Andrew M. Coffey, P.A.
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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Law Blog

Sharing drugs can be treated like selling them

Teens in Florida and other states have many different ways in which they can access controlled substances. According to a CNN poll of teens in high school, 24 percent of respondents admitted to using marijuana in the past year. In addition to smoking marijuana, teens may vape or use oil pens to conceal their activity. In many cases, teenagers will pool their money together to purchase a drug. They may also take whatever happens to be available at home or available through a friend or other source.

It is important to note that a person can be charged with a crime whether he or she sells drugs or gives them away. A homicide charge could be brought against anyone who supplied drugs to someone who overdosed from them. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the potential consequences of sharing or selling controlled substances.

Florida man arrested after trying to hide cocaine in store

The new year is off to a rough start for one Gainesville man. On Jan. 3, he was arrested for allegedly hiding cocaine between beer cases in a store and attempting to flee from police.

According to authorities, the 39-year-old defendant was driving on the 100 block of Northwest 12th Street in Gainesville around 11 p.m. when a law enforcement officer noticed he was driving on a suspended license. The officer followed him to a McDonald's drive-thru on the 1200 block of West University Avenue and motioned for him to pull over. In response, the man pulled into the parking lot for Gator Beverage Inc. and walked into the store. Once inside, he ducked down and tried to hide. The officer apprehended the defendant and placed him under arrest. He then discovered that the defendant had left a boy between the ages of 5 and 8 alone in the front seat of his vehicle.

Self-defense rules in Florida impact those accused of murder

Murder is one of the most serious charges that someone can face in the criminal courts in Florida. Allegations that you ended someone else's life typically mean facing arrest, incarceration and intense law enforcement scrutiny into every area of your life.

Depending on the circumstances, a charge of murder may be a capital offense that makes the defendant eligible for the death penalty. Even if the courts don't pursue the death penalty, extremely long prison sentences, including life in prison, could result from a conviction or guilty plea related to any kind of murder charge.

Traffic stop leads to multiple felony charges for Florida man

A traffic stop on Christmas Eve in Monroe County in Florida resulted in a 40-year-old man going to jail for the holidays. Although he obtained his release two days later after posting a $64,000 bond, he has multiple felony charges related to controlled substances allegedly found in his car for which to answer.

The arrest report filed by a sheriff's deputy asserted that the man had been driving 70 miles per hour in a 45-mile-per-hour zone. The deputy initiated a traffic stop, and the male driver said that he was rushing home with Christmas presents. To thwart a search of the vehicle, the man threw his keys into the car and locked it. Deputies called for a tow truck and proceeded with a search after the car was unlocked. They reported finding cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and prescriptions pills without a prescription.

Two arrested for dealing drugs in Florida

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, two Florida residents were arrested for alleged drug crimes in Melbourne. One of the defendants is a 15-year-old boy.

According to the Melbourne Police Department, an undercover officer spotted the teen and a 20-year-old man hanging around on the 1700 block of Southland Avenue, a location that has a reputation for drug activity. The officer claimed that both individuals smelled like marijuana and signaled for uniformed officers to come to the scene.

Florida man busted with $540,000 in drugs, $470,000 in cash

A 29-year-old Florida man is facing multiple drug charges after law enforcement officers pulled over his vehicle on Dec. 12 and discovered thousands of painkillers as well as nearly half a million dollars in cash. The incident occurred on Brian Setterich Road near Wewahitchka.

According to media reports, deputies from the Gulf County Sheriff's Office attempted to execute a traffic stop on a blue Kia van after radar indicated it was traveling 40 mph in a 25 mph zone. However, the van didn't stop and turned onto northbound Highway 71. It then crossed into the southbound lane and pulled onto the shoulder of the road. After coming to a stop, the driver jumped out of the vehicle and dashed into the nearby woods. Deputies ran after him and eventually took him into custody.

Domestic violence facts, figures and stats

While some instances of domestic violence in Florida may be misunderstandings that could be resolved without legal intervention, there are instances when abuse of this nature has a big impact. It's estimated that every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is beaten or assaulted. Worldwide, one in every three women experiences some type of abuse, often involving a family member, during their lifetime. Nearly three women in the U.S. lose their lives at the hands of a husband or boyfriend each day.

The leading cause of injury to women, domestic violence is often witnessed by children. Some studies suggest that up to 10 million kids may be exposed to instances of abuse. Also, men who witnessed domestic situations as children involving their own parents are twice as likely to become abusers themselves as adults. Nearly 1 in 5 teen girls report having been in relationships with a partner who threatened to harm them or themselves in the event of a breakup, possibly explaining why some women decide to remain in abusive situations.

Florida drug possession laws – the basics

Like most states, Florida has fairly strict laws when it comes to drug possession. In general, possession occurs when a person holds a controlled substance for personal use. In other words, the individual was not engaging in activities such as manufacturing, distributing or selling the controlled substance. For example, if a police officer in Fort Lauderdale finds that you have a small amount of marijuana on your person and you do not have a prescription for medical use, then you could face a drug possession charge.

However, if you also possess items that indicate you intended to sell the drugs, then the court might elevate the charges to possession with the intent to sell. As with many other criminal law matters, the level of offense will depend on specific circumstances such as the type of drugs the police discovered. Here is a brief overview of Florida's drug possession laws.

Neighborhood complaints lead Florida police to meth lab

Police in Florida say that complaints from angry and frustrated neighbors led them to a Putnam County home being used to manufacture methamphetamine. One resident told reporters that cars would arrive at and depart from the property at all hours of the day and night. Two men and a woman were taken into custody at the scene in connection with the alleged meth lab and all have been charged with multiple narcotics felonies according to media accounts of the operation.

Neighborhood complaints about suspicious activity prompted the Putnam County Sheriff's Office to begin investigating the house located between San Mateo and Satsuma. A code enforcement violation gave deputies the authority they needed to enter the property. Deputies claim to have discovered half a pound of liquid methamphetamine along with chemicals used in the drug's manufacture in the rear of the home.

Six peopled arrested for alleged marijuana trafficking

In mid-November, Florida authorities arrested six people for allegedly taking part in a drug ring that shipped hundreds of pounds of marijuana from California to Jacksonville. The arrests brought an end to "Operation Going Back to Cali," a four-month-long investigation by the police.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, one of the defendants, a 33-year-old man, routinely traveled to California to obtain marijuana and ship it back to Florida. He allegedly shipped a total of nearly 500 pounds of marijuana between the two states. Detectives were tipped off about the scheme by police in Marin County, California. On November 12, four search warrants were issued to search the 33-year-old's apartment on East Bay Street, an apartment on Gate Parkway, an apartment on Kendall Town Drive and a delivery location on Alfa Romeo Drive. Apparently, detectives observed the defendants meeting and unloading packages at these locations.

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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