Fish Cop Stops can ruin your day

Sean C. O’Halloran
Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Main Office: Ft Myers, Florida
239-334-8890

Sean C. O’Halloran Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Main Office: Ft Myers, Florida 239-334-8890

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.

If you get arrested for a wildlife violation, boating under the influence or some other BS charge and want to talk to an attorney experienced in defending fish and game violations call us in Ft. Myers at 239 334 8890

Ft. Myers Police targeting gun violations

Sean C. O’Halloran
Experienced Ft Myers Criminal Defense Attorney
239-334-8890

March 23 2017

In light of all the recent shootings in Ft. Myers, the police are actively targeting gun violations.

If you are a convicted felon, and you get arrested for possession of a firearm, you are facing a State prison sentence.
Did you know that if you are a convicted felon and you are in possession of a single bullet, you can find yourself charged?
If you are carrying a concealed firearm and get stopped and searched and a gun is found on your person or within ready reach you are in deep trouble.

As a Ft. Myers criminal defense lawyer, I have seen an increase in gun arrests and firearms prosecutions.

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.

If you have a gun charge pending or a recent firearms arrest and you want to talk to an experienced gun lawyer, call our Ft. Myers office at 239 334 8890

Road Rage Warrior…..to cell mate inmate

Sarasota Office:
941-366-3506
Ft Myers Office:
239-334-8890
Punta Gorda:
941-639-6009

March 21 2017

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

Jail is no way to spend your Spring break

Sean C. O’Halloran
Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Main Office: Ft Myers, Florida
239-334-8890

Click HERE to see Sean C O’Halloran’s Credentials

MARCH 17 2017

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.

At our criminal defense firm, we understand that college kids often do stupid things.

A bar fight can get you arrested for battery or if someone is injured, aggravated battery.

Running from a police officer can get your charged with “fleeing and eluding”.

Resisting arrest might even get your son arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer.

Leaving the scene of an accident (panicking) can result in a felony.

Worse yet is an arrest for any type of sex offense.

Over the years, as a sex crime lawyer, I have defended students who engage in consensual sex, only later to be accused of date rape by a girl who has next day regrets and runs to the police. A sex crime arrest can ruin a person’s life forever.

If you get that late night call from your son or daughter and need a criminal defense lawyer with decades of experience, call my office in Ft. Myers at 239 334 8890. It costs nothing to talk. We also have offices in Sarasota and Punta Gorda if a problem arises there.

 

Make this problem go away

OFFICES:
FT MYERS
239-334-8890
PUNTA GORDA
941-639-6009
SARASOTA
941-366-3506

If you have not already been arrested and are under investigation, now is the time to lawyer up.

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

Why do they call it Aggravated Battery?

OFFICES:
FT MYERS
239-334-8890
PUNTA GORDA
941-639-6009
SARASOTA
941-366-3506

Why do they call it Aggravated Battery?

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

Seven Guys Arrested in Prostitution Sting on Cleveland Avenue

Attorney Peter D Aiken
Sarasota 941-366-3506
Ft. Myers 239-334-8890

March 2017

What a waste of police and Court resources! Prostitution should have been legalized long ago.

In many countries around the world it is legal. In some States in the United States is legal and in others “tolerated”.

Would we really have human trafficking if prostitution was legal? Most of the street hookers on 41 are drug addicts and a “john” runs a high risk of contracting a deadly disease from a sexual encounter, even only oral sex. If prostitution was legalized and regulated, the consenting adults would in fact be safer. Why would anyone take a chance with a street walker if he could legally accomplish the same thing at a regulated house of prostitution? Simply getting laid should not be a crime.

Men have been paying women for sex since the beginning of time. It even goes back to the primates before homo sapiens evolved. Female chimpanzees traded sex for fruits and berries provided by the male chimpanzees long before we even walked this earth. If a man wines and dines a woman, buys her stuff and takes her places and in exchange they engage in sex, it is ok. If he simply gives her fifty dollars, it is a crime. That makes no sense. There are many men, and women, who are willing to engage in casual sex, and if money is involved, who cares?

The problem is that by making it illegal, it creates more problems than it solves.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I have handled human trafficking cases. I have also handled many prostitution and solicitation cases all over Florida. Many years ago, I represented a high end call girl who charged thousands per night. Her dates were with high government officials and heads of State from around the world. Prostitution is one of the truly honest relationships between a man and a woman. There are no false promises, no lies to get someone in bed and no ulterior motives. It is simple sex for money. There are many business executives, workaholics and wealthy men that are afraid of “relationships”. Why should they have to lie to a woman to have consensual sex? There are many women who regularly take dinners, gifts and trips from men and then have sex in exchange. Face it, it is the world’s oldest profession and will always be. The police run these stings to seize cars and get huge fines and get publicity.

By making it illegal, it forces it underground. The guys who use Backpage.com or Craigslist Casual Encounter run a high risk of getting robbed or “rolled”. Prostitution needs to be de-criminalized and regulated. The women should have regular doctor visits and heath certificates and condoms should be used. We need to make sex safe, not illegal

Call Peter Aiken for a free consultation in Ft. Myers at 239 334 8890 or Sarasota 941 366 3506

Related Video and Article:

http://www.fox4now.com/news/7-men-arrested-after-prostitution-bust-on-us41

 

Marijuana Trafficking Laws still being enforced

Sean C. O’Halloran
Experienced State and Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Main Office: Ft Myers, Florida
239-334-8890

March 3 2017

The Lee County Sheriff is still vigorously enforcing the State laws when it comes to marijuana. In an arrest this week, a man was stopped for “illegal tint” and in his vehicle the cops found over 300 pounds of weed. Even though the laws are slowly changing here in Florida it is still against the law to possess marijuana. If you have a large quantity, you can get charged with trafficking and be looking at a prison sentence. It makes no sense and Florida is behind the times when it comes to pot. We have people taking up valuable prison space, space that could be used for violent offenders, simply for growing pot in grow houses or selling marijuana. What most of the public does not realize, is that there would be no Cartels, if our law makers years ago had decriminalized marijuana. It has been around for over a thousand years and will be here for thousands more. As a criminal defense lawyer here in Ft. Myers, I have never seen anyone commit a violent crime while high on pot. I agree that the laws with respect to DUI can be enforced if a person is driving while high to the point their faculties are impaired but for simple possession or smoking a joint, it is a tremendous waste of police and court resources.

What is a pretextual Stop?

If you are black or Hispanic and you live in Lee County, chances are you have been stopped by a policeman. They may claim your tag light is too dim, your tint too dark or claim you rolled a stop sign. The truth is that it is racial profiling. If you are a white woman riding in a car with a black man your chances of being stopped are dramatically increased. If you are in a “bad” neighborhood or are out after midnight, the chances of getting stopped increase. I have had clients who know they are being followed obey every single law, and still get stopped. If you are being followed by a policeman, and you come to a stop sign, record your driving on your cell phone. Take a video through the windshield of you stopping at the sign. Take a video through the windshield of your driving to prove later you were not swerving. Sadly, police sometimes lie about the reason they make a “stop”. Some will claim they smelled marijuana to justify an illegal detention and search of the vehicle. Sometimes they call a drug dog and delay writing a ticket long enough for the dog to get there and do what they call a “free air sniff” while walking around the car. You need to be able to bring out the truth and nothing beats a good video.

Were you illegally stopped, detained and searched?

If you live in Cape Coral, you know what I am talking about. If you live in Lehigh Acres and you drive after midnight you know what I am talking about. If you are in the wrong neighborhood in Ft. Myers and driving a Mercedes or BMW you know what I am talking about. As a criminal defense attorney, my job is to get to the truth. Was the stop legal? How long were you detained? Did they make you get out of the car? Did they search your pockets? Did they claim they smelled marijuana? Did they go through your console? Did they claim you rolled a stop sign? For over thirty years I have been challenging illegal police search and seizures. Do not plead guilty to drug possession and lose your driver’s license without talking to a really good experienced defense attorney. Do not take the easy way out and regret it later

Call for a free consultation in Ft. Myers at 239 334 8890

Click Here to visit our Florida Criminal Defense Website

Crimes against the elderly….and the consequences

Attorney Peter D Aiken
Sarasota 941-366-3506
Ft. Myers 239-334-8890

Here in Sarasota we have a large number of elderly residents. Consequently, there are a large percentage of arrests involving elderly victims.

One of the most commonly charged offenses is battery on a person over 65. If you hit or slap someone, it is a misdemeanor. In domestic violence cases, family members, spouses, brothers and sisters are often charged with domestic battery. If the person struck is over sixty five years old, the State has the option of charging it as a felony. If the elderly person is badly hurt, the aggressor will in all likelihood get a felony arrest. Sadly, many old people because of their attitude as they age, are the aggressors and provoke confrontation. Just because they are old does not mean they are nice. Many times you have elderly couples in their seventies or eighties that get in fights. My goal where possible is the end the ordeal for both parties. Early dementia can result in confrontations ending badly. Early diagnosis and counseling and treatment is a much better option than jail.

Another commonly charged crime involves family members taking advantage of the elderly financially. It is common for care providers to trick the elderly into writing checks or making payments that are unjustified. Over the years, I have defended professionals, such as lawyers or trustees who are alleged to have taken advantage of their fiduciary relationship. The problem that arises is that old people suffer memory lapses and often do not remember authorizing a transaction or making a payment. Jealous relatives come along later and accuse the caretaker of an impropriety when in fact it was legitimate. Money can motivate a false accusation by a relative seeking the money for themselves.
Here in Sarasota it is also common for people doing home improvements or repairs to over sell or overcharge and elderly person. These types of cases are tough for the State to prosecute and tough for the defense in that there is sympathy for any old person taken advantage of.

In the last ten years I have seen an increase in sex crimes involving the elderly. I have defended many grandfathers charged with a lewd and lascivious touching of a grandchild. Age sometimes does strange things to men. They may have led a perfect life and then in their seventies, something “snaps”. Some elderly men end up on the Internet and get charged with traveling to meet a minor as a result of a sex sting operation. These cases are particularly sad.
If you have a relative or friend charge with a crime involving the elderly and want to talk, call my office in Sarasota for a free consultation at 941 366 3506

Embezzlement,the Other Side of the Story

Aiken O’Halloran and Banyai
Ft. Myers Criminal Defense Lawyers
239-334-8890
Punta Gorda 941-639-6009
Sarasota 941-366-3506

January 25, 2017

Most people who get charged with grand theft for stealing from their employer did not start out with the intent of stealing.

Most people who get charged with grand theft for stealing from their employer did not start out with the intent of stealing.

Many times a cashier, a bookkeeper, a salesman or another trusted employee will make a terrible mistake in judgment and pocket a small amount of money with the absolute intent to return it.

There are other instances where a person is falsely accused of stealing because a fellow employee who knows how to work the system has actually taken the money. These are the really sad cases because an arrest for a crime you did not commit will damage your reputation terribly. You can find your face on Mugshots and even if you get your case dismissed it will still be there. I have been handling employee theft and embezzlement cases for over thirty years. As a criminal defense attorney, if I am lucky enough to get into the case early, often restitution can be arranged before criminal charges are filed thus avoiding and arrest and criminal prosecution. Often the Employer feels betrayed if it was a trusted employee and the first step is to show remorse on behalf of the employee.

We may be able to intervene in these cases and work out a situation to avoid and embarrassing arrest.

Hiring an attorney before you are arrested often can make a huge difference in resolving a bad situation. If we get in early enough we may be able to negotiate a payback plan that makes the employer whole and keeps a person out of the criminal justice system. If you have been fired and are under investigation for embezzlement, call today for a free consultation before it is too late to avoid criminal charges being files.

Sean O’Halloran: Ft. Myers 239-334-8890

Peter Aiken: Sarasota 941-366-3506

Andrew Banyai: Punta Gorda 239-639-6009

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