Criminal Defense Lawyers in Bay County, Florida
How to Beat a Criminal Charge in the State of Florida
In Bay County, Florida, criminal offenses are taken very seriously. Specifically, the government works in tandem with law enforcement/investigators to pursue the strictest penalties possible, including steep monetary fines and jail time. In fact, these agencies muster all of their resources in order to safeguard the public from harm.
Keep in mind that even a misdemeanor offense in Bay County can have disastrous repercussions. Although misdemeanor-level crimes are not as serious as felony-level offenses, they can still result in time spent in jail, the imposition of monetary penalties, the loss of one’s driving privileges, probation, the loss of the use and possession of ammunition and firearms, and negative employment consequences, and a permanent criminal record, among others.
If you are being charged with a criminal offense in Bay County, Florida, it is critical that you contact a knowledgeable Bay County Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible. We are available 24/7 to take your call and can be reached at (888) 484-5057. Don’t wait to seek out skilled legal representation, as there is a lot at stake!
Criminal Offenses in Bay County, Florida
The classes of misdemeanor and felony-level offenses in Florida are broken down into degrees. Specifically, those who are convicted of a crime in Bay County may be faced with a one-year jail term, monetary fines, and more. However, when a person is convicted of a felony, he or she may be sent to prison for an extended period of time and be forced to pay hefty monetary fines. The amount of time a person will be sent to jail or prison is contingent upon a number of different factors, including the offense with which the person is being charged. In Bay County, the maximum sentences that may be imposed for misdemeanor and felony-level crimes are as follows:
Maximum Incarceration Periods
Maximum Monetary Penalties
Jail Term of 60 Days
Jail Term of One Year
Prison Sentence of Five Years
Prison Sentence of 15 Years
Prison Sentence of 30 Years
Life in Prison without Parole
In Bay County, Florida, judges must adhere to the guidelines of the Florida sentencing scoresheet. These were specifically created in order to ensure that offenses throughout Florida have consistent punishments. Accordingly, any person who is convicted of battery in Bay County will be faced with a similar sentence to a person who is convicted of battery in another county. This is assuming that all of the conditions of each case are similar.
It is important to note that a judge may, pursuant to the Florida sentencing scoresheet, sentence a person to a less severe punishment if he or she feels that the individual deserves leniency. Conversely, a judge can also consider aggravating factors in one’s case, meaning that he or she can impose stricter penalties than those provided in the scoresheet. An example of an aggravating factor is if a person who is convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of 0.15 or greater.
An experienced and diligent Bay County Criminal Defense Attorney is fully aware of what is at stake in a criminal case, and as such, engages in the aggressive representation of his or her client. Specifically, a skilled Bay County Criminal Defense Attorney will take all measures necessary to seek a reduction in the charges or an outright dismissal of the case. Contact a skilled Bay County Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible in order to preserve your legal rights and learn more about your legal options.
The Laws Governing Drugs in Bay County, Florida
In the United States, Florida has earned the reputation of engaging in the heavy prosecution of controlled substance-related offenses. Many people in Bay County who are charged with a drug-related offense are often surprised to learn that the prosecutor is seeking severe sentencing, even if he or she was caught with a small amount of drugs such as cannabis or Adderall. Moreover, it is important to realize that law enforcement will place a person under arrest even if the alleged offender was using drugs to feed their own habit. At Musca Law, our Bay County Criminal Defense Attorneys seek to have the judge rule that an alleged offender obtain medical treatment rather than be sent to jail where they will be unable to have their drug addiction effectively addressed.
Florida Statutes Chapter 893 codifies Florida’s controlled substance-related laws. This statute outlines the schedule classifying controlled substances, the associated penalties, and prohibited acts. Keep in mind that many convictions for controlled substance-related offenses in Bay County require that the alleged offender serve a minimum mandatory jail term.
Musca Law’s skilled Bay County Criminal Defense Attorneys regularly represent those who face controlled substance-related offenses such as:
- Distribution or possession of drug paraphernalia;
- Drug trafficking;
- Possession of controlled substances; and
- The sale, possession, or distribution of drugs with the intent to gift, sell, or distribute them.
At Musca Law, our Bay County Criminal Defense Attorneys strive to obtain an alternative to jail time and advocate for the following in drug-related cases:
- Drug counseling and treatment, whether on in inpatient or outpatient basis;
- Drug court;
- Drug detoxification; and
- Placement in a dual-diagnosis program.
Domestic Violence-Based Offenses in Bay County, Florida
Domestic violence cases are heavily prosecuted in Bay County, Florida, even if the underlying allegations are exaggerated, misleading, misrepresented, or completely false. Keep in mind that people often seek domestic violence charges against a person in order to gain an advantage in a corresponding case, such as a family law matter involving a bitter custody battle. In other words, law enforcement must arrest an individual who has been accused of committing an act of domestic violence. Specifically, law enforcement does not have the discretion to refuse to do so in a given case.
Domestic violence offenses are governed by Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes. Under this statutory section, not every relationship qualifies as a domestic relationship for purposes of the law. Specifically, children, former spouses, spouses, individuals who share a child or children together, and those who reside in the same dwelling qualify as domestic relationships under the aforementioned law.
There are severe repercussions of being convicted of committing domestic violence in Bay County, Florida. In fact, minimum mandatory sentencing applies in domestic violence cases. It is also important to realize that a presiding judge can impose strict probation requirements, including attendance at a batterer’s intervention program, the surrendering to law enforcement ammunition and firearms, and other consequences.
Sex-Based Offenses in Bay County, Florida
Sex offense matters in Bay County are often very challenging. Each case begins with claims of sexual abuse. As with any other criminal offense, the accused is deemed innocent until proven guilty by a jury. Specifically, the prosecutor must admit evidence during the trial phase of the case convincing a jury that the allegations raised are true beyond a reasonable doubt.
At Musca Law, our skilled team of Bay County Sex Offense Defense Attorneys regularly handle such sex crime cases as follows:
- Sexual battery;
- Sexual assault;
- Human trafficking;
- Soliciting a prostitute;
- Aggravated sexual battery;
- Aggravated sexual assault,
- Possession of child pornography;
- Sex offender registration violations; and
- Lewd or lascivious acts.
Sex offense-related offenses often require an attorney to devote a significant amount of resources in the case. A person who is convicted of a sex offense in Bay County will face serious repercussions, including incarceration in a state penitentiary, incarceration in a state treatment center, and the requirement to register as a sex offender, among others. If you have been charged with a sex offense in Bay County, contact a skilled Bay County Sex Offense Defense Attorney at Musca Law as soon as possible in order to preserve your legal rights and interests.
Bay County, Florida DUI-Related Cases
DUIs in Bay County are prosecuted heavily in Florida. While the majority of DUI cases involve misdemeanor-level offenses, they often are associated with serious penalties, including harsh monetary fines, jail time, and more. Under Florida Statutes §316.193, it provides for the punishment associated with a DUI conviction, which may include, without limitation, community service, the impoundment of the offender’s vehicle, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in one’s vehicle, attendance at a driver’s education course, and the suspension of one’s driver’s license.
At Musca Law, we recognize the severity of DUI matters in Bay County and strive to achieve the best outcome in our clients’ cases. We handle the following DUI-related offenses:
- Property damage DUI;
- Commercial vehicle DUI;
- Serious bodily injury DUI;
- DUI manslaughter;
- Aggravated DUI; and
- Hit-and-run/failure to render aid DUI.
Bay County, Florida Theft-Related Crimes
Florida Statutes §812.014 codifies the state’s theft-based crime laws. The term “theft” refers to a number of different offenses in which the primary allegation raised pertains to the taking of another individual’s property without having obtained consent and with the manifest purposes of depriving him or her thereof.
At Musca Law, our skilled team of legal advocates handles various theft-based criminal offenses, including:
- Petit theft;
- Identify theft (See, F.S.§817.568
- Grand theft;
- Burglary (See, F.S.§810.02); and
- Robbery (See, F.S. §812.13).
Violence-Based Offenses in Bay County, Florida
Dedicated and knowledgeable Bay County Criminal Defense Attorneys who regularly work in the state’s court system, are in the best position to handle violence-based criminal offenses in Bay County. When mounting a strong defense in a violent crime case, an experienced Bay County Criminal Defense Attorney must comprehensively evaluate all aspects of the offense. There are several issues that come up in violent crime matters, including third party culprit defense, self-defense, and defense of others, among others.
At Musca Law, our Bay County Violent Crime Defense Attorneys handle the following types of violence-based offenses:
- Manslaughter (F.S. §782.07);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. §782.051);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. §782.071);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. §784.045);
- Murder (F.S. §782.04);
- Robbery (F.S. §812.13);
- Rape/Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011);
- Arson (F.S. §806.01); and
- Assault and Battery (F.S. §784.011, See also F.S. §784.03).
If you are the subject of violent crime-based charges, you may be facing life in prison or even the death penalty. Accordingly, if you are the subject of a criminal investigation or are being charged with a violent crime, you must call Musca Law today in order to preserve your legal rights and create the strongest defense case possible
White-Collar and Cyber Crime Defense Matters in Bay County, Florida
White-collar crimes in Bay County often involve perjury, identity theft, embezzlement and racketeering. Keep in mind that “white-collar” typically means that there is secrecy involved in the crime or there is an attempt to exert influence over another person (versus strong arm crimes such as burglary or robbery).
Cyber offenses are also considered white-collar crimes given that they often involve the exploitation of other individuals while using the internet in order to sell controlled substances, deal in drugs, distribute child pornography, solicit minors for sex, and organize prostitution rings, among others. Accordingly, it is critical for you to hire a Bay County Criminal Defense Lawyer who has a firm grasp of technology in order to launch the strongest defense strategy allowable under the law.
Juvenile Justice Matters in Bay County, Florida
Juvenile justice and the punishment associated therewith is ever-changing. According to nationwide research, it appears that the brains of children do not mature until much later in life, such as when they are at least 25 years old. It also appears from this research that female brains mature faster than their male counterparts. Notwithstanding, it is still slower than what was originally expected. The aforementioned has therefore changed the way in which judges address juvenile justice matters.
Musca Law’s seasoned Bay County Criminal Defense Attorneys strive to have juveniles rehabilitated through education and mental health treatment rather than to have them thrown in a juvenile detention center. Research suggests that those who are sent to juvenile detention centers continue to engage in criminal activities following their sentence. Hence, it is critical to contact Musca Law now to preserve your legal rights and learn more about your legal options.
Protective Injunction Matters in Bay County, Florida
Section 784.046 of the Florida Statutes and Section 784.0485 of the Florida Statutes enable individuals to pursue an injunction order so as to avoid being subject to further acts of violence. Specifically, an alleged victim must file a court-approved document known as a petition in a civil, rather than criminal, court in Bay County should they be in fear of repeat violence, stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, or domestic violence. It is important to keep in mind that while many people file a petition for valid reasons, others seek an injunction so as to exact revenge on another person or gain the upper hand in a matter such as a family law proceeding involving a custody battle.
In order to seek a protective injunction, an individual, referred to under Florida law as the petitioner, must file a petition with the clerk of the court. This must be notarized or signed in front of the court clerk. Once filed, the judge assigned to the matter will immediately review it in order to decide whether a temporary restraining order is warranted. A temporary restraining order is meant to safeguard the alleged victim from further acts of violence up until the final hearing date, which is usually held fifteen days after the petition is filed. Keep in mind that the judge has the sole discretion to grant or deny a temporary restraining order. If a judge denies a temporary restraining order, he or she may still schedule a final hearing in the matter.
If a temporary restraining order has been approved, the person subject to the injunction, referred to under Florida law as the respondent, receives service of process of the temporary injunction order, a copy of the petition, and a notice indicating the date and time of the final hearing. It is important to note that if a temporary restraining order has been issued, the respondent must adhere to all of its terms or else face criminal sanctions.
As soon as the respondent receives service of process, he or she must act quickly and hire an experienced Bay County Protective Injunction and Criminal Defense Lawyer. At this juncture, once an attorney has been retained, he or she will likely seek to continue, or delay, the hearing date in order to have more time to prepare a valid defense case and safeguard the legal rights of the respondent.
Once the final hearing is held, both parties can present their cases in court. This often involves the submission of evidence such as text messages, emails, social media postings, handwritten letters, and phone logs. Each party can also call witnesses to the stand to testify on their behalf. The parties can also cross-examine each witness and each other. Note that a respondent may choose not to testify so as to not incriminate himself or herself (it is important to note that many injunction matters involve a separate and corresponding criminal matter, so a respondent may choose to invoke his or her Fifth Amendment rights to avoid incriminating himself or herself). An attorney is in the best position to help a respondent determine whether it is prudent to take the stand in his or her defense.
If you are the subject of an injunction proceeding in Bay County, Florida, it is imperative that you immediately contact an experienced Bay County Criminal and Protective Injunction Defense Attorney at Musca Law. Once retained, we will fight hard for your legal rights and develop the strongest defense case possible in order to obtain a favorable outcome in your case.
Musca Law: Experienced Bay County Criminal Defense Attorneys are Ready to Help You Now
If you are facing criminal charges in Bay County, Florida, contact Musca Law today at (888) 484-5057. We are highly experienced attorneys who have over 150 years of collective experience handling all types of criminal cases throughout the state of Florida. Don’t wait to contact a skilled Panama City Criminal Defense Attorney at Musca Law, as your freedom and livelihood depend upon it.