Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

What are Florida's drug courts and do they work?

Drug addiction is a pandemic in the United States. It's so much of a problem that Florida lawmakers created the drug court system as an alternative to incarceration decades ago. In 1989, Miami-Dade County became the first jurisdiction to establish a drug court in the U.S.

American prisons, unfortunately, don't focus on rehabilitation. This country's recidivism rate hovers at around 70% as a result. The chances that an ex-con will wind up back in prison is quite high. Studies have shown that drug courts that focus more on treatment plans and recovery can significantly reduce relapses and the recurrence of criminal activities.

A federal grand jury indicts a Tampa man on weapons charges

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida issued a press release on June 8 in which they announced the indictment of a Tampa man on federal firearms charges. The federal prosecutor's office noted in their statement that the charges filed against the 42-year-old man stem from a nonfatal shooting that previously occurred in the area.

A police report reflects that the defendant allegedly quarreled with another male inside of a Family Dollar store before taking things outside. The victim reportedly departed the premises on foot, but that the defendant chased him in his vehicle and then shot him three times within a residential area.

You freedom is at risk if you fail to register as a sex offender

Once someone is labeled a sex offender, their life changes forever. That individual must register their address with the police in every jurisdiction that they move to here in Florida and anywhere else in this country.

Defendants are given three days to register as a sex offender after having been sentenced in their case. This requirement only applies if they're not facing incarceration. Incarcerated individuals must register as sex offenders before they're released from prison.

What is the legal definition of mortgage fraud?

If you have been accused of mortgage fraud, you may be feeling concerned about the nature of these accusations. Mortgage fraud is a broad term that refers to many different types of illegal actions that involve misrepresentation or misstatements on mortgage documents.

You may have been accused of mortgage fraud simply due to an honest mistake -- perhaps you unknowingly gave false information to your lender. If this is the case, you will need to give sufficient evidence to show that you did not have the intent of misrepresenting information. If you are not able to show this, you may face legal consequences even if you believe that you are innocent. This is why it is so important to understand how the law applies to mortgage fraud and that you take action as soon as you can to defend yourself.

What is the Racketeer Influenced and Corruptions (RICO) Act?

The Racketeer Influenced and Corruptions (RICO) Act is a federal organized crime offense that individuals may be charged with here in Florida and elsewhere in the United States. A racketeering scheme generally involves many groups of individuals engaging in illegal businesses. These rackets are designed to extort and embezzle funds associated with prostitution, gambling, counterfeiting, drug trafficking and similar types of criminal schemes.

These types of crime rings can affect both public and private institutions. Individuals that have engaged in RICO types of crimes have changed how they engage in criminal activity over the years. They've done this in hopes of evading detection.

Your human trafficking charges can snowball fast

Human trafficking has become a serious issue in the United States in recent years. It's such a problem that Washington became the first state to criminalize this type of offense in 2003. Many other states have followed suit since then. There are two primary types of human trafficking. There's forced labor and sexual servitude.

Forced laborers are employed in any number of industries including the agricultural, domestic work, health and beauty, travel, restaurant and foodservice ones. Many of the individuals who have been brought here against their will also work in commercial brothels.

Are you eligible for an alternative sentencing program?

Many Florida drug defendants review the evidence that prosecutors have amassed against them and assume that their lives are over. This isn't necessarily the case though. You and your Tampa attorney may be able to work out a deal with the prosecutor or judge handling your case that will allow you to participate in an alternative sentencing program.

Many jurisdictions offer alternative sentencing programs as a way to make sure that defendants who are suffering from substance abuse addictions get the help that they need as opposed to locking them up in jail. Each jurisdiction may have its guidelines in place for who can participate in an alternative sentencing program such as a drug court.

What a Ponzi scheme is

A Ponzi scheme is a white-collar crime that involves investment fraud. This is not a crime of violence, but rather one of deceit.

Investors may be convinced by either a person or group to turn over a lump sum of money in the hopes of making a large return on their investment. It's in such cases that existing investors are paid a dividend from funds collected from new investors.

What is price gouging?

There's a lot to take in about the effect that the COVID-19 virus is having on the country, but one issue that seems to have caught everyone's attention is the issue of hoarding and price gouging. Those are twin problems that often crop up during any major disaster.

Essentially, when someone hoards products that are in crucial demand during any kind of major crisis, then offers to sell part of their hoard at an outrageously high markup, that's price gouging. It's done with the full intent to take advantage of a situation that will encourage people to buy things they may not normally need at a price they would never normally pay. Some examples include charging $10 for a bottle of water after a hurricane or snapping up 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer to resell for $70 each when there's a viral outbreak in the area.

Man acquitted in Airbnb drug trafficking case

One man was acquitted of cocaine trafficking charges in Florida after he was arrested in an expensive Airbnb vacation rental in Fort Lauderdale. The 36-year-old man was one of the less than 1% of people facing federal criminal charges who win acquittal at trial. He faced four drug charges that could have led to a life sentence if he had been convicted. The man, from the Dominican Republic, was arrested in a federal raid on July 3, 2019, where agents from the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement found 900 pounds of cocaine. He was found trying to jump off a large 54-foot boat docked at the property.

Federal authorities accused the man of attempting to use the boat to import a controlled substance to the United States, but his defense attorneys argued that they had no evidence as to why the man was there. They said that the federal government based its case on the simple fact of the man's presence, rather than any other indication that he was there for drug trafficking. Some of the other people arrested at the property have been cooperating with federal agents, while others have been convicted.

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