As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, I can’t tell you how many times I have represented housewives, grandmothers and other “normal” people who make a mistake and give in to temptation. Most of the time, if the person has not prior arrest or conviction the case can result in “Diversion” taking the case out of the criminal court system if the person takes an “anti-theft” class. Even though petit theft is a minor offense it really helps to have a good experience lawyer. If your case is not handled properly you may end up with a conviction that will haunt you later in life when and employer runs your record before hiring you. Many times, if it is a first arrest, you can get it expunged if you don’t end up with a conviction.
If you have been charged with a battery in Sarasota or Manatee County it can have serious consequences. The most common charge is what is referred to as “Simple Battery”. Quite simply it is a non-consensual touching. These mostly occur in the context of a domestic situation between and husband and wife, a boyfriend and girlfriend of relatives that live together. When 911 is called over a domestic disturbance, generally, someone is going to jail. The police are afraid that if they do not arrest someone and the argument later gets violent and someone gets killed or hurt they will be sued. The battery does not have to be violent. I once defended a man for throwing cold water on his spouse who was berating him and arguing with him. Sometimes, the man simply tries to restrain a wife or girlfriend who is attacking him. The police generally side with the woman and hear her side of the story first. The reality is that many times, it is the woman who started the disturbance and the woman who attacked the man. A domestic battery conviction has serious consequences, including the right to carry a firearm, buy a firearm and sometimes possess a firearm if you end up on probation. Most times, if the battery does not result in injury, there is no jail time but the person who pleads ends up with 26 weeks of anger management compelled attendance.
I have found that generally, there
are two sides to every story, and often the police make a snap decision and
believe the first person they talk to.
Generally, that is the woman. The
decision should not be based on gender, but often it is.
Over the years, I have defended hundreds of domestic battery cases. An arrest for domestic battery generally results in the judge at first appearance issuing a no contact order. This can spell disaster for the typical family. Often the family member did not want the other family member arrested. The no contact order often creates an enormous financial hardship because most families cannot afford two places to live. As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, often my role is to reunite the family and bring an end to the nightmare as quickly as possible. Most domestic arguments are the result of alcohol and a fit of anger. The State attorney often will want to go forward even if the parties have reconciled. Good representation is critical.
News flash guys….There are no teenage girls that are even remotely interested in having an older man teach them anything about sex. If you are on some dating site and someone mentions or hints that they are underage…terminate the conversation and block them. It is always an undercover cop. Some people mistakenly believe that if they ask “are you a cop?” the detectives have to respond truthfully. That is a total misconception. Police do not have to acknowledge they are law enforcement. The Internet sex stings in Sarasota, Manatee and Ft. Myers are not going to stop. ICAC, the Internet Crimes against Children entity, funds some local law enforcement activities and the locals have to produce results (arrests). Naïve young socially inept men are prime targets. I have defended over forty of these cases, including men with autism and other psychological weaknesses. The police target the weak lonely men that are rarely real predators. Never under any circumstances send a naked pic or a dick pic to anyone, even an adult. The Internet is a dangerous place.
There is now running an Internet scam where the scammer engages a man in chat and sends a naked pic of a teenager. Shortly thereafter, there is more contact by a person pretending to be law enforcement, threatening an arrest unless money is sent in the guise of some type of “Diversion” program. Another common scam is when a text or email is sent from what purports to be a parent who has “discovered” his or her child’s chat. The person will claim that they took the child’s phone or computer and destroyed it. They will hit you up for money. The police never, no never, ask for money. It is always a scam. Internet sex stings are not going to stop. It creates arrests and convictions and drives up crime statistics for law enforcement. A single sex sting can result in 20 to 30 arrests and convictions that render people sex offenders for life. What we need here in Florida is prevention. The police need to be in the middle schools warning young boys and girls of the danger of the Internet. Kids need to be warned that “sexting” with other kids can get them arrested. Our kids live in a dangerous Internet world and crime prevention should be a priority. In the average sting, 20 to 30 officers are involved with hundreds of man hours. That time could be better spent on educating our children, but that does not make for headlines. What a waste? The general public is in most instances misled about what really happens in these stings. There are hundreds of men in Florida prisons who fell for this entrapment ploy. The Internet Sex Stings need to stop.
About once a
year the Sheriff’s department makes a series of arrests of gay men in the South
Sarasota County Parks. The men are
charged with a variety of offenses involving lewd behavior or indecent exposure. The Sheriff’s press release usually claims
that the arrests are in response to citizen complaints. The arrests are an embarrassment to the men,
many of which have never been charged with a criminal offense in their
lives. In terms of profiles, most of the
men are white, middle to old aged, and otherwise crime free and arrest free.
The same goes for prostitution. It is the world’s oldest profession. If we had legalized prostitution, it would all but wipe out human trafficking. What man would risk getting an STD or getting rolled and robbed by a drug addict if he could go to a legitimate house of prostitution where the women are registered, regularly health inspected, and ply their profession in a safe and controlled environment. Men have been paying women for sex since the beginning of time. As a sex crime lawyer, it seems to me, that a better answer is to tolerate consensual sexual encounters between consenting adults.
settlement against Purdue Pharmaceutical will have no impact here in
Florida. Did you know that only one in
nine people addicted to an opiate gets treatment? Here in Sarasota and Bradenton, we are still
seeing people overdosing as a result of opiate addiction die needlessly. In the meantime, companies like Purdue
Pharmaceutical have made billions in obscene profits. This is not just an issue of law enforcement,
it is a health crisis. The Florida
legislature and law enforcement across the state still does not understand that
this is a medical issue, not just a “crime” issue. The real drug dealers are the huge
pharmaceutical companies that started this nightmare.
It was short sighted to simply create a drug database and crack down on the pill mills without dealing with all the people already addicted to the opiates. They simply switched to heroin and now Fentanyl. There are no old drug addicts. The all die. If you have a loved one addicted to an opiate, they need help and intervention. Unless and until the addiction problem is dealt with, law enforcement will never make a dent in the problem. As long as there is demand, someone will provide a supply.
If you got into an argument, and someone called 911, chances are, someone is going to jail. People think that the police will just come out and calm things down. Most of the time however, when the police respond, someone is going to jail. The police are afraid that if they don’t arrest someone, and the argument later turns deadly, they will get sued. Someone is going to jail. Many times it is the wrong person. Men are at a disadvantage, particularly if the responding officer is a woman. Many times the police side with the woman, even if she was the instigator or the real aggressor. As a Sarasota criminal defense attorney, all too often I see a first appearance judge set a high bond, or set release conditions that make it all but impossible for the parties to reconcile. In my opinion, what couples need is help, not another impediment to reuniting.
In March, here in Sarasota, arrests for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription skyrocketed. Most of those arrests were for some sort of prescription medication, in most instances, an opiate. Many normal everyday ordinary people have become addicted to pain killers in one form or another. We are still dealing with the problem created by the big pharmaceutical companies years ago. Some of those companies are now being sued and going into bankruptcy. That does not help the addicts left behind, now being run through the criminal justice system. If you have been arrested in Sarasota on a drug charge, things are not hopeless. You can get help, both legal as well as help in dealing with your addiction.
A conviction for a drug offense can really damage your future employment opportunities. It can result in a loss of your driver’s license. Pill addiction is a medical problem that turns into a legal problem. The answer is not jail, but rather treatment. If you became addicted as a result of a doctor over prescribing, and when your source dried up, you turned to heroin or fentanyl, your real risk is death. There are no old heroin addicts. They either clean up or die.
people get arrested in Sarasota and Manatee County for a violation of probation
than any other reason. The County jail is full of people being held
without bond for a violation of probation. Probation, sometimes is a trap
for the unwary. You may have taken a plea deal to avoid trial or have
simply followed the Public Defender’s advice and set yourself up for failure.
You do not have to commit a new crime to get arrested. If you do not pay your court costs, if you do not pay the fees for supervision imposed by the Court, if you do not pay restitution or if you simply miss an appointment with your probation officer a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Simply not having money to pay can get you arrested and thrown back in jail. Our Sarasota and Bradenton criminal defense firm has been defending probation violations for years. Do not wait to be arrested. If you have a problem with your probation officer, call today and we may be able to work it out before you are picked up for a violation.
New Crime Violations.
If you get arrested on a new charge while you are on probation, your probation officer will have you rearrested for a probation violation and you will sit in jail waiting for a hearing. The new offense may be incredibly minor but if it occurred while you were on supervision, you have huge problem. We may be able to convince the judge to release you while you wait for a probation violation hearing. Any conviction for a new offense violates your probation and subjects you to time in either County jail or State prison. Your sentencing guidelines may have been computed incorrectly or you simply may have not committed the new crime or violation. Do not wait until your hearing. Call us now for a free consultation.
Sex Offender Probation
A violation of sex
offender probation can land you in State prison. Often, electronic
monitors malfunction and register a false report. Often, a probation
officer fails to write down the details of your request or report to him.
Often the officer is simply out to get you and is searching for any reason to
violate you. You may have missed a deadline or appointment or forgotten
to call in or come in past curfew. You may have been forced to move
suddenly and not had time to report the new address. The probation
officers generally are not there to help you and some simply look for some
excuse to violate you put you back in jail. A violation must be willful
and substantial and we can many times convince the Court that your situation
was accidental or unintentional. If a loved one is in jail or if you have
been arrested on a violation of probation call today.
Our Sarasota office is on Ringling across from the jail, next to the Courthouse and steps from the probation office. Call today at 941-366-3506
There were two more child pornography arrests here in Sarasota this week.
The State Attorney seems to be continuing to manipulate the guidelines and is filing 40 Counts of second degree felonies in most of the cases. They do this to run up the guidelines to the point that a person faces 30 to 50 years in State prison. There is a real issue as to whether or not this constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the United States Constitution. In Sarasota, a person serves more time for looking at videos than actually having contact with a real child.
The policy here in Sarasota is at odds with what is going on in the rest of the State. How are the detectives making these cases? Let me explain. Every image or child pornography video has a hash value. That is like a fingerprint. When an identified image is transmitted over the Internet, a red flag goes up and law enforcement is notified. I puzzles me why they simply don’t pass a law directing the providers to simply block the transmission. If they can identify it, they can block it. Instead of blocking it, they identify the IP address it goes to and commence an investigation. The local detectives have specially designed computer programs that can come into a person’s computer without their knowledge. The person may not even be awake, sitting at their computer or even home when it happens.
The detectives then get a search warrant and come to the address where the computer is located and often trick the person into making admissions about viewing child porn. The manner in which they do this up subject to legal attack depending on the facts of each individual case. Why is the State Attorney here in Sarasota doing this?
Sadly the State believes that people that look at child porn go on to molest children. The statistics do not back this up. Sadly the State believes that by burying people in State prison for life, they will stop child pornography. This belief is also mistaken. Most of the child porn is created overseas by people that will never get arrested or prosecuted. Also, the State believes that by prosecuting people who view it, they will stop the production. This belief simply is not true. As a sex crime lawyer here is Sarasota, I am doing all I can to educate the Courts and the State with respect to their mistaken beliefs. Many of the people who view child pornography
have been diagnosed as high functioning autistic. Many of the people who view it were victims of child sexual abuse in their childhood. Sadly, many of the prosecutors simply do not understand this.
If you want to discuss this issue or have a friend with this problem, feel free to
contact me at 941 366 3506
The police chief here in Sarasota announced three dozen arrests in the latest crack cocaine operation. For months the police have been making buys and just this week it came to a head with dozens of arrests.
Many people sell cocaine to support their habit. Many if not all of the people arrested had prior arrests and convictions. This comes two days before the United States Senate passed a criminal justice reform bill allowing judges more discretion in avoiding minimum mandatory sentences. Dealing crack ultimately is a one way ticket to prison. If you have been arrested for sale of cocaine or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, it is possible to turn your life around. No one wants to spend life in prison or keep going through the criminal justice system over and over. It is possible to get help.
Many of the crack addicts have switched to Meth which is now much easier to get. In the short term, an addict can support a habit by dealing, but in the long run, it is a one way street, downhill and ends in either death or prison. As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer. , one of my goals is to try and help people get out of this downhill cycle. If you have a son or daughter that has been arrested for dealing crack and want to talk, give me a call. Most addicts are in denial and often the family has to step up and take the first step in getting them on the right track.
Many of the new arrests are based on what they call “controlled buys” where an undercover cop actually makes a buy, or uses an informant who is wired up with a recording device, to purchase a rock. The police often make multiple buys from the same person to run up the guideline score sheet to make sure the person scores for State prison. There may be a technical defense in terms of an illegal search and seizure or entrapment but controlled buy cases are really tough to defend. The Public Defender is often overworked and underpaid and you want to get a loved one a quality criminal defense or get a loved one real help, often a private good Sarasota defense lawyer is a better answer. It does not cost anything for a free consultation