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Clearwater Criminal Defense Law Blog

What every federal grant applicant should know about grant fraud

Organizations, agencies and businesses that receive federal grants have certain responsibilities. According to Grants.gov, these include accounting for costs and justifying expenditures to show that grant fraud has not taken place. Grant fraud, in its broadest definition, is theft. However, a number of actions may fall under this umbrella. Conflict of interest The U.S. Department of Justice explains that grant funds are for the best interests of the program, not the agency or the individuals. An action such as hiring a family member to run a grant-funded program or provide consulting...

Several New Laws Take Effect In Florida In 2021

Several New Laws Take Effect In Florida In 2021

With the changing of the calendar each year comes changes to the laws of the state of Florida and jurisdictions related to it. As ignorance of a law is not generally recognized as a defense to breaking it in most jurisdictions, it pays to keep track of significant changes to Florida’s laws, especially since Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed over 200 bills into law in the course of the last legislative session. What follows is a brief summary of the changes in Florida law that took effect on January 1. Minimum Wage As of January 1 the Florida minimum wage rose by nine cents to $8.65 per...

Could Florida Be Next To Legalize Drugs?

Could Florida Be Next To Legalize Drugs?

In the latest election the voters of the state of Oregon agreed to decriminalize the possession of all once-illegal drugs in their state. Not long after, a bill passed the United States House of Representatives that would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level. With the precedence now set, many lawmakers in Florida are weighing the pros and cons of bringing such a sweeping change in drug law to our state. U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, spoke in favor of the federal bill prior to its passage. Author of the 2014 bill in the Florida legislature establishing the...

Who was Charles Ponzi?

Most Americans are familiar with the term “Ponzi scheme,” even if they are not entirely sure what the term refers to. At any rate, the name Ponzi likely evokes pictures of fraud in your mind. Of course, anybody can pull off a simple sleight-of-hand trick, but not everybody's last name becomes synonymous with fraud the way that Charles Ponzi's has. Originally, Charles Ponzi immigrated to the US in 1903 and at first worked a slew of menial jobs. According to Mental Floss, at this point Charles Ponzi discovered that there was a way to make money from international reply coupons. What was the...

The Reid interrogation method has 3 parts

If you are a fan of television police dramas, you have probably seen actors play the good cop and bad cop roles during a pretend interrogation. While actors may take certain artistic liberties that differ considerably from reality, they are demonstrating the Reid interrogation method.  The Reid interrogation method is popular with federal, state and local detectives, as it is often an effective way to elicit information from criminal suspects. If you believe officers may question you as part of a criminal investigation, you should understand the method’s three parts.  1. Factual examination...

Spreading Coronavirus May Be A Crime In Florida

Spreading Coronavirus May Be A Crime In Florida

As the United States finds itself in the throes of a second wave of novel coronavirus infections, several jurisdictions have been forced to address the question of the criminality of intentionally or recklessly spreading COVID-19 to others. Intentionally spreading a disease is an act contrary to the laws of Florida as well as many other states. Generally these laws consist of three elements: The defendant knows he or she has the disease, the defendant intended to transmit the disease, and the defendant carried out a specific act that would increase the risk of the disease’s transmission. In...

COVID-19 Quarantine Leads To Sharp Rise In Sexual Crimes In Florida

COVID-19 Quarantine Leads To Sharp Rise In Sexual Crimes In Florida

Much of our world has changed this year since quarantines resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect this spring. Just as our way of life has been greatly altered this year, so too has the pattern of criminal behavior. Among the crimes that have increased over the past year are crimes of a sexual nature. A sexual crime that has become much more common during the coronavirus pandemic is the crime of online child sexual abuse. Data shows that livestreaming sexual abuse has skyrocketed, often emanating from the Philippines, Thailand, or Cambodia. Many western countries, including the...

What are the issues with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act?

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is one of the many federal laws aimed towards policing computer usage and preventing fraud and abuse. While it has been around for a while, there are many who feel it has outlived its usefulness and it is time for an overhaul.  According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is in dire need of revision. It creates unfair criminal situations and is no longer effective against computer fraud. There are a couple of specific issues with the CFAA that many criminal defense lawyers and other organizations feel...

A history of fentanyl and the law

Fentanyl is one of the most addictive drugs available. It's also one of the deadliest. Here in Florida, officials blamed opioids for 3,189 overdose deaths in 2018. Of those, 2,091 were caused by fentanyl. Because fentanyl is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, it should not be surprising that it is also highly addictive. Despite how powerful fentanyl is, like other opioids, the brain adapts to it. Over time, users need more and more of the drug to feel its effects until they begin taking life-threatening doses. Every year, fentanyl addiction costs numerous Americans their savings,...

Several New Laws Take Effect In Florida In 2021

Several Common Crimes See Spike At Christmastime

The holidays are upon us, and along with Christmas trees and candy canes comes a change in common crimes committed by common criminals. Grab a cup of egg nog and join us around the fireplace as we examine some of the more common crimes in the holiday season. Driving under the influence (DUI) is one of the most prevalent charges during the holiday season. The common fact pattern involves a defendant leaving the office party after a few drinks. Rather than making the wise decision of taking a rideshare or taxi home, the defendant chooses to roll the dice and drive himself home. On the drive...

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