The opiate arrests continue here in Sarasota and Manatee County. Drug addiction can destroy your life. It not only affects your health, but eventually, it will lead to your arrest and prosecution.
As a criminal defense attorney, my first advice is to seek help immediately. Do not wait until you are arrested for one of the collateral crimes that follow addiction. Many people end up getting busted for dealing in stolen property or defrauding a pawn broker. Addicts end up stealing and pawning stuff after they have already sold or pawned everything they have of value. Don’t end up with a second degree felony and time in State prison, simply because you could not face your addiction
The “pill mills” and the pain management clinics are still alive and well and writing scripts when often they should not. Just because a prescription is written by a doctor, does not mean that it is legitimate. Was there a real medical need or is your body just saying you need it?Opiate addiction is a terrible medical problem that leads to legal problems. People end up writing bad checks, stealing from relatives, stealing from employers and betraying their own families to feed the habit.
Many people are now stuck on heroin. When the pills got hard to get they switched to the cheaper more available substitute. That puts them at great risk of death.As a criminal lawyer, it does me no good to get a client probation if they are addicted and destined to fail. You have to get to the root of the problem, the addiction itself. If you have been arrested on drugs here is Sarasota or busted for weed, pills or cocaine in Bradenton, you need a lawyer that understands addiction. My goal is to get a client help, both in and out of court. The best way to not need a lawyer is to not get arrested.
The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime.
There is life after addiction and sometimes an arrest is a wake up call. If you use heroin and ignore the wake up calls, someday, you just won’t wake up.
You need help quitting cold turkey and sometimes it takes a few days in jail to help. Don’t look at that as the end, look at it as the beginning of a new life.
As a parent, just because you have a son and not a daughter, do not feel safe. Boys don’t get pregnant but they do get arrested. If you have a son headed for college, the true danger is the combination of alcohol and the sexually promiscuous aggressive coed. Many times, a coed will get drunk or stoned, have sex, and then the next day claim she was raped because she was too drunk to consent. The girls do not want to take responsibility for their own actions or decisions. I have defended lots of college boys in these “date rape” allegations. Many times the kids will videotape or digitally record their sexual encounter. Depending upon their age, this can also be a crime. Many times kids sitting at a computer will Skype or use Instagram to exchange videos of them masturbating. This can also lead to child porn charges. Everyone always assumes it is the boys fault….but that is not necessarily the case.
Educate your sons and daughters about the dangers of Internet Sex….
Getting locked up is sometimes worse than getting knocked up.
The simple solution is, even though it is hot, just don’t lose your cool.
If someone cuts you off in traffic, honks at you, takes your parking place, or gives you the finger, remain calm. It does no good allow something silly to escalate into an arrest. Most road rage arrests can be avoided. Here is another piece of good advice. In Florida, there
are over two million people with concealed weapons licenses. Almost every one of them carries a gun either on them, or in their car. Do not get provoked into getting out of your car to argue with someone, and never go up to someone in a car and reach in or confront them.
Florida is a stand your ground State and you just might get shot.
Does it really matter who was right, if you are dead? Don’t lose your temper…..Don’t get arrested
Never, no never, take out your gun and waive it, unless you are in fear of imminent bodily harm. You can get arrested and prosecuted foraggravated assault with a firearm for pointing a gun at someone. You can get arrested for “improper display of a firearm” for simply showing it. If you fire a warning shot, you may find yourself facing a minimum mandatory prison sentence. Remain calm. Never argue with an idiot. People watching cannot tell which one is the idiot.
Weekly I get calls from people arrested for domestic violence.An argument with a spouse or girlfriend goes too far. Alcohol and jealousy are a bad combination. Sometimes it is money problems or “kids gone wild” that sets things off. If you think you are about to “lose it”, take a deep breath, step back, think twice and walk away. Being “right” doesn’t really matter and getting arrested is expensive. You end up having to post bond, hire a lawyer and take off from work all as a result of something that could be avoided.
Many times, particularly in domestic situations, the man gets arrested when in fact the woman hit or struck or scratched him first. Guys, don’t get pushed into over responding. Keep your cool, walk away.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence (battery) and a no contact order has been entered, you need a good lawyer right away. Sometimes as a criminal defense lawyer I have been able to get the charges dropped before the next court date.
The best way to not need a lawyer in Sarasota is to not get arrested
I have suspected for months that local law enforcement is putting up links in adult porn sites encouraging people to download particular file sharing programs to view adult porn.
Most people do not know or understand how these programs work. If you download a file sharing program to your computer, it appears that law enforcement can come into your computer without your knowledge and extract files. This is because most of the peer to peer file sharing programs default to “share” and allow law enforcement to secretly access your computer. They can do this at the exact moment you are viewing something on your computer. No one should view child porn intentionally. The danger is that child porn files and videos are not necessarily identifiable until you click on the thumbnail or the file title. You can accidently view a child porn video by simply clicking on it to find out what it is. If at that moment, the exact time, you are out of curiosity trying to find out what it is, it is possible for the Sarasota Sheriff’s detective to download it from your computer and charge you with “transmission of child pornography”, even though you neither intentionally viewed it or “transmitted” it. Even if you delete it once you find out what it is, it is too late. Once in your computer, a video is difficult if not impossible for a non-computer savvy person to completely delete short of wiping clean the entire hard drive.
Do not get charged with possession of child pornography by accidently accessing it.
The simple answer is “Do not use peer to peer (ptp) programs like Bit Torrent for anything. Peer to Peer file sharing is dangerous. Here is the real danger. Once someone can come into your computer, they can change your “settings” and plant something on your hard drive. In the perfect world, the police would never plant evidence. We do not live in a perfect world. All too often we hear about police planting guns on suspects or planting drugs.
The latest Sarasota Internet Sex Stingis using phone applications like Skout.com to lure unsuspecting men into compromising chat, texting and meetings with undercover detectives.
The police are also using Grinder.com to target gay men. No one should be hooking up with a minor and as a sex crime lawyer, I have always said, the best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime. Sadly, in Sarasota and Manatee County, the sex stings have resulted in men with learning disabilities or autism being sucked into compromising situations. The police sometimes create crime. Many of the police departments get federal funds from ICACand have to justify the funds with arrests. It is a lot easier for the police to simply create a crime interacting with a “mentally challenged” adult that to go out and actually detect real crime.
For the police, it is all about making an arrest and they could care less if they are arresting a mentally disabled or mentally challenged adult. To them, an arrest is an arrest. Sadly, some of the prosecutors (many of them young) are clueless when it comes to mental disabilities. They simply tow the party line and go forward and try and put them in prison. The sad truth is the most of the real pedophiles are too smart to get caught in the stings and the police are scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to justify agency funding. The State attorney needs to have experts in mental health, particularly experts in the field of intellectual disability and autism, come in and educate the assistant state attorneys so that they will have a better understanding of people with mental disability. A very important part of justice is compassion. To some prosecutors it is more about winning than doing true justice. I personally think that every prosecutor should spend one night in jail as a part of their training. It is similar to the situation with the homeless people here in Sarasota. Maybe if each city commissioner would spend 24 hours homeless and penniless on the streets of Sarasota they would have a better understanding of the challenges faced.
The real truth about the injustice of the Internet Sex Stingsneeds to be told
Hooking up with a minor will land you in State prison.
Is there a sex sting running right now in Sarasota?
It looks like there might be.
You would have thought that when Craigslist shut down Casual Encounters and when the guys that ran Backpage.com got arrested that the stings would slow down. The new law imposing criminal liability on the webpage operators should have taken a real bite out of the Sex Stings making it more difficult for the undercover chatters to entrap men. I am curious and willing to bet that the cops are now targeting the phone applications and the other social media sites like snapchat.com,Facebook.com,Meetme.com , PlentyoFish.com or Grindr.com. They are going to have to start trolling the regular legitimate dating sites with teaser profiles. If anyone ever even hints they are underage, immediately report it to law enforcement. Do not let curiosity get the best of you. There are no real 14 or 15 year old girls or boys that want to have sex with older men. They want guys their age. It is always a cop.
If anyone ever hints they are “inexperienced” or want to “learn about sex” immediately stop chatting and block them. They don’t call it jail bait for nothing. The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime. There is no such thing an innocent talk with an underage minor. It is all bad. Do not do it.
As a sex sting lawyer, I run into guys all the time that let curiosity get the best of them. Do not fall for the bait. Do not do it. Over and over I see chats where the man asks “you are not a cop are you”. Typically, the undercover chatter replies “no, are you”. Police do not have to tell you they are the police. That is a myth. Sex with a 15 year old will get you up to 15 years in prison. It is not worth it. Walk away now.
The new Federal law puts escort services that use the Internet services squarely in the sites of Federal investigators. The big sites like Backpage.com and Craigslist.com (casual encounters) have already shut down or been shut down. The Feds are now in the sex business and will be going full speed ahead after the sites that provide links for the prostitutes. The new law makes it a felony with a ten year penalty to “own, manage or operate an interactive computer service with the intent to promote or facilitate prostitution”.
If you go on the Internet and type in “Sarasota Escorts” there are still dozens of sites that the Feds will claim are “promoting” or “facilitating” prostitution. There are some real constitutional problems with the new law. As a sex crime lawyer and former Federal Prosecutor I see a number of huge defects in the law. First, it is an ex post facto law. It makes it a crime to have committed the acts before the law was passed. Secondly, the law is incredibly vague. For example, what does “facilitate” mean? Here in Sarasota, you will see in the near future arrests on both the local and Federal level targeting particularly the local escort sites as well as the State and National ones.
The better answer would have been to make prostitution legal. The new law is going to but the Federal agencies in the “prostitution” business. Hey guys, “there is a new sheriff in town” when it comes to prostitution, and it is the FBI. This is a terrible law. It will put women back on the streets and in the hands of pimps. This law is going to backfire and is a giant step backwards for our society. Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. This will put women back in bars and back on the streets. We would be much better off with legalized houses of prostitution.
The new law can be challenged and will be. There is a First Amendment issue as well as an Ex Post Facto issue and both will be headed for the Federal Courts. I can’t wait to see how the Federal Courts deal with some of the deficiencies in the new law.
The answer to that is simple. There is no such thing as “the best” lawyer.
There are many factors you have to consider in selecting an attorney. Unfortunately, when it comes to lawyers, there is no more competitive field of advertising. You cannot watch television for more than ten minutes without being subjected to egotistic lawyers whining about “get me justice” or touting their few successful verdicts. The Florida Bar tries to regulate lawyer advertising and no lawyer is supposed to claim he is the “best” or the “top” attorney in his field. Unfortunately, there are many lawyer referral services and advertising companies that walk a fine line when it comes to this type of promotion. When you see words like “super”, “the best” or “top” you really need to do your homework. Are they just “super” and the “best” at advertising
Selecting and attorney depends on your special needs. It is a lot like selecting a doctor. Not all doctors have the same qualifications or experience. You would not hire a dermatologist if you needed heart surgery. Not all lawyers are the same. For example, some engage in “general practice” taking all types of cases. Other lawyers, over the years, develop particular experience in particular types of cases. For example, defending a sex crime is different than defending a DUI. Defending a case involving tax fraud is different than defending a traffic ticket. The first thing you have to do is look for a lawyer that has real experience in the area you need. This means real experience in actually handling and trying those types of cases, not just experience in advertising. There are some lawyers who are fantastic at advertising and fantastic at making promises but seldom set foot in a courtroom and haven’t actually tried a criminal case in years. There are lawyers that claim to have offices everywhere and after they sign you up have some local guy actually show up.
What you need is the “best lawyer for you”. Research the type of case you have. Find out which lawyers handle that particular type of case. Research the attorney. Where did he go to law school? How long has he been actually representing people with your type of problem? Many criminal defense lawyers try and count their time as former prosecutors as experience in defending cases. Does the attorney have prior law enforcement experience? For example, if the attorney was a former FBI agent or Federal prosecutor, or former agent, he may have particular knowledge in a particular area. If you have a criminal case in Federal Court, having a former federal agent as you lawyer may be a huge advantage. Go meet with the lawyer. Sit across the desk from him. Ask yourself, “is this the person I want standing beside me in Court”? Do I have confidence in his skills and in his ability to represent me? Is he polite? You need a straight shooting lawyer who will give you an honest opinion of your actual chances of winning, not just tell you what you want to hear. If you have been arrested in Sarasota or arrested in Ft. Myers, your next decision is an important one. Hiring a lawyer is an incredibly important decision that should not be made on advertising alone.
Make an appointment and find out for yourself. Is this the lawyer for me? Bottom line, really look into the background of the lawyer.
There seems to be a peak in enforcement of the laws with respect to controlled substances. Car stop are on the increase. Undercover operations are on the rise, particularly with respect to opiates like Oxycontin and Oxycodone. All of the police agencies are targeting Fentanyl. Trafficking in Cocaine cases are surging and there is a major push in Ft. Myers, Punta Gorda,Venice, Sarasota and Bradenton to crack down on the dealers. Everywhere drug busts are on the increase.
“How do I know you are not a cop”? “I asked him if he was the police” Don’t they have to tell the truth about being a cop”?……I hear this all the time. News Flash….They are undercover cops and they can lie. The police in an undercover capacity do not have to truthfully answer or tell you they are cops. Duhhhh! That is why they call them undercover cops.
They didn’t read me my rights….Isn’t that illegal? The truth is, they don’t have to read you your rights. If the police see you commit a crime or if you deal with them and they are in an undercover capacity, they don’t have to read you your rights, even after they arrest you. The only time they have to read you your rights is if they are going to question you. If they don’t, then what you say is not supposed to be used in Court. The State may have a perfectly good case and not need you to answer questions.
How does having a prescription for medical marijuana affect your right to own or buy a gun?
So far, if you own a gun, it does not. If you go to buy a gun however, that is another story.
The Federal Firearms transfer form ATF 4473 has a specific question and warning. It specifically asks “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? It then goes on to state: “ Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the State where you reside
If you have a prescription for medical marijuana, and you answer this question with a “no”, you are at risk of being charged with a Federal Felony and facing up to ten years in prison. No one knows whether the Feds are going to seriously go after users of medical marijuana if they in effect lie on the form required to buy a firearm. How about if you have a misdemeanor conviction for possession of marijuana? Does that make you a “user” of marijuana? There is a difference between possession of marijuana and using or smoking it so you are probably OK if all it is a conviction for possession of pot.
The new Attorney General seems to be in the minority with his views on marijuana and who knows what the Feds are going to do. One the one hand, the current administration seems to favor gun rights but on the other hand takes an unrealistic view when it comes to weed. Time will tell when it comes to how the ATF enforces the law. It would be so easy for the ATF to simply get a list of everyone who has a script for medical marijuana and then just put them on a “no buy” list when it comes to firearms. If you have a prescription for medical marijuana in my opinion, you would be in technical violation of the law if you do not disclose it when you go to buy a gun. If you do disclose it, your purchase will be turned down. If you have someone else buy it for you, that deception is even worse because the form specifically asks “Are you the actual buyer of the firearm” and if someone lies about that, they will be prosecuted. It would be interesting to see how the Feds are treating this in the States with legalized use. Once again time will tell.
As a gun lawyer, over the years I have handled all types of firearms violation. I have yet to have a case since the changes when it comes to medical marijuana. For the average citizen, he or she may have to make a choice between using marijuana for legitimate medical purposes and being able to buy a gun. Think about that when you are deciding whether or not to get a prescription.
He will be your strong advocate — defending your rights always and seeking the best possible outcome.
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