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Legal Defenses Against Assault and Battery

Defenses you can use against assault and battery charges depend on a variety of things – and you should always use a skilled criminal defense attorney before assuming you have a valid defense. This is because the case against you can be straight forward or complex, and only an attorney can decide the best defense approach.

Assault and Battery

But, there are some common legal defenses used in these types of cases.

Self-Defense

A common defense to assault and battery is self-defense. This is one of the most common defenses and to establish you were acting in self-defense, your attorney must:

  • Prove that there was an unlawful harm against you;
  • Prove that you had an honest, reasonable fear or perceived fear;
  • Prove that you did not start the fight or start with the intent to harm anyone;
  • Prove that there was no way for you to escape or retreat without engaging in violent force.

You Were Defending Someone Else

You may have a defense against assault and battery if you were acting in a way that protects others. But you must prove that there was a legitimate risk of life or fear for another person’s life that caused you to assault the other person. For example, a man threatens your date and holds a knife to her – that is a justified cause to engage.

Consent

While rare, you may be able to use the defense that the other person consulted to the assault. These types of situations mean that the actions the other party took gave you a legitimate assumption that they were inviting assault or retaliation. But, even if you were engaging in consensual behavior, if the amount of violence on your half goes beyond what is expected for the situation, you could still be held liable for any injuries or harm.

Arrested for Assault and Battery? You Need a Criminal Attorney Right Away

Assault and battery is as serious allegation. If you are convicted, you could spend several years in prison and the criminal record alone could ruin your future. If you have been arrested, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney.

Contact the team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates right now for a free consultation. We can help defend your assault and battery charges and protect your rights.

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Can I Refuse a Sobriety Test?

If you are pulled over for driving under the influence and the police officer requests a field sobriety test, can you refuse? While you may think it is within your right to refuse that test, it could do a lot more harm than good.

can you refuse a field sobriety test

Voluntary denial of a sobriety test could be seen as an admission of guilt and give the police officer a right to arrest you, even if you are under the legal limit.

Implied Consent Applies

In the state of Florida, you are required to take a blood, breath or urine test if requested by the police. This is because Florida (and many other states) have “implied consent” laws. If you are lawfully arrested, and the officer has probable cause to believe you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you imply your consent to be tested. Also, police officers can require you to take more than one test, such as a breathalyzer and then blood test.

It is possible to be arrested in Florida for a DUI without driving. If you have any form of physical control over the vehicle, such as being passed out behind the wheel with the ignition off, but keys in your hand, you are guilty of operating a vehicle while under the influence.

Also Read : 3 Common Mistakes during an Arrest and How to Avoid Them

Punishment for Refusing a Test

If you still choose to refuse a test, then you may lose your license for one year if it is your first offense. If you refuse a second time, then you could lose your driver’s license for up to eighteen months. You could also face other consequences, such as jail time, fines and more.

While the courts cannot legally force you to take any type of test, the courts make sure that you receive punishment for doing so.

Should You Take the Test?

Even if you know you are going to test positive, it is in your best interests to cooperate with the police and take any requested tests. Because the punishment for refusing the test are so severe, if you have not been drinking or you are under the legal limit, then you could save your license.

Don’t Want to Take a Sobriety Test? Call a Lawyer First

Do not refuse a sobriety test or take one without calling a lawyer. If you insist on refusing this test, your attorney can advise you of your rights as well as make sure the police had probable cause to arrest and test in the first place. Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today for a consultation.

Can You Be Arrested for Bouncing a Check?

Bouncing CheckMost times, a consumer bounces a check and it is an accident. That consumer then works hard to rectify the situation, whether that is paying a bounced check fee and late fee with the creditor or doing something else to pay the account. With today’s digital banking age, it is a lot easier to bounce a check because creditors can cash a check without ever stepping foot in a bank.

Also Read : I Was Falsely Accused. What Do I Do?

The Legal Issue with Bounced Checks

There are penalties for bouncing checks, but it is important to realize the penalties apply to those who bounce multiple checks. If you bounce a lot of checks or purposely write bad checks, you could face two different types of penalties: criminal and civil.

With civil penalties, you may be forced to pay the victims of your bounced check scheme retribution, pain and suffering. That could be the amount of the check you bounced, plus attorney fees, and additional funds for suffering.

On the criminal side of things, you may be prosecuted for writing those bad checks. A bounced check only becomes a criminal issue when prosecutors can prove that you wrote those checks with the intent to defraud someone.

In most cases, bounced checks rarely go to court.

Check Fraud is Serious

Check fraud is illegal; therefore, if you are arrested, you could deal with serious consequences.

To be convicted of check fraud, prosecutors must prove that:

  • You wrote the check with the intent to defraud or deceive the recipient;
  • You actually wrote the check and it wasn’t someone who stole your identity;
  • You wrote the check knowing you didn’t have the funds;
  • You knew that the check would not clear once cashed.

Post-Dated Checks are Not Fraud

When you post-date a check and someone accepts it knowing it is post-dated, it is not considered check fraud. This is especially true with payday loan companies. These payday loan companies will try to tell you that if you do not pay the loan, you can be arrested for check fraud because your post-dated check bounced. This is not true. Payday loans have a different set of laws. Because they accept the check knowing it will not clear and knowing you do not have funds, you are not committing check fraud. But, you could still be sued in civil court for defaulting on a loan agreement.

Also Read : Top 5 Most Common Arrests in Florida

Arrested for Check Fraud? Hire a Criminal Attorney

The penalties for check fraud often depend on what other crimes you may have committed. In most cases, prosecutors will add more charges than just check fraud, which is why you need an experience Miami criminal defense attorney. If you are arrested for check fraud or another white collar crime, contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates immediately for a consultation.

Top 5 Silliest Crimes of 2014

You hear about them on the news sometimes, while other times they don’t make national headlines. But, there are some rather funny crimes out there. While every crime is serious, these are ones that make jurors and attorneys alike ask themselves “why?”

Miami Crimes 2015

In 2014, there were quite a few ridiculous crimes committed, but these top five were definitely notable.

#5 Candy Fun

Robert Durst, a 71-year old millionaire, was found guilty in 2014 for pulling down his pants and urinating on the candy aisle of his local CVS pharmacy. Not only was there no discernable reason for his doing so, but now he will have to suffer with a criminal record.

#4 Couple Busted

A couple decided to have some St. Patrick’s Day fun in public just behind a dumpster in Delaware. Not only did they decide to have intercourse in public, but then someone caught it on their camera and uploaded the picture to their Instagram account. Police used the Instagram photo to locate and arrest the couple.

#3 Drinking Behind the Wheel

In Florida, a 60-year old woman by the name of France Riney, was charged with a DUI when she decided to sit down and take a few swigs of vodka behind the wheel of her parked car. But, she wasn’t caught in the act – she decided to sit down and do this in front of a police officer while they were trying to question her.

#2 Special Treat

A Maryland teen had made himself some special brownies using marijuana. While eating them in class, he was approached by his teacher who asked if he would share. Nervous, the teen obliged. Once the teacher realized what type of brownies she was eating, the student was arrested and charged with a juvenile count of administering a dangerous substance, reckless endangerment and assault on the teacher.

#1 Turning Yourself in Via Social Media

Anthony J. Lescowitch, Jr assaulted a man and stole his ATM card then escaped. He would have gotten away with the crime most likely. While the police had a picture of the suspect, they did not know who he was. The police had shared the image on social media asking people to contact them with any information on the suspect.

Lescowitch decided to post the photo on his own Facebook with an obscene comment – instantly tagging the police department and letting them know he was the suspect.

Also Read : Top 5 Most Common Arrests in Florida

Hire a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney

While there are silly crimes out there, many crimes are very serious, and facing them alone could put you in a not-so-funny situation. If you or a loved one is arrested for a crime, click here contact the Miami criminal defense lawyers at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates now.

What is a Motion to Dismiss?

A motion to dismiss is an early step that some defense attorneys will use as part of their case. It is basically a request to the court to end the case before it actually goes to trial. These types of motions can be used for a variety of reasons and in some cases, they are granted.

motion to dismiss

But, every case is unique and not all cases will qualify for a motion to dismiss; therefore, it is important to consult a Miami criminal defense attorney before assuming you have a valid motion for dismissal.

Evidentiary Issues Often Lead to Dismissals

One of the biggest reasons a case is thrown out is because there is an issue with the evidence collected for that case. That can be how it was collected, the evidence itself or how it was discovered.

Sometimes the evidence is not sufficient enough to prove that you committed the crime, while other times the evidence doesn’t even prove you were guilty of the crime. Also, how the evidence was collected plays a big role on the outcome of the case. If the evidence was not collected using legal means—such as an illegal search without a warrant—then the case has no evidence to stand on and a judge would have to dismiss.

Procedural Issues Can Lead for a Motion to Dismiss, Too

There is a strict process for presenting a case to the courts. Not only do the police need to follow their proper arresting procedure, but then every step they make must be in accordance with the law. All it takes is one error for a case to no longer be valid.

Procedural errors are common and can occur in various aspects of the case, including:

  • The arrest
  • Booking
  • Bail or hearing process
  • Pretrial hearing and motions errors
  • Statutory limitations

Are You Hoping for a Motion to Dismiss? Hire a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

Even if you have a ground for dismissal, you need to have a skilled criminal defense attorney represent your case. Proving to the courts that your evidence or procedures were not done properly is not easy and it takes an attorney to prove such.

But don’t fret. The team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help you with your case. Meet with us today for a free consultation and our attorneys can work hard to help you get your case dismissed.

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I Was Falsely Accused. What Do I Do?

falsely accused of a crimeBeing falsely accused of a crime doesn’t just happen in the movies. Unfortunately, it is a very real life event that carries big consequences. If you were accused of a serious crime and the police do not believe you, you still have options.

Do Not Speak to the Police

You are innocent and you know it, but anything you say can be used against you. Even if you have proof you are innocent, you should contact an attorney right away. You don’t owe the police any explanation for your actions and if you invoke your right to council, the police must honor that.

Do not even share your side of the story or offer anything until you have a criminal defense attorney by your side.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

Even if you are innocent, you need an attorney. An attorney can discuss the circumstances of the case with you in private. Nothing you say to an attorney can be used against you in court. You can tell the attorney everything and then he or she will decide what information should be shared with the police. By proving your attorney with all the details, he or she will also be able to:

  • Deal with any threats from the accuser.
  • Protect you from accidentally incriminating yourself.
  • Help you determine if charges are being filed officially or if you are just being accused.
  • Help negotiate with prosecutors to make sure you are not charged with a crime you didn’t commit.

Also Read : Have You Committed a Federal Crime?

You Can Sue for Defamation

If you were falsely accused, then you have a record that you didn’t deserve. Once the criminal aspect is sorted out, you have the right to file a lawsuit for defamation. Even an arrest without charges stays on your criminal record and the embarrassment alone can haunt you for the rest of your life. Your criminal attorney can help you file a defamation lawsuit to help you recover from your false accusation.

Falsely Accused? Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Now

You can’t risk your reputation permanently ruined because someone wants to falsely accuse you of a crime. Click here to contact the Miami criminal defense team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates now. We offer free consultations and we are here to aggressively represent your case contact us now for a free consultation by dialing 305-964-8523. We can tell you right away if you have a valid defense and we will work hard to make sure your good name isn’t tarnished because of a false accusation.

Top Facts About the Insanity Defense

After the recent posts about the “American Sniper” murder trial, many are wondering about the insanity defense. In movies and in TV shows, they make it seem easy to plea “insanity” and get away with a crime, but the reality is it is not an easy defense to use or prove.

Insanity DefenseThe insanity defense, also referred to as the M’Naghten Rule, is not something a defendant can just use to excuse themselves from a crime. Instead, the rule is looked at by Florida courts to assess whether a person is guilty or what type of punishment they deserve for the crime they have committed.

Not Knowing Right from Wrong

The M’Naghten Rule, which stemmed from the M’Naghten case in 1843, is a standard that is applied in court. Because the infamous case allowed a man to shoot and kill the British Prime Minister while saying he was “insane”, Queen Victoria established stricter rules for how those individuals are assessed. Today, those rules apply in the United States. Medical experts must provide testimony proving that a person is actually insane and that at the time of the criminal act, they didn’t know the difference between right and wrong.

PTSD as a Criminal Defense

Using PTSD as a criminal defense falls under the insanity and diminished capacity plea. But, this is a highly controversial defense, especially for veterans who have committed crimes after coming home from war. In the American Sniper case, the guilty party claimed that PTSD was the cause for their insanity and that was what forced him to kill two men.

Guilty, but Insane

In most insanity defenses, a person does not end up walking away and returning to their lives. Instead, they are found guilty by reason of insanity and serve their time in a medical treatment facility rather than prison.

Claiming PTSD or another reason for insanity is not easy. The criminal justice system is also seeing an increase in the number of PTSD defenses for individuals who have committed crimes, rather than just violent crimes. Because there are no concrete studies or statistics, this defense is left up to a battle of the experts and a jury, which means it could go either way.

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney First

Before you establish your own defense, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can tell you whether or not you have a legal, excusable defense, and can integrate that into their arguments.

If you or a loved one was arrested and you suffer from PTSD, contact the attorneys at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today for a free consultation.

What is a Right to a Speedy Trial?

Speedy Trial In MiamiPart of the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants you the right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury. That means that you must be taken to trial within a reasonable amount of time after being arrested for the alleged crime. And, you have a constitutional right to have your trial heard in front of a jury, where the jury must find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

But, if you watch the news lately, you may see how long it really takes for a case to make it to trial, making you curious what “speedy” exactly means.

What is a Speedy Trial?

Speedy refers to the time lapse between arrest and your actual trial. While most states have their own timeline as to when you will be seen in court, the issue is not a matter of constitutional rights; instead, there are circumstances regarding the case that make it take longer than it should. These reasons for delays can vary, including witness issues, evidence problems or even requests by either party.

But, if a judge determines that the delays were unreasonable, then they may dismiss a case altogether because the delay has violated the individual’s Sixth Amendment rights.

What is an Impartial Jury?

Part of that same Sixth Amendment right is the right to an impartial jury. Impartial means that you have a jury of your peers that represents a good majority of the community. These individuals must consider the evidence presented to them only (not their own feelings) to determine whether or not a person is guilty or innocent. If the jury cannot agree or becomes deadlocked, then the judge may determine that they are “hung” and a new trial will have to commence.

Right to a Speedy Trial Works in Your Favor

Sometimes a right to a speedy trial can work in the defendant’s favor, because it forces prosecutors to rush through their case and that may mean lesser charges when the trial does come around.

Deciding whether or not to push for a speedy trial is a maneuver only your Miami Criminal Defense Attorney can make. Your attorney will need to assess the facts regarding your case and decide if you need more time or if it is ready for trial.

Arrested? Contact a Miami Criminal Defense Attorney

You have the right to legal representation in court. Before your trial starts, contact the team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today. We offer free consultations and can discuss your case with you with no obligations. Call now for an appointment.

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Top 5 Most Common Arrests in Florida

Arrerst in MiamiIn Miami, the police department is diligent in making their arrests. The latest statistics, however, have shown that there are certain crimes that are arrested more frequently in Miami than others. While some of these may be no surprise, a few of them could be.

Driving on a Suspended License

No matter the reasons, if you have a suspended license, you shouldn’t be driving. One of the most common reasons for arrest in Florida is driving with a suspended license. A suspended license revokes your right to operate a vehicle; therefore, if you choose to drive while on a suspended license, you can be arrested. If you cause property damage or are involved in an accident while driving with a suspended license, then you could face extended time in jail and higher fines.

Possession

It is no surprise that Miami criminal lawyers see a ton of possession arrests and cases each year. From marijuana to cocaine, Miami police officers are cracking down on illegal substance use, selling and carrying. While the possession of a low volume amount of drugs is only a misdemeanor, if you have paraphernalia or a higher volume, you could be charged with possession with the intent to distribute, which moves your misdemeanor to a felony.

DUI

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offense – and one that police officers and judges alike do not take lightly. If you choose to drive while under the influence, be prepared to be arrested. And, if your DUI adventure leads to an accident, injury or death, you could face felony charges, hefty fines, and a long prison term.

Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, domestic violence is becoming increasingly common. But, domestic violence is not just between a man and woman; it can also involve relatives, siblings, etc. Also, false claims of domestic violence are being seen as a way to get back at one spouse or even increase a divorce settlement.

Probation Violations

Once on probation, you still have rules to follow. If you break those rules – including checking in with a probation officer – you could be arrested. In Miami, the number of probation violation arrests is on the rise.

Arrested? You Need Miami Criminal Lawyers to Protect Your Rights

Because of the increase in arrests in Miami, you need an attorney to represent your rights and protect you – especially if you are arrested for frivolous charges. Police officers do not care if you are innocent and these days, you have to prove your innocence. Contact the team of Miami Criminal Attorneys at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today for a free consultation.

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What is Community Service?

criminal offendersSometimes, criminal offenders are assigned community service as part of their sentencing. Community service can be done in exchange for a lower fine or less jail time. But, when you are assigned community service, what does that entail? Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion regarding this sentence.It is best to speak to Miami Criminal Attorney before claiming your community service work and make sure you are performing a qualifying act; otherwise you could spend a longer time in jail.

Community Service Requirements

The rules and procedures can vary by county, but community service is commonly court-ordered and requires you to perform a service that benefits the community. This serves as you paying restitution for your crimes, can be a deterrent symbol to others and help you learn your lesson.

Community service is monitored by the court and you must meet the requirements given to you by the judge. You will have to maintain records and submit those records to the court. If the judge feels you do not meet the requirements, you will have to complete additional community service or face a harsher punishment.

The Types of Community Service

There are a variety of types of community service you can do – from picking up trash on the highways to working with local groups. If you are assigned community service, here are a few examples of what you can do to mark the service requirement off your to-do list:

  • Serve at a homeless shelter. You can spend time serving the community at your local woman’s shelter, homeless shelter or even domestic violence shelter. You will need to keep track of your hours and have an official from the shelter sign off to prove that you actually served time there. Keep track of the duties you perform at these shelters just in case there is any question.
  • Teach classes to others. This usually only works if you have a degree or specialty that can be taught.
  • Picking up trash. One of the most common is picking up trash on the side of the highway and streets. Most local cities have trash pickup services that community service individuals opt for.

Have Questions About Community Service? Speak to an Attorney

Community service is something that should be taken seriously. If you are assigned community service and the courts are refusing the service you have performed, you need the assistance of a criminal attorney. Contact the team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today. We offer free consultations and can assist you with your criminal trial as well as assisting you with your community service requirements. Call today for an appointment.

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