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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

Florida’s fight against synthetic drug derivatives

Even before the war on drugs began in the early 1970s, the same cycle has played out countless times. A new synthetic drug appears and gains popularity among drug users. This leads to increased visibility and notoriety among the wider public, often due to a dramatic news story.

The report of a Florida man biting off part of a teenager’s face in 2014, for example, was linked to “bath salts,” a synthetic drug of the cathionine class. Ultimately, however, no trace of the substance was found in the attacker’s system. Last year in Florida, another face-biting attack was linked by the press to flakka,  or "gravel," a similar drug to bath salts. Other stories from around the United States have also linked flakka to violent crime and murder.

How drug possession charges can be very punishing

With the movement for decriminalizing marijuana gaining a lot of steam -- as many states pass laws that limit penalties on or even make possession legal for, marijuana -- it may seem as though a drug possession charge isn't that big of a deal anymore. To the contrary, drug possession charges are still very serious matters that need to be handled just as seriously. Otherwise, the accused could be dealing with severe punishment.

In the 1980s, federal drug laws were passed to target high-level drug lords. While these laws may have help in this regard, the laws also ended up targeting people who were not drug lords. Mid- to low-level drug offenders were treated as if they were Pablo Escobar, serving many years in jail and suffering immense penalties for seemingly (and relatively) minor drug crimes.

Sex crime investigations can be botched

No one can talk about sex offenses and sexually-based crimes without acknowledging the severity of the incident in question. The victim has been harmed and is dealing with some serious trauma. The accused is in a very difficult legal situation, one that could put him or her behind bars and living with severe punishment for years afterwards. The incident itself is wrought with emotional anguish and despicable acts. These area things that are simply part of any case involving a sexually-based crime.

At the same time, the assumed innocence of the accused until he or she is proven guilty is also an inherent aspect to these cases, and any criminal case.

Felony drug charges for 16-year-old high school student

To the north of the city of Orlando is Sanford, Florida, the location where the source story for our blog post occurred. A 16-year-old high school student was arrested on felony drug distribution charges after he sold a "weed gummy" to a girl at his school. The girl started feeling sick after she had the gummy, which prompted the school to look into the situation and, eventually the police as well. That led to the 16-year-old's arrest and the decision to press charges against him.

This is a topic that needs to be discussed. Young people are going to make mistakes, especially young people who aren't even 18 yet. They are going to be rebellious, and they are going to be curious. They are going to do things that their parents tell them to avoid, and they are going to experiment in ways we may not want them to -- but it is inherent to the maturation process.

The many ways a drug charge can punish you

At Lindsey & Ferry, P.A., we take pride in representing a wide range of people who have been accused of a wide range of drug charges. We will advocate on behalf of our clients and work hard to present the best case possible. We also work closely with our clients to ensure that their questions are answered and they feel secure in the direction their case is going. Drug charges are very serious, and we respect that at Lindsey & Ferry and do as much as we possibly can for our clients.

Drug charges often have consequences and penalties that don't necessarily match up with the supposed severity of the crime. For example, simply possessing drugs in the state of Florida can lead to many years in jail, the loss of your driver's license for one year, thousands of dollars in fines, and an extensive period of probation even after you have spent time in jail.

Destruction of evidence leads to dismissal of drug cases

While the following story didn't occur here in Orlando, Florida, it does show that even when a drug case seems to be destined to put away the people who are accused of the offense, a simple procedural mistake on the part of the police or prosecution can change the future.

This story is out of Texas, where 90 pending misdemeanor and felony drug cases had to be dismissed a few months back because the evidence involved in those cases was destroyed on accident. Apparently the police department in question had an "overstuffed" property room, and a constable destroyed the evidence to make room -- not realizing the pertinence of the evidence.

Man spends 61 days in jail, told his DNA was found on rape victim

It's hard to imagine anything more terrifying than being arrested for a terrible crime that you know you did not commit and told the prosecutor has the evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

If being falsely accused weren't enough, imagine being arrested for rape and being told the prosecutor has your DNA taken directly from the victim's body. You're not getting out of jail. You're going to lose your job. Your reputation is destroyed.

Penalties are severe for prescription drug charges

When you hear the phrase "drug charges," you probably conjure up images of the highest level narcotics and illegal substances. Heroin, cocaine, LSD: these are substances that have always ranked high on the list for the Drug Enforcement Agency, and when someone is caught in possession of these substances or caught selling these substances, the consequences can be quite severe.

But what you probably don't consider when you hear the phrase "drug charges," at least not at first, is the idea of prescription drugs. Possessing or distributing these prescription drugs can lead to many of the same punishing consequences as would be the case for possessing or distributing heroin or cocaine.

Florida passes medical marijuana measure

The presidency wasn't the only thing on the line on Nov. 8 in the state of Florida. We also had a vote for legalizing medical marijuana, an initiative that passed with a resounding 71 percent of the ballots cast in favor of the measure. The measure will give the state control over dispensaries and marijuana will still be illegal to grow for personal use. How possession of medical marijuana will work and other complexities and details about the law are still being determined.

Florida is now one of 28 states that have legalized marijuana in some form (may it be for recreational use or medical use). This growing trend marks a serious shift in cultural thought about this substance. However, federal guidelines still hold firm that marijuana is an illegal substance. 

FBI's hacking powers expanded

The FBI's job is to find and arrest people who break federal laws. But there are some civil liberties advocates who say the bureau is getting dangerously close to violating Americans' rights -- and sometimes crossing the line in its efforts to track down people suspected of downloading and distributing child pornography.

The FBI and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies recently received an expansion of their powers to hack into private citizens' computers, according to news reports. Judges can now issue search warrants that give the FBI authority to hack into computers anywhere in the nation. Judges were previously restricted to issuing warrants for investigations in their jurisdictions.

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