I was pulled over by the police, and they found medication in the car. I got the pills from a friend who has a prescription, but the prescription is not in my name. I’m taking the medication to treat a health condition I have. Can I face criminal liability for this?

prescription drugs

Yes. As most people are aware, under Florida Statute 893.13 it is illegal to have a controlled substance in your possession unless that controlled substance is prescribed to you by a licensed practitioner providing you with medical treatment.  Common controlled substances include but are not limited to amphetamines such as Adderall, benzodiazepines such a Xanax, and narcotics, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and morphine. Possession of a controlled substance without a prescription is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.  Continue reading

I want to get a prescription for this medication that I am taking illegally…

illegal prescription drugs

I have been using a narcotic medication that I’ve gotten from friends, but I do not have a prescription myself. I realize that being in possession of this medication without a prescription is illegal and I could face criminal charges, so I want to try to get a prescription from my doctor. If I tell my doctor the right things that they need to hear, whether or not it’s true, to get a prescription, will I be safe from criminal charges?

Most people realize that being in possession of a controlled substance without a prescription is illegal. What people often do not realize is that there are also laws in Florida that make it illegal to obtain or attempt to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance by making false statements or misrepresentations, committing fraud or forgery, or through deception. This makes it illegal to lie to a doctor to obtain a prescription for a controlled substance. It is also illegal in Florida to withhold information from a practitioner who is prescribing you a controlled substance that you have already received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous thirty (30) days. This is intended to prevent “doctor shopping,” or the practice of obtaining multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors within the same timeframe. Continue reading

Yes. There are several ways under current Florida law for a physician to face criminal liability for illegally prescribing Pill Mills with OxyContinor trafficking controlled substances. Physicians can be held criminally liable for prescribing controlled substances without conducting proper medical examinations, writing a prescription for a controlled substance if the sole purpose is to provide a monetary benefit to the physician, possessing a building or structure (the clinic  or office) for the purposes of trafficking a controlled substance, writing a prescription for a fictitious person,  and assisting someone in obtaining a prescription for a controlled substance through deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations, or through employing a trick or scheme. All of these charges are felonies, and a physician will often be charged with several of the above-mentioned criminal offenses if they’re engaged in illegally prescribing controlled substances. Continue reading

I just got into a car accident and struck a person. I’m nervous and I don’t know what to do. What can happen to hit and run with bicycleme if I just drive away? What will happen if I stop? This scenario can have serious consequences if you make the wrong decision. Under Florida Statute 316.027, a driver involved in an accident must stop their vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close to the scene of the crash as safely possible. When stopping, you should avoid obstructing the flow of traffic and stay off the roadway as much as possible to avoid any further accidents or injuries caused by moving traffic near the scene. If the accident resulted in bodily injury or property damage, you are required by Florida law to provide your name, address, and the registration number of your vehicle to the other party involved. You are also required to contact 911 for emergency medical services if someone is injured and unable to call for themselves. Continue reading

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Image from orlandosentinel.com

Officer Cecil Garrett was arrested on July 26, 2017, on five counts of perjury committed by false written declaration following a criminal investigation conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that was initiated after the Clermont Police Chief Chuck Broadway notified them of numerous citizen complaints about Officer Garrett dating back to June of 2016. Officer Garrett is accused of writing in his arresting reports that he initiated traffic stops after running the vehicle’s tag and confirming the driver had a suspended license; however, computer logs showed he had already initiated the traffic stops before he actually ran the tag. Officer Garrett is currently on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case. Perjury is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Continue reading

I was just involved in an argument with my significant other. Things got out of control, and she is accusing me of hitting her.clenching fist

What can I expect to happen next?

The term domestic violence encompasses many things, including any assault, battery, battery by strangulation, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Once law enforcement has been contacted, a police report will be filed. The decision as to whether criminal charges will be filed against you is made by a state attorney. The victim of the crime cannot decide whether to file or drop criminal charges against someone, although a victim may make a report with the state attorney to request that charges be filed. If criminal charges are filed, a no contact order will most likely be put into place, restricting or prohibiting contact between the alleged offender and victim. Victims of domestic violence may also file a petition for a protective injunction, which can include provisions requiring the abuser refrain from further acts of abuse, requiring the abuser to leave the household, preventing the abuser from entering the victim’s residence, school, business, or place of employment, award custody of minor children, and direct the abuser to pay support to the victim and minor children if the abuser has a legal obligation to do so. It is important to always comply with court orders, including no contact orders and protective injunctions. Continue reading

Voters in Florida recently passed an amendment to the Florida Constitution, known as the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, legalizing medical marijuana within the state. Medical marijuana is no different in substance from traditional marijuana, it is merely used for medicinal treatment purposes while under the care of a health professional. Advocates in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana believe it can relieve the symptoms and pain associated with a wide range of medical conditions. Despite this recent change in Florida Law, the possession, sale, and trafficking of marijuana for purposes not within the medical exception remains illegal.

If an individual is stopped by law enforcement for a traffic violation while in possession of marijuana and explains he has it because he’s sick or has a condition he feels marijuana provides therapeutic benefits for, can he face criminal liability? Yes.
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No! No! No! The police may say to you if you let us just look atyour phone and download some information we will let you go. This is a lie – they want to gather evidence against you to arrest you. The police can lie to you to get evidence, or in this case, your cell phone data.  Don’t be fooled into thinking if I just give them my phone all will be okay.

Remember! If the police already had enough evidence against you to rise to the level of probable cause they would not need the data from your phone to help convict you.

So, what is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is a serious criminal offense. Under Florida Law, cyberstalking occur via communications over the internet, cyberspace, and through text messages. Cyberbullying, masquerading as the victim on-line, anonymously posting private information about another person, texting sexually provocative information or pictures (sexting), and on-line sexual harassment are acts associated with cyberbullying. Continue reading

From 2004-2009 there were only two convictions for video voyeurism in Orange County, Florida; by 2014 the number raised to 10.  Increased use of smartphones with photo and video capabilities as well as the commercial availability of small digital cameras attribute to the rise in numbers.  Intentionally filming someone when they have the reasonable expectation of privacy may result in charges of video voyeurism.

Florida Statute §810.145 defines video voyeurism as:  When a person for his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person, intentionally uses or installs an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, who is dressing, undressing, or privately exposing the body, at a place and time when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Video voyeurism can be easy to prove due to technological advances and video evidence. If you are accused of video voyeurism in Central Florida it is imperative that you do not allow law enforcement to search your cell phone without a warrant and to hire a criminal defense attorney.
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A fingerprinting expert for the Orange County Sherriff’s Department has been under internal investigation since October 2016, even though the State Attorney’s Office of Orange and Osceola County are just now finding out about it. An 18-year veteran fingerprinting expert, Marco Palacio, was said to be “sloppy” when performing his work and has been removed from his position.

Over the weekend, Employees at the Orange County Sherriff’s Department worked to identify cases in which Palacio was listed as a witness; by midday Monday, there were 2,640 –  of which 130 are still active cases. Now, the State Attorney’s Office is sending letters to Orlando-area defense attorneys informing them of the possibility of harm to their clients from fingerprinting mistakes made by Palacio. However, the State Attorney’s Office will not be determining whether anyone was wronging convicted or jailed because of possible error in fingerprinting analysis. That burden is shifted to the defense attorneys on those cases, whether from the Public Defender’s office or privately hired.

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