Criminal Defense Lawyers in Brevard County, Florida
An Overview of Florida Criminal Laws, Penalties, and Legal Defenses
With a population of more than 600,000, Brevard County, Florida, is the tenth most populous county in Florida. Although not as large as Miami-Dade or Orange County, Brevard County still saw more than 20,000 arrests in 2019, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Most of the alleged crimes committed in 2019 involved larceny, burglary, and assault. Most larceny crimes do not involve physical harm to another person. However, non-violent crimes can often be as serious, or even more serious, than some violent crimes or drug charges.
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Brevard County, you have limited time to retain a Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyer who can quickly yet thoroughly review the matter and build a defense. At Musca Law, our Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyers have successfully helped clients fight criminal charges and achieving outcomes that are fair to the defendant. In some cases, that result may be dismissal of criminal charges based on legal grounds. In other cases, a successful result may be pleading guilty to a crime that does not lead to jail time. Musca Law handles all criminal matters and our lawyers are ready to help you 24/7. Contact Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057 to speak with one of our Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyers.
How Are Crimes Classified Under Florida Law?
Most people are generally familiar with the distinction between a misdemeanor and felony in that felonies are much more serious, leading to potential jail time and the loss of some constitutional rights. Some states classify misdemeanors and felonies using letters while others use numbers. In Florida, misdemeanors are classified using numbers, with the lower number equating to a more serious offense. Per Florida law, crimes are classified as follows, from least serious to most serious (excluding unclassified misdemeanors, which are explained in the section on driving under the influence (DUI) laws in Florida):
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor;
- First-Degree Misdemeanor;
- Third-Degree Felony;
- Second-Degree Felony;
- First-Degree Felony;
- Life Felony; and
- Capital Felony.
Jail Time and Monetary Fines Associated with Florida Criminal Offenses
Florida Statute § 775.082 governs jail sentences associated with each level of crime while Florida Statute Section Statute § 775.083 governs monetary fines associated with each level of crime. Under these statutes, the maximum jail sentences and maximum fines resulting from conviction in a criminal matter for each level of crime include the following:
- Second-Degree Misdemeanor – If convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor, a defendant faces up to 6 months in jail and faces a maximum fine of $500.
- First-Degree Misdemeanor – If convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor, a defendant faces up to 1 year in jail and faces a maximum fine of $1,000.
- Third-Degree Felony – If convicted of a third-degree felony, a defendant faces up to 5 years in jail and faces a maximum fine of $5,000.
- Second-Degree Felony – If convicted of a second-degree felony, a defendant faces up to 15 years in jail and faces a maximum fine of $10,000.
- First-Degree Felony – If convicted of a first-degree felony, a defendant faces up to 30 years in jail and faces a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Life Felony – If convicted of a life felony, a defendant faces a life sentence in jail and faces a maximum fine of $15,000.
- Capital Felony – If convicted of a capital felony, a defendant faces the death penalty.
The Consequences Associated with all Criminal Convictions in Brevard County, Florida
Not all criminal convictions lead to jail time and fines. Whether a person serves time in jail for a crime or not, he or she will face consequences that alter his or her way of life. If serving jail time, a person must comply with probation and other terms following release from jail. If a convicted person is not sentenced to jail, he or she still may have to comply with certain terms that can make life very difficult. Examples of some of those terms include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Completion of Community Service Hours;
- Submission to Alcohol and Drug Testing (random and/or routine);
- Participation in Rehabilitative Treatment and Educational Programs;
- Requirement to Register as a Sex Offender (with sex-related offenses); and
- Requirement to comply with driving-related requirements (with DUI offenses).
In addition to complying with certain terms following a criminal conviction, most individuals will have a permanent criminal record, which can have a negative impact on one’s daily life. Whether a person is seeking employment, trying to rent or purchase a home, trying to apply for college, among others, having a criminal conviction can impact a person’s ability to accomplish anything. While some criminal charges may be sealed or expunged, such an outcome should never be expected.
At Musca Law, No Criminal Matter is Too Complicated for Our Brevard County Lawyers
The Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law have ample resources to help thousands of clients fight criminal charges in court both within Brevard County as well as throughout the rest of Florida. Our legal team is fully equipped to handle a wide range of criminal matters that range in both type and severity. The Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyers handle all categories of crimes, as identified below.
Drug Crimes in Brevard County, Florida (F.S. § 893.13)
As many states, including Florida, have legalized marijuana for medicinal use with the goal of legalization for recreational use, many prosecutors may not devote as much time and energy into pursing drug crimes that involve marijuana. However, until the laws change that allow adults to use marijuana for recreational use, anyone arrested for a marijuana-related drug crime should expect to be aggressively prosecuted. With simple possession charges, Brevard County prosecutors may not be as harsh but when any drug crime involves large quantities, including marijuana, an arrested individual could be facing felony charges.
Overall, drug crimes relating to more dangerous substances, such as cocaine and fentanyl, for example, are considered more serious than marijuana-related drug crimes. Examples of commonly charged drug crimes in Brevard County include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Possession of Drugs (marijuana, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, crack cocaine, ecstasy, LCD, and illegally obtain prescription opioids, among others);
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
- The Sale or Distribution of Drugs;
- Conspiracy to Commit Drug Crimes; and
- Drug Trafficking.
It is essential for anyone facing drug charges to understand that if a drug charge implicates conduct both within Florida and across state lines, federal drug crimes may apply to the case. In such cases, it is especially important to choose a Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyer who defends clients who have faced both state and federal criminal charges.
Crimes Involving Domestic Violence in Brevard County, Florida (F.S. § 741.28)
Crimes involving domestic violence are commonly charged in Brevard County and defendants often feel convicted before they ever reach a courtroom. Under Florida law, domestic violence is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.”
Family or household members, per Florida law, include the following:
- former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.”
If convicted of crimes involving domestic violence, accused individuals face significant jail time, limitations on if and when they can see their children, and other consequences that can shape the rest of their lives. Therefore, when facing charges of domestic violence, it is crucial to ensure a skilled Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyer is handling the case.
Sex Crimes in Brevard County, Florida
Sex crimes, like crimes involving violence and domestic violence, are very serious and can lead to felony convictions that result in jail time. Moreover, sex crimes can define a person for life, as convicted individuals must register as sex offenders. Sex crimes charged in Brevard County include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Attempted Rape;
- Statutory Rape;
- Solicitation of Prostitution;
- Human Trafficking;
- Lewd and Lascivious Acts;
- Sex-Related Crimes Involving a Child (such as child pornography crimes);
- Stalking; and
- Failing to register as a sex offender.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Crimes in Brevard County, Florida (F.S. § 316.193)
Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a commonly charged crime in Brevard County, however, the overall rate of DUI charges has decreased over the years. Under Florida law, DUI charges vary from relatively minor to serious enough to land a person in jail for many decades. DUIs range from unclassified misdemeanors to first-degree felonies, carry a potential jail sentence of between 6 months and 30 years, and maximum monetary fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. DUI offenses charged in Brevard County include the following, in order from least serious to most serious:
- First DUI with BAC of .08 or Greater;
- First DUI with a Minor Under 18 in the Vehicle;
- First DUI with a BAC of .15 or Greater;
- Second DUI with BAC of .08 or Greater;
- DUI Involving Property Damage;
- Second DUI with BAC of .15 or Greater;
- Third DUI More than 10 Years After Prior DUI;
- Third DUI Within 10 Years of Prior DUI;
- Fourth DUI;
- DUI Involving Bodily Injury;
- DUI Manslaughter (death of another person or unborn child); and
- DUI Manslaughter with Failure to render Aid.
In each DUI case, Brevard County prosecutors must prove that the accused person was both in control of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense and under the influence of alcohol or drugs while in control of the vehicle. Many DUI cases are negotiated with prosecutors to help defendants avoid jail time and a harsh criminal record in the event a DUI case cannot be dismissed on legal grounds.
Theft Crimes in Brevard County, Florida (F.S. § 812.014)
Theft crimes are extremely common in Brevard County and include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Burglary (F.S. § 810.02);
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13);
- Petit theft;
- Grand Theft;
- Identity Theft (F.S. § 817.568);
- Larceny; and
With the exception of burglary and robbery, most theft crimes do not involve violent conduct. However, the consequences of being convicted of a crime of theft or dishonesty can have lasting negative consequences.
Crimes of Violence in Brevard County, Florida
Criminal cases involving violent crimes often go to trial more so than cases that do not involve violent crimes. When a case cannot be dismissed on legal grounds or negotiated to a less serious offense, a defendant faces many years in jail if convicted at trial. Examples of violent crimes include the following:
- Assault and Battery (F.S. § 784.011 and F.S. § 784.03);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. § 784.045);
- Arson (F.S. § 806.01);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. § 782.051);
- Murder (F.S. § 782.04);
- Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.07);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.071);
- Rape/Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011); and
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13).
Internet Crimes in Brevard County, Florida
Internet crimes have become more common as Floridians rely on the internet to conduct business and their daily lives. Along with the luxuries of the internet comes the possibility that a person may become the victim of an internet crime. Most internet crimes involve theft and sex-related offenses. However, many internet crimes are defensible and should be fought in court. Examples of internet crimes that carry serious consequences include, among others, the following;
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Identity Theft;
- Child pornography crimes (manufacturing, possessing, and distributing child pornography);
- Sex Trafficking; and
- Solicitation and/or Enticement of a Child for Sexual Purposes.
White-Collar Crimes in Brevard County, Florida (F.S. § 775.0844)
Brevard County white-collar crimes are not unlike many internet crimes, as they involve the theft of money or one’s identity. Such white-collar crimes include the following:
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Exploitation of Certain Groups of People (such as the elderly and disabled);
- Conspiracy to Commit Fraud; and
- Non-Violent Theft Crimes.
White-collar crimes require specialized skill from a Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyer. As such, when choosing a lawyer, a person facing white-collar criminal charges must find a law firm that routinely handles white-collar criminal matters.
Juvenile Crimes in Brevard County, Florida
Juveniles facing criminal charges in Brevard County should expect to face some consequences if convicted, but the consequences are not intended to punish the juveniles. Instead, any “punishment” or sentence given to a juvenile who is either convicted of a crime or pleads guilty to a crime is not always incarceration or the requirement to pay fines. Juveniles may be required to attend counseling, attend educational courses, complete community service hours, be subject to alcohol and drug testing, and may be required, in some cases, to live in a group home intended to help the juvenile rehabilitate.
Some juveniles who are close to being adults and/or who have been charged with violent crimes may be tried as adults and face the same penalties adults would if convicted of the crime(s). As such, although juvenile records are sealed, any juvenile facing criminal charges should take the matter seriously and assume that jail time is a real possibility if criminal charges cannot be dismissed.
Protective Injunctions in Brevard County, Florida (F.S. § 784.0485)
A sub-category of law that skilled Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyers handle are civil protective injunction matters. A protective injunction is synonymous with an order of protection or restraining order. Most individuals understand the meaning of a restraining order but may not know that restraining orders/protective injunctions carry severe consequences that affect legal rights. Under Florida law, there are five types of protective injunctions, which include the following:
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Repeat Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
- Stalking Injunctions.
While protective injunctions involve allegations of illegal conduct, a person can be subject to a protective injunction even if he or she has not been charged with a crime or is the subject of a criminal investigation. Therefore, being served with a protective injunction is a quasi-criminal matter that should only be handled by a highly-experienced Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Contact the Brevard County Criminal Defense Lawyers Today – Protect Your Rights!
Being charged with any crime poses the risk of serious penalties that may involve jail time, fines, and a long list of other consequences that impede one’s life. Choosing the right lawyer to represent you in a Brevard County criminal matter can mean the difference between dismissal or lowering of charges and substantial jail time.
The Melbourne Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law have more than 150 years of combined experience representing the rights of accused clients who have overcome difficult criminal matters. To find out how Musca Law may be able to help you address your criminal matter, you must act quickly to seek the device of one of our Criminal Defense Lawyers by calling our office today at (888) 484-5057. At Musca Law, we are available 24/7 as criminal matters can arise any time day or night.