Possession and trafficking in Synthetic Drugs

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In June of 2014, Governor Scott signed House Bill 697 increasing the penalties in Florida for anyone who manufactures, purchases, delivers or brings into the State trafficking quantities of certain prohibited synthetic drugs. These are complex chemical compounds sold in mini marts, smoke shops and gas stations that produce hallucinations and highs. They are marketed at herbal incense and bath salts under many different names. Florida and the Federal Government have targeted these substances for the last five years. Most of the sales are to people between the age of 16 and 30. These are complex chemical compounds sold in mini marts, smoke shops and gas stations that produce hallucinations and highs
You can go to prison for minimum terms of three, seven or fifteen years depending on the quantity of drugs possessed, delivered or sold. Local law enforcement as well as the DEA have targeted the people who manufacture synthetic cannabinoids or phenethylamines and arrests across Florida continue. Money laundering charges can be expected as a part of the prosecution. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is critical to staying out of prison. In Sarasota and Bradenton the Sheriff has detectives making undercover “buys” in gas stations, markets and head shops preparing for the execution of search warrants and the arrest of those involved. Even though the chemical composition continues to change, every time it does, the Florida Legislature attempts to keep up by adding more chemical substances to the list. In defending these cases expert testimony from chemists is sometimes necessary.
How to Defend a Synthetic Drug Charge
Not all criminal defense lawyers have actually defended these types of cases. Depending on the facts of your case, you may have a highly technical defense or a standard defense to possession or delivery of the synthetic chemical. The police still have to prove that you knowingly possessed the illegal substance. Did you know it was in your car or house? Did it belong to someone else? In many instances, the drugs are obtained through the U. S. Mail or through Federal Express or UPS through the use of fictitious names and legitimate addresses. Some are obtained through straw buyers who are used to accept delivery. The police follow the money to the source in good prosecutions. Since the chemical composition is constantly being changed in Molly and other designer drugs and synthetic drugs you may have to mount a highly technical defense with testimony from first class chemists. Our defense firm has defended a number of these types of cases. We will leave no stone unturned in your defense.
Call today to speak with a drug lawyer about your case….No charge for a free consultation
In Sarasota or Bradenton call 941 366 3506

How to find a good criminal defense lawyer in 2015

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How to find a good criminal defense lawyer
If you or a loved one had been arrested, finding and hiring a good lawyer is a daunting task. You cannot rely on advertising alone. Being good at marketing or advertising does not necessarily mean that the lawyer is good in the Courtroom or effective in negotiating with prosecutors. Some lawyers advertise all over Florida and claim to have multiple offices in each County. Generally, these lawyers will speak with you on the phone and then refer your case to some local relatively inexperienced lawyer. You need to know that the lawyer you are talking to, the lawyer you are hiring, is the lawyer who will be by your side in the Courtroom. Experience and reputation are huge.
Things you need to know
Look into a lawyer’s education, background and experience. How long has he been defending cases? Does he practice in State and Federal Court? Has he ever been a prosecutor? Does he have law enforcement experience? Has he or she handled my type of case before? Does he specialize in certain types of cases? All lawyers are not created equal. Insist on meeting personally with the lawyer. Does he make a good professional appearance? Does he understand the law? Does he listen to your problem? Does he understand your concerns? Is he being honest or just telling you what you want to hear? Does he promise specific results? Do not be tricked or fooled by false promises….Every person wants to hear things will be OK
Picking a lawyer is like choosing a doctor
All lawyers go to law school and have degrees. All lawyers have to meet minimum requirements of the Florida Bar Association. All lawyers have to pass a test and have a license. Their level of experience varies greatly. There is a world of difference between handling tickets and DUI’s and trying homicides, defending sex offenses and complex criminal felony cases. If you have a serious case, a felony where the stakes are high, you want a lawyer who knows what he is doing. Talk is cheap. Do your homework. Do not rely only on advertising or slick TV commercials. When you meet with the lawyer do not be bashful. Have a candid discussion about real experience and real qualifications. Compare the lawyer’s qualifications and experience with other. Do not rely solely on a recommendation by a bondsman. If you had a heart attack would you go to a foot doctor or a heart specialist? Price is always a concern. Good representation does not come cheap. Should you use the Public Defender? Ask yourself, would I go to a public health clinic if I was seriously ill? You get what you pay for in life. Would I buy the cheapest parachute or the cheapest medicine? Call today for a free consultation 941 366 3506




Tax Fraud is rampant in the Tampa area in part due to the lax procedures of the IRS. There is literally a floodgate of  2014 tax return refund fraud in the Bay area. In the last year over 20,000 investigations into refund fraud have been opened. Few have resulted in successful prosecutions and this tax season thousands of innocent taxpayers are having their identities stolen as well as their refund money. It may take years to clear up their identity issues and many may never get their refunds, much less this year.
The IRS makes this fraud possible, if not easy, and steps could have been taken to prevent it. In recent Tampa drug busts and traffic stops the police confiscated tax return checks and hundreds of thousands in Turbo Tax debit cards. Once someone has a valid social security number, birth date and name, an electronic tax return can be filed and the IRS will issue a refund check often sent to an address where the checks are picked up daily. Sometimes, the refund comes in the way of a debit card which is then immediately exchanged for a gift card at a major store. The paper trail gets harder and harder to follow. The gift cards are sold at a discount and immediately used. The loss in dollars so far this year will probably be in the billions of dollars. All the IRS has to do is tighten the rules and control who gets the refund check or the debit card. In the rush to get refunds out as soon as possible, the IRS has made it too easy for identity thieves to scam the system. No one seems to be exempt. There have even been cases where relatives use identities of deceased relatives for fraudulent Federal Tax Returns.
As a Sarasota tax fraud lawyer, I have defended people who have innocently bought gift cards at a discount. I have also defended tax return preparers in Federal Court for preparing false tax returns. I have never seen anything on the scale of what is happening in Tampa. In the recent bust a large amount of cash was confiscated. It is unclear if the cash was connected to the drugs or the tax fraud but given the box of records also confiscated the good chance is that it was from the tax return fraud. If you are arrested in Bradenton or Sarasota for tax return refund fraud or possession of Walmart, Target or Best Buy gift cards, you may have a legitimate defense. If you are arrested in Bradenton or Sarasota for tax return refund fraud or possession of Walmart, Target or Best Buy gift cards, you may have a legitimate defense I have a good understanding of how these cases are prosecuted and defended. These cases involve arrests as far away as Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and as far south as Naples for refund fraud. Our criminal defense firm has offices in Sarasota, Punta Gorda and Ft. Myers. If you get contacted by the IRS and suspect you may be under investigation for income tax fraud or refund fraud, call to speak with an experienced tax fraud criminal defense attorney today at 941 366 3506.

Wheeling and Dealing….In Stolen Property in 2015

cropped-4x5-Aiken_Partners_0311.jpgDealing in Stolen Property will land you in State Prison. Most often this charge is filed against a drug addict who is stealing to support a pill addiction, heroin or crack cocaine habit. Many times the pawn shop owner or operator is under investigation for not handling transactions properly. Most often these charges arise with transactions in gold jewelry. Recently, the police have been looking into other types of businesses. The police acting in an undercover capacity will come in to sell or trade jewelry for other goods or products. Gold is a favorite because it can be melted down and becomes untraceable. If you are charged with this type of offense you have to take it seriously. If you are not a United States citizen a felony conviction can get you deported. If you get arrested you may not be able to get out on bond if there is an Immigration hold. You will get picked up by ICE and detained pending an Immigration Hearing.
In addition to being charged with a crime in Sarasota, the police may seize money from you and try and forfeit it to the State. There are laws with respect to forfeitures that the police must follow. If you need a forfeiture lawyer or an attorney to fight a forfeiture that is related to a criminal case you can call today for a free consultation.
You are presumed innocent. You have a right to an attorney and you have the right to remain silent. These are important rights and if you are under investigation or have been arrested in Bradenton or find yourself sitting in jail in Sarasota, call today for a free consultation with a Sarasota criminal lawyer, call 941 366 3506


Bond Out……Do Not Go for Pre Trial Release

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If you get arrested in Sarasota of taken into custody in Bradenton, the law requires that you be taken before a judge for a fist appearance hearing within 24 hours. For some offenses, the bond is set automatically and you do not have to wait for this hearing. If you can, bond out immediately using a reputable bondsman. If you need a bond, go online and find a good bondsman. They all charge the same fee which is ten percent of the total bond. If you wait until your first hearing, there are some judges here in Sarasota that have a reputation for raising the bond on their own and setting very high bonds. Bond out if you can.
Pre Trial release is an option but it comes with strings. Many of the judges impose special conditions such as mandatory drug testing, no alcohol consumption and mandatory domestic violence counseling. They are in effect finding you guilty before you even go to Court. As a Sarasota criminal Lawyer, I can tell you that nine times out of ten, you are better off to bond out and not take the chance of getting an unreasonable judge. Sometimes, there may not be a bond. If you have a Sarasota criminal Lawyer, for a new crime, the Court may set “no Bond”. This means you will sit in County Jail until your case is resolved. Having an experienced lawyer is a good start. If you need a bond hearing for a loved one or relative, call today for a free consultation. 941 366 3506

Sex and Seventeen will get you time

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In Sarasota, the State attorney’s office is aggressively prosecuting men for having sex with underage prostitutes. There is a little known law that allows the State to charge you with a serious felony for having sex with a seventeen year old woman. The age of consent in Florida is sixteen but if the girl is seventeen and you are over twenty five you are looking at a sex crime that will score you for a long State prison sentence.
As stupid as this may sound, if a man twenty four years old has sex with a seventeen year old, no law is violated. If the man is twenty five then he faces a serious prison time. It does not matter if the girl is a prostitute. Here in Sarasota the State has sent several men to prison for having sex with a seventeen year old prostitute. To make matters even worse, it does not matter if the prostitute has a phony ID falsifying and misrepresenting her true age.
Even though the woman is seventeen, and even if she has lied about her age, even if she has an altered driver’s license and even if she is a prostitute, it is still a felony. As a Sarasota sex crime lawyer I question the logic of the State in going forward with a sex crime prosecution where the alleged victim is a hooker. The prosecutor still has the discretion to charge the lesser crime of solicitation, a misdemeanor.
In my opinion, it is a terrible injustice to prosecute a man when the woman has lied about her age and produced a phony ID. Girls use phone identification all the time to get into bars and dance clubs. Just because you meet them where they are supposed to be of legal age, it does not mean they really are.
If you have questions on this issue or any question on a sex offense, respond by email or blog or you can contact me at my downtown Sarasota criminal defense office.
Call today 941 366 3506

Who is Watching You? You Never Know.

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Various branches of the Federal Government and State law enforcement may be monitoring your cell phones, PDA’s, net books, laptops, desk tops, Internet traffic, and yes even the GPS in your vehicle. In the beginning GPS trackers and locaters were used for purposes of assisting in emergency situations. Now these same miracle electronic transmitting units are making the majority of the population paranoid. The DEA, the FBI and other agencies in the name of Anti terrorism have been known to attach tracking devices to your car, boat or plane. As a formal Federal Prosecutor and an experienced Criminal Attorney in Sarasota, handling cases in Bradenton and Ft. Myers, I hear many cyber related concerns from clients about the invasion of their privacy. I see many cases where people are tracked through their cell phones, Ipads and electronic transmitting devices. Simply put, you never know who is watching you, tracking your vehicle or monitoring your communications.

If you find yourself asking this question it may be time to talk to an experienced Sarasota and Manatee county criminal lawyer who handles crimes where law enforcement and criminal prosecutors use electronic devices to gather evidence. Peace of mind is a phone call away and the consultation is free. Congress is currently working on legislation to challenge and change the law regarding surveillance by devices. So, if you are worried about being monitored in your professional world, personal finance, prescription use, tax filing practices, Face Book, or any other part of your life involving e-mailing, e-filing, texting, phone conversations or electronic transmission, you may put your mind at ease by contacting our experienced Florida State and Federal Criminal Lawyers today for a no obligation free consultation. Call today if you have a question or visit our site and Sarasotadefender.com

If you go in a chat room, or visit a porn site, or send or receive porn you are probably on someone’s list already. Your IP address may have already been flagged for scrutiny and tracking. The Government has access to the date and time, right down to the second, of your visits to many of the questionable sites. They can track prescriptions for drugs ordered on the Internet right to your door. Big Brother is finally here and watching you. If you feel that you are under investigation and need to ask questions, please call our office for a free consultation 941 366 3506