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Articles Posted in Osceola County

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1080262_stethoscope_2.jpgThe trial of an 18-year-old teen accused of impersonating a physician assistant and four counts of practicing medicine without a license is scheduled to commence Tuesday in Florida.

The teen was 17 at the time he allegedly worked at the Osceola Regional Medical Center in the emergency room, changing bandages, handling IVs and helping to conduct exams.

Following his arrest, the teen apparently told police that he performed CPR on a patient suffering from a drug overdose.

The teen went to the hospital in August 2011 to obtain a badge for his job as a clerk at a doctor’s office across the street. However, someone messed up the paperwork and the teen was somehow put in the system as a physician assistant.

An Osceola County Circuit Court Judge anticipates the trial to last three days.

The teen has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges and has sought to get his confession thrown out of court.

He was arrested in September 2011 and was released on bail.

He was arrested again in January of this year for impersonating a police officer.

If you are suspected of practicing medicine without a license in Florida, you could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 per count. Criminal charges for practicing medicine without a license usually occur from partaking in any of the following activities:

• Prescribing medication without actually possessing the proper license to do so
• Using any abbreviations that may imply a person is a licensed professional, such
as M.D. or D.O.

• Medically diagnosing a patient
• Delivering any form of medical treatment to someone without holding a valid medical license
• Providing medical examinations, although lacking the appropriate medical license to be able to legally do so

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A 43-year-old elementary school principal was arrested on drug charges Friday after deputies searched his St. Cloud home and allegedly found methamphetamine, marijuana, GHB and drug paraphernalia.

Authorities claim the arrest stems from an undercover sting operation.

The man allegedly provided an undercover agent with drugs, including methamphetamines.

He was charged with possession and delivery of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was transported to the Osceola County Jail.

State and federal prosecutors take drug charges quite seriously. They tend to show no mercy to those suspected of dealing drugs and usually seek heavy jail time for those facing delivery charges. On top of jail time, you could be facing the forfeiture of your home, vehicles and other property. The Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can examine the events leading up to your arrest and review the search and seizure of your property to find any violations of police protocol. In many drug cases, illegal search and seizure has resulted in a suppression of evidence and charges being dismissed entirely.

Selling or distributing drugs in Florida is always a felony offense. The sentencing can vary based on the type of drug and other conditions. The potential penalties associated with a felony drug charge usually involve lengthy prison time and substantial fines. Law enforcement officers as well as prosecutors work vehemently towards obtaining a conviction in all areas of drug delivery or sales. Because of this, it is essential to launch an aggressive line of defense right away. Unfortunately, many people arrested for drug charges fail to secure a criminal defense lawyer’s help because they feel they cannot fight the charges stacked against them. However, a powerful defense strategy may be all that stands between you and your freedom.

The Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton strive to reduce any penalties you may face as a result of drug charges. It is important to understand that early representation is critical to the success of your case.

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Search warrants were served at homes in Orlando, Apopka, Sorrento and Kissimmee and a total of nine people were arrested Tuesday as a number of Central Florida police agencies dug further into an investigation into an alleged large-scale Mexican marijuana distribution ring labeled the “Gulf Cartel.”

The FBI, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Osceola and Seminole County Sheriff’s Offices apparently seized evidence, including cars and motorcycles from one of the properties, and forensic investigators were reportedly seen carrying shovels to apparently dig up money buried in the yard.

Federal prosecutors allege the Gulf Cartel shipped thousands of pounds of marijuana from Mexico through McAllen, Texas and then to Panama City, Florida and finally, to the six homes raided in Orange, Lake and Osceola counties.

Each monthly shipment was allegedly worth as much as $1million.

The nine individuals arrested apparently operated undercover, and investigators are looking into their immigration status.

Investigators accused the nine suspects of burying cash in the yard until it could be moved back to Texas in an 82-page report filed in Federal Court on Monday.

A source apparently told investigators that the Gulf Cartel allegedly had $2 million buried in Florida at some point while waiting for the money to be sent back to Texas.

Nine people were named and charged with possession with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana in a criminal complaint filed in Federal Court on Monday. Five of those were named in Federal Court on Tuesday afternoon.

In Florida, possession with intent relates to the criminal charge of possession of an illegal substance, such as marijuana or cannabis, with the intent to sell the drug. Penalties for this crime are severe, and each of the men charged in this particular case face a minimum of 10 years in prison. Most often the penalties for possession with the intent to distribute, sell or deliver include incarceration in state prison for as much as 30 years. Possession with the intent to sell or distribute is a felony offense, and because of this, it is vital to the success of your case to contact a Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorney to help defend your case from the very beginning. The criminal defense lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand the consequences associated with a criminal drug charge and will implement strategic defense tactics to protect your rights.

When law enforcement believes they have discovered a person who has committed the crime of possession with intent to sell or deliver, they are not required to prove that the drugs in question were actually sold by that person. Rather, they must establish that the person merely intended to sell the drugs in their possession. The following are just some of the factors the State will look at to decide applicable charges:

• The amount of cash in an individual’s custody
• The amount of drugs in a person’s possession
• The location where the offense transpired
• How the drugs are packaged
In addition to the above factors, law enforcement officers may rely on circumstantial evidence to prove that the drugs possessed were intended to be sold or delivered. In fact, even a scarce amount of drugs found on a person may be alleged by police to be intended for future sale or distribution.

The Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand the charges you are facing as well as your legal rights. As former prosecutors in Florida, our staff of attorneys has first-hand knowledge of how the prosecution works and how to assemble a case to defend your rights against any drug charge. Regardless of whether this is your first offense or if you have priors, we will fight for the best results possible and will not hesitate to take your case to trial.

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A 46-year-old Tallahassee doctor was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday for his involvement in a prescription pill trafficking operation.

The man was also ordered to pay a $500,000 fine and investigative and prosecutorial costs.

According to the Florida Office of the Attorney General, the illegal operation was to blame for disbursing large quantities of prescription drugs throughout western Florida.

The physician apparently pled guilty to conspiring to traffic in 28 grams or more of oxycodone in October 2011. He was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

The Osceola County Investigative Bureau, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the Sarasota Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement claim they began investigating the doctor in 2010. Their alleged investigation revealed the doctor was selling prescriptions for large amounts of oxycodone to a group of associates who would fill the prescriptions and then disburse the pills on the streets of Sarasota.

One of the doctor’s co-defendants was sentenced to 25 years in state prison for his role in the operation and another co-defendant is awaiting sentencing.

Drug trafficking in the State of Florida describes the sale, delivery, possession or manufacturing of illegal drugs and controlled substances over a certain weight or amount. The consequences associated with a drug trafficking charge can vary from a minimum of three years to a maximum of a life sentence in prison, depending on the type of drug and the quantity. Sentences are established by the weight value of the total pills in question. At minimum, a trafficking charge of oxycodone is a three year mandatory prison sentence with a fine of $50,000 and a maximum of 25 years in prison plus a fine of $500,000.

In many drug trafficking cases in Florida, the State will seek conspiracy charges to be filed in addition to trafficking charges in order to obtain convictions not only for trafficking pills, but an agreement to traffic drugs. The conspiracy to traffic drugs can be difficult to understand because most drug charges require for the prosecution to prove that the accused was in possession of the drugs in question at some point. However, a conspiracy to traffic drugs charge can be proven solely by establishing that an agreement existed to carry out a drug-related criminal act. In fact, the act does not have to even be completed to be convicted of conspiracy.

The Florida Prescription Drug Trafficking Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly review the facts of your case and explore all possible defenses to combat the charges against you. We will review any evidence and police reports to consider the following:

• Did law enforcement play a role in initiating your participation in the conspiracy?

• Did the conspiracy solely entail verbal agreements, or were there acts in furtherance of the conspiracy?

• Was the agreement terminated or dismissed before an arrest was made?

• Were wiretaps involved, and if so were they legal?

• Was the warrant obtained legal?

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A 52-year-old Columbian man was arrested in the Orlando area Saturday morning for having $6,500 in counterfeit U.S. currency in his possession.

A Kissimmee police officer pulled the man over Saturday morning driving a dark blue BMW with a tinted front windshield. The officer apparently instructed him to pull over while he was conducting an unrelated traffic stop in the same area.

After checking the vehicle, it was allegedly determined that the car was not properly registered to the driver. The man was detained while the officer performed a field investigation.

Investigators claim the man gave his consent for officers to search the vehicle where they allegedly uncovered a black purse containing three separate envelopes, one of them apparently containing 50 counterfeit $100 bills.

The man was placed under arrest and taken to the Kissimmee Police Department to be interviewed by Kissimmee Police Detectives and a United States Secret Service Agent.

According to the Kissimmee Police Department, a thorough search of the vehicle revealed $14, 802 of valid U.S. currency, $6,500 of counterfeit U.S. currency and 46 random gift cards from various retailers.

The man was charged with possession of more than 10 counterfeit bills and was transported to the Osceola County Jail. At the man’s request, the Columbian Consulate was contacted.

Counterfeiting represents the act of generating false currency and distributing it or attempting to distribute it as a genuine form of cash. Counterfeiting can also include other criminal activities including possession of counterfeit money or goods or trafficking in counterfeit money or goods.
When counterfeiting involves money or government bonds, it is charged as a federal crime. Like most white collar crimes, this means federal agencies will investigate and prosecute the case. Not only do these federal agencies have more resources than law enforcement organizations at the state level, they tend to show fewer leniencies to those accused of counterfeiting.

In order for the prosecution to obtain a conviction in a counterfeiting currency case, it must be shown that the accused knowingly committed the offense. A Florida Counterfeit Defense Lawyer may be able to present compelling evidence to the jury that may result in a dismissal of charges if the following can be demonstrated:

• The accused did not commit the crime of counterfeiting
• The accused unknowingly was in possession of counterfeit money
• The accused had no intent to commit the crime of counterfeiting
• Any evidence pertaining to the charge of counterfeiting is insufficient or inconclusive
When accused of a counterfeiting offense, it is important to consult with a Florida Counterfeit Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as early on in the process as possible. It does make a difference how soon a defense attorney is brought into the process. By consulting with legal counsel during the early stages of an investigation, the prosecution may be persuaded that they do not have a convincing case against you which could result in no charges being filed.

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A 17-year-old male and a 22-year-old female were arrested by Orlando area authorities on Oct. 27 for supposedly trying to check back into their motel room an hour after leaving because they allegedly left behind crack cocaine in the room’s freezer.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office was called to a motel near Kissimmee, Florida around lunchtime after the cleaning staff supposedly found several bags of crack cocaine in the freezer of a room the couple previously occupied.

According to deputies, the room’s former female occupant called the motel during the investigation and told the manager she wanted to pay for one more night in the same room.

Upon arrival at the motel, both the man and woman were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The woman allegedly told deputies that the man sells crack cocaine and they both forgot it was in the freezer when they checked out of the motel.

The couple arrested in this particular case faces charges involving constructive possession, which means the drugs were not found on their person. As with all criminal drug matters, the burden of proof lies in the hands of the prosecution, and constructive possession cases can be more difficult for the State to prove than actual possession charges. Actual possession is simply when law enforcement agents uncover drugs somewhere on your physical being. In order for the State to prove constructive possession charges in Florida, prosecutors must prove that the person, or people, arrested had knowledge illegal drugs were present and had actual control over them. It is best to contact a Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorney to intervene early on with criminal defense matters pertaining to crack cocaine so that you can stand the best chance of having your charges reduced or possibly dropped altogether.

Selling and distributing illegal drugs is usually classified as a felony in the state of Florida. Selling cocaine or possessing cocaine with intent to sell is normally a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. However, if a person is charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to sell within 200 feet of a university, public housing facility, public park, or within 1,000 feet of a church or other property deemed for religious use, enhanced penalties can be attached. Selling or possessing cocaine with the intent to sell near one of these facilities could amplify consequences to a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison.

At Whittel & Melton, we understand the intricacies associated with how police attempt to prove possession of illegal drugs with the intent to sell. Often these cases rely upon the testimony of witnesses and law enforcement agents to prove the State’s case. We work to snuff out any holes in the prosecution’s case to decrease the risk of potential consequences associated with a drug crimes conviction.

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The Orlando Sun Sentinel is reporting that at least 150 Florida teachers have been disciplined in the past three years for accusations arising from sexual misconduct with students. One concerning trend the report showed is sexual misdeeds is rising in Florida – especially among female educators.

Some of the most severe cases resulted in arrests and criminal convictions for sex offenses but the Sentinel’s review of teacher-discipline records from the Florida Department of Education found that many of the alleged misconducts did not rise to a criminal level.

Regardless of whether the teachers were criminally charged, the facts of some of these incidents are alarming. Among the “not charged” cases are allegations that a Port Orange teacher sent text messages to a boy, calling him “cutie” and “sexie”; a ninth-grade teacher in Tampa who asked a student about the color of her nipples; and an Orlando coach who used e-mail and instant messages to tell a 13-year-old girl he loved her and wanted their relationship to grow beyond friendship.

Those 150 disciplinary cases don’t include the dozens of educators who have been suspended or lost their teaching certificates since 2006 for molesting nonstudents, downloading porn at school, having sex in public and trying to pick up prostitutes. Many of the cases occurred in the South Florida and Tampa Bay areas. In Central Florida, 34 teachers were disciplined in the three-year period, including 12 from Orange County, 11 from Volusia, four from Polk, three from Seminole, three from Brevard and one in Lake.

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