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Tampa Criminal Law Blog

Can a swatting prank send you to jail?

You may remember an incident that occurred last December, in which a man from Los Angeles reportedly made a phone call to authorities in Kansas claiming to have killed his father, and that he was holding other relatives hostage with weapons. Armed law enforcement showed up at the unsuspecting man’s residence in Wichita, and they shot and killed him when they mistook an innocent gesture as him reaching for a weapon. Florida residents need to understand the grave consequences they can face for playing a prank that is becoming common among internet users.

This prank is known as “swatting.” As you may know, it involves someone making a false call to police or other authorities to lure armed officials to an innocent person’s address.

What to never say to a cop when pulled over for DUI

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious infraction that can lead to catastrophe. Take the recent case of a Florida mom who drove drunk and ended up getting into a crash that resulted in two fatalities. 

Most people have the common sense to avoid driving drunk. However, there are still people who do not see the harm in driving after a couple of alcoholic drinks. This can lead to a lot of anxiety if a police officer pulls you over. Regardless of how much you had to drink, here are a few things you should never say: 

Florida police say their surprise visit led to drug charges

As soon as a Florida police officer knocks on someone's door, asking to step inside to have a look around, the person on the other side of the door has several immediate decisions to make that carry legal consequences, no matter what is decided. Several narcotics officers showed up at a particular home on a recent Thursday, and wound up searching the premises, then making several arrests. Those arrested now face various drug charges.

Deputies from a narcotics task force and members of a SWAT team reportedly combined efforts to serve a search warrant at a house in Port Charlotte. The impromptu visit was apparently part of a month-long investigation. By the time the full search process was executed, police officers on-site made eight arrests.

Limitations of trying to determine BAC on your own

If you are like some people who drink, you may think you are probably safe to drive. That is, you are pretty sure, but you would like to have more concrete reassurance so you do not get charged with DUI. So, you turn to tools such as online BAC calculators or personal breath testing devices.

However, such tools can have their limitations and should not be used as a guarantee that you are sober enough to drive.

When legal problems stem from marijuana issues

Some laws are governed at federal levels while others are left to individual state discretion. Marijuana issues often become entangled between the two, as the federal law continues to list all use of marijuana as illegal while various states have decriminalized it, some enacting laws that make even recreational use of the drug legal. Florida has not come totally on board with that idea yet although restricted medical use of cannabis is permitted in this state.

Various political debates remain ongoing regarding marijuana in most states, but particularly in Florida. To use marijuana medically throughout the state, a person must first obtain a medical identification card that is prescribed by a physician. Many people support the idea of making any and all use of pot legal throughout the nation.

Criminal defense guidance may help minimize DUI repercussions

When a Florida police officer pulls someone over on suspicion of drunk driving, he or she may request that a motorist perform a series of tests to help determine whether probable cause for arrest exists. A women was asked to take such tests on a recent Sunday at approximately 2 a.m. when police officers claimed she was driving erratically. The events that unfolded next wound up costing the woman her job and focusing on her criminal defense

The 41-year-old happened to have been a police officer herself. Her colleagues say she was seen driving a vehicle in reverse through the streets. They also claim her eyes were bloodshot and she smelled of alcohol at the time.

Police claim many of 49 arrested were selling cocaine

An extended drug investigation has come to a close in Florida. Police say they made 49 arrests and are continuing a search for at least four more people in connection to their investigation. They also said that many of the people they arrested were selling illegal drugs on the street. No one facing charges involving cocaine distribution or other drug-related issues has to go it alone in court. There is always support available.

Police officers in this particular situation claim that various drugs were seized, including the dangerous opioid fentanyl, as well as cocaine. Authorities also say they took several weapons and some cash into custody during their searches. An AR-15 rifle was allegedly one of the weapons.

Police claims K-9 unit alerted him to heroin in woman's car

A Florida police officer recently made a traffic stop that wound up leading to a woman's arrest. The officer says he initially pulled her over because he saw her commit several traffic violations. The situation unfolded into much more than a typical traffic stop; in fact, the woman now faces heroin and other drug charges in connection to the incident.

During the traffic stop, the officer in question called for a K-9 unit at the scene. The canine officer is said to have alerted the patrol officer to the presence of drugs in the vehicle. Deputies then searched the car and claim to have found various types of illegal drugs, including heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and another substance they said looked like fentanyl.

Florida police respond to call, man arrested for marijuana

An 18-year-old man was recently taken into police custody in Florida. The situation is connected to supposed marijuana crimes, in addition to other drug charges. It all started when a resident of a particular neighborhood reportedly called police to ask that officers be dispatched to the scene to check out a suspicious vehicle.

Police arrived at the site and found two people inside a car at the reported location. The person in the driver's seat was later said to an 18-year-old man. There was also a woman in the vehicle at the time. Responding officers say the smelled marijuana when they approached the car.

US Bancorp to pay hundreds of millions for felonies

A bank headquartered in another state has been accused of violating  the Bank Secrecy Act. U.S. Bancorp was facing charges for two felonies that the government says was discovered in the course of a money laundering prosecution. A bank customers convicted of money laundering was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison. Like most banks in Florida and elsewhere, U.S. Bancorp used a system designed to alert officials of suspicious transactions.

Federal prosecutors said the bank not only failed in its duties by ignoring obvious suspicious banking activity, but also by trying to conceal the deficiencies from regulators. Apparently, the bank did not have a sufficient amount of employees on staff to handle the tasks at hand. This staff shortage reportedly caused certain transactions to be overlooked that should have raised concerns.

Jason Rogozinski

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