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Articles Posted in Orange County

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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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According to the most recent FBI Crime report, Florida is home to some pretty dangerous cities. The top 20 cities that were found to have the most violent crimes and property crimes are as follows:


  • Miami Beach, Florida5196788334_e6ed189c68_m


With a population of 91,066, the total reported crimes were found to be 109.47 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 10.33 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 99.14 per 1,000 residents.


  • Orlando, Florida


With a population size of 246,513, the total reported crimes in Orlando were assessed at 78.19 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 10.34 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 67.85 per 1,000 residents.


  • Daytona Beach, Florida


Daytona Beach has a population of 61,861, and 74.10 reported crimes per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 11.56 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 62.54 per 1,000 residents.


  • Panama City, Florida


Panama City’s reported population is 37,187, with a total number of reported crimes at 70.27 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 7.80 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 62.47 per 1,000 residents.


  • Key West, Florida


With a smaller population of 25,249, Key West has a total of 69.47 reported crimes per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 8.24 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 61.23 per 1,000 residents.


  • Homestead, Florida


Homestead has a reported total population of 62,785, with a total number of crimes at 67.87 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 16.64 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 51.22 per 1,000 residents.


  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida


With a population of 170,827, the total reported crimes in Fort Lauderdale were determined at 67.92 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.11 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 58.80 per 1,000 residents.


  • Pensacola, Florida


Pensacola’s population size is 52,909. The total reported crimes are 69.86 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.11 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 60.75 per 1,000 residents.


  • Fort Pierce, Florida


The total population for Fort Pierce is 42,566 and the number of reported crimes ranks in at 65.95 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 11.14 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.81 per 1,000 residents.


  • Miami, Florida


With a larger population size of 414,327, Miami has a total reported crimes of 65.47 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 11.72 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 53.75 per 1,000 residents.


  • Pompano Beach, Florida


The total population size in Pompano Beach is 103,003. The total reported crimes in the area are 64.29 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 10.29 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.00 per 1,000 residents.


  • Sarasota, Florida


Population size in Sarasota totals 53,055 with the total reported crimes at 63.14 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 8.03 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 55.11 per 1,000 residents.


  • Riviera Beach, Florida


Riviera Beach has a total population of 33,309 and the total reported crimes are 61.97 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 13.21 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 48.76 per 1,000 residents.


  • Lake Worth, Florida


Lake Worth has a population size of 35,788 and the total reported crimes are 61.17 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 12.88 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 48.28 per 1,000 residents.


  • West Palm Beach, Florida


The population size is 102,422 and total crime ranks in at 60.78 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 8.02 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 52.76 per 1,000 residents.


  • Oakland Park, Florida


Oakland Park’s population is 42,071, with the total reported crimes at 60.75 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 7.85 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 52.90 per 1,000 residents.


  • Ocala, Florida


The population in Ocala is reported at 57,288. The total reported crimes for the area is 60.61 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 6.55 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.06 per 1,000 residents.


  • Sanford, Florida


Sanford has a population of 54,662. The total number of reported crimes for the area is 60.13 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 5.91 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 54.22 per 1,000 residents.


  • Lauderdale Lakes, Florida


The population is 33,644 and the total reported crime is 59.80 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.99 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 49.82 per 1,000 residents.


  • Leesburg, Florida


Leesburg’s total reported crime is 60.05 per 1,000 residents. Violent crimes: 9.19 per 1,000 residents. Property crimes: 50.85 per 1,000 residents.

If you are facing criminal charges, you need to understand exactly what is at stake. How you respond to your charges will have a direct impact on how your case plays out, including your freedom and your future. During this critical time, everything you say and do, along with every decision you make can be the difference between imprisonment and you being free to move forward with your life.

Have you been arrested for a crime in Florida? You must act fast to protect your good name even if you have not had formal charges filed against you yet. A Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you with your case no matter what you have been arrested for or charged with. We will fully investigate the facts of your case and aggressively defend you in court or in seeking a settlement.

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A Walt Disney World janitor is facing kidnapping and sexual battery charges after a 21-year-old female worker claims he cornered her inside a custodial closet on Thursday and forced himself on her, an arrest affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, the 21-year-old college student told authorities that the janitor cornered her, forced her to the ground, stated he wanted to have sex with her and began to grope her.

She claims she resisted, told him to stop and attempted to push him away.

2407640646_6d126d1799_mThe alleged attack lasted three to five minutes. The woman then reported the incident to her supervisor.

The affidavit says the man had been in the closet and touched the woman’s genital area during a “hug,” but only over her clothing.

The custodian told police he and his coworker had been in an adulterous relationship for about a month and the encounter was a typical work interaction for them, the affidavit shows.

However, according to reports, police have sided with the woman’s story.

In many sex crimes cases, a family member alleges sexual abuse or even a friend or co-worker will make over-the-top allegations. Even a simple accusation of sexual assault or abuse must be squelched immediately because the effects can be devastating to both your professional career and personal life. If convicted of a sex crime, you could be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This information is public record and it does not matter where you go, these charges will follow you. If you have been accused of or charged with a sex crime at either the state or federal level, it is best to take immediate action as hesitation will not help you.

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Florida will have 159 new laws starting Tuesday that address various issues, including college tuition, corporate tax credits, abortions and sex offenders.

One of the most prevalent laws is one that aims to protect children and others from dangerous sex offenders. The laws are intended to keep the most violent sexual offenders locked up longer and close any loopholes in a law that allows the state to send predators to a high-security treatment center once they have served their time in prison. The new laws will subject more offenders to potential civil commitment and prosecutors, detectives and victim advocates will be part of the committee that reviews their cases.

The sexually violent predator package of bills was among the first of the legislature sent to Gov. Rick Scott during the 60-day session that ended in May. The new laws are meant to create a better child welfare system in Florida. As of now, Florida is the only state in America that has a 50-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for violent sexual offenders.

gavelAnother law that seeks to protect children concerns the Department of Children and Families. The law changes how the department investigates and responds to cases; now placing a higher emphasis on shielding a child from abuse rather than focusing on keeping a family together. Moreover, the law also pays for 270 additional child protective investigators so that caseloads can be reduced and a response team can be sent out quickly to investigate child abuse deaths when the child had previous dealings with the system.

Another law will establish a statewide pilot program to pay for foster children’s driver’s education classes, license fees and car insurance so that they can be better prepared to gain employment when they turn 18 and leave the system.

The children of immigrants in the country illegally will now be able to receive in-state tuition at state universities after Scott changed his position on the issue. Another bill will give tuition breaks to honorably discharged veterans as well as waive professional licensing fees for them.

Local school boards now have the responsibility of selecting textbooks, whether or not they are on a state-adopted list, and will be required to put policies in place that allow parents to object to the books they choose.

Another new law took effect on June 20 that expands a voucher program, giving corporate tax credits to companies that provide money for low-income families to send their children to private schools.

As far as criminal laws go, there will be increased penalties for spiny lobster poachers, people leaving the scene of an accident that causes injury and people who illegally sell prescription drugs. Additionally, electronic cigarette sales to minors are now illegal in Florida. Another law forbids sending text messages soliciting products to residents on the state’s “no sales solicitation calls” list.

Florida has also changed its definition for its late-term abortion ban. Abortions will be illegal in Florida at any stage in a woman’s pregnancy if her doctor concludes that the fetus could survive outside the womb. The previous law banned abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. An exception can be made to this law if the mother’s life is at risk.

Lastly, new laws will create a Florida Tourism Hall of Fame and the position of state poet laureate to promote poetry in Florida.

Laws across the United States are constantly changing. When you have been accused of committing a crime in Florida, only a Florida Trial Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can provide you with the legal representation that you need. While many attorneys are quick to negotiate with prosecutors to obtain a plea bargain instead of pursuing trial, our Florida Criminal Attorneys know that sometimes trial is the best option for your situation. We thoroughly evaluate every case and will always advise you of your best legal defense strategy.

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Two juveniles linked to a string of house burglaries in Maitland were arrested on Wednesday, according to police reports.

Maitland police claim the two are also connected to numerous other break-ins in Orange and Seminole counties.

Some stolen items, which included electronics, purses and televisions, were recovered at the suspects’ homes, according to police.

The burglaries allegedly started in Maitland on June 6.

home burglaryThe suspects have been taken into custody and were transported to the Maitland Police Department for further questioning.

No further information has been disclosed regarding the alleged burglaries.

Juvenile criminal cases are handled differently than those of adults. The criminal courts recognize that those under the age of 18 are often unable to comprehend their behaviors and actions or understand the consequences in the same way as an adult’s brain does. Because of this, the court system puts an emphasis on rehabilitation when it comes to handling these cases.

Just like adults, a minor can invoke their right to remain silent and their right to a juvenile defense attorney. This is very important because an attorney should be contacted before a minor has any interactions with police. Understand that police are not required to tell the truth when questioning minors, so they often try to employ tactics that trick juveniles into giving incriminating statements.

An Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you if your child has been accused of or charged with a criminal offense. When it comes to your child’s defense, our main goal is to preserve your child’s record so he or she can walk away from this experience without suffering long-term effects. We know that keeping children out of the criminal justice system is central for protecting their future.

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A spokeswoman for the Florida Democrat announced that U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida will not be charged in a domestic incident involving his wife.

A judge granted a temporary protective injunction against U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson after his wife filed paperwork accusing the Orlando congressman of shoving and injuring her during an incident earlier this month.

Lolita Grayson’s petition for the injunction claimed her husband pushed her against a door, causing her to fall to the ground, during a confrontation on March 1 at their home on Oak Park Road near Windermere.

Alan_GraysonThe incident came just less than two months after Lolita Grayson filed a divorce petition stating that their marriage of nearly 24 years was “irretrievably broken.”

Rep. Grayson was first elected to Congress in 2008 but lost his 2010 re-election bid.

He ran again in 2012 and won.

Domestic violence accusations are not taken lightly by police and prosecutors. These serious allegations can ruin a person’s reputation and take away their freedom. Being wrongly accused of committing acts of domestic violence can significantly impact an innocent person’s life forever. A conviction for domestic violence or a related crime carries devastating penalties, including jail or prison time, probation, fines, loss of contact with loved ones, impact on child custody and visitation rights and will leave a permanent stain on your criminal record. These cases are prosecuted quite aggressively and charges can still be pursued even if a victim declines to press charges.

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The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrested three people on Friday in connection with alleged illegal telemarketing operations in central Florida.

According to the agency, an investigation into three companies following a series of consumer complaints revealed the businesses were operating illegally. The owners of the three telemarking companies were arrested.

One of the agencies operating out of Kissimmee is suspected of defrauding 12 people of more than $500,000. The 34-year-old owner was arrested and charged with several offenses, including grand theft and exploitation of an elderly person or disabled person. The man was booked into the Osceola County Jail.

Call Center Taxis LibresA 30-year-old business owner was arrested and booked into the Orange County Jail. The FDACS claims this particular company was unlicensed to conduct commercial telephone sales. The business allegedly employed 12 unlicensed commercial telephone salespersons. The owner was charged with 12 counts of employing unlicensed commercial telephone salesperson and one count of commercial telephone solicitation without a telephone sales license, all of which are third-degree felonies.

The third person arrested, is a 48-year-old Sanford man who owns an Altamonte Springs company. Investigators claim that three unlicensed people were found working at his business. The man was charged with three counts of employing unlicensed commercial telephone salesperson and booked into the Seminole County Jail.

In an effort to prevent consumer fraud, law enforcement agents are constantly investigating telemarketing companies. The restrictions on telemarketing companies are quite strict and the laws are always changing, so if you are accused of telemarketing fraud of any kind you must act fast to protect your rights. Whether you are accused of operating a telemarketing scheme or are found to be in non-compliance with current laws and regulations, an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can help you build a powerful defense for state or federal charges.

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An 89-year-old Indiana man and the owner of an Apopka lily nursery pleaded guilty Tuesday in Detroit to transporting more than 1,400 pounds of cocaine to Michigan between 2009 and 2011.

The Michigan City, Ind., man is one of the oldest criminal defendants in Detroit’s federal court. He told the court that he had never committed a crime before and that he worked for drug dealers because he needed money.

The man was 87 in 2011 when a Michigan state trooper pulled his pickup truck over on Interstate 94, just west of Detroit. According to the trooper, the man was upset about what he would find in his truck and said, “Just kill me and let me leave this planet.”

cocaine betch.jpgThe man told a U.S. District judge that he was aware he was transporting cocaine.

Due to the man’s age, prosecutors are showing leniency by recommending a five-year prison sentence. This is a huge break since the sentencing guidelines call for a minimum of 14 years.

The man’s defense attorney said he will request that the man serve less than five years at the man’s next court date on Feb. 11.

The man apparently owes $500,000 as part of the plea deal and has agreed to give up his lily nursery in Apopka, Fla. Reports indicate he will be allowed to keep his Indiana home.

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