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Can a Misdemeanor DUI Become a Felony?

Can a Misdemeanor DUI Become a FelonyDrug DWI or DUI arrests are often charged as misdemeanors, especially if it is your first arrest. But, there are instances where you could be charged with a felony, too. The punishments for a misdemeanor are much lighter than that of a felony. If charged with a felony, then you could face more than a year in prison and detrimental fines.

DWI laws can vary, but if you are arrested for a DUI, it could turn into a felony if:

Your DWI Led to Injury or Death

A normal DUI arrest is usually charged as a misdemeanor, but if you were arrested because you caused injuries or death to another driver while under the influence, your case could be bumped up to a felony charge. For example, vehicular manslaughter is a felony crime that could result in several years in prison, and you could also be sued by the victim’s family in civil court.

Your DWI Was on a Suspended License

If you had a restricted or suspended license, or no license at all, then your misdemeanor could easily move to a felony charge. Driving while under the influence with no valid license is typically punished with several years in prison and heavy fines. Again, in this instance you may also face civil court penalties.

This Isn’t Your First Arrest

If you have been convicted in the past with a DWI, then you may find yourself facing a felony charge versus a misdemeanor. Florida courts do not take DWI cases lightly and the more offenses you have on your criminal records, the harsher they will be – especially if you have multiple charges within a 10-year period.

Do I Need a Felony Attorney?

Even if this is your first DWI arrest, you should contact a skilled criminal attorney. The team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help protect your rights and prevent you from going to jail for years for a DWI arrest. The criminal defense law team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates dedicates all their time, efforts, and resources to fight for the rights and defense of their clients, regardless of the case or charges.

Do not wait to contact a Miami DUI Attorney. Call our lawyers today for a free case evaluation today. The team will review your case in detail and discuss any legal options, and will work tirelessly to achieve the best legal outcome.

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Confidential Informants: Can Their Testimony Put You in Jail?

http://www.criminaldefensefirmmiami.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Confidential-Informants-Can-Their-Testimony-Put-You-in-Jail.jpgConfidential informants provide information to police officers regarding an investigation. They are meant to offer evidence that can be used in court and lead to a conviction. If you were arrested for a drug crime and there is a CI with information against you, then you may feel like you don’t have any options.

But, just because a confidential informant claims to have information against you does not mean that they can actually present that information in court. A skilled defense attorney may be able to get CI testimony thrown out by appealing to the common factors judges use to determine credibility.

How Honest is the CI?

A confidential informant may not have a good reputation for telling the truth. In this type of case, the judge may determine the CI’s testimony can be excluded simply because he or she has lied in the past. Also, CIs who were arrested for fraud or crimes that involve a dishonest nature can be excluded.

The CI’s Information: Where Did They Get It?

If a CI is not testifying to the courts, then the judge will need proof that what the CI says is accurate. This means prosecutors and detectives must furnish evidence that backs up the CI’s testimony; they will not allow he-said-she-said testimonies.

Is the CI Reliable?

If the CI has a history for providing accurate information to the court, then the judge may allow CI information. If a CI has a heavy arrest record and appears that they are testifying simply to get out of a future arrest, the courts are unlikely to allow his or her testimony in court.

Corroboration Factors

Even the most reliable, trustworthy confidential informant testimony must be corroborated with third-party evidence. This means prosecutors and detectives must supply the courts solid evidence that what the CI says is the truth.

The Testimony Itself

If the confidential informant is only testifying to what may have occurred or what may occur in the future, then it is unlikely their testimony will be allowed. Instead, courts want to see detailed, first-hand knowledge of what they are testifying. So, if a CI simply overheard something, then that evidence—even if it was true—could be thrown out by your defense attorney.

Contact a Skilled Defense Attorney

You need an experience defense attorney in Miami that can help prevent a CI’s testimony from sending you to jail. The team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates has experience in criminal cases and knows how to handle CI testimony or allegations. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your case.

Double Jeopardy: Can You Really Not be Charged Again?

OSULLIVAN - Double JeopardyDouble jeopardy is a widely confused legal term. While double jeopardy laws exist, these instances are very rare. In some cases, you could be charged with the same crime after being found not guilty the first time.

Generally, double jeopardy is what protects a person from being arrested and tried for the same crime twice. If you are acquitted, then you cannot be charged with the crime again. This protection, however, only goes so far. So, it is best to understand how double jeopardy works before assuming you are free.

Criminal and Civil: Two Different Things

Even if you are acquitted in criminal court, someone can sue you in civil court for the crime. For example, you are charged with murder. The courts find you not guilty of the crime. But, that doesn’t mean that the family cannot come back and sue you in civil court for the crime—and you could be found guilty in civil court. You won’t serve jail time from a civil court conviction, but you may be forced to pay the family damages.

State and Federal: Where You Can be Charged Again

Double jeopardy does not apply to federal courts. Therefore, if you are found not guilty in state court, then the federal government can still arrest and try you in their courts, if it is considered a federal crime. This only occurs if your crime violates state and federal laws. You cannot be tried in federal courts if the crime did not violate federal law.

One Crime Can Result in Multiple Charges

Even though you cannot be charged with the same crime twice, that doesn’t mean that the prosecutors will not try to charge you with something else that is related to your crime. After all, one crime often leads to multiple charges.

Protect Yourself against Double Jeopardy Loopholes with a Criminal Attorney

Prosecutors will try to find their way around double jeopardy, but you don’t have to be a victim of their creative legal work. Instead, hire an experienced criminal attorney.

A criminal attorney Miami at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help you with your criminal case. Whether you are being charged the first time, facing federal charges or the prosecution is trying to add more charges, we can help.

Schedule your free consultation with our team today at 305-964-8959.

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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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