Charles L. Truncale
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A Former Federal Prosecutor Who Now Fights For Defendants

Jacksonville Criminal Defense Blog

Reversing a criminal conviction

Anyone who has been convicted of a crime in Florida may wonder if there is anything that they can do after the judgment has already been rendered and filed. Most courts of appeals will not overturn a guilty verdict after a jury or bench trial unless the appellant can demonstrate that a serious error occurred.

In post-conviction matters, a defendant is not guaranteed a new trial. Even if a judge or jury committed an error at the trial court level, if the court of appeals deems the error harmless, which means that it probably did not affect the outcome of the trial, the conviction will not be overturned on appeal.

Large drug sweeps in Lee County

The Lee County Sheriff's Office recently announced that its Operation Fall Frenzy, which has been conducted over the past two months, culminated with one day of 32 drug arrests. The charges in these cases involve heroin and other opioids, marijuana and other controlled substances. The sheriff also announced that additional arrests and charges may be forthcoming in the county. There are 12 outstanding arrest warrants for alleged drug dealers, most of which were made during September and early October.

Despite the fact that marijuana charges were part of these arrests, the sheriff said that the operation focused on dangerous drug trafficking in Lee County. Charges ranged from sale and possession to drug trafficking, and the sheriff's office said it confiscated drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, meth and marijuana.

Drug cases dismissed after finding of police misconduct

A Florida judge has vacated the sentences of at least eight prisoners after reports of police misconduct were released. A former Jackson County deputy was accused of planting methamphetamine on unsuspecting drivers during traffic stops.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted an investigation, which revealed facts that undermined the confidence of the prosecuting authorities. An announcement was released that cases involving the deputy would be dismissed.

Are you eligible for expungement?

After an arrest, you may find it difficult to get back to your everyday life. Most employers have employees complete criminal background checks, which may show any arrest(s). This can make it difficult to find employment, even if you did not face conviction.

Individuals who are arrested for a DUI or drug possession may seek expunction. Fortunately, Florida makes it possible for eligible individuals to expunge their record, which will remove arrests on your criminal record from public view.

Florida man facing drug charges after traffic stop

A 47-year-old Florida man was taken into custody during the early morning hours of Sept. 15 after attempting to flee the scene of a routine traffic stop according to a report from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. The man has been charged with cocaine possession and resisting arrest. The MCSO alleges that the man discarded several packages of drugs while attempting to elude law enforcement.

According to a police report, the sequence of events was set into motion when a deputy signaled the man's car to pull over on Ocean Bay Drive in Key Largo. The deputy says that he initiated the traffic stop after observing the man change lanes without signaling. Reports indicate that the man acted belligerently when questioned and accused the deputy of pulling his vehicle over for no reason. The deputy claims that the situation escalated when the man closed his car window and reached under the driver's seat.

Task force shuts down Central Florida drug gang

A multi-agency task force says that it has shut down a major heroin and fentanyl trafficking operation in Central Florida. A yearlong investigation came to fruition when police conducted several drug raids and took 10 people into custody according to a Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation representative. The arrests were announced during a Sept. 17 press conference. The MBI were assisted in the investigation by agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Volusia Bureau of Investigation.

Authorities believe that the group distributed between five and six kilograms of heroin and fentanyl each week in the Orange County area. The narcotics, which police believe may have been supplied by a Mexican drug cartel, were allegedly concealed in vehicles to avoid detection. The investigation began when authorities received an anonymous tip about a 30-year-old man involved in the local drug trade. It ended with the arrest of the man along with three of his relatives and the alleged seizure of heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine worth several million dollars.

Drunk driving witness charged with DUI

A man who witnessed a driver operating a truck while impaired was mistakenly taken into custody by Florida authorities. The man was at the intersection of Cortez Road and 14th Street when he saw the truck run a red light. He decided to follow the vehicle until it came to a stop in a Taco Bell parking lot. The driver chose to leave the scene, which prompted the witness to find a police officer.

The witness then gave a statement and figured that his involvement was over. However, it turned out that a warrant was issued in his name, and the warrant was discovered when he helped police during another drunk driving incident. This was because both the driver and the witness of the March 2018 event had the same first name. Authorities took the witness to jail where he posted a $120 bond and was released several hours later.

Potential penalties for “Drug Drive-Thru” charges

This week, a couple was arrested after they reconstructed the kitchen window of their mobile home into a "drive-thru" window to sell heroin and other drugs. The drive-thru included an open/closed business sign and directions to guide customers to the window, according to police at the scene.

Charges for possession of a controlled substance may come as no small slap on the wrist in Florida. However, in cases like this, multiple charges can be issued too.

Florida man arrested after drugs found in fridge, freezer

On Aug. 28, three Florida men were detained after police allegedly found a large stash of drugs in a Davie home. The incident took place on the 13000 block of Southwest Sixth Street.

According to reports, police obtained a warrant to search the property of a 39-year-old man. A K-9 drug-sniffing dog was brought to the scene to assist with the search. The dog reportedly detected that drugs were present in two bedrooms and in the kitchen's refrigerator and freezer. A search of those areas allegedly uncovered 1.2 pounds of cocaine, 1.178 kilograms of marijuana buds, 227 grams of marijuana joints, 546 grams of cannabis wax and 90 grams of cannabis oil. A loaded handgun and a notebook detailing drug sales were also found.

Florida mother and daughter facing drug charges

A 54-year-old Florida woman and her 21-year-old daughter were taken into custody Aug. 21 on narcotics charges after officers with the Port St. Lucie Police Department allegedly discovered significant quantities of illegal drugs in their Fairway Avenue residence. The search followed an undercover investigation that was triggered by several reports of suspicious activity in and around the house. The two women face a total of 15 felony drug possession and trafficking charges.

During the undercover operation, officers are said to have purchased 40 prescription sedative pills from the daughter. They also claim to have detected the odor of marijuana emanating from the residence. Reports suggest that this was enough to convince a judge to grant police a warrant to search the premises. Police say that the ensuing search led to the discovery of 100 grams of marijuana, 45 grams of cocaine, 57 Xanax pills, 34 grams of methamphetamine in liquid form and more than 28 grams of synthetic cathinones, which are more commonly referred to by their street name bath salts.

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