Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

Our cell phones contain a lot of personal information, from credit card numbers to our bank info, photographs, text messages, call logs, and more. Should all of this information fall into the hands of the wrong person, it may be used against an individual.

A part of the Miranda rights states a suspect has the right to remain silent. But what about smartphones? Can your phone “speak on your behalf”? Are law enforcement officers allowed to force you to turn over your phone and online records?

The simple answer to this is no, a police officer cannot simply seize your phone. Since your phone belongs to you, a warrant is required for an officer to seize it or look at it. The same thing applies for access to phone records from your wireless provider.


It’s New Year’s Eve. You’re driving along the highway feeling wonderful. Then it happens. You look in your rear view mirror and see flashing police lights. Your heart starts pumping faster as you quickly pull over, trying to determine why Officer Friendly wants to have this encounter. The officer who approaches your car will later inform you that he stopped you for having dark window tint. Before that, he approaches your car and sees a large open plastic bag. He immediately seizes it believing it contains drugs. You immediately inform the officer that the blue substance is cotton candy. The cop thinks it’s Methamphetamine, also known as “Meth” and/or “Crystal Meth”. Can you be arrested under these circumstances?



    Ahhh, Orlando, Florida. Home of Sea World, putt putt, Mickey Mouse, and Epcot. Apparently, they’ve got some drug activity as well. Recently, Orlando police received many complaints concerning drug activity at a local 7-11. As a result, they beefed up surveillance.

    One afternoon, police spotted 65-year-old Daniel Rushing driving his car. The cop who stopped him, 8 year veteran Corporal Riggs-Hopkins, alleges that she observed Rushing commit two traffic infractions. She claims that Rushing was speeding and also, that he failed to come to a complete stop. As she approached the vehicle, Cpl. Riggs-Hopkins alleges that she saw a “white, rocky substance” on the floorboard of the vehicle. She immediately assumed that the substance by the driver’s feet was an illegal controlled substance. Rushing passionately exclaimed to the officer, “It’s glaze! Glaze from a doughnut!!!” He tells the officer that it was Krispy Kreme. Cpl. Riggs-Hopkins and the other law enforcement officers that arrived on the scene after the stop didn’t believe the driver. Instead, they were convinced it was crack cocaine. Then, after some time elapsed, they changed their position, concluding instead that it was Methamphetamine (“crystal meth.”)

This is an actual criminal case. The only thing I did was change the defendants’ names. Marley and Snoop (we’ll call them) were charged with trafficking in cannabis, pursuant to Florida Criminal Statute 893.135(1)(a). Both ganja loving defendants were facing a potential three year minimum mandatory prison sentence if the total weight of the pot seized was over twenty-five pounds. Unfortunately for them, when cops weighed the “Devil’s Grass,” (I’ve got many names for pot) it totaled twenty-six pounds.

Their attorneys did exactly what I’ve done on many similar cases that I’ve defended here in Florida. They called Dr. Terry Hall. I’ve used this expert in a number of cases. Marley and Snoop had him re-weigh the cannabis, hoping that maybe the cops’ doughnuts and/or handguns were left on the scale when the pot was originally weighed, causing a pound or two increase. (note: Not all cops eat doughnuts. That was a stereotype used to obtain a cheap chuckle)

What Dr. Hall did discover was that a pool of liquid formed at the bottom of the container holding the marijuana and packaging. This was the potential break the defendants were looking for. After Dr. Hall re-weighed the cannabis without the liquid and the packaging, it weighed only twenty-four pounds. Yay!!!! There goes the three year minimum mandatory stint in the pokey, right? Not so fast.

The US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled Tuesday that law enforcement can use cell phone data derived from cell phone use to establish an individual’s location with no warrant or probable cause.

The ruling was in United Stated v. Skinner, in which Melvin Skinner, an alleged drug trafficker, was tracked via his pre-paid cell phone and arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana in his Texas motorhome.

The Defendant appealed and argued a violation of his Fourth Amendment right, which is intended to protect people from “unreasonable searches and seizures” without issuance of a warrant obtained due to probable cause. However the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the Fourth Amendment does not preclude law enforcement from obtaining individuals location via their cell phone.

Be careful that your possession charge doesn’t change to possession for sale of Marijuana. South Beach, Miami is developing a reputation for more than fun in the sun. Advocates of the decriminalization of marijuana on South Beach recently brought a petition to City Hall. The law has not been changed despite the media attention. If you are caught in possession of marijuana anywhere in the Miami area you will be facing arrest and criminal charges.

The law at present states that anyone arrested for possession of marijuana faces a sentence of up to a year in prison. While many people assume that a marijuana possession charge is a misdemeanor but the hard fact is that you may do hard time unless you bring a competent defense. Pleading guilty to a misdemeanor does may be the fastest way to end the ordeal but you will still receive a criminal record. What may seem like a slap-on-the-wrist could have long-term and far reaching consequences especially if the charges are increased to possession for sale.

Most people who are facing marijuana possession for sale charges use the services of a Miami criminal defense attorney and enter into a negotiation with the prosecutor. Seeking an outright dismissal of the charges or ‘nolle pros’ is within your rights as a citizen. A good Miami criminal lawyer will provide you with a detailed list of options that are available to you when facing a marijuana possession for sale charge.

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.

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