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Polk County Criminal Defense Blog

Schedule I substances are considered more dangerous

Controlled substances can come into people's lives in many ways. Some individuals may receive prescriptions for medications after suffering an injury or undergoing surgery or another medical procedure. Others may have a substance abuse problem and try to get access to these substances any way they can. Unfortunately, if you fall in the latter group, you could face criminal charges if found in possession of a controlled substance.

The government classifies controlled substances as Schedule I through Schedule V. If you face possession charges, it may come in handy to know into which category the substance falls. In many cases, more severe charges can result from substances considered Schedule I due to their having a greater potential for harm.

What is "constructive possession" in a drug crime?

Some drug charges seem relatively straightforward. For example, it is understandable that when in Florida, if found with illegal drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, one could be charged with a drug crime. However, it is possible to be in possession of drugs even if they are not on one's physical person. This is through a legal concept known as "constructive possession."

To be charged with constructive possession of something, the accused needs to know of the object and must be able to control the object. For example, if a person has marijuana in the glove compartment of their car, it could be argued that they are in possession of those drugs. Thus, they could be charged with a drug crime.

Florida among top states in the nation for Internet crimes

The Internet allows us to do many things that decades ago would not have been possible. People purchase goods online, communicate through social media platforms, pay their bills online and perform many other daily tasks using the Internet. However, increased Internet usage has also led to a rise in the number of people accused of computer crimes.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2018 approximately 352,000 people reported incidents of Internet crimes. This is a sharp increase from the 50,000 incidents of Internet crimes reported to the agency in 2017. The leading cybercrimes reported to the FBI last year were non-payment or non-delivery crimes, extortion and breaches of personal information. Florida is one of the top states in the nation for Internet crimes.

What domestic violence look like in the Sunshine State?

While most couples in Florida will get into arguments now and then, sometimes these situations escalate until one party is accusing the other of committing an act of domestic violence. People might assume that domestic violence only involves causing physical harm to a spouse. However, the crime of domestic violence is much broader than that.

In Florida, a person can commit an act of domestic violence not just against a spouse, but also against an ex-spouse, the co-parent of the accused's child, a relative of the accused either by blood or marriage or those who cohabitate together or used to cohabitate together. In certain circumstances a person can commit domestic violence against a person they have or used to have a dating relationship with, even if they do not live together.

Reported methamphetamine trafficking bust leads to 44 arrests

Following a national investigation into the trafficking of methamphetamine, 44 individuals were placed under arrest, and 50 pounds of the alleged drug were seized. It is estimated that the drugs would be worth $1.4 million if sold on the street. It is alleged that the meth originated in Mexico, and was delivered to other parts of the U.S., including Polk County.

Nine of the 44 individuals arrested for these alleged drug crimes are currently being held in jail in Polk County. These individuals are apparently unlawfully in the U.S. In total, 85 felony charges and 50 misdemeanor charges have been levied against the individuals involved in this sting. These individuals had previously faced hundreds of misdemeanor and felony charges in the past, many of which led to convictions.

The consequences of identity theft charges

We tend to put a lot of personal information out there, especially when it comes to Internet use. Thus, when one's identity is stolen, this can be a very problematic situation. And for those accused of stealing this data, he or she could face serious penalties for this crime.

Identity theft or identity fraud refers to an act of wrongfully obtaining or using the personal data of another person through fraud or deception for economic gain. In most states, it is considered a crime to misuse the identifying information of another. This includes information such as Social Security numbers, PIN numbers and credit history. These are typically acquired through the unlawful access to information from the government or financial entities or by a lost or stolen wallet, purse, mail, identification and credit or debit card.

Probation violation may come at a great cost

Waiting for the outcome of your criminal trial may have been one of the most frustrating and upsetting times you have experienced. If the possibility of jail or prison loomed ahead of you, you may have been relieved and overjoyed when the court ordered probation instead. Being on probation means serving your time outside of jail. You can continue to live at home, possibly remain in your job and enjoy the privileges of freedom.

However, probation comes with some stipulations, and some of them are quite severe. It is critical that you understand those restrictions and follow them carefully, or you risk consequences that may be even more severe than the original sentence you faced.

Asserting a defense against Internet crime allegations

There are many places individuals in Florida expect privacy. While this is commonly his or her residence, vehicle and person, this can extend to other places such as a computer. What a person does on the Internet and on their computer is done so with the expectation that it will remain private. However, if one is suspected of committing an Internet crime, this could impede this expectation of privacy. And if a search and seizure is carried out because of these allegations, it may be possible to use this information during a criminal defense strategy.

Facing a computer or Internet crime can be a confusing time. Whether it is Internet fraud, cyber stalking, possession of child pornography, computer hacking, unlawful use of a two-way communication device or any other similar criminal allegations, one may not fully appreciate everything that is going on. This makes it vital for them to understand what has happened and what outcomes could occur. In some cases, an Internet crime could cause one to endure harsh penalties. Thus, having a legal team on your side can be the best step to take.

What are the penalties for cocaine possession?

There are many reasons why Florida is a popular area. The warm weather, the proximity to the ocean and the local vegetation all make this state a popular place to travel to and even live. The fact that the state is a peninsula gives it access on three sides to open water. This factor alone has made the state known for a less positive reason, and that is for importing illegal substances. The close proximity to other nations has caused some drugs to impact the state. Take cocaine, for example. Since the 1980's, Florida has faced an influx of cocaine importation, causing the sate to take a strong stance against it.

Thus, the penalties associated with cocaine possession are serious. If an individual is found in possession of more that 28 grams of cocaine, this is considered to be trafficking, resulting in a first-degree felony charge. However, for those found with just a small amount of the drug, it may be possible to qualify for a drug diversion program if they are a first-time offender.

What is cyberbullying?

The possibilities when it comes to the Internet seem to be endless. And because the capabilities go beyond anyone's needs, it is possible to have one's Internet or computer usage to look as though one is misusing this form of technology. Thus, individuals in Florida and elsewhere could end up facing criminal allegation if it is suspected that the alleged offender used the Internet to complete a crime. Because Internet crimes are complex, it is essential to fully understand the situation, what defense options are available and the potential penalties one might face.

What is cyberbullying? This occurs when the Internet or mobile technology is used to harass another person, intimidate them or cause another harm. Bullying has been an issue that has been around for some time; however, with cyberbullying, this conduct does not only occur in the school setting or among the youth. This form of bullying can occur in any age group and can carry with it serious criminal penalties.

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