An Inside Look into What a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Does
Are you looking for the best Florida criminal defense attorney? They are known for being creative, resourceful, and aggressive. They possess these qualities because their goal is to make sure juries do not find their client guilty. In the United States, those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty. This means that a criminal defense attorney needs to prove that their client did not in fact break the laws the other side is trying to prove they did break.
In Florida, there are different levels of crimes, and there are certain steps that are taken in criminal cases. In order to make sure they are taking the steps that will lead to the best outcome, those accused of crimes have the right to a criminal justice lawyer.
Criminal Law vs. Civil Law
The United States legal system is split in two. There are laws and statutes that are related to criminal matters and those that relate to civil matters. Criminal laws are the federal and state laws that make certain behaviors illegal and punishable by imprisonment and fines. A criminal case is pursued by government prosecutors when someone violates a criminal statute. A prosecutor is a criminal law attorney, but their job is to prove those accused of crimes guilty.
Civil cases on the other hand are disputes between people that regard the legal duties and responsibilities we all owe each other. In a civil case, neither party is hired by the government as a prosecutor is. If you are accused of a crime your best bet is to find a criminal defense lawyer. They will know the laws and statutes that pertain to the crime you are being accused of, and they will be your best bet of being found not guilty.
Each and every state has its own set of laws which include both civil and criminal laws. Because each state has its own criminal laws it is important that if you are accused of a crime in Florida that you find the best Florida criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney in Florida will know what charges are misdemeanors or felonies.
In Florida, misdemeanors are considered crimes punishable by imprisonment for less than one year in a county correctional facility, whereas felonies are defined as crimes punishable by more than one year in state prison. A criminal lawyer can help determine how a crime will be seen by the law, based on their extensive knowledge of the state criminal statutes. Let’s look at what punishment a person may face with the different misdemeanors and felonies in Florida.
Florida Misdemeanor Charges
- Second Degree Misdemeanor: This is the lowest level criminal charge and is punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail or a maximum fine of $500. You can be charged with this if you partake in criminal mischief such as arson that causes damages under $200.
- First Degree Misdemeanor: This is the highest misdemeanor charge in Florida and is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail or a maximum of a $1,000 fine. You can be charged with this if you commit petit theft, charged with a DUI for the first time, or commit identity theft.
Florida Felony Charges
- Third Degree Felony: This is the lowest level of the felony charges in Florida and it is punishable by a maximum of five years in state prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. If charged with aggravated assault, possession of a controlled substance, or illegally carrying a concealed firearm you are committing a felony in the third degree.
- Second Degree Felony: If charged with this in Florida you can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of $10,000. By committing crimes such as aggravated battery or robbery you are committing a second-degree felony.
- First Degree Felony: Being charged with a felony in the first degree may mean a 30 year stay at a state prison and/or a $10,000 fine. This includes offenses such as drug trafficking and burglary.
- Life Felony: A life felony charge can land you in a state prison anywhere from 40 years to life and can cost you a $15,000 fine.
- Capital Felony: This is the most severe criminal charge in Florida. Those charged with a capital felony are sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole. Committing murder would constitute a capital felony charge.
Regardless of the crime you have been accused of committing, it is important to have a criminal defense lawyer that you trust.
Criminal Law Procedure
Every case, both civil and criminal, is slightly different from the next, but criminal cases usually follow the same couple of steps. Florida criminal defense attorneys are very familiar with these steps and help their clients through to see that they end in their client’s favor.
The first of these steps is actually being accused of the crime or the arrest. If you are arrested that means that the police have evidence that you committed a crime, but they have to go through particular steps to ensure that you know your rights. One of your rights is the right to an attorney, which means if you are arrested the first thing you should do is get a criminal defense attorney. There are many things that must happen for the police to actually place a suspect in jail, but with the help of a defense attorney those steps can be prevented and you can be free to go.
Most criminal cases are resolved by trial. When a person is arrested another one of the rights the policy must make sure the arrested is aware of is the right to a speedy trial. The person who was arrested and is being accused of the crime is called the defendant which is why their lawyer is called a defense lawyer.
By demanding a speedy trial a defendant may be able to get their charges dismissed. This happens if the prosecutor is not prepared for the trial. This is a huge win for the defendant and their criminal justice attorney, but this does not happen very often. When a case goes to trial the jury is instructed to look at the defendant as innocent until all the evidence has been presented to them.
Jurors are not supposed to decide if the defendant is guilty or not until they are in deliberation which is after the entire case has been heard. After the trial, the jury will present their findings. If they find the defendant guilty the defendant’s defense attorney can file a post-trial motion for a new trial. These are usually never granted, but the defense lawyer can file an appeal which will mean their client’s case will be heard in the court of appeals.
The step that comes after the defendant has been charged with a crime is sentencing. This step can come after a court proceeding, or it can come after a guilty plea or plea bargain. During the sentencing phase, the appropriate legal punishment is determined for the defendant. With a good criminal defense law firm, a defendant may have a chance at a lesser sentence, but sentences are determined based on laws and statutes like the ones discussed earlier.
Finding the Right Best Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
When a law student first enters law school, one of the first things they usually learn about is criminal law. There is no question that criminal law can be interesting and intriguing, which is why so many future lawyers wish to join a criminal law firm. These future lawyers usually do not let their dreams die, which is why there are so many Florida criminal attorneys. With so many attorneys who practice criminal law in the state of Florida, it may be difficult to choose a firm to hire.
To find the best Florida criminal defense attorney for you or a loved one be sure to do your research. If you or your loved one are arrested or charged with a crime the first thing you should do is research an attorney that is willing and able to take your case. Often times, courts will not allow an inexperienced lawyer to try a felony case. If it is a potential felony charge, your best bet is to look for an experienced attorney–it can make all the difference.
You may be wondering where you can find an experienced attorney or team of attorneys that practice criminal law. For such an attorney contact the Law Offices of Bret Jones, P.A. Attorneys and Counselors. Located in Clermont, Florida, the Law Offices of Bret Jones, P.A. has a team of highly experienced and qualified Florida criminal attorneys that are willing and able to help with your or your loved ones’ criminal law matters.
HG.org Legal Resources https://www.hg.org/crime.html
Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers http://www.myfloridadefenselawyer.com/flcriminalprocedures/