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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

Scheduling system central to drug charges and consequences

One of the key elements of drug crime law in the criminal justice system is the scheduling system. "Schedules" are classifications that the Drug Enforcement Agency and the government use to determine which drugs and substances can be abused and have a high chance to cause addiction. The higher up the scheduling system a drug or substance is, the more punishing the consequences are for possessing, using or distributing that drug or substance.

You probably heard schedules mentioned earlier this year, when the DEA was considering reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance (the highest in the system). Marijuana was ultimately left with its Schedule 1 designation, meaning people who possess and distribute the substance will be harshly punished and it also limits the ability of scientists to study marijuana for its medical benefits.

What is fruit of the poisonous tree?

Earlier this year, a man was pulled over by police on the highway. The highway was known for being a popular route for drug trafficking and this incident appeared to be no different. Police conducted a search of the man's car after apparently witnessing some suspicious behavior and found 11 pounds of methamphetamine.

There is no question that the man was transporting a substantial amount of illicit drugs. There is evidently no question that the man gave police permission to search his vehicle. However, federal drug charges filed in light of the traffic stop were dismissed thanks to the legal doctrine known as "fruit of the poisonous tree."

Dealing with the dramatic effects of false rape allegations

Being falsely accused of a crime, especially one as volatile and severe as sexual assault, can cause irreparable damage to a person's life. Under some circumstances, trying to repair this damage can be compared to trying to un-ring a bell: it simply cannot be done.

However, there are ways to try and minimize the damage of a false allegation to make it easier to move forward.

Avoiding criminal charges if you are traveling with a minor

There are more restrictions than ever when it comes to traveling domestically and internationally. Because of the increased fears and concerns over the safety of children in particular, heightened measures to investigate adults traveling with minors are quite common.

In some cases, this increased scrutiny leads to the restraint and arrest of people who may have done nothing wrong. Nonetheless, they can ultimately be accused of a sex crime or other criminal offense for which they could face harsh penalties. In order to avoid the embarrassment and anxiety of being accused of a serious crime, it can be crucial that you take a few steps to protect yourself (and a child) if you are in the position of traveling with a minor.

How you could lose your home for someone else's drug offense

Imagine you have a teenage daughter who is going through something of a rebellious phase. She is breaking curfew, sneaking around and, you recently discovered, experimenting with drugs. You warn her that she could get in some very serious trouble if she is arrested in possession of drugs or accused of selling drugs, but you should understand that you could face some serious penalties, too.

If police have reason to believe your home is serving as a place where drugs can be sold or found, it could be classified as a public nuisance and you could be forced out of your home.

Are mandatory minimums the way to stop sexual assault?

In our last post, we discussed proposed changes to one state's laws in light of the claims made against comedian Bill Cosby. Now, legislators in that same state have made yet another change to state laws in light of the sex charges filed against Brock Turner.

Readers of this blog may be aware of Turner's case, as it made national headlines and caused quite a lot of controversy. Essentially, the college student was convicted of sexually assaulting another student and received a six-month jail sentence, of which he served just three months. Since then, state lawmakers in California decided to close a loophole that allowed Turner to avoid a heftier sentence.

One state may eliminate felony sex crime statute of limitations

Statutes of limitations are powerful protections built into state and federal laws. These limits are set to preserve the integrity of the case and give people accused of a crime a reasonable opportunity to defend themselves. Without these time restrictions, people could make allegations from something so long ago that evidence no longer exists to support a defense.

However, these statutes of limitations can change. For instance, the state of California is considering eliminating the statute of limitations that is currently in place for felony sex crimes. The change has been sparked by situations like that involving Bill Cosby, who is accused of sexual assault crimes against dozens of women 30 or more years ago. Instead of having 10 years to pursue charges stemming from sexual assault, alleged victims would be able to pursue charges at any time.

Felony drug offenders in Florida get little help

There is no doubt that people convicted of a drug offense will face harsh penalties. This is true whether the offense was violent or non-violent and whether it was a person's first or fifth offense.

Life doesn't necessarily get easier for a person once he or she has fulfilled the terms of a punishment, either. There are many restrictions and obstacles a person can face if they have a felony drug conviction on their record, especially in Florida where there are some that most other states no longer observe. For instance, did you know that you are banned from receiving government nutrition assistance if you are a drug felon?

Age: much more than just a number

Imagine you are on your computer chatting with someone you met via an online video game. You are from the same area, are the same age and seem to connect and share the same interests. The relationship grows and eventually, you both decide you want to meet and take your relationship to a physical level. Once you meet, you engage in sexual activity and the relationship seems to progress normally.

Now imagine the police showing up at your door and informing you that you are being charged with statutory rape. As it turns out, that person you connected with and shared so much with failed to share one critical piece of information with you: his or her real age.

Sometimes the best defense is a weak offense

Being accused of sexual abuse or misconduct can destroy a person's life. Even before a case heads to court, the person accused can face the judgment and scrutiny of the public, an employer and even his or her loved ones. However, in the eyes of the law, you are innocent until proven guilty.

The importance of defending yourself against wrongful allegations of sexual misconduct cannot be overstated. However, too many people feel like they are fighting a losing battle or they assume they will lose because they don't know how to defend themselves. Thankfully, there are criminal defense attorneys who can help people in this situation by crafting a defense strategy. In some cases, the best defense can be proving that the offense is simply too weak.

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