Gun Control, the pros and cons

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Another Theater shooting prompts debate
Two of the latest public massacres occurred in gun free zones. What if there was a person in the movie theater lawfully carrying a concealed weapon? Soft targets, public places, are more and more becoming the target of terrorists and deranged men hell bent on killing innocent people. It is too late to even think about gun control in America. There are millions of guns in circulation and quite simply, the citizens in this good country will never voluntarily give them up, no matter what law you pass. As a Sarasota criminal lawyer and an avid Second Amendment advocate I can see the argument from both sides. Are there senseless homicides? There can be no question about that. The common factor in all of the latest shootings is mental health. We need to identify and help the mentally ill and we need to keep the mentally ill from arming themselves and committing mass murder.
Family members and relatives need to come forward. If you have a brother, an uncle or family member who has gone off the deep end, let law enforcement know. If a friend or neighbor becomes “radicalized” with misplaced hatred, let someone know. In domestic violence situations, if you see the warning signs of impending violence, step forward and call the police. Do not fall victim to senseless road rage over some stupid traffic disagreement and never pull a gun, even as a warning.
Avoid an arrest and get your concealed weapons license

Act responsibly and never point or display a firearm just to make a point. Guns are an absolute last resort and should only be used to protect life. The stand your ground law is a defense but the better answer is to not to be put in a situation where you get arrested and have to raise it. Hopefully, you will never have to hire a criminal lawyer.

 

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Heroin Epidemic in Sarasota Predictable

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In July of 2015 heroin overdoses here in Sarasota and the Bradenton area have exploded. AS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY IN SARASOTA AND BRADENTON WHO HANDLES HEROIN  AND OPIATE RELATED ARRESTS I KNOW THAT THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN. Two years ago, I predicted that with the crackdown on pills like Oxycontin and Percocet, the people who were addicted would find a substitute. A person addicted to an opiate has a treatable illness. Often the addiction was unintended and resulted from months of treatment with pain killers for real injuries or accidents.
Sadly, law enforcement and the legislature simply do not understand that criminalization and incarceration is not the answer. Addiction is a medical problem and a health problem. Education, treatment and compassion for those addicted is the only sensible approach.

It should not be a crime

Would we have the big cartels, the murders, the robberies and burglaries if drugs were legalized? In America nothing was learned from the prohibition era. Making alcohol illegal was the birth or organized crime. As long as drugs are illegal, the incentive to produce them, to get people addicted and to sell them exists. Think about this. How many collateral crimes are committed by addicts to support their habit? How many burglaries? How many thefts? How many robberies? How many homicides are drug related? Would the gangs be there if drugs were legal? At the core of the drug problem is money.
I am not some bleeding heart liberal. As a former Federal Agent, former Federal prosecutor and drug crime lawyer, I have seen it from both sides. The “war on drugs” will never be won. The answer has to be a change in the laws and the funding of drug prevention and treatment. The “war on Marijuana” beginning in the seventies and eighties created the cartels. Cracking down on pot fueled the Cocaine explosion. Cracking down of pills fueled the heroin explosion.

Addicts need help, not jail

America is number one in drug addiction and people in prison
The legalization of marijuana is the first step

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Hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota

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If you or a loved one are under investigation, are about to be arrested or have been arrested in Sarasota or Bradenton, before hiring a lawyer, read this important information
Hiring the right or best lawyer is the most important decision you will make, know the facts.

The Truth about Lawyer Advertising

Most people now search on the Internet with computers or cell phones. Do not be fooled.
If you conduct a Google search using a term like “I need a criminal defense lawyer” or “I was arrested for heroin possession” or “I am under investigation for a sex crime”, on the first page that comes up, and for many pages thereafter, you will see endless listings for lawyers.

The first three listing

(“Ad” highlighted in yellow gold)

  are paid Google ads.

Lawyers pay for placement and placement means absolutely nothing when it comes to qualifications. Or the right hand side, the listings are also purchased with Google “ad words. This is also paid for advertising placement. Also, on the first page, are all of the lawyer referral services like Findlaw, Avvo, Lawinfo, and others. There are also many listings from lawyers who primarily simply take calls and refer you to other lawyers. Many of the ads are from out of town lawyers who do not even regularly practice, or may never have appeared in a Court where you have been charged. What you need is a good competent experienced defense attorney that knows the system, knows how to get things done and get good results. How do you find the best lawyer for you?

Can I believe the lawyers ratings or reviews?

The truth is that ratings and reviews can be deceptive. The ratings are often manipulated and the reviews may or may not be true. You need to do your homework. Do you want a lawyer that is good at advertising or a lawyer that is good in the court room? No ethical lawyer can call himself the “best”. As in all of life, there is always someone better. Do you want a lawyer that is experienced in handling your type of case? Does the lawyer have substantial real experience in actually trying felony cases? For example, many lawyers claim to handle sex crimes like Internet solicitation of a minor or traveling to meet a minor, when in fact, they may have handled only one or two in their life. When your entire life is at stake, the decision as to which lawyer to hire is an important decision that should not be based on advertising alone.

What questions do I need to ask the lawyer?

Inquire about the lawyer’s background, education and prior law enforcement experience. Determine the number of cases like yours he has actually tried. Many criminal defense attorneys were former prosecutors. Successfully defending cases is much more difficult than prosecuting them. How much experience does the lawyer have defending felonies like trafficking in drugs, racketeering, sexual battery or complex financial crimes like tax evasion. Is the lawyer admitted in Federal Court also? What degrees does the lawyer possess? Does the lawyer’s practice really focus on serious criminal charges or is he a jack of all trades taking on all types of cases? Are the lawyer’s fees outrageous? Some people think that if you pay more you get a better lawyer. That is not true.

Go Meet with the Lawyer
There is no substitute for a person to person meeting

Some lawyers use referral services to screen potential clients. Do you want to discuss a serious private matter with someone on a computer via text or email? Is your communication really private and secure? Most lawyers, myself included, do not charge for a free consultation. People under stress sometimes make a decision they regret and hire the wrong lawyer.

Can I change Lawyers?

Was the public defender appointed at your first court appearance? Should you hire a private lawyer? The public defender is over burdened and under funded. Each one handles hundreds of cases at a time. Private lawyers generally can devote more time and effort to a case. Even if you hired a private lawyer, you may not be happy with the lawyer’s services. Were you shuffled off to someone else? Can you reach him on the phone? In Court, does he appear to know what he is doing? Do you have confidence in his abilities? Is this the lawyer you want standing beside you in the courtroom? If not, investigate the alternatives. Does your lawyer need help from a more experienced lawyer? Sometimes, hiring additional counsel with experience in a particular type of case, like child pornography for example, may be advisable.

It is your life, your future, your reputation and your freedom
Ask yourself these questions

  • Would I go to a public health clinic if I had a choice?
  • Would I buy the cheapest parachute?
  • Would I go to a foot doctor for a heart problem?
  • Would I go to sea in a boat without checking it out?

Apply those questions to the decision about which lawyer to hire.

As a veteran criminal defense attorney, a former Federal investigator, a former Federal Prosecutor and a lawyer with thirty years actual courtroom experience I get calls almost every day from people who made the wrong decision about a lawyer and regret it. Make the right decision based on facts and not slick advertising or puffing. Do your homework!

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Prostitution Sting in Sarasota this Fourth of July?

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If I were a betting man, I would be willing to bet there is going to be an Internet prostitution sex sting in Sarasota this weekend. It is the fourth of July, the big boat race is on and there is lots of money in town. Alcohol will be flowing and drug use will be up. Combine money, drugs, celebration and alcohol and chances are a sex sting will be in the works.
Craigslist Casual encounters and Backpage.com are likely targets for police undercover stings. If a “john” or customer is arrested, and if the police can make it a felony, the vehicle can be seized and forfeited to the arresting agency. My prediction is that the police will be running the bait and switch on the hookup and prostitution sites and when someone bites, they will try and move the age down to make the potential hookup a felony. Also, to the extent that there are real pimps out there running underage girls, there is the potential for “human trafficking” arrests. Never have sex with anyone underage no matter how tempting they make it.
The best way to avoid getting arrested is to not violate the law. If you are looking for some casual sex in Sarasota this weekend, do not offer to pay for it. Stay off of Craigslist and Backpage. If you are offered sex for money, walk away. Chances are it is a cop. The “regulars” are hooking and walking 41 north of the boat ramp but my advice is stay away. God knows what you would catch in terms of STD’s anyway. The high end hookers will probably be working the high end hotel bars in the downtown area and escorts will be a dime a dozen. Do not let your Fourth of July be ruined by an arrest, particularly a felony arrest. If you drink, do not even think of getting behind the wheel this weekend. A DUI arrest will ruin your day. As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer, all too often I see a live ruined by a bad decision. If you or a loved one gets arrested in Sarasota or Bradenton this weekend, and if you want the services of an experienced criminal lawyer call for a free consultation at 941 366 3506

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