Articles Posted in Orange County

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At least 13 people were arrested in a series of drug raids Thursday in Orlando and Tampa, according to reports.

Federal agents claim members of the group have been conspiring to sell heroin and cocaine since at least December 2015.

They are charged with conspiracy and intent to distribute a controlled substance.

At least $80,000 and a 2015 Acura ILX were seized, according to reports.

Have you recently been arrested in a drug raid? If so, you will definitely need the services of a highly skilled Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton who can help you. When you are arrested on drug charges, you need a defense attorney who can investigate every aspect of your case with the hopes of possibly getting your charges reduced or even completely dismissed. We can assist with your case and have extensive experience in handling drug cases on both the state and federal levels.

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A 28-year-old female substitute teacher at an Orlando-area private school is accused of having sex with a 16-year-old male student.

The woman faces charges of sexual activity with a 16 or 17 year old child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to an arrest affidavit, the woman was a substitute teacher at an Orlando school. The affidavit said that a representative from the school called a Florida Department of Children and Families hotline late last week to report the woman after teachers became suspicious of her relationship with the boy.

A DCF investigator looked into the claims and allegedly determined that the woman had sex with the teen at her home on the evening of Oct. 14 after exchanging Snapchat messages with him and giving him alcohol.

The woman was booked into the Orange County Jail on Friday night.

Accusations of sexual misconduct between a teacher and a student are very serious in Florida and in every other state across the country. Even if a person is not found guilty of the alleged crime, their reputation could be forever damaged. Because of this, anyone facing sex crimes charges needs to obtain a criminal defense attorney who can prepare the strongest possible defense against the charges.

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Two people were arrested at Walt Disney World in separate incidents Monday after authorities say they tried to enter two Disney parks with firearms.

A 23-year-old Alabama woman and a 61-year-old Louisiana man face charges of carrying a concealed weapon.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the woman had a loaded .380 caliber gun in her backpack. A bag-checker at the entrance to Disney’s Animal Kingdom found the gun. Her concealed weapons permit apparently expired in January.

The man was arrested at Epcot. His weapon was found after a Disney security officer selected him for a random metal detector screening.

Both face a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

Disney bans guns from its parks, and even guests with weapons permits can face trespassing charges.

According to Florida law, a person who carries a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device commits a first-degree misdemeanor. If that weapon is a firearm, the charge increases to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

If you’ve been charged with carrying a concealed weapon, it is important to know what you are up against. Our Florida Weapons Cases Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can answer all of your questions and help you determine the best defense strategy for your particular situation.

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The new year is quickly approaching, and thousands of Floridians have made plans or are starting to think about how to say goodbye to 2015 and ring in 2016.

But before you solidify your New Year’s Eve plans, fire officials have some tips for residents and visitors when it comes to fireworks.

“Anything that is projectile or leaves the ground is illegal in the State of Florida. Basically your safest bet is with a sparkler,” said Natalie McQueen, a Firefighter and Paramedic for the Panama City Beach Fire Department.

Even though sparklers are allowed in the Sunshine State, residents and visitors still need to exercise caution when using them.

Younger children should never light or handle sparklers. Parents should maintain a close watch on kids at all times if sparklers are going to be used. Burns are very common to the hands and face since sparklers do have flickers that come off once they are lit.

If you are using sparklers, after you are done with them, fire officials say to place them in a big bucket full of water, and let them sit overnight.

While setting off your own fireworks might seem fun, our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind everyone that the best way to stay safe while ringing in the New Year is leaving the fireworks to the pros. If you are caught with fireworks in the State of Florida it could lead to misdemeanor charges.

Under Florida law, the use of or possession of illegal fireworks is a first-degree misdemeanor. If you are accused of breaking this law, please be aware that you will be arrested. If you are convicted of this crime, you can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, given up to one year on probation, and/or fined up to one thousand dollars.

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An Orlando-area doctor is facing sexual battery charges after a patient reported being inappropriately touched during an examination.

The 42-year-old Orlando doctor was arrested Wednesday.

According to an Osceola County Sheriff’s Office report, an investigation began Tuesday after a 20-year-old woman reported to deputies that she had been inappropriately touched by the doctor.

The patient said she had gone to his office in Kissimmee for an annual gynecological exam, during which the doctor wore gloves, and a female nurse attended. At that time, the man referred the patient to another doctor, according to the report.

The patient returned to the doctor’s office Monday for a different medical issue, the report said. While there, she said the doctor asked her about her previous visit and conducted another gynecological exam, this time without gloves and without a nurse present, the patient reported.

The patient said she called the doctor’s office on Tuesday to request a doctor’s note for work purposes, but when no one answered, she went to the office. A sign on the door said the office was closed, she said, but she claims she ran into the doctor in the parking lot. She asked him if he could provide her with a doctor’s note, and he invited her inside, according to reports

While there, the doctor apparently asked the patient about abdominal pains she was having from an earlier visit. He then allegedly examined her without gloves and asked her if she felt excited, the report said.

The patient apparently told him she was uncomfortable and again asked for the note, which he gave her, and she left. She immediately reported the incident to deputies.

The doctor’s Florida medical licenses are current, and he has no complaints or disciplinary action on his record in Florida, according to a Florida Department of Health licensure search. He previously has held medical licenses in Mississippi and Wisconsin.

At Whittel & Melton, our Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers understand that your reputation is at stake when you are accused of a sexual offense. We proudly serve clients throughout the state of Florida with criminal defense against all charges of sexual misconduct. As trial attorneys, we can be an aggressive and zealous advocate on your behalf.

Regardless of how serious the sexual battery charges are, it is imperative to remember that taking these allegations lightly or talking to anyone other than your lawyer about the alleged incident will hurt your case. Do not underestimate the value of exercising your right to remain silent.

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Thanksgiving is a time of year when families get together to celebrate memories and honor traditions. However, this is also the time of year when law enforcement agencies gear up to catch drunk drivers on our roadways.

Most law enforcement agencies, receive federal grants to increase their staffing levels during the holiday season, which typically begins with the four-day Thanksgiving weekend and continues to New Year’s Day. Arrests for DUI are highest during this time period.

The following are a few tips that may prove helpful to avoid a Thanksgiving DUI:

  1. Do not drink and drive. If you have been drinking, call a cab, a friend or use a ride share app like Uber or Lyft to get home safe. If you know you will be drinking, designate a sober driver to take you home.
  2. If you are pulled over, do not talk to law enforcement about where you were or what you were doing. Remember, you have the right to remain silent until you have your lawyer present.
  3. If you are involved in an accident, stop immediately and remain at the scene. Do not admit to anything and request to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
  4. Do not fall asleep inside your vehicle. You could get arrested if the officer observes that you have the keys in the ignition or if the engine is running.
  5. Drive cautiously. Police will be closely monitoring motorists for any mistakes they make. In particular, they will be on the lookout for motorists who may be driving too fast or too slow, or running red lights or failing to stop at stop signs.

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A federal jury found a 40-year-old Windermere man guilty of 11 counts of wire fraud and 4 counts of filing a false tax-related document.

He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count and up to 3 years’ imprisonment for each false document charge.

The man’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 19, 2015. He was indicted on April 9, 2015.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from 2006 through 2012, the accused was employed as the personal assistant to an NBA basketball player, who has since retired from professional basketball. During calendar years 2008 through 2011, the man apparently stole approximately $2,188,170 from the ball player by making unauthorized online banking money transfers from one of his bank accounts into three different bank accounts that the man controlled. The man spent these funds on his own personal expenses, including mortgage payments for his home in Windermere, and the purchase of a Ferrari and a Range Rover.

The man also filed false joint income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service for each of these years. In these tax returns, he and his wife never reported more than $60,000 in gross income, when in fact their joint income was significantly greater due to the money the man stole from the former basketball player.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew C. Searle.

Wire fraud can range in criminal acts, including fraudulent schemes for phishing emails, sending electronic checks or money to banks, or communications over the Internet or telephone.

The essential elements of wire fraud include the following:

  • The defendant intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money
  • The defendant did so with the intent to defraud
  • It was foreseeable that interstate wire communication would be used
  • That interstate wire communication was used

The term “interstate wire communications” is broad, and refers to any type of transmission by wire, radio, or television communication, including, but not limited to, writings, signs, pictures, faxes, or sounds used in interstate or foreign commerce.

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In a month and a half-long operation called “Summer Heat,” 42 sex offenders who violated registration laws were arrested.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released this statement: “Operation Summer Heat should send a strong message to all sex offenders that Florida law enforcement is serious about registration. We are just beginning our work. If you are a sex offender and you violate registration laws, we are looking for you.”

The operation resulted in the arrest of 4 sex offenders from Central Florida including Seminole, Orange and Volusia counties. The FDLE’s Enforcement and Investigative Support Unit coordinated the operation along with the U.S. Marshals Service and local law enforcement agencies.

The EIS was created in 2014 to assist local and federal agencies to locate sex offenders who have violated registration laws, many of whom cross jurisdictional lines. The offenders who intentionally avoid registration requirements were arrested.

The arrests were made from warrants as a result of investigations conducted by local sheriffs or police departments.

Florida sex offender registration requires you to give all of your information to the authorities regarding where you live, work or attend school. This information that is required to be given can include personal information, fingerprints, identifying physical information like tattoos and noticeable scars and birthmarks and even information about the crimes for which you were convicted. This information made public and available to everyone in the community. Anyone can get online and view this information, including employers, housing and rental agencies, schools, neighborhood associations and neighbors, as well as police.

Failing to register can result in severe criminal penalties. Our Central Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton represent those who have been charged with failure to register or falsifying their registration.

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Prosecutors decided to drop charges against NFL free agent Chris Johnson this week for a January gun arrest in Orlando, according to court records.

The Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office stated that, “this case is not suitable for prosecution.”

The 29-year-old athlete was stopped on the night of Jan. 9 for running a stop sign while driving with a friend, when an Orlando police officer noticed a pistol on the floor between Johnson’s feet, according to reports.

2775186899_8c2a873539_zThe weapon was apparently a 20-shot Belgian pistol that fires a high-velocity 5.7 mm bullet that can pass through tactical vests worn by police officers. These handguns are legal to own, but police claim that Johnson also had a 9mm Glock pistol in a backpack next to his feet.

Orlando police charged him with open carry of a firearm, but Johnson said he had a valid concealed weapon permit.

Johnson played most recently for the New York Jets and was dropped last season.

Most individuals who are carrying a weapon or firearm on their person do so for protection, and must abide by guidelines of the law. The gun laws in Florida are known for being quite strict, and while these laws can be somewhat confusing, it is very easy for someone who was just trying to protect themselves to wind up on the wrong side of the law.

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You want to avoid getting arrested for DUI in Florida on New Year’s Eve and “becoming a statistic.” New Year’s Eve is a holiday that it is both cause for celebrating and relaxing. After the stress of getting ready for Christmas, people usually take this time to enjoy the end of the holiday season and contemplate their goals for the new year. However, because this is the last holiday of the year, there tends to be an increased number of people who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Listed below are several tips to help drivers avoid a DUI this New Year’s Eve.

  1. Limit Drinks

If you are at a party that has an open bar, and you know you are driving, know exactly how many drinks you are having so that you can watch your personal limit. Remember that once you start drinking it can be difficult to stop yourself from having too many. Be mindful of the exact amount you have had to drink.

  1. Call a Cab or Uber or Lyft

Public transportation can save many people from DUI-related accidents and arrests. Save the number of a local cab company in your phone, use a ride share app on your phone or attend parties or social gatherings close to a bus route.

  1. 15958303240_5a5181cc2a_zDon’t Go Solo

Don’t go to a party or social gathering by yourself. Bring along at least one other friend and make sure to determine who the designated driver is for the entire group before any alcohol is consumed.

  1. Eat!

While many people have New Year’s resolutions about weight loss, New Year’s Eve is one of those nights where you should eat. Food fills the stomach, making less room for alcohol. Try to snack on foods like meats or dark chocolate, which are known to keep you fuller longer.

  1. Offer Alternative Drinks

If you are hosting a party, include “mocktails,” sodas, punch, or even just water on your drink menu.

  1. Make Accommodations for Guests

If you know your guests have a far trip ahead of them, arrange for them to stay with you or at a nearby hotel. That way, no one drives home drunk.

  1. Leave the Party Early

New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year. You can expect delays for taxis and other modes of public transportation, so be prepared. Leaving your party or social gathering early can also ensure that you get home safely and at a reasonable hour.

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