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