Articles Posted in Volusia County

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New Smyrna Beach Police said a man has been charged with lewd acts on a child.

Officers were called shortly after 7:40 p.m. Wednesday to Florida Memorial Hospital. The dispatcher advised that a child had reportedly been sexually abused.

When police arrived at the hospital, they claim a witness told them that a 5-year-old boy was allegedly victim to lewd acts by a family friend.

The child was out of sight for only a few moments when the act allegedly occurred, according to police. When the boy’s guardian went to check on him, she claims she saw the 59-year-old family friend performing ‘a lewd act’ on the boy.

A short time later, the accused was located at his home and was placed under arrest for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 12.

He was transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail without bond.

If you or someone you love has been accused wrongfully of child sexual abuse, you will need the best possible criminal defense attorney handling your sex crimes case. Our Volusia County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have the experience, knowledge and dedication that you need. We recognize that these cases require an aggressive line of defense as a conviction can result in harsh sentences potentially involving years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

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A state prison corrections officer was arrested this week after being accused of molesting a young girl at an Ormond Beach-area day care he co-owned.

The girl, who is now 9 years old, told her mother about the alleged abuse in April 2015, several years after it allegedly happened, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

The girl apparently told deputies that the 49-year-old touched her and showed her pornographic videos when she was at the daycare.

Deputies say the alleged abuse happened between 2008 and 2010.

The man was arrested Tuesday and is facing a lewd or lascivious molestation charge.

When a child makes a sex crimes accusation it is usually presumed to be true, without question, regardless of whether there is any truth behind it. That is why it is critical to retain legal help as soon as an accusation has been made against you, regardless of your innocence.

Child molestation is a very serious accusation. At Whittel & Melton, our Volusia County Criminal Defense Lawyers can work to help you whether you are the innocent victim of a false accusation or misunderstanding, or whether you have made a mistake. While each case is different, we have successfully handles many sex crimes cases and know how to handle these challenging situations.  

If you are accused of child molestation, understand that you will likely automatically be viewed as guilty, not just by law enforcement and prosecutors, but also by your friends, coworkers, and even family members. You could even be separated from your own children, despite whether or not they are alleged victims.

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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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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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More than 20 pounds of marijuana, a semi-automatic pistol and $9,000 in cash were allegedly found Monday after agents raided a Flagler County home.

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Tri-County Narcotics Task Force, as well as Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputies, apparently seized 23 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $76,000, a pistol and the cash during the search warrant they executed around 8:52 p.m. at a home on Wheatfield Drive in Palm Coast.

A 21-year-old of Palm Coast was arrested and charged with one count of possession of cannabis with intent to sell. He was booked into the Flagler County Jail on $10,000 bond.

According to jail records, he has since posted bond.

During the operations, the semi-automatic pistol that was seized was determined to have been reported stolen by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

With Florida law enforcement determined to crack down on drug laws and close ranks on drug distribution operations, it can be amazingly easy to find yourself arrested for a drug possession with intent to sell charge. Arrests like these can stem from simple misunderstandings or even after you have been allegedly caught for possession and the prosecution wishes to amp up the charges.

Regardless of the situation, adding intent to distribute to a drug possession charge can greatly increase the penalties you face if convicted. It is highly recommended you work with a Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer to protect your rights and fight these charges.

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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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Kurt Busch is accused of smashing his ex-girlfriend’s head against his motor home wall Sept. 26 at Dover International Speedway, according to the conclusions of a Kent County (Del.) family court commissioner who granted the woman’s request for a protective order last week.

Busch is scheduled to race Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, where he is slated to start 24th in the Daytona 500.

NASCAR has not disciplined Busch at this time. The organization is waiting for the findings and for a possible decision by the Delaware attorney general’s office on whether charges will be filed for the alleged Sept. 26 assault.

“The Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, on September 26, 2014, Respondent [Busch] committed an act of domestic violence against Petitioner by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motorhome,” commissioner David Jones wrote in his findings and conclusions.

8736203623_6c8f58b75d_zAs part of his decision, Jones requires for Busch “to be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional” and complete any further steps for treatment that person recommends.

Busch apparently told police that his ex entered his motor home uninvited, adding that they had broken up a week earlier, and that he cupped her face with his hands while repeatedly asking her to leave.

Jones released his opinion last week, stating that he believes the ex-girlfriend’s version of the events that night was more credible. He added that Busch’s version of events does not make sense and does not match up with the evidence.

Busch has asked Jones to reconsider the ruling.

Domestic violence refers to any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment or any criminal offense that results in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

Domestic violence cases in Florida are usually very sensitive cases that are highly fueled by emotion. These types of cases usually have increased public and media attention, especially when involving a celebrity. A conviction for domestic violence also carries minimum mandatory sentencing, so these cases need to be treated very carefully by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Even if you have no previous criminal record, you need to have a defense attorney fighting in your corner.

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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 62-year-old Daytona Beach man pleaded no contest to charges that he was sexually abusing his small female dog on Thursday, according to the state attorney’s office.

Reports indicate that neighbors of the man said they saw the accused have sex with his 8-month-old dog.

Authorities allege that the dog showed signs of sexual abuse. They further claim that the dog was tied up to a post with no food or water, according to the report.

police-378255_150The pit bull mix is now in the custody of animal rescue.

The man pleaded no contest to felony cruelty to animals and sexual activities involving animals.

His sentencing has been scheduled for next month and he faces up to five years in prison.

Animal cruelty charges can range in severity from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the behavior in question. Animal cruelty becomes a third-degree felony under Florida law when a person intentionally commits any act on any animal that results in excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering or cruelty that results in death of the animal. When animal cruelty is charged as a third-degree felony it carries a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and five years in prison. If prosecutors can show that the person accused of the animal cruelty violation knowingly and intentionally tortured or tormentented the animal to the point that it resulted in the injury, mutilation or death of the animal, the mandatory minimum fine for the offense will be $2,500 and the offender will be obligated to complete counseling or anger management courses.

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