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According to officials, Austin Maddox, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was taken into custody in Florida on Monday as part of an underage sex operation.

According to reports, Maddox was one of 27 people detained because of a multi-agency operation that concluded late last month. They are accused of soliciting sex from people they believed to be children via the internet, according to officials.

The arrest report stated that on April 28, Maddox, 33, started corresponding with an undercover agent who was posing as a minor. According to officials, he allegedly expressed his interest in having sex with the girl despite knowing her age.

Authorities said that after Maddox showed up at a prearranged location to meet the girl, he was arrested and charged with four felonies, one of which is traveling to meet a minor.

He is currently being held in jail on a $300,000 bond.

What Are Undercover Internet Sex Stings?

Untitled-design-7-200x300Online sex stings typically involve police posing as minors interested in engaging in sexual activities. These operations are aimed at catching individuals who are seeking or attempting to engage in illegal sexual activities with minors. While the intentions behind these stings are noble – to protect vulnerable children – ultimately, there is a huge potential for entrapment, suggesting that police persuaded the accused to commit the crime in question.

Cases involving undercover sex stings often raise complex legal issues. One of the primary challenges with undercover sex stings is proving intent. In many cases, individuals may engage in conversations that are inappropriate or sexually suggestive without necessarily having the intention to commit a crime.

Police will go to any length to apprehend a suspected criminal. They will even manufacture fictitious settings online to engage people who would not have committed a sex offense if the cops had not provided the opportunity. Continue reading

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Jail records indicate that Georgia running back Trevor Etienne was taken into custody early on Sunday, charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and other offenses.

The 19-year-old anticipated starting running back for the Bulldogs was taken into custody at 4:35 a.m. and released a little over an hour later a bond of roughly $1,800. According to the documents, there are additional charges related to failing to maintain a lane, improper driving, and having objects that may obscure the windshield or windows.

The institution issued a statement saying it was aware of the arrest but had no further comment.
Etienne, a 19-year-old midyear transfer from Florida, was the Gators’ leading scorer last season with nine touchdowns and became one of their strongest playmakers.

Coach Kirby Smart admitted last year that he had been striving to find ways to convince his players to drive responsibly. Hours after Georgia won its second consecutive national championship in January 2023, offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy died in a racing accident between LeCroy and defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

According to sources, there were at least 15 traffic stops in 2023 involving Bulldogs football players who were driving too fast, and three cases of drunk driving.

Athletes found guilty of DUI must serve at least one game suspension, per team rules. Georgia’s season opener will be against Clemson on August 31.

Untitled by Monkey Business Images Free for Canva Pro https://www.canva.com/photos/MAAOYlGSqJQ/If You Are a College Student And Receive a DUI, What Should You Do?

If you are college student charged with DUI, you need to immediately get in touch with a DUI defense lawyer who can represent you in court. You might not be able to effectively defend your innocence without the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer, which could have serious consequences.
The following details should be clarified when speaking with an attorney:

  • The exact facts that resulted in the DUI charge against you.
  • The methods used to evaluate your sobriety.
  • The methods used to determine your blood alcohol content.
  • You should also provide any other details that come to mind, such as the name of the arresting officer, your location at the time you were stopped, and any comments made by the officer at the time of your arrest and after.

Every piece of information related to your DUI case can and will be used to build an effective defense that will allow you to get the best possible legal outcome.

What Are the Consequences For a College Student Convicted of DUI?

A DUI conviction has serious repercussions for everyone, even college students. College students are in the process of obtaining an education that will be useful in their future employment endeavors. A single DUI can hurt your chances of getting a job, obtaining credit cards or loans, renting an apartment, or even getting into graduate school.

Students who are found guilty of DUIs not only risk embarrassment, but also possible academic setbacks. A student who participates in school sports may be dismissed from the team. Students may lose their scholarships or financial aid, and they may even face disciplinary action from the institution.

Applicants having a history of DUIs may not be accepted into some employment fields since they are seen as high-risk individuals. Careers in the airline, military, or public service sectors, such as teaching or law enforcement, are among the numerous occupations that are generally off-limits to someone with a record of DUI.

There are also financial setbacks that come along with a DUI. In addition to the costs of posting bond, having your car towed, and regaining your license, there are legal expenses, fines, and driver’s education classes. Insurance premiums for underage drivers with a DUI conviction are astronomically high. Continue reading

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The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida has conducted a multi-agency undercover operation known as “Operation Predator V,” leading to the arrest of eight people for online sex crimes against minors.

Including assistance from the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office, the Lakeland, Davenport, Auburndale, and Lake Wales police departments, the investigation took place from February 22 to 29.

Authorities said the suspects talked to and targeted people they believed to be kids or adults with internet access to kids.

After reportedly turning up to an undercover site in Polk County on multiple allegedly offering to pay hundreds of dollars to have sex with someone they believed to be a child, five of those apprehended were charged with human trafficking.

Investigators charged eight suspects with 27 felonies in total. The men charged range in ages 27-61.

Internet sting operations conducted by law enforcement all over the country are still very common, despite TV shows following these covert operations and media outlets reporting on alleged predators being arrested in these stings daily. In these undercover operations, police officers may pretend to be minors in an internet chat room or on social media sites. They will use several methods to attempt to turn the conversation sexual, and shift conversations into a meetup for a sexual encounter. Once the unsuspecting adult arrives at the designated meeting location, police officers will make an arrest and charge the individual with a sex crime.

After Being Targeted Online, What Should You Do?

Seeking legal representation for sexual offenses should be your priority if you are accused of any sexual offenses after any communications with undercover law enforcement. Throughout this unpleasant and stressful procedure, we are here to help you.

Anyone can make the mistake of chatting online with the wrong person or searching for an escort online only to find themselves wrapped up in an online undercover sting operation. Our Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand the ways law enforcement uses the internet, social media, and all other related technologies to make arrests of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

Criminal cases involving sex crimes of any kind, especially those involving minors, are all charged as felonies in the state of Florida. You could be looking at jail or prison time, significant fines, sex offender registration, probation and more. In addition to the criminal consequences, public disclosure of your arrest or conviction can damage your career and personal relationships. Continue reading

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According to Florida officials, former professional wrestler Tammy “Sunny” Sytch, whose blood alcohol content was four times over the legal limit, killed a 75-year-old man after she crashed her car into his while intoxicated in March of 2022.

Sytch received a sentence of more than 17 years in jail Monday.

In August, Sytch—who was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011—pleaded not guilty to accusations of driving while intoxicated, homicide, and other offenses. When she was arrested in Volusia County in March 2022, investigators alleged she had marijuana in her system and an open bottle of vodka in her car.

Monday’s sentencing hearing had her facing a maximum sentence of over 25 years in jail. Sytch expressed sadness and guilt for killing the 75-year-old Daytona Beach resident throughout the hearing, according to reports.

https://www.floridacriminalattorneyblog.com/files/2023/11/Untitled-design-2023-11-28T145708.847-200x300.pngSytch, 50, had her driver’s license revoked after being arrested several times in Pennsylvania for driving under the influence. She did not have a valid driver’s license issued in Florida.

A person who has been charged with a DUI more than once is said to have multiple DUIs. In Florida, a DUI allegation that is your third or subsequent offense could be prosecuted as a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony carries harsher penalties, such as lengthier jail or prison terms, high fines, and, in the event of a fourth offense, an indefinite license suspension. In addition, you can be mandated to participate in community service, attend drug rehab, and have an interlock device installed in your car if this is your third or fourth conviction.

The severity of the sanctions may escalate if you were a part of an accident that caused fatalities or major injuries, as this case shows.

What is a Look-Back Period?

The amount of time an offense sits on your record influences what past offenses can be considered if you are convicted of drunk driving again. A judge may conclude that you are a high-risk driver and are more likely to struggle with alcohol abuse if you have a second or subsequent DUI offense within the look-back period.

Florida’s look-back period for DUI convictions is five years. This means that prior DUI convictions that are more than five years old are not considered for penalties. However, they may still affect the decision on license suspension.

The look-back period allows courts to consider previous DUI convictions. A driver’s prior violations may determine whether the DUI will be punished as a second offense, third offense, a fourth offense, and so on.

If you are found guilty of numerous DUIs during the look-back period, you may face severe consequences such as jail time, a longer license suspension, the usage of an ignition interlock device for a longer period, alcohol treatment classes or programs, felony convictions, and possibly the permanent loss of your driver’s license.

Florida’s look-back period is considered generous. Other states have instated a 10-year look-back period or consider the lifetime driving record of the accused. It is also of importance to note that a DUI conviction in Florida can remain on your driving record for 75 years. Continue reading

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According to a police report made public on Tuesday, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones got into a fight over custody with his child’s mother and allegedly scratched her neck with his fingernails.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office redacted certain parts of the report.

Deputies were told by the woman that she was spending Monday with Jones and his family when Jones became irate when she mentioned returning their child back to Orlando.

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As the new school year begins, it is important to be aware of sextortion and to monitor children’s social media activity.

According to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, sextortion and child pornography may be related to human trafficking, and anyone from anywhere can pose as your child’s friend on social media sites.

According to the attorney general’s office, a 45-year-old man from North Port, Florida, was recently given a 13-year prison term for claiming to be a teenage female in order to target a young boy in New Jersey on two social networking platforms.

The individual allegedly targeted the victim on the social video game apps Discord and Roblox, both of which are marketed to children.

The man allegedly lured the child into sending nude images by providing him an electronic gift card, according to Moody’s office.

He then allegedly blackmailed the child into performing and uploading films of obscene sexual practices, threatening to publish the naked images if he did not comply.

Investigators allegedly discovered other messages connected to the man’s social media accounts, along with photographs of child sex abuse.

According to reports, the man pleaded guilty to eight offenses and received a 13-year prison sentence, followed by 15 years of sex-offender probation upon his release.

Moody has also created an online safety toolkit to help parents explain Internet safety.

Untitled-design-53-200x300A Sextortion Scam: How Does It Begin and Operate?

Online sextortion is a growing problem that could happen to anyone, regardless of their age. It is critical to teach your child how to spot a potential sextortion scam and how to respond if it occurs to them.

Anyplace where individuals interact and communicate is susceptible to sextortion, including:

  • Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Google Chat, and Skype
  • Email or text messages
  • Dating apps, like Hinge and Tinder
  • Chat-based video games, like Fortnite, Roblox, Discord, and Minecraft
  • Social media sites, like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat

The scammer may pose as another child or adolescent. After gaining the trust of their young victim, they request compromising images or videos. In other situations, the scammer threatens the child when they first interact by claiming they already have compromising images or footage of the child.

In either case, the sextortionist demands more images from the victim or makes some other demand before threatening to divulge the private information.

Here are a few tips for parents to follow to keep children safe online:

  • Pay attention to a child’s online activity
  • Make social media profiles private for kids
  • Prevent children from changing or using a phony date of birth to access websites that permit interactions with older people
  • Explain that internet profiles can be edited to appear as someone else
  • Make it clear that once something is posted on the internet, it will stay visible forever
  • Teach kids how to ask for help, regardless of how bad the situation appears

Continue reading

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The mother of Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter and recently deceased Aaron Carter wound up in the Hernando County Jail following a fight with her husband over a television remote, according to TMZ.

After drinking with an adult family member and getting into a verbal fight that turned physical, the woman was taken into custody on Friday night for domestic violence.

According to TMZ, the woman and her husband got into an argument because she was watching television while playing music so loudly that he could not fall asleep.

The woman allegedly grabbed the man’s wrist when he brought out his phone to record the event, according to sources quoted by TMZ. He then dialed law enforcement at that time.

Deputies allegedly detained the woman after viewing the video captured on the man’s phone.

According to jail records, the woman was arrested early on Saturday and released the same day after paying a $100 bond.

According to TMZ, her husband was unharmed during the argument and refused to be taken to the hospital.

Untitled-design-28-200x300Domestic battery is an accusation that should not be taken lightly. If you are found guilty of domestic violence charges in Florida, you could be sentenced to jail time, fines, and other consequences that will have a detrimental impact on your future.

If you are accused of domestic abuse in Florida, you need a defense attorney who will take the time to hear you out and investigate your case. It is particularly tough for people accused of committing these crimes because prosecutors and judges often seek severe sentences for crimes of violence.

Causing harm to anyone residing in the same household can technically lead to domestic battery charges. A domestic violence charge can be brought against any type of household member, such as roommates, unmarried couples, adopted children, or foster children; the parties in these types of situations do not always need to be blood relatives or married.

Other types of family/household members may include:

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Parents who share a child together
  • Children
  • Stepchildren
  • Individuals who share a common dwelling (roommates, housemates)
  • Individuals who are dating/engaged
  • Individuals with disabilities and their caregivers

Domestic battery charges can arise from the following types of actions:

  • Causing bodily harm to a family or household member
  • Any physical contact that provokes a household member
  • Making threats
  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal harassment
  • Emotional abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Child neglect

Can Domestic Battery Charges Be Dropped In the state of Florida?

Once law enforcement takes their initial report of domestic violence, the case is then transferred to the court. The victim cannot recant their accusations once they have been made to police. The only persona that has the power to drop domestic battery charges is the State Attorney. Of course, having a Spring Hill Criminal Defense Attorney fighting for your case can help positively influence the outcome of your specific case. Continue reading

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A 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Florida and Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother was arrested Wednesday on charges of sexual battery.

The Gainesville Police Department believes that the man and the alleged victim communicated via Snapchat for about 3 weeks. They apparently ran into each other at a downtown bar Wednesday and went to the man’s residence around 1 a.m. and engaged in consensual sex.

Shortly after the consensual sex, the alleged victim told police that the man forced himself upon them even though there was no consent. The man did stop, but only after several minutes, according to police reports.

The man apparently told police that he stopped the sexual activity within five seconds.

At around 3 a.m. the alleged victim left the man’s residence and had a sexual assault exam conducted at a local hospital.

Untitled-design-12-200x300According to the police report, the man allegedly told police he was too drunk to consent to any sexual activity and he was taken advantage of. He then apparently said that he was aware of what was happening and was able to make conscious decisions. He also allegedly said that he used a condom during both sexual encounters, but then told police he did not wear a condom.

The man allegedly told police that he was unsure if the alleged victim was a willing participant for the second sexual encounter. He said he did stop the sexual contact sometime after the alleged victim said they wanted him to stop. He allegedly said he takes responsibility for the time between when the alleged victim said they did not consent to the sexual activity and when he stopped.

Phi Delta Theta has suspended the man.

He has been released on $100,000 bail. He was ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim during pretrial release in a standing no contact order.

If you have been accused of sexual battery or rape by your college, then you need to enlist the help of a college sex crime criminal defense lawyer right away. Many students who are facing sex crime accusations want to clear the matter up swiftly and think if they tell their side of the story that everything will just go back to normal. This is usually not the case, and allegations of sexual misconduct can have devastating consequences that can follow you around for the rest of your life.

If a school thinks that a rape happened on campus then they will report it to local law enforcement and will pursue school-imposed penalties. Moreover, an investigation will be launched against you by police and criminal charges may be filed. The potential penalties you may face for a rape conviction can involve hefty fines and years in prison.

Continue reading

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This Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind you to stay safe on the roads. Whether you are travelling a long distance to a relative or friend’s house for a Thanksgiving feast, driving home from college to be with your parents and siblings, or just heading down the street to see local friends and family, we want to remind you that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, regardless of whether it is during a holiday or any other day.

Thanksgiving Sobering Statistics

  • In 2020, 185 fatalities occurred from drunk driving over the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday, November 25 – Monday, November 30).
  • From 2016-2020, 821 people were killed in alcohol-related car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday before Thanksgiving-Monday after Thanksgiving).
  • During the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday period, male drivers were found more likely to be involved in DUI-related car accidents than females – males accounted for more than three-quarters of Thanksgiving DUI car accidents. During this same period, more than four times as many drivers involved in DUI car crashes were impaired at nighttime as opposed to daytime.

2022-Thanksgiving-Buzzed-Driving-Is-Drunk-Driving-200x300Celebrate Turkey Day with a Plan

It is always a good idea to plan if you know you are going to have a few drinks. Celebrating responsibly does not have to be hard – make sure you know where you are going and have a safe ride home. If you are going to be the designated driver for your group, then take your role seriously and do not consume any alcohol, not even one drink.

Here are a few more reminders to keep your Thanksgiving holiday period, including “Blackout Wednesday,” a safe and happy time.

  • It is never OK to drink and drive. Even if you have had just one alcoholic beverage, get a sober ride home. You can call a taxi, use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, or have a sober friend or family member drive you home. AAA will also bring their Tow-To-Go service for the 2022 Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Starting Wednesday November 23 at 6pm-6am Monday morning, members and non-members can call the AAA Tow-To-Go number 855-2-TOW-2-GO, or 855-286-9246 and get a tow truck to take the impaired driver and their vehicle home or to a safe location (must be within a 10-mile radius of where they were picked up.)
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, then you should call 911 immediately.
  • If you have a friend or relative that is about to drink and drive, then take their keys away and help make the necessary arrangements to get them home safe or create a space for them to sleep it off until they can safely drive home.
  • Lastly, always remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving.

What To Do if You or a Loved One is Harmed in a DUI Accident this Thanksgiving

If the worst happens during the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday period, and you are involved in a drunk driving crash, then our Florida DUI Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will be available 24/7 to help aide in your best interests. You deserve financial compensation for your injuries, lost time from work, pain, and suffering. After you or a loved one has been harmed in a DUI crash, you should not have to worry about keeping up with medical bills and making sure your family is taken care of. It does not matter if you were injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident – we can help get you the compensation you deserve. You can call us statewide at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to request a free consultation. Continue reading

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Actor Gary Busey, 78, known for playing the role of Chet Steadman in the 1993 classic “Rookie of the Year” and featured in the films “Point Break” and “The Buddy Holly Story,” is now facing several sex offense charges in connection with alleged incidents that occurred at Monster-Mania Con at a Doubletree Hotel near Philadelphia.

Busey was a featured celebrity at the convention that was held from Aug. 12 to 14.

On Friday, Cherry Hill detectives charged Busey, who resides in Malibu, California, with two counts of criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree, one count of criminal attempt/criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree, and one count of harassment, according to reports.

Grey-minimalist-law-firm-service-instagram-post-300x300Three women allegedly came forward and told police that Busey groped and touched them inappropriately during a meet and greet at Monster-Mania Con in the afternoon of Aug. 13.

There is no further information available on these charges.

Whether you have already been arrested or are aware that you are the main suspect of a sex crime and are under investigation, you need to act fast as time is of the essence. You must not delay in building your defense strategy and you need to get legal help as soon as possible. Our Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will work swiftly, creatively, and aggressively to ensure that you have a cutting-edge defense to help fight whatever serious sexual allegations you are facing. Whether you are up against state or federal sex offense, we have a proven team who can assist with your sex crime case today.

A sex crime conviction carries a very real stigma with it, along with severe consequences that can ruin your future even beyond time spent behind bars. You could be looking at registration as a sexual offender, which will restrict where you can live and work. You must fight back against sex crime allegations. Our Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can get started working on your case immediately, launching our own investigation into the matter and utilizing experts to establish the credibility of any alleged victims.

Will My Sex Crime Case Go to Trial?

You probably have many questions about your sex crime allegations, and whether your case proceeds to trial will rely on many factors, including if there is DNA or other corroborating evidence, if there are incriminating statements against you, and if the accuser(s) are credible or have lied in the past. Our experienced sex crime defense lawyers will scour all the evidence against you and help you understand exactly what you are up against so that you can make an educated and informed decision on whether you want to enter plea bargain negotiations or test your luck at trial. Continue reading

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