Sex Offender Registration…..A Life Sentence



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Sex Offender Registration…..A Life Sentence

More and more people are being placed on sex offender probation and as a result of being convicted for certain sex offenses become registered sex offenders.  Once you are on the list and register, it takes years to get off, if ever.  It is for that very reason that as a sex crime lawyer I advise clients to explore every option before pleading guilty to certain sex offenses.  Sometimes, if the evidence is overwhelming, you have no choice.  In other cases like Internet Sex Stings you should try and get the prosecution to agree to a non sex offense.  I have been successful in pleading some clients to alternative charges like attempted child abuse, a non sex offense.  Every effort should be made to either win the case or find an alternative charge.

In VolusiaCounty, the recent “Cyber Sex Sting” resulted in 14 more arrests.  The recent Cyber child internet stings in Citrus, Manatee and Lake Counties will produce dozens of registered sex offender joining the list of men whose lives will be changed forever.  Unlike other crimes, where after you serve your sentence, you can return to society, if you become a registered sex offender the punishment continues almost forever.  In every County, the Sheriff has a web site where people can look up sex offenders in their neighborhood.  Some “mothers” make it a mission to torture and expose where each and every sex offender lives.  There is a common misconception that sex offenders are likely to reoffend.  This is simply not true when it comes to the men arrested in the Internet Sex Sting cases.  It is also not true when it comes to men who suffer convictions for child porn.  The other common misconception is the “stranger danger” myth that sex predators are trolling the streets and playgrounds for kids to molest.  The truth is that most sex offenders are relatives or family friends. 

There need to be a balance in law enforcement and the system is out of balance.  The police are creating crime with the stings.  The police are creating “sex offenders” running sting after sting across Florida.  As a sex crime lawyer I understand that these men are human beings and in many instances not even remotely “pedophiles”.  People like Grady Judd seem to be on a “mission from God” determined to destroy lives rather than prevent, detect and prosecute real crime.  It is a lot easier to simply create a crime.  Let me hear your views on these “Stings”

Call today for a free consultation or appointment at my Sarasota office.  941 366 3506

Can you avoid a Probation Violation?


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Can you avoid a Probation Violation?

If you are on probation, this is always in the back of your mind.  Probation can be a trap and if you are truly not guilty, pleading to probation to simply get your case over with can be a big mistake.

This is particularly true if you end up on either drug offender probation or sex offender probation.  Don’t get me wrong, it is better than jail but it is so easy to screw up and end of with a technical violation.  Here are some important tips:

Always advise you probation officer of a change of address before you move.

When you make a payment, keep proof that you paid for fees and costs.

Never miss an appointment, no matter what.

Never have an “attitude” with your probation officer.

Never leave the County without checking with your probation officer.

Do not possess a firearm while on probation.

Never smoke weed while on probation.  The urine tests are mostly accurate.

Try hard not to get arrested for anything.

If you hang with people that use drugs you put yourself at risk.  If you are on probation, just “chill” and put the wild side of your life on hold for a while.  Control your drinking because if you are intoxicated or high you are likely to get in trouble and get busted.  If your probation officer says he or she is going to get a warrant and have you arrested, call us immediately.  Sometimes we can resolve problems before the judge actually issues a warrant for violation of probation.  Sometimes, the violation is simply a misunderstanding.  A violation has to be “willful and substantial” and we may be able to keep you out of jail.  As probation violation lawyers, our job is to try and keep you from being violated.  Do not wait until you are arrested.  Talk to a Ft. Myers or Sarasota criminal defense lawyer before it happens.  If you have a problem, call for a free consultation before they detain you Ft Myers  239-334-8890    Sarasota 941-366-3506   we can help

How to keep from being “violated” while on Probation


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How to keep from being “violated” while on Probation

When you are placed on probation, you are being given a second chance.  You have the keys to the jail in your pocket and if you comply with the rules you will make it through it OK.  The problem is that if you have a drug problem, you are at high risk of failure.  This is particularly true if you are addicted to pills, heroin, opiates or have been smoking weed for years.  As a criminal lawyer I have found that many times in resolving a criminal case,  probation is a better option that jail.  That is not true in all cases.  Sometimes you might be wiser to take a short sentence in County jail with no probation.  It all depends on how strong you think you are.  Probation is tough, but you can do it if you try.

Sex Offender probation is another story.  If you have to take sex offender probation to avoid jail, it is probably a wise decision but you really have to be careful to comply with each and every term of probation.  They really are out to violate you if you are on sex offender probation.  The Lee County Sheriff has several deputies monitoring registered sex offenders, many of which are on probation, just looking for some excuse to find a technical violation.

Many times the probation officer will show up with a deputy to search your residence.  They are looking for anything that constitutes a technical violation.  If a condition of your sex offender probation limits your access to the Internet, you have a real problem.  Almost all cellphones now are smart phones and technically computers.  Did you know that if you are a registered sex offender, there are deputies in Ft. Myers whose sole job is to find some way to arrest you?  Never change your address without going to the Sheriff’s department that same day to register the change.  Never have an email address or a screen name without registering it with law enforcement.  If you are going to travel, even for a few days, be sure and register your new address or destination.  If you wear an electronic monitor, you daily movements can be documented and proved in a violation proceeding.  The State must prove that any violation is willful and substantial and not merely an accident.  That is where having a good experienced probation violation can make a difference.

If you think you are about to be violated, call 239 334 8890 for a free consultation or visit

Do you give up your rights on probation?

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Do you give up your rights on probation?

The answer to that question is in many cases yes.  Let me tell it to you straight.  Probation is better than prison and in many cases a choice to accept probation over jail is a wise one.

You do however give up some of your basic constitutional rights.  If you are on probation, particularly sex offender probation, a probation officer can come and search your home without a warrant.  They often do this and bring a uniform officer with them.  It often depends on the type of case or offense for which you were placed on probation.  If you are on drug offender probation, you can count on a visit and count on them looking through your residence for evidence of drug use such as “roaches”, “bongs”, spoons and needles and other drug paraphernalia.  If you are on sex offender probation I guarantee they will come on a regular basis.  They will look for magazines, videos, thumb drives and other evidence that you violated the terms of the sex offender probation which often includes no access to a computer.

It is really important to address some of these issues before they arise.  For example, if there is a condition of your probation restricting you from accessing a computer, you have a problem.  Smart phones are computers and it is almost impossible to get a phone now that is not a smart phone.  It is almost impossible to function in day to day life without using some form of a computer.  To apply for a job, you have to go online.  Most employers will not even talk to a walk in or someone with a written resume.  Getting a job is impossible without computer access.  If you are lucky enough to get a job, most jobs require computer use for billing, communication and all simple day to day business functions.  As a sex crime lawyer I always try and address these issues when the case is before the Court.  For example, if I represent someone who is a student, I need to negotiate an exception in advance.  Think about it.  How can you do your banking without access to a computer?  How can you book an airline reservation?  How can you apply for a job? How can you even look up your own case online? How can you even communicate with the people in your life without email or texts?

The one right you never give up is your right to an attorney

Our firm regularly handles probation violations in Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee Counties. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Come to us if you have a problem before it becomes a violation.  Let us negotiate an exception and get the terms of your probation changed so you don’t find yourself in violation.  As probation violation lawyers let us solve the problem before it happens.  Call today for a free appointment or consultation

FT Myers  239 334 8890     Punta Gorda  941 639 6009    Sarasota 941 366 3506

Why Did I Ever Plead Guilty to a Sex Offense?

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Why Did I Ever Plead Guilty to a Sex Offense?

This is a question thousands of people ask themselves every day.  Every day more and more people are placed on sex offender probation as a result of the Sex Sting operations run almost every month in Florida.  In Pinellas County just this week in Operation Home Alone,  thirty five people were arrested and charged with sex offenses including traveling to meet a minor or solicitation of a minor over the Internet.  Many of these people were victims of police entrapment.  I have been handling sex sting cases now for many years.  If you are facing a sex sting charge, ultimately you will have to make a very tough decision.  You will either have to accept a plea bargain or go to trial.  In some instance, there is a third option.  Some of the Courts are now throwing out selective cases where the criminal defense attorney can establish Entrapment as a matter of law. 

If you use the public defender, and in some cases you may not have a choice, you may get an attorney assigned to your case who has no experience in handling sex sting cases.  You may be pressured to take a plea deal.  You really need to think twice about pleading to a sex crime.  The consequences will follow you for life. Sex offender probation is really tough and the terms and conditions are really easy to violate.  As a sex crime lawyer, it has been my experience that the probation officers are just looking for a reason to violate you.  If you are on sex offender probation, you know what I mean.

If you are on an electronic monitor, you know how often it give a false alert and how often you have to go outside and “walk the box”.  You know how tough it is to get a job.  You know how tough it is to find a place to live that is not within a thousand feet of a prohibited area.  Before you take a deal, you need to explore all the possibilities of winning the case or getting a plea deal to a non sex offense.  In some cases, the facts are so stacked against you that you may have no choice but your lawyer really needs to leave no stone unturned in finding a way out.

I have been handling sex crimes now for almost thirty years and lately been involved defending clients of Sex Stings in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Lee,Charlotte, Manatee, Seminole and Sarasota Counties.  It is not a hopeless situation.  Hard work, knowing the law and aggressive representation can make a difference.  Call today for a free consultation at 941 366 3506

You can visit my sex crime site at Sex Sting Lawyer

Can you bond out on a Probation Violation?


Sean O’Halloran

There are several ways you may be able to get a bond set in a probation violation case.  It depends on why your probation was violated, the type of crime you were originally placed on probation for and how it is presented to the Court.  If you think you have a probation violation coming, you need to talk to an attorney immediately.  If it is what is known as a technical violation like changing your address, not paying restitution or Court costs, not paying your Probation fees or a dirty urine, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the probation department and get a recommendation of bond.  The attorney can also contact the prosecutor and in some instances work out a stipulation for bond.  If the probation violation is for a new crime, the only way you may get a bond is to file for a bond reduction with the Court.  This requires the filing of a motion and the setting of a hearing.  It is a lot easier to deal with these issues before you are picked up.

The other advantage of hiring an attorney before you are arrestedon the probation violation warrant is your attorney may be able to work out a reinstatement of probation and get your case resolved at first appearance.  If you have the public defender, chances are nothing will be done by your public defender until after you are arrested.

If you are on probation for certain offenses, you may not get released on bond until the Court has a “Danger Hearing” where your attorney has to establish that you do not constitute a threat to the safety of the public.  If you get arrested in Lee, Charlotte or Sarasota County we may be able to resolve your probation violation.  If you do not do something, you may sit in jail for six weeks or so waiting for you final probation violation hearing.  If you get picked up in Ft. Myers, Sean O’Halloran, as a former prosecutor may be able to get a bond set for you.  If you are arrested on the violation in Sarasota call Peter Aiken.  Our office in Sarasota is just steps away from the downtown Probation officeIn Lee County, call 239 334 8890.    In Sarasota County, call 941 366 3506


Violated Sex Offender Probation?



Sean O’Halloran


A violation of sex offender probation must be taken very seriously.  It can land you in State Prison and impact your life forever.  If you have been to State prison, you already know this. If you originally did not serve any time you may not appreciate how tough things are there.

As a sex crime lawyer, I have found that probation officers are just looking for a reason to violate you.  The most common way is to claim that your electronic monitor registered an alert indicating you were not at home or did not follow your schedule.  There are defenses to these false alerts and the monitors register false alerts regularly requiring you to “walk the box”.  These types of violations can be defended.

Another common violation is for a new arrest.  If you are a registered sex offender you know what I am talking about.  You may have forgotten to register twice a year with the Sheriff.  You may have traveled into a prohibited area.  You may have failed to register an email address or a screen name.  You may not have paid your supervision fees.  In Lee County the Sheriff’s department has a special division dedicated to finding a way to arrest and violate you.  They are not your friends and in the real world, they are out to arrest and prosecute you.

If you change your address without notifying the sheriff you may have a problem.  Many times someone merely stays with someone else for a few days and does not realize a change of address may be required.  Violations still have to be wilful and substantial just because you are arrested it does not mean that you are automatically going to jail.  I have been handling probation violations for over thirty years and as a sex crime lawyer I understand how very tough the situation may be.  It is not impossible.  Call today for a free consultation at the office in Ft. Myers at 239 334 8890 or call in Sarasota at 941 366 3506

More people get arrested for a violation of Probation than any other reason.



Sean O’Halloran

What are there Consequences for a Violation of Probation?

Basically in Florida when a defendant is sentenced to Probation they are given a chance to stay out of jail or prison if they accept and follow the terms and conditions of Probation. By accepting the terms of Probation, a defendant is making an agreement with the Court to stay out of trouble, follow the rules and manage their own affairs without violating the law.  Most of the time the conditions are simple.  They have to report once a month, pay a supervision fee, not get arrested and keep their probation officer advised of their current address or comply with other special conditions.  
As simple as this sounds, many people unfortunately fail to comply

Violations of probation can happen very easily, and if your probation officer has any reasonable grounds to believe that you have violated the terms of your probation he or she will apply to the Court for a probation violation warrant.  This will result in your arrest and many times being held in jail without bond.

Probation Violations can include but are not limited to:

Failure to attend required drug or alcohol treatment programs or appointments

Failure to pay fines or fees or Court costs as required in terms of your probation

Not reporting to your probation officer on a correct date or time

Failure to report a changed address during a probationary period

Possession of a firearm

Positive drug or alcohol tests, commonly called a dirty urine

Being arrested for a new offense.

You may have a defense to a probation violation

In order for a Court to find you in violation, the conduct must be willful and substantial.  There may be a good reason for not paying your fees or costs.  You may be not guilty of the new crime violation.  The probation officer may have made a mistake or overlooked one of your reports

 If you feel that you may have violated your drug offender probation, sex offender probation, or any type of probation, please call today for a free confidential consultation 239 332 2280.  Aiken  O’Halloran and Banyai is a criminal defense firm with offices in Ft. Myers, Sarasota and Punta Gorda. 


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