Florida Teen Charged with Growing Pot Plants

Earlier this week, an 18-year-old resident of Viera, Florida was charged with growing cannabis plants at two separate locations in Viera and Suntree. Justin Michael Callari, the accused teenager, was arrested on the 15th of last month but not presented with formal charges until recently. Occasions such as this catch the attention of experienced criminal defense lawyers because we understand how important it is for young adult offenders to secure the services of a qualified advocate. The punishment for drug crimes of this nature may often be unbelievably harsh and can ruin the rest of a young person’s life.

In mid-June, twenty-five cannabis plants were found by an agent of the Brevard County Sherriff’s Office in a wooded area behind a 3,800 square foot home on Cape Sable Drive near Suntree. The owner of the house directed the agent to Callari as the owner of the plants. In his report from June 15th, Agent Adam Steuerwald wrote that during an interview at his apartment Callari, “admitted to growing 11 plants behind the house and also admitted to an additional five plants at his residence”.

The fact that a confession was obtained during an interview at Callari’s home implies that no criminal defense attorney was present. Callari was subsequently arrested and charged with the possession of thirty plants, a third-degree felony which could carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. One wonders how this investigation would have played out had the defendant waited until he had secured the services of a Florida criminal defense lawyer before talking to the police.

Callari, who has received two tickets for trespassing in the last two years but has no criminal record, was able to post the $5,000 bail and awaits a hearing of early resolution on the 23rd of August. The early resolution program is designed for first time offenders and those with non-violent records and Callari is expected to appear with his defense attorney. It often allows for cases to be settled without a trial, and as an experienced Miami criminal defense attorney I recognize the big difference that the services of a qualified advocate can make during these hearings.

Lt. Alex Herrera, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said of outdoor grow operations, “We’ve had several throughout the years, some large and small. It’s kind of hit or miss.” He said that this case, in which the plants were found by wild hog trappers, is similar to most finds where discovery of the operation is generally accidental. Years of service as a Miami criminal defense attorney have let me see the difference that a proper defense can make in a case such as this, where a cannabis offense can mean serious time in prison.