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Sarasota Criminal Defense Lawyer

Experienced Sarasota Criminal Defense Lawyer

Just one moment of poor judgment can change your life forever. It is critical to retain a skillful attorney if you have been charged with breaking the law. Anthony G. Ryan is a Board Certified criminal defense lawyer who has defended the accused for over 20 years. He handles the full spectrum of criminal charges, ranging from felonies that can result in life imprisonment to misdemeanors and traffic crimes. If you are charged with a crime, even if it seems minor, your liberty is at stake. Anthony G. Ryan takes his responsibility to get you the best possible outcome very seriously. He will personally handle every aspect of your case, from the pre-arrest investigation and motions to suppress evidence or dismiss charges to negotiating a favorable plea deal or fighting for you at trial.

Criminal Defense

Crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors in Florida. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, but both felonies and misdemeanors need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a tough standard to meet, but most of the time, prosecutors only bring charges if they believe that they have sufficient evidence and a good possibility that they can win a case. Accordingly, it is very important to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Sarasota area once you realize that you are being investigated, and certainly if you are charged.


You can be charged with a per se DUI if your blood alcohol concentration is more than .08%. You can also be charged with a DUI if alcohol or drugs impair your normal faculties. Often, drivers who are stopped for a DUI are asked to perform field sobriety tests, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the one-leg stand, and the walk and turn. Sometimes the strongest defense for a DUI is procedural, arising out of a constitutional rights violation. An officer must have had a reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing to pull you over. An officer also must have had probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence to arrest you. To the extent that these standards were not met, it may be possible to file a motion to suppress and get the evidence from a DUI stop thrown out.

Drug Crimes

Drug crimes in Florida can include possession, sale, possession with intent to sell, manufacturing, delivery, or importing controlled substances into the state. Our Sarasota criminal defense attorney can help fight charges based on substances such as heroin, cocaine, hydrocodone, LSD, and methamphetamine. The penalties for a drug crime usually hinge on the quantity and the kind of controlled substance that was involved. For example, when more than a certain threshold of a controlled substance was involved, you can be charged with trafficking. In that case, a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment may be imposed. Other penalties for drug trafficking may include fines, probation, and the seizure and forfeiture of property gained because of drug trafficking.

Violent Crimes

Violent crimes in Florida include any crime in which violence or the threat of violence was involved. Homicide, assault and battery, robbery, kidnapping, child abuse, and certain sex crimes are violent crimes. What must be established depends on the particular crime that is charged. There are three different kinds of manslaughter, including manslaughter by act, by procurement, and by culpable negligence. There are also different types of assault. Usually, assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, but aggravated assault is a felony.

Sex Crimes

Sex crimes are punished harshly in Florida, and they include sexual battery, lewd and lascivious offenses, sexual misconduct, and child pornography. It is important to retain a criminal defense lawyer in the Sarasota area as soon as you realize that you are the target of a sex crime investigation. If retained, Mr. Ryan will conduct his own investigation and call the detective handling the case. The circumstances surrounding the charges will dictate what the strongest defense strategy is. Sometimes it makes sense to hire a private investigator or take a private polygraph to try to persuade the state that no sex crime was committed. If you are convicted of a sex crime, you may face a requirement to register as a sex offender and other penalties, depending on the specific charge. For example, sexual battery is a second-degree felony, for which you can face up to 15 years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines.

Theft Crimes

Theft crimes include burglary, robbery, and grand theft. There are different degrees of theft, and the particular degree that may be charged hinges on the value of the property. For example, if the property at issue was worth less than $100, you may face a second-degree misdemeanor petit theft charge. This can result in 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. However, if the property was worth at least $300 (beginning October 1, 2019 the threshold amount rises to $750 to qualify as grand theft), you can be charged with grand theft, a third-degree felony that can be punished with up to five years in prison. If the value of the property was $20,000-$100,000, you can face second-degree felony grand theft charges. If the value of the property was $100,000 or greater, you can face first-degree felony grand theft charges.

White Collar Crimes

There are many different types of white collar crimes, which are usually economically motivated crimes rather than violent crimes. They include securities fraud, money laundering, Medicare fraud, antitrust violations, insider trading, corporate misconduct, computer crimes, RICO violations, and tax evasion. These crimes tend to be complex, so you should retain a sophisticated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer if you are facing white collar charges. The White Collar Crime Victim Protection Act provides enhanced penalties for certain circumstances in which white collar crimes are committed. For example, under this law, you can be charged with an aggravated white collar crime if you engaged in at least two white collar crimes with the same intent, accomplices, results, victims, or methods of commission. If you commit an aggravated white collar crime, and you have victimized at least 20 people and thereby gotten or tried to get at least $50,000, you can face first-degree felony charges.

Juvenile Crimes

It can be terrifying as a parent to see your child charged with a crime. A juvenile charged with a crime should secure a strong legal defense from an attorney who knows state and local laws. A criminal conviction can change the course of a child’s life forever. While waiting for the court’s disposition, a juvenile can be temporarily put in a secure detention facility and confined for a maximum of 21 days. If there is a violation of sanctions, a juvenile can be detained for longer. When a child is adjudicated, a judge rules that the child perpetrated a legal violation or delinquent act. If adjudication is withheld, the court has concluded that a child committed a legal violation or delinquent act, but the formal delinquency pronouncement should be withheld.


Common misdemeanors in Florida include battery, disorderly conduct, DUI, petit theft, first offense prostitution, and resisting an officer without violence. Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies, but being convicted of a misdemeanor may result in incarceration and fines, so you should take the charges seriously and retain a criminal defense lawyer in Sarasota. There are two classes of misdemeanors: first degree and second degree. The maximum jail term for the less serious second-degree misdemeanors is 60 days. The maximum jail term for a first-degree misdemeanor is one year.

Domestic Violence Injunctions

Domestic violence injunctions are court orders requiring a perpetrator of domestic violence to stay a certain distance from a victim and their home, property, and workplace. An injunction may be requested by someone who alleges that they were a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs when certain crimes, such as assault, battery, or stalking, are perpetrated by a family or household member against another family or household member. If an injunction is violated by the perpetrator who is supposed to be restrained by it, a separate crime can be charged. Usually, a temporary domestic violence injunction is obtained, and then an alleged perpetrator has an opportunity to be heard at a full hearing. It is important to retain an attorney to fight the injunction.

Call a Knowledgeable and Assertive Criminal Defense Attorney

Mr. Ryan is a Board Certified Criminal Trial lawyer. Board certified criminal trial lawyers have met The Florida Bar’s highest standards for special knowledge, skill and proficiency in criminal trial law. If you retain Mr. Ryan, you will receive comprehensive legal representation and a skillful, thorough evaluation of the evidence against you. If you have been accused or charged with a crime in Sarasota, Charlotte, Hillsborough, or Manatee Counties, you should consult Anthony G. Ryan. Call us at (941) 954-7132 or complete our online form to set up an appointment with a criminal defense attorney in the Sarasota area.

Meet Anthony G. Ryan

"Mr. Ryan is a Florida Bar, Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer, which is the highest level of recognition possible for a criminal defense attorney. In addition to handling all misdemeanor and felony cases, Mr. Ryan also handles a limited number of false arrest claims, criminal appeals, driver’s license hearings, and forfeitures."

Client Reviews

I was amazed at how much Mr. Ryan knew about his profession. He is a very honest person who has his clients best interest at heart. He is well informed in all areas of law not only defense law. He is a straight talker that is extremely passionate about his work. I highly recommend him. He is one of...

Spencer, a Medical Malpractice client

Mr. Ryan was wonderful. I trusted him with my life and he saved it with his knowledge and skill. I would recommend him to anyone who is in trouble with the law and needs help, he is the attorney for you!!

Criminal Defense Client

When you are in a situation when there seems to be no silver lining, someone with a little experience should always offer their feedback to inform you of your options to better your position. I was in a situation where I did not know what was going on, no idea what to do and most of all, scared of...

Criminal Defense Client

He was very quick to respond to requests and handled everything very professionally.

Criminal Defense Client

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