Articles Posted in Weapons Charges

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Miami Dolphins running back Mark Walton has been sentenced to six months’ probation for weapons charges after reaching a plea deal on Monday. 

Court records show Walton plead no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge.

In addition to probation, Walton must take anger management and driving courses and must give up his firearm.

Walton did have a slew of other charges stacked against him, including marijuana possession and reckless driving, all of which were dismissed. The charges stemmed from a March incident in which Walton fled on foot from his rented car after police tried to pull him over. Authorities claimed they found a rifle and the marijuana in the car.

The 22-year-old Walton played college football at the University of Miami and was a 4th-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2018 NFL draft. He signed with the Dolphins earlier this year.

When you are facing serious criminal charges, such as a drug or weapons charge, you may be wondering how these types of charges can be dropped or dismissed. Our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have successfully had charges reduced or dropped against many clients over the years, and it is possible that we can help you, too. 

It is important to point out that not all criminal cases go to trial. In fact, many criminal charges are dropped before trial after negotiations between prosecutors and defense lawyers. It is also worth noting that only the prosecutor has the power to drop criminal charges.Criminal charges can be dropped due to many factors that can ultimately outweigh the prosecution’s case, like insufficient evidence, inadmissible evidence, and lack of witness credibility. 

Our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton also know there is an important difference between dropping charges and dismissing charges. Charges can be dismissed only after charges have been filed. A charge can be dropped before or after a charge has been filed. To clarify, you may need a charge dropped by the prosecutor, or you may need a charge dismissed by the prosecutor, however, a court can dismiss a charge if a prosecutor makes a legal error in the case. Either way, we can help you.

Before going to court for a trial, our criminal defense lawyers can argue that the prosecution’s case is not strong enough to obtain a conviction in what is called pretrial negotiations. This is where we will urge the prosecution to dismiss or drop the charge. The prosecution may accept or counter with an offer to reduce the charge. We can further review the facts and possibly counter back that even the reduced charge will not prevail in court.

A reduced charge is possible when the evidence is not strong enough for a certain charge, but strong enough for a lesser charge. When this happens, prosecutors may offer a plea bargain agreement. This means that prosecutors will dismiss the original charge if the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest to a less severe charge instead. Our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can make sure your rights are protected when it comes to plea bargain agreements. These vary case by case, and we may advise you to take the deal or reject the agreement if the case against the original charge is weak.

To conclude, there are many ways to get your criminal charges dropped or dismissed. However, for this to happen, you first need to seek legal help from us as soon as possible. The earlier we get involved with your case, the much better the odds of obtaining a favorable outcome. We want to help you move on from criminal charges and resume your normal life with as little damage to your reputation and record as possible. Every case is unique, so we can make sure you understand all of your legal options. 

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A Mandarin High School student and an 18-year-old Northside charter school student were allegedly caught Friday with guns on their respective campuses, according to police.

The 18-year-old was arrested Friday with a loaded gun in his book bag at Biscayne High Charter School on the Northside, police said. The gun had 14 rounds in it, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 30.

Across town, a 17-year-old apparently had a loaded .380 handgun at Mandarin High and was also charged with possession of marijuana, according to reports.

There were five rounds in the gun.

No students or staff were hurt.

There have been three gun-in-school arrests in Duval County this school year. During the 2016-17 school year, there were 17 arrests in incidents that resulted in 11 guns, a Taser and a starter pistol being confiscated.

Gun violence is certainly an ongoing issue, and something high schools, middle schools and even elementary schools have to deal with on a regular basis. Because of this, Florida laws have cracked down on individuals, including juveniles, who bring weapons onto school property.

Below are a list of weapons that are banned from being brought on school property:

  • Firearms
  • Shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Knives
  • Cutting tools
  • Nunchuck sticks
  • Any other tool, instrument or implement that can inflict serious bodily injury

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A woman was arrested and charged in the attempted murder of a homeless man in Nashville.

Police claim the 26-year-old allegedly shot a 54-year-old homeless man Aug. 26 near Music Row.

The man was critically wounded and is being treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

According to police, the man was trying to sleep on the sidewalk at 3 a.m. at 19th Avenue South and Chet Atkins place.

He was reportedly disturbed by exhaust fumes and loud music coming from a Porsche SUV.

The man said he asked the driver to move the vehicle. Police say the two began yelling at each other, and the woman allegedly got out of the car and shot the man twice before running up the street with another woman.

The woman’s father released the following statement, saying his daughter fired two warning shots not meaning to hit the man.

The two women were actually acting in self defense. The man was always on his feet and not asleep as someone apparently has alleged and had accosted a group of very young women and nearly became physical with one. He then approached the white Porsche (not Lexus) with two female occupants  and started verbally accosting them threatening them because their music was too loud for him to sleep… The driver fired a round as a warning to scare him away as he came at her. He kept coming and she fired a second round, again intended to scare him away. They quickly got back into the white vehicle and left, not knowing  that the man was hit by the warning shots. Both girls contacted the police and DA shortly after the incident and have always agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation.

The woman has since posted a $25,000 bond and was released from jail.

While this incident occurred in Tennessee, it raises the question of what if this happened in Florida? This brings up Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law, which states:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity, and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

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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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Five Notre Dame football players were arrested Friday night after police stopped them for speeding and reported finding a handgun and marijuana in the car.

A senior safety, a redshirt freshman cornerback, a freshman wide receiver, a sophomore running back and a sophomore linebacker were each charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Three of the five were also charged with possession of a handgun without a license, also a misdemeanor.

An Indiana State Police trooper stopped the five players in Fulton County for driving 73 mph in a 60 mph zone, according to an ISP news release. The officer reported smelling marijuana coming from the car, and a police dog indicated that there were drugs in the vehicle. Officers found a handgun and marijuana after searching the car, according to the report.

The Notre Dame vice president for public affairs and communications said in a statement that the university will determine if additional sanctions are needed.

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, you need the legal advice of a criminal defense attorney. While you may be tempted to go with the free services of the public defender’s office, keep in mind that they will have dozens of other cases and will not have the time to devote to you and a successful outcome for your legal troubles. In fact, the public defender will most likely encourage you to accept a plea bargain, even though you may have a good chance of avoiding a conviction.

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A former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player was arrested Monday morning on charges stemming from an incident in January.

According to Tampa Police, Cosey Coleman, 37, was arrested at 11:30 a.m. at a home in Tampa. Coleman was an offensive lineman for the Bucs from 2000-2004.

A warrant was originally issued for Coleman’s arrest on Jan. 11, after he was allegedly involved in an altercation at Ducky’s Sports Lounge. While inside the bar, Coleman is accused of hitting a 40-year-old Tampa man in the face, knocking him to the ground. He was then escorted out by security.

When Coleman spotted the man leaving the bar, he allegedly grabbed a handgun from his car in the bar’s parking lot and began to raise his arm as if to point it at the man. Security grabbed him and prevented him from pointing or firing the weapon.

When authorities reached the scene of the alleged incident, Coleman was not present, and police issued the arrest warrant.

Police charged Coleman with two felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery. He was released later Monday on a $15,000 bond.

Coleman played a total of seven seasons in the NFL, five with the Bucs. He finished his career in 2006 for the Cleveland Browns.

If you are facing felony assault and/or battery charges in Florida, understand that these charges are quite severe. Florida felony assault and battery charges carry the possibility of actual prison time. With that said, there is no room for discussion – you need help, regardless of your innocence. Felony assault and battery charges are the real deal and can send you to prison, wreak havoc on your personal and professional life, and forever change your life’s path.

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A Plant High School student has been arrested after he was allegedly found in his car with weapons while the school was on lockdown Wednesday morning.

Tampa Police charged the 18-year-old student with two counts of possession of a firearm on school property.

According to a report, the school, initiated a “modified” lockdown due to a phone call communicating a vague threat. During a search of the school’s perimeter by officers and school security, the teen was allegedly found in his car with weapons.

A Hillsborough Schools spokesperson said the teen is an avid hunter, and the alleged weapons were unrelated to the earlier phone threat to the school.

The lockdown lasted a little more than an hour. The school was not evacuated.

With school violence such a hot button issue and deadly shootings occurring even in elementary schools, school districts and Florida law have cracked down on individuals, including juveniles, who bring weapons onto school property.

Weapons prohibited from being brought on school property include:

  • Firearms
  • Shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Knives
  • Cutting tools
  • Nunchuck sticks
  • Any other tool, instrument or implement that can inflict serious bodily injury

If your child has been charged with possessing a firearm on school property, you will need to enlist the help of an experienced Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton very quickly. As with all criminal charges, you should not talk to the police or prosecutors without your attorney present. Anything you say can be taken out of context and used against you. If the police question you, politely request your lawyer and refrain from answering their questions.

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Miami Beach Police arrested Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, 26, after they claim he shot his gun into the air early Saturday morning.

He was charged with discharging a firearm in public around 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

A parking attendant told police that he saw a black Porsche Panamera with two men and two women inside. According to the arrest report, the two men got out of the Porsche and approached a white vehicle with several women inside.

15264159251_bb125ef477_zThe attendant told police that the discussion soon became hostile and that he then spotted Quarless walk up to the white car with a semi-automatic handgun. The witness then told police that Quarless pointed the gun in the air and fired off two rounds before taking off in the Porsche.

Police put out a “be on the lookout,” or BOLO, alert for the Porsche and eventually caught up with the vehicle parked on the 400 block of Washington Avenue with its lights on.

According to the report, Quarless was allegedly discovered nearby, “attempting to conceal himself and the black firearm in a nearby plant.”

A spokesman for the Green Bay Packers issued the following statement:

“We are aware of the matter involving Andrew Quarless and are in the process of gathering more information. We will withhold further comment.”

Discharging a firearm in public can lead to significant penalties, including prison time if convicted. If you have been arrested for discharging a firearm in public, you should immediately consult with a criminal defense attorney so that you can learn about your rights and the viable defenses that may be available to you.

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Former University of Florida Gator and New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez, 25, who once had a $40 million contract and a standout career ahead of him, will now be serving a mandatory sentence of life without parole.

The former football pro was also found guilty on weapons charges. The jury deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before rendering its verdict.

6566853359_6d069f2b0b_zLloyd was shot six times in the middle of the night on June 17, 2013, in a deserted industrial park near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough.

Police almost immediately began investigating Hernandez because they found a key to a car that the NFL player had rented in Lloyd’s pocket. Hours after he was arrested, the Patriots cut the former Pro Bowl athlete, who was considered one of the top tight ends in the NFL.

Prosecutors presented a great amount of evidence during trial that Hernandez was with Lloyd at the time he was killed, including home security video from Hernandez’s mansion, witness testimony and cellphone records that tracked Lloyd’s movements.

Hernandez’s lawyer also acknowledged for the first time during closing arguments that Hernandez was there when Lloyd was killed.

But, Hernandez’s attorney told the court that two of Hernandez’s friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, killed Lloyd. Wallace and Ortiz will stand trial later.

The prosecution never offered a motive other than Hernandez appeared angry with Lloyd at a nightclub two nights before the killing.

Hernandez still awaits trial on other murder charges. He is accused of gunning down two men over a spilled drink at a nightclub.

In the Lloyd killing, the defense argued that investigators pinned the murder on Hernandez because of his celebrity status.

Prosecutors believe that Hernandez organized the killing, made his two friends help carry it out and drove Lloyd and the others to the secluded spot in the industrial park. During closing arguments, prosecutors also allege that Hernandez shot the man, though under the law it is not necessary to prove who fired the shots to achieve a conviction.

Security video from inside Hernandez’s home showed him holding what appeared to be a gun less than 10 minutes after Lloyd was killed. The surveillance system also showed Hernandez, Wallace and Ortiz hanging out at his home hours after Lloyd was shot.

Hernandez was an All-American out of the University of Florida who was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round in 2010.

This case does not end with this guilty verdict. There will undoubtedly be an appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. There are many issues in this case that could be a strong grounds for appeal, including the fact that the judge allowed certain parts of the expert’s testimony on the Glock being the murder weapon, but excluded other parts. It could be asserted that the expert’s entire testimony was improper. The defense reminded the jury during closing argument that the expert’s testimony had been struck from evidence and should be disregarded. Because of the defense’s reference to this testimony during closing, it could be argued that asking the jury to ignore such incriminating evidence was unfairly prejudicial, which in turn would warrant a new trial.

It will most definitely be interesting to see how an appeal plays out for Hernandez.

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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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