How did my bond get set so high?

Peter D Aiken 941-366-3506
Peter D Aiken

If your son, daughter or loved one has been arrested in Sarasota or Bradenton you may find that the bail bond set by the judge seems unreasonable and out of reach.

The purpose of bond is to guarantee a person’s appearance at a later Court proceeding.

In reality, some of the judges use bond as a form of punishment, even before a person is convicted. Prosecutors often recommend high bonds to keep a person in jail before a conviction. As a Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney, I handled a case not long ago where a local judge set a half million dollar bond on a doctor. Obviously, the local doctor was no flight risk. He had a home and practice here and was not even remotely going to fail to show up. The high bond resulted in the doctor having to post a clearly excessive bond or sit in jail for weeks waiting for a bond reduction hearing. The doctor ended up spending $50,000 in bond premium to a bondsman simply to get out.

If a loved one gets arrested, it is critical that they have a good lawyer at their first appearance hearing. Here in Sarasota, the first appearance hearings are held at 1:00 each day at the jail.  What should matter to the judge is a person’s ties to the community. How long have they lived here? Do they own property here? Have they ever missed a prior Court appearance? Do they have relatives here? Do they have a job?

I have seen local judges set unreasonable bonds in domestic violence cases, not because the person is a risk of flight but because of the nature of the charge. The person then has to either sit in jail or wait for a bond reduction hearing that can take a week or so. That is why it is critical that the bond is addressed at the very first hearing. I have been practicing for over thirty years and have seen the “bond” situation abused more times than you can imagine.

If a loved one just got arrested and you are talking to a bondsman about bail bond, call a lawyer first. Getting the bond set low can save you a bundle. Call Peter D Aiken at 941 366 3506

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

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I was set up

4x5 056Sarasota Defender Website

I was set up
As a criminal defense lawyer, I hear this all the time. This is particularly true in drug cases involving sale or delivery of pills, marijuana or heroin. A person you thought was your friend hooked you up with a cop and you did something stupid. Often, an old friend comes to you and as a favor you try and get him some smoke (weed), some Oxycontin or some heroin. Before you know it, you are charged with trafficking in a controlled substance and find yourself facing a minimum mandatory sentence in State prison. How does this happen?
When people get arrested for drugs, they do whatever they have to in order to save themselves. If they are charged with trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in marijuana or trafficking in heroin, they know they may be able to work their way out of a jail sentence by rendering what they call “substantial assistance” to the police. They set up their friends. As a criminal lawyer, I have seen cases where the drug dealer himself gets arrested, and then to save himself, sets up his customers. The police don’t care. Fairness has nothing to do with the criminal justice system. Prosecutors want to win. Police want to win. In the real world if you want justice you have to fight for it. In the real world people lie all the time to save themselves. As a Sarasota criminal defense attorney I have spent thirty years of my life fighting the system and fighting for my clients. You would like to think that the truth matters. You would like to think that in Court, when people swear to tell the truth, particularly, police officers, they will. People lie under oath all the time. Sometimes police lie about how they stopped you. Sometimes police lie and say you made an admission or consented to a search of your car. My job is to expose lies and win your case. This only happens if we can prove it. There is a myth that people are presumed innocent. Sure, it says that in the law, but in the real world, in a courtroom, the deck is stacked against you. Jurors start off believing you must have done something wrong or you would not have been arrested.
You have to fight back. You have to expose the lies and if you want to win, you better have a real fighter in your corner. Nothing is impossible…Call 941 366 3506