“Those are not my drugs”

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The police hear that all the time and never believe it. The problem is, some of the time it is really true. What happens if a bunch of teenagers are in a car and it get pulled over. The second the police lights come on, and the car is pulling over to stop, anyone who has drugs on their person immediately either tries to throw them out the window, swallow them or stash them somewhere in the car. When the police search the car and find some weed, some cocaine or some pills, generally, everyone get arrested, particularly the driver. The truth is, the drugs belonged to one person but several get charged. The same thing happens when the police execute a search warrant on a house, a dorm room or an apartment. Everyone goes to jail even though only one person actually had the drugs. This is what is known as constructive possession. These possession cases can be won by a good criminal defense attorney.
Here in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, the police routinely arrest everyone in the car or house. Their theory is to let the Courts work it out and figure out who is guilty and who is not guilty. We handle drug possession cases all the time. Many times these cases can be dropped before they ever reach the Court system if a good lawyer gets involved. The prosecutors know the law and if the facts are presented correctly to them the case may get “declined” before it ever reaches a courtroom. Knowing the law, how to present it, how to argue it can make the difference in a case going forward or getting dropped. Getting a case dropped is no easy matter. Good investigation is the key. Was there a police car video? Did the police detain the driver or passengers too long? Was a drug dog involved? Was the car or house illegally searched? Where was everyone sitting or standing? Does one person have a previous arrest for drug possession? Is one of the people arrested an addict? Where were the pills or cocaine found? Did someone else put it there?
Do not count on the Public defender to get your case dropped. It may be weeks or months before the Public Defender even gets the police reports. You may sit in jail for weeks before even seeing a lawyer. Do you have a friend or relative in jail? Do you know how long they may sit before a lawyer even comes to see them? Privately retained lawyers, particularly the attorneys in our firm do not sit on cases. We make things happen. Some lawyers who set up long payment plans may be tempted to go slow until they get paid in full. At our Lee County criminal defense firm we try and bring things to a head as quickly and as professionally as possible. Call us at 239 334 8890 for a free consultation

Why is the Bond so High?

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If a loved one is in jail you may have just been told by the Sheriff’s office that the bond is set at some ridiculous amount that you cannot possible post. What can you do?
Bail bond is supposed to be set simply to guarantee that the person that was arrested will show up for Court. Sadly, some of the judges and prosecutors use excessive bonds to punish people before they are convicted. For example, in Sarasota County and also in Lee County, some judges set clearly excessive bonds in simple misdemeanor cases. I have seen bonds as high as fifty thousand dollars on simple first degree misdemeanors. Some judges set these bonds in domestic violence battery cases to keep the men in jail. They do this after reading a one sided probable cause affidavit hearing only the wife’s side of things. This causes the men to sit in jail or post the high bond and spend a small fortune just to get out of jail. The judges know that you have to appeal the bond setting and know that in the meantime the poor defendant sits in jail.
This gives the wife a tremendous advantage. She has possession of the house, the cars, the bank accounts, the furniture and many of the defendant’s assets. This is not even remotely fair or just but it happens in Sarasota frequently. Bonds should not be used by judges to punish people prior to trial. Unless you have a good aggressive criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota, a man can sit for weeks waiting for some action in his case. These judges need to be appealed and the situation exposed. Setting ridiculous bonds in misdemeanor cases is an abuse of judicial discretion that needs to be corrected.
If a loved one is in jail on a high bond, you are entitled to a bond reduction hearing. We handle these types of hearings routinely and most of the time get the bail bonds reduced. For example if a judge sets a fifty thousand dollar bond, and you use a bondsman, you have to pay a nonrefundable bond premium (fee) of ten percent or five thousand dollars. That money could be better spent hiring a good experienced criminal defense lawyer. Some people spend all their money on bond, just to get out, and then have no money for a good lawyer. My partner Sean O’Halloran in Lee County is an ex prosecutor and knows the ropes when it comes to bond reduction hearings. There are alternatives to high monetary bonds. Pre- trial release Services may be a good option. An electronic monitor is a good option in real high bond situations. Reporting weekly to Pre-Trial services may be a good alternative.
If you have a loved one sitting in jail on a high bond contact us immediately for a free consultation. We may be able to help get him or her out and save you a bundle. We have offices in Ft. Myers, Punta Gorda and Sarasota and can be reached 24/7 at 239 334 8890. Don’t let a loved one sit in jail. We may be able to help.

Arrested on Spring Break in Ft Myers?

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Aiken O’Halloran and Banyai Fort Myers Criminal Defense

Arrested on Spring Break ?
It happens every year. The college kids come here for a week or so looking for some fun on the beach. The simple fact is sometimes kids make mistakes and do something stupid. It may be as simple as drinking too much or getting a DUI or getting into a scuffle and charged with simple battery. Sadly sometimes it can be something serious like a drug charge or a felony that can change their life forever. If you are a parent and get the call you have dreaded that your son or daughter has been arrested, instead of being angry, you need to get them immediate legal help. Do not let your child start life with a criminal record. A silly childish mistake can make a huge difference in where they can go to college, where they can work and what they can do with the rest of their life.
Over the years, I have represented hundreds if not thousands of young men and women charged with all types of criminal offenses. A bar fight can result in an arrest for aggravated battery.  If they resist arrest sometimes the police charge them with battery on a law enforcement officer. If they are stoned or drugged out of their mind and are taken to the hospital and scuffle with a nurse or doctor, they can be charged with a felony for battery on a medical provider. If they buy synthetic marijuana, bath salts or some other illegal substance they can end up hospitalized or worse yet arrested. Arrests here in Ft Myers, Sarasota and Bradenton spike each year this time. How do you find a good lawyer for quality representation?
Hiring a good criminal lawyer should never be based on slick advertising. What you should look for is a history of good quality experience. Experience is a big deal in choosing a criminal lawyer. As a father, I have actual experience with kids of my own. I know how trying the teenage years can be and know the challenges involved in keeping kids on track to a productive life. Avoid the temptation to let them handle it on their own. Do not abandon them and force them to use the public defender. You may regret it later. Do not let them sit in jail to teach them a lesson. If the bond was set high, we may be able to get it reduced. The Sarasota police and the Sarasota Sheriff’s deputies often overcharge people and saddle them with a number of questionable charges. If your child gets charged with a sex offense like date rape, solicitation, sexting or a lewd act you must hire someone experienced in defending sex crimes. I have defended kids now for over thirty years. Call Now to Aiken O’Halloran and Banyai of Lee County Florida at 239 334 8890 for a free consultation.