I left the scene of an accident….What now?

Peter Aiken
Criminal Defense Attorney
941-366-3506

December 2019

There are an incredible number of hit and runs every day in Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota County Florida.

Some involve only property damage but others involve serious injury and sometimes death. There are a high number of hit and run deaths that involve bicycles. In many of those, it is not the automobile driver’s fault but rather the person on the bicycle riding without a light, riding on the wrong side of the road or ignoring a traffic device or signal. Sadly, many people panic when they hit a pedestrian or a person on a bicycle and take off. It is a knee jerk reaction and most of the time pure panic. There are those of you reading this blog that know exactly what I mean. It is one thing to drive off after scraping or bumping a car in a large parking lot. It is quite another to take off and leave someone dying on the side of the road.

There are a lot of reasons people do not remain on the scene. The number one reason is because they are drinking and fear a DUI investigation. They may not have a valid license. They may not have insurance and in some instances because of age or infirmity, they may not even actually be aware they hit something.

Should you come forward and confess?

That is a tough question. Morally, it may soothe some of your guilt but there is a downside. You could end up in prison or end up losing your license and neither one of those things will bring back a life. The Highway Patrol often goes on television asking the driver to come forward. The problem is that if you come forward and confess, you are providing the missing link to a successful arrest and prosecution for leaving the scene of an accident with death. If the guilt is eating you up, talk to a lawyer before you do anything.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I am bound by the rules of confidentiality.

If you are contacted by the police, never waive your right to remain silent. If you are not yet in custody, they do not have to advise you of your right to an attorney or your right to remain silent. If you talk to them, even if you deny being there, your statement can be used against you. The Supreme Court this week decided a case involving cell phones. Your cell phone tracks your location and now the police need a warrant to get that information. If you made a phone call right after the accident, the police can find out where you were when the call was made. If you were texting or talking at the moment of the accident, they can put you at the scene of the accident at the time of the accident by using cell phone data.

Many people get caught trying to cover up the accident by destroying or tampering with the car. Do not do anything to make the situation worse.

Call an experienced qualified criminal defense lawyer right away. Lawyering up may be the best decision you ever made.

Hit and Run crashes, and arrests, on the rise

Sean C O’Halloran
Hit and Run
Criminal Defense
Main Office: Ft. Myers
239-334-8890

December 2019

Why do so many people simply take off?

A lot of the cases involve drivers who are impaired and they do not want to run the risk of getting charged with DUI. Many people do not have a valid license or are on probation or are driving without insurance or a valid registration. They are willing to take the risk later of getting charged with leaving the scene of an accident rather than remain there and get arrested for sure. I have heard that 25% of all crashes involve a hit and run situation. If there is not injury and simply property damage some people feel that the downside of remaining outweighs the possible consequences of staying on the scene. That may be a calculated gamble when it comes to a minor accident but if the accident involve serious injury or death, they are putting themselves at risk of a prison sentence.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people that simply panic. They may be an older senior citizen who did not even realize their vehicle scraped or struck another vehicle. It may be a juvenile driver who is more afraid of his parents than the police. Over the years, we have defended all types of hit and run cases. If the case involves a death (a homicide), then it is critical for you to talk to an experienced criminal lawyer before speaking to a deputy or highway patrol investigator. Often, the State may have no “wheel witness” and if you confess, you may be supplying the missing link when it comes to a successful prosecution.
You have the right to remain silent. If you are not in custody yet, the police do not have to advise you of that right. You have the right to an attorney and if you have been involved in a serious crash, you need to “lawyer up ASAP”. These are important rights you should not give up.A good lawyer can point you in the right direction. Think long and hard before coming forward without talking to a lawyer first.

Click Here to Visit our Criminal Defense Website

Road Rage will always end badly

Peter Aiken
Criminal Defense Attorney
941-366-3506

There is hardly a day that goes by that we don’t hear or read about a road rage incident coming to a bad conclusion.

Some of them end in death but most end in an arrest or a terrible “accident”. We have all seen video clips of cars chasing after other cars, car divers interacting with motorcycle riders or drivers fighting with people on bicycles. Losing your temper over something silly like someone cutting in line or merging into your lane is something that can be prevented. Here in Sarasota we have a large number of seasonal drivers (snow birds) that simply do not know where they are going. We have a huge elderly population that has sight and hearing difficulties. When you mix that with a little suppressed hostility it can end up in a road rage situation. This can end in a car crash, a fight and sometimes the display of a firearm or worse yet a shooting.

Over the years, I have defended many road rage cases. Pulling a gun and pointing it is never a good option. You can get arrested for aggravated assault with a firearm. If someone is acting hostile, call 911. If you can take a video without endangering yourself, do so. Giving someone the “finger” or honking to show anger never makes things better. If you over react you may find yourself arrested. If you reach into someone’s car and punch someone, you have committed a burglary with a battery, a serious felony.

If you punch some old guy you may get charged with battery on a person over sixty five, another serious felony. If you bump some kid on a crotch rocket, you can find yourself charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. A felony arrest can tarnish a lifetime clean record and if you are a professional result in the loss of not your driver’s license but you license to practice medicine, dentistry or law. Professionals have a lot to lose and really need to think twice and keep their cool.

As a Sarasota criminal defense lawyer and an old guy myself I have found the best way to deal with hostility is to simply back off. It does not matter who is right or wrong. The same goes for fighting. The loser goes to the hospital and the winner goes to jail. Fighting is never your best option unless it is in unprovoked self defense. The “stand your ground” law may result in your ultimate acquittal but you may end up spending thousands in legal fees defending you innocence. If you are reading this “too late”, and need some good legal advice or defense, feel free to call for a confidential consultation at 941 366 3506

All DUI Lawyers Are Not Created Equal

Peter Aiken Criminal Defense Attorney 941-366-3506
Peter Aiken
Criminal Defense Attorney
941-366-3506

All DUI Lawyers Are Not Created Equal

If you are facing a DUI charge, do you want a personal injury lawyer defending you? Do you want a family lawyer or a real estate lawyer standing beside you when the verdict is read?

Criminal law is all we do.

The Yellow Pages and the Internet are full of lawyers that claim they can represent you on a DUI (drunk driving) charge. Many lawyers try to wear many hats and be all things to all people. Do you want a general practice lawyer handling your criminal case? Do you want a foot doctor operating on your heart?

Peter Aiken and Sean O’Halloran, both former prosecutors, have been handling DUI criminal cases their entire careers. Criminal defense is all we do.

Should I use the Sarasota Public Defender for a DUI?

Private lawyers, such as our attorneys at Aiken, O’Halloran & Banyai, have a tremendous advantage over the public defender in a DUI case. As private defense attorneys, we also handle the administrative hearing to save your license at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These administrative hearings have been known to come before your criminal case and often before even a public defender is appointed.

As private lawyers, we get the video, we cross examine the arresting officer and we develop valuable testimony which can help your case long before a public defender would even be appointed.

Sarasota Drunk Driving Attorney

Act now to protect your license and driving privileges. Do not wait or it may be too late. At Aiken, O’Halloran & Associates, we have extensive experience in:

  • DUI checkpoints
  • DUI accidents
  • DUI traffic stops
  • DUI manslaughter
  • DUI field sobriety exercises
  • DUI homicide
  • DUI administrative hearings
  • DUI second and third offenses
  • DUI Hit and RUN
  • DUI license suspensions
  • DUI defense

In Sarasota call Peter Aiken our DUI and Felony Traffic defense lawyer at 941-366-3506.. Don’t wait criminal defense is all we do.

Should I Stay or Should I Blow

Sean C O'Halloran Hit and Run Criminal Defense Main Office: Ft. Myers 239-334-8890
Sean C O’Halloran
Hit and Run
Criminal Defense
Main Office: Ft. Myers
239-334-8890

December 2019

Should I Stay or Should I Blow

Every year in Florida there are over 90,000 hit and run situations. Many involve no injury and are crunches in parking lots, sideswipes on the highway or rear end collisions. A lot of people panic, particularly if they are drinking, or have a suspended license or an outstanding warrant for a probation violation. Many people are afraid they will get a DUI if they remain on the scene and appear intoxicated or simply have alcohol on their breath.  Leaving the scene of an accident can have horrible consequences. My Law Partner was in Court in Clearwater just last week when a young man was sentenced to eleven years in State prison for leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality. The State argued that if he had stayed and called 911, the person might have survived. A lot of people panic and take off. What they do not realize is that there is a high chance they will ultimately be caught. You can run but you cannot hide.

Cameras are Everywhere

It is almost impossible to go anywhere now without coming upon some surveillance camera. There are cameras at intersections, there are cameras on the Interstate and private businesses almost all have cameras outside pointing towards the street. It is only a matter of time until you are detected, identified and arrested. If you are arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, do not make a statement. Do not make an admission. You have the right to an attorney and you absolutely should exercise that basic Constitutional right. Look at what happened in New York yesterday. The bomber was caught in less than 24 hours as a result of street cameras. If you run from an accident or as we say, “blow the scene” or “get out of Dodge”, you probably will get caught. The accident may not have been your fault. Hitting a pedestrian crossing the street a night in the dark is a good example. Running away is your fault and it is the “leaving” that is the crime. If you are reading this too late….act now.

Should I “lawyer up”?

There is no shame or stigma attached to talking to a good criminal defense lawyer. We are bound by “confidentiality” and even if you do not hire us, our lips are sealed. You may want to talk to us “just in case” the police come knocking. Confession may be good for the soul but it is rarely good for a criminal case. Keep your mouth shut, call us, and we will set up a confidential consultation either over the phone or in person. We have offices in three locations. In Charlotte County if you have a problem in Punta Gorda or Port Charlotte at 239-334-8890 of if you happen to be in Ft. Myers or Cape Coral, call 239 334 8890.

In Sarasota or Manatee (Bradenton) call us at 941 366 3506

Peter Aiken
Criminal Defense Attorney
941-366-3506

Labor Day DUI Checkpoints and Arrests

 

Sean C. O’Halloran
Aiken and O’Halloran 
Experienced DUI Defense
Offices:
Ft. Myers 239-334-8890
Sarasota: 941-366-3506

Several of the local law enforcement agencies have announced enhanced DUI enforcement over the Labor Day holidays.

Sarasota Police Department and the agencies in Lee County, including the Lee County Sheriff’s department are expected to have enhanced DUI programs. Labor Day Long Weekend is September 1-2-3-4-5 2016. If you are going to party this weekend, plan on taking Uber or a Taxi. Many people are used to taking a cab or Uber at night, but few think to use it after a day of partying at the beach, a picnic or a boating outing.

In Lee County, including Ft. Myers, Cape Coral, Pine Island and the areas around Pine Island Sound you can also expect the marine units to be checking boaters for drinking and boating.

If you go out on a boat for the Holiday and take a cooler of beer you could be in for a surprise. If the marine patrol stops you and sees a bunch of empty beer cans or bottles you may find yourself escorted to shore for sobriety exercises. The problem is that if you have spent time on the water, your face will be red. Your eyes will be watery from the salt spray and your balance may be a little woozy from hours at sea. If you put this on top of a stack of beer cans you may find yourself arrested for boating under the influence. If you throw beer cans overboard, you are littering. If you keep them on the boat you run the risk of making law enforcement think you are drunk. If you get stopped on the water and there is any doubt about your sobriety you may well consider refusing to perform any landside sobriety exercises. It is never wise to admit to any drinking. Your answers will be misconstrued by officers eager to make a bust or an arrest.
Have a great and safe holiday. It is hard not to have a few “cool ones” if you are out for a day of fishing, diving or partying. Please be careful and drink responsibly. We once defended a boater in a kayak for boating under the influence.

The zero tolerance over the holiday makes it even more dangerous to mix alcohol with either driving or boating. Be careful.

If you get arrested or are under investigation, Driving While Intoxicated, Driving Under the Influence, Aggravated or Domestic Battery after an Altercation or Hit and Run in Ft. Myers, Punta Gorda or Sarasota give us a call and we may be able to help. In Lee our number is 239 -334- 8890 in Sarasota 941- 366 -3505 and Charlotte 239-334-8890. No charge for a free consultation

ALL REQUESTS FOR CONTACT ARE STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL AND GO DIRECTLY TO AN EXPERIENCED HIT AND RUN AND DUI CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY

YOUR REQUEST WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE CLOSEST OFFICE TO YOU…CLICK LINKS BELOW FOR

LEE AND COLLIER COUNTY SEAN C O’HALLORAN

CHARLOTTE AND DESOTO COUNTY 

SARASOTA PINELLAS HILLSBOROUGH AND MANATEE COUNTY PETER D AIKEN

Is the Criminal Justice System a Stacked Deck?

Peter Aiken Criminal Defense Attorney 941-366-3506
Peter Aiken
Criminal Defense Attorney
941-366-3506

According to the Constitution, a person is presumed innocent. A person also has the right to an attorney, a right to remain silent and a right to a fair trial. The problem is that often those rights are simply ignored based on race or ethnicity. Do the police treat blacks and whites equally? Are blacks more likely to be stopped and searched? Are Hispanics treated equally by the prosecution and the Courts?

Today’s Herald Tribune front page describes a recent hit and run situation involving a prosecutor and a black family in the early morning hours. What really happened, no one will ever know. The investigation appears to have been quashed even though much of the event was recorded on a 911 call. Did the police take the word of a white female prosecutor over an entire car load of black witnesses? Did the police take any photographs of the alleged damage to the rear of the black family’s car? Were the dash cams turned off on the police cars? Did some of the officers actually witness the second crash? What really happened in the phone calls made between the officers that night?

Looking at this objectively, there is an appearance of impropriety and now the truth will never be known.

It is exactly this type of police conduct that creates distrust in the black community. It is this type of investigation that creates the impression of unfairness in the system. The white prosecutor may not have been impaired. The white prosecutor may not have committed a hit and run. The white prosecutor may not have used influence and called in a favor to escape arrest. I fault the on the scene officers for not doing a proper investigation. The absence of the dash cam video is inexcusable. The absence of photographs of the damage is just plain sloppy, or is it? I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to everyone but when the police apparently intentionally do not document anything it gives a huge appearance of impropriety.
Our entire criminal justice system depends on the police being impartial and the State Attorney’s office administering justice fairly. Time will tell on how this one plays out
As a Sarasota criminal defense attorney I know there are two sides to every story. The problem with this situation is that the public will never know the other side.

CLICK HERE TO SEE HIT AND RUN CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY PETER D AIKEN’S CREDENTIALS

FROM THE DIVISION OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES:

Related Article and Video:

State Attorney’s Office investigating prosecutor’s off-duty crashes

¿Es el sistema de justicia penal justo?

Peter Aiken Criminal Defense Attorney 941-366-3506
Peter Aiken
Criminal Defense Attorney
941-366-3506

Se habla espanol, llame 941-366-3506, o mande un correo electronico aolawc@gmail.com.

Según la Constitución, una persona se presume inocente. Una persona también tiene derecho a un abogado, derecho a guardar silencio y derecho a un juicio justo. El problema es que a menudo esos derechos son ignorados basado en raza o etnia. ¿La policía trata a negros y blancos igualmente? ¿Es más probable que se paró y buscó a los negros? ¿Los hispanos reciben el mismo trato por la Fiscalía y los tribunales?

En la portada hoy del periódico Herald Tribune se describe una situación reciente que involucra a una fiscal que se estrelló con una familia negra en la madrugada y se dio a la fuga. Lo que realmente sucedió, nadie sabrá nunca. La investigación parece anulada a pesar de que gran parte del evento se registró en una llamada al 911. ¿La policía tomó la palabra de una fiscal blanca sobre la familia negra quienes viajaban en el otro coche? ¿La policía fotografió cualquier presunto daño a la parte posterior del coche de la familia negra? ¿Fueron apagadas las cámaras del tablero en los coches de policía? ¿Algunos de los oficiales realmente presenciaron el segundo accidente? ¿Realmente, que sucedió en las llamadas telefónicas hechas entre los oficiales de esa noche? Mirando esto objetivamente, hay una apariencia de algo impropio y ya nunca se sabrá la verdad.

Es exactamente este tipo de conducta de la policía que crea desconfianza en la comunidad negra. Es este tipo de investigación que crea la impresión de injusticia en el sistema. El fiscal blanco puede no haber estado bajo la influencia. Puede que le fiscal blanco no haya cometido un delito. El fiscal blanco puede que no haya llamado a la policía utilizando su influencia pidiendo un favor para escapar la detención. Yo culpo los oficiales de la escena por no hacer una investigación adecuada. La ausencia del video del tablero es imperdonable. ¿La ausencia de fotografías de los daños es simplemente descuidado, o es? Me gustaría darle el beneficio de la duda a todo el mundo pero cuando la policía al parecer intencionalmente no documenta nada da una gran apariencia de algo impropio.
Nuestro sistema de justicia penal depende totalmente en que la policía este imparcial y la oficina del Procurador administren la justicia justamente. El tiempo dirá en cómo salga esto. Como abogado de defensa criminal en Sarasota sé que hay dos lados a cada historia. El problema con esta situación es que el público nunca sabrá el otro lado.

CLICK HERE TO SEE HIT AND RUN CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY PETER D AIKEN’S CREDENTIALS

From the Florida Division of Highway and Motor Vehicle Safety:

A crash is bad…leaving the scene makes it worse. (Spanish)

Related Article and Video:

State Attorney’s Office investigating prosecutor’s off-duty crashes

Don’t drink a Fifth on the Fourth …and drive

Peter Aiken Criminal Defense Attorney 941-366-3506

The Fourth of July is just around the corner and you can bet the Lee County Sheriff’s office has plans for DUI checkpoints.

The marine division will also be on the water trying to make arrests for “boating under the influence”. Our Ft. Myers criminal defense firm actually represented a man in a kayak who was arrested for boating under the influence. He was in a kayak, with his dog who was wearing a vest” simply paddling around, watching the fireworks….and having a few brews….and got arrested. If you are on the water for the day and drinking beer you can count on the fact that when you get boarded for the so called “safety check”, they will be looking for empty beer cans or liquor bottles. Over the course of a day, three or four people can easily drink a case of beer, and nothing looks worse that a cooler full of empties. They will try and escort you to shore and ask you do to field sobriety exercises. That is a mistake. Do not do the exercises. There are many reasons your eyes may be red, your face flushed and your balance unsteady. Do not give them the missing link with an admission or field test.

Another issue when it comes to driving under the influence and boating under the influence is “who is actually driving”. If you are going through a checkpoint, that may not be an issue. If you are in a boat, that is quite another thing. If you are going through a checkpoint, that may not be an issue. If you are in a boat, that is quite another thing. They have to prove who is actually running the boat. What if no one admits who is driving? What is they did not see who was actually at the wheel?

You can count on the fact that over the Fourth weekend there will also be a few hit and run incidents. If they also involve alcohol or death or serious injury, serious felony charges can result. If you were involved in a hit and run and you are reading this, you may be under investigation. There are now cameras everywhere. Just because you got away then doesn’t mean they are not still trying to identify you. Call us immediately if you fled the scene. All inquiries are confidential and free. Never make a statement without talking to a lawyer that is experienced in representing hit and run cases.

All lawyers are not created equal.

Call Sean C. O’Halloran at 239 334 8890 in Ft Myers, Sarasota ask for Peter D. Aiken at 941-366-3506 or Punta Gorda see Sean O’Halloran at 239-334-8890 for a free consultation.