Florida Supreme Court Says Guilty Until Proven Innocent is A-OK When it comes to Drug Offenses
In a completely mind-blowing opinion, the Florida Supreme Court released its opinion in Florida v. Adkins, a challenge which will affect cases of possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession of oxycontin, possession of adderall — indeed, possession of every controlled substance and, in the future, potentially possession of every kind of illegal contraband.
Here’s what’s happened. Over the last ten years or so, Florida Courts have repeatedly emphasized that Florida’s Controlled Substances Act — its law making illegal drugs illegal — must have the element of “knowledge” in order for it to be fair. In other words, if someone is honestly unaware they had an illegal drug in their possession, it is unconstitutional for them to be found guilty of drug possession and sentenced in criminal court.
Hogwash! said the Florida Legislature, and in response to all of these rulings, passed a new amendment to Florida’s Controlled Substances Act that the government shouldn’t have to prove someone had knowledge of drugs found in their possession, rather, there should be a presumption that the person knew of the substance and it is up to them to prove their innocence.
Anytime anyone in government suggests it should be up to an accused to prove their innocence, reasonable people should stop and take note, because that is absolutely not how a wise justice system is run. It has been nearly universally recognized among civilized peoples since literally the Roman Empire that an accused should stand innocent until he or she is proven guilty.
So take note, Florida. When it comes to drugs, you are now guilty until you prove yourself innocent. A good defense can make the difference. Call today for a free consultation 239-334-8890 www.aikenandohalloran.com
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Cheat on your Sales Tax? Look out…..Here comes the State
The simple fact is the State needs the money. The Florida Department of Revenue knows this and has launched a crackdown on businessmen who may have underreported their sales tax. If you collected sales tax and under reported it on your monthly sales tax report, even if you had a good reason, you can be arrested and prosecuted for grand theft.
The State takes the position that the money is theirs at the point you collect it, and not remit it, you have stolen the money.
Many times, particularly in hard times at the end of the month you simply may not have the money to send in. It is easy to become careless and not remit it. It is worse to file a false sales tax return and not report what you collected. The State has ways of determining your true sales. The State has ways of determining your true sales. They look at your purchases. They look at what others in the industry are reporting. Peter Aiken is a former criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service and former Federal Prosecutor and thirty year veteran criminal defense tax lawyer and understands how to poke loopholes in their estimates and projections. We work closely with local accountants and CPAs. Our number one goal as a criminal Defense firm, and my number one goal as a criminal lawyer is to keep your sales tax investigation from becoming criminal. I have offices in Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Punta Gorda and can meet with you on short notice. Do not think you can talk your way out of a problem. You can get more money in life, but you cannot get more time. If you go to jail for evasion of sales tax or grand theft you will wish you had hired a good tax crime lawyer. The State is taking a close look at used car dealers, liquor stores and restaurants and head shops in their latest crackdown. If you get a letter telling you that you are going to be audited for sales tax, or worse yet, you are under investigation, call Sean C O’Halloran today for a free consultation. 239-334-8890
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Most people who get charged with grand theft for stealing from their employer did not start out with the intent of stealing. Often employees who have fallen upon hard times simply intended to borrow a few bucks for a short period of time and intended to pay it back. Many times a cashier, a bookkeeper, a salesman or another trusted employee will make a terrible mistake in judgment and pocket a small amount of money with the absolute intent to return it.
There are other instances where a person is falsely accused of stealing because a fellow employee who knows how to work the system has actually taken the money. These are the really sad cases because an arrest for a crime you did not commit will damage your reputation terribly. You can find your face on Mugshots and even if you get your case dismissed it will still be there. I have been handling employee theft and embezzlement cases for over thirty years. As a criminal defense attorney, if I am lucky enough to get into the case early, often restitution can be arranged before criminal charges are filed thus avoiding and arrest and criminal prosecution. Often the Employer feels betrayed if it was a trusted employee and the first step is to show remorse on behalf of the employee. We may be able to intervene in these cases and work out a situation to avoid and embarrassing arrest.
Hiring an attorney before you are arrested often can make a huge difference in resolving a bad situation. If we get in early enough we may be able to negotiate a payback plan that makes the employer whole and keeps a person out of the criminal justice system. If you have been fired and are under investigation for embezzlement, call today before it is too late to avoid criminal charges being files.
Sean O’Halloran: Ft. Myers 239-334-8890
Peter Aiken: Sarasota 941-366-3506
Andrew Banyai: Punta Gorda 239-639-6009