Lock your car doors on Halloween


Halloween is coming. Lock your car doors and don’t leave valuable stuff outside. There will be hundreds of kids, some of them teenagers, walking the streets in your neighborhood. Sadly, some of them will be “pulling handles” looking for open car doors. In a matter of seconds, your garmin, your ipod, cellphone, your pistol or change will disappear. This is true in apartment complexes also where teenagers simply walk the lot pulling handles late at night. Just recently, I went out early one morning and you could see the finger marks and nose print on the window of my car where someone looked in overnight looking for unsecured valuables.
Sadly, as a criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota, I have fallen victim myself. Once, even at a service station, when I went in to get a drink, while I was in the minimart, someone reached in and stole something off my front seat. It only takes a simple mistake for seconds to lose something valuable. Burglary of an automobile is one of the most common property crimes. The result can be a serious felony charge, particularly if a gun is stolen. Cars at beaches like Siesta Key or Longboat Key are a prime targets because people leave their wallets and phones in the car. A smart thief will not take the entire wallet but only one or two credit cards out of it. That way the cunning burglar can bang out the card with small purchases before it is reported stolen. A theft of your credit card can mess up your credit and take months to resolve. Do not become a victim.
This is a real problem when it comes to the “homeless” watching and waiting for an opportunity to slip in and steal something. In downtown Sarasota, where there is a glut of homeless people lingering on the sidewalks you have to be particularly careful to lock your car, even if only for a second, while going in a store. The Publix at tenth and S.R.41 across from the boat ramp is another place where the homeless stalk the parking lot begging and looking for unlocked doors. Many car burglaries are not reported because people are ashamed to admit (to their spouse) that they left the car unlocked. Have a safe and Happy Halloween and keep it locked.

Sarasota Sheriff Warrant Sweep in Domestic Violence Cases

20150617-087Sixteen people were arrested in the last 24 hours here in Sarasota in family violence cases.

Six were based on warrants and the other six were recent domestic violence cases. Sadly, one of the number one reasons people get arrested here in Sarasota is a family dispute. In most of those cases, alcohol is at the core of the problem. Some people drink and mellow out. Some people on the other hand get agitated, irritable and abusive. When both partners and spouses are drinking it doubles the chances of a domestic violence situation.
When a call to 911 is placed, someone is going to jail. When the police come out, out of an abundance of caution (to prevent from later getting sued), the police are going to take someone away. A domestic violence arrest can trigger an entire series of problems. Some of the judges will set absurdly high bail bonds that most people cannot post. The bread winner for the family may sit in jail and lose his or her job. The judges will in most cases enter a “no contact” order which usually means that when the person arrested gets out, he or she cannot go home. For most families living on the edge financially, this creates an enormous hardship. I have seen men end up living in their cars until the case can get resolved.
As a criminal defense lawyer, I have been defending domestic violence cases for over thirty years.

There are generally two sides to every story. The police, nine times out of ten, will arrest the man and almost always side with the woman. Often in anger, the spouse will exaggerate the circumstances leading to the arrest and regret lying later. Once the lie is told, and once the arrest is made, they are afraid to go back and tell the truth. The prosecutors only hear one side of the story, the police version. Getting good legal representation is critical and generally makes things happen much quicker. My goal is to restore the family. Counseling may be needed. Alcohol evaluation and treatment may be necessary. Jail is not the answer, unless the circumstances are really bad. Often, it is the “victim”, the wife who actually hires me to get her husband out of jail. Navigating the legal system is tough for the average person. If a loved one has been arrested, call for a free confidential consultation at 941 366 2506
My office is across from the Jail on Ringling Blvd I can see your loved one in jail

Se habla espanol, llame 941-366-3506, o mande un correo electronico aolawc@gmail.com.

Secretly Recording Someone is a Crime

20150617-043Did you know it is a felony in Florida to secretly record someone without their permission? There is a Florida statute, F.S. 934.03, that makes it illegal to do this. Most cellphones have an application that allows a person to quickly and quietly record a private conversation. As a criminal defense lawyer, I see this all the time. Someone will come into my office and say: “ I can prove he said it, I have it right here”. Believe it or not, not only is the secret recording illegal, the playing of it to someone else is also illegal. There are some civil divorce lawyers that are unaware of the fact that having a client play it to them is a crime.
Not only is recording the conversation “illegal”, the evidence gathered cannot be used in any Court proceeding. The law also provides that any evidence coming from or derived from the secret recording, is also not admissible in a Court hearing or proceeding. Although well intentioned, trying to gather evidence on your own can result in a person being charged with a felony. In Florida, both parties to a conversation must consent to the recording. There are a couple of exceptions but most of the time, it is flat out illegal.
There are often secret recordings made by spouses in divorce situations. The husband or wife will try and get some admission or piece of damaging evidence over the telephone or in some instances by the planting of a voice activated recorder in a car or bedroom. A voice activated recorder can be purchased for $39.95. One spouse or the other will leave it where it is likely to pick up a conversation. The recorder just sits there, not recording, until a conversation or sound activates it. Such secret recordings are illegal and cannot be used as evidence in any trial or hearing in Florida. Just because it is illegal does not mean people do not do it. It happens all the time. If you suspect you have been secretly recorded let your lawyer know.
If you have screwed up and done this, not knowing it was illegal, contact us for a free consultation. Do not try and use the recording to force a settlement or force someone to do something. Married men in Sarasota can find themselves being extorted by unscrupulous women. A secret tryst with audio can come back to haunt them in terms of financial demands with the threat of exposure. They can be “shaken down” by women who claim they will expose them or send the audio to their wives. Never succumb to blackmail, it never ends.
If you want a free confidential consultation, call my office in Sarasota at 941 366 3506

Do we really need “open carry” in Florida?


There is a law working its way through the Florida legislature that would allow open carry of guns in Florida. Let me first State that I am a proponent of the Florida concealed weapons law that permits over 1,384,000 people to lawfully carry a concealed weapon. Florida already has more concealed weapons permits than any State in this Country. As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer and former Federal Special Agent and prosecutor, I have over forty years of experience dealing with criminal cases involving guns. I actually owned my first gun, a single shot .22 rifle when I was 12 years old. There is nothing wrong with responsible gun ownership and use. The Second Amendment is one of the cornerstones of our Constitution. Concealed weapons are intended to be used for self defense, and used properly protect lives. We need to keep and protect that law.
In my opinion, “open carry” of guns in Florida would be terrible mistake. Why does a gun have to be carried in plain view in public? What purpose does that serve? I deal on a regular basis with road rage cases, bar fights, domestic violence cases and thousands of cases that involve alcohol. Guns and alcohol do not mix. Testosterone and guns sounds like a bad combination to me. Imagine a society where young macho men are strutting around main street wearing six shooters. We had that once. It was called “Dodge City”. There is no logical argument, other than political grand standing, that can justify such a law. Would you feel comfortable eating dinner at a restaurant with your family on Siesta Key and looking around and seeing armed men everywhere? Do we really need that law? Why does anyone feel the need to publicly display the fact they are carrying a firearm? It is like publicly making a challenge to others saying “look at me”, “I am a bad ass”, “I have a gun”. Real men do not have to advertise their manliness. This is a feel good law, as many are, being promoted to get votes. It serves no useful purpose at all.
As a defense attorney, this law will create lots of business for me both here and in Ft. Myers. It may be good for business, but it is bad for the people of Florida. There is no way to legislate maturity or responsibility. Maturity comes only with age and experience. This law will increase police shootings. Imagine an officer approaching four young men on a corner, each with a gun on his hip. Even Wyatt Earp had the good sense to ban open carry in the city limits. I am a fourth generation Floridian born in a cow town on the East coast of Florida, and even as a gun advocate and defender of the Second Amendment, I think this law is bad. Let your legislators know.

All DUI Criminal Defense Lawyers Are Not Created Equal

20150617-074If you are facing a DUI charge, do you want a personal injury lawyer defending you?

Do you want a family lawyer or a real estate lawyer standing beside you when the verdict is read?

Criminal law is all we do.

The Yellow Pages and the Internet are full of lawyers that claim they can represent you on a DUI (drunk driving) charge. Many lawyers try to wear many hats and be all things to all people. Do you want a general practice lawyer handling your criminal case? Do you want a foot doctor operating on your heart?

Peter Aiken and Sean O’Halloran, both former prosecutors, have been handling DUI criminal cases their entire careers. Criminal defense is all we do.

Should I use the Sarasota Public Defender for a DUI?

Private lawyers, such as our attorneys at Aiken, O’Halloran & Associates, have a tremendous advantage over the public defender in a DUI case. As private defense attorneys, we also handle the administrative hearing to save your license at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These administrative hearings come before your criminal case and often before even a public defender is appointed.

As private lawyers, we get the video, we cross examine the arresting officer and we develop valuable testimony which can help your case long before a public defender would even be appointed.

Sarasota Drunk Driving Attorney
Act now to save your license and driving privileges. Do not wait or it may be too late. At Aiken, O’Halloran & Associates, we have extensive experience in:
• DUI checkpoints
• DUI accidents
• DUI traffic stops
• DUI manslaughter
• DUI field sobriety exercises
• DUI homicide
• DUI administrative hearings
• DUI second and third offenses
• DUI license suspensions
• DUI defense

EVERYONE MAKES MISTAKES!  NOW, IT IS DAMAGE CONTROL AND DEFENDING YOUR REPUTATION. We are not here to judge you, we are here to defend you. If your friend or family member was arrested for Driving Under the influence or leaving the scene of an accident and is sitting in jail,  You probably want to help them and need someone to go see them right away… call our Offices in Sarasota 941-366-3506, Punta Gorda 941-639-6009 or Fort Myers 239-334-8890 24 hours 7 days a week.

In Sarasota call Peter Aiken our DUI and Felony Traffic defense lawyer at 941-366-3506… Don’t wait, Criminal Defense is all We Do.

Professionals, Their Licenses and Criminal Charges

20150617-074Click Here to Contact our Law Firm on-line

It takes years of hard work and dedication to be a licensed professional.

When you have been accused of a crime, all of that may be put at risk. At Aiken, O’Halloran & Associates, our Sarasota professional license defense lawyers understand the consequences that a conviction can have on your ability to practice and earn a living. That is why we will do everything we can to give you the strongest possible defense and will work hard at preserving your freedom, your license and your reputation.
We Will Fight to Preserve Your License and Reputation
If you are licensed by the state and are facing criminal charges, under investigation or are accused of a crime you need experienced legal representation. Contact our Florida criminal defense attorneys online or call our Sarasota Criminal Law Office to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.
We Represent All Types of Professionals
At Aiken, O’Halloran & Associates, our lawyers have extensive experience representing professionals from all walks of life, including physicians and surgeons, health and medical professionals, pharmacists, dentists, attorneys, real estate agents, sales engineers, pilots and flight engineers, securities brokers, financial planners, clergy, congressmen, bankers, general contractors and tax return preparers. If you are licensed by the state, or Federal licensing, we will defend you.
Professionals are held to a higher standard than lay people, and are often subject to harsh punishments for what would normally be considered a minor violation of the law.

A punishment may be even more severe when a special skill is involved in the commission of an alleged crime. That is why it is crucial to hire a Sarasota/Bradenton white collar defense lawyer who has the experience to provide you with a vigorous defense.
Put your future in your hands. Hire an attorney who will work for you now. Call our Sarasota lawyers today or contact us online for a free consultation.
If your relative or friend is in jail, we will go visit them immediately.
Do not wait … help is only a phone call away.

Criminal Charges can be an Embarrassing

20150617-042-Edit(1)Many criminal defense lawyers choose to post their case results on their webpages.

At our criminal defense firm, we do not. When a person is originally arrested, the adverse publicity is bad enough. There is usually an article in the newspaper, a blurb or more on television and their photo and arrest details posted on “Mug Shots” on the Internet. Friends, neighbors and relatives immediately become aware of an embarrassing situation. When your case is finally “over”, the last thing you want, is some lawyer using it as part of his Internet advertising program. Anytime anything is written and posted on the Internet, even a case number, the Google search engines pick it up and if anyone later does a search on your name, up it pops. Employers often do “Google searches” on prospective employees and the last thing you want them to see, even if you were acquitted, is an arrest record.
Once something is on the Internet, it cannot be removed or expunged. Unlike Court records or arrest records, the Internet is unforgiving, and it stays there forever. Even a totally false accusation, particularly one for a sex crime offense, will haunt you forever. Even when you are found to be not guilty, some people simply feel you just beat the system. Sarasota is not that big of a town and word spreads quickly, particularly in professional circles. You do not want colleagues knowing about your legal problems. If you are a lawyer or a doctor a false accusation hurts you professionally. It is for that very reason, as a criminal defense lawyer I try to keep things “quiet”. What may be good for the lawyer’s reputation, is not good for your reputation. Some of the best results I have ever obtained for a client will never be known to anyone. Keeping someone from being charged criminally or keeping them from being indicted for some federal crime like tax evasion or tax fraud is the ultimate result. It is the arrest that triggers the adverse publicity.
Making a problem quietly go away should be every defense lawyer’s optimum goal.

Some lawyers that charge by the hour, sometimes simply do not do all they can to bring a case to quick and quiet end. Knowing how to make a case “go away”, knowing who to call and what to say, takes years of experience.

No two cases are ever the same and no reputable lawyer can ever guarantee a result.

What you really are paying for when you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer is the ultimate result, and the quicker and quieter you can get it, the better. Some of you may remember the old Miami Dolphin team and their “no name defense”. They were not publicity hounds but they got the job quietly done.
Do not be fooled by titles like “Superlawyer”. These are advertising gimmicks that lawyers pay for. Do not be fooled by placement on the Google search page. The lawyers simply buy ad placement. Do not be misled by the many lawyer referral services where lawyers simply pay for placement. Do your homework. Look for experience. Quietly and discreetly solving problems is what I have done for a living for over thirty years. If you want to talk about a possible criminal prosecution or if you are under some type of investigation, do not wait until it hits the fan, call 941 366 3506 for a confidential free consultation

Do Gun Free Zones Work?

20150617-143-Edit(1)So far, the answer has to be a resounding no. As a criminal defense lawyer here in Sarasota I have handled gun cases for over thirty years. In the last ten years, there has been an explosion of gun violence in the form of “school shootings”. In the past, there was at least some form of logic to gun violence. It was generally related to drug trafficking, armed robbery or domestic violence. There is now a totally new type of gun violence in the form of mass shootings by young white mentally deranged males. We have seen mass homicides at movie theaters, college campuses and grade schools and high schools. There seems to be a pattern in that the shooters want notoriety. In most other gun crimes, the shooters do not want to be identified, detected or arrested. These mentally ill young men want the world to know who they are and want to make a statement.
Across the country, in an effort to combat this violence gun free zones have been established. This even applies to some of the prohibited concealed weapon areas. The problem is that now these so called “safe zones” have become “killing zones. The students have become sitting ducks. The people in Theaters, at sporting events and other places where people gather are soft targets for the mentally deranged killer. There are two schools of thought. On the one side are the gun control advocates. Although well intentioned, these people simply do not accept the reality that in America there is already at least one gun for every person. Making guns illegal would simply create another unenforceable law. It is impossible to roll back the laws of the past and there are tens of millions of law abiding citizens that will never give up their guns.
As a criminal defense attorney I can tell you, banning guns is not the answer. The true problem is the lack of funding for the mentally ill. If there was a real concerted effort to identify the shooters and treat them, or even commit them, some of this senseless violence could be avoided. The core problem is mental illness. The other core problem is glorification of killing in the media. You cannot watch an hour of television without seeing gory gun violence shows. You cannot go in a move theater lobby and not see rows of video games all promoting shooting and violence. Look at the video games the children play now. When I was twelve years old my father gave me a .22 rifle. I grew up with guns and there were no school shooting or mass killings. What has changed in my lifetime is the “gun culture” we live in and the glorification of shooting people. Guns have been around since the founding of our country. I believe in the Second Amendment and the valuable necessity it is to a free society, but, we have to deal with the reality that these killings must be prevented.
Ask any law enforcement officer. Does he have a gun in his home for protection? Ask any prosecutor, any judge or any public official, do you feel safe in your home? Are you safe without a gun? Look at what happens after national emergencies like Katrina. Responsible gun ownership and use is a constitutional right. Mental illness is a problem. The answer is funding.
Let your voice be heard on this issue. Gun free zones do not work.

I Should Have Kept My Mouth Shut

20150617-042-Edit(1)CALL TODAY 941-366-3506


In this business, I hear that all the time. As a general rule, nothing good comes of talking with a detective if you have anything remotely to worry about. They are in the business of arresting people and putting them in jail. Just yesterday, I was at the Sarasota Jail and ran into a Sarasota city detective who was interviewing a defendant in the absence of his attorney. She knew he had a criminal defense lawyer, knew he was represented, and in direct violation of the Constitution was hell bent on getting an admission anyway.
You have a right to remain silent. Keep your mouth shut. Do not try and talk your way out of a problem. It will only hurt your chances of ultimately winning. You have a right to an attorney. Do not feel that by asking for an attorney or refusing to answer questions, that it somehow is an admission of guilt. It is not. It is an absolute constitutional right. Nothing hurts a case more than a recorded statement admitting key facts.
The cops are sneaky. I just listened to a questioning by Charlotte cops, where over and over the defendant said “I don’t want to say anything” and “I think I should take the Fifth”. The cops kept right on questioning him until they finally got an admission. You can attack that type of conduct later in Court, but a much better approach is to simply keep your mouth shut. Ron White the comedian has a skit he gives where he says “I know I have the right to remain silent, I just don’t have the ability”.
In sex cases an admission is deadly. Since most sex crimes are a one on one situation, getting an admission is critical to the State’s case, and the cops will stop at nothing to get one. Call a lawyer immediately. It will be the best decision of your life and may save you from a life in prison. Sex crimes involving minors many times carry a life in prison penalty. Child Pornography cases here in Sarasota often carry twenty to forty years in prison. If the police come to your house with a search warrant, “keep your mouth shut”. You are going to get arrested anyway, no matter what you say. Do not make it worse by admitting that it is your computer or you were the one on it.
Sometimes, sex cases can be won on technicalities. The facts may be horrible but the police may have made some legal mistake resulting in the evidence being thrown out. Never give up and never, no never, give up your right to an attorney or your right to remain silent.
Silence is Golden If you are reading this too late, call 941 366 3506