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Lori D. Palmieri, P.A.
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Lori D. Palmieri, P.A.
Lori Palmieri

13055 W. Linebaugh Ave., Ste. 102
Tampa FL 33626
(813) 254-0254

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Lori D. Palmieri, P.A.

Please Call: 813-254-0254

Lori Doganiero Palmieri, Esq.

Ms. Palmieri has been practicing Criminal Trial Law in Florida since 1990. Before founding her very successful criminal defense practice, she was a prosecutor with:

  • The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office, Felony Deputy Chief
  • The Office of Statewide Prosecution (inter-county), Assistant Statewide Prosecutor
  • The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office, Lead Trial Attorney

During her 12 years as a prosecutor, Ms. Palmieri worked closely with law enforcement officers to build successful cases against defendants. Having built thousands of strong cases for the prosecution, it follows naturally that she has the insight and expertise to recognize weaknesses in the State's case against you.  There are very few other attorneys with both this vast and diverse prosecutorial experience, and Board Certification by the Florida Bar.

Ms. Palmieri is the 2009 - 2010 Chair of the Committee for Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law. There are only 9 attorneys in the entire state that sit on the committee each year. Their primary responsibilities are to write and grade the annual Certification exam, review applications for Certification, and ultimately recommend approval or denial of Board Certification of attorney applicants.

Ms. Palmieri joined the committee in 2005, and last served as the Vice-Chair from 2008 - 2009. She has helped to write and grade four Board Certification exams to date, and is starting on the fifth for the 2010 test date.

With the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's office, Ms. Palmieri was a Lead Trial Attorney handling DUI, domestic battery, and other misdemeanor cases. Ms. Palmieri then advanced to the Felony Division where she was assigned child sexual abuse crimes, in addition to other serious felonies: murder, robbery, sexual battery, carjacking, drug trafficking, burglary, theft, and fraud. She was also part of the DUI Manslaughter squad which responded to traffic accident scenes and advised law enforcement.

Ms. Palmieri furthered her prosecution and trial experience as an Assistant Prosecutor for the Office of Statewide Prosecution in the Tampa Bureau. (See and click on 'General Information' for a brief synopsis.) The Statewide Prosecutor and his Assistants are charged with investigating and prosecuting multi-circuit organized crime including: bribery, burglary, usury, extortion, gambling, kidnapping, theft, murder, prostitution, perjury, robbery, home invasion, carjacking, narcotics violations, antitrust violations, anti-fencing violations, crimes involving fraud and deceit, computer crimes, racketeering, and attempts, solicitations, or conspiracies to commit these offenses. Ms. Palmieri personally handled numerous extremely complex white collar prosecutions including racketeering, conspiracy, securities fraud, bank fraud, and other related crimes.

While an Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, she was asked to lecture to Special Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in their White Collar Crime training course, and at the St. Petersburg Criminal Justice Training Academy.

Finally, to round out her criminal trial experience across the Tampa Bay Area, Ms. Palmieri accepted an appointment with the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office as a Lead Trial Attorney, and ultimately as a Deputy Chief in the Felony Division. She handled hundreds of serious felony offenses including drug trafficking, carjacking, attempted murder, armed robbery, weapons charges, and burglary. Her cases frequently involved 10-20-LIFE, Habitual Felony Offender, Prison Releasee Reoffender (PRR), and Three Strikes sentencing enhancements. To date, she has handled thousands of cases and tried over 70 jury trials, most involving serious felony offenses.

Professional Qualifications

  • Board Certified® by the Florida Bar, Specialist in Criminal Trial Law
  • Admitted to practice in all courts in Florida, The US District Court for the Middle District of Florida and The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals


National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers logo.Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers logo.

  • The Florida Bar, Member in good standing since 1990
  • The Florida Bar, Vice Chair of the Board Certification Committee in Criminal Trial Law, 2008-2009
  • The Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • President of the Pinellas County Trial Lawyers Association, 1997
  • Florida Association of Women Lawyers
  • Fox13's 'Ask-A-Lawyer' Panelist

Ms. Palmieri donates her expertise and time on Fox13's (WTVT - Tampa) 'Ask-A-Lawyer' call-in segment of their 'Good Morning Tampa Bay' program. It airs the first Thursday of every month from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.


  • Juris Doctor Degree
    • Stetson University College of Law, 1990

  • Bachelor of Science Degree - Microbiology
    • University of Florida, 1985
  • Continuing Legal Education, ongoing

Please Call: 813-254-0254

Practice Areas

Federal Criminal Charges Defended

As a former Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, Ms. Palmieri worked closely with law enforcement to target multi-defendant drug trafficking, complex white collar crime, fraud, and racketeering cases occurring across state lines, or in international waters.

  • CLICK HERE to go to our expanded Federal Charges page.
  • Fraud: Mail Fraud, Tax Fraud, Bank Fraud, Computer Fraud, Insurance Fraud, Mortgage Fraud
  • Racketeering / RICO
  • Embezzlement and Larceny
  • Perjury and Obstruction
  • Bribery and Extortion
  • Money Laundering (usually associated with counterfeiting and trafficking)
  • Drug Trafficking, both within the US and International cases
  • Counterfeiting and Forgery
  • Blackmail
  • Letter of Investigation from a Government Agency, such as the CIA, Secret Service, IRS, etc.

State Criminal Matters Handled

All Felonies and Misdemeanors charged in the State of Florida, including, but not limited to:

DUI and Criminal Driving Offenses

  • CLICK HERE to go to our expanded DUI page.
  • DUI (including Formal Review Hearing)
  • DUI Manslaughter
  • Vehicular Homicide / Manslaughter
  • DWLS (Suspended License)
  • Hit-and-Run
  • Reckless Driving / RD
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Expungement and Sealing of Records

Our office has recently been flooded with calls concerning criminal or juvenile record sealing and expungement. Currently, the FDLE is processing the packets in as little as two to three months. Call today and we can have your record cleaned in short order. Please click on the above link to take you to our expanded Expungement page.


Probation Violations (VOP), Violations of Community Control (VOCC)

Click on the above link to see detailed information about Tampa Probation Violations, violations of Community Control (house arrest), and bond hearings: what they are, and how we can help.

DUI Info

Florida DUI - General Information

DUI (DWI in some states) is a crime that truly knows no economic, demographic or political bounds... it can, and does, happen to anyone. DUI consistently ranks in the top 5 charges in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

It usually involves alcohol, but can also be charged if the alleged impairment is caused by drugs, even valid prescription drugs.

In Florida, there are TWO components to a DUI case: the first is an administrative component by the DHSMV, which deals with the suspension or revocation of the arrestee's license.  The second component is the criminal complaint brought against the defendant by the county of arrest.

Important Deadline!

If you have been charged with DUI in Florida, you have TEN (10) calendar days from the date of your arrest to file for a Formal Review Hearing with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Please do not disregard this important deadline. Call (813) 254-0254 today for more information.

Previous DUI or DWI Outside the State of Florida

The State of Florida considers any prior DUI or DWI occuring outside the state to count as a previous conviction for the purposes of determining the appropriate penalty. For example, if you have a DUI in Texas and then receive another in Florida, then Florida considers your Florida DUI to count as your second DUI.

DUI Defense

There are several avenues of defense in a DUI case. In your defense we will examine the validity of the traffic stop, the administration of the breath test, the DUI video, including field sobriety tests (if any) and your overall appearance and recorded behavior. Further, we look at any other biological stresses that may have had an impact on your driving pattern or field test performance.

As in any case we defend, we always study all associated forms and paperwork, to ensure that they are filled out accurately, completely, and signed in the appropriate areas. There have been cases that have been reduced or dismissed because of improperly or incompletely filled-out paperwork.

DUI Penalties

The following information is intended as a general guide to possible penalties for DUI in Florida. This chart is not designed to represent the comprehensive body of statutes and case law that deal with the broad topic of DUI Law in Florida. As with any criminal charge, consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney is strongly recommended. For peace of mind, insist on a Board Certified lawyer.

Guideline: Penalties for DUI in Florida (Penalties changed, effective July 1, 2008)

The upper limit for penalty enhancement has been reduced from 0.20% to 0.15% BAL.

Penalties may be higher for Blood Alcohol Level or Breath Alcohol Level (BAL) equal to, or in excess of 0.15%. Penalties may also be higher based on number of, and length of time between convictions.

First Conviction

Blood Alcohol Level less than 0.15%:

  • A fine of not less than $500 or more than $1000
  • Incarceration up to 6 months
  • Your license will be suspended for 6 mos to 1 year.
  • You are eligible for a hardship reinstatement of your license upon the completion of DUI school and an alcohol evaluation.
  • Probation (6 mos to 1 year), including DUI school, community service (50 hrs), alcohol evaluation and treatment, and a victim impact panel.
  • Mandatory 50 hours community service, or $10 per hour buyout
  • Impoundment or immobilization of vehicle for at least 10 days
  • Ignition device (0.20% or higher, 0 - 6 mos)

Blood Alcohol Level 0.15% or higher, or minor in the vehicle:

  • A fine of not less than $1000, or more than $2000.
  • Incarceration not more than 9 months


Second Conviction within 5 years

Blood Alcohol Level less than 0.15%:

  • A fine of not less than $1000 or more than $2000
  • Incarceration at least 10 days, not more than 12 months
  • Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 5 years
  • Probation for 1 year including DUI School Level II
  • Impoundment of vehicle for at least 30 days
  • Ignition device at least 1 year (.20% or higher, at least 2 years)
  • May petition for a hardship reinstatement of license after 12 months

Blood Alcohol Level 0.15% or higher, or minor in the vehicle:

  • A fine of not less than $2000, or more than $4000.
  • Incarceration not more than 12 months

Second Conviction outside 5 years


  • A fine of not less than $500
  • Incarceration of 0 to 9 months
  • Your license will be suspended for 6 months to 1 year
  • Probation for 1 year including DUI School Level II
  • Ignition device at least 1 year (.20% or higher, at least 2 years)
  • May petition for a hardship reinstatement of license after 1 year

Third Conviction within 10 years (FELONY)


  • A fine of not more than $5,000
  • Incarceration up to 5 years
  • Your license will be suspended for 10 years
  • Probation for 0 to 5 years
  • Impoundment of vehicle for 90 days
  • Ignition device for at least 2 years
  • May petition for a hardship reinstatement of license after 2 years

Third Conviction outside 10 years (Misdemeanor)


  • A fine of not less than $2000 or more than $5000
  • incarceration of 0 days to 1 year
  • Your license will be suspended for 5 years
  • Probation for 1 year
  • Ignition device at least 2 years
  • Depending on the length of time between second and third DUIs, you may petition for a hardship reinstatement after 1 or 2 years.

Fourth and/or Subsequent Conviction

Any person who is convicted of a fourth or subsequent violation of this section is guilty of a Felony of the Third Degree.

  • A fine of not less than $2000
  • Up to 5 years in Florida State Prison
  • Your license is permanently revoked
  • You are not eligible for a BPO or hardship license

Hardship Reinstatement of Your License

In Florida, a hardship reinstatement of your license falls under one of two types:

Business Purposes Only (BPO) - A driving privilege restricted to business purposes only means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and for medical purposes.

Employment Purposes Only (EPO) - A driving privilege restricted to employment purposes only means a driving privilege that is limited to driving to and from work and any necessary on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation.


Board-Certified® by the Florida Bar, Specialist in Criminal Trial LawFL Bar Board Certified logo.


A Board Certification committee member since 2005, Ms. Palmieri is the current (2008 - 2009) Vice Chair, and has been appointed the 2009-2010 Chair of the Committee for Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law. The primary responsibilities of the committee are to write the annual certification exam, review applications for certification, and ultimately recommend approval or denial of Board Certification in Criminal Trial Law.


Given the choice, you would certainly choose a Board Certified heart specialist, or dentist, or pediatrician... so why not your attorney? Insist on a criminal defense lawyer who is Board Certified by the Florida Bar. If you have never needed the services of an attorney before, you may need guidance in determining if a prospective lawyer is qualified to handle your matter. The FL Bar developed their Board Certification program for exactly that reason.

From the Florida Bar website: "Maybe you have never needed the services of an attorney before; but now you do. Obviously, you want an attorney who can handle your particular legal situation, and who has experience and expertise in the area of law relating to your legal needs.

While all lawyers are allowed to advertise, only certified attorneys are allowed to identify themselves as "Florida Bar Board Certified" or as a "specialist." Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys.

Every lawyer certified in criminal trial law has practiced law on a full-time basis for at least five years. To become certified the lawyer must have handled 25 criminal cases with at least 20 jury trials, tried to verdict, at least 15 of which involved a felony. Ten trials must have been tried with the lawyer as lead counsel. Each certified lawyer has had substantial involvement -- 30 percent or more -- in the practice of criminal trial law during the three years preceding application. Note: Ms. Palmieri has devoted 100% of her practice to criminal trial law since 1990.

Each certified lawyer must also pass peer review, complete 45 hours of continuing legal education within three years preceding application, and pass a written examination demonstrating knowledge, skills and proficiency in the field of criminal trial law to justify the representation of special competence.

Board certification is valid for five years, during which time the attorney must continue to practice law and attend Florida Bar-approved continuing legal education courses. To be recertified, requirements similar to those for initial certification must be met. Not all qualified lawyers are certified, but those who are board certified have taken the extra step to have their competence and experience recognized.

Criminal Law Certification was approved by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1987.

The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education operates under the authority of the Supreme Court of Florida.


Arrests / Searches FAQ's

What happens when there is an arrest?

Once an arrest has occurred, and before asking you any questions other than your name and address, law enforcement officers must provide your Miranda Warning:

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you can not afford an attorney, one will be provided for you." In addition to the above, many individual states require additional language. The State of Florida may add the following: "Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?"

Once you have been read your rights, it is best to say only the following: "YES, I understand my rights, and NO, I do not want to answer any questions. Please speak to my attorney." (Even if you do not have a particular attorney in mind, they don't need to know that.)

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I was arrested.  Will the State of Florida automatically charge me?

NO.  After an arrest, the police submit the case to the Office of the State Attorney.  The case is reviewed by an intake attorney who determines: 1) if a law, or laws, were broken,  2) if there is evidence to support and successfully prosecute the charge, and 3) if the arrest and collection of evidence were legal and proper.  The intake attorney makes the first decision on whether or not to move forward with the prosecution, or dismiss it.  At this point, the intake attorney is using the police report  to make a yes/no decision on your case, and the evidence therein may be biased against you. 

It is imperative to have your side of the story heard by the Office of the State Attorney, and that is why it is so important to involve a criminal defense attorney early in the process.  Your attorney can speak directly to the intake attorney and possibly influence what charges, if any, will be filed. Once charges have been filed it is hard to 'unring that bell.'

Finally, while the police are knowledgeable about the law, they are not the experts. Only the State Attorney can charge a citizen with a crime.  If you have been arrested, it does not automatically follow that you will be charged.

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If the police don't read my rights, can my case be dismissed?

No, not necessarily. We have all heard the "rights" being read to many suspects on television and in the movies, and this has caused some confusion. The police officer does not have to read anybody their "rights" unless that officer wants to get a statement or confession from a suspect. If the officer does not want to record what you have to say and use it against you, he does not have to read you your rights.

However, if the officer wants to ask you some questions other than your name and address, he must advise you that you don't have to answer his questions, that if you do, anything you say can be used against you and that you have a right to a lawyer before you answer any questions. (See above Q&A!) It is amazing how many people will answer the officer's questions in some vain attempt to cooperate which gives their defense attorney headaches trying to defend the case later on.

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Suppose the police make me an offer?

If you are arrested, the police may start to make you promises or offer you a deal, by saying things such as "You're not the one we are after, but you'll be the one in real trouble unless you tell us what happened now." Sometimes they are being truthful, but sometimes they are not. Also, it is only the prosecutor who can make a "deal".  IMPORTANT: The law does NOT require that the police be truthful when questioning you.

It is wise to say "Please talk about that with my attorney" and NOTHING MORE. Your attorney is better at negotiating with the police than you are.  More importantly, what she says CANNOT be used against you. Further, your attorney can turn meaningless promises by the police into binding legal agreements with the prosecutor, perhaps obtaining immunity for you.

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Can the police ever search me without a warrant?

Yes. There are numerous circumstances under which a search may lawfully be made without a warrant. Some general areas of exception where a search can be made without a warrant are:

  • if the safety of the police officer is involved,
  • whether the police are in hot pursuit of a criminal,
  • when they see illegal evidence in plain view,
  • if they are doing temporary questioning,
  • if a person consents to being searched, and/or -- if they have made a lawful arrest.

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Can a police officer search my car when I am stopped for speeding?

Generally, no. However, due to the mobility of cars, time does not permit a search warrant to be obtained. As a result, vigilant police are motivated to search suspicious automobiles. However, the police officer must have probable cause to believe that contraband is concealed somewhere.

In essence, merely being stopped for speeding should not allow the officer to search your car; however, if the officer saw you throw an empty beer can out the window, that may be sufficient probable cause to search your car. Or, if the officer smells marijuana as he approaches the car, he may have an articulable suspicion to search.

It is unreasonable to make a search of an automobile when the arrest is for a minor traffic violation (like speeding), as a subterfuge for a search for evidence of a serious crime. Yet, the many automobile exceptions are based on the lower expectation to the right of privacy in a car versus a home and the fact that cars are mobile and evidence can be more readily disposed.

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Do I have to give consent to a law enforcement officer to a search of my car?

If you feel that you have nothing to hide, and that challenging the law enforcement officer would be more bother than it's worth, you can give law enforcement officers consent to search your car. With consent, the officer does not need a warrant, does not need probable cause and can take custody of evidence obtained.

You do not have to give consent to a law enforcement officer to search your vehicle. While you do not have to consent, bear in mind that the expectation of privacy in a car is less than the expectation of privacy in your home. Based in part on the lessened expectation of privacy in a car, law enforcement officers are permitted to conduct a warrantless search of a car if the officer has probable cause.

Probable cause exists where the facts and circumstances would cause a reasonable person to believe that evidence of a crime could be located in the area to be searched. With probable cause, law enforcement officers may search any area of the vehicle where the probable cause leads him/her to believe that evidence may be found. In addition to a probable cause search, any time a law enforcement officer sees evidence of a crime in his/her "plain view," s/he can immediately seize the evidence without a warrant.

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Drug/Narcotic FAQ's

I use drugs, but I have never sold them. The police arrested me with some heroin and charged me with possession for sale. Is that right?

The law does not require the police to prove you DID sell, just that your intent was to sell. This is done by the circumstances of the possession and by expert opinion of the police. Factors such as the way it is packaged (many small bindles -- "packaged to sell"), and what is found with it (such as scales) can fill in the person's likely intentions. In addition, experienced narcotics officers will be allowed to testify that from their experience these factors and the quantity found are consistent with an intent to sell the drugs.

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I got busted with two rocks of cocaine and the first time in court prosecutor offered to let me plead to the possession for one day in jail and probation. Should I take it?

That depends on a number of factors. Why did the prosecution make such an offer off the bat? Is there a problem with his case? Could it get thrown out on legal grounds? What are the consequences of prior convictions in your state? How much time can you serve if you are found in violation of probation? What are the chances of avoiding any conviction at all by trying the case? What effect will this conviction have on your immigration status? Your ability to get a government job? Your ability to get bonded, or to get a professional license? You could even lose your eligibility to receive public assistance or to drive, depending on your jurisdiction's laws. There may even be programs that allow you to do drug counseling and other things in exchange for an eventual dismissal of the charges. In other words, the issue is so complicated and far reaching that even if you want to plead guilty, you still need a lawyer's advice so you know fully what you are doing.

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What gives? My buddy gave me a drive downtown and the cops pulled him over. They found a balloon of heroin in the open ash try and they charge me along with him. Those were not my drugs. How can they do that?

This is a common misconception: that ownership of the drugs controls. It's the POSSESSION that is illegal, and you do not have to have something in your hand or pocket to "possess" it. The police don't know that it was the driver who put the heroin in the ash tray (which sits right between the two of you). Unless your buddy talks and claims it, he's leaving the possibility open that he was innocent and they were yours. As a result the police will arrest everyone who was within arm's reach of it. This is a case you will certainly want to fight aggressively, but also be aware in the future that whom you hang out with can have serious consequences. Just being near illegal drugs is dangerous, even if you are not into drugs.

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I got stopped by a traffic cop for a busted tail light and then, without my permission, he searched my car and found some pot in the trunk. At the hearing he said he knew I had drugs because he saw seeds on the floor and they were in "plain view", but the drugs in the trunk weren't. Can a lawyer get the drugs excluded from evidence as illegally seized?

Not if you assume the fact that he did see the seeds. That would give him "probable cause" to search for drugs elsewhere. But did he seize any seeds from the floor to mark into evidence? Do you dispute his claim that there were seeds on the floor? If so, your lawyer might attack his testimony on the lack of physical evidence. In addition, there is the issue of whether you KNEW the drugs were in the trunk. You should see a lawyer. Any drug case has many issues that can determine whether you get convicted or the case dismissed.

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I have heard the term "unwitting possession". What does it mean and is it a valid defense?

Unwitting possession means that you possessed a contraband substance without knowing you had it. The classic case is mail carriers - they deliver a package containing cocaine but are not guilty of possessing cocaine because they didn't know (and had no way to know) that cocaine was in the package. The other classic case is borrowing someone's car and the owner had cocaine stashed in the door frame. Some states allow unwitting possession as a defense, some add the 'had no reason to know' element, some don't allow it at all. The defendant usually has the burden of proving unwitting possession by a preponderance of the evidence.

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I had been using drugs for some time. Right after I purchased new supply I was arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell. How can they do this when the police have no evidence that I ever sold any drugs to anyone?

If you were charged with possession with intent to sell drugs the police do not have to prove an actual sale; only your intent to sell the drugs. If you had just purchased the drugs you might have more in your possession than required for one or two uses. Also it might be packaged in several small packages which might indicate you intended to sell it to others. It might be important where you were arrested: at home or in the vicinity of a drug market. Many times these charges are highly speculative. However, if you are successful in rebutting the charge of possession with intent to sell, the police would still have the conviction for simple possession.

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I was arrested at a location known as a "open air drug market". The police raided the place while I was there and I was found to have drugs on me. I was only charged with possession, but the police didn't arrest the man who sold them to me. What is going on? Why didn't he get arrested?

It could be as simple as the fact that they didn't see the actual sale. It could also be because he is a cooperating individual who is working with the police. He could also be an undercover policeman who will turn up at your trial to testify that you bought it from him in the event that you claim the drugs were planted or raise some other defense. In any event the fact that he was not arrested doesn't really help you much. If they missed the sale, it is just how it worked out. If he was an undercover cop you will have a difficult time raising an entrapment defense because you were in a drug market.

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Violent Crime FAQ's

Are there different degrees of murder?

Yes, there are varying degrees of murder, and different states define these degrees differently.

First Degree Murder is the most serious. Most often, first degree murder is categorized as "deliberate" - that is, the defendant made a clear-headed decision to kill the victim - and "premeditated" - the defendant actually thought about the killing before it occurred (the period for this can be very brief).

Some states consider killings committed in specific ways to be first degree murder. Although these vary by state, they can include killing by poison, by lying in wait, and by torture.

First Degree Felony Murder - A killing that happens during the course of the commission of a felony, even if the death is accidental, will be considered "felony murder" by most states. However, if the killing happens during certain felonies, again determined by state, it will be considered "first degree felony murder". The felonies most often included in this category are arson, robbery, burglary, rape, mayhem and kidnapping.

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Is domestic violence a crime punishable under criminal law?

Whether the domestic violence is a crime depends upon the particular circumstances, as well as the laws of the state in which the act or acts occur. Often domestic violence is both a crime subject to criminal punishment and a civil wrong subject to restraint upon personal conduct and an award of a money damages.

It is a frequent pattern in domestic violence cases for the victim to be abused, call the police, press charges, then reconcile with her abuser, and seek to have the charges dropped, only to have the entire pattern repeated. Because of this, in some local communities and states, domestic violence is now prosecuted as a crime by city and district attorneys, even without charges being brought by the abused person, and even without his or her assistance. In these localities, a criminal case may be brought against the person causing the harm without a complaint being made by the victim.

Domestic violence is considered a crime against the community and the "state" should prosecute all harms against the community. Such localities try to "get the word out" that local authorities will not tolerate domestic violence; offenses will be prosecuted with or without the assistance of the victim.

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What is the difference between assault and battery?

If the victim has been actually touched by the person committing the crime, then battery has occurred. If the victim has not actually been touched, but only threatened, then the crime is considered to be assault.

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What is involuntary manslaughter?

Involuntary manslaughter generally occurs in only two cases. The first is when someone is killed due to criminal negligence, and the second is when someone is killed during the commission of another crime, where the intent was not to cause bodily injury or death. (This is often called "misdemeanor manslaughter".)

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White Collar Crime FAQ's

What is white collar crime?

White collar crimes typically refer to a type of crime committed by business people, entrepreneurs, public officials, and professionals through deception, as opposed to street crimes which tend to involve force and violence. Examples of white-collar crimes include embezzlement, bribery, extortion, larceny, fraud (e.g., health care,tax, bankruptcy, telemarketing, insurance, and mail, securities and commodities law violations, environmental violations, price fixing, racketeering, loan sharking, black market operations, obstruction of justice and perjury, and computer fraud.

Depending on whether federal or state law has been violated, white collar crimes can be prosecuted at the federal or state level. Penalties vary, but in some cases can result in large fines, restitution, and jail time.

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What is the difference between larceny and embezzlement?

The major difference between larceny and embezzlement is the way in which the property changes hands. With larceny, the property is carried away; it was never in the possession of the perpetrator. With embezzlement, however, the perpetrator has lawfully possessed the property, but then has converted it into his/her own property.

The following example illustrates the difference. A man walks onto a construction site and takes a hammer and goes home. He has committed larceny, because he has taken someone else's property away, with the intent never to return it. A construction worker on that same site, who uses the hammer every day, puts it in his pocket at the end of the day and takes it home. He has committed embezzlement, because it was in his possession to use while he worked on the site, but when he took it off the site, he converted it into his own property.

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Must a document have legal significance in order to be forged?

Yes. In order to be deemed a forgery, the writing must have some legal significance, and it must pretend to be something it is not. For example, it is considered forgery to write yourself a letter of reference for a job and purport it to be from a former employer. The legal liability the former employer could be held to for recommending someone makes it legally significant.

It is not considered forgery to write yourself a letter of introduction to a country club and purport it to be from a former member, because a letter of introduction has no legal, only social, significance. Painting a picture yourself and signing Picasso's name is legally not forgery, as the painting has no legal significance. It can, however, be considered false pretenses.

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What is the difference between extortion and blackmail?

The terms "extortion" and "blackmail" are terms routinely used interchangeably, that is, obtaining property through the use of either oral or written threats. The threats can be of physical harm, or harm to one's reputation, livelihood, marriage, etc.

In some states extortion has only occurred when money or property has actually changed hands as a result of the threat. In other states, just the threat is enough to constitute extortion.

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What is fraud?

Fraud is defined to be "an intentional perversion of truth" or a "false misrepresentation of a matter of fact" which induces another person to "part with some valuable thing belonging to him or to surrender a legal right".

In addition to the traditional criminal definition of fraud, there are many regulatory laws that have very specific rules that must be complied with. If you do not follow these rules to the letter, you could be charged with and convicted of fraud.

Federal Securities Law cover a broad scope of possible types of fraud. Fraud is not limited to the selling of bogus securities. Securities fraud also involves the sale of legitimate securities for illegal purposes. The laws also make "insider trading" illegal. "Insider trading" generally refers to the purchasing or selling of securities of a company while in possession of material information that has not been generally disclosed in the marketplace.

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What is the crime involving receiving stolen property?

Receiving stolen goods is generally buying or acquiring the possession of property knowing (or believing in some jurisdictions) that it had been obtained through theft, embezzlement, larceny, or extortion by someone else. The crime is separate from the crime of stealing the property. To be convicted, the receiver must know the goods were stolen at the time he receives them and had the intent to aid the thief. Paying for the goods or intending to collect the reward for returning them are not defenses. Depending on the value of the property received, receiving-stolen-property is either a misdemeanor or a felony.

There are numerous federal laws that make it a federal crime to receive stolen property (e.g., vehicles, securities) if the property received was or had been in interstate commerce.

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