Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are contacted by Florida authorities for any reason, it’s important that you know your rights. The two most important rights that you have is the ability to remain silent and the ability to have a lawyer present at all times during the legal process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common offenses committed in Florida, the potential penalties that may accompany these charges, and how an attorney may be able to help you.
Common Offenses Committed in Florida
State authorities tend to deal with cases involving assault and battery, larceny, and drug possession. They may also be involved in traffic offenses such as drunk driving or driving with a suspended or revoked license. Depending on the circumstances of a case, white collar offenses can also be tried at the state level.
Assault and Battery
While some may use these terms interchangeably, assault and battery are two separate crimes. Assault occurs when you intentionally put someone else in apprehension of imminent harm. Battery occurs when you intentionally make contact with another person without that person’s permission.
Larceny may also be referred to as theft as it involves taking property or otherwise depriving the owner of an item of the right to use it. You could be charged with larceny whether you take something out of your neighbor’s garage or whether you take it from a retail store. It’s also worth noting that you can be charged with larceny if you are initially given permission to use it but refuse to give it back when asked.
State law generally prohibits anyone from possessing controlled substances such as marijuana, heroin or cocaine. You may face additional charges of trafficking or distribution of a controlled substance based on the amount found in your possession.
While The Criminal Defense Firm generally handles cases related to drunk driving, we may be able to help with any other criminal charges you may face stemming from a traffic stop. For instance, if you are found with drugs or other contraband in your vehicle, you may be taken into custody.
Penalties That You Might Incur
If you are convicted of a criminal offense, you may face a variety of penalties such as jail or prison time, a fine, or the loss of professional licenses. You may also be sentenced to probation or supervised release after getting out of jail or prison. Furthermore, depending on the nature of the conviction, a judge may require you to abstain from using drugs or alcohol or to live no less than 1,000 feet from a school or other locations where minors may be present.
How Is a Sentence Crafted?
As a general rule, you’ll likely face a tougher sentence if you’re convicted of a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor. If you have a history of criminal convictions, you may be subject to mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Therefore, it’s possible that you could spend years or decades in prison if you’re convicted of stealing a $1 pack of gum from a convenience store. Finally, if you are deemed to be a threat to reoffend, you may receive a harsher sentence.
Secondary Issues to Consider
If you are convicted of a crime at the state or federal level, you may be ineligible to receive student aid from the federal government. This may make it difficult or impossible to afford a traditional education, which could hinder your ability to obtain employment or advance in your career.
There is also a possibility that you will be disqualified from obtaining housing after a criminal conviction. This is because landlords may have discretion as it relates to renting their properties to those who have criminal records. Furthermore, the financial consequences related to going through the legal process may make it harder to qualify for a mortgage.
Reasons to Hire a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
The moment that you are taken into custody, authorities are going to use their skills and experience to get the best possible outcome for themselves. It’s important to note that authorities are given leeway to lie to or mislead suspects in an effort to obtain a confession or otherwise solve a case. Furthermore, they may try to convince you to provide access to a phone, computer, or other items in an effort to collect evidence that an officer or detective may not have a right to see.
An Attorney May Prevent You From Incriminating Yourself
Perhaps the best reason to hire an attorney is to minimize the risk that you’ll say or do something that you might later regret. At the beginning of an investigation, you may feel as if there is no downside to volunteering information that might help clear your name or establish that you’re willing to cooperate. However, information that you provide may actually help the government build its case against you or possibly expand the scope of its initial inquiry. Having legal counsel by your side may help to ensure that you only talk if it is actually beneficial to do so.
You Can Talk Freely to Your Attorney
Nearly everything that you say to your attorney is privileged information. This means that you could theoretically confess to a crime and the confession cannot be used as evidence during settlement talks or at trial. It’s worth noting that an exception may be made if you tell your attorney that you plan to harm yourself, the judge in the case, or anyone else.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between jail and prison?
Jail is typically a holding area for people who have been charged with a crime but have not been convicted. It’s also a place where people can be detained after being convicted of misdemeanor charges that carry sentences of up to 12 months. Typically, you are held in the jail closest to where you committed an offense. If you are sentenced to prison, you are held in a location that is most appropriate based on the crime that you committed and other factors.
Can I be convicted of state and federal charges?
Yes, it’s possible to be convicted of both state and federal charges in the same case. It’s also possible to be convicted of a federal charge while also being acquitted of a state charge in a given matter or vice versa. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that your sentences will be the same if you are found guilty of both state and federal offenses. During an initial consultation, we can provide a more detailed explanation as to what the legal process might look like if you’re charged with offenses at multiple levels.
What are the steps involved when hiring an attorney?
The first step in the process of hiring an attorney is the initial consultation. It typically lasts for 15 to 30 minutes and is usually conducted free of charge. The purpose of the consultation is simply to tell your story so that we can determine if we are able to best meet your needs. We will also use the information provided to choose a lawyer who is the best fit to represent you in court.
After signing hiring paperwork, we’ll arrange an initial meeting where you can show us documents or anything else central to your case. Your representative may also suggest that you stay off of your phone, social media sites, and anything else that might be monitored. From there, your attorney will work with you every step of the way to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Who will represent me?
Our firm’s roster includes a number of individuals who have spent time as federal prosecutors or as members of federal agencies such as the IRS, DEA, and OIG. We also have lawyers who have spent time with the DOJ, which means that they understand how the government thinks when it approaches criminal cases. We have used this experience to resolve a number of cases before criminal charges could be brought against a client.
Can you guarantee a victory in my case?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee any type of outcome in a particular case. It’s also important to note that prior results do not have any bearing on your proceeding. The outcome of your case will be determined by a number of factors including the strength of the evidence and whether you want to accept a plea or take the case to trial. We would also like to note that our firm’s general policy is to remain aggressive even if you would like to obtain a plea deal as doing so may strengthen your bargaining position.
Give Us a Call Today
If you need legal representation, call The Criminal Defense Firm today at 866-603-4540 or fill out our contact form.