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Miami Shop Lifting Arrests Increase by the Numbers

Shop Lifting ArrestsUnder Florida state law, theft includes a charge that involves various offenses such as shoplifting, larceny, unlawful taking, and stealing. Penalties for theft range from misdemeanors to felonies depending upon the value of the allegedly stolen object.

A criminal charge may have severe life consequences. Don’t plead guilty to charges of theft prior to understanding all of your defense choices.

Even if you confessed to stealing something and are now ready accept accountability, it does not mean the punishment ought to be needlessly harsh. A skilled criminal defense attorney might have the ability to get the criminal charges dropped in exchange for some restitution or additional considerations.

Can You Beat a Shoplifting/Theft Charge?

With an experienced lawyer it is possible to beat a shoplifting or theft charge. Said lawyer will be able to challenge a witness’s statement, or challenge an ‘intent’ clause of a statute, as well as argue that it was a misunderstanding or accident.

An experienced lawyer can also move for a restitution dismissal or additional favorable result that avoids a record or harsh penalties.

Legal defense methods vary greatly depending on the case’s facts.

Penalties for Shoplifting/Theft

Such penalties will be categorized by degrees depending on the value of the stolen object.

Grand Theft (First Degree)

If the stolen item is valued at or over $100,000, then the defendant is charged with Grand Theft (First Degree), a Felony (First Degree). A felony (First Degree) has a max penalty of thirty years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.

Grand Theft (Second Degree)

If the stolen item is from $20,000 to $99,999, then the defendant is charged with Grand Theft (Second Degree), a Felony (Second Degree). A felony (Second Degree) has a maximum penalty of fifteen years incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.

Grand Theft (Third Degree)

If the stolen item is valued from $300 to $19,999, then the defendant is charged with Grand Theft (Third Degree), a Felony (Third Degree). A charge of Grand Theft (Third Degree) additionally will apply if the item taken is a fire extinguisher, car, gun, a quantity of fruit that comprises of at or above 2,000 individual pieces, anhydrous ammonia, construction sign, or a stop sign.

A penalty for a felony (Third Degree) is a max of five years incarceration and a fine of $5,000.

Petit Theft (First Degree)

If the stolen item is valued from $100 to $299, then the defendant is charged with Misdemeanor (First Degree), carrying a max penalty of one year incarceration and a fine of $1,000.

But, if a defendant is convicted two times of any theft, he or she is charged with Felony (Third Degree), carrying a max penalty of five years incarceration and a fine of $5,000.

Petit Theft (Second Degree)

If the stolen item is valued at under $100 or unspecified within any additional theft statute, the defendant is charged with Misdemeanor (Second Degree), a max sentence of sixty days incarceration and fine of $500.

Contact Miami Theft Defense Lawyer

This is a life-changing experience with long-lasting implications. Do not delay getting the legal help you need, contact Anderson, O’Sullivan, and Associates at 305-379-8688.

Marijuana Arrests in Miami: What are the Penalties?

Arrests Attorney in Miami

Faced Such Situation ?

Drug defense lawyers in Miami
We are beginning to see more and more states legalize marijuana.However, Florida is not yet one of them. If you are arrested with marijuana, you could face serious penalties. The extent of those penalties depends on the amount of marijuana in your possession, other items found in your possession, and of course, criminal history. can help lessen the penalties and attempt to get your case dismissed entirely.

The Amount


The amount of marijuana in your possession determines the offense – and these charges come with their own penalties. These include:

  • Less than 20 Grams – Charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. You could face up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
  • More than 20 Grams – Considered a fourth-degree felony. You could face up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • 25 or More Marijuana Plants – Considered a third-degree felony. You could face up to fifteen years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

If the police determine you were distributing as well as possessing, you could be charged with a felony and face additional jail time.


Other Circumstances

Often marijuana possession is charged in conjunction with another crime – such as a DUI, robbery, or assault. If you are arrested for another crime and are carrying marijuana, you could face more severe penalties than an individual arrested solely for possession.
Criminal history

Criminal History

First-time offenders have a better chance of avoiding serving jail time – as long as they are not charged with distribution. But, individuals may have to participate in court-ordered rehabilitation or other similar programs.

 Get Help from Drug Defense Lawyers in Miami

Drug charges, even possession for marijuana, can turn into a serious offense. You could spend several years in prison, even if you did not intend to distribute to other parties. You need an attorney that can aggressively defend your case, lessen the penalties or even get your charges dismissed. Contact the drug defense lawyers at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today by calling 305-379-8688 now.


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Have You Committed a Federal Crime?

Committed a Crime in Florida

There are thousands of crimes the federal government could accuse a person of doing. In Miami, federal prosecutors typically focus on those crimes that violate a federal statute. These felony affect the nation and can be tried in a local or federal court.

Did You Commit a Federal Crime?

Commit a Federal CrimeNot all  are considered federal, but sometimes there is a fine line in how these are determined. In Miami, most federal prosecutors focus on a select few types  including:

  • Extortion
  • White Collar
  • Espionage
  • Counterfeiting
  • Money Laundering
  • Drug Trafficking and Other Drug-Related
  • Gun Crimes

Who Investigates a Federal Crime?

Investigates a Federal Crimeit is often worked in conjunction with Miami police officers. But, there are certain government agencies that are given the power to oversee the investigation and arrest. These agencies include the FBI, DEA, ATF, Department of Homeland Security, and even the Secret Service.

In court, these are handled by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, but sometimes the U.S. Department of Justice may send in their own prosecutor.

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What Should I Do If I’m Arrested for a Federal Crime?

Arrested for a Federal CrimeBeing accused , is very serious. Federal sentencing guidelines are harsh and all punishments are done in accordance with those guidelines which means plea bargains are not always a worthwhile option. If you are being accused , innocent or not, you must conduct yourself accordingly.
1. Stay calm. The worst thing you can do is be irrational, become enraged or exhibit any type of negative behavior after being arrested. Whether you are innocent or not, you must stay calm.
2. Do not resist arrest. Resisting arrest could result in more charges against you. Instead, cooperate with the police, allow them to arrest you and even fingerprint you.
3. Do not speak to the police. Even if you know you are innocent, speaking to the police means anything you say can be used against you in court. Facts can easily be misinterpreted, so what you say to prove your innocence could make the officials feel you are guilty. To avoid this, do not speak. The only information you have to provide is your name, address, birthday, and telephone number.
Lastly, hire an attorney. You need an experienced Miami federal crime attorney. Not all lawyers can handle. it require an attorney to be licensed for federal court, but also you want an attorney with experience dealing with federal agencies.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Miami Today

If you have been accused of a federal crime or you have committed one, the criminal defense attorneys at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help. Contact us for a no-obligation review of your case now by dialing 305-379-8688.

What is an Accomplice?

What is an AccompliceTelevision and movies about police dramas often end up with a friend or acquaintance of a suspect being brought into the precinct and questioned by the police. Invariably, the police detectives who are interrogating the friend will say that they need to speak up and tell them what they know about the accused, or they will be charged as an accomplice.

But what exactly is an accomplice? Some people may just be bystanders or witnesses, while other people may be actually be accomplices. Accomplices are sometimes called accessories, depending on the jurisdiction. In Florida, the statutes use the term “accessory” as well, and any individual facing criminal law charges in Miami should be aware of the various legal terms used in Florida courts.

Types of Criminal Defendants

Types of Criminal DefendantsA principal is one who actually commits an offense, whether it is a felony or misdemeanor. Alternatively, a principal may also be the person who forces another person to commit the illegal act.

An accessory after the fact is someone who “,” or gives the principal some type of aid in committing the felony. The accessory must know that the principal has committed a criminal act. And finally, the accessory must have the intent to assist the principal evade capture by the police. The level of each principal felony, whether it is a first or second degree felony, will dictate what the level of accomplice liability will be. Furthermore, there are additional levels of culpability for crimes against children. For instance, the offense of child abuse, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child under 18 years of age, or murder of a child under 18 years of age all count as crimes for which anyone can be an accessory without exception. In many cases, close relatives, such as parents, children, and spouses are not eligible to be accessories.

The inability to be a principal does not prevent someone from being charged as an accessory or accomplice. In certain cases there are individuals who are excluded from liability. Members of a protected class are excluded from accomplice liability. .

Alternatively, if a person completely withdraws from a felony before it is committed, this individual cannot be held guilty as an accomplice. Withdrawal must occur before the felony becomes unstoppable. A potential accessory must repudiate his assistance if all he has done is encourage the principal to act. If the potential accessory has gone beyond just encouragement, then he may have to attempt to neutralize the assistance somehow to avoid liability.

More Questions? Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates

Strong legal representation is important in criminal matters in Miami and every other locality in the country. Should you find yourself facing criminal charges, you will need experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys to represent you in court. Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates for legal advice now.

Probation: What Is It, and How Can You End It Early In Florida?

What is Probation?

Probation Lawyers Miami Well, that depends on who you ask. According to the government and state of Florida, it is a “gift” that they gave you instead of prison. According to your probation officer, it is a powerful tool to “keep tabs” on you. According to the Court, it is a relatively easy way to get you out of your home and into prison. If you are on probation, it is more than just a restriction on your freedom. It is having to disclose to employers and landlords and others your current legal situation. It is a time consuming matter of constantly reporting to a probation officer who may be friendly or simply looking to violate you and recommend a prison sentence. It is expensive and most importantly, it is fear. Fear that any violation, intentional or not, could put you into prison.

Goal of Probation and Good Relationships

If you are on probation, your primary goal is to successfully complete probationthe terms of probation and get off of it as soon as possible. Some common conditions of probation include paying restitution, doing community service hours, staying away from certain people or locations and taking drug and alcohol classes and tests. What many Miami probation lawyers and virtually no Judges will tell you is that a key goal on probation is to have a good relationship with your probation officer. Many of our clients ask us why this is important. They say the probation officer is not their friend, they feel disrespected by the probation officer and the officer is always trying to find a way to violate them. This may all be well and true.

The importance of having a good relationship with your probation officer is two-fold. First, they can violate you based on a single piece of paper, called an affidavit of violation of probation. A violation can lead to a lengthy prison sentence. Secondly, when the time comes to have your attorney file a motion to terminate probation, the Court will often look directly to the probation officer and ask something along the lines of “how is Mr. X doing ”. The Court takes recommendation into heavy consideration. You need that probation officer to tell the Judge you are a model citizen who does not deserve to be on probation any longer.

How Do You Get Off Probation?

First, hire a Miami attorney with extensive knowledge of how get off probationprobation, violations and early termination works. This motion should not be a bare bones request we see in Court so often where an inexperienced lawyer simply begs for early termination. These requests are usually denied in short order. To get off probation in Miami early requires a lot of work on the part of the person on probation and the probation lawyer. First, your lawyer should speak to your probation officer personally and highlight all the good that you have done on probation. Proof that all special conditions have been met should be included in a well written motion that is provided to the Judge well before the date of the motion. A specific list of lost job opportunities because of your probationary status must be included, as well as any missed opportunities on renting a house or apartment. If you are employed, a letter from your boss and a tax return will be helpful in getting you off probation. If probation is really ruining your life, letters or live testimony from family members on how it is affecting them can go a long way in ending probation.

How you conduct yourself on probation is one step in successfully completing and/or terminating early. Hiring an experienced law team to do the legal maneuvering to get you off probation is very important. The probation lawyers at Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates, Inc. have over 20 years of mastering the probation system and using our vast knowledge of the local laws and customs to terminate your probation. Give us a call and we will discuss our strategy in terminating early. The call is free and you will speak with a named partner in the firm, not just a paralegal or secretary.

Man Found Not Guilty After 26 Years in Prison

free-after-26-years-in-Prison-300x165A Washington, D.C. man, Kevin Martin, was found to be innocent of the rape and murder of a woman in 1982 after spending 26 years in prison. Despite being released from prison in 2009 and placed on parole, he was finally exonerated of the crime on July 21, 2014.

Martin’s case marks the fifth time in five years that Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C. have acknowledged errors in FBI investigations that resulted in false convictions.

This series of issues in criminal law have ramifications across the country, including in Miami, as many Federal convictions appear to be suspicious as evidence is now called into question.

DNA Evidence Contradicts Prior Evidence

The U.S. Attdnaorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr., cited DNA evidence that overturned forensic evidence that was used back at Martin’s trial. Martin had long stated that he was innocent. On July 21, 2014, a judge exonerated him from the conviction.

The exoneration came two and a half years after the D.C. Public Defender’s Office requested an inquiry into past convictions that prosecutors had used regarding hair follicle samples. The problems in the D.C. forensic lab methods have made the FBI and Justice Department undertakes a nationwide review of over 2,000 convictions in the 1980s and 1990s. The Justice Department will also review FBI testimony in all convictions involving hair samples from that same time period.

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Despite the interest in reviewing false convictions on the part of the government, some have been highly critical of the slowness and opaqueness of the reviews. The Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice has recently released a report critical of the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office for failing to provide proper notice to defendants that are under review. The report has also recommended that the U.S. Attorney’s Office should work at outside legal groups, including public defenders’ offices. However, the D.C. prosecutor’s office has stated that the D.C. office has devoted thousands of man hours and relied on thirty highly experienced prosecutors in reviewing the old cases of convicts like Martin.

Martin Convicted Following Rash of Crime in D.C.

Martin was tried and convicted during the course of a significant crime wave that overcame Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s and 1980s. Martin was arrested and pled guilty to a series of armed robberies known as “bump-and-rob” attacks in which robbers would rear end drivers and then rob them once the other driver exited the car. While Martin pled guilty to several robberies, he stated that he had nothing to do with the bump-and-rob that led to the death of a 19-year-old woman. The woman, Ursula Brown, was found dead after being shot and stabbed and sexually assaulted. Police found hair samples on Brown that purportedly matched Martin’s hair.

Contact a Criminal Attorney for Additional Questions

Should you find yourself facing criminal charges, you will need experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys to represent you in court. Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates for legal advice now.

Instruction Against Family Violence

In Miami-Dade County, “domestic violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” While many may think of physical harm as a basic example of domestic violence, the quoted list demonstrates that domestic violence encompasses many heinous acts that put a victim’s well-being at risk, and which leaves them in perpetual fear of continued violence and harassment, or even death if it is not put to an end. Charges of domestic violence are serious please contact our experienced Miami domestic violence attorneys if you have been charged.

County laws exist to protect Miami residents from abuse by a spouse or partner, parent, or any other family member in the home. When domestic violence occurs, victims may face difficult decisions on what to do. It is an unspeakable tragedy and one that violates the very safety and well-being of adults and children who have never done anything to deserve such treatment. Sometimes police are called, and other times nothing is done while the abuser continues on. What many need to know is that there are legal ways to put an end to physical, mental and/or sexual abuse in a household.

Types of Injunctions

Victims of domestic violence can seek an injunction against their abuser. An injunction is a court order that immediately requires the abuser to cease contact with the victim, and possibly incorporates specifications as to how close the alleged abuser can be in proximity to the victim, just like a restraining order. In many emergency situations in family law, business or other areas, temporary injunctions, or temporary restraining orders, are the very first move that someone and their counsel will make in order to ensure that at least for the time being, another side ceases a particular action – in this case, domestic violence of any type. Temporary injunctions are obtained the very same day they are filed. While in our court system the accused almost always has the right to face his or her accuser (except in some situations, such as where the accuser is a child), a hearing for a temporary injunction does not require this. Given the emergency situation, the abuser does not have to be present at the request. If an imminent danger is demonstrated, a judge will typically sign off on a temporary injunction to last until a hearing can be scheduled to argue the merits of the case for a more permanent injunction.

Usually a hearing for a permanent injunction, to prohibit the accused from abusing the victim any further, will occur within a couple of weeks after a temporary injunction is granted. This provides sufficient time for preparation to argue the merits of why or why not there should be an injunction.

Options Are Available to Domestic Violence Victims

A victim of domestic violence needs to know that such options exist. They are neither perfect nor simple, but they provide relief. On the other side, accused abusers should also be aware of what their rights are under the law, and that they are entitled to a hearing at the permanent stage injunction. In a main criminal proceeding for domestic violence crimes, these crimes must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt like any other crime. Regardless of where one’s position is in an unfortunate conflict like domestic violence, they should have quality and competent representation in Miami-Dade.

Contact Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

Should you find yourself facing Domestic Violence charges in Miami, you will need experienced criminal attorneys to represent you in court. Contact Anderson O’Sullivan &Associates for legal advice now (305) 379-8688.

Questions Surrounding Death Penalty Persist While Executions Resume

Death-Penalty-Miami-300x259Following a botched execution of a death row inmate in Oklahoma earlier this year, some states have placed moratoriums on the death penalty. However, some states, including Florida, have returned to the death penalty.

Three Executions in 24 Hours

There were three executions in 24 hours during the week of June 16, 2014. Georgia, Missouri, and Florida each executed a death row inmate in succession. The executions in Georgia and Missouri were the first since the botched execution in Oklahoma on April 29, 2014, which went awry leading to the convict to die painfully from a heart attack rather than peacefully in his sleep, as the drugs in a lethal injection are intended to do.

Each of the three states used lethal injections, but there appeared to have been no error in their use. Florida has executed six inmates in 2014, second only to Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, there have been 23 executions.

A Regional Divide in the Application of the Death Penalty

While 32 states still permit the death penalty, only a handful of them routinely execute prisoners. Most of those states are in the South. States in the North and West have either declared moratoriums on the use of the death penalty or have effectively declared “de facto” moratoriums in that the governments in those states simply have not used the death penalty recently and appear reluctant to do so any time in the foreseeable future. For instance, Pennsylvania has not executed anyone since 1999 and Utah has had only one since 2000.

In some Southern states, there is arguably political will in the legislature and a willingness in the judiciary to allow the death penalty to be applied despite recent criticisms that it may either violate the Bill of Rights as “cruel and unusual punishment” if it is unduly painful, such as in the case of the Oklahoma man who died painfully when the lethal injection did not work properly, or that it simply is not an effective deterrent for future crime.

Florida Man Convicted of Double Murder in 1985

John Ruthell Henry was the Florida man who was put to death on June 18. He was convicted of the December 1985 murder of his estranged wife and her five-year-old son from another relationship. In addition to the controversy surrounding the safety and efficacy of the drugs used by the states for lethal injections, there was question as to Mr. Henry’s mental abilities. He has received a score of 78 on an I.Q. test, which is above the standard of 70 that Florida has been using for years to determine a defendant’s mental aptitude for standing for trial and sentencing. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently found that Florida’s hard and fast rule of relying on the 70 I.Q. benchmark was too rigid and that scores near 70 along with other factors should be considered in determining mental aptitude. While his score of a 78 was close, it was determined that it was sufficiently high enough and that it was very unlikely that his score would vary so much as to drop near or below 70.

Contact Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Should you find yourself facing criminal charges in Miami, you will need experienced attorneys to represent you in court. Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates for legal advice now.

Drug Trafficking in Miami

What is drug trafficking? Drug trafficking is the moving of illegal drugs from one area to another. Drug trafficking includes drugs and drug paraphernalia. A drug trafficking charge can include moving illegal drugs across the border, or even across the city. A drug trafficking charge is one of the most serious drug charges that you can be charged with.

The Florida Statue 893.135 states: A person who knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers, brings drugs across a state border, or is knowingly in actual or constructive possession of a certain amount of a drug can be found guilty of drug trafficking.

Drug trafficking offences is a serious crime. If you or someone you know is facing drug trafficking charges, then don’t hesitate calling an attorney. The attorneys to contact are Anderson and O’Sullivan. These attorneys have decades of experiences in representing drug trafficking offenses. The lawyers of Anderson and O’Sullivan are experienced drug trafficking attorneys in Miami, Florida. They will assist you in protecting your rights and putting your charges behind you.

Drug trafficking charges can result in a felony crime. Some of these felony crimes require prison time. Don’t spend months or years in prison, contact Anderson and O’Sullivan today. All information is confidential. Your future depends on it.

What if Forensic Science is Not an Exact Science?

forensic-science-technician-300x206In popular culture, according to shows like CSI: Miami, forensic evidence gives law enforcement irrefutable evidence concerning a crime. While forensic evidence can often be an important piece of evidence, it may not be as exact as most people think.

According to recent research findings, many traditional forms of forensic evidence may not be infallible. These types of forensic evidence include fingerprints, hair sample analysis, bite marks, handwriting, shoe print comparisons, and weapons identification.

Faulty Hair Samples

Before DNA evidence became prevalent in the late 1980s, the primary method for forensic crime scene analysis was hair sample comparison. Hair samples from a suspect would be compared with those found at the scene of the crime. In one case from 1981, Kirk Odom was sentenced to prison for twenty years based on hair sample analysis conducted by the FBI. The FBI found that the hair found at the scene of a rape was “microscopically like” or virtually certain to be the same as Mr. Odom’s. This forensic evidence was the backbone o f the prosecution against Odom. However, later DNA evidence was found to have proven that Odom was innocent. Unfortunately for Odom, he had already served two decades in prison.

“Serious Problems” with Forensic Evidence

According to a 2009 study by the National Academy of Sciences, there were “serious problems” with a variety of forensic methods that were routinely used by police and state prosecutors in charging crimes. The study found that only DNA evidence was actually consistent in accurately connecting the suspect with the forensic evidence. All of the other forms of forensic evidence that had been used for much of the twentieth century were found to have been highly inaccurate or at least not nearly as reliable as DNA evidence.

Human Error

Besides the actual reliability of the forensic scientific process itself, human error in executing the processes can cause problems with the evidence as well. Additionally, some forensic scientists exaggerate their findings as well as the reliability of the evidence in general. Often these misleading statements from forensic witnesses served to help the prosecution at the expense of the defense.

As a result of these historical issues with incorrect or misleading forensic evidence, many prosecutors, as well as the FBI, have revised their procedures to make sure that forensic witnesses working on their behalf do not overstate their findings. This means that the prosecutors will note that there are shades of gray in the findings of the analysis and that the science is not perfect.

Forensic science may not be any more reliable than the people who actually conduct the scientific analysis. Human error and misrepresentations can negatively affect the standing of defendants in light of evidence that can unfairly benefit he prosecution. To combat unfair representations in court it is important to understand the limits of forensic science and those who may testify about it.

Should you find yourself facing criminal charges, you will need experienced criminal defense attorneys to represent you in court. Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates for legal advice now.