Miami Hurricanes player arrested on marijuana and steroid charges

A Miami Hurricanes baseball player was arrested on criminal charges for allegedly negotiating the sale of marijuana to an undercover police officer, according to the Miami Herald.

Frank Ratcliff, 19, allegedly tried to sell 21 grams of pot for $220. Police searched his apartment and found 101 grams of marijuana and 19 vials of steroids. The steroids are a significant issue that will require the representation of an experienced and aggressive Miami criminal defense attorney.

At issue will also be the weight of the marijuana. Under Florida law, sale of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail. At 21 grams, the sale would be felony, with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison. He was also charged with marijuana sale within 1,000 feet of a school, which enhances the penalty.

Continue reading »

Miami area sobriety checkpoint yields problems for motorists, few DUI arrests

Fewer than one drunk driving arrest for every 10 officers was made at a Labor Day weekend DUI checkpoint in Hialeah Gardens.

As we reported before the holiday on our Miami Criminal Attorney Blog, drunk driving arrests at law enforcement roadblocks account for less than 1 percent of DUI charges in South Florida. And additional requirements are placed on law enforcement because of the privacy violations to which such checkpoints subject motorists.

A Miami DUI lawyer should always be called to handle a drunk driving arrest; checkpoint arrests in particular are often beatable.

Continue reading »

Aggressive federal criminal defense often required in wake of Miami mortgage fraud charges

The former manager of a branch of Top Dot Mortgage has been sentenced on criminal mortgage fraud charges in Miami, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

As we continue to report, hiring a federal criminal defense attorney is critical to combating the wave of mortgage fraud charges being lodged by the federal government. With increasing frequency, the government is using conspiracy and wire and mail fraud charges to prosecute alleged mortgage fraud.

In this case, Jason Vitulano, 44, the former manager of Top Dot Mortgage’s Boca Raton branch, was sentenced to five years in prison. Co-defendant Joseph Miller, 64, of Palm Beach Gardens, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was accused of acting as a title agent on a number of fraudulent closings.

Continue reading »

Juveniles facing criminal charges in the Miami area after Aventura mall brawl

A brawl at a Miami area movie theater led to the arrest of numerous teenagers, some of whom were shocked with stun guns and otherwise subdued by police, the Miami Herald reported.

Teenagers should always be represented by a qualified Miami criminal defense lawyer. But particularly in cases like this, where law enforcement has little or no idea of what took place and simply begins arresting whoever they can put their hands on. Frequently, the real instigators are not caught, and those who had little or no responsibility for the incident find themselves holding the bag.

At least five police departments responded to the brawl among more than a dozen teenagers at an Aventura mall; the teens had arrived for the openings of the movies “Lottery Ticket” and “Takers.” Several hundred people reportedly fled the scene after a fight broke out in the box office line before spreading to theaters, across the mall and into the parking lot.

Continue reading »

Miami DUI lawyers wish you a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend

A high number of drunk driving arrests are expected as authorities hit the streets for the labor day weekend. Consulting a Miami DUI lawyer should be your first priority if you or a family member is charged with an alcohol-related offense, either on the road or on the water.

Drunk driving charges can be beat. In fact, only about half of those arrested last year on a DUI charge were found guilty, according to the Florida Highway Patrol— 36,872 were found guilty of the 63,019 arrests. Fewer than half of Miami drunk driving defendants were convicted — 2,703 of 5,955.

Moreover, sobriety checkpoints account for less than 1 percent of DUI arrests. But police agencies continue to use them as a public relations tool (and because they pay overtime). The patrol and local law enforcement are participating in a nationwide crackdown through Labor Day — “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”

Continue reading »