Recently in Drug Crimes in Jacksonville Category

Police raid suspected Jacksonville meth lab, no one in the home at the time

Jacksonville police raided and broke up a methamphetamine lab last week, closing off a residential street for hours. When police arrived, no one was in the home, therefore no one was immediately arrested in the raid, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police collected evidence from the home and said they were looking for someone to speak with about the activity and contents inside the home. Detectives would likely start with the homeowner and whoever is listed in public utility records as the person responsible for water and electricity. Generally, if the home is a rental property, the tenant is the one who has the electric bill in his or her name.

Now that doesn't mean the owner or tenant is the one involved. Police and prosecutors could have a problem proving this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case without anyone in the home at the time of the raid. One strategy may be talking to the tenant or owner and, if they deny involvement, pressing them to tell what they know or face the charges themselves. The one thing police will definitely have on their side is the seriousness of the penalties in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes case. It's a second-degree felony to possess chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamines, and also a second-degree felony to manufacture meth. Both Jacksonville Drug Crimes have a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison.

Penalties move up quickly in Jacksonville Drug Crimes cases, and one can be charged with trafficking in meth with just 14 grams in a person's possession. No proof of a sale is needed - the crime is simply based on the amount. Trafficking in methamphetamine is always a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison, but also has a minimum mandatory sentence based on the amount. The lower levels of 14 to 28 grams, for example, have a mandatory minimum of three years in state prison. Compare these Jacksonville Drug Crime penalties with a drug like marijuana, when possession is still a misdemeanor until 20 grams, and trafficking charges do not apply until a person has 25 pounds in his or her possession.

Although police would have no doubt preferred to have someone inside the home at the time of the raid, they will likely say they could not wait because of a potential safety risk. The cooking of meth emits toxic fumes that can harm people in the immediate area. Many busts are in hotels or apartment complexes and police will decontaminate adjacent rooms and units once a lab is busted. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes lawyer represents people facing charges involving all types of drugs (from marijuana to meth) and all types of charges (from possession to trafficking).

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Florida Supreme Court overturns drug crime convictions, rules the initial traffic stop was illegal

The Florida Supreme Court ruled this month that the mere fact that the color of a vehicle is different than the color specified on the registration with the state is not enough to pull a driver over. The ruling led to drug trafficking and other related convictions to be overturned for a Panhandle man whose case began in 2010, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Decisions like this set the law for the entire state of Florida and are applicable here in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases.

In this Florida Drug Crimes Case, a police officer saw a bright green car and ran the license plate number through the state database that shows whom vehicles are registered to and other facts about the car, according to the newspaper report. The registration showed the car was blue, not green, so the officer used that as the basis to initiate a traffic stop, the newspaper reported. Once the man was pulled over and the officer approached the car, the officer smelled marijuana, which led him to search the car and find marijuana, crack cocaine and cash, the newspaper reported. The man was convicted at trial, but appealed, arguing the traffic stop amounted to a search without a warrant. The Supreme Court ruled the change in color was not "inherently suspicious" enough to justify pulling the person over without further probable cause, the newspaper reported. Drivers are allowed to paint their vehicle and do not have to immediately report the color change to police, so it should not be a factor to base suspicious activity from, the court opined. Yes, the defendant did have drugs in his possession. However, everything begins with the initial encounter with police and, if that's not done correctly, it doesn't matter what police find. Whatever is discovered would then be inadmissible in court.

Police must have a specific reason to make a traffic stop. In many Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, the reason listed in a police report will be along the lines of the driver swerving or speeding; driving with an expired tag; or maybe having a headlight burnt out. All of those are reasons the court deem acceptable to pull someone over. The issue of a valid traffic stop comes up frequently in Jacksonville DUI Cases, where the entire case is based on the traffic stop. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney knows the limits of what police can do without a search warrant, and knows the fine print on what constitutes a legal traffic stop. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to make sure everything was done by the book before you move forward with the case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Operation Safe Summer leads to more than 50 drug crime arrests in Northeast Florida

A five-month, multi-county investigation designed to get drug dealers off the streets before students are released for summer break led to 57 arrests last month. More arrests are likely forthcoming, as police announced another 46 people had warrants issued for their arrest as part of the sting in St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Detectives went uncover and bought drugs from street-level drug dealers - everything from prescription drugs and marijuana to cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, the newspaper reported.

Nearly all of the charges are for selling controlled substances, which are all felony charges in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases. Other charges some of the defendants may have are from other drugs or paraphernalia they had on them at the time, or for an outstanding warrant. St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases have a variety of charges and penalties - all based on the type and amount of the drug in a person's possession. Once the charges involve a sale with actual money changing hands, everything is a felony. In these St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, it appears the detectives just hit the streets to find out what they could come up with. In many of these St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, police and prosecutors will use the charges against the street-level sellers to try to get the defendant to provide information on the mid- or high-level supplier they get their drugs from. Prosecutors might offer a reduced sentence in exchange for information that would lead to the arrest of someone on more serious St. Johns County Drug Crimes charges.

In St. Johns County Drug Crime Cases like this, detectives will typically record their encounter when purchasing drugs and use marked bills to show they indeed came from the police. Many defendants think that if they ask the person buying the drugs if they are a police officer and the officer says no, then they cannot be arrested. That is simply not true. The undercover officer does not have a legal obligation to disclose that information and the crime of selling narcotics trumps any misinformation from the police in these St. Johns County Drug Crimes cases. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney represents people on all types of drug charges, including sales, and knows the details of what police can and cannot do when purchasing drugs undercover.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Fewer cases being handled in Jacksonville Juvenile Drug Court program

Supporters of a drug court aimed at teens that focuses on rehabilitation more than criminal punishment say the program should be used more when juveniles are arrested on felony drug charges. Prosecutors say, however, this is just one tool that can be used and that the tough standards in the drug court program aren't for everyone - evidenced by the fact half of the people do not complete the program, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The merits of the program are now an issue because the federal grant that provides much of the support for the program may be lost if more teens aren't sent to the program, the newspaper reported. When the grant application was completed several years ago, court officials estimated a certain number of people would be sent to the program, the newspaper reported. Those numbers have not materialized and the grant could now be cancelled.

In Jacksonville Juvenile Cases when teens are caught with drugs, many first-time offenders can qualify for drug court. In the program, teens go through substance abuse counseling and are subject to regular drug screenings and other measurements. If they successfully complete the program, the charges are removed from their criminal record. The idea is to keep juveniles arrested on Jacksonville Drug Crimes Charges out of the state prison system, get teens the treatment they need, and let them move on to hopefully be productive members of society. Advocates for the program say the focus needs to be on rehabilitation rather that criminal punishment in Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Cases.

In Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Cases, there are several levels of punishment - ranging from house arrests on up to what amounts to a prison for teens. Part of the idea of treating Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes differently than adult crimes is that young people often made poor decisions and those singular poor decisions should not have a lifelong impact when there is not an incident where someone is killed or seriously injured. With the exception of some crimes related to marijuana, most all Jacksonville Drug Crimes are felonies - meaning the defendant could be facing time in state prison. Not to mention the fact that a felony conviction on a person's record often immediately eliminates them from many professions and essentially punishes the defendant for the rest of his or her life. Our Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of teens who've found their way into the court system. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney knows all of the possible options - from drug court to other rehabilitation programs - and will work for the best solution for your or your loved one to get past this incident and move on.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Police arrest five on drug charges after St. Johns County meth lab raid

Five people arrested at a St. Johns County home are now facing serious felony charges after police raided the residence this month. Neighbors near the home had alerted police to suspicious activity, and police said they found a methamphetamine lab inside the home, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. All three residents of the home were charged with various felonies and one, likely the homeowner or the main person on the lease of the property, was charged with the third-degree felony of maintaining a drug dwelling. That charge is punishable by up to five years in prison in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. Other charges for people inside the home included trafficking in methamphetamine - a first degree felony punishable by up to life in prison, depending upon the amount of methamphetamine that police can prove the person had in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case.

Different drugs have vastly different penalties in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases and methamphetamine has as serious of penalties as any other drug. Charges are based on the type of drug and how much of it the person is alleged to have in his or her possession. For example, in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes case, police seized 82 grams of methamphetamine oil along with drug paraphernalia, the newspaper reported. Is the meth oil part of the product used to cook the meth, or is it the actual drug itself? That's a significant question because the amount is the biggest factor in the charges. For example, if a person is charged with trafficking in meth and has between 14 and 28 grams, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison. But if it is between 28 and 200 grams, that minimum mandatory sentence bumps up to seven years. Both amounts would carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case.

Compare that to marijuana, where possession of the drug doesn't even become a felony until a person has more than 20 grams of the drug in his or her possession. Marijuana, though, is one of the few substances in St. Johns County Drug Cases where misdemeanor charges apply. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people accused of all types of drug crimes, involving various controlled substances. Our St. Johns County Criminal Defense Attorney knows the ins and outs of possession and sale laws, as well as the penalties that apply based on the drug, to advise you on your options moving forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ten arrested when Jacksonville police break up drug ring, seize 24 pounds of cocaine

Jacksonville police announced last month they have broken up two major drug dealing crews, arresting 10 people and seeking more following a yearlong investigation. Police confiscated about 24 pounds of cocaine, which has a street value of about $880,000, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The investigation also netted a pound of marijuana, nine cars and trucks, four guns and $386,000 in cash, the newspaper reported. Many of the arrests occurred in 2013, but police discussed the crimes last week and linked together all of the arrests, possibly for help in capturing the alleged kingpin of the operation, who has not yet been arrested.

Charges include trafficking in cocaine and conspiring to traffic in cocaine, both of which are first-degree felonies punishable by up to life in prison. Police said there are also two suspects who are cooperating with police and have yet to be charged. As is often the case in larger operations in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, police are looking to people on the inside for information on how the operation works. People aren't going to just give up that information, so what usually happens is police threaten serious charges and offer to help negotiate a lower sentence, depending on how much the person's cooperation helps seal the conviction. In other cases, prosecutors will file charges first, and then try to see who in the group is willing to make a deal and cooperate.

Oftentimes, someone will plead guilty, but not be sentenced until all of the defendants in a Jacksonville Drug Crimes case have had their cases resolved. That gives the suspect who is cooperating motivation to continue to cooperate. Penalties in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases can be severe - especially when the charges get to the level of trafficking. In these Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, the charges are based on the type of drug and the amount the person has in his or her possession. But in conspiracy cases, as many of these are, police likely have recorded conversations or other evidence that will show or indicate the suspect setting up an actual sale or transaction. Drug trafficking charges can be filed simply based on the amount of a drug a person has, not necessarily based on proof of a sale. Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases are very serious, and penalties can ramp up quickly - especially if a person is caught with cocaine or prescription pain killers. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has represented people on possession charges, on up to trafficking and will fully investigate your case to help you or your loved one make an informed decision on how to proceed with the case.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mobile meth lab bust in St. Johns County leads to three arrests, investigation in Jacksonville

March 20, 2014

Police are expanding an investigation that began when two people were arrested in St. Johns County, accused of making methamphetamine in a truck. The two people found in the vehicle were charged with felonies, as was the man who owned the property where the truck was parked, according to a report from News4Jax. The people in the truck were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, and well as possession of the drug. Manufacturing methamphetamine is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, while possession of meth carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison as a third-degree felony.

The owner of the property is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison. The television station reported that one of the people in the truck also has ties to Jacksonville home that police raided and found chemicals used to make meth, though no further arrests were immediately reported. Methamphetamine is made by cooking a combination of chemicals, including some found in cough medicine and other household goods. The process emits a toxic and distinct odor, which causes problems for those making it in terms of keeping their activity hidden from the public. For example, many people have taken to renting hotel rooms to cook the meth, but the odor often tips off management or other guests, who in turn call police. As a result, mobile meth labs have sprung up as a means to try to conceal the activity.

Criminal penalties related to meth are very severe in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases. There is no such thing as a misdemeanor methamphetamine charge. Even trace amounts result in a third-degree felony possession charge in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. In all St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, the amount of the drug a person is accused of having in their possession is directly tied to the severity of the charge. Similarly, the type of drug plays an enormous role, and St. Johns County Drug Crimes laws are extremely harsh when it comes to methamphetamine as it compares with many other drugs. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes attorney have represented people accused of having various amounts of a range of different drugs - from misdemeanor amounts of marijuana to larger amounts of methamphetamine or cocaine or other more serious drugs.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thirty-one people arrested on a range of charges in Clay County undercover drug sting

February 18, 2014

More than 30 people are now facing drug charges in Clay County, following an undercover investigation and a string of arrests. Clay County police said their six-month investigation yielded 31 arrests so far, with a few more likely on the way, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police used undercover narcotics detectives to buy drugs from suspected dealers in Green Cove Springs, Middleburg and Orange Park, the newspaper reported. Police reported to the media that 109 pounds of marijuana were taken off the streets, and a list of charges also shows that other drugs, including cocaine and prescription narcotics such as hydrocodone, were seized as well.

Clay County Drug Crimes charges always hinge on two important facts: the type of drug in question, and the amount that a person is accused of having in their possession. For example, a person can be charged with drug trafficking in a Clay County Drug Crimes Case even if there is no evidence of the person actually selling or trying to sell the narcotic. Trafficking is charged simply when the amount reaches a certain threshold - which varies dramatically based on the drug. For example, one of the men arrested in this Clay County Drug Case is charged with trafficking in hydrocodone - a first-degree felony that could land him in state prison for the rest of his life. Trafficking in hydrocodone starts at just four grams of pills, literally a handful of pills, and carries a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in state prison and a fine of $50,000.

Now compare that with marijuana, where a charge does not become trafficking until a person is alleged to have more than 25 pounds in his or her possession. That Clay County Drug Charge is also a first-degree felony with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years in prison, but the fine is $25,000 - half of what it would be for a Clay County Drug Case involving prescription drugs. For marijuana, hydrocodone and all other illegal drugs in Clay County Drug Trafficking Cases, there are further weights and benchmarks that trigger various minimum mandatory sentences and fines - which take any discretion out of the hands of a judge and make the sentence required by law. Clearly, not all drugs are treated equally when it comes to Clay County Drug Cases. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney knows the ins and outs of how the law is applied based on each individual substance, and can help you or your loved one understand the possibilities going forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

State reexamining thousands of Florida drug cases after crime lab chemist accused of removing evidence

February 7, 2014

A drug scandal involving a Florida Department of Law Enforcement chemist is not only a black eye for the state, it could be a major headache for prosecutors across Florida. The state is now examining all 2,600 cases since 2006 involving this chemist, accused of taking prescription pain pills and replacing them with over-the-counter medication, according to a report on News4Jax. The issue was first discovered when pills turned up missing in the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and investigators later determined that the cases were all handled by the same chemist, the television station reported. Now, all of the cases are under review and prosecutors are being notified of which cases to examine, the television station reported. All of the cases are west of Duval County, but the issue shows how fragile the cases can be in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, and how one bad apple can affect so many cases.

When drugs are found on a person in a Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, the substance is often sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine for sure whether what appears to be cocaine or hydrocodone, for example, is indeed cocaine or hydrocodone. This is done as part of proving the case, and also because there are cases where someone is selling counterfeit drugs and there's an entirely different charge for that sort of Jacksonville Drug Crime. However, if there is no longer evidence of the drug and no way to prove that it is actually a controlled substance, would the state need to drop the charges? It brings up an interesting legal argument and makes it difficult to proceed when there is no evidence. One comparison is in a Jacksonville DUI Case when the traffic stop is not admissible into evidence. There are specific rules and procedures police must follow in Jacksonville DUI Cases and if an officer isn't specifically trained in those procedures, mistakes can happen. And when the traffic stop is gone, there goes the state's evidence in the case.

The same could be true in these Florida Drug Crime cases. Police say this chemist worked about 2,600 cases for 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 Florida counties. If the evidence no longer exists, the state could have a difficult time proving these cases beyond a reasonable doubt. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney represents people facing all types of drugs charges, and will thoroughly investigate your case to ensure as procedures and policies were followed.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Fifteen arrested in Nassau County undercover drug sweep

February 3, 2014

After months of undercover investigations, police announced they've arrested 15 people in a Nassau County drug sweep. All 15 are charged with felonies in these Nassau County Drug Crime Cases, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police made the arrests last month and said there are still four people wanted for Nassau County Drug Crimes connected with the investigations, the newspaper reported.

This roundup differs slightly than others in Northeast Florida, in that every one of the 15 is charged with selling drugs. In many cases, there are a few people included on possession charges, possibly people who were buying drugs at the wrong time, or had other drugs on them when police arrested them. In all, the group of 15 faces 30 felony counts, the newspaper reported. It's unclear whether the people involved in these Nassau County Drug Crimes cases are connected to one specific drug ring, or if they are a part of separate drug operations up and running throughout the county. Charges include sale or delivery of marijuana, sale or delivery of cocaine and sale or delivery of a controlled substance. Some of the drugs involved in these Nassau County Drug Crimes cases are Ecstasy and prescription pain pills, the newspaper reported.

The felony degree and maximum punishment in a Nassau County Drug Crimes case is partially determined by the drug in question. For example, sale or delivery of marijuana is a third-degree felony with a maximum punishment of five years in state prison. Sale or delivery of cocaine, on the other hand, is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison. There are other factors in Nassau County Drug Crimes cases that can enhance the penalties, and one major factor is included in a few of these recent charges. Similar to real estate, location matters when it comes to Nassau County Drug Crimes cases. If someone is charged with sale of marijuana and that sale is within 1,000 feet of a church or a school, that third-degree felony becomes a second degree felony. The same enhancement can be used in sale or delivery of cocaine, only the second-degree felony turns into a first-degree felony. First-degree felonies carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Our Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney has represented people on a variety of Nassau County Drug Crimes, from misdemeanor possession of marijuana, on up to sales similar to these cases in this recent sweep.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Nassau County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Clay County mom arrested after drugs found in her son's system

January 31, 2014

Police arrested a Clay County mother, alleging her young son who died in December had drugs in his system that caused his death. Kathern Powell was arrested more than a month after the medical examiner ruled the boy's cause of death was a homicide caused by acute bronchopneumonia following drug toxicity, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. She was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and culpable negligence. In most cases, aggravated manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in state prison. But the degree changes when a child, elderly person or a law enforcement officer is involved. Because this Clay County Manslaughter Case involves child, Powell's charge is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in state prison.

Powell allegedly found the boy face down in his crib and tried to wake him up in the shower before the child's father and grandfather both attempted CPR, the newspaper reported. The boy was taken to the hospital and died a week later, the newspaper reported. Subsequent tests found opiates in his blood and urine, the newspaper reported. Police have not released Powell's role in the case, nor have they discussed what drugs were involved or how the child ingested them, the newspaper reported. Those details will obviously be the key to this Clay County Manslaughter Case.

In a recent, Jacksonville Manslaughter Case, a mother pleaded guilty to the same charge after policed alleged she had drugged her child before to get him to fall asleep. That mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison, likely because the court found she had done it before. Past activity such as this when it involves a child can drastically affect a sentence in a Clay County Manslaughter Case. It is one thing for a child to get into drugs or any other substance if it's in a drawer or in the reach of a child, but it's quite another to intentionally give a child illegal drugs to try to get he or she to stay or fall asleep. The details will be important in this Clay County Drug Crimes case. If there is not a trial in this Clay County Manslaughter Case, it may not be until the sentencing hearing until those details emerge. At that point, or at trial, the defense will have its chance to explain the events, and provide information or mitigation to the judge in asking for a favorable sentence.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Clay County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Two arrested on methamphetamine charges in upscale St. Johns County neighborhood

January 29, 2014

Police arrested two people on several felony drug charges after St. Johns County police raided a suspected meth lab in an upscale neighborhood. Neighbors had notified police about suspicious activity and detectives converged about 9 a.m. on a Friday morning last month and arrested two of the occupants, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said the occupants were not making the drug at the time, but there was evidence that methamphetamine had been cooked and produced there in the past, the newspaper reported. David Austin and Kayleigh Wyman were both arrested and charged with possession and production of methamphetamine, maintaining a drug dwelling and possession of drug paraphernalia in this St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, the newspaper reported.

Possession and production of methamphetamine is a second-degree felony in Florida with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison and is the most serious of the charges the two are facing. Maintaining a drug dwelling is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of five years in state prison and possession of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor that only qualifies for time in the county jail. Police were at the house with a tent and the hazardous materials unit, cleaning near the townhouse to get rid of the poisonous chemicals used to manufacture the drug, the newspaper reported. Methamphetamine labs have been prevalent recently in some of the counties right outside Jacksonville. And while they are more common in hotels and apartment complexes, this isn't the first time a meth lab has been uncovered in a more residential area. The fumes that are emitted from the production of the drug can be lethal, and also carry a distinct odor than can make it difficult to hide from neighbors and from law enforcement.

Methamphetamines crimes are becoming more and more common in St. Johns County, where authorities have taken an aggressive approach to investigating the crimes and targeting the manufacturing of the dangerous drug. All penalties and charges in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases hinge on two key factors: the type of drug and the amount. Methamphetamine carries among the most severe penalties of any drug, as there is no such thing as a misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine. Any amount is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, as opposed to a drug such as marijuana, where anything up to 28 grams is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to a year in the county jail. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney represents defendants facing any and all drug charges from possession of marijuana on up to producing or trafficking in methamphetamine and cocaine.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Demolition latest step after increase in meth crimes in St. Johns County

December 26, 2013

St. Johns County demolished an abandoned home this month that had been used as several times as a lab to cook methamphetamine. Contamination levels were more than 1,800 times higher than levels deemed to be dangerous and this is the second contaminated home St. Johns County has demolished this year, according to a report in the St. Augustine Record. In the last three years, more than 40 meth labs have been found in the county, leading to dozens of St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases, the newspaper reported. St. Johns County police have been particularly aggressive in trying to eliminate the profliferation of methamphetamine in the county, including a massive bust last summer where dozens of people were arrested across the county. The makeshift labs are used to cook toxic chemicals into methamphetamine and the odor makes them difficult to hide, though people often used hotels and apartments to manufacture the drug.

The consequences for running a meth lab in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases are severe. Not all drugs are created equal in terms of the law and methamphetamine is one that carries major penalties. For example, there is no such thing as a misdemeanor meth charge in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case. If a person is busted with any amount of meth, it's a felony. Possession of methamphetamine is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. Compare that to possession of marijuana in a St. Johns County Drug Crimes Case, where it is a misdemeanor until a person has more than 28 grams. Only people convicted of felonies can be sentenced to state prison. Those convicted of misdemeanors, if sentenced to any time, serve it in the county jail. A charge of manufacturing methamphetamine ups the ante even more in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases. Manufacturing methamphetamine is a second-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. The fumes that are emitted during the cooking of the drug are toxic and can be dangerous to ingest, especially for children. Because of that element, the state allows for increased charges in cases where methamphetamine is being cooked when children are present.

Even small amounts of a drug can have major consequences in St. Johns County Drug Crimes Cases - it just depends on the drug. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney can advise you of the consequences and thoroughly investigate for case to determine the best option going forward.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Congressman's cocaine arrest in D.C. helps illustrate Florida's punitive drug laws

November 29, 2013

The Florida Congressman who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in Washington, D.C., this month for possession of cocaine would have faced much more severe penalties had he been busted in his home state. Congressman Trey Radel, who represents the Fort Meyers area, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession and faces a maximum of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to a report in the Miami Herald. Radel bought cocaine from an undercover agent after the person Radel had been buying from was arrested and gave authorities Radel's name, the newspaper reported. Radel is now on a leave of absence from his Congressional role, but compared to how his case would have been handled in Florida, Radel is fortunate he was not busted in the Sunshine State.

In Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, and all Florida Drug Crimes cases, possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony. Any amount whatsoever. There is no such thing as a misdemeanor cocaine possession charge, as there is in Washington. In Jacksonville drug crimes cases, possession of cocaine is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Outside of marijuana, nearly all Jacksonville Drug Crimes and Florida Drug Crimes are felonies and not misdemeanors. When it comes to prescription narcotics, it's the same thing. All charges are felonies. And, what can be even more devastating in Jacksonville Drug Crimes Cases, are the minimum mandatory sentences that kick in - even on amounts as small as a few pills.
While there are some instances with first-time offenders that people can enter drug treatment and have the adjudication withheld if the defendant meets certain criteria in probation, those are details that would have to be negotiated and could drag the case out.

If Radel was to just immediately plead guilty, as he did in Washington, he would have lost his voting rights and right to carry a gun - both rights that can eventually be restored but are automatic when someone pleads guilty to or is convicted of a felony in the state of Florida. Another penalty, which is not as well known, that any plea or conviction to any Jacksonville Drug Crime results in an automatic two-year suspension of a person's driver's license. Professionally, there's no doubt this may be difficult for Radel to overcome. But from a legal perspective, he's fortunate he was busted in Washington and not charged with a Florida Drug Crime. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has represented hundreds of people on drug crimes charges in Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney knows all of the ancillary consequences of pleading guilty to a crime and can advise you of the ramifications, and thoroughly investigate the case against you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Florida Supreme Court tosses out drug trafficking charge for Jacksonville man and orders him resentenced

October 25, 2013

The Florida Supreme Court has thrown out a drug trafficking charge against a Jacksonville man, saying the way the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tested the drugs was insufficient to prove he had as much cocaine as the state alleged. Instead of the 15-year sentence that was imposed after trial, Baron Greenwade is now looking at a maximum of five years in prison on a cocaine possession charge, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When Greenwade was arrested in 2009, police found a bag inside his garage with nine individual plastic bags inside, the newspaper reported. Police then dumped all nine into one bag before sending the drugs off to be tested by a forensic chemist, the newspaper reported. Because the combined amount was more than 200 grams, Greenwade could then be charged with trafficking in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, which opened him up to a minimum mandatory sentence of seven years in prison.

Greenwade's Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys argued that the state should have sent each individual bag of cocaine to the chemist to be tested - a practice that is followed in other major Florida cities, including Miami and Tampa, the newspaper reported. The Supreme Court agreed. One main reason is that drug dealers sometimes put fake cocaine in a baggie, if they think they can get away with it, so it is possible there was less than 200 grams or actual cocaine in the larger bag police found. This Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case decision by the Supreme Court will now force Jacksonville police to individually test each baggie or container they find.

Drug charges and sentences are based on the type of drug and the amount the person is accused of having. As was proven in this Jacksonville Drug Crimes Case, a few grams either way can make an enormous difference in the amount of time a person receives. Greenwade was initially charged with a first-degree felony and is now guilty of just a third-degree felony, which has a maximum sentence of five years in prison. His maximum sentence is more than the minimum seven years he was required to serve on the trafficking charge. While Jacksonville Drug Crimes laws seem like they'd be pretty straightforward, cases like this are always changing the landscape of Jacksonville Criminal Defense Cases. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney stays on top of all of the latest rulings and has the latest information at her fingertips to advise you or your loved one.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.