Profile Stops, Illegal detentions and bogus drug arrests

Were you stopped, searched and arrested in Ft. Myers of Cape Coral?  Did the police make it look like a routine traffic stop?  Did the officer claim he smelled marijuana?  Did they bring a drug dog?  Did they claim your tint was too dark or your tag light to dim?

The police often make up reasons to make a profile stop to justify a detention and search of a vehicle. They know what to say and what to put in their reports.  They know how to make an illegal stop look legal.  The simple fact is, if you look out of place in the neighborhood, or are in a high crime area, they will find a reason to stop and search your car.  They are not supposed to make racial profile stops, but they do.  They will disguise it as a traffic stop for rolling through a stop sign or failing to signal a turn.  They will find a reason.  They may claim they smell marijuana when they come up to the car.  They may then ask to search or take their time writing a bogus ticket while the drug dog is one the way.

Having an experienced drug lawyer, a criminal defense lawyer, experienced in handling illegal stop cases is important.  You need a lawyer that knows the law when it comes to illegal searches and seizures.  You may be able to get all of the evidence suppressed and win the case.

Many people do not know the law.  Many people go to the Early Resolution Court (ERC) and jump at a probation offer, not knowing that they may have had a very valid defense.  The Courts want to move the docket.  The public defender may have a lot of cases.  The prosecutor may have a lot of cases and there is subtle pressure to move things along.  You really should know your options before you jump at a probation offerMost criminal defense law firms do not charge for a free consultation.  At our firm, the initial consultation is free.  You need to look before you leap because probation may ultimately not be the right thing for your lifestyle.

If you want an unbiased evaluation of your facts and the law, feel free to give us a call and discuss in confidentiality the fact surrounding your stop and arrest in Ft. Myers, Lehigh or the CapeGive us a call at 239 334 8890

Destroy your bump stock now or face a Federal Felony

If you own or possess a bump stock for an AR-15 or AK-47 rifle you could face Federal arrest and prosecution if you do not immediately destroy it.  The ATF has posted diagrams of the acceptable way of destroying them.  You may have paid good money for one of these devices, but if you get caught with one, you are facing penalties for illegal possession of a machine gun.   This can land you in Federal prison under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  It is simply not worth it.  Destroy them now

As a Federal criminal defense lawyer I am advising you to destroy them now.  What you face in terms of arrest, jail time and legal fees is simply not worth it.  You may be thinking, “no one knows I have it”, “I hate to throw away the money”, but, you have to bite the bullet and permanently get rid of it by way of destruction.  Do not try and sell it or even give it away. You can expect the ATF to begin tracing the people who purchased these over the Internet.  Basically, the Feds have determined that there is no legitimate domestic need or use in making a select fire assault rifle fully automatic.  The Las Vegas mass shooting is responsible for this clarification of the law.

Over the years, at our Ft. Myers criminal defense firm we have handled many types of firearms cases, including silencers and other types of destructive devices.  The Federal Courts come down hard on these types of violations and it is not worth going to jail for possessing something that you think is “cool”.  The same goes for silencers.  I have been in Court when a Federal prosecutor argues to a judge that a silencer is an instrument of death.  People claim that there is a legitimate use in hunting or target practice, but the truth is that these weapons are intended for one primary purpose.  I am a believer in the Second Amendment and handle lots of firearms cases, but you really need to think twice about violating a Federal firearms law.

Many people are not going to comply with this new regulation.  If you illegally possess one of these devices, you run the risk of accidently getting caught with it in your home or in your car.  If you are reading this blog too late and need help give us a call at 239 334 8890

What is a bail bond? What does it cost? What should I do?

If a loved one has just been arrested and called you from jail, what should you do?  Chances are, they are panicked, upset, crying and begging you to “get me out of here”.  Their only thought is “I want out now”

When a person is arrested, the following day, they are taken before a judge for “First Appearance”, if they have not already bonded out.  If it is a minor charge, a DUI, or a misdemeanor, chances are, you can get them out by either posting cash, or hiring a bondsmanIf it is a serious felony such as a sex crime, trafficking in drugs, aggravated assault or sometimes a domestic battery, your first call should be to a criminal defense lawyer.

A bondsman charges a fee called a “premium” to post a bail bond.  By law, in Florida that fee is set at 10% of the bond.   That means that if the bond is set high, for example at $100,000, it will cost you ten thousand dollars in a “fee” to the bondsman to get them out.  Many times, a good lawyer can get that bond reduced to a reasonable lower bond and save you a ton of money.  You may be able to save enough to pay for the lawyer.  Using a bondsman is often a very wise and good decision, and I highly recommend doing so.  Before you do that though, talk to a lawyer because the amount of the bond might get reducedYou need a lawyer at your loved one’s first appearance.  It can make a huge difference in the amount of the bond the judge sets.  It may save you an enormous amount of money.  If your spouse or relative calls from jail, your next call should be to a criminal defense lawyer.  Most defense lawyers are reachable 24/7, and an initial consultation is generally free.  As a Lee County criminal defense attorney, I want to see them out of jail also, but talking to a lawyer immediately can save you a bundle.

If you get a call from a loved one in jail, and want to talk, Call 239 334 8890

Probation Violations….Why they occur?

Did you know that more people get arrested in Ft. Myers for probation violations than any other reason?  Probation violations are on the rise in Lee County.  People are getting arrested on no bond holds.  They find themselves sitting in jail waiting for a probation violation hearing.  Why are probation violations on the increase?

One of the answers may be that more and more people are being placed on probation in the Early Resolution Court (ERC).  Although well intended, sometimes the Early Resolution Court may work to a person’s disadvantage.  If you are an addict, and you get placed on probation, unless you get help with your addiction, chances are, you are going to get violated and you are going to jail.  Sadly, to save money, many people are simply pleading “no contest” to charges they could have beaten.  The police sometimes violate the rights of the people they arrest.  They may make a “profile stop” because of a person race or ethnicity.  They may detain a person longer than necessary on a traffic stop to allow time to bring a drug sniffing dog.  They may make a “pretext stop” claiming that a driver’s tint is too dark or the tag light is not working.  They may induce a person to unknowingly consent to a search of a vehicle.

Unless a good, qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer looks into the facts, many times really good defenses are overlooked.  It may be unwise to simply rush into a plea, just to save the cost of hiring your own defense lawyer.  Sometimes in life “free” is not the best way to go.  There is an old saying in life that “you get what you pay for” and in my opinion, no person who has been arrested should make the decision to enter a plea without having a one on one confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Most lawyers, including our criminal defense firm, do not charge for an initial consultation.  If you have been arrested, and the judge at first appearance has set you for an appearance at “Early Resolution Court”, think long and hard before proceeding without a lawyer’s advice.

Many people opt for using the Public Defender, even though they can really afford to hire a private lawyer.  That may or may not be a wise decision.  If you have criminal charges pending, feel free to call for a confidential free consultation at 239 334 8890

Do I need a lawyer for Early Resolution Court in Ft. Myers?

If you were arrested for a felony in Ft. Myers or Cape Coral, at your first Court appearance the judge may have discussed Early Resolution Court with you.  Resolving your case this way may or may not be a good deal.  You may be tempted to save the money, and not hire a  Lee County criminal defense lawyer and take your chances on resolving the case by yourself.  That could be a huge mistake.  The early resolution Court is designed to expedite the court process and unfortunately, the “quick and easy” resolution may not be the best.  As an experienced criminal defense attorney, I must emphasize,  you need to know that whatever decision you make, needs to be an informed decision, where you weigh you understand your options.  You may have been falsely arrested or falsely charged You may have been illegally stopped or illegally detained and illegally searched.  You may not have been properly advised of your rights.  You may have been in a car or house with someone else, and the drugs found may not have been yours.  You may have a good solid defense and not know it.

Some people, even though they can afford their own lawyer, to save some money, use the public defender.  The simple truth is, the public defender is many times overwhelmed with an enormous caseload and does not have the time for a simple one on one interview in his office.  Have you tried to get in touch with the public defender lately?  Before you make any decision that can impact your life, you need to sit with an experienced lawyer.  You need to have a detailed discussion about the facts of your case as well as your personal history.  Probation may be nothing more than a trap for you, depending on your lifestyle.

Early resolution Court is not a bad thing, but before taking that leap, talk to a good qualified private lawyer.  An initial consultation, either over the phone, or in person at most lawyers offices costs nothing.  There may be consequences to a quick and easy plea that can get overlooked.  Some crimes can result in a driver’s license suspension.  Some crimes have penalties that increase with each conviction.  Some crimes have immigration consequences.

Hiring a good criminal defense lawyer is an important decision that should not be based on advertising alone.  Check out our qualifications and experience and if you want a free confidential consultation, give us a call at 239 334 8890

Who is the best criminal lawyer in Charlotte County?

Most lawyers advertise, and as in all of business it is difficult to determine whether or not the service will live up to the claims in advertising. If you want to find the best DUI lawyer in Punta Gorda or the best criminal lawyer in Port Charlotte the first step is to decide what type of lawyer you are seeking.


Many times, it depends on the type of case. Some lawyers specialize in traffic tickets, DUI cases and misdemeanors. Other lawyers handle mostly felonies and serious cases. Choosing the best lawyer depends on your specific needs.


All lawyers are not created equal. Some lawyers have years of experience and some have relatively none. Some criminal law attorneys have a background as a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer or other special skills, in addition to the minimum qualifications for being eligible to practice law. Would you want a “ticket lawyer” handling a serious felony charge like trafficking in drugs, DUI homicide or some charge carrying a minimum mandatory sentence in State prison?


You need to go beyond the lawyer’s ad and actually Google the lawyer. If you are dealing with a firm, how long have they been in business? How many cases have the lawyers handled? What type of cases do the generally handle? Although reviews are helpful, as we all know, reviews can be manipulated. Nothing beats an in person interview with the lawyer. Meet and see him in person. As you talk to the lawyer, ask pointed questions. As yourself, is this the lawyer I want standing beside me in the courtroom? Can I trust my freedom to this lawyer?


If you get charged with a sex crime, and are facing thirty years or possibly life, would you want a lawyer that has handled lots of sex crime cases? If you have a probation violation in Punta Gorda, would you want lawyers that have been there for ten years, knows the system, and have handled hundreds of similar cases?


The bottom line is, do not choose a lawyer based solely on advertising.


If you want the best, do your homework. Some lawyers specialize in advertising and simply refer cases to other lawyers for a living. They seldom if ever show up in Court. If you are looking for the “real thing”, spend a few hours on the Internet researching their qualifications and experience. Do not shop for the cheapest lawyer when your freedom is at stake. Do not opt for the public defender if you can afford your own lawyer. Do not fall for the trap of probation if a good lawyer could have won your case. Would you want to buy the cheapest parachute? Do you want the cheapest life raft? Chances are, a mistake in judgement got you into your current situation. Don’t make another mistake by hiring the wrong lawyer.

Click here: To Visit Our Aiken O’Halloran and Foley Criminal Defense Website

Meetme.com and Arrest Me

Ever since the Feds shut down Craigslist Casual Encounters and Backpage.com, the undercover detectives all over Florida have shifted their focus to sites like meetme.com.

Although women posting there are supposed to confirm that they are old enough, detectives have been posting pictures of women that have been digitally enhanced to make them appear they are younger. When an unsuspecting guy responds, usually, in the first few posts the undercover chatter will throw out the fact that the age is anywhere between 13 and 15. At this point, they will engage in chat and texts, pretending to be a coy teenager encouraging men to travel and meet. Sadly, many lonely men fall for this ploy and find themselves arrested for solicitation of a minor or traveling to meet a minor. I have handled 41 Internet sex sting cases and there is a pattern to the police tactics.

The sharp detectives will generally give the potential defendant an “out” texting something like “I understand if I am too young for you”. Some of the detectives however will play the guy saying something like “I am inexperienced” or “I guess you could teach me”. Many men out of loneliness and mostly curiosity will continue to chat and later getting arrested.

The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime. Do not get entrapped and lured into doing something that in a million years you would never do. Curiosity killed the cat and curiosity can get you arrested and landed in State prison. Even worse, it can make you a registered sex offender for the rest of your life. It can ruin your life forever.

The police are getting desperate to make sex sting arrests and now more and more are focusing on the normal dating sites. If you hear “thirteen”, “fourteen” or “fifteen”, no matter what the picture looks like, terminate all communication. They don’t call it “jail bait for nothing”. There are no young girls out there that need any old guy to teach them anything. Always get absolute confirmation of the age of anyone you meet or date. Do not assume that because they are on an adult site that they are an adult.
The police are also targeting the gay dating sites luring middle age men into chatting with undercover cops pretending to be teenage boys. Sex with a minor is not worth it. Do not ruin your life and succumb to weakness, loneliness or temptation. Never, no never, send a “dick pic” to anyone that says they are underage.

It is a crime.

If you or a loved one has an issue and want to know more about sex stings, feel free to give me a call at 941 366 3506

A little beer, some Christmas Cheer and a DUI for the New Year

You don’t want to start the New Year with a DUI arrest. With Uber, there is no reason to ever get a DUI, but people do. Good people do get arrested all the time. Most of the DUI arrests do not come on New Year’s eve. Most arrests are the result of Christmas parties in the two weeks prior to Christmas. People who normally do not drink get a little toasted at the company Christmas party and get busted for DUI driving home. Actually, there are few arrests on New Year’s eve. A DUI conviction can really hurt your career. It can cost you your license, raise your insurance and hurt future job opportunities.

We have been defending DUI cases here in Ft. Myers for over 15 years and the three partners in our criminal defense firm have over sixty years combined actual courtroom experience in defending DUI cases. There are hundreds of lawyers that claim to have experience, but a lot of them have that as former prosecutors, putting people in jail, not as defense lawyers, keeping them out.

All lawyers are not created equal, nor do they have the same qualifications and background and experience. Some DUI cases can have really serious consequences. If the DUI involves an accident with injury, or worse yet a death, a person can be looking at a ten year State prison sentence. You don’t want a “ticket” lawyer handling a serious felony criminal case. You need a real deal experienced felony criminal defense lawyer from the get go. A quality criminal defense is based on thorough investigation, intense preparation and a dedication to leaving no stone unturned. Hiring a good Ft. Myers defense lawyer should not be based only on advertising. Check out the firm’s background and history. Look at the years of experience actually defending cases. Look at their track record. Talk is cheap so do your homework in making your selection.

Sometimes people want to save money and opt for the Public Defender. There is an old saying in life, “you get what you pay for” and sometimes “free” comes at a cost later. The bottom line is, that the best way to not get a DUI, is to not drink and drive…. but people still do.

High School Sexting a Problem

Aiken O’Halloran and Foley
Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys
Ft Myers 239-334-8890
The Cape 239-984-4994
Se habla espanol
Charlotte 941-639-6009
Sarasota 941-366-3506

Parents, things have changed since you were in high school. With the explosion of smart phones and social media applications our children have become “sexualized”. Young girls and young boys are sending sexually explicit videos and pics to each other. What parents might not realize is that this is a crime. Do not assume that because your daughter is a good girl and “would never do something like that” it cannot happen. The sexually explicit photos are in fact “child pornography”. Sadly, some young girls, starved for attention, routinely send boys photos, and you would not believe how explicit they are. Boys will be boys and they will not only look at them, they will save them on their phone or computer and then sometimes share them with other guys.

As a sex crime lawyer, I see this every day. Teenage girls sometimes exchange pics with guys on the Internet. This can lead to something much worse. The Internet is a dangerous place and the guy your daughter thinks is her age, may not be. The pics can lead to them “hooking up” and you may wake up some day to find that your 13 or 14 year old daughter is having sex with an adult man. The other great danger for parents is the “hookup” sites for casual sex like “Tinder”. High School and college kids use this site for random sex encounters. I know you are saying, “not my daughter”, but you would be surprised how rampant it really is.

As a parent of a teenage boy, or college student the situation is just as bad. The reality is that the teenage girls lie about their age. Some even have phony identification. Some underage girls go to adult bars and clubs with phony identification. If your son has sex with a 14 or 15 year old fully mature looking girl, he may find himself arrested for sexual battery, and face becoming a registered sex offender for life, not to mention jail. Teenage girls are mentally and often physically, much more mature than teenage boys. With the makeup and suggestive clothing, a 15 year old girl can look, and act 20. They will come on to guys five and ten years their senior. For a young man, the sexual attraction may overcome common sense. Young men think with the wrong head. Make sure your son confirms age, and is really sure, before engaging in sex with any young girl or woman.

Pay close attention to what your kids do on the Internet. They may think it is an invasion of their privacy, but as a parent, keeping them out of trouble or keeping them from getting arrested is more important. Sit down and talk about this to your kids.

Getting arrested for sexual battery with a minor will turn your son’s life upside down. Getting convicted for a sex crime like child pornography will destroy his life. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If your son or daughter finds themselves in trouble, getting good representation is critical and getting it quickly even more critical

ABOUT ATTORNEY PETER D. AIKEN

The “Me Too” nightmare

Aiken O’Halloran and Foley
Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys
Ft Myers 239-334-8890
The Cape 239-984-4994
Se habla espanol
Charlotte 941-639-6009
Sarasota 941-366-3506

Ever since the hearings two weeks ago on the confirmation of the Supreme Court Justice, there has been an explosion of people coming forward, mostly women, claiming they were sexually abused years and years ago.

These allegations are from former employees, family members, former dates, former classmates, stepdaughters, and old girlfriends. How do you defend against someone claiming you did something years ago? The problem becomes a nightmare when the person accusing you claims that they were underage when they claim it happened. It is one thing to defend against something that they say happened last month and quite another to defend against something ten years ago.
For some crimes there is a statute of limitations that gives the State a certain number of years to file the charge. For some sexual battery crimes, particularly when a minor was involved there may be no limit as to how long the State can wait. We have been defending date rape cases for decades.

Sometimes, women do not want to take responsibility for their own actions.

They may say “I was drunk” and you should not have taken advantage of me. They may say that “we were stoned” or “under the influence” at it is your fault. I have found that many times, the accusation is simply false or both people are at fault. Over the years, I have found that many times, it is a stepdaughter simply making a false claim to get rid of her mother’s new partner.

News flash……teenage girls sometimes are drama queens and masters of manipulation. If they falsely accuse their mom’s new man, DCF is called, the police show up, the man gets arrested and gets kicked out and the real dad comes back into their life and to their rescue. They become the focus of everyone’s attention. Sadly many female prosecutors in a knee jerk sympathy reaction believe the false accusation and file the charges.

Being falsely accused of a sex crime can ruin your life. If you even get a hint you are under investigation, you need to lawyer up as soon as possible. Never make any kind of statement with seeking counsel. You have the right to remain silent, and you need to. Do not try and talk your way out of the problem, you will only did yourself a hole. The police will generally have the accuser make a controlled “recorded” call to get more evidence in the terms of some type of admission. If you are under investigation…Call a good criminal defense lawyer now.

ABOUT ATTORNEY PETER D. AIKEN