| Read Time: < 1 minute | Criminal Defense

Guess We are All in this Together

The coronavirus or COVID-19 is affecting everyone. Restaurants and stores are shutting down and more are sure to be closing soon. Many government functions are being suspended including many court events. However, you know what isn’t being suspended? People are being arrested. Now more than ever it is extremely scary to be arrested with the fear of being stuck in jail during this pandemic. The Courts are still hearing “essential court proceeding” and the attorneys at Moses and Rooth are here to assist. Critical hearings are deemed to be first appearances, criminal arraignments as necessary, hearings on motion to set and modify bonds for people in custody. There are also hearings on juvenile delinquency detentions. The courts are also hearing situations involving this health emergency. Hearings are happening for violation of quarantine or isolation, violation of order limiting travel, violations of curfew, and violations for failure to close public or private buildings. Certain arrests require a hearing before a judge who can then set conditions of release. These crimes includes domestic violence cases, punishable by life cases, and other cases involving victims. It is important as ever to make sure that you have representation at that initial appearance to assist with the potential release from custody. Even during these crazy times you can turn to Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law to assist you in this ever changing environment. Call at any time at 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Florida Man Faces Aggravated Battery Charges After Firing Shots

A 25-year-old man from Cocoa recently fired gunshots into the air near his girlfriend as he sat in a car driven by his mother. Prosecutors charged the suspect with multiple gun-related charges. The punishment for Florida gun-related convictions can be serious. If you are facing a gun-related charge in the Orlando, Florida area, Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law can help. We aggressively represent our clients throughout the criminal defense process. To schedule your free initial consultation, contact our Orlando, Florida, law office today.  In the incident mentioned above, the defendant’s mother picked her son and a friend up and took them to the defendant’s girlfriend’s apartment. The mother did not anticipate what would happen next. The man got out of the car and confronted his girlfriend. According to witnesses, he pointed a gun at his girlfriend’s head then verbally threatened to kill her. He then allegedly fired off several rounds of ammunition out of the window of the car. Prosecutors have charged the defendant with aggravated battery with a deadly firearm. Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Firearm Florida criminal law states that aggravated battery occurs when a defendant intentionally strikes or touches another person and, in doing so, does one of the following: Knowingly or intentionally causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability, or  Using a deadly weapon, or Battering a person who the defendant knew or should have known was pregnant  Penalties for aggravated battery increase substantially in Florida when the incident involves the discharge or possession of a firearm. When the offense includes discharge of a firearm, judges must impose the following minimum sentences: When the defendant possesses a firearm during the incident, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 10 years If the defendant possessed a semiautomatic firearm or a machine gun, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 15 years  If the defendant discharges a firearm during the incident, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 20 years If the discharge of the firearm causes great bodily harm or death, the judge must impose a jail sentence of at least 25 years The Importance of a Defense Attorney Facing an aggravated assault charge is serious enough. However, if firearms are involved, the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines are incredibly serious. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our attorneys are skilled at aggressively defending our clients. Common defenses to aggravated battery charges include the following:  Self-defense Stand your ground doctrine Defense of others, or  Lack of intent to strike or touch.  If you are facing a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly firearm, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney. The penalties for an aggravated battery charge serious and could include a minimum 25-year jail sentence. Contact the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law to schedule your free initial consultation today.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Criminal Defense

What Happens if I Plead the Fifth Amendment?

Pleading the fifth in real life is not as funny as Dave Chappelle’s skit on pleading the fifth, however, it may be necessary to protect yourself from self-incrimination. The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that no person in a criminal case can be compelled to be a witness against themselves. An experienced criminal defense attorney at Moses & Rooth can help you determine if pleading the fifth is the right option for you when testifying. Pleading the Fifth as a Criminal Defendant In Malloy v. Hogan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a defendant has the right to plead the fifth in State criminal cases, as well as, Federal criminal cases. As a criminal defendant you can choose not to take the stand in order to protect yourself from self-incrimination, however, once you have chosen to do so you have waived your right to testify. Criminal defendants cannot choose to answer some questions and not others. It’s an all or none scenario in criminal cases. In Griffin v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a jury may not infer that a defendant is guilty because the defendant pled the fifth and refused to testify. The U.S. Supreme Court later strengthened this ruling in Ohio v. Reiner. Pleading the Fifth in a Civil Case Defendants in a civil trial may also plead the fifth, but not without risk. A jury in a civil trial, unlike a criminal trial, may make assumptions if a defendant chooses not to testify. Pleading the Fifth as a Witness A witness, like a defendant, may assert their Fifth Amendment right to prevent self- incrimination. A witness may refuse to answer a question if they fear their testimony will incriminate them. The criminal activity that the witness fears does not have to pertain to the case at hand. If a witness chooses to plead the fifth, unlike criminal defendants, this does not allow them to avoid testifying altogether. Witnesses subpoenaed to testify must testify, but can plead the fifth for questions that they deem are self-incriminating. Prosecutors may offer witnesses immunity in exchange for their testimony. Witnesses with immunity will not be charged for any incriminating statements made while testifying. When immunity is not on the table there is another option. Prosecutors may offer to reduce the charges if the witness agrees to testify. When Pleading the Fifth Will Not Protect You Defendants cannot assert their Fifth Amendment right to protect themselves from self-incrimination against evidence the Court deems to be non-communicative. A defendant cannot plead the fifth when objecting to the collection of DNA, fingerprint, or encrypted digital evidence. In Commonwealth v. Gelfgatt, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus brief in support of a defendant whose right to protect himself from self-incrimination was being threatened by an order to decrypt his computer, however, the Court ruled it was not a violation of the defendant’s rights. Before testifying as a criminal defendant or witness let the criminal defense lawyers of Moses & Rooth in central Florida advise you on your options of pleading the fifth and protecting yourself against self-incrimination. Our lawyers have a depth of knowledge because we only handle criminal defense cases. If you fear testifying will lead to criminal charges contact us today for information on how to protect yourself. Related articles: https://www.mosesandrooth.com/self-incrimination-defense-may-block-forced-decryption/ https://www.mosesandrooth.com/supreme-court-limits-power-miranda-related-silence/

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Criminal Defense

What Does it Mean to Withhold Adjudication in Florida?

We have all made mistakes throughout life, some bigger than others. These mistakes can be small, only causing issues within that day, while other mistakes can have lasting effects on your life. Such mistakes result in a criminal record that can affect your job, housing, whether you are able to obtain a license, as well as harming your reputation. Florida can sometimes give you a “second chance” in the form of withholding adjudication. You may be eligible for this form of adjudication, and should therefore contact an attorney. If you or a loved one have been arrested or charged with a crime, contact an experienced Florida criminal law attorney to determine the best strategies for your case. Withholding Adjudication? In Florida, the law can be tricky. If you are charged, and enter a guilty plea or no contest, though you may be found guilty, you may not actually be convicted of the crime. The court will determine whether or not you are adjudicated guilty or if the court will withhold the adjudication of guilt. If the court withholds the adjudication of guilt then it has not convicted you of the crime, though you may be guilty. According to Florida’s Statute Section 948.01, if it appears to the court that the defendant is not likely to again engage in criminal activity and that the defendant should not suffer the penalty imposed by law, the court gives great discretion to withhold the adjudication. If the charge was for a felony then the defendant must be placed on probation, and if the charge was for a non-felony, if probation is not rendered, then a fine may be. Once the probation is completed and/or fines paid, there is no adjudication of guilt. There are many benefits to withholding adjudication. When a judge withholds adjudication, the defendant will not be convicted of the crime. This allows for a defendant to: Keep his or her license if it was supposed to be revoked or suspended; Answer “No” on job applications when asked if he or she has ever been convicted of a crime; Vote; Own a firearm; Petition the court to seal your record. It is important to note that there is a limitation on the number of withholds a person can receive. That is why it is in your best interest to seek legal representation to see if your charge qualifies. Withhold of Adjudication FAQs Q.  What is a withhold of adjudication? A.  In the state of Florida, the law provides judges the ability to withhold adjudication for certain offenses. A withhold of adjudication simply means you are not convicted – even if you are guilty. Q.  When is withhold of adjudication offered? A.  Typically, a withhold is offered to 1st time offenders who the court finds unlikely to again engage in criminal activity. Q.  Is a withhold in Florida recognized by other states? A.  Outside of Florida, organizations (commercial and governmental) may not recognize withholds and may look at them similarly to a criminal conviction. Withholds go on your record. Q.  Do I have to disclose a withhold of adjudication to an employer? A.  It just depends on how the question is asked. For example, if your employer asks if you have ever been arrested or charged for a criminal offense, then you would still need to answer in the affirmative. On the other hand, if you’re asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, then you can answer “no.” Need Legal Advice? Being charged with a crime can be overwhelming, especially considering all of the consequences you could possibly face. However, withholding adjudication can save you a lot of distress if you are granted it. Because of this, it’s important to contact an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to seek legal advice and representation. Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 or by filling out our contact form. We may be able to help you with your case!

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Criminal Defense

A Legal Guide for Florida Spring Breakers: Know Before You Go

CC image by Ekaterina Vladinakova at Flickr If you’re heading to Florida for spring break in 2019, the sunshine and warm water may not be all that you encounter. In fact, spring breakers are notorious for getting into legal trouble – typically for things like underage drinking. Before you go, here are a few laws and safety tips that you should review to reduce the risk of an accident and keep you out of legal trouble– Staying Safe – Avoiding the Four Ds As a mnemonic device to help you remember safety and the law when you’re on spring break, consider the four Ds that you should always avoid: Drunk driving Drugged driving Distracted driving Drowsy driving All four of the above are, first and foremost, extremely unsafe. When you drive drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted, you significantly increase your risk of causing a motor vehicle accident. You may also have legal consequences if you are apprehended for drunk or drugged driving, and even texting while driving is against the law in the Sunshine State. Alcohol For those who are traveling for spring break, alcohol typically presents the biggest temptation, and of the biggest health, safety, and legal risks, too. While our law firm does not condone underage drinking, we do want to remind you that if you do drink–whether of the legal drinking age or not–to never get behind the wheel after you’ve consumed an alcoholic beverage. CC image by Image Catalog at Flickr In addition to staying clear of drunk driving, remember that it is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol within the car, as found in Florida Statutes Section 316.1936. Remind your passengers that if they want to drink, they can’t do it while your vehicle is in operation. Find a Designated Driver Avoiding the four Ds means finding a designated driver if people in your group have been drinking or using drugs. You should also find another driver if those in your group are overly-fatigued; studies show that fatigued driving has the potential to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. When you’re assigning a designated driver in your group, do so smartly. Characteristics of a designated driver that are important include that the driver has/is: A valid driver’s license and auto insurance; Responsible; and Able to resist the temptation not to drink, even when hanging out with friends. It’s always a good idea to select a designated driver before you hit the bars or are exposed to alcohol. If there is no one in your group who makes for a safe designated driver, take a cab, use a rideshare, or find another way home. Know Your Limits If you will be drinking on this spring break, make sure you do so safely – which means more than just avoiding the driver’s seat. It’s also important that you set and know your limits – how much can you personally consume safely? Don’t drink more than you can handle, and try to stick to the general rule of no more than one drink per hour, coupled with a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. (Note that depending on who you are, the one-drink-per-hour rule may be very inaccurate.) When drinking, be sure to always pair your alcohol consumption with plenty of food and water, too. It’s also important that you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and keep an eye out for anyone in your group who may be suffering from alcohol poisoning. The American Addictions Centers lists a few of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning as vomiting, hypothermia, seizure, loss of bowel or bladder control, irregular pulse, and blue-tinged skin. If you suspect that anyone is suffering from alcohol poisoning, you should seek emergency medical care/dial 911 immediately. Alcohol Ban on Beaches The car is not the only place that you can’t have an open container of alcohol in Florida; alcohol is also prohibited on many of the beaches, too. Refer to the Orlando Weekly for a list of beaches in Florida where you can legally drink alcohol, and note that Panama City Beach has banned alcohol on the beach as an “emergency measure” for this year’s spring break. Other Important Laws It’s also important that, in addition to alcohol-specific laws, you also review the rules regarding using a fake ID and public intoxication. As an added safety tip, we also recommend getting vaccinated before coming to Florida, which may offer protection from bacteria and viruses that are often rampant in large gatherings, like those that are found during spring break. Be Smart About Sexual Assault, Rape, and Other Violent Crimes CC image by freestocks.org at Flickr Spring break is no longer just an opportunity for young people to celebrate a reprieve from the grind of university life and get in a little sunshine; it is also a time where many people, spring breakers and otherwise, commit serious crimes, including rape, sexual assault, theft, and assault. During spring break, adhere to the following safety tips: Don’t leave a drink unattended – date rape drugs, including GHB and Rohypnol, could be placed in your drink while you’re distracted; Travel with a buddy – don’t go to unfamiliar places alone, especially in areas where drugs and alcohol are present; Have a plan, including knowing where you’re going and when, and how to get there; Don’t give out your information, including where you’re staying while on spring break, to strangers; Tell someone where you’re going before you leave and when you plan to be back; Keep your belongings close to avoid pickpocketing and theft; and If things get heated between you and another spring breaker, walk away – an assault can be dangerous, and could result in criminal charges if you’re involved. Dos and Don’ts of Interacting with the Police CC image by Alex Smith at Flickr If you are pulled over or otherwise stopped by police while on spring break this year, it’s important that you know how to respond to protect...

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

If an Alleged Victim of Domestic Violence Doesn’t Testify in Court, What Happens to My Case?

Domestic violence cases often hinge on the alleged victim testifying. If he or she doesn’t, then the state usually has no case to bring against you. No matter what the state says, it really can’t compel someone to testify. Many alleged victims go missing as the court date approaches, which leaves the prosecutor with very little evidence to present to a jury. If this is your situation, you should carefully analyze how the prosecutor might respond. If There is Other Evidence of Battery, a Prosecutor Might Go Ahead In some cases, there might be witnesses to the abuse. No law states that a victim has to testify to a crime. (If this were the law, no one could be convicted of murder). Instead, the state can use other evidence, such as eyewitness testimony or video evidence. In these cases, the evidence might be unambiguous that you committed the offense. Questions often arise when a prosecutor has a 911 tape with the victim talking about alleged abuse. For example, your wife might call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you punched her. But what happens if your wife doesn’t show up to court to testify? In that situation, you might be able to get the audio tape excluded from evidence. Before you can gauge what the prosecutor will do, you need to know what other evidence the state has. This is a good reason to hire an Orlando criminal defense attorney, who can discover everything the state intends to introduce at trial. If There is No Other Evidence, a Prosecutor Might Drop the Charges The state has the burden of proving every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high standard. In Florida, to convict you of battery, the state must prove either: You actually and intentionally struck or made contact with another person against their will, or You intentionally caused bodily harm to another person The element of intent is important. You might have accidentally touched someone, but that is not enough. For this reason, introducing pictures of someone’s injuries probably is insufficient to sustain a battery conviction. After all, the pictures show someone was harmed; they do not show whether the harm was intentional. This issue was central to a 2007 case, Baker v. State. There, the state submitted pictures of bite marks and a 911 tape in which the alleged victim told the dispatcher her husband bit her. However, as the appellate court noted, the state failed to prove that the contact was intentional and that the victim did not consent to it. For this reason, they entered a judgment of acquittal for the defendant. Your prosecutor will face a similar quandary if the victim does not show up to testify against you. If the state lacks sufficient evidence, you can’t be convicted. Aggressive Criminal Defense in Orlando Domestic violence charges are serious and warrant a serious response, even if you are confident the alleged victim will not show up to court. At Moses & Rooth, we have years of experience practicing criminal defense, and we will do everything possible to help you reach a favorable resolution. For more information, please contact us today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Is Vaping Marijuana Legal in Florida?

Medical marijuana remains a complicated topic in Florida. As you probably know, voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 2016 to authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But this doesn’t mean you can simply roll your own joint and smoke it because you think you have glaucoma. The Florida legislature adopted extensive regulations to implement the voters’ decision. Among other things, these rules specifically exclude smoking marijuana from the definition of “medical use.” Instead, individuals with a qualifying medical condition, and who receive a Medical Cannabis Card from a doctor licensed to issue one, can obtain what is known as low-THC cannabis, which is the active ingredient in marijuana. Vaping vs. Smoking So if you can’t smoke marijuana, how can you medically ingest low-THC cannabis? One approved method is vaping. But what exactly is vaping? When you smoke marijuana, you are burning the dried plant material at high temperatures to create smoke that you then inhale. Although many people think smoking pot is safer than, say, tobacco-based cigarettes, the truth is that smoking any plant-based substance releases thousands of chemical compounds, many of which are toxic to the human body. In contrast, vaping involves using an electronic device–a vaporizer–to heat the plant material (often in liquid form) at a much lower temperature. The idea is to convert the underlying material into water vapor rather than smoke. If done correctly, this water vapor contains a higher concentration of the desired chemical–in the case of medical marijuana, THC–without producing the toxic residue associated with smoking. Keep in mind, however, that while vaping may be safer than smoking, when it comes to marijuana or THC-based products, it is only legal in Florida for medical purposes. “Recreational” vaping of cannabis is still illegal. That doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. To the contrary, according to a recent CNN report, public health researchers have found cannabis vaping has become popular among some middle school and high school students. CNN cited a survey that found 1 in 11 students–12.4 percent of high schoolers and 4.5 percent of middle schoolers–had vaped marijuana at some point. One reason marijuana vaping has become more popular is that it is difficult for parents and teachers to know whether the liquid inside a vaporizer is based on nicotine or cannabis. Will It Soon Be Legal to Smoke Medical Marijuana? The legal issues surrounding medical marijuana are only going to grow more complex as the State of Florida continues to implement its regulations. Indeed, the Florida Department of Health is currently appealing a circuit court decision from Leon County that struck down the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana. If that ruling is affirmed by the First District Court of Appeal, it could make vaping a less-attractive option for patients who would rather smoke a joint. In the meantime, if you have been charged with a drug crime related to the illegal possession or use of marijuana and need assistance from an experienced Orlando criminal defense attorney, contact Moses & Rooth right away by calling (407) 377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

What are the Penalties for Vandalism?

In Florida, vandalism is called “criminal mischief” and it is covered by Florida statute 806.13. If you have been accused of criminal mischief, you will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney on your team. Penalties can be quite serious, and you will need to begin building a defense right away. Defining Criminal Mischief In Florida A person commits criminal mischief if they “willfully and maliciously” damage or injure someone else’s real or personal property. This damage can include drawing graffiti on the property. A few things jump out about this definition. The damage or injury must be willful or malicious, which basically means intentional. If you accidentally get in a car accident and slam into the side of someone’s house, you have not committed criminal mischief since you lacked the intent under the statute. You can also damage either real property (real estate) or personal property. If you harm a person, then that is a different crime (usually assault or battery). Penalties Your punishment will depend on how much damage you inflicted: If the damage is $200 or less, then you have committed a second-degree misdemeanor. If the damage is more than $200 but less than $1,000, you have committed a first-degree misdemeanor. If the damage is $1,000 or more, then you have committed a third-degree felony. If the damage interrupts the operation of a business or public services (such as the supply of water, gas, power or transportation or communication), then it is a third-degree felony regardless of the amount of damage. Jail time depends on whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony: A second-degree misdemeanor can carry up to 60 days in jail A first-degree misdemeanor might result in up to one year in jail A third-degree felony can result in up to 5 years in prison Those convicted can also be fined: A second-degree misdemeanor: up to $500 A first-degree misdemeanor: up to $1,000 A third-degree misdemeanor: up to $5,000 The amount of time you serve in jail or the amount of your fine will depend on many factors, so you should hire an Orlando criminal defense attorney to review your circumstances. Special Punishments for Graffiti The law also imposes a fine for graffiti, which depends on whether this is your first or a subsequent offense: At least $250 if this is your first offense At least $500 if this is your second offense At least $1,000 if this is your third or subsequent offense Parents will be required to pay this fine if their minor child defaced property with graffiti. Offenders will also need to perform at least 40-100 hours of community service, which can include the removal of graffiti from buildings. Speak to an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Criminal mischief is a serious crime that carries stiff consequences. At Moses & Rooth, we work aggressively to get a favorable outcome for our clients, which could include a dismissal, reduced charges, or an acquittal. For help building your defense, call us today at 407-377-0150. We offer a free consultation. You have no time to lose.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Is America’s Juvenile Criminal System Broken and Outdated?

Each year, thousands of teens move through Florida’s juvenile criminal justice system. However, questions continue to mount about whether the justice system is failing Florida’s young people. A recent story from ABC News has highlighted many of the problems with juvenile systems around the country, including in Florida. Basics of Juvenile Justice At the center of the juvenile criminal justice system is the belief that minors are capable of rehabilitation. Although the adult justice system is oriented around punishment, the juvenile system focuses on reforming delinquent behaviors. As part of this system, juveniles are kept separate from the adult criminal population, and many offenders enter diversion programs that keep them out of jail. While on probation, the child and his or her family work on action plans for the child. Juvenile records are also sealed so that offenders will not have their youthful errors following them around for years later. As a result, juvenile offenders don’t need to disclose their criminal history when applying for a job or an apartment. However, Florida constantly undermines this juvenile justice system. Trying Juveniles as Adults As part of the “tough on crime” rhetoric that has been ascendant for the past 40 years, Florida passed a law that allows juveniles to be tried as adults in certain situations. The theory underpinning this law is that juveniles should “serve adult time for adult crimes” like homicide. Lionel Tate is one juvenile charged under this law. Tate was 14 when he wrestled a six-year-old, killing him. The prosecutor chose to prosecute Tate as an adult for the crime. Supporters of trying juveniles as adults argue that it is necessary, particularly in Florida. The state’s violent crime rate among juveniles is among the highest in the nation, almost 50% higher than the national average. Supporters also believe treating juveniles as adults will act as a deterrent to other juveniles, persuading them not to commit violent crimes. Counterproductive Response to Violent Crime Critics of the prosecution of Lionel Tate point out that charging juveniles as adults strikes at the very heart of juvenile justice. They also argue that sending juveniles to prisons increases the likelihood that they will reoffend—up to 33% more likely, based on one study. Instead, critics believe that even violent offenders should go through the juvenile system, like all other minors suspected of committing crimes. As critics point out, juveniles are not treated as adults because they have not fully developed emotionally or mentally. Treating them like rational adults is the wrong approach and will not yield the benefits that “tough on crime” advocates pretend. Speak with an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney How Florida should treat juveniles will continue to be a source of controversy, with each side expressing valid concerns. Parents whose children are charged with crimes must realize that the state could potentially lock their child up for a very long time and must act accordingly. The best thing you can do right now is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Moses & Rooth, our Orlando defense attorneys we represent juveniles accused of crimes. To speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers, please schedule a free initial consultation by calling 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Exploring the Link Between Opioid Use and Criminal History

The opioid crisis continues to draw attention of the national media. The crisis has been used to explain everything from the increased mortality rates for some Americans to President Trump’s popularity in rural America. One aspect that has not drawn nearly enough attention is the link between opioid use and criminal history. According to recent research, however, the link between the two is strong. “More Common Than We Expected” As reported by MedPage Today, researchers who have examined the link between opioid use and crime have been impressed by the connection. At least 50% of those with a prescription opioid disorder had contact with the criminal justice system–contact that was more common than researchers expected. Researchers from various universities looked at data for nearly 79,000 respondents and classified people based on their highest use of opioids: 63.2% reported no opioid use 31.3% reported using opioids with a prescription 4.3% reported misusing opioids in ways their doctor had not prescribed 0.8% reported opioid dependence or abuse 0.4% reported using heroin As researchers found, the more a person used opioids, the more likely they had of criminal justice involvement: Only 15.9% of those with no opioid use had contact with the criminal justice system 22.4% of those who used opioids with a prescription had contact 33.2% of those who misused opioids had contact 51.7% of those with an opioid use disorder had contact 76.8% of those who used heroin had contact This recent study contradicts a study nearly 30 years ago from Scotland that found that moderate opioid use did not increase one’s likelihood of committing a crime. Instead, the most recent study has found a substantial difference in crime rates between those who do not use opioids and those who misuse or abuse them. More Treatment in Jail is Needed Given the higher rates of contact with the criminal justice system, opioid users and abusers are ending up in jail. Unfortunately, jails and prisons have not kept up with the times. Although they treat a variety of health conditions—such as diabetes and hypertension—they currently do not have the capacity to offer treatment for opioid abuse. Unfortunately, public pressure does not seem to be building, perhaps because people assume that being in jail is a good chance for someone to detox. However, as experts have explained, cutting off opioids from an addict does not cure them. Instead, it puts them at greater risk of death from an overdose later because their tolerance will be lower. What abusers and addicts need is medication-assisted treatment, which is the most effective means of treating opioid addiction. Based on one analysis, addicts who leave a medication-assisted treatment program experienced a 60% drop in overdose deaths. Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys in Your Corner After an arrest, our clients are in fear of the future and many are also struggling with an opioid addiction. You need caring legal guidance. At Moses & Rooth, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys has your best interests at heart. We can work diligently toward a favorable outcome, whether a plea deal, dismissed charges, or an acquittal at trial. For more information about how we can help, please schedule a free consultation by calling 407-377-0150.

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