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I Missed a Probation Meeting, Now What?

Miami Probation Violation LawyersIt doesn’t matter what you did or why you’re on probation, what matters is that you successfully complete the terms of your probation so the judge can one day remove you from these regulations and allow you to live a normal and happy and normal life again.

Those who are not strangers to probation understand how extremely difficult it can be to follow every single term of your probation. While you do your best to abide by these rules, sometimes life can get in the way and cause you to make a mistake, miss a meeting or simply forget to do something.

Missing a Probation Meeting

Missing a probation meeting can vary from a range of issues, which can include missing a counseling class, a court date or a meeting with your probation officer. Any of these issues can pose a serious problem to your freedom.

Although you may have an excuse or argument to defend yourself and provide a reason as to why you missed one of these meetings, this can sometimes be irrelevant to a judge. Unlike a court hearing, there is no jury available to listen to your side of the story. A judge will make a ruling based on his or her own determination, and a skilled attorney can help.

Read this article what you need to know on probation.

The Results

If a judge finds you guilty of a probation violation or missing a meeting, then outcome can be devastating. Of course, the results will vary from person to person based on the particular crime, the probation officer, and your sentence.

For example, a probation officer may ask for leniency if you have followed all terms of your probation without violating it in any way, shape or form. If your probation officer deems you unfit to continue completing your probation, then he or she only needs to prove how you have violated the terms of your probation and allow the judge to make his or her ruling.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Probation can often cause an individual to feel helpless and out of control of his or her life. If you are found violating your probation, then you may feel that you have no other options but to comply with the judge’s choice.

This is where you are wrong. Defending yourself during a probation violation can be difficult, but with an experienced defense attorney on your side, he or she can help you strategize a defense that can help improve the results of an outcome.

If You Have Violated Your Probation

The legal team at Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates, Inc. have over nineteen years of experience handling probation violation cases. With our knowledge and expertise, we know how to defend you and provide you with nothing but the best service.

If you have been accused of violating your probation, contact us online or call us at (305) 964-8614 immediately for a free consultation.

3 Common Mistakes during an Arrest and How to Avoid Them

man hands in handcuffsBeing arrested is bad enough, but there are actions that will create a much worse situation for you.

Whether you were pulled over for driving under the influence, arrested because of a warrant or you are suspected of a crime, make sure you don’t commit one of these detrimental mistakes.

 

Pleading Guilty—Even if You Are Guilty

If you were arrested for a DUI and you failed the field sobriety test, then your blood alcohol limit was over the legal limit. So, it only makes sense to plead guilty, right? Regardless if you were in fact driving under the influence, you should not plead guilty. The same goes for any other crime you’re arrested for. Even if you are guilty, there are pieces of evidence that can become inadmissible in court, which means the evidence that proves you’re guilty may not be viable in court; however, if you plead guilty and it is on record, it won’t matter.

A good criminal attorney will investigate your case and can argue the evidence against you – possibly reversing any charges. Therefore never plead guilty; call an attorney instead.

If you were arrested for burglary or robbery, read more here.

Resisting Arrest

Resisting arrest, regardless of innocence or guilt, can add on more charges and be used against you in court. Resisting arrest can also give detectives and prosecutors a feeling of “presumed guilt” because an innocent person may not resist as much as a guilty person.

If you are being arrested, do not resist arrest. Even if you are innocent, you must allow the police to arrest you and then contact an attorney right away.

Not Hiring an Attorney or Assuming All Attorneys are the Same

If you are arrested, thebiggest mistake you can make is to not hire an attorney. An attorney looks out for your rights, can get charges dismissed, and can negotiate with prosecutors. Do not assume the system will work for you or that the police will work hard to prove your innocence.

Furthermore, do not assume all attorneys are the same. If you have been arrested for a crime, hire an attorney with criminal experience. Most attorneys offer free consultations; therefore, you have nothing to lose by contacting one and discussing your case.

If you have been arrested, contact the our federal charges attorney the team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates right away. We offer free consultations and are experienced criminal attorneys. From drug crimes to violent crimes to federal charges, we can help. Call now by dialing 305-379-8688.

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5 Steps to Take Following a Burglary

Burglar entering through the balcony windowImmediately following a break-in, you may find yourself confused and not sure what to do. While you cannot always prevent a home burglary (a common crime in Miami), there are things you can do afterward to protect yourself. Not only do you have to deal with reporting your stolen possessions and hopefully getting them back, but you now have to work to secure your home so that you and your loved ones can feel safe at home once again.

After a break-in, there are a few steps you can take to help get your life on track – and hopefully, make you feel safe again.

Step One: Call the Police

Call the police if you suspect or witnessed your home being burglarized. Do not call from inside the home; instead, call from a neighbor’s or on your cell phone away from the property. Do not go inside, even if you know the burglar is gone. Because your home is a crime scene, entering the property could disrupt the evidence police need.

Step Two: Do Not Touch Evidence

You may want to look through your home and find what has been taken, but do not touch or remove anything. Forensic evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints, could be contaminated just by touching the items. The more you allow the scene to remain preserved, the more likely the police will be able to gather evidence needed.

Step Three: Start Thinking of Potential Suspects

The police will interview you to find out who has access to your home. You can speed up the process by thinking of who has been in your home the past few weeks. Do not forget friends, service providers (plumbers, cable company, etc.), and even neighbors. By creating a list of people who have access, you can help the police with their investigation.

Step Four: Make a Detailed List of What Was Stolen

The police monitor pawnshops and online sales, but in order to see if your stolen possessions are one of them, they need a detailed list. If you have serial numbers or pictures (which you should for insurance purposes), give those to the police.

Step Five: Start Securing Your Home

There was a reason your house was selected – even if it was random – such as open windows, unsecured garages, etc. Be proactive about securing your home and protecting it from future break-ins, which may mean installing a security alarm, changing the locks, etc.

Arrested for Burglary? Contact a Criminal Attorney Right Away

Burglary charges are a serious offense. If convicted, you could have a difficult time finding a job or even getting a new place to live (read more about what happens when you are arrested for burglary in Miami). And, because burglary charges often mean you cannot be trusted, personal relationships could be permanently tarnished. You need a Burglary Attorney in Miami for aggressive defense, which the team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can provide. Call for a free consultation now at 305-379-8688.

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The Various Forms of Domestic Violence

A mother protecting her daughter.Domestic abuse is not just physical; it can take many forms and a person can be guilty of performing more than one type of abuse on their significant other. In fact, there are five categories of domestic violence: physical, sexual, emotional, financial, and identity.

Whether you have been arrested for domestic violence or you think you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to understand the different types of abuse.

Physical Abuse

Physical violence is the most common—and the most obvious and easiest to recognize. It is any physical harm to the other person’s body, and is often used to exert power and control over another. Physical abuse can include:

  • Hitting, choking, pushing, kicking, burning, etc.
  • Holding a person down.
  • Throwing objects.
  • Locking a person out of the home.
  • Refusing to get the individual medical attention when it is needed.
  • Forcing the individual to use alcohol or drugs.
  • Depriving the individual of medication.
  • Smashing, selling or stealing the person’s personal possessions.
  • Stalking

Physical domestic violence can also be against children and pets. It is also not just for spouses or significant others.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse consists of any forced sexual activity or behavior over another. A spouse can be charged with sexually abusing his or her significant other, regardless if the other party has allowed sexual relations in the past. Some forms of sexual abuse include:

  • Touching or making unwanted advances
  • Making demeaning marks about the person’s body
  • Berating a person regarding their sexual past
  • Forcing sex or sexually-related actions from the other individual
  • Raping the individual with a foreign object
  • Forced sex with unnecessary roughness or force
  • Treating the other partner as a sex object
  • Forcing the individual to have sex with others
  • Withholding sex as a form of punishment

Emotional Abuse

Unlike physical and sexual abuse, emotional abuse is not as easily identified by friends or family –and can actually do more long-term damage than physical abuse. Emotional abuse can include the use of words in a way to hurt, demean or control the other person. Verbal abuse is part of the emotional abuse category. While couples can say things that are hurtful and they regret, there is a difference between hurtful words and emotional or psychological abuse. Emotional abuse includes:

  • Making verbal threats
  • Blaming the other person irrationally
  • Criticizing or humiliating the other person
  • Withholding affection
  • Yelling or using anger to intimidate the other person
  • Name calling or using abusive words
  • Using insults
  • Threatening to harm yourself as a way to hurt the other person
  • Lying or blaming the other person in order to confuse them
  • Playing mind games

Often social isolation falls into this category. Social isolation occurs when one partner forces the other to choose their relationship over career, family, friends, etc. They may demand their partner account for their daily whereabouts, monitor their phone calls and activity, and essentially make them feel as though they are imprisoned.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is a very serious domestic crime that involves using the other partner’s money or assets without consent. It can also include forbidding a partner to work, forcing them to be reliant on the abuser. Another form of financial abuse includes forcing a partner to sign over their paychecks so that they cannot access their money or have any financial freedom.

Identity Abuse

Identity abuse occurs when one partner demands, manipulates or controls their partner by using their own personal traits against them. This can include threatening to out a person to family, friends or even an employer. Exploiting the individual for their personal traits or forcing a person to stay with them because their personal traits would prevent them from finding another partner.

Domestic Violence is Serious

Domestic violence, regardless of the form, is a serious crime. Whether you were arrested for financial, emotional or physical abuse, you need to consult an Domestic violence attorney. A conviction could prevent you from getting a job, buying a home, and living your life. Meet with the Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today by calling 305-379-8688 now. We offer free consultations.

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Tis the Season

Tis the SeasonIt is that time of year again when we are all looking forward to slowing down a bit at work and spending time with our loved ones. There seems to be a relaxed atmosphere during the holiday season. Law enforcement, however, is stepping up their game. Police officers are doing over time as this season also brings about an increase in certain types of crimes.

During the Holidays, the Police will be looking especially hard at thefts, drug deals and DUI’s. We have all heard stories of people loading their cars with presents only to come out of the mall hours later with their car stolen or broken into. A lot of people will also be attending more parties at this time of year as opposed to any other. This can lead to a higher rate of DUI’s and drug possessions.

Probation officers will not be taking a break either. If you are on probation, do not expect a “pass” just because a majority of us are in a festive mood. Stay vigilant and if you are on probation the new year is a good time to sit down and make sure you are up to date with all of your probationary obligations. No one wants to spend Christmas and New Years in jail because of a preventable probation violation.

Enjoy the season. Make smart choices and stay out of trouble. If you do find yourself in a legal situation, Brook Anderson and Terrence O’Sullivan will be available to help, throughout the Holiday season.

Using a Fake ID? One Night of Fun Could Lead to Years in Jail

OSULLVIAN - Fake IDJust about every teen wishes they were old enough to go to a new local club or buy a bottle of liquor, but what most do not realize is that using a fake ID, even just once, could lead to serious legal trouble. Most people justify the use of fake IDs by claiming it is a victimless crime, but they aren’t.

Before you set out to use a fake ID card this Saturday night, you may want to familiarize yourself with the consequences.

Read: 3 Most Common Crimes in Miami

You Could be Convicted of a Felony

Depending on the state you’re arrested in, even possessing a fake ID (without using it), could result in a felony. In Florida, any unauthorized possession of a person’s identification could be charged as a third degree felony.

Fraud Charges Could be Applied

It’s not only illegal to be in possession of a fake ID or someone else’s ID, but you may be charged with fraud – even if you did not use the ID. Also, any crimes youcommitted while in possession of the fake identification card, such as purchasing alcohol, could be held against you in addition to the fraud charges.

Your License Could be Revoked or Postponed

If you already have a driver’s license, the courts make revoke it for possessing a fake ID. Also, if you have not yet obtained a driver’s license (because you are not of age), the courts may postpone the year at which you could get one. For example, the courts may require that you wait until you are 18 instead of 16.

A Criminal Record Follows You for Life

If you are a minor, your criminal record could be expunged or sealed – not affecting your future. But, if you are over 18 and caught with a fake identification, you could have a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. You may find it difficult to get a job, obtain housing or even join the military. If charged with fraud, you could be seen as dishonest and untrustworthy the rest of your life.

Also, you could face parole or probation, which means you may have to report to a probation officer for an extended period of time – and if you violate probation, you could spend time in jail.

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

Identity Theft

When you buy or having someone fabricatea fake ID, you provide them with some of your personal information. By doing so, you put yourself at risk for someone else creating a fake ID in your name or worse, stealing your identity.

Caught with a Fake ID? Call a Lawyer Right Away

If you are caught using or in possession of a fake ID, contact a criminal attorney Miami right away. You cannot risk being charged with a felony nor having a criminal record ruin your life. Contact the attorneys at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today for a free consultation by calling 305-379-8688.

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3 Easy Ways to Violate Your Probation – Don’t Do It

3 Easy Ways to Violate Your ProbationProbation is not a right; it is something you earn. Violating your probation can result it in being quickly taken away – and you spending not only your initial sentence back in jail, but possibly more time for violating your probation. While you may think it is difficult to violate probation, you may be surprised at just how easy it is to find yourself back in jail for one mistake.

Whether you are new to probation (read these facts on probation in Florida) or you have been on probation for a few months, make sure you don’t commit one of these three very easy and common probation violations.

Three Easy Ways to Violate Probation

 

  1. Not Reporting to Your Probation OfficerThe easiest and fastest way to find yourself back in jail is not reporting to your probation officer. When on probation, you have designated meetings (whether once a week or once a month) to check in, discuss what you are doing, etc. Missing a meeting for any reason could result in a violation.If for some reason you cannot make your scheduled meeting, contact your probation officer right away – never wait until after the appointment to contact him or her. Even if you miss it, contact him or her right away to discuss it. Not keeping in touch with your probation officer means they are less likely to let one missed appointment slide.
  1. Vising Certain People, Places or Going Out of Town Just because you are on probation does not mean you can do what you want. Your probation orders may specifically state where you cannot go, who you cannot see, etc. For example, if you are convicted of a drug crime, you may be prohibited from going to a drug neighborhood, associating with fellow drug criminals, or even certain friends.You may also be prohibited from going out of town or even leaving the city. Often if you need to travel, for good reason, your probation officer will work with you as long as you provide itinerary and contact information. But, if you leave town without notifying your probation officer and you are arrested, you may find yourself back in jail.
  1. Not Paying Court Ordered Fines or Restitution If you are released on probation, but still have court fines or restitution to pay to the victims, you still must pay them. Missing a payment or even being late may result in your probation being revoked.

What to Do if You Violate Probation

If you violate probation, contact a criminal defense attorney right away. While you should also speak to your probation officer, you will need a defense attorney who can represent you during the hearings as these hearing determine whether or not you will return to jail.

The probation violations Attorney team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help you with your probation violations. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 305-379-8688 now.

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What Happens if You’re Charged with Drug Possession?

Drug Crime LawyerDrug possession is a very broad criminal charge that could involve multiple violations and possible punishments. If you have been arrested for drug possession and you’re facing drug possession charges, then the potential penalties depend on specific circumstances surrounding that crime, including the amount you are carrying, the type of drug in your possession at the time of arrest, and more.

The Amount in Your Possession

The amount of drugs allegedly found in your possession is critical. A small amount is usually classified as “simple possession” and considered personal or recreational use. A larger amount, however, could lead to not only drug possession charges, but intent to distribute charges as well, which comes with much harsher penalties.

Just because you have a large amount of drugs in your possession does not mean you’ll automatically be charged with intent to distribute charge. In fact, law enforcement is required to present additional evidence beyond just how much you were carrying. Some additional evidence they may use against you includes, but is not limited to:

  • Packing Materials – Small baggies, twist ties, etc. could be perceived as “packaging” for distributing drugs (even if they were not intended for that use).
  • Scales and other measuring equipment
  • Large Amounts of Cash – A large amount of cash could result in police claiming that you had just finished a drug deal; therefore, you were carrying your earnings.

The Type of Drug

The type of drug found in your possession will also determine the penalty. Marijuana, for example, will not carry as harsh of a punishment as heroin, crack or cocaine.

Other Circumstances

While drug possession is a serious charge, other circumstances surrounding your arrest may determine the penalty. Some things that could result in harsher penalties include:

  • Previous criminal history;
  • Prior drug possession convictions;
  • Circumstances around the arrest, such as being also arrested for a DUI or attempted robbery and the drugs were discovered during that arrest.

What Penalties Will You Face If Convicted?

The penalties for drug possession can vary immensely. In some cases you may only pay a small fine of $100, whereas in other cases you could face several years in Florida State’s prisons. For first time, minor offenses, you may be able to get off with nothing more than probation or a court-mandated rehabilitation program.

Because the penalties for drug possession can vary, it is in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced drug crime attorney. Every drug possession case is different and the circumstances around your arrest could mean harsher punishments if convicted. The attorneys at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can represent you during your criminal proceedings and ensure a more favorable outcome. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.

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They Hit Me First: Is It Legal to Fight Back?

assault-and-batteryYou may have not been looking for a fight, but a fight found you. Physical confrontations happen and when you are the victim of an assault, you may be inclined to defend yourself. But, can defending yourself turn into a criminal charge? There have been numerous cases where an individual attempts to defend him or herself only to find that they are arrested and prosecuted. So, it is legal to fight back if someone hits you first? Will you be arrested for fighting back?

Understanding Self-Defense

As long as your use of force was classified as self-defense, it may be excused. But, it is your responsibility to prove that there was imminent threat of physical violence, which then resulted in your actions.

You must have a reasonable suspicion the person is going to harm you in order for you to claim self-defense. While cases where you attack first in defense are questionable, if the individual does hit you first, then it is easier to prove self-defense, especially if that individual attempts to hit you for a second time.

But, there is a fine line as to what is and isn’t classified as self-defense. If you continue to hit or invoke further harm toward that individual and the threat is over, you may not have a case for self-defense and you instead could face serious criminal charges yourself.

Self-Defense and Your Response

Self-defense is only valid if you use a reasonable response to defend yourself. For example, if someone hits you with his or her fist, shooting them in “self-defense” isn’t justified. But, hitting them back could be. Deadly force should only be used in circumstances where the other party is also using deadly force or you have a reasonable fear for your life.

Also, in some cases you may only claim self-defense if you have attempted to avoid the violence before engaging the other party. This is referred to as a “duty to retreat”. Most states have removed this rule, but it is still in your best interest to prove to the court that you attempted to avoid violence before engaging in self-defense.

Why You Should Contact an Attorney

Self-defense claims can be highly complex. Even if you have a valid reason to defend yourself, you may find yourself being accused of battery or worse, manslaughter if the other party dies in attempt to defend yourself. It is in your best interest to have an attorney, even if you were fighting back in self-defense to protect your rights.

The Miami criminal defense attorneys at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can represent you in your self-defense case. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation.

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3 Most Common Crimes In Miami

Crime in MiamiEven in the safest neighborhoods in the United States, criminals lurk around every corner. There are good areas and bad areas to every city in the country, but many of the larger cities gain a faster reputation because of the publicity they receive.

The city of Miami, Florida is no different than any other city in the country – there is good and bad; a lot of cultural diversity; and some people who are less accepting than others. Although the city of Miami can be a beautiful place to live, there are several common crimes to know. Knowing what these crimes are can help keep you safe and allow you to take precautions to prevent them.

Burglary

Burglary is the act of entering someone’s home or property without his or her permission or to engage in unlawful activity. In 2012, the U.S. average of burglaries per 100,000 populations was 670. In Miami, it was 1,027. Although burglary can be charged as a first, second or third degree felony, there are many criminals who still engage in these illegal activities.

To prevent your home or property from being burglarized, it is important to keep your doors locked or an enclosure around your home. If you have been convicted of a burglary crime, immediately contact an experienced professional before speaking to anyone about your conviction.

Read: Arrested for Robbery or Burglary in Miami?

Homicide Charges

Murder is a serious offense in any state or country in the world. In the city of Miami, there is a differentiation between homicide and manslaughter. If convicted of homicide, this means you have intentionally taken the life of another person. If you are convicted of manslaughter, this may mean it was done without intent, such as vehicular manslaughter or aggravated manslaughter. In 2012, the murders per 100,000 population for the U.S. was 4.7; in Miami it was 16.6

A homicide or manslaughter conviction can be an overwhelming experience whether you are guilty or innocent. If you have been charged with either of these crimes, it is vital to contact an attorney who can help you get through these convictions with proper defense.

Car Theft

Auto theft, in the state of Florida, can be defined in three different ways: taking someone’s car with the intent of keeping it permanently or temporarily using it, taking the car to prevent the owner from using it or even using the vehicle for your personal needs. There are even convictions of grand theft auto, where a car has cargo valued over $50,000 or if the vehicle is worth more than $100,000; this type of conviction can carry a much higher fine or punishment.

Read Also: Grand Theft Auto- Not a Game in Miami

Many of the charges involving auto theft result in felonies, so if you are convicted of an auto theft crime, do not speak to anyone about your conviction before speaking with an experienced lawyer. To protect your vehicle from being stolen, you should always lock your doors and install an alarm to ensure its safety. Keep any precious cargo inside of your home instead of inside of your vehicle.

Contact a Miami Defense Lawyer

If you have been convicted of any of these common crimes or other criminal acts, contact Anderson, O’Sullivan, and Associates immediately or call us at (305) 379-8688. We are experienced in defending our clients against many charges, including murder, auto theft, and burglary. We will work with you to ensure you get the least amount of punishment possible. Our team will do what is necessary to defend you.