Archives : 2010 : July
The crime of kidnapping in Massachusetts is a serious felony offense. Chapter 265, Section 26 of the Massachusetts Statutes provides that anyone who forcibly or secretly confines, kidnaps or imprisons another person against the person’s will within the Commonwealth or forcibly carries or sends such person outside of the Commonwealth with either the intent to secretly confine or imprison that person, faces imprisonment in the state prison of not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $1,000 and imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 2 years. If a firearm, gun or assault weapon is involved in the crime, the punishment is confinement in state prison for not less than 10 years or in a house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years. The firearm provision does not apply to a parent of a child under 18 who takes custody of the child.
If the kidnapping crime is committed in connection with the intent to extort money, the punishment is life in prison or any term of years in the state prison, unless a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or assault weapon are used, then the punishment is life or for any term of years, but not less than 20 years in the state prison. When someone is armed with a dangerous weapon and inflicts serious bodily injury or sexually assaults the confined or kidnapped person, the punishment is imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 25 years. Bodily injury is defined under the statute as “permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ or substantial risk of death”.
When the kidnap or confinement offense involves a child under 16 who is taken against his or her will within the Commonwealth or forcibly carried or sent out the Commonwealth either with the intent to secretly confine or imprison the child, the crime is punishment by not more than 15 years in state prison. This provision does not apply to a parent who takes custody of a child under 16 years of age.
Two Worcester men were accused of stealing a 2002 Toyota Sienna on July 12, 2010 from a Gulf gas station 185 Madison St. with two sleeping children in the back seat while the driver was in the gas station. Police were called and within minutes found the van parked at the corner of Lafayette and Scott with the two children in the vehicle unharmed. Witnesses gave police a description of the two men. Jaime Collazo, 36, was then arrested shortly thereafter hiding on a third floor porch and charged with two counts of Massachusetts kidnapping and trespassing. The other defendant, Christopher Colecchi, 28, was also accused of stealing another car after the incident and was pursued by the police on the I-290 in a high speed chase and then by foot after he crashed the vehicle. Colecchi was charged with two counts of Massachusetts kidnapping, operating a vehicle as to endanger, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and possession of Class B substance. Colecchi’s defense attorney says his client told him that whoever took the first vehicle got out as soon as they discovered the children were in the vehicle. Jaime Collazo, 36 was also arrested hiding on a third floor porch and charged with two counts of kidnapping and trespassing. Collazo’s defense attorney said the suspects had no intention to kidnap anyone, and that the van was stopped when the suspects noticed the children inside.
If you have been arrested for a kidnapping or related offense in Massachusetts, you should hire a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney immediately to defend you. These are serious charges, and you could face long prison sentences and other penalties, including fines. The attorney may be able to argue that there was insufficient evidence in your kidnapping case, or the alleged crime against you was one of mistaken identity or a misunderstanding or the alleged victim that was taken voluntarily consented to go with you to get the case dismissed or reduced to lesser charges.
Common drug offenses in Florida involve marijuana. Florida has the harshest marijuana laws in the nation. If you are arrested and convicted of drug offenses for possession, sale, cultivation or distribution of marijuana, you could face jail time, fines and penalties depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession and whether you were intending to sell, distribute or cultivate it. The most serious offense is the sale, delivery or cultivation of more than 25 lbs, which is considered trafficking and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years to 25 years and fines of $25,000 to $200,000. A conviction for any marijuana offense means an automatic suspension of your driver’s license up to two years.
Florida Statute XLVI, Chapter 893
For possession only of marijuana (cannabis) in Florida, you face the following penalties and fines:
· 20 grams or less misdemeanor, 1 year jail, $1,000 fine
· More than 20 grams is a felony, five years jail, $5000 fine
· 25 or more plants (formerly 300 plants) now a felony, 15 years jail 10,000 fine
· Any conviction causes a driver license suspension of 6 months to two years.
For the sale, cultivation or distribution of marijuana in Florida, you face the following penalties and fines:
· 20 grams or less, misdemeanor 1 year, jail $1,000 fine
· 25 lbs or less, felony, 5 years, $5,000 fine
· More than 25 lbs to 200 lbs or 2000 plants, felony and considered trafficking, mandatory minimum sentence 3 years, $25,000 fine. Under Florida law, sale delivery or cultivation of more than 25 lbs is considered trafficking.
· 2,000 to 10,000 lbs or 10,000 plants, felony, mandatory minimum prison sentence 7 years, $50,000 fine
· 10,000 lbs or 10,000 plants or more plants, felony, mandatory minimum 15 years, $200,000 fine.
· Under Section 893.1351, if you are arrested for leasing a residence with the intent of using it as a “grow house” you are facing a second degree felony, with 15 years jail time and a $10,000 fine. Anyone caught operating a “grow house” where a minor is present faces a first degree felony and a 30 year jail sentence.
If you are arrested within 1,000 feet of school, college or park with possession of 25 or more plants it is considered evidence of intention to sell or distribute, and it is a second degree felony which carries a maximum 15 years in jail and a 10,000 fine. Possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor, with a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
The Florida Bong Bill
Florida’s tough laws on marijuana are further demonstrated by the latest Florida Bong Bill sponsored by regarding Representative Darryl Rouson, which was recently signed into law by Governor Crist, and went into effect July 1, 2010. The Bill bans the sale of bongs, pipes and other devices associated with smoking marijuana by stores that receive 25% or more of their annual revenues from these sales. The Bill is aimed at Florida head shop businesses. A class action lawsuit has been filed challenging the constitutionality of the law. Violators face up to one year in jail. Tobacco shops would not be affected because the sale of these items does not reflect 25% of their annual revenues. People who want to buy marijuana drug paraphernalia can still purchase it at Florida tobacco shops or drive across state lines to make their purchases. Rouson says he has been fighting against the pipe industry, which he believes is part of the drug trade that is helping to destroy families and neighborhoods. It is Rouson’s opinion that the new law supports Florida’s public awareness of health and safety and law and order of society.
Gainesville Police were questioning suspect 24 year old Bryant Michael Forsythe of 3707 S.W. 28th Terrace on Sunday July 11, 2010, when they found 13 oxycodone tablets on him while he was searched. Forsythe told the police he could prove the drugs were his because he had prescription information in his bag that he directed the police to search. Instead, police found his marijuana. He also directed police to search his closet after they found the marijuana. Officers did not find the prescription information or any more marijuana. Forsythe was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia and is being held at the Alachua County Jail.
Marijuana offenses carry stiff jail sentences and penalties in Florida. If you are arrested for a marijuana offense in Florida, you should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney. The attorney can obtain plea bargain offers for reduced charges, or diversion to a drug treatment program, probation or get the case dismissed as a result of unlawful search and seizure or insufficient evidence. The attorney may also be able to argue a “necessity defense” under Florida common law if you are using marijuana to help alleviate symptoms of your medical condition.
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