How do you get someone out on bond?

Sarasota Office:
Peter D Aiken
Ft Myers Office:
Sean C O’Halloran
Punta Gorda:

May 19 2017

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?


Talk to the lawyer in person.


Unlocked Cars and Armed Burglaries

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

April 4 2017

CLICK HERE to view or Ft Myers Criminal Defense Attorney Profiles and Credentials

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.

Guns have serial numbers and erasing a serial number on a gun is also a crime. Selling the gun or pawning it may result in yet another crime called “dealing in stolen property” or “defrauding a pawn broker”, both second degree felonies. An unlocked car can set in motion an entire series of crimes, sometimes first and second degree felonies. If the burglar has a prior felony, it can also result in the additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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.


A heroin overdose can get your child taken away

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

March 29 2017

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.

Ft Myers and Cape Coral Lee and Charlotte Counties call 239 334 8890

Sarasota Punta Gorda Englewood Venice and Bradenton call 941 366 3506