Online Articles on Criminal Law
Florida targeting sales of pipes and bongs
In the latest development in Florida lawmakers' war on drugs, in May 2013 both houses of the Florida legislature passed bills that would prohibit the sale of many pipes and bongs. The legislation awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature in order to become law.
Court holds marijuana possession does not lead to automatic deportation
On April 23, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in case that settled a split among lower courts about whether marijuana distribution convictions are "aggravated felonies" that lead to automatic deportation under federal law.
Florida bill targeting synthetic drugs
Authorities in Florida and across the U.S. have expressed growing concern with the use of synthetic drugs, often called "bath salts," "spice" or "K2." In March 2012, Florida lawmakers made 142 substances used to make these drugs illegal. In December of that year, Attorney General Pam Bondi issued an emergency order outlawing 22 more chemicals. Now in 2013, Florida legislators are considering bills that would further add to the list of prohibited chemicals.
Funding for Florida prescription drug abuse database in jeopardy
Florida's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which is aimed at reversing Florida's reputation as the nation's "pill mill capital," is in jeopardy due to funding concerns. The program, known as "Electronic - Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation", mandates that Florida pharmacists enter into a database the names of both the doctors who prescribe and the patients who buy certain classes of painkillers.
Florida Cracks Down on Prescription Drug Trafficking
For drug dealers and addicts alike, Florida had become a vacation destination of choice because of the state's lax regulations on the sale of prescriptions drugs like oxycodone. In order to shake this reputation, and keep residents safe, legislators and law enforcement have been cracking down on those who irresponsibly distribute prescription drugs.
Florida’s War on Drugs Targets Those Seeking State Aid
The Florida Legislature continues attempts to tighten access to assistance programs. Over three million Floridians depend on food stamps and almost 100,000 on welfare funds. Recipients may face increased hardships as new laws threaten to take away access if convictions for drug charges are on record.
New Florida Pill Mill Bill Relies on Drug Database to Curb Abuses
Florida is furthering its crusade to monitor and prevent prescription drug abuse, as well as the practice of doctor-shopping, in the state. Late last year, Senator Mike Fasano introduced a bill to adjust the current laws related to prescribing controlled substances, including new rules about accessing the state's prescription drug monitoring database, E-FORCSE. The legislation would also help drug prescribers and pharmacists ensure they are reviewing a patient's history with certain controlled substances before prescribing or dispensing them.
Landmark Florida Ruling Could Benefit Those Charged With Drug Crimes
American law has traditionally held with the belief that in order for someone to be convicted of a crime, the offense in question must have been committed with a "guilty mind." Yet, a decade ago, the Florida legislature passed an almost unprecedented law that codified their desire to criminalize drug possession regardless of a defendant's intent or knowledge.
Florida Police Officer Passes Field Sobriety Test After Wrong-Way Crash
Anyone can be charged with a crime; however, we never expect those who protect the law to be suspected of the very crimes they are supposed to enforce. Nevertheless, in December 2012, a Sanford drunk driving investigator was forced to take a field sobriety test after troopers say he drove the wrong way on a road for several minutes and left the scene of an accident.
Illegal Florida DUI Checkpoint Leads to Dismissed Drunk Driving Charges
Taking a firm stand against Florida driving under the influence charges can take many forms, from fighting breathalyzer results to challenging the results of field sobriety tests. A recent incident in the Tampa area reveals that the circumstances of a DUI checkpoint also provide a basis for criminal defense against a conviction for DUI.
The Debate Rages About Drunk Driving Checkpoint Apps for Smartphones
In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in a 6-3 decision that highway sobriety checkpoints do not violate the constitutional prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure. The court said that for the police to stop a car at a checkpoint is a "seizure" by the government, but that it is not an unreasonable one considering the minimal interruption, effectiveness and seriousness of the governmental interest in public safety.
Will police need warrants before taking forcible blood tests?
The United States Supreme Court recently announced it will decide whether the Fourth Amendment allows law enforcement officials to force non-consenting suspects in impaired driving cases to take a blood test without first requesting a warrant. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects Americans from unlawful searches and seizures. This means that law enforcement cannot search you, your home, or your vehicle, without permission unless they have acquired a probable cause warrant.
U.S. Supreme Court considers case about taking DNA sample during arrest
With the advances that have come in forensic science, law enforcement officials are relying more and more on DNA evidence to investigate crimes. However, the question has arisen about where the limit is regarding when police may obtain DNA samples from people. On February 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case dealing with the question of whether the Fourth Amendment prohibits police officers from collecting DNA samples from people who have been arrested.
Florida cellphone application aims to curb distracted driving
It has been well established that distracted driving behaviors, including texting while driving, are major hazards. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 16,000 people were injured and 3,092 died in distracted driving accidents in 2010. Yet, currently, the state of Florida has failed to enact any distracted driving legislation. The state is one of only 11 others that do not have a complete ban on sending texts messages while driving.
Supreme Court to decide two Fourth Amendment cases
There are two important cases before the U.S. Supreme Court that could significantly affect defendants' Fourth Amendment rights. The first involves dog sniffs while the second puts DNA evidence under scrutiny.