Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

Non-violent drug offenders in Jacksonville and throughout Florida are being sentenced to much higher prison terms than before. I’ve witnessed this first hand as a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. According to a recent study cited by, Florida inmates spent 194 percent more time in prison in 2009 than in 1990. The study, conducted by the Pew Center looked at trends in 35 states over the last couple of decades. Florida was one of the states where increased sentences were noted. In Jacksonville, non-violent drug crimes, particularly sales, are often targeted for prison time. Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers know that sales in Jacksonville are often recorded on audio or video equipment, which makes defending these types of crimes more difficult in most cases.

Selecting the right Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, one that is familiar with successful strategies in defending and negotiating sale of cocaine and related drug offenses, is critical. The success of any drug offense defense, or negotiations for that matter, put on by a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer is highly controlled by the facts of the case. Successful defenses or negotiations are the key to preventing a drug offense defendant from becoming part of Florida’s increased sentences statistics.

All sales of controlled substances in Florida are felony offenses, which are punishable time in Florida State Prison. Possession, of most controlled substances also will result in a felony. Florida law does not require prison in most drug offense cases, but the State’s position in most instances to push for prison time. The most important factor in whether a particular set of facts create weaknesses in the State’s case that can be exploited by a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer. The next most important factor is the Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer that is handling the case and whether the criminal defense lawyer has the knowledge as skills necessary to recognize and take advantage of any available weaknesses in the State’s case.
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A Tennessee power company’s investigation into a neighborhood’s power shortage issues led to a large drug bust in the Tennessee countryside. Beneath the average looking countryside home was a million dollar “pot cave”. Marijuana was being grown in buckets, with an elaborate water and light system in place to maintain the plants, according to (Read the story here.) A secret entrance through the garage led to a cave that went back 50 yards into the hills the house was built against. The entrance was protected by a steel door, which was operated by a hydraulic motor.

The men that were running the marijuana operation had spliced into power lines, and stole an estimated $61,000 worth of electricity. In, Florida, this drug bust would have led to Grand Theft and Trafficking in Cannabis charges, among other things. Florida law calls for minimum sentences that apply in Trafficking cases, with three years being the lowest minimum that applies and fifteen years as the highest minimum. The maximum sentence allowable under Florida law is 30 years in Florida State Prison. Mandatory fines range from $25,000 to $200,000.

With these kinds of punishments as possibilities, finding the best criminal defense attorney available is a must. If you or a loved one have been arrested for a criminal offense in the Jacksonville area, experienced criminal defense lawyers are available for a free consultation at the Law Office of David M. Goldman. Call us today at (904) 685-1200.

Under the current status of legal marijuana in Florida and the long road traveled to arrive at Florida’s limited medical use of legal marijuana, it doesn’t seem likely that the near future makes Florida a place where people can freely offer marijuana to the president without the threat of criminal prosecution and the need for services of a Florida criminal defense attorney. This past Tuesday, President Obama spent time in Denver, Colorado, and reportedly made his rounds, taking advantage of the Denver’s nightlife. While spending time at a bar formerly owned by Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, President Obama shot pool with the locals, spoke with citizens, and was even offered marijuana on more than one occasion before finally calling it a night. According to the Florida Times-Union, the President refused each time and was back in his hotel room by 9 p.m.file0001430681570.jpg

In June, Florida governor, Rick Scott, signed a law that allows limited use of marijuana for medical purposes. Specifically, a low THC strand of marijuana will be allowed to treat diseases such as epilepsy and cancer, according to The Huffington Post. The law is not yet effective and still has details that must be worked out. However, one thing is crystal clear: Florida’s newly signed law does not allow recreational use of marijuana. Colorado, for example, allows residents over the age of 21 to grow up to six marijuana plants for private use, but the marijuana is required to stay where it is grown. Residents of Colorado are also allowed to travel within the state while possessing up to one ounce of marijuana, and may give up to one ounce as a gift to another person, as long as the recipient is also 21 years old or older.

Possession of marijuana is currently illegal in the state of Florida. In fact, possessing more than 20 grams is a felony that could potentially land a person in prison for up to five years; while possessing less than 20 grams puts a person in jeopardy of spending up to a full year in the county jail. As the amount of marijuana increases, the consequences and severity of potential sentences increase, as well. At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced criminal defense attorneys available for free initial consultations in the Jacksonville area. Call us today at (904) 685-1200 to learn how our experience can go to work for you or a loved one in drug related offense and other legal matters.
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Jacksonville Criminal Defense LawyerWhether you are a Florida resident or simply visiting the area for summer vacation, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with two of the most commonly charged criminal offenses in the state.

The following article will help you better understand what these crimes entail, the penalties associated with them, and the ramifications of been charged with them.

Drug Offenses

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyA major decision was just handed down this week when Florida’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s controversial drug possession statute. The case, Florida v. Luke Jarrod Adkins, was a closely watched one as the implications for defendants across the state was great. In a 5-2 ruling, the court upheld a law that says defendants arrested with drugs are presumed to have known that what they had was illegal. Moreover, if the defendant claims ignorance, then the law mandates that they must prove that to the jurors.

The decision means that Florida’s definition of drug possession does not require “knowledge” of the illegality of the action, putting Florida in a very small group of states. In fact, at least 48 other states require prosecutors to prove to the jury that the defendant knew they were carrying illegal drugs. The law says that prosecutors still must prove that the defendant was in possession of something, they just don’t have to show that the defendant knew what he had was illegal.

The Supreme Court took the case after a state circuit judge in Manatee County threw out 46 drug possession cases, saying they were at odds with a lower federal court’s opinion finding the law unconstitutional. However, lower federal court decisions are not binding on state courts and the issue was appealed directly to the high court.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyThis incident of a Meth Lab at a Motel 6 will be the third incident where JSO were dispatched to a Jacksonville Motel 6 and the resulting investigation turned up a Meth Lab.

JSO were dispatched to a Motel 6 on the Northside of Jacksonville around 1 AM this morning. Upon arrival the security officer notified JSO that the occupants of the motel room had fled the scene. The Security officer also notified JSO that he has inspected the room and located a smoking bottle with an unknown substance inside. JSO responding by sending in the fire-rescue team, bomb squad, and a chemical specialist to investigate the motel room and the items contained within.

To date the suspects are still at large and JSO is continuing to investigate. As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, these stories are not unusual or bizarre. These tough economic times have driven some individuals to take drastic measures that they normally would not consider. These individuals are not hardened criminals, but victims of these tough economic times.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAs a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, the situations people place themselves in boggle my mind sometimes. However, a strong Defense and zealous representation could prove to be invaluable in the your Criminal Case. One can never be too cautious and one can never know when the police will arrive and want to talk or arrest you. That is why one must always be aware of their surroundings and be weary when traveling on the city’s motorways.

One such incident of blind-luck worked out for the Columbia Police Department. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when Chaylen Ortega (22) and Keith Wheeldon (31) were pulled over for a tag violation. A citation that would be dropped if proof of a valid tag is shown to the Court. However, in this case, chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine were located inside the vehicle. The police found and seized lithium batteries, pseudoephedrine, and a container of muriatic acid. All chemicals required in the manufacture of Meth.

Both occupants of the vehicle were arrested and booked at the Columbia County Detention Facility. They both have been charged with the possession of listed chemicals with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance (a 2nd degree felony). Ortega is being held without bond due to her violation of probation and a warrant out for her arrest. Wheeldon, on the other hand, had a bond set at $5,000.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyYesterday I reported on a Meth Lab located in Jacksonville’s exclusive gated community, James Island. Well, today I report a Meth Lab located in Jacksonville’s Argyle area. The location of the Meth Lab was Motel 6 located at 6109 Youngerman Circle. If that address seems familiar it is because JSO just recently busted a previous Meth Lab in the same location!

In this case, the Motel 6 security guard waived the police down on Wednesday night. He reported smelling unusual orders and the particular behavior of room 107’s occupants. When police arrived at the door the two occupants, Michael Aderhold (46) and Dawn Hoden (39) denied any illegal activity. However, it was soon uncovered that the two were in-fact manufacturing methamphetamine inside the Motel room.

Aderhold has been charged with possession of chemicals to manufacture a controlled substance and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. Hoden has been charged with possession of chemicals to manufacture a controlled substance. Both are being held in Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility and neither are eligible to receive a bond.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyThe US economy has taken its toll on Jacksonville residents and people across this Nation. These tough economic times have driven some individuals to act in a manner that is not themselves. We have all felt the impact of the plummeting housing market and job reductions. However, during these times crime, drugs, and alcohol abuse are at their all time highs. As a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, this economy has increased the crime rate by individuals who would normally never think of such an act.

One specific case appeared recently in Jacksonville’s headlines. Charles Bickerton, 40, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell and intent to manufacture controlled substance. Normally, this story would not get my attention, as Meth Labs have become, unfortunately, a common occurrence around Jacksonville. However, the Meth Lab was located in Jacksonville’s exclusive gated community, James Island. Furthermore, this lab was not located in a shack, car, or someone’s shed; it was located in a house worth over $300,000.

Charles was probably an upstanding citizen who stayed clear of the law. Maybe these tough times have driven Charles to seek other means of monetary accruement. Maybe Charles lost his job and could not find other employment and sought this alternative to stay in the black. Without talking with Charles directly, I cannot know his motives. Although his actions were illegal, a good Jacksonville Criminal Attorney can present these mitigating factors to the Court and the State in order to negate the offense or get a lessor sentence.

 Criminal Shh.jpgThe most important thing to remember after you have been arrested in Duval, St. Johns, Clay, or Nassau County is to NOT talk to law enforcement officers until you have spoken with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer. You must protect your Rights and if you go after the Florida Criminal Justice System alone, adverse consequences could result. That is why I notify all my clients to as for an attorney before telling a Florida Law Enforcement Officer anything. This one tip could prove to be invaluable in your Florida Criminal Case.

Law Enforcement Officers are trained interrogators and can manipulate a situation that will prove their case and incriminate yourself. Even seemingly innocent statements can be construed negatively if you are not assisted by a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer. I can control the questioning, make sure the answers are not manipulated, and protect your rights. If you are in custody and the police want to “question” you, you have a right to an attorney. USE THAT RIGHT! Do not answer any questions without an attorney present.

However, if you are not “in custody” the officers do not have to offer the assistance of counsel. With that being said, if you are not “in custody” you are also FREE to leave. USE THAT RIGHT and leave without speaking to the police. Do not give them a reason to place you into custody. If you have been questioned by the police or have been “in custody” and were allowed to leave, contact a Jacksonville Criminal Lawyer today. I will discuss your case with you, make the proper determinations in moving forward, and make sure your Rights are being protected along the way. So do not delay, call me today!

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