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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Law Blog

Theft defenses: Avoiding a conviction

As someone who has been accused of stealing from another person, your first instinct may be to try to defend yourself. It's important that you take a step back and talk to your attorney before you do so. There is no urgency for you to try to explain yourself, and doing so could actually hurt your case.

In cases of theft, it's the responsibility of the prosecution to determine if you are guilty of the crime. The prosecution has to convince the court that you're responsible for a criminal act based on the evidence. If the prosecution doesn't have the evidence to present to the court or can't present it in a convincing way, you may never have to say anything in your defense and be able to walk away without a conviction.

Understand Florida's marijuana laws before your vacation

There are many great reasons to head to Florida for a vacation. For example, Fort Lauderdale beaches are clean, user-friendly and safe. They offer an excellent opportunity for relaxing and de-stressing.

However, if you come from a state where marijuana is legal, it is important to know that Florida is strict about its marijuana laws. However, Governor Rick Scott and state lawmakers have loosened the reins on medical marijuana, at least.

What happens if you share prescription medications?

If you distribute drugs to people who do not have a prescription, you can get into deep trouble with the law. Even though you may not be selling the drugs, it is illegal to give others medications that you possess even if you have extras. Sharing your pills or taking pills that don't belong to you are both illegal acts.

Possessing controlled prescription drugs without a prescription or giving away controlled prescription drugs to someone you know can result in criminal charges. Additionally, if someone dies as a result of taking the medications you've provided them, you could be charged with homicide or manslaughter.

Marijuana could put freshmen football contracts at risk

Although marijuana is legal in several states and close to legalization in others, its use can still get you in trouble in Florida. If you know that a drug is still illegal in your state, then you should be aware that other state laws won't play a role in your case. Only the rules in your state can impact your case in most situations.

Take for example this case involving two freshmen playing football in Florida. The two freshmen have been cited for marijuana possession, which could put their time on the Florida Gator's football team on the line. One of the two freshmen is facing his second incident in less than a year, while the other faces his first. They were both in possession of marijuana when they were discovered in a residential complex with two small bags of the drug. The officers reported encountering smoke as well.

Learn your options in a federal criminal justice case

Federal criminal charges have to be handled in a much different way than state level criminal charges. When you are dealing with the federal government, you are up against a prosecutor who has vast resources to investigate a crime. In almost every case, charges won't be levied until there is ample evidence.

We understand that you might be frightened at the prospect of facing these serious charges. No matter what type of federal charge you face, from drug charges to white collar crime charges, you have to be prepared to fight a very difficult and complex battle.

Talk to your sons about sexual assault as they head to college

As young people head off for their freshman year in college, parents have a number of concerns for their safety. Parents of daughters need to talk to them about how to avoid being sexually assaulted and what to do if it happens. However, parents whose sons who are starting college also need to discuss sexual harassment and assault.

The college culture, particularly in fraternities, can encourage misogyny, one-night stands, sexual harassment and sexual assault. A Harvard University survey showed that 87 percent of college women reported experiencing some type of gender-related insult, harassment or assault.

Is medicinal marijuana legal in Florida?

In 2016, Florida voters approved Amendment 2. To an extent, this measure decriminalized medicinal marijuana so people with certain ailments could benefit from it. 

This does not mean marijuana has been completely decriminalized. Severe penalties still exist for citizens caught with marijuana on their person. Florida marijuana laws are a little tricky to follow, so here is some information about who can and cannot use the substance. 

Alleged drug dealer faces attempted murder charge after overdose

A 32-year-old woman is now being charged after she allegedly sold drugs to an individual who overdosed moments later. The story out of St. Lucie, Florida, states that the woman left the man on the floor after he passed out in front of her. As a result, the St. Lucie County Sheriff has now placed an attempted murder charge against the woman.

The sheriff explained that the woman might not be facing charges for attempted murder if she had called for help when the man collapsed. Instead, she did nothing to aid him in what was likely an overdose on an opiate drug called fentanyl.

Keep your hands to yourself to avoid battery charges

Growing up, many people were told to keep their hands to themselves. This basic kindergarten rule can also help keep adults out of legal trouble. If you keep your hands, feet and anything attached to you to yourself, you aren't likely to have to face the court for a battery charge.

In Florida, battery is either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. The circumstances determine which way the charge is classified

Fighting intent to distribute charges

There is a difference between charges of possession of drugs and possession with intent to distribute. The legal consequences of intending to distribute illegal drugs that are found in your possession can be significantly greater, even if there's no evidence that a person actually gave or sold them to other people. The degree of severity of the charges, however, depends on what kind of illegal drugs are found.

Prosecutors have to prove that you intended to distribute illegal drugs found in your possession to others to convict you on that charge. How do they do that? Sometimes, if you are caught with a large quantity of illegal drugs, that in and of itself can be grounds for an intent to distribute charge.

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