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What No One Tells You About Probation

Probation is a sentence that is used instead of jail time, but it can be used in conjunction with jail time to result in less time in a county jail.

It is typically available for first-time offenders as well as those being convicted of non-violent crimes. Anyone convicted of a violent crime rarely gets probation.

probation violation

Even if an individual is granted probation, they have specific rules that they must comply with and they are supervised by a probation officer.

Failure to comply with these rules will result in a revocation of probation and the individual will have to return to jail for the duration of their sentence and possibly more.

What are the Different Types of Probation?

Florida uses several different types of probation—each with their own unique uses and benefits. Not all criminals will qualify for each type of probation; instead, it depends on the circumstances of the case and the judge imposing sentence.

The most common types of probation issued include:

1. Unsupervised Probation - This is a very rare sentence and allows the individual to self-monitor and follow all of the rules of their probation without a probation officer.

This is known as “informal” probation and typically reserved for very non-serious crimes, such as petit theft.

2. Supervised Probation - This is the most common and requires the individual to not only follow specific rules, but regularly report to a probation officer that is in charge of overseeing the progress of their probation.

They may also be required to submit reports for community service or attendance to treatment programs – depending on the terms of their probation.

3. Shock Probation - This follows after a short period incarcerated to help shock the individual into never committing another similar crime in the future.

The theory is that the person will be shocked enough by their experience to not engage in criminal activity again.

Some offenders may be required to undergo rehabilitation as part of their probation process.

This can include going to alcohol or drug treatment centers or even volunteering at those centers to help others suffering from similar conditions recover.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

Not all crimes qualify for probation. It is important that you understand how probation works and understand your rights for probation.

Contact the professional criminal defense attorneys in Miami at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today.

We offer free consultations, so call us now to get started on your defense.

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What is Felony Murder?

When someone is charged with murder, they are being accused of the unlawful taking of another human being’s life. This is usually from intentional acts—whether for the purpose of causing death or not. Because it is intentional in some way, the courts will give out harsh punishments to those who are convicted for murdering another human being, including lifelong prison sentences or even the death penalty.

felony murder rule

Felony murder is different. This type of murder occurs when someone is killed during the commission of a crime—whether the perpetrator originally intended to murder or not. The key difference here is that felony murder is a very serious crime and can be punishable similar to intentional murder.

How the Felony Federal Murder Rule Works

Murder often requires intent to cause death. But, with felony murder, there only needs to be intent to commit a crime. During the felony, any homicide that occurs during that crime can be considered murder—even if it is accidental. This is referred to as the “felony murder rule.”

Under this rule, anyone who participates in the felony can also be charged with murder if a person dies including those who played no part in the actual death. For example, a bank robbery is occurring. The getaway driver is away from the inside of the bank, where a security guard is shot by one of the robbers. The getaway driver can still be charged with felony murder regardless if they were present for the homicide.

The purpose of this rule is to deter individuals from committing felony crimes altogether.

Limitations to the Rule

There are many people who disagree with using the felony murder rule. They find that the rule is not fair nor does it take into account a person’s true intention to kill another human being. Since someone can be charged with murder for someone else’s act, it is often found to be an unjust crime. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be convicted.

There are limitations when felony murder can be used. Some cases that can have the felony murder rule applied include:

  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Rape
  • Robbery or burglary
  • Escaping from law enforcement
  • Arson
  • Sodomy

Arrested for Felony Murder? Call a Defense Attorney Right Away

If you have been arrested for felony murder, you need to contact a  top criminal defense attorney right away. The penalties could include years in prison if convicted, which also depend on the case. The team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help you with your case. Call us now to schedule a free consultation by calling 305-379-8688.

What Happens if You File a False Police Report?

Anyone can file a police report; it is within a citizen’s civil rights. The officer you report your police report to will then take your statement and investigate the claim further. False police reports are not only damaging to police efforts, but can be damaging for future victims attempting to file a similar claim.

If you are charged with filing a false police report, it is a serious crime that may lead to other charges such as obstruction of justice.

Being Found Guilty of Filing a False Police Report

best miami criminal defense lawyerIn order to be found guilty, the state prosecutor must prove that you:

1. Filed a false police report or made a false statement

2. The report was offered up in response to police efforts

3. You knowingly filed a false police report and you were not working on false information provided by a third party

4. You had the intention of deceiving, obstructing, or hindering police officers from apprehending true criminals

The prosecution must show that you had intent on filing a false police report, which is the key aspect of their case. If they suspect you of filing a false police report, but cannot prove that you did so with intent, then they may not have a case against you.

What is Obstruction of Justice?

Obstruction of justice is a crime that involves interfering with due process of the law, which also includes investigations. If you are charged with obstruction, it can be a state or federal crime—depending on the type of investigation. If you are found guilty, you could face harsh penalties.

Some examples of obstruction can include:

  • Lying to the police during questioning
  • Falsifying documents that are sought by the police
  • Attempting to influence a witness
  • Destroying documentssought by the police

The penalties for obstruction of justice will vary depending on the severity of the offense. Sometimes you can face simple fines, while other times you could go to jail for up to ten years.

The Consequences of Filing a False Police Report

There are consequences for filing a false police report in Florida. Depending on the nature of the report, you could face a misdemeanor or felony charge. If you receive a felony conviction, your life will be permanently changed. You could even spend over a year in prison.

If you file a false police report for terrorism, it is a minimum sentence of seven years and as high as 20 years—even if you are a first time offender.

In addition to criminal penalties, there is the possibility of civil penalties for filing a false police report, especially if that report causes any damage or losses to individuals you have falsely accused of a crime.

Potential Defenses

Defending yourself against a false police report claim is important. A potential defense is proving that there was no intent or knowledge that you were filing a false police report. Also, any conditions that may take away from your intentions, such as being insane or intoxicated may also be viable defenses.

Arrested for a Crime? Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for a crime, contact the criminal defense law firm Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates today. We offer free consultations, so call us now at 305-379-8688.

Arrested for Boating Under the Influence? 3 Things You Should Know

Summer means more of us will be out on the open water enjoying the weather. Most people new to boating on Florida waters are surprised to find that they can be charged with a DUI on a boat just as quickly as they can behind the wheel of a car. According to the United States Coast Guard, boat operators that have a BAC of .10 or more is 10 times more likely to die in a boat-related accident.

Boating Under the Influence

That is why Florida has strict zero tolerance for those who are guilty of boating under the influence. If you are thinking about taking a few friends and brews on the sea this summer, there are a few facts you should know about a Boating Under the Influence charge first.

It’s Like a DUI…

State and federal law enforcement can pull you over if they suspect you are boating under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Just like drunk driving, they are allowed to administer sobriety tests and use chemical tests to prove that you are over the legal intoxication limit. If you are found guilty of a BUI, you could face harsh penalties including losing all boating privileges, especially if you are a second or third offender.

You Could Lose Your License

BUI convictions often result in a suspension or revocation of a boating license. However, if you have repeated BUI convictions, you could also run the risk of losing your driver’s license. This is because courts want to deter you from attempting another BUI or even a DUI in the future.

BUI Penalties are Just as Harsh as DUI Penalties

Do not assume that because you are on the water the penalties will be lighter. If you are convicted of a BUI, you will face equally harsh punishments—and just as severe as if you were convicted of a DUI. Also, if someone is hurt while you are committing a BUI, you could be charged with a felony, which will impact you for the rest of your life.

As with all types of under the influence charges, you should avoid drinking and operating a boat. But, if you do and you are arrested, you should contact a criminal defense attorney in Miami Florida with experience handling these types of cases. The team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help. Give us a call for a free consultation.

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5 Things You Should Never Say to a Police Officer

If you are confronted or being questioned by the police, regardless of the scenario, you may feel intimidated. No matter what, it is imperative that you understand your rights when speaking to the police. Not only do you have legal and constitutional protections, but you can enlist the help of a criminal defense lawyer before officially answering any questions with the police to protect yourself from self-incrimination.

What to Never Say to Police

Miami Florida criminal defense attorneyWhile there is a lot you can say, there are five things you should never say to a police officer. Some examples include:

1. Anything – You have the right to remain silent and refuse questions from police officers. You are under no obligation to answer their questions—regardless of whether you are hauled into the station or stopped on the street. If officers ask you to come into the police station for questioning, simply exercise your right to legal counsel and contact an attorney.

2. Allowing Search – Never allow police officers to search your home, car, etc. They know they need probable cause or a warrant. If they do not have either, then they will attempt to seek your approval. If you give them permission, anything they find can be used against you. You don’t have to give them permission.

3. Admitting to Drinking – If you are being pulled over for a DUI, do not admit anything regarding how many drinks you had. Instead, allow the officers to conduct chemical tests if necessary, but don’t admit to drinking—even if you had just one beer.

4. Admitting Guilt – Never, even if you are guilty, admit that you are guilty to the police. It is the prosecutor’s job to prove that you committed the crime; there is no reason to help them.

Most Important, Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are arrested or questioned by the police, contact a Miami FL criminal defense attorney right away. The team at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can assist you with your case. Call us now for a free consultation.

What to Expect if You Violate Probation Terms

If you were placed on probation, the judge who handled your case has described the terms you must comply with in order to keep your probation privileges. Violating those terms in anyway can result in a revocation of your probation and possibly additional jail time. The consequences that you will face for violating probation depend on several factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the violation
  • The type of probation
  • If this is a second offense probation violation
  • The length of time you have been on probation

There are several consequences you will receive depending on these factors.

Arrested for a Probation Violation

The Consequences of Probation Violation

Initially, the consequences are decided by your probation officer. If he or she feels you need to go back in front of a judge, then the judge will decide how to handle your violation. Some things you may have to endure include:

  • WarningSometimes a probation officer will only give you a warning. This is especially true if this is your first violation or if the violation was not very serious. You will be warned and officially on record though, so if you violate it again, then you may end up back in court.
  • Community Service - Sometimes your probation officer can require that you perform community service for your violation as a way to rehabilitate you or even pay restitution.
  • Rehabilitation - If your violation was drug or alcohol related, then the probation officer may require you to attend court-ordered rehabilitation. Any absence will result in additional jail time.
  • Counseling - This is an option ordered by probation officers if they feel there are underlying emotional or mental issues that have caused you to violate the terms of your probation.
  • Fines - Sometimes you can be charged an additional fine that you will pay to the court. This fine can also be issued to the victim of the crime if you are already paying restitution.
  • Jail - If you violate probation and the probation officer feels that you will do it again or the violation was too serious, then he or she may require you to return to jail.
  • Increased Probation - In other cases, the probation officer may increase the time you are on probation. If your violation lets them know you are not ready to reenter society without supervision, then they can increase your probation period.
  • Revocation -A judge may revoke your probation and have you serve the remainder of your sentence in jail.
  • New Charges - If you commit another crime while on probation, then you will not only face those charges, but you could have a harsher punishment, because your violation will be taken into consideration by the prosecution and judge.

Arrested for a Probation Violation? Contact an Attorney

If you have violated your probation, you will be ordered to attend a violation hearing. This is where an attorney can be a valuable asset. A Miami probation violation attorney can help you avoid returning to jail and potentially paying more in fines.

Contact the Criminal Lawyer Miami at Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates at 305-379-8688 to discuss your rights. Serving Miami & throughout Florida

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4 Things That May Happen if You Are Pregnant in Prison

Women can be sentenced to prison just as often as men. And, it is common for a woman to go to prison while pregnant or without realizing she is pregnant. This time in a woman’s life is joyous, stressful, and scary. But while in prison, a pregnancy may be one of the scariest experiences a woman will ever experience.

pregnant in prison
If a woman must give birth while in prison to serve her sentence, then she should consult with her criminal defense attorney to find out her options. In most cases, prisons offer four options for women so that the experience is somewhat positive on mother and child.

4 Things You May Receive While Giving Birth in Prison

Depending on the crime and the length of your sentence, you may have a few options available to you if you have to give birth while serving your sentence. These can include:

1. Access to Prenatal Care – You want to make sure you get proper medical care for yourself and your baby. Your attorney can ensure that proper accommodations are made and that you receive prenatal care. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, then your attorney can also ensure that the courts provide you with the proper high-risk care and diet, drug treatments, and HIV testing.

2. Shackles – Unfortunately, you may be shackled or restrained while giving birth. In the state of Florida, this practice is mostly unused, but if for some reason the officers feel that you are a threat to the physicians helping you deliver, they can still use restraints.

3. Nursery Programs – More prisons are adding nursing programs for mothers that give birth in prison. While Florida does not, there are options available to expecting mothers that allow the mother to still bond with her baby, supply breastmilk, etc.

4. Visitation – Even if you do not qualify for a nursery program, you may be able to take advantage of visitation. You will still get regular visitation with your newborn and you will have time to find someone to care for your child. There is also Mother’s Day visits that you will get to enjoy.

Being in prison as a mother is extremely difficult. Contact a skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Miami who can help represent your rights.

Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates Today

If you have been arrested for a serious crime or you are already serving a sentence in prison, Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates can help protect your rights as an expectant mother. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (305) 379-8688.

ANDERSON, O’SULLIVAN & ASSOCIATES, INC. announces the opening of a Personal Injury division of its firm to serve clients throughout South Florida.

Contact: Brook Anderson                                                                                                                                                  June 16, 2015
Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates, Inc.

ANDERSON, O’SULLIVAN & ASSOCIATES, INC. announces the opening of a Personal Injury division of its firm to serve clients throughout South Florida.

Miami, Florida (June 16, 2015) – Award winning attorney and firm partner, Brook Anderson, will head up the personal injury division. Her ten plus years as an active litigator will give clients the experience they need to help them get the best possible result for their case.

Mrs. Anderson has a passion for helping victims, which shows not only through the monetary awards she has secured for her clients, but her personable approach to each case.

personal injury attorney South FloridaBrook Anderson is the recipient of many awards. In 2007, The Home Depot honored her for “her outstanding work and professionalism”. In 2008, Brook was awarded “Outstanding Service to Victims of Crime” by the Miami – Dade County State Attorney’s Office and the Coral Gables Police Department during National Crime Victim’s Rights Week. Also in 2008, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) awarded Brook the prosecution Award of Honor for “outstanding expertise and dedication to DUI prosecutions”. She was also recognized by the National Association of Professional Women as “Woman of the Year” for 2011 and 2012.

Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates, Inc.’s main offices have been located in downtown Miami since 2005. In 2014 they were the recipient of the coveted AVVO Client’s Choice Award. In order to better serve clients, they are opening another office at 636 U.S. Highway One, Suite 110, North Palm Beach, Florida. 33408.  Having multiple offices will allow them to better serve their growing client base.

Give Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates Inc. a call anytime at 305-379-8688 to speak directly with a lawyer about the facts of your case. The consultation is free and there are no obligations.

What if You Can’t Pay Probation Fees?

Many people that have never been on probation are surprised to find that probation can be quite expensive. In the state of Florida, being on probation leaves the offender paying for court costs, cost of supervision, and cost of drug testing, although the frequency of drug testing is significantly higher if you have a drug offense as you will be tested more regularly. For many offenders, the cost of probation may seem crippling. Consider probation fees to be a required bill because if you do not pay, you can be violated and thrown into jail.

violation of probation

A violation can only be given by a probation officer if you have the ability to make your monthly payments and you did not make them. The United States Supreme Court rules that ‘a person sentenced to probation can’t be jailed for failing to pay a fine if he or she is unable to do so.’ Factors taken into account concerning your ability to pay your fees include:

  • Employment status
  • Earning ability
  • Any existing financial resources
  • Special circumstance that affect your ability to pay

For example, you may have a job but if you do not make a lot of money and spend everything on necessities and care for your family, then it may be found you do not have the ability to pay your fees and fines.

Compared to some states, the State of Florida does offer several options to indigent offenders. When you are sentenced, a Miami criminal defense attorney helps you address any problems you may have paying for probation to the court. The judge may waive the cost of probation at sentencing or if you petition the court later. Also, your fees may be reduced by a judge. Finally, some offenders exchange community service for probation fees. When a judge agrees to community service in lieu of fees you are obligated to complete this community service or you will find yourself in violation of probation just like you would if you did not pay your court mandated fees.

Don’t get stuck in an impossible situation where there is no end in sight concerning your probation. Our criminal defense team specializes in every matter relating to probation and violation of probation. Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates, Inc. is available for free consultations if you believe you need someone to defend your rights. We are available by phone at 305-379-8688 or online at

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Cyber Crimes May Have Severe Consequences

Just last month an eighth-grade student in the state of Florida was arrested for committing a severe cybercrime. The 14-year-old-student believed he was committing a harmless prank that actually became a federal crime once he accessed his school’s computer system unlawfully. A situation that may have been easier to rectify blew up into a serious offense because when the student accessed the computer he could have tampered with state wide testing information.

cyber crimes

The student gained access to a teacher’s computer and change the desktop background image to a photo of two men kissing. In the mind of a 14-year-old boy (and most people), this hardly seems like a felony criminal offense. What made it a felony was that he accessed the school computer system which also had encrypted testing information on the network. The officials in the school district maintain the student did not tamper with any testing information when he accessed the system.

What seems like a simple prank turned into a criminal offense because of a wrong place, wrong time scenario. While the student was not seeking to access statewide testing information, the fact that he could have accessed it is what makes it a more serious incident. Hopefully this first-time offender will not face the full punishment of his crime and actually get into a pretrial intervention program.

Aside from this story, the news in the state of Florida has reported numerous high-profile incidents of cybercrime for the first few months of the year. A police officer has been suspended because of cybercrime allegations. Several people throughout the state have been arrested on allegations of child pornography and solicitation online. Cyberattacks have been thwarted on the schools testing systems. A high-profile law has made its way to the state legislator concerning a common cybercrime involving posting unauthorized pictures online. The news stories show no sign of ending.

As the Internet becomes more prevalent in business and personal activities, the incidence of cybercrime is increasing. According to a 2013 study, the estimated annual cost of global cybercrime is $100 billion. In a situation that is only getting worse, it is estimated that there are 18 victims of cybercrime per second, over 1.5 million victims per day, and over 556 million victims per year.

What starts as a harmless prank can easily lead to a federal offense when you are online. The best advice relating to your online activities is to stick to accounts that are only yours and never do something that you would not do in real life. A mistake is a mistake and our attorneys are able to defend high-profile cases in federal court.

If you find yourself in a situation which may involve the commission of a computer or cybercrime, never hesitate to seek the advice of a Miami criminal defense lawyer. Protect your future and get the best possible outcome for your case with the help of the team at Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates, Inc.. We are available by phone at (305)-379-8688 or visit us online. Your initial consultation is free.

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