- The Court Process
- Misdemeanor Charges in the State of Florida
- Felony Charges in the State of Florida
- Be Proactive About Your Case
- Getting the Help You Need from a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime in Florida it is extremely important that you contact one of the Florida Criminal Attorneys at The Law Place immediately for a free consultation to discuss your criminal charges. During the free consultation the criminal defense attorneys will discuss your options and determine the best way to defend your criminal charges. Your criminal defense team’s goal is to have your charges reduced to a lesser charge, or even dismissed entirely. The Law Place has convenient offices in Sarasota, Tampa, Orlando and Clearwater. Call 941-444-4444 today and get your free no obligation consultation to discuss your criminal case.
After being arrested for a criminal offense in Florida it is very important to understand that you still have rights. It is very important to remember that you are innocent until you are proven guilty and that you have the right to speak to a lawyer before and after your arrest. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place will review every aspect of your case ensuring that every procedure was followed correctly by the police department. Making sure there was probable cause for the arrest and that your rights were not violated. All you need to do is call 941-444-4444 to get started with your free consultation with a criminal defense attorney at The Law Place.
The Court Process
The court process following a criminal arrest can be confusing and intimidating. Below is a brief overview of what you may expect in your case.
The first court appearance in your criminal case is called arraignment. During these proceedings you will enter a plea of no contest, guilty or not guilty. If you have hired an attorney in advance of your arraignment, you may not have to appear in person. Your attorney will then be in touch with the prosecutor to begin the process of gathering the evidence in your case.
Cases at Trial
Some cases are resolved through a plea bargain with the prosecution. Under some circumstances, your case may proceed to trial. The attorneys at the Law Place prepare to take each case to trial. We do not rely on the possibility of reaching a favorable plea deal and are willing to fight for our clients through the entirety of the trial process if necessary.
If you lose your case in a judgment or final order, you may be eligible to file an appeal. In the state of Florida, you must file a Notice of Appeal, typically within 30 days of the verdict from your first case, to begin this process.
Misdemeanor Charges in the State of Florida
If you have been arrested for a crime—whether a misdemeanor or felony—it is likely you are anxious, frightened, unsure of your future, and how you need to handle your charges. Unlike some other problems, however, how you handle these criminal charges will have an effect on your reputation, your freedom and your future. Because the stakes are so high, it is important that you have an experienced attorney from The Law Place by your side from start to finish.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a misdemeanor charge is not all that serious. If convicted for a Florida misdemeanor, you could end up spending time in jail, paying extremely high fines, then you will end up dealing with issues such as an inability to obtain employment, rent a home, obtain a professional license, or even return to college on a government student loan.
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony Offense?
The primary distinctions between a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge in the state of Florida, lies in the severity of the crime, and therefore the penalties you will face should you be convicted of the crime. Both misdemeanor and felony charges are further divided into classes, depending on the seriousness of the crime and the potential penalties. In the state of Florida, misdemeanors are classified as first or second-degree crimes, and have the following penalties:
- A first-degree misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor crime in the state of Florida, and is governed by Florida state statutes, Section 775.082 and 775.083. Penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor conviction include: up to one year in county jail, up to one year of probation, and a fine as large as $1,000. One example of a first-degree misdemeanor crime is theft of property which has a value of less than $300, and more than $100.
- A second-degree misdemeanor is a less-serious offense in the state of Florida, governed by the two statutes above as well as Section 775.081. A conviction for a second-degree misdemeanor can result in up to 60 days in jail, 6 months probation, and a maximum fine of $500.
Misdemeanor Offenses in Florida
Misdemeanor offenses in the state of Florida are handled at the County Court level; some examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
- Driving with a suspended license
- Disorderly conduct
- Domestic violence battery
- Prostitution (first offense)
- Possession of marijuana
- Petty theft, or
- Resisting an officer (no violence involved).
If you have been charged with a Florida misdemeanor, you need to act decisively, being as proactive as possible about protecting your future. A misdemeanor conviction can bring many negative consequences into your life, including a criminal record which never goes away, housing and career difficulties, an inability to obtain a job you are otherwise well-qualified for, financial problems, time in jail, and loss of privileges you may take for granted.
Felony Charges in the State of Florida
If you commit a felony offense in the state of Florida you could spend a considerable amount of time in prison, life in prison, or you could receive the death penalty. Florida’s felonies are classified as capital, life, first-degree, second-degree and third-degree felonies. Under Florida Statute, Sections 775.082 and 775.083, a capital felony is the most serious crime in the state of Florida, and is punishable by the death penalty. An example of a capital felony is first-degree murder. A conviction for a life felony can result in life in prison and a fine as large as $15,000.
Under the same Florida statutes, a first-degree felony in the state of Florida could result in up to 30 years in Florida state prison, and a fine as large as $10,000. A second-degree felony can result in up to 15 years in Florida state prison, and fines as large as $10,000. A third-degree felony can result in up to 5 years in Florida state prison, and a fine as large as $5,000. If there is no punishment or degree for a felony designated, the crime will be punished as a third-degree felony. Under Florida’s Three Strikes law, if you have two or more felony convictions on your record, and you are convicted of an additional felony, you could be sentenced to a lengthy prison term.
Additional Consequences of a Felony Conviction
If you have been convicted for a felony offense, you can face consequences other than prison time and a large fine. With a felony offense on your criminal record, you could find it difficult to obtain employment, obtain a professional license, rent a home or obtain a college loan from the government. You will also be prohibited from owning a firearm and from voting. Felony cases in the state of Florida are serious and complex, requiring the services of a highly experienced criminal defense attorney from The Law Place.
Felony Offenses in Florida
Examples of felony offenses in the state of Florida include the following:
- Aggravated assault or aggravated battery
- Abuse of a child
- Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer or Firefighter
- Possession of a controlled substance, other than marijuana
- Grand theft
- Resisting an officer with violence
- Sex crimes, including rape
- Drug trafficking
- Carrying a concealed weapon
Felony offenses in the state of Florida are assigned a numerical value which is based on the ranking system implemented by the Florida State Legislature. The higher the ranking, the higher the number of points. A score of more than 44 points will result in a minimum prison term, while a score of less than 44 points means that the judge is not required to send you to prison, but he or she still may do so.
Be Proactive About Your Case
Hiring an experienced criminal attorney who can help you navigate the legal process is one of the best ways to defend yourself. At the Law Place, our team of criminal defense attorneys, many of whom are former prosecutors, knows the law and your rights.
Regardless of the criminal charges you face, the criminal defense legal team at The Law Place is ready to work for you. We are prepared to take your case from arraignment all the way to trial to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome.
Getting the Help You Need from a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are like most people, you were shocked, and probably in a state of denial following your charge. The criminal defense attorneys at The Law Place will be the advocate in your corner that you desperately need during this difficult time. Our criminal defense attorneys will strive to have your case dismissed, however if a dismissal is not likely, we will use our considerable negotiating skills to have your charges lowered to a less serious offense, or, after a conviction, to negotiate lower penalties with no jail time. To learn more or to schedule a free, no-obligation review, contact a criminal defense attorney from The Law Place today by calling 941-444-4444.