In the wake of hurricane Irma there is going to be a spike in arrests for crimes like burglary, dealing in stolen property and unlicensed contracting in counties like Lee, Charlotte, Manatee and Sarasota.
There is an old saying that says “desperate people do desperate things”.
Many people who lived week to week are now out of a job. Many people lost equipment and the temporary ability to earn a living. We are now on the road to recovery from Irma but there are still lingering effects of the storm. There have been arrests for price gouging during and immediately after the storm and there are going to be more arrests for unlicensed contracting in the next several weeks and months. There will be an increase in property crimes as people try and survive the hard times. If you or a relative have been arrested we may be able to help you avoid the consequences of a bad decision. Sadly, good people sometimes do bad things and a crisis can lead to a bad choice. Writing a worthless check or credit card fraud may have been what you had to do to survive, but it may have gotten you arrested. The State attorney has a lot of latitude is deciding what charge to file and how to resolve your case. As criminal defense lawyers in Sarasota ,Lee, Manatee and Charlotte, our job is to help you through these hard times. Restitution and probation are alternatives to jail. You don’t want to end up with a felony conviction as a result of an act done in desperation. If you made a mistake and need the legal help of a criminal defense lawyer, call us. Initial consultations are free
The Public Defender is swamped and most of the lawyers in the Public Defender’s office are overworked and underpaid. Hiring your own private lawyer may cost you a few bucks, but in the long run, may make a huge difference in the outcome. If you had a major illness, would you want to go to the public health clinic or your own doctor? Experience and hard work can make a difference in the outcome of a criminal case. Getting a good result is not an accident. There are immigration consequences to felony convictions and you cannot afford to run the risk of deportation.
Hurricane Irma causes chaos for people on probation
As if dealing with no electricity, no cable, no phone and no job was not enough, many people on probation can add to this the uncertainty and fear of missing a meeting with their probation officer. It is even worse if you are on sex offender probation or were wearing an electronic monitor and have lost power or the ability to recharge your monitoring device. Many of the probation office locations have been closed for close to a week. Many of the Courts have also been closed but most are expected to be back up and running by Monday.
A probation violation has to be willful and substantial.
If you have moved because of Hurricane Irma, immediately notify your probation office.
The mail is still running, even if in some places there is no electricity.
I suggest sending your probation officer a letter describing in detail your situation.
Do not rely on leaving a voice message.
You have to create a paper trail and document the fact you have notified them of changes.
If you are on sex offender probation and you cannot reach your probation officer by telephone, go to the probation office in person. Even if they are not open, leave a letter describing your circumstances listing your new location. You need to document your attempts to comply. If you lost your job and cannot pay probation fees or court costs, you need to document that fact. At our law office here in Ft. Myers, we regularly represent people charged with probation violations. If you think a probation violation is coming, contact us before you are arrested. We may be able to resolve your problem and keep you from being picked up and sitting in jail waiting for a violation hearing.
Do not wait until you are violated. We may be able to convince your probation officer that a technical violation is not your fault. If you are on drug offender probation, do not let the stress of the hurricane situation cause you to slip back into drug use. If you have lost your job, don’t let the frustration and anxiety push you over the edge. You can assume that as soon as the probation department gets up and running again they will be doing drug screens.