Most people live their entire life without ever needing a bondsman or a criminal defense lawyer.
Most people never get arrested and most family members never have to deal with getting someone released from jail.
Unfortunately though, occasionally a husband, wife, brother, sister or son or daughter will call from the Lee County jail in the middle of the night with bad news.
Did you ever notice how a call in the middle of the night is bad news?
If a loved one is arrested, they are supposed to be given access to a telephone to call a lawyer or a relative. Sometimes that does not happen for hours or days. In Ft Myers, in Lee County, there are bondsmen that regularly monitor arrests as a way of getting business. They will look up a person’s relatives, and call them at night, offering to write a bail bond to get them released. That may or may not be a good thing. Often, at first appearance, for minor offenses, the person is going to be released on “pre-trial release” at no cost at all. Bondsmen are actually agents for Surety companies (an insurance company). By Florida law they are required to charge a 10% fee (a premium) to write a guarantee that the person will show up. Most bondsmen will also require “collateral” (a guarantee) that they will get paid if the person does not show up. If the bond set is huge, this can be a lot of money. For example, if the bond is $100,000 the fee is $10,000. Many people spend all of their money on bond and then cannot afford a really good criminal defense lawyer. Sometimes you are much better off to talk to an experienced criminal lawyer first.
Often the lawyer can get the bond reduced and save you lots of bucks.
Bondsmen are not supposed to recommend a particular defense attorney.
The reality is that some bondsmen here in Lee County ignore this law and are hooked up with particular defense attorneys. Some of the bondsmen will even take a person out on bond without being contacted and then demand the premium with the threat of putting them back in jail.
My recommendation is to talk to a reputable criminal defense lawyer first.
Lawyers are regulated much more when it comes to ethics and honesty.
When it comes to finding a good lawyer, do your homework.
Do not rely on advertising alone.
Some lawyers make claims that are simply exaggerated or not true. Look into the lawyer’s education, background and experience.
How long has he been defending cases?
Does he have genuine experience?
Is he just a “referral lawyer” from out of town referring cases to a local lawyer?
There is an old song that goes: Bang bang, you shot me down, bang bang what an awful sound.
There were 146 road rage incidents involving firearms in Florida over the last 2 years. That is a 300 per cent increase. In many of the incidents, it was the aggressor who got shot, presumably in self defense. The bottom line is that none of the incidents should have escalated to that point. Florida leads the US in road rage involving guns.
As criminal defense lawyerswe have represented all forms of road rage ranging from aggravated assault with a vehicle to actually pulling or using a gun.
You do have a right to self defense but the far better answer is to avoid confrontation where possible. Never give somebody the finger, slam on you brakes in front of them or provoke a confrontation. Most all of those situations end badly. Just because lawfully you can shoot someone, doesn’t mean you should. You will likely end up getting arrested. Never pull a gun and point it at someone to scare them.
Never fire a gun as a “warning shot”. Discharging the firearm could get you charged under the 10/20/life law in Florida and you could be facing big time.
If you have a concealed weapons license, you need to act responsibly. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. I have said that twice now…Think about it. I have defended all types of gun crimes for over thirty years. Deadly force is a last resort. Here in Florida where there are over two million people carrying guns, you have to be careful. You never know when you are going to aggravate some nut and get blasted away. When it comes to road rage, keep your cool.
Stolen guns from either a car or a home can increase the penalties and land a person in State prison.
In Florida, over two million people have concealed weapons licenses. The odds of a loaded firearm being found in a car are great. Teen burglars know this, and many times an unlocked car results in a gun being stolen. Teenagers often walk through neighborhoods late at night “pulling handles”. It is incredible how many people leave their car unlocked, and even more incredible how many people leave their pistol in the console or the glove compartment. Guns are worth money and a great find for the teenage or adult car burglar. In a recent Ft. Myers case, a teen burglar found a gun in the first car he entered and took it. That elevated the crime to “armed burglary” because he exited the car with a gun.
When he entered the next car, now with the gun, it made the next entry also an armed burglary and jacked the penalties through the roof. Even if the burglar is not an adult, this charge can have terrible consequences. Worse yet, if the gun is ever used in a crime of violence like armed robbery or aggravated assault with a firearm, the initial theft can have a ripple effect.
People think that you have to enter a vehicle or a house with a gun to make it an armed burglary.
Actually, if the gun is picked up while in the house, or if the gun is removed from the house, the increased penalties apply.
As a criminal defense lawyer, over the years, I have seen a young life ruined by the temptation of a gun being left in a car. The bottom line is that everyone should remove the gun from the car at night. At a minimum the car should be locked at night. Make a point of actually checking your car each night before you go to bed. Actually pull the handle yourself. Some vehicles are accidentally left unlocked by sitting on your remote or hitting it in your purse. Go pull your handles…each night.
Not a day goes by that you don’t hear of a parent passed out in a car with unattended children crying, sometimes, crying for help.
Overdoses are at an all time high.
Every 19 minutes, somewhere in America someone dies from a drug overdose.
Addicts shooting up often get the “good stuff” that has not been watered down with “cut” on will pass out and sometimes die.
Heroin is a problem that cuts across all social strata.
Thirty years ago, it was primarily a black problem in the inner city. Now heroin addiction knows no social or ethnic boundaries. Gun deaths and overdoses are the number one killers for young adults. When the police come upon a parent in a car, overdosed, their first mission is to administer an antidote and keep the person breathing. The person ends up in the hospital but what happens to the kids? What happens when it is both parents? DCF has to get involved and the kids often end up in foster homes. I represented a man here in Sarasota about a year ago that came home from work and found his one year old baby crying and the mother dead in the bathtub after snorting heroin. Thank God in that case, there was a grandmother willing to step up and help.
There is a rumor that President Trump is going to designate a person to take on this epidemic. It is rumored that Chris Christie will be tapped for the job. The problem is that in the past, the drug issue in America has been treated as a criminal problem instead of a health emergency. The answer is prevention and treatment, not incarceration. They need to take the money out of the drug equation. As long as huge sums of money can be made selling drugs, the criminal element will prosper. As a Ft. Myers criminal lawyer I see on a daily basis the devastating effect drug addiction has on the innocent children. Simply caging people in prisons, now being taken over by big business, is not the answer. In America, we have more people in prison per capita than any other country on the planet. Most of them are there on drug related crimes. Prison is not the answer. Our leaders learned nothing from the “Prohibition” era.
If you have a loved one who has been arrested for heroin possession or possession of an opiate like Oxycontin, Oxycodone or Percocet we may be able to get them help. Treatment beats prison when it comes to preventing recidivism. If someone you know has been busted for drugs in Ft. Myers, Cape Coral or even as far North as Punta Gorda or Sarasota, give us a call.
So you thought you were going to have a great day on the water
Pine Island Sound is one of the greatest fishing estuaries in the country.
We are headed into prime fishing season and a day on the boat with a few brews is a great thing.
Did I say a “few brews”?
You have to be careful that a routine stop by the fish cops doesn’t result in an arrest for boating under the influence. They may be looking for an undersized snook and in the process find a dozen empty beer bottles or cans. That can trigger the marine patrol to request that you go to shore and perform “voluntary” sobriety exercises. If they have taken you to shore, they are going to arrest you anyway so do not perform these exercises. They will claim that the empty bottles give them a reasonable suspicion to suspect you are under the influence. Sadly, if three guys are on the water all day, it is easy to end up with a dozen empties and no one even remotely be impaired. That equates to four beers each over an entire day. We all know that no one ever finishes a hot beer anyway, so chances are, no one is close to drunk.
Often boating stops are allegedly for a “safety inspection” or the check the size of your catch. When it comes to fish, as in life, every inch matters. If you have an undersized grouper or snapper, or an out of season snook, you can find yourself under arrest or may be given a citation. If you are spear fishing in a prohibited area, you can get your gear seized and possibly your boat. We once defended a man in Federal Court who was actually indicted and prosecuted for illegally harvesting Florida lobsters. If you are in a National park and do something relatively minor, the Feds will make a “Federal case” out of the tiniest thing. I was once on a boat way up the river and got stopped by Sheriff’s deputies for exceeding the speed limit in a so called manatee area. I was boating right behind the Sheriff’s boat and when they increased their speed, I simply matched it. They turned around and stopped us and took information. Two months later, my son got a Federal violation notice. I later learned that the Sheriff’s department got Federal funds and had to produce ticket information to the Feds. They had to justify getting Federal money.
You may have a valid defense if you were illegally searched or if your stop was a profile stop. The simple fact is, in Ft. Myers, if you are black you stand a much greater chance of getting profiled and stopped. The police will make up a reason for the stop. They may say your tag light was not bright enough or your tint was too dark or your radio too loud. They will always be reason they claim the stop was made. If you are white, and in a black neighborhood at the wrong time of day, you also run the risk of getting stopped. The police are doing their best to cut down on the shootings but in the process, a lot of innocent people get stopped, detained and then searched. They may even bring a drug dog to walk around your car for what they call a “free air sniff”. They are not supposed to detain you unreasonably while the canine officer is on the way, but they do.
Be careful if you buy a gun.
It may have been stolen in a burglary and the serial number reported. It is always safe to buy a gun at Shoot Straight or one of the reputable gun shops. If you are found in possession of a recently stolen gun, the police may suspect you of the theft even though you thought you bought it legitimately. Be careful at the gun shows. People walking around with pistols or rifles may be trying to sell stolen property. Always demand to see and get a copy of their identification. There is nothing wrong with responsible gun ownership. In fact, in my opinion, given the present day danger of home invasion robbery, I recommend every home have one. Having said that however, the guns must be kept out of the hands of children.
Not a day goes by that in traffic you don’t see a road rage in the making.
It generally starts with someone that is in a hurry. They may be late for work, late for an appointment or simply impatient. Here is Southwest Florida, we have a lot of elderly drivers that are old, feeble and slow. Combine that with a little impatience and you have a recipe for “road rage”. We also have a lot of younger drivers with little patience. I am sure you have seen the crotch rocket kids on your bumper weaving in and out of traffic. How about the maniac in the pick up truck giving you the finger or the woman screaming profanities because you got her parking spot? Road rage can have bad results. You can end up getting arrested for aggravated assault with a weapon (the car) for tapping someone else’s vehicle.
You can get arrested for malicious mischief for keying the car that got your parking spot.
You can get arrested for aggravated battery if you hit someone with your car intentionally, even if it is just a tap.
“Slow down, you’re going to fast…You got to make the morning last”. Remember that song?
Life passes by fast enough with riding someone’s ass in traffic. Will you really get to work quicker?
Will it get you to the red light three blocks away any quicker?
The secret to controlling road rage and not getting arrested is to mellow out a little. There is not winner in a fight. The winner goes to jail and the loser generally to the hospital. The other huge problem is that here in Florida, half the drivers are armed. Giving someone the finger can get you shot.
As a criminal defense attorney I see people have their life turned upside down by getting arrested and charged with a crime for losing their temper, for no good reason. Life is too short to spend a day of it in jail, much less years in State prison. Control your temper, take a chill pill and relax. If you are reading this too late…Call me at 941 366 3506 for a free consultation
Each year college students flock to Ft. Myers beach for a little fun.
That fun sometimes involves alcohol.
That can result in an arrest for underage drinking or worse yet a DUI or drug possession charge.
If you are a parent and get a call from your son or daughter on Spring break here in Florida it will naturally cause you some anxiety. No one wants their college student to start life with a criminal record. A conviction for possession of marijuana will haunt them later in life when they file an application for a job or try to continue their higher education. It will haunt them later when they seek a professional license or try and get a security clearance.
Taking the easy way out, pleading guilty, may in the long run not be the wisest decision.
Kids often do not look at the long term consequences and make a hasty decision that can and will cause them problems in the future.
Many people make the mistake of waiting until the police are at their door carrying them away in handcuffs. Most of the time, problems don’t just simply resolve themselves. This is particularly true if there is an allegation of some type of improper sexual contact with a minor. Another common situation is if a former employer is accusing you of embezzlement or if you are under investigation by the Florida Department of Revenue for a sales tax issue. If you hire a good experienced lawyer, many times an arrest can be avoided. There may be a very good explanation as to how or why the problem has arisen.
Some lawyers want to wait until their client is arrested to justify a bigger fee.
My philosophy is just the opposite.
I try to intervene early in the investigative process and when possible convince the prosecutor not to file a charge. Some of the best cases I have ever handled will never be public. The best arrest is the one that does not happen. The best result is the one no one ever hears of. When you are arrested it triggers a lot of problems. Your photograph shows up on Mugshots.com. It may also get you on television or in the newspapers. Even if later your case is dismissed, the damage in terms of publicity is already done.
It costs nothing to call for a confidential consultation. If you were involved in a hit and run with injury or property damage, do not wait until you are arrested. Many people in a hit and run situation think they can avoid being arrested by reporting their car stolen. That is a mistake. You are a lot better to pay a lawyer a smaller fee on the front end to avoid a huge fee if the situation gets worse.If you want to talk, call me at 941 366 3506
All Communication is not shared and held strictly confidential
I can tell you for sure that it is not because you were the one that was “aggravated”.
Aggravated battery usually involves serious injury or the use of a weapon. It doesn’t have to be a gun or a knife. It can be something as simple as a shoe, a beer bottle on a pencil. The State Attorney often “overcharges” a person to jack up the penalties. I recently represented a man who threw a flip flop at someone and he was charged just to increase the sentencing guidelines.
Sometimes, a simple battery can become an aggravated battery if the injury is bad. A bar fight where someone gets seriously hurt can result in an aggravated battery arrest. A “sucker punch” resulting in a cut or broken jaw will produce just such a charge. No one wins a fight. The loser goes to the hospital and the winner goes to jail. Do not lose your temper. Walk away where you can. That is not being a coward. That is being smart. Do not let your testosterone or your macho attitude override good common sense. You can commit an aggravated battery with a car. You can commit an aggravated assault with a vehicle. Road rage with get you in deep trouble. Never argue with an idiot….People watching can’t tell which one is the idiot.
Some people never learn. Hopefully, as you get older, your judgment gets better. Alcohol is involved in ninety percent of the aggravated battery cases I have handled. Many times someone does something when they are blitzed that they would never do when sober. Many times what a person needs is treatment, not jail. Some people are what I call a “nasty drunk”.
Sober they may be a great person but give them a few shots and they become a raving belligerent mouth jerk. The best way to deal with a drunk is to humor them. It is a lot easier that fighting them and does not get your arrested. If you or a relative have been charged with aggravated battery and you need a good lawyer to look into it and help, feel free to call for a free consultation at 941 366 3506 in Sarasota or in Ft. Myers at 239 334 8890