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Orlando Criminal Defense Blog

When is filling a compounded prescription Medicare fraud?

Florida and federal authorities are cracking down on the use of compounded prescriptions. As a result, some doctors, pharmacies and patients may find themselves accused of Medicare or Medicaid fraud.

Use of compounded prescriptions has spiked in recent years, and state and federal investigators are viewing the trend as an indication of fraud.

Will my job be in jeopardy after a DUI arrest?

When potential clients ask us questions about representation for drunk driving offenses, a common concern is whether they will lose their job. As with many legal questions pertaining to DUIs, it depends on the individual circumstances surrounding each person’s situation. For example, an employer may not even know that you were arrested over the weekend and spent a night in jail. However, if you drive for a living, you may have to undergo a series of evaluations before an employment decision is made.

Nevertheless, there are a number of things you should expect after a DUI arrest that could affect your employment. This post will highlight a few.

Sessions vows to get 'criminals with guns off the streets'

"We need to take criminals with guns off the streets," said newly-confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a recent presentation for state, local and federal law enforcement officials. "We need to put bad people behind bars."

Sessions signaled that the Justice Department will be doubling-down on the War on Drugs and also on weapons violations, which he feels are largely the result of drug crime. According to the Courthouse News Service, Sessions apparently believes the heroin and opiate epidemic is not caused by the over-prescription of opioid painkillers, but because "Mexican drug cartels are producing new, low-cost heroin."

Will Florida expand drug laws to increase punishment?

Florida law already makes a concession for cocaine and heroin suppliers to be charged for murder if their drugs are involved in a drug overdose death. This law does not expand to drug peddlers or low-level drug dealers currently. But with a new legislative session upon us in the state of Florida, that rule may be expanded to include such lower-level individuals.

Apparently lawmakers don't just want to expand the existing law as is -- they also want to add drug dealers that distribute substances other than heroin or cocaine. Fentanyl and other opioids, which are currently a major issue in the United States, may be considered as a part of the law's expansion.

US DOJ: Sex offenders have low recidivism rates

There is a misconception out there that people who are registered sex offenders are extremely likely to commit a crime again. This recidivism rate has been touted to be as high as 80 percent. In fact, the Supreme Court of the United States cited this statistic in a 2002 case that involved the many restrictions placed on sex offenders.

And yet, this statistic is staggeringly incorrect. The United States Department of Justice followed every released sex offender in 15 states for three years following a 1994 release. They found that the recidivism rate was only 3.5 percent. The most restricted and watched individuals with a criminal past in our system have an extremely low recidivism rate. And yet, this misconception haunts the sex offender jurisprudence, continuing to oppress these people who are just trying to get their lives back on track.

Officers alter crime scene, arrested for tampering with evidence

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a post about an evidence vault exploding in a freak incident that is now under investigation. The explosion ruined evidence in a number of cases which are no being reviewed. The cases may not be able to proceed without the evidence.

We bring up that post today because a recent example of evidence tampering highlights how the legal processes in place and the adherence to ethics in criminal investigations are incredibly important. Without them, we would live in a lawless land where no one could trust anything that the police or the judiciary did. Because we have ethical norms and laws, the rights people are granted protect them from nefarious or otherwise illegal behavior.

Analyzing solicitation charges in a criminal context

Solicitation in a criminal context means that you declare your intent to do something. You may encourage or demand that a certain criminal act is done. This constitutes solicitation, and you often hear it used in the context of a prostitution charge. Solicitation is also used in the context of online solicitation.

So what does this charge mean in terms of legal procedures? Well, in order to prove that an accused person is guilty of solicitation, the prosecution has to establish that you asked someone to engage in or perform the criminal act and that you had the intent to follow through on the criminal act. The second point is an important one, because it means an additional two things:

Approach to federal drug prosecution may change

Whenever administrations change, may they be presidential or otherwise, it is very likely that the new administration will have a different approach or strategy than the previous one. That's a not-so-veiled comment about the current political climate in our country, but politics aside, the sentiment does hold true. Now, why do we bring this up on criminal defense blog?

Well, the head of the Department of Justice sets the tone for the entire department, and under the Obama administration there was an inclination to refrain from filing federal drug charges in relation to marijuana. We're not saying they were never pursued -- but they were certainly de-emphasized. Given public sentiment and the growing number of states legalizing marijuana, it seemed logical.

Crime rates are down, but the accused are still in a bad spot

One of the facts that may get lost in a lot of the spectacle of the last year in U.S. politics is that crime rates have actually declined over the last quarter-century. And actually, that doesn't quite get the sentiment across. Crime rates have been plummeting since 1993. According to FBI data, from 1993 to 2015 the number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents in the U.S. has fallen from 747.1 to 372.6.

Similarly, property crimes have fallen by nearly 50 percent during that same time frame, with the number of 4,740 such incidents per 100,000 residents in 1993 falling to just 2,487 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2015. Crime continues to fall, and that is certainly a good thing.

Evidence vault hit by explosion, cases hang in the balance

An interesting story from up the coast has caught the eye of many in the criminal defense world. An evidence vault at a Washington D.C. police station was the site of an explosion that "significantly" damaged 150 packets of evidence out of the 52,000 that were there. Officials still aren't sure at this time what caused the explosion, but an investigation has been launched. One person was injured in the explosion. Officials are coordinating with prosecutors to determine if cases have been undermined as a result of the lost evidence.

This story brings up a lot of questions. The first is what constitutes "significant" damage? Does it mean the evidence was completely ruined beyond recognition or analysis? If so, will the cases tied to that evidence be thrown out?

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