Articles Posted in Weapons Charges

Published on:

Law enforcement agencies from Hendry and Lee counties were sent on a manhunt Thursday after it was reported three teenage boys had allegedly stolen a car from Lee County.

Officials claim the trio took the vehicle on a joyride that eventually ended in Pioneer Plantation in Central Hendry County.

The three young men allegedly drove the vehicle from Lee County to Pioneer Plantation, where they stopped at the Shell Station located at the intersection of Hendry Isles Boulevard and State Road 80. Reports indicate that the trio then attempted to rob another man by putting a gun to his side, demanding money from him.

home burglaryAccording to police, the victim refused to give up his bank bag and instead grabbed the barrel of the gun. The trigger of the gun was allegedly pulled three times, but failed to fire.

According to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, the men then ran into a wooded area and were flushed out by K-9 units after a two and a half hour search.

All three suspects were taken into custody. Deputies are still questioning two suspects in the case, but one 17-year-old has been charged with attempted armed robbery, attempted carjacking, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated assault with a firearm, destruction/tampering with evidence, petit theft and grand theft.

Several agencies helped with locating the three suspects, including Hendry County deputies and K-9 units, Clewiston Police Department K-9 units, Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, K-9 units and helicopter, as well as the Florida Highway Patrol.

Juvenile crimes are prosecuted at a very high rate. In the state of Florida and across the country there is an increasing trend for juveniles to be tried in adult court. It is quite common today to see 16 and 17-year-old children being charged as adults.

A robbery charge can bring about serious penalties for a young offender. In the state of Florida, if a person is possession of a firearm when committing a crime or even when attempting to commit a crime, then the 10-20-Life statute can be applied. Anyone convicted under the 10-20-Life statute is ineligible for gain-time and must complete the entire 10 year prison term without the possibility of early release.

Continue reading →

Published on:

According to reports released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday, crime in Broward and Palm Beach counties took a plunge in 2013 and stayed in line with the state’s total decrease in criminal offenses.

In its 2013 Annual Uniform Crime Report, the state agency concludes that criminal activity, ranging from rapes and murders to robberies and burglaries, have steadily dropped in Florida over the past five years.

The overall crime rate fell by about seven percent in Broward County. With that said, the report relays that there were 46 more forcible rapes in 2013 compared to 2012. The biggest category of crimes to drop was robberies, decreasing by about 13 percent.

crime sceneIn Palm Beach County, the overall crime rate plunged by about three percent in 2013. Conversely, there were nearly 100 more vehicle thefts than in 2012.

FDLE computed the same number of murders in 2012 and 2013 in both counties — 80 in Broward and 74 in Palm Beach.

When you are charged with a crime in Florida, the consequences can be devastating. Criminal charges have the ability to haunt you for the rest of your life, sometimes going as far as limiting your ability to find a job, own or rent a home and even maintain or build new relationships. Even if you do not serve any jail time, a criminal conviction can still negatively impact your life.

A criminal investigation can progress rather quickly. What you may think is nothing right now could lead to your arrest tomorrow. The sooner you involve a criminal lawyer with your charges, the better the outcome for you. A South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly analyze every aspect of your case and begin evaluating possible defenses and strategies right away. From early on, we will look for ways to help you avoid a criminal conviction.

We handle all of the following types of criminal cases, including:

  • Sex offenses, including rape, child molestation, child pornography, prostitution, indecent exposure, child abuse and sexual assault
  • Drug crimes, including possession, sale, distribution, grow house and trafficking
  • Violent crimes, including kidnapping, burglary, assault, battery, robbery, domestic violence, murder, manslaughter and weapons charges
  • White Collar Crimes, such as Internet crimes, fraud, forgery, identity theft and RICO
  • Juvenile Offenses
  • DUI Charges, including DUI Manslaughter and DUI Serious Bodily Injury

Continue reading →

Published on:

Polk County detectives allegedly discovered 15 pounds of bagged marijuana in a grow house operation inside a barn in Frostproof last month.

Detectives with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office claim they received a tip about starved animals on the property. They apparently went to check out the site and found 37 pot plants growing inside a barn. They also found high intensity grow lights and grow light hoods, electric ballasts, air conditioners, air filters, plastic pots used for cannabis cultivation and cannabis stalks and roots.

They also located five horses on the property and determined that the animals were not malnourished or abused, however, did need improved care. The animals were turned over to a family member.

grow house 3Detectives decided to check out the mobile home on the property where they apparently uncovered a 30-30 rifle and two 357 magnum handguns.

Detectives arrested a 49-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman.

The pair has also been accused of stealing electricity to run the barn.

Both were arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail.

Charges in illegal marijuana cultivation cases are based on the number of plants captured by law enforcement officers. Most grow houses contain large quantities of marijuana plants and processed marijuana, so you could be facing serious felony charges that carry substantial prison time. Additionally, police tend to seek asset forfeitures when it comes to drug crime cases, so you could also be looking at frozen bank accounts, the loss of cash and even your home.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A 71-year-old retired Tampa police captain accused of shooting a man that was texting during a Mark Wahlberg war movie will be arraigned on a second-degree murder charge Tuesday in a Florida court.

The ex-Florida law enforcement officer is charged with gunning down the 43-year-old man and his wife with a .380-calber handgun, following a verbal and physical confrontation.

The man was pronounced dead at a hospital, and his wife was treated for a gunshot wound to her hand.

The man remains in Pasco County jail, and a judge will decide today whether or not to release the man on bail.

.380-calber handgun.pngThe retired cop was arrested at a movie theatre in Wesley Chapel, north of Tampa.
Police claim the retired officer shot at the man because he was texting in the movie theater before the movie started.

The former officer apparently asked the man to stop, but the man continued using his cell phone. He then left the theatre to complain to management before returning to his seat.

A verbal altercation apparently began between the two, which then turned physical, according to police reports. Then, the retired cop allegedly pulled out a gun and fired one shot at the man. The man’s wife was wounded in the hand as she grabbed her husband, according to police.

The suspect retired as captain from the Tampa Police Department in 1993, according to a spokeswoman for the department.

Murder or homicide is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being. Second-degree murder charges often arise after a death that occurred in the heat of the moment, meaning it was not intentional or premeditated. In order for the State to obtain a conviction for murder in the second degree, the prosecution must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The victim is dead.

2. The death was caused by the dangerous criminal actions of the defendant.

3. The victim was unlawfully killed by a dangerous act that displays a blatant disregard for human life, even if the act was a mistake.

A second-degree murder charge is classified as a first-degree felony in the state of Florida. A conviction carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence, and a judge can also impose additional penalties including up to life in prison, up to life on probation and up to $10,000 in fines. These consequences are significantly increased if a firearm is used. Under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, any person that uses a firearm to commit second-degree murder will be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 25 years behind bars.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Police arrested two men on Thursday for allegedly trafficking cocaine and a slew of other charges following a routine traffic stop.

Members of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Investigations Unit apparently witnessed a driver not utilizing proper signals in the 4000 block of West State Road 40. Police claim the vehicle was weaving, swerving and crossing the fog line multiple times. Detectives pulled the driver over in the 7000 block of the highway and allegedly seized drugs and firearms.

According to officials, they detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car and that one of the occupants seemed nervous. The men were asked to exit the vehicle.
While authorities were searching a 28-year-old Ocala man they allegedly found two clear plastic bags containing marijuana, according to the arrest report.

Detectives claim they recovered two loaded firearms and 42 grams of cocaine from inside the vehicle. Reports indicate that one of the guns found, a Springfield Armory Model XD, had been reported stolen.

cocaine baggie betch.jpgThe Ocala man told a detective he had purchased the Springfield for $140. He apparently denied ownership of the second gun, an H&R Inc. Gardner Model 632, or the cocaine.

The man was charged with trafficking cocaine, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of marijuana less than 20 grams.

The driver of the car, a 19-year-old Ocala man, was also was arrested. He was charged with armed trafficking of cocaine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and carrying a concealed weapon.

Trafficking cocaine is classified as a felony in Marion County and throughout the state of Florida. Police and prosecutors usually seek maximum sentences in drug trafficking cases. In order to obtain a conviction, prosecutors do not have to actually prove that the defendant intended to sell or distribute cocaine, just that there was enough of the drug in the person’s possession that could indicate it was to be sold. This is an offense that is not taken lightly and the penalties attached could significantly impact your future, and not for the better.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Law enforcement officers in Daytona Beach continued their crack down on celebratory New Year’s Eve gunfire this year.

For the eighth year in a row, men and women from the department were out in full force detaining those suspected of firing weapons.

This year, police arrested two men who allegedly fired weapons into the air.

Police claim that once the clock strikes 12, otherwise responsible citizens think it is OK to do things that are not acceptable to do the other 364 days a year. Celebratory gunfire into the air is one of the most common offenses on New Year’s.

The Daytona Beach Police Chief issued this statement: “Going outside and firing off your AK-47 to celebrate the New Year is a good way to get yourself locked up. You know, what goes up must come down.”

gund betch.jpegIn 2006, a man was killed after a stray bullet hit him during celebrations in Orlando. A bullet fired into the air can fall to the ground with enough speed to deliver severe injuries or even death.

Firing a gun into the air is a third-degree felony that can carry a sentence of up to five years in prison. However, it can be difficult to prosecute people who fire guns in the air to celebrate. In fact, a Daytona Beach man arrested last New Year’s for allegedly firing guns, has yet to be tried in court.

Police claim the man was arrested last year for allegedly firing assault-style weapons from a home on School Street. No one was hurt by the stray bullets. He was only charged with carrying a concealed weapon and his case still has not made it to trial.

When it comes to these types of cases, police and prosecutors must prove that the accused fired a weapon into the air. This can be difficult to prove if the arresting officer did not witness the suspect actually discharging the firearm. Regardless, weapons charges are quite serious criminal allegations that should not be taken lightly. If convicted of weapons charges, the penalties can be very harsh.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A 19-year-old Lake Worth man’s Instagram selfies caught the eye of a Palm Beach County Sheriff and eventually lead to his arrest.

The officer noted that the man had a criminal record that included grand theft, burglary and felony possession of a firearm, so the deputy apparently decided to look more closely at the pictures.

Police claim the problem was the man was posting very public pictures of him holding a gun. In the state of Florida, convicted felons are not allowed to possess firearms, and the 19-year-old is a convicted felon.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for his Lake Worth apartment and allegedly uncovered stolen jewelry, electronics and firearms, valued at nearly $250,000. According to reports, police uncovered numerous pieces of jewelry such as watches, charms, necklaces and loose diamonds, as well as two stolen firearms.

By the time police were done searching the man’s home, they had charged him with 142 felony counts of being in possession of a weapon or ammo.

instagram betch.jpgPolice allege that the man was the ringleader for a group called the “dinnertime burglars,” which they claim is responsible for dozens of burglaries targeting senior citizens in Palm Beach.

When filling out the arrest report, officers said they asked the man what his occupation was, and he allegedly replied “Thief.”

The man is currently behind bars with bail set at $60,000. His Instagram page is no longer active.

Social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, allow people to keep tabs on their friends, acquaintances, celebrities and even make new friendships. However, the convenience of being able to constantly stay connected to people comes with a price. In the case of social media, this means that someone is always watching, and that includes law enforcement.

Instagram allows you to post pictures of anything going on in your life and essentially anything that interests you. You can easily notify your friends and followers about everything from what meal you just ate to the new car you just purchased. It is very important to understand that electronic media is always being monitored and government agencies are quick to use technological advancements to observe and track any suspicious activities on the Internet.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A Broward County court bailiff made his first appearance in court Wednesday after being charged with armed kidnapping, two counts of sexual battery and aggravated assault with a firearm.

Details of the case involving the 62-year-old man were not discussed during the bond court hearing. However, a prosecutor did note that the charges involve a “high level of violence.”

The hearing has been postponed until Thursday so that the man’s attorney can attend.
The Broward judge asked the man if he wanted a different judge since he is a familiar face in his court. However, the man declined a different judge.

The Plantation Police Department has yet to release an official copy of the arrest report.

The man was booked into the St. Lucie County jail at 2 a.m. Tuesday. The man explained that he has children and grandchildren in Port St. Lucie in his initial court appearance.

court.jpgA judge in St. Lucie County ordered the man to be held without bail, and he was transferred by bus to Broward County on Tuesday afternoon.
Sheriff’s officials claim they have opened an internal affairs investigation, but have yet to
determine the man’s job status.

The accused has been a bailiff for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office since 1999.
While the details surrounding this man’s arrest are unknown at this point, the charges he faces are quite severe. An armed kidnapping charge is classified as a first-degree felony punishable by up to life imprisonment. Sexual battery and aggravated assault with a firearm are also felony charges in Florida. Punishments for these crimes vary based on the evidence brought forth by prosecutors.

If you or someone you love is facing serious criminal charges in south Florida, it is crucial that you seek assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. A Broward County Criminal Defense Lawyer can help guide you through the legal process, clarify what your options are and piece together the strongest possible defense on your behalf.

Continue reading →

Published on:

A Florida Ave Maria law school student is being held on $1 million bond after police claim he supposedly pointed a gun at his ex-girlfriend and fired shots at his roommate.

The 25-year-old student was charged Friday with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to the Naples Daily News, the man allegedly forced his roommate and ex-girlfriend to their knees on the street while pointing a gun at them. The woman apparently ran to the apartment to call the police, while the man fired several shots in the air.

The man allegedly ordered the roommate to his feet while pointing the gun at him. According to reports, no one was injured.

The man is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Feb. 6.

Aggravated assault can be defined as the use of intentional force that puts another individual in fear of impending danger. Certain circumstances can elevate this crime to be considered aggravated including:

 Use of a deadly weapon
 Assault against a family member or relative
 Assault against a police officer
 Assault that results in serious bodily injury
The use of a deadly weapon is not limited to a gun, and may include any type of instrument capable of bringing about serious bodily injury or harm. In the State of Florida, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a third-degree felony carrying consequences of up to five years in prison. However, if a person is charged with aggravated assault with a firearm a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison must be enforced.

For an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge, the State does not have to prove that you harmed another person or that you even made physical contact with the person. If it can be shown that you had the ability and the intent to inflict harm on another person, then you can be charged with this crime. In fact, simply threatening someone with a dangerous device, with an apparent ability to carry out the threat, can result in an aggravated assault arrest.

The Florida Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton work with investigators and related experts to exhaust all probable defenses to get your aggravated assault charges dismissed. There are numerous defenses that may be grounds for challenging the accusations including self-defense, provocation, defense of your property and defense of a third person. In addition, any faults with evidence must be exposed. Our attorneys can work to uncover any unlawful search and seizure issues as well as any conflicts with evidence or witness testimony.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Florida authorities believe that a 12-year-old boy may have been critically wounded on New Year ‘s Eve following a celebratory gunshot supposedly fired into the air miles away.

According to reports, the boy and his family were outside their home enjoying the fireworks display around 1 a.m., when the boy fell to the ground bleeding from his eyes and nose.

The boy’s family, unable to determine the cause of bleeding, rushed the boy to South Bay Hospital where doctors confirmed a bullet had entered the top of his head. He was transferred to Tampa Bay General Hospital where he remains in critical condition with the bullet still inside his head.

No reports of gunfire nearby were reported, but police suspect the boy was hit by gunfire falling from the sky from miles away.

Police are questioning people in the surrounding area in an effort to figure out who pulled the trigger.

A Spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office calls the act irresponsible and said the crime carries felony consequences.

The illegal discharge of firearms is banned within city limits and prosecuted rather vigorously in Florida. So-called “celebratory gunfire” is considered reckless and when a stray bullet lands it can result in serious injuries. When a gun is fired up in the air it can be very difficult to trace where the shot was fired from. Where a randomly fired bullet lands depends on the angle of the trajectory it was fired at. Generally, the lower the trajectory, the faster the bullet, and it could fall from several thousand yards away.

In some areas of the world, celebratory gunfire is a tradition and it is acceptable to set off destructive devices in celebration of weddings, anniversaries and other such festivities. Randomly firing a gun in a public place is a felony in only a few states, and in Florida it is a misdemeanor offense. Studies show that the possibility of death from a bullet shot in the sky is far greater than other gunshots because they cause head injuries 80 percent of the time.
Strict Florida laws prohibit anyone from knowingly and willingly discharging a firearm in a public place, which includes public roads, streets, highways, a vehicle, private residence or any other occupied dwelling. Any individual that does discharge a weapon in a public place or inside a residence can be charged with first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Likewise, if a person discharges a firearm from inside a vehicle, within 1,000 feet of another person, they will face a second-degree felony carrying consequences of up to 15 years in prison.

If you think you may be charged with a weapons offense in Florida, it is important to understand that the State takes these charges quite seriously. There are numerous weapons crimes that can be committed and criminal history, the type of firearm used and the person’s intent can all play a role in determining the charge. It is very important for anyone that could potentially be charged with a weapons offense to contact a Florida Firearms Lawyer immediately to discuss your options. The Florida Firearms Defense Lawyers can start building an aggressive defense for you right away, so it is crucial to the outcome of your case to act fast.

Continue reading →