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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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Can You Use a Taser Gun for Protection?

]While a Taser or stun gun is typically used by law enforcement, some individuals carry them for self-defense and personal protection. But, is it legal to possess a Taser let alone use it if you are defending yourself?

Consumer Laws

Law enforcement around the United States is legally allowed to carry a Taser for personal protection. But, for consumers who want to possess or use a Taser gun, the possession law may limit you as to how you can use it. Depending on your county, you may not be allowed to carry the Taser on you or even in your vehicle. You also could be limited to carrying it only in your home.

To carry the Taser gun on your person, you will need a concealed weapons license. This requires you to take a class for safety and proper handling. Then, you must be signed off by a CCW license official to receive your official carrying permit.

Using Your Taser Gun

While you can legally carry your Taser gun, using it is another story. Using it for any other purpose other than defending yourself could lead to an assault and battery charge.

Self-defense is a difficult claim to make in court. And, if you are charged with assault and battery, you will need to prove that there was an immediate threat of violence. Using a Taser without any direct threat of violence to your life will put you in jail for assault and battery and opens the door to a civil lawsuit.

What You Can Do

If you want to carry a Taser gun for self-defense purposes, then be sure to take self-defense courses that focus on Taser use. These classes not only teach you how to properly use your Taser, but also teach you to identify life-threatening situations as well as how to avoid dangers. You can also take additional self-defense courses that teach you how to defend yourself without the use of a Taser gun.

Arrested for Assault and Battery? You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney

Taser gun use could lead to an assault and battery charge even if you have just cause for using it. If you were arrested or accused of assault, you need an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Attorney. Contact the team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today. We offer free consultations and can help you defend your case.

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Can a Misdemeanor DUI Become a Felony?

Know About DUI Crime in MiamiDrug 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?

Hire Defense AttorneyConfidential 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?

Double Jeopardy Cases MiamiDouble 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

arrested for a DUIBeing 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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