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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

Life in prison a possibility for man charged with drug crime

A man from Florida is facing life in prison after pleading guilty to drug distribution charges related to 121 pounds of heroin and cocaine earlier this year. Another person was also charged in the case on conspiracy charges. A court date has yet to be announced for the man accused of drug distribution charges. While his maximum is life in prison, the mandatory minimum of his crimes is 10 years in jail.

There is a lot to parse through in this story. First and foremost, while the heroin epidemic in this country is a very serious matter, the punishment and treatment of people accused of possessing and distributing heroin also needs to be handled seriously and appropriately. Throwing massive penalties and jail time at offenders makes it more difficult for them to reincorporate into society after they pay their debt to society.

Reform for sex offender registration is slow

Registering as a sex offender isn't just embarrassing and punishing, it also leaves the individual with little room to make improvements to his or her life. This isn't a topic that many people like to discuss because the matter of sexually-based crimes are inherently unsavory and tough to talk about. It is easier in many people's minds to just label people who are convicted of sex crimes as horrible and then never consider them again.

But the fact of the matter is that people who are convicted of sexually-based crimes are still people. They still have to live in the world and participate in society. Ostracizing them to the point that they feel unwelcome and unable to improve their situation only makes things worse for everyone. Such a state makes the convicted individual feel helpless and it can make them turn to criminal acts again.

Prescription drugs can trigger criminal charges too

Drug charges are very serious. The people accused of these crimes are placed in a very difficult situation, because if they are convicted of what they are accused of, their lives will change forever. They may not be able to retain their driver's license, or obtain professional certifications, or receive approval from landlords to live in certain areas, or even retain or find new jobs. A criminal conviction is a massive blow to anyone, especially if the conviction is centered on drug charges.

What makes this reality even more unfortunate is that prescription drugs are part of the world of drug crimes. At a time in our society when prescription drugs are heavily pushed on the public through extensive and aggressive advertising, our criminal justice system aims to punish those who use or distribute these drugs illegally. 

How Annie Dookhan opened up Pandora's box for prosecutors

You may not know the name Annie Dookhan, but she has become an important figure in the world of criminal justice. A former lab technician at a drug testing facility, Dookhan was eventually charged with misconduct, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, falsifying records. She was sentenced to prison for three to five years. What did she do to earn these penalties and scathing charges?

She opened up the Pandora's box of the evidence testing world.

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.

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