| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

The Florida Coast Guard Has Been Busy Lately

With the large amount of drugs that have been trying to find a home in Florida, the Coast Guard has been busy this month. The coast guard seized almost $12 million dollars worth of drugs on one day alone this September off the coast of Miami. Part of the Coast Guard’s seizure included cocaine and marijuana from a Panamanian-flagged boat off the coast. The Coast Guard then found a capsized boat with three people and 68 bales of marijuana. Although it may seem easy to buy drugs in Florida with over $12 million of drugs coming in on a daily basis, Florida’s strict drug laws should be enough motivation to refrain from doing so. Drugs in Florida The Coast Guard has seized almost 130 metric tons of cocaine thus far this year, which is the largest amount since 2008. With all of these seizures off the coast it may make you wonder what would happen to a person possessing or selling drugs within Florida. Drug laws in Florida prohibit people from selling, delivering, manufacturing, and possessing these drugs with the intent to distribute. A person who is charged with a drug offense could face serious consequences and should seek the help of an experienced attorney right away. Regardless of whether a person sells, possesses, or traffics cocaine in Florida, he or she will face felony charges. If a person possesses more than 28 grams of cocaine, this is considered trafficking and is considered a first-degree felony. A person in possession of 28 grams will be charged with a three-year prison sentence and a $50,000 fine. Those who possess over 150 kg will face life in prison. Due to Florida’s history with the drug, law enforcement in the water and on land are working hard to crack down on the use and trafficking of cocaine. Depending on the situation, a person who is involved in a drug offense may face federal charges rather than state charges. Regardless of whether a person is charged with a federal or state-related cocaine charge, it will still carry a heavy jail sentence and large fine. Due to Florida’s strict drug laws, a person should make sure that he or she does anything possible to avoid getting involved with cocaine. Pending Drug Charges If you have recently been charged with a drug-related offense, an attorney will be able to explain the charges and provide you with potential options that may be available to you based on the facts and evidence involved with your case. Our attorneys at Moses & Rooth have a great deal of experience with both federal and state level drug crimes. If you would like to consult with an attorney on your potential legal options, contact our firm by phone at 407-377-0150. We are ready to take your call and listen to your side of the story.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Real Drugs, Real Penalties!

Prescription Drugs In Florida People often erroneously believe that just because prescription drugs are lawfully prescribed to people that necessarily implies that they cannot be harmful. Not only is taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you dangerous, it is also illegal. People who either are lawfully prescribed drugs that sell them to others or those who unlawfully obtain the drug are all equally culpable under the law for prescription drug offenses. Adderall is probably the most commonly known abused prescription drug on college campuses, especially around exam time. There is now a market for nearly all prescription drugs on the “black market”—a startling fact that has led to those who actually need a prescription being denied access at pharmacies, and those without a prescription being able to access drugs easier than ever. Prescription Drugs The widespread use of prescription drugs by those who are not lawfully prescribed such drugs is a matter of public health. Over 44,000 annual deaths are attributed to drug overdoses according to The Daily World, and prescription-related deaths currently outnumber those from cocaine and heroin combined. The interesting thing about prescription drug abuse is that nearly anyone can fall victim to it. For example, a Florida teacher was recently arrested after allegedly selling Xanax to an undercover officer. On campuses throughout America, obtaining prescription drugs is increasingly easy, as many people have legitimate prescriptions for ADHD, depression, anxiety, or a host of real medical problems. The other problem with prescription drug abuse goes far beyond the illegality to the extent that many people mix prescription drugs with alcohol or other drugs. Many prescription drugs have labels that warn that use of alcohol may intensify the effects of the medication, or urge users not to drink at all while taking the medication. Misusing prescription drugs on college campuses especially can lead to additional problems besides health and law related. Suspensions, expulsions, and other punishments are possible if a student is caught unlawfully using/selling these drugs on campus. Orlando, Florida Prescription Drug Attorneys Using, selling, or sharing prescription medication that is not yours or not prescribed to you can have serious legal consequences. Even a valid prescription can cause problems if you take pills out of the bottle, put pills in another bottle, or carry them freely away from the prescribed bottle. If you do have a lawful prescription for a drug, remember not to share it with anyone for any reason, even if you are asked and feel pressured to do so. Just because you have a prescription for a drug does not make it lawful to share with others. If you are selling prescription drugs, purchasing prescription drugs, or obtaining them unlawfully and have been charged with a crime, our experienced prescription drug crime defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth can help. Contact our Orlando law office to learn more about your legal rights and potentially minimize the negative effects a criminal charge or conviction may have on your life.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

CDC Calls Prescription Drug Use An Epidemic

Prescription Drugged Driving in Florida Prescription drug abuse is on the rise to the point that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention classified it as an epidemic. Even for prescription drug users that take their medications as prescribed, medication use does not mix well with driving. A person can be charged with driving under the influence even when taking drugs they are lawfully permitted to take, or when they have taken even comparatively small quantities. “Drugged driving” was attributed as the cause of 298 car crashes in Florida thus far in 2015. The Law It is unlawful to take medications that are not prescribed to you. It is also unlawful to drive on public roadways when you are under the influence of anything that may affect your perception, reflexes, focus, ability to pay attention, or anything that alters your state of mind. This can include medications that are prescribed to you; these bottles have warnings for a reason. A first drugged driving conviction in Florida can land a person between $500-$1000 in fines and a jail sentence of up to six months. Second offenses come with higher associated fines and up to nine months in jail. A third drugged DUI is punishable by 12 months jail and a $2,000 fine. Subsequent drugged driving offenses committed within a certain time frame will put a felony on the offender’s record, further increasing both the fine and jail time. After the first offense, the offender is no longer eligible for diversion programs. Differences in Convicting for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol Charges Unlike alcohol, which can be readily tested by breathalyzers in the field, drugs are more difficult to detect. This fact makes drugged driving cases much more difficult for prosecutors to successfully bring in a court of law. Blood and Urine tests are often used to determine the presence of drugs in the system. Although field sobriety tests can be used to monitor state of mind, the chemical presence of drugs can be difficult for officers to ascertain. A more experienced DUI officer may be certified as a Drug recognition expert (DRE) which allows him to testify as to the results from a test to help determine if under the influence of drugs.  This test used is called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. Drugs and alcohol differ in how they are processed in the body; a positive drug test through urine analysis does not alone definitively prove that a person was under the influence of drugs at the time they were taken into custody. Moreover, police officers have very specific rules they must follow when administering field sobriety tests; even a small deviation from protocol may work in your favor in court. Orlando Prescription Drug DUI Defense Attorneys If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys on your side.  All of our attorneys at Moses & Rooth are former prosecutors that know how to navigate these kinds of cases and ensure the police treated you fairly when you were arrested. We know the common weaknesses in prosecutor’s cases in drugged and drunk driving matters and will work hard on your behalf to ensure the most favorable outcome possible given your set of circumstances. If you or anyone you know has questions about your rights when you are pulled over or if you have been charged with a drugged or drunk driving offense in Florida, contact our Orlando office today.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

The Most Commonly Committed Federal Crimes

When someone is arrested of a crime, they may be charged with a federal crime, as well as a state crime.  If you have been charged with a federal crime it is important to contact an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to represent you against charges that may hold serious consequences if convicted.  The experienced federal criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth can defend you against the charges and also explain to you why you are being charged with a federal crime. Most Common Federal Crimes According to the United States Sentencing Commission, in 2013 82.3% of all federal cases involved the following: Drug Crimes – Drugs were associated with 31.2% of all federal cases.  The leading drugs were marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Immigration – Tied with drug crimes are immigration violations that also make up 31.2% of all federal cases. Firearm Crimes – Firearm charges were responsible for 10.1% of all federal cases.  Many cases involved a convicted felon illegally possessing a firearm or the possession or use of a firearm in connection with a violent crime or drug trafficking.  Federal statute 18 U.S.C.922 makes it illegal to import, manufacture, deal firearms, to engage in the business of any of these activities involving firearms, or in the course of such business to ship transport, or receive any firearms in interstate or foreign commerce if unlicensed.  The statute also makes it illegal to be an unlicensed importer or manufacturer of ammunition.  It is also illegal to engage in the business of importing or manufacturing ammunition, or in the course of such business, to ship, transport, or receive any ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce. Fraud – Fraud charges made up 9.8% of all federal cases.  Federal fraud crimes can take on many different forms.  Fraud can be committed against banks, by possessing false papers, presenting fraudulent checks, falsifying government documents, aggravated identity theft, computer fraud, concealment of assets, email fraud, as well as, many others.  Under 18U.S.C1001, a person within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of government that: falsifies, conceals, or covers up, by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the it contains any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry has committed fraud under federal law and can be sentenced up to eight years in a federal prison. Other commonly committed federal crimes are non-fraud-related white collar crimes, larceny, and child pornography.  Examples of federal non-fraud-related white collar crimes are federal antitrust violations or federal environmental violations. A federal criminal conviction can hold severe consequences, including prison time in a federal prison.  Many crimes committed may hold state, as well as, federal charges, such as drug crimes, firearm crimes, and fraud charges.  If you have been charged with a federal crime, contact the experienced federal criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth today for an explanation of the charges and options for your defense.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Drug Paraphernalia Crimes in Florida

Recently we talked about the “pot holiday,” 4/20, and some of the legal concerns that surround smoking marijuana in Florida. This week, we explore a seemingly lesser crime, possession, use or sale or drug paraphernalia. Under Florida law, drug paraphernalia is broadly defined as “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing . . . injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing to the human body a controlled substance. . . .” This can include anything from a syringe or pipe to a piece of foil, depending on the controlled substance being utilized. Drug Paraphernalia Punishments in Florida While several of the drugs used with paraphernalia may be charged as a felony, the criminal charge of possession of drug paraphernalia is a first degree misdemeanor.   If charged, this crime carries a punishment of imprisonment for no more than one year, a fine of up to $1,000, and the possibility of other punishments, contingencies, or probationary periods. The charge of drug paraphernalia is typically charged in conjunction with another drug offense.  Law enforcement must prove that the paraphernalia is being used or intended to be used with illegal drugs, so they usually include residue or drugs with the paraphernalia.  Being in possession of a new glass bong is not illegal, however if you have the bong packed with marijuana, the officers can prove that you intended to use the pipe to smoke the weed. Possession of drug paraphernalia can also escalate the severity of a routine traffic stop, if the officer views your paraphernalia in plain sight. Possession can also add additional charges to other severe crimes, such as murder, as exemplified by a recent shooting where drug paraphernalia was found on scene. This recent case demonstrates how seemingly benign items such as baggies and scales can give rise to drug paraphernalia charges. People who may not have been involved in a crime may be implicated in other crimes, simply due to the mere presence of drug paraphernalia. The bottom line is that carrying drug paraphernalia is just as illegal as possessing drugs themselves in terms of charges, punishments, and the negative implications on an offender’s life. Florida Drug Paraphernalia Defense Attorneys A drug crime conviction can ruin your life. You will face consequences with the legal system, your profession, and your family. Understanding your rights and responsibilities when you have been charged with a drug-related crime is necessary to determine the best possible outcome for your situation. At Moses & Rooth, our knowledgeable drug crime defense attorneys know how to navigate the criminal justice system to ensure you are treated fairly. As former prosecutors, we understand the intricacies of negotiation and how to advocate for our client’s best interest. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a drug-related crime, do not hesitate to contact our Orlando office for a free initial consultation at (407) 377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Florida Medical Marijuana Legislation, Law and Defense

Many states have or are on the verge of legalizing medical marijuana. However, Florida does not have a comprehensive law that legalizes the use of medical marijuana at this point. If you are sick and have questions about Florida laws regarding marijuana use or have been arrested for marijuana possession or selling marijuana, contact the experienced drug defense attorneys at Moses and Rooth. Florida’s Proposed Medical Marijuana Legislation Florida senate is currently considering a bill that would legalize the sale and use of medical marijuana in Florida. Senate Bill 528, better known as the “The Florida Medical Marijuana Act,” would allow: Registered patients and designated caregivers to purchase, acquire, and possess medical-grade marijuana subject to specified requirements; A cultivation and processing licensee, employee, or contractor to acquire, cultivate, transport, and sell marijuana under certain circumstances; and A retail licensee to purchase, receive, possess, store dispense, and deliver marijuana under certain circumstances. In 2014, an attempt to amend Florida’s constitution to allow medical marijuana failed. The amendment failed to receive the 60 percent of votes needed by two percent, however, a very narrow law was passed legalizing the sale of a specific strain of medical marijuana in restrictive circumstances. Florida’s Current Law Regarding Medical Marijuana In 2014, Florida’s governor signed one narrow law allowing the use of a type of medical marijuana in restrictive circumstances. The “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014,” better known as “Charlotte’s Web” law, allows for the sale of medical marijuana containing 0.8 percent THC or lower and 10 percent CBD or higher to patients with cancer or other conditions that result in chronic seizures or muscle spasms. Under the act, the use of marijuana would have been legal in pill, oil, or vapor form, but smoking it is prohibited. HOWEVER, due to legislative roadblocks the law still has not been finalized, but should be back up for consideration over the next year for consideration. If you have been charged with the possession, use, or cultivation of marijuana an experienced drug defense attorney can advise you on all possible defenses to the charge. The full legalization of medical marijuana in Florida might be right around the corner, but it is not here yet. Many hope for the legalization to start with the use for medical purposes in very limited circumstances. If you have questions about the use of marijuana for medical purposes or have been charged with the possession or sale of marijuana, contact the experienced drug defense attorneys of Moses and Rooth for answers to your questions or representation against the charges.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Criminal Defense

Tactics Police Use to Catch People Buying & Selling Drugs in Florida

Tactics Police Use to Catch People Buying & Selling Drugs in Florida Police use a number of tactics in Florida to catch people buying or selling drugs. In 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), drug crimes accounted for almost 30% of all arrests (not counting traffic offenses) in Florida. If you were arrested for buying or selling drugs an experienced criminal defense attorney at Moses & Rooth will work with you to build a defense. Two of the most common tactics police use to make drug busts are informants and undercover cops. These two strategies allow the police to get closer to suspected criminals than any other approach used. Informants The use of informants gives law enforcement officers a unique insight into the world of the persons they are trying to apprehend. A confidential informant is a person who provides information about criminal conduct to a law enforcement agency. Police are able to obtain informants when a person is trying to avoid arrest, prosecution, or to lower a sentence that will or has been imposed. Informants supply law enforcement agencies with information about suspected or the actual criminal activity of suspected criminals that they are familiar or connected with. Drug informants are often buyers or low end dealers that supply information to police about bigger dealers or players in the drug business. Being an informant can be dangerous and may not payoff in the end. After a 23-year-old Florida woman, Rachel Hoffman was murdered in 2008 while assisting police as an informant Florida enacted “Rachel’s Law.” Rachel’s Law requires special training for law enforcement officers that recruit confidential informants, the adoption of policies by law enforcement agencies that use informants, informants to be notified that reduced sentencing may not be provided for their cooperation, and informants to be allowed advice of legal counsel. Undercover Cops The use of undercover law enforcement is another tactic used to apprehend buyers and sellers of drugs. Local police and other agencies use undercover officers to pose as either a buyer or seller of drugs in order to make arrests. Cops will pose as buyers to bust suspected drug dealers. Also, officers will go undercover as drug dealers and arrest buyers in order to deter drug crimes in high activity areas. The use of informants and undercover police officers both pose the question of entrapment. According to Florida Statute, entrapment happens when a law enforcement officer, a person cooperating with law enforcement, or an agent of a law enforcement agency induces or encourages a person and as a direct result causes that person to commit a crime that they would not have done otherwise. An experienced criminal defense attorney can sit down and go over your arrest with you to determine if you are a victim of entrapment. There are countless other tactics that law enforcement agencies use to catch people suspected of engaging in drug activity including phone taps, vehicle searches, screening of power usage, surveillance, monitoring social media, and many others. Law enforcement make mistakes when executing these procedures and may have violated your rights in doing so. If you have been arrested for a drug crime let the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth examine your case for errors in police procedure. Contact us today to create a plan for your defense. See related blog posts: https://www.mosesandrooth.com/general-criminal-defense/defense-during-trial/ https://www.mosesandrooth.com/drug-crimes/cannabis-marijuana-possession-over-20-grams/

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

‘Bath salts’ don’t create zombies, but the Navy still wants them gone

You probably recall last May’s infamous Miami story of a naked man who attacked a homeless man and chewed off his face. It was blamed on a synthetic variant of the drug methylenedioxypyrovalerone, otherwise known as “bath salts,” although it was later learned that the notorious naked man, who was killed by police, had nothing but marijuana in his system. Nevertheless, the case drove everything from speculation about an upcoming zombie apocalypse to Congress and state legislatures quickly new laws making use of the substance a drug crime. At the same time, they outlawed synthetic marijuana and several synthetics. Now, the U.S. Navy has caused a stir with a new anti-bath salts PSA that brings to mind the 1936 film “Reefer Madness.” While “Reefer Madness” was absurdly inaccurate, it’s hard to say whether the Navy’s PSA reflects reality — that is, unless you’re already familiar with the mental effects of bath salts. The short film, called “BATH SALTS: It’s not a fad…It’s a NIGHTMARE,” is filmed as if through the eyes of a young Navy man taking the drug. He receives the drug in the mail, snorts it, and then goes out bowling with his friends and girlfriend. As if looking through his eyes, we see his friends turn seem to become especially aggressive and then turn into demons. He awakens on an emergency room gurney and undergoes a somewhat zombie-like revivification via a syringe stabbed into him as he struggles. A Navy psychologist then comes on screen to explain the events. “When people are using bath salts, they’re not their normal selves,” he explains. “They’re angrier. They’re erratic. They’re violent and they’re unpredictable…. People will start seeing things that aren’t there, believing things that aren’t true.” It is difficult to assess the accuracy of the experiences depicted. That said, the Navy has been attempting to stamp out bath salt use among sailors since at least 2010. Last year, they added synthetic drug compounds to those that could be detected in their drug testing program. Apparently, use of bath salts was not especially prevalent, as drug testing of the Pacific Fleet yielded 47 sailors who tested positive. 10 were discharged. Amusing as the new PSA may be, it does make an important point. Whatever you think of these substances, they’re now illegal, and being arrested for a federal drug crime requires a serious response. Source: Time, “U.S. Navy PSA Shows Demonic Dangers of Bath Salts,” Melissa Locker, Jan. 4, 2013

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Drug Charges

Florida investigation leads to multiple arrests for drug offenses

In December of last year, authorities intercepted a parcel filled with marijuana at an Orlando United States Parcel center. The drugs were addressed to an International Drive hotel, the Hyatt Regency. Following an in-depth investigation by authorities into the package and an allege drug ring that was distributing the contraband materials, a number of individuals have since been arrested and charged with drug offenses. Following the interception of the marijuana, police repackaged its contents and delivered it to the address listed on the package. The package was allegedly delivered to a man, who then delivered its contents to several addresses in the Central Florida area. Allegedly, the deliveryman and his associates were responsible for distributing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs. While law enforcement authorities were carrying out the investigation, they code-named it Operation Hotel California. Ultimately, over a dozen people were arrested, including a Florida resident and a California resident. Among the arrested individuals, some were accused of racketeering — an offense that is punishable with as much as a 30-year prison term. Whenever drug offenses include trafficking allegations that cross state borders, it is common for them to become matters of federal jurisdiction. Still, it does not matter if alleged crimes are state or federal violations, any Florida resident accused of a criminal act will have the right to a criminal defense. Because of the severe penalties of federal drug crimes, it’s important that defendants present a strong defense against such charges. An experienced attorney can provide more information about defense strategies in your case. Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Marijuana arrives in Orlando via ‘unique’ method” Amy Pavuk, Aug. 19, 2014

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drug Charges

Orlando car dealership employee arrested for drug trafficking

Drug trafficking charges in Florida can result in serious consequences. Minimum sentences for drug trafficking, depending on the amount, can range from three to 25 years. Just being charged, innocent or guilty, can ruin your reputation and be expensive in numerous ways. In addition, under RICO, which is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, your assets and even your home could potentially be seized if suspected of being purchased with drug money or through drug activity. A good defense is a must if you are charged with possession, conspiracy or trafficking narcotics or drugs. You will need an attorney who is willing and able to challenge the evidence and accusations presented by the prosecution team. An aggressive defense may be the only chance you have of keeping your life intact. An employee of an Orlando car dealership is about to face a battle of his own. The owner of the car lot was arrested earlier this year in a cocaine trafficking case. His arrest apparently set off a three-month investigation into the car dealership’s activity. After compiling a 61-page criminal complaint, officials obtained search warrants for the car dealership and the employee’s home. Allegedly, DEA agents had been recording conversations on the employee’s cell phone. In one conversation, he supposedly said that “business was good,” and it is alleged that he was referring to the cocaine business. The owner of the company was said to have been using the cars, as well as the floor of the business, to hide cocaine. When the raid took place, approximately 20 cars were seized from the business. They were towed out of the shop. The employee is also accused of traveling to Miami with funds in excess of $146,000 to try to buy 8 kilograms of cocaine. He had allegedly set up additional businesses in Orlando, such as an insurance company, real estate investment group and a chiropractic office. There was no mention at this time as to whether these businesses are there for the purpose of any illegal activity. Source: wftv9.com, “DEA: Orlando car dealership used to traffic cocaine,” June 24, 2014.

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