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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Blog

Second-degree murder: Indifference could lead to prison

Any time you hear that someone is accused of murder, it immediately makes you think the worst. There are different kinds of murders, though, and not all are as straightforward as you may believe.

A second-degree murder is one that was intentional. It was not premeditated or planned. It also wasn't committed in the heat of the moment.

Who are the real victims of the opioid crisis?

As someone facing a drug charge, you may feel it's largely unfair. You hadn't taken drugs in the past, but after your doctor prescribed you opioids, you were hooked. When your prescription ran out, you couldn't get more.

You ended up doing what many people have. You turned to those selling drugs to get your pills to avoid withdrawal. Unfortunately, that's illegal.

A DUI for prescription drugs? It's possible.

Despite the warnings on many prescription and over-the-counter medicine pill bottles about drugs causing drowsiness or dizziness - and not operating vehicles or heavy machinery - many people still drive while taking medications. In some cases this is not a problem. However, if a drug label has warnings such as these, you need to be careful.

It is dangerous for you, of course, to drive while medicated. You don't want to cause an accident that injures you or anyone else. But it can also cause legal problems. You can be charged with DUI for driving under the influence of medications, even if they were prescribed by your physician.

What to expect if the judge orders an ignition interlock device

Many people think that ignition interlock devices (IIDs) are used only in very serious DUI cases. However, this is not true. If you have been charged with drinking and driving in Florida, a judge may order you to install an ignition interlock device, even if it's a first offense.

According to Florida statutes, an IID is required in the following circumstances:

  • First offense - If the judge orders it
  • First conviction with 0.15 percent BAL (blood alcohol level) or with a minor child in the vehicle - Minimum of six months
  • Second conviction - Minimum of one year
  • Second conviction with 0.15 percent BAL or with a minor child in the vehicle - Minimum of two years
  • Third conviction - Minimum of two years
  • Four or more convictions - Minimum of five years

Petit theft charges and more: What you should know

Theft is a common crime, and it's something most people are familiar with from an early age. Children may steal from one another, or teens might try their hands at pick-pocketing people at the malls. Shoplifting, breaking into someone's home to steal items and other kinds of thefts are all under this general category of criminal acts.

The penalties you'll face for committing a theft depend on the severity of the crime. Someone taking a few dollars' worth of food is less likely to face a harsh penalty compared to someone who robs a bank, for instance. Depending on the kind of crime you commit, you could be facing a felony or misdemeanor charge.

Officers need probable cause to search your vehicle for drugs

An officer may not pull you over without probable cause. Once he or she has a reason to stop your vehicle, then he or she may not enter your vehicle or search it without a warrant or probable cause again. Just stopping you for a traffic offense is not a good enough reason to search your vehicle. The officer may search your vehicle if he or she sees something in the vehicle that you should not have, legally speaking.

For example, if there is a bong on your front seat, the officer may say that there is probable cause to take the drug paraphernalia. In the same way, if someone is screaming in the vehicle, the officer would have a right to search the vehicle to make sure that everything is okay. At the end of the day, there has to be a legitimate reason to search your vehicle at that exact moment if the officer doesn't have a search warrant. In some instances, you may want to allow the officer to search your vehicle willingly, although that's not required and may or may not be in your best interests.

What does a prosecutor have to prove to win a drug case?

In every state, it's illegal to transport illicit drugs. However, every state is different when it comes to the drugs that are illegal as well as how those who transport drugs are penalized. Florida has its own specific laws and regulations that you should know about if you face drug distribution charges.

First, it's important to understand how the prosecution gets enough evidence to pursue a case. The prosecution is required to know that you knowingly participated in trafficking offenses. For instance, if you were driving a friend who had drugs in his or her possession but did not know it, then you did not knowingly participate in the activity and can use that as a defense. The prosecution has to show that you intended to engage in drug trafficking to prove that you're guilty of the allegations against you. The drugs in question must also be controlled substances, so a crime lab analysis of the drugs will likely be necessary.

Party-ship goers face trouble after bringing marijuana, drugs

In your home state, you have a medical marijuana card. It helps you with pain, so you don't think of it any differently than any other medication. Upon deciding to take a trip, you pack it in your suitcase and head out.

One thing you have to remember if you travel is that laws change from place to place. In Port Canaveral, thousands of people returned home after a trip on a party ship. Unfortunately, some people missed that trip because they had drugs in their possession. According to the story, a DJ and around 24 others were arrested for possessing marijuana and other drugs. Now, they face charges. Federal, state and local law enforcement took part in efforts to prevent drugs from making their way onto the ship during embarkation.

What is a controlled substance?

Controlled substances are types of drugs monitored and restricted due to their potential for negative effects on the human body. While most controlled substances are illegal drugs, not all have to be to fall into this category.

Anyone who possesses a controlled substance without a prescription or while it's listed as illegal can face serious penalties. You could, for example, go to prison or face local, state or federal charges.

A good defense helps if you're accused of possessing drugs

You thought nothing would go wrong the one time you decided you wanted to try taking drugs. You've been in pain following a surgery, and you ran out of opiates. What's the harm in taking something you were previously prescribed? Why is that such a big deal?

Possessing drugs is a serious crime in the eyes of the law, and it's one you may pay for financially and with your time and freedom. People who are arrested for drug crimes face the scrutiny of those around them as well as a number of possible penalties. If convicted, people often face heavy fines, sentences including jail or prison time and other penalties.

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