysses said no. The judge then ordered the defendant taken into custody and tested for drugs or alcohol.

Legal News GavelWhen you are accused of a crime, it is important to remember that the state has several obligations in order to secure a conviction. The prosecution, for example, must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In the case of one man accused of dealing meth, the state’s case had one major problem. It lacked sufficient proof that the defendant had actual or constructive possession of the meth in question, so the man’s conviction had to be reversed by the Second District Court of Appeal.

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Legal News GavelA recent Polk County case involved what happens in the not unusual scenario in which a law enforcement officer engaged in a warrantless search, and the state and the defense then contested whether or not the officer’s actions triggered a constitutional violation. Sometimes, the difference between success and an unsuccessful outcome can be the ability to argue persuasively for the exclusion of certain evidence obtained via an illegal search. In this case, the Second District Court of Appeal overturned the man’s conviction because the officer’s warrantless search did not fall under the exception available for “protective sweeps.”

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Legal News GavelIn a criminal case, there are many details that both the prosecution and the defense must manage. The law imposes many requirements, both large and small, on the state regarding how it carries out a prosecution in order to ensure compliance with the Constitution and to make certain that justice is done.

In a recent case originating in South Florida, a man accused of conspiring to manufacture illegal drugs obtained a reversal of his conviction because the state charged him of conspiring with a man named “Webb” but then presented a case involving the defendant and a man named “Hicks.” The Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled that, under the specifics of this case, that error required overturning the conviction.

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What Are Punishments For Drug Paraphernalia In Florida?

Drug paraphernalia is a first-degree misdemeanor, and it would technically include anything that was used or that could be used to inject an elicit substance. It could be anything like a pipe from a smoke shop, or even an apple the person had in their fridge if it had been used in a way that was meant to use drugs.

Examples of common objects that are used for paraphernalia include taking insulin needles from a diabetic and using it to inject illicit drugs, or a pipe from a smoke shop and using it to smoke marijuana.

A person can technically be charged with having paraphernalia if they had a spoon with some burn marks that had some heroin residue. The plastic casing of a pen that had been used in some drug activity or an apple that had been used to smoke marijuana can also be considered paraphernalia.

How Does The Prosecution Or Police Go About Proving Something Is Drug Related?

Anybody can have a spoon, but if the spoon had burn marks and heroin residue, then that may be the difference between the spoon and paraphernalia.

Anybody can have a plastic bag but if the plastic bag smelled like drugs, or it looked like it was recently used, it would go to a lab and if they were able to prove there were remnants or traces of drugs, then that plastic bag could be considered paraphernalia.

If somebody made a bong out of an apple and there was marijuana residue in that, then that would also be considered paraphernalia.

What Kind Of Testing Would Be Done?

It would not always have to go to the lab for testing, because obviously if there was a large amount of marijuana found in a car and there were empty plastic bags nearby and a few remnants of marijuana, then without even lab testing, the police officer maybe able to arrest the individual for paraphernalia using defense admissions, portable drug tests or a combination.

Note: This is a four-part series with part one and part two located by clicking on the links.

For more information on Drug Paraphernalia In Saint Petersburg, Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (727) 286-6141 today. Continue reading

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In part two of the four-part series “Drug charges in Florida”, we talk about “doctor shopping” and “pill mills” and their rapid growth in Florida.

Have Drugs Crimes Become An Issue Recently?

While drugs offenses have always carried serious penalties, the “war on drugs” starting in the ‘70s and ‘80s have greatly increased prison penalties for many drugs.  Unlike cocaine or heroin, some drugs like oxycodone have legitimate medical purposes although they are highly addictive and highly regulated.

Where Does The Pill Mill Fall On That Scale?

So called “Pill mill” drugs like Oxycodone are found under Florida Statute 893.03 and the vast majority of them are schedule 2 drugs. This means that if the person basically had even one pill without a valid doctor’s prescription, it would be considered a third-degree felony which could be up to 5 years in prison.

How Is Doctor Shopping Punishable?

Doctor shopping”, or going to multiple doctors for the purpose of receiving prescription drugs, forged doctor’s prescriptions, prescription fraud among other offenses, the punishment would range anywhere from a second degree misdemeanor to serious felonies.

What Does Doctor Shopping Refer To?

This would refer to the patient hiding an injury, or going to one doctor’s office and not telling the doctor they were being treated from another doctor, and then begging for pills and then going to another doctor’s office and doing the same thing.

Are Doctor Shopping Cases Becoming More Common?

This definitely used to be a problem, but recently the State of Florida and the Gulf Coast, in particular, have been doing some crackdowns, and although it is still a problem, it is not nearly as bad as it used to be up until a few years ago.

For more information on Prescription Drug Crimes , a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by  clicking on the contact button or by calling (727) 286-6141 today.

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