How are misdemeanors and felonies different in Florida?
A misdemeanor charge, while serious, is not as severe as a felony. Misdemeanors that are common in Florida include trespassing, marijuana possession, and petty theft. Common felonies in Florida include aggravated assault, murder, and aggravated battery. Misdemeanors are easier to address than felonies. Conversely, felonies are often complex because they can result in jail time, monetary fines, probation, and more.
Do I need an attorney for being charged with a misdemeanor?
While there is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer when charged with a misdemeanor, it is best that you work with one to increase your chances of receiving a favorable result in your case. Even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, such as underaged drinking or simple marijuana possession, it always prudent to hire an attorney who knows the law, is familiar with the criminal justice system, and who has experience in handling these types of cases.
If I get pulled over, do police have the immediate right to search my vehicle?
It depends. Pursuant to the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, it protects people from seizures and unreasonable searches conducted by law enforcement. This means that law enforcement cannot just conduct a search of your home, car, or person on a whim. They must have probable cause that you committed a crime before they can conduct a search. For example, if you were pulled over for speeding, a police officer cannot just ask you to exit your vehicle and start searching therein. There must have a warrant issued by a judge or probable cause before doing so. Conversely, police do have the authority to search your vehicle if they see, in plain view, empty alcohol containers or drug paraphernalia.
Do I have to consent to a police to conduct a search?
The only time that you must consent to a search is if law enforcement presents you with a warrant that is issued by a judge.
I have been charged with a crime in Florida. Do I have to hire an attorney to represent me? Can’t I just represent myself to save money?
You can certainly represent yourself in any criminal proceeding however, it is not recommended. Only an attorney has the experience to properly handle your case, which, depending upon the charges, can be complicated and requires significant knowledge to obtain a successful result. Lawyers have special training that enables them to advise you of your legal rights and options, as well as develop the strongest defense strategy on your behalf. Air on the side of caution: consult a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Musca Law today by calling us 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
How much experience does Musca Law have in representing clients facing criminal charges in Florida?
When you hire us, you will have a team of experienced criminal trial lawyers in your corner. In fact, we have over 150 years of combined criminal defense experience.
Will I have a permanent criminal record if convicted of a crime in Florida?
Whether you have been convicted or not, your charges permanently remain on your criminal record. However, in Florida, there is a procedure known as expungement, which if eligible, can completely erase your criminal record. Keep in mind that you cannot expunge multiple convictions. You only have one chance to expunge your criminal record.
What is a civil asset forfeiture?
This is a practice that is pursued by state and federal law enforcement agencies, including local police all the way up to the FBI. Civil asset forfeiture occurs when a law enforcement officer renders a determination that your property was likely involved in a crime, and they have the right to confiscate it as a part of their criminal investigation. The most frequently obtained property seized by law enforcement is cash that is associated with a drug purchase or sale. In most jurisdictions, assets that are seized by law enforcement go to that agency for their personal use. This means that if you are stopped by police and the officer notices large amounts of cash in your vehicle, he or she can seize it as evidence.
I am eligible to be represented by a public defender. Should I still consider hiring a private attorney?
It is important to know that while skilled, public defenders often handle hundreds, if not thousands of cases at one time. The benefit of working with a public defender is that they are inexpensive however, they may not have the time or resources to fully dedicate themselves to your case. Hiring a private attorney means that you will obtain the representation you deserve in order to achieve the most favorable result possible.
Don’t Wait – Contact Musca Law Now to Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options
The repercussions of a misdemeanor or felony conviction are serious and will have bearing on your personal and professional life for years to come. Don’t be afraid to put the skills of an experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorney on your side. The skilled legal team at Musca Law has the experience and resources necessary to help fight your charges. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today by calling (888) 484-5057. We look forward to making a difference for you.