Can I get a fair trial?

 

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Can I get a fair trial?

In a perfect world the answer should be yes.  The reality is that most of the criminal judges are former prosecutors.  Many of the judges never practiced private law and their experience prior to taking the bench was solely as a prosecutor.  They come from a background and history of being “tough on crime”.  Judges are supposed to be fair and impartial and not lean towards one side or the other.  Although many judges may think they are fair, their rulings and polices would reflect otherwise.  As a criminal defense lawyer,In my experience, the longer a judge has been on the bench, the more balanced and fair he or she becomes.  Generally, your older judges seem to have a more balanced view and are more compassionate of people’s mistakes in life.

In Florida, judges are supposed to be elected but the reality is that most judges are appointed by the Governor.  Once appointed, most, year after year are unopposed when filing time comes and they are up for reelection.  Lawyers are afraid to run against them and even if a judge has a history of being terribly one sided, he or she rarely draws opposition.  The lawyers in the higher courts (the appeals courts) generally have a much more balanced view.  Since judges are in theory elected officials, many want to seem to be “tough on crime” when in reality they are supposed to be fair to both sides.  It is tough to get a legal decision in your favor when the subject matter is something the public deems to be heinous, like a sex crime.

Even if the deck is stacked against you with a biased judge, a good experienced criminal defense lawyer can make a difference.  Thank god we still have the jury system.  The State still has to convince jurors that your client is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  I have been trying cases in the criminal courts now for over thirty years and I have been in front of some judges that still seem to be prosecutors but have still gotten good verdicts from the jurors.  Our system does work but it works a lot better when a defendant has a highly qualified attorney on his or her side.  If you are black or Hispanic, unfortunately, the deck is stacked against you and you really need a lawyer that can balance things.  Sarasota is predominantly white, old and conservative.  Defending a person of color here when the charge is serious is tough.  Even the jurors here carry prejudices and bias they are unaware they have.  Jury selection therefore is critical.  If you have been arrested in Sarasota or have charges in Bradenton and need an experience lawyer to talk to feel free to call me at my Sarasota criminal defense office next door to the Courthouse.

Call 941 366 3506 or visit the Sarasotadefender.com

Why do People get Their Probation Violated?

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Why do People get Their Probation Violated?

There are a number of reasons people get their Probation Violated . In Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota County, the number one reason for an arrest is violation of probation.  Many of the people who plead guilty or no contest to a criminal offense end up with some form of probation.  It may be sex offender probation, some form or drug probation, domestic violence probation or regular probation.  Most probation officers are over worked and just look for a reason to violate someone to reduce their caseload.

When it comes to sex offender probation, there is an actual concerted effort to find some technical violation.  When it comes to sex offender probation, there is an actual concerted effort to find some technical violation  The electronic monitors constantly generate false alerts leading to probation violations.  The probation officer may have forgotten to log a trip he gave you permission to take.  When registering for probation, you may have forgotten to list an email address or screen name or missed a timely change of address.  If you get violated for a sex offense the State will be seeking jail time for sure and presenting a good defense is critical, call me, Sean C. O’Halloran for more information.

As a probation violation lawyers, we know how important it is to try and convince the officer not to submit a probation violation affidavit to the Judge.  If you have an outstanding warrant it is important to hire a lawyer before you are taken into custody.  Most of the time you will not get a bond on a probation violation but it is possible.  Hiring a lawyer before you go into custody is important.  In a probation violation hearing the prosecutor has to prove that you violation was both substantial and willful.  They have to satisfy the conscience of the Court and do not have to prove the violation beyond a reasonable doubt.

At our criminal defense firm, we try to find a way to get your probation reinstated.  Sometimes a better way to end your case is to do short time in County jail.  No one wants to go to jail but probation is not for everybody.  If you have a drug habit, chances are you will not successfully make it.  If you have multiple arrests or live a lifestyle that puts you at high risk, we try and find a way to end your case with the least possible consequences.  If your son is in jail on a probation violation or your husband or wife has been violation you can call our office for at any time for a free consultation.  Sean C. O’Halloran, In Ft. Myers, call 239 334 8890.  Peter D. Aiken, In Sarasota call 941 366 3506

Does Sex Offender Registration Really Work?

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Does Sex Offender Registration Really Work?

We live in a computer age where with the click of a mouse information is instantly available.  If you want to find out if a sex offender lives near you, it is as simple as going to the Sheriff’s website or going to the State database with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  There is a common misconception about “stranger danger” and most of the public believes that sex offenders troll the streets and neighborhoods looking for kids to kidnap or molest.  This is simply not true.  Most sex offenses are perpetrated by family members or close family friends.  I have been handling sex cases for over thirty years and in all that time as a sex crime lawyer my firm has handled only one case that involved random contact.  In the hundreds of other cases, it has always been a member of the family or trusted friend. “click here” to visit our Probation Violations website

What the sex offender registration really does is make it almost impossible for a registered sex offender to find a place to live, to find a job or to live a normal life.  Once on the list, it is almost impossible to get off and a mistake from a person’s past can haunt them forever.  I often handle cases where people are arrested on technical violations like not registering an email address or not registering a change of address after living years of crime free life.  The truth is that most law enforcement agencies have units assigned whose sole purpose is to find some violation, no matter how slight.  There are thousands of registered sex offenders or sexual predators in Florida and nationwide the number is almost one million.  It is critically important if you have been charged with a sex offense to try and resolve your case in a manner that does not involve registration.  This is particularly true if you are young and have your whole life ahead of you.  With the dramatic increase in Internet Sex Sting prosecutions in Florida more and more young men find themselves having to make tough decisions in resolving their cases.  Almost every day I get calls from young men who took a plea to avoid trial but find themselves unable to find a place to live or get a job.“Click Here” to visit my SEX STING LAWYER website and blog.

There are times when the evidence is overwhelming and you have no choice but to accept a plea to avoid a long prison sentence.  In other situations however the plea may be the result of advice from an inexperienced lawyer who has never or seldom handled a sex offense case.  I have been handling sex crime violations now for thirty years.  No doubt the cases are tough but the consequences are tougher.  Sex offender registration is for all practical purposes a lifetime penalty so if you are in a situation where you have to make a tough decision you really need to understand the consequences and think long and hard before accepting what looks like a good deal.  If you have questions about sex offender registration or probation violations, you can call me Peter D. Aiken in my Sarasota office at 941 366 3506 . Or you can get additional information by visiting www.thesexoffenderdefender.com