Often, people accused of crimes are confused and frightened about what lies ahead. If the police are investigating you for a crime, or if you have been arrested for allegedly committing a crime in South Florida, you should promptly consult an experienced attorney. Florida punishes certain crimes, such as drug trafficking and sex offenses, very harshly. The West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press can work on your behalf to provide an aggressive defense or negotiate a favorable plea deal.Misdemeanor and Felony Charges
Generally, in Florida, misdemeanors such as petit theft, disorderly conduct, driving on a suspended license, and DUI are less serious than felony charges. Even so, accumulating multiple misdemeanors can eventually result in substantial penalties for later offenses. There are both first-degree and second-degree misdemeanors, with first-degree misdemeanor convictions being more serious and resulting in a sentence of up to a year in jail, 12 months of probation, and a $1,000 fine.
Felony convictions are more serious, and carry a possible penalty of prison time. Some common types of felonies include sexual battery, murder, robbery, drug trafficking, and grand theft. Different penalties are imposed depending on the degree of the felony. For example, a second-degree felony conviction will result in at most 15 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. For another example, a first-degree felony, which is more serious, can result in a maximum of 30 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. Life felonies are still more serious and can result in up to life in prison and a $15,000 fine. The severity of these consequences makes it critical to retain a criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach who can fight for your rights.
In addition to imprisonment, when somebody is convicted of a felony sex crime in Florida, their sentence will include a sex offender registration requirement. Sex offender registration imposes certain requirements and limits on where someone lives or works.Possible Defenses
You should not succumb to despair if you are charged. There may be a strong defense available. The earlier that your attorney gets involved, the more likely it is that they can have an impact on whether charges are even brought. In some cases, it may be appropriate to challenge the way that evidence was obtained. For example, the police usually need to have probable cause to search a location. If they did not, it may be possible to get evidence from that location suppressed on Fourth Amendment grounds.
Sometimes there are more substantive defenses available. For example, if you are accused of a violent crime, your West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney may be able to argue self-defense, defense of others, or even Stand Your Ground, depending on the circumstances.
In other cases, alleged witnesses to the crime may not be credible, and it may be appropriate to conduct an aggressive cross-examination in order to create a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. However, there are situations in which it is wise not to go to trial but instead to negotiate for the best possible plea deal. Prosecutors are under no obligation to offer good plea deals. It is important to realize that the prosecutor is an adversary and that you should not try to negotiate a plea for yourself. You may even incriminate yourself in an effort to obtain a plea deal. An experienced attorney can give you advice about your specific circumstances and can develop a strong defense strategy in view of the situation.Consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in the West Palm Beach Area
If you have been charged with a crime in South Florida, you need a capable legal advocate in your corner. We represent the accused throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties, including in the areas around West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Stuart, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Palm City, and Jensen Beach. Call the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press at (888) 808-2772 or use our online form to set up an appointment.