Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A. - Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Blog

Violent crime in rural areas is increasing, eclipsing city crime

People used to think of cities as the place where violent crimes were likely to happen. Today, anyone with any knowledge on the matter knows that rural areas are probably a lot more dangerous than anywhere in a city.

These days, cities are far safer than they were in the not-so-distant past. In the meantime, rural areas have become polluted with violence and drugs. In some rural areas, violent crime has risen by as much as 50 percent in the 10 years between 2006 and 2016.

How do drug possession and the intent to distribute differ?

Being arrested on a drug possession charge is bad enough -- but it's infinitely worse if you're charged with the intent to distribute those drugs.

What's the difference? Frankly, it's often a matter of circumstances.

Opioid charges can threaten your parental rights

The new front in the drug war, first declared back in the 1970s, is that which involves addiction to opioids. In Broward County, concern over increasing opioid overdose death rates has prompted a lawsuit against manufacturers of prescription formulas of the drug. Meanwhile, other experts say the real threat is not from those pills, but from cheaper street opioids like heroin and synthetic fentanyl.

While the tragedy of overdose deaths is real, there are additional aspects of the crisis that might deserve equal attention. Individuals who become addicted are often mothers and fathers, and the disease can drive them to actions they would never have conceived of before. Not only might they abandon fear of being charged with drug crimes, there's a risk of being placed under protective orders that block them from relationship with their children.

Understanding second-degree murder charges and defenses

What exactly is a second-degree murder charge? In the sometimes mysterious world of criminal law, it can be difficult for defendants and their relatives to understand exactly what any charge means. Here's a basic explanation that can help you better prepare for the days ahead.

Murder in the second degree is a charge that bridges the gap between manslaughter -- a killing that occurs without prior intent, usually in the heat of the moment -- and first-degree murder, which is a premeditated act. On the other hand, murder in the second degree involves a killing that was unplanned, but the result of an intentional act or behavior that clearly fails to show a proper regard for other people's lives. The difference between these charges is often hard to discern -- although prosecutors will generally try to charge defendants with the highest charge they can so that they have the leverage to negotiate a plea bargain.

Avoid opiate addiction (and trouble) by following these rules

It's no secret that America has a drug problem -- and prescription drugs are part of that problem. High-powered painkillers known as opioids, like Oxycontin and Vicodin, have been the root cause of addiction for many people.

Trouble tends to follow addiction. People who start out on their own legal prescription medication and end up addicted can find themselves acting in uncharacteristic ways -- and violating the law -- in order to get their next fix. Addiction to prescription drugs has led to things like doctor shopping, stealing prescription pads, buying other people's medication and the use of street drugs. Prescription drugs can be physically dangerous as well as legally. Half of all overdose deaths from opioids are due to prescriptions.

300 new prosecutors added to fight nation's crime

The attorney general of the United States has put 300 new prosecutors in action -- the largest number added in more than a decade.

The goal is to add some more strength to the fight against opioids, immigration violations and violent criminals. The cost to the Justice Department for the new additions will be $26 million, but the agency says that it has funded the additions by cutting out some unnecessary items from the budget. It's likely that the money comes from the $702 million that was previously eliminated from other programs the department runs.

How does federal law affect the legalization of marijuana?

Florida legalized medical marijuana in 2016, but has only recently started issuing ID cards allowing residents to purchase medical marijuana. A ban on smokable marijuana remains in effect.

Two separate groups, Regulate Florida and Floridians for Freedom, are working to legalize the drug for all Floridians. The groups approach legalization from two slightly different angles. Regulate Florida wants marijuana to be treated like alcohol, so it would be legal for those over 21 to use, grow and sell marijuana. Floridians for Freedom is pushing for roughly the same thing—use, cultivation and possession for those over 21—but it also wants legalization to become a part of the Florida Constitution. The group argues this could create stronger protections that may prevent federal interference.

Is marijuana use legal in Florida?

Florida passed the legalization of medicinal marijuana in 2016, but the state has just started issuing ID cards allowing its use. According to the Sun Sentinel, over 100,000 people have registered to use medical marijuana across the state. However, the state still bans all smokable forms of the drug.


Online actions can lead to charges of terrorism, bullying

Social media has become deeply integrated into American culture -- especially among young people. While the law is generally a few steps behind real-world changes, the national focus on terrorism and violence in the schools and other public places has forced legislation into being rather rapidly, particularly concerning anything that might be considered a "terroristic threat" or online bullying.

Is it really against the law to blow off some steam online?

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