Hold my Beer turns to “Hold My Meth Pipe”

June 2, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drug Charges

A recent incident in Haines City highlights how one crime can lead to several more serious charges. A local Florida man had an accidental crash at a nearby Publix, which already caused quite the commotion. However, what only made matters worse was when he finally talked to the police—and gave away an “honest truth” that resulted in several more criminal charges.

This particular case takes a copy out of the page of a popular meme “Hold my beer” – which implies when a person is about to do an ill-advised act or make a poor decision. Where in this case, instead of beer, it’s actually a meth pipe.

We will cover the details of the incident, along with helpful tips on knowing what to say (or not say) when pulled over by the police, along with information surrounding methamphetamine and drug charges.

Publix Crash Leads to Arrest

Michael Calvo, a delivery driver heading with his 53-foot long white truck filled with supplies, crashed at a Florida Publix on May 27th, 2022. As shown on a Facebook post by the agency, the large truck crashed into a fence, with a large tree underneath its wheels. Police believe Calvo had torn off one of the awnings of the building, then hit an unoccupied truck, and pushed it for about 200 feet. Both vehicles were considered totaled after the crash.

While the crash itself was already an issue, it is what happened in the aftermath that really caused Calvo trouble. As authorities first approached the delivery truck, Calvo first hesitated to get out. He then proceeded to tell the police officers that he believed he was being pranked on a television show.

Calvo then started acting in an “erratic behavior” which caused a commotion in the parking lot, starting to attract a crowd of witnesses trying to view what was going on. After several minutes of trying to speak with Calvo, police pressed him and asked whether he had been drinking, had fallen asleep, or if there was a medical emergency that caused him to crash.

Calvo responded, “I was smoking my meth pipe.”

His honesty caused the 51-year-old Cape Coral man to be arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest without violence, and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. According to the Polk County court records, Calvo has since been released on a $500 bond.

While the story may come off as just another outlandish “Florida Man” case, it does highlight the importance of talking to the police during a traffic stop, and knowing what to say—or what not to say.

Talking to the Police in Florida

Whereas Calvo may have only been charged with reckless driving and disorderly conduct, his disclosure to the police about his drug use ended with him getting pinned with much more severe charges.

If you have been pulled over by the police—whether for a traffic violation or for a crash, the main thing to remember is to stay calm. In addition, you can follow these steps to take if you get pulled over:

  • Keep calm and respectful
  • Stay in the vehicle (unless the police tell you otherwise)
  • Notify someone that you have been pulled over
  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel
  • Don’t make any sudden movements
  • Don’t answer any questions other than providing your name, date of birth, address, and place of residence
  • Inform the police officers where your important documents are before reaching to hand them over
  • Do not answer any questions that you do not have to answer, as they can be used against you later on if charges are pressed

For more information, you can find our blog posts on Escalated Traffic Violations and What to do if You Get Pulled Over.

Methamphetamine Charges in Florida

Since Calvo provided the upfront information that he had been smoking meth while operating a vehicle, it is important to review the charges for methamphetamine in Florida.

Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as Crystal Meth, is considered a Schedule 2 controlled substance. Meth is a highly addictive narcotic, and is considered to have a very high potential for abuse, which is due to both the physical and psychological dependence.

In the state of Florida under Statute 893.13, possessing methamphetamines is considered a third-degree felony if the defendant had less than 14 grams in their possession. The penalties for a third-degree penalty include up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. If the person has over 14 grams of methamphetamine in their possession, it is considered possession of methamphetamine with the intention to traffic the drug.

It is important to know that the weight is not determined by the pure methamphetamine that is present, but rather by the total weight of the mixture. That means that even if there is less than 14 grams of the pure substance in the mixture, if it weighs 14 grams or more overall, then you can be charged with trafficking methamphetamine. In Florida, getting charged with a trafficking crime can lead to a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

The thresholds of penalties for trafficking methamphetamine are as follows:

  • 14 – 28 grams of methamphetamine: up to a fine of $50,000 and a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years
  • 28 – 200 grams of methamphetamine: up to a fine of $100,000 and a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 7 years
  • 200 grams or more of methamphetamine: up to a fine of $250,000 and a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years

In addition to expensive fines and jail time, if a person gets convicted of possession or trafficking of methamphetamine can result in their driver’s license getting suspended. Florida Statute Section 322.055 describes that an individual convicted of trafficking methamphetamine can get their license suspended for six months. In the case of Calvo, a methamphetamine conviction can also affect individuals with a professional driver’s license. Under Florida Statute Section 893.11, the penalty of a professional driver possessing methamphetamine can result in the emergency suspension of any professional license issued by the state of Florida that authorizes the practice of trade.

To find out more about drug charges in Florida, you can find our blog post here.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Dealing with a criminal charge is no laughing matter. The reality of the situation is that dealing with the police can be scary, and if you are then charged with a criminal offense it only makes things more stressful. No one wants to navigate the legal world on their own—and with us, you won’t have to.

Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have been representing clients across the state of Florida for various crimes. We understand that it is a top priority to strategize a strong defense for your case, and will continuously work towards ensuring your freedom. If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, don’t hesitate to reach out and receive a free consultation with our team. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today.

Written by Karissa Key

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