Criminal Defense Lawyers in Manatee County, Florida

Manatee County Criminal Defense Overview

If you are faced with criminal charges in Manatee County, Florida, it is vital to understand where to turn next. The first step that is recommended is to find competent legal counsel, which could make a huge difference in your case. Waiting till the last minute to find a lawyer in Manatee County could have disastrous results. Florida’s criminal justice system is replete with complexities, including rules, statutes, appellate decisions, as well as constitutional provisions and corresponding interpretations. Accordingly, it is important to hire a skilled Manatee County Criminal Defense Lawyer with a significant background in representing clients facing criminal charges in Florida. Hiring an experienced lawyer can increase the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

The Manatee County Criminal Defense Lawyers with Musca Law have more than 150 years of collective trial experience defending clients facing state charges and/or federal indictments. This level of experience is an invaluable tool that thousands of our clients have relied upon when dealing with Florida’s revolving door of justice. Call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 to consult with one of our skilled and accomplished Manatee County Criminal Defense Attorneys about your rights and discuss what we could do to protect your freedom and livelihood.

Criminal Offenses in Manatee County, Florida

Florida lawmakers enacted laws that impose penalties upon criminal offenders that hinge upon the severity of the offense and other factors. Keep in mind that minor crimes such as petit theft may not require imprisonment, however, an individual who has a criminal record who engages in violent criminal activity could face many years behind bars.

Florida’s graduated punishment scheme prescribes the maximum sentence for each offense, along with the potential maximum fine, as follows:

Category of Offense

Maximum Period of Incarceration

(F.S. §775.082)

Maximum Allowable Fine

(F.S. §775.083)

Second-Degree Misdemeanor

Sixty-Days in County Jail


First-Degree Misdemeanor

One-Year in County Jail


Third-Degree Felony

Five-Year Prison Sentence


Second-Degree Felony

Fifteen-Year Prison Sentence


Third-Degree Felony

Thirty-Year Prison Sentence


Life Felony

Incarceration for Life without Parole


Capital Felony

Death Sentence


The judge in one’s case will render a determination as to the severity of the offense that is based upon the charges sought by the prosecution and decide whether to issue the maximum sentence allowed under Florida law. Additionally, the sentencing judge must complete Florida’s sentencing scoresheet to determine an appropriate sentence that is consistent with other sentences for the same crime in similar cases across the state. Florida’s sentencing scoresheet promotes fair and consistent sentencing, however, it does not place sufficient evidence on individualized treatment, especially in drug-related cases.

In addition to the prospects or imposing a prison term and monetary fine, the sentencing judge may also require the offender to be subject to a probationary term once he or she is released from jail.

Musca Law is a Full-Service Criminal Defense Law Firm for Manatee County

Given the fact that a felony conviction could deprive a person of his or her constitutional rights, be ordered to pay a harsh monetary fine, and be unable to pursue educational and financial opportunities, it is vital to hire a skilled and dedicated Manatee County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Musca Law. Our attorneys have a significant background representing clients in all types of criminal charges across the state of Florida. We also regularly represent those who reside outside of Florida who are being accused of a crime within the state. We handle a broad spectrum of criminal cases, from capital offenses to misdemeanors. Call us today at 888-484-5057 to learn what we can do for you.

Defense of Controlled Substance Charges in Manatee County

The prosecution and law enforcement in Florida regularly engage in a constant cat-and-mouse game with individuals who are facing sale of drug charges. In addition, prosecutors often seek the severest penalties allowable by law, with minimum-mandatory sentences dictated by §893.13 of the Florida Statutes.

Musca Law’s Manatee County criminal defense lawyers represent people charged with drug crimes such as:

  • Trafficking in controlled substances;
  • Possession of drugs or narcotics intending to engage in the sale or distribution of same;
  • Conspiracy to violate Florida’s controlled substances laws:
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia used to consume or distribute drugs; and
  • Simple possession of drugs like crystal meth, heroin, morphine, fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana, along with synthetic drugs.

Not every person is subject to an extended period of time in jail. Keep in mind that imprisoning some for struggling with a drug addiction may not be the most prudent course of action. That is why Florida law dictates that there are alternative to incarceration in some drug cases, including:

  • Drug court;
  • Substance abuse counseling;
  • Outpatient drug rehabilitation;
  • Referral to dual-diagnosis programs to treat mental illness and drug dependence;
  • Residential drug treatment; and
  • Probationary conditions like abstinence and urine screen protocols to ensure compliance.

Those without a criminal record or who are non-violence offenders may be able to avail themselves of alternatives to imprisonment in order to treat their drug addiction. This is why it is critical to have a qualified Manatee County Criminal Defense Attorney to advocate on your behalf who can pursue a dismissal or deferred adjudication with attendance in alternative programs in order to avoid imprisonment.

Domestic Violence Arrests in Manatee County

Florida Statutes §741.28 defines “domestic violence” 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.”

Florida’s domestic violence statutes apply to charges when the alleged victim and the alleged offender are either household members or family. Family members or household members are those who are married, separated, divorced, once resided with each other as a family, or living together as a family. It is important to note that the definition of family includes parents of a child, even if they never lived together. Household members must reside in the same dwelling to satisfy the definition of domestic violence.

Those who face domestic violence charges could be subject to a lengthy prison term, with minimum mandatory sentencing following a conviction. The offender may also have to comply with the probationary terms ordered by the judge. The offender may also be required to attend batterer’s counseling and wear a GPS monitoring device. A person convicted of domestic violence may also be required to comply with the terms of a permanent domestic violence injunction as well as surrender firearms and ammunition to law enforcement.

Sex Offenses in Manatee County

Prosecutors throughout the state of Florida heavily prosecute sex offender cases. While many sex offender cases are true, some may be exaggerated or outright fabricated. Many people who are not familiar with the criminal justice often have difficulty understanding that concept. Tragically, many lives have been devastatingly affected by accusers who want to garner sympathy or exact revenge, which is the reason why they raise false allegations of sexual abuse that could land the offender in jail for life.

Musca Law’s Manatee County Criminal Defense Attorneys defend clients charged with a number of different sex offenders, which are as follows:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Prostitution;
  • Solicitation of prostitution;
  • Refusal to enter into the sexual offender registry;
  • Human trafficking;
  • Sexually motivated crimes against minors, including creating, possessing or distributing child pornography; and
  • Stalking.

You must be in a position to aggressively fight back if you are under investigation for sexual abuse or if you are facing related charges in Manatee County. Prosecutors in Manatee County often seek the harshest penalties possible for those accused of sex-related crimes. Such penalties may involve an extended prison sentence and other serious consequences such as having to register as a sex offender. At Musca Law, we fight vigorously to represent alleged sex offenders and develop the strongest defense strategy possible. We will fight with you every step of the way and seek to have your charges reduced or completely dismissed.

DUI Charges in Manatee County

Driving under the influence, or DUI, is very risky, potentially leading to serious bodily injury or death to the alleged offender as well as everyone around them. Florida’s DUI law, codified at Florida Statutes §316.193, is a result of public policy denoting that those who drive while impaired should face severe repercussions, and that their actions should never be tolerated, even if a person does not have a criminal record.

DUI charges in Manatee County could include:

  • DUI as a repeat offender;
  • DUI resulting in serious bodily injury;
  • DUI resulting in death, known under Florida law as DUI manslaughter;
  • DUI causing serious property damage;
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while under the influence;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .15% or above; and
  • Driving under the influence with a child younger than eighteen in the vehicle.

The potential penalties for DUI-related charges in Manatee County range from six months to up to fifteen years in prison (such as in a DUI manslaughter case). When a person is convicted of DUI, he or she will be required to surrender his or her driver’s license, attend a driver’s educational course, pay stiff monetary fines, perform community service, and attend substance abuse counseling at his or her own expense.

Boating under the influence, also referred to as BUI, is also a serious criminal offense in Manatee County. The potential penalties for BUIs are similar to those involving a DUI conviction.

Theft Crimes in Manatee County

Florida Statutes §812.014 provides that “[a] person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently: [d]eprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property; or “[a]ppropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.”

Penalties for those who commit theft crimes range from misdemeanors to felonies. The length of the prison term, as well as the probationary term, in addition to an order to pay restitution to the victim, will be decided by a judge at the sentencing hearing in one’s case.

Common theft offenses brought in Manatee County are:

  • Petit theft;
  • Grand theft;
  • Burglary;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Identity theft;
  • Robbery; and
  • Larceny.

Victims of theft are often vulnerable individuals such as the elderly. As such, a judge during the sentencing hearing will determine the impact of the theft crime on the victim when deciding the offender’s punishment.

Violent Crimes in Manatee County

Violent crimes in Manatee County are prosecuted heavily. Victims of violent crimes want justice to be served where the perpetrator is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Despite public outrage, the individual who is facing violent crime-related charges is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and no public outrage can change that fact.

Violent offenses that are typically committed in Manatee County are as follows:

  • Murder;
  • Attempted murder;
  • Vehicular manslaughter;
  • Arson;
  • Manslaughter;
  • Robbery;
  • Aggravated battery;
  • Assault and battery;
  • Aggravated battery; and
  • Rape or sexual battery.

These offenses are some of the most serious and serious in Manatee County. If a person is charged with one of the above offenses, he or she will face a lengthy prison term or even the death penalty. That is why it is critical to have a skilled attorney who can fight for your legal rights and seek to have the charges reduced or dismissed. Too much is at stake to trust any other attorney to represent you in these circumstances.

Cyber Crimes and White Collar Crimes in Manatee County

Cyber crimes are prosecuted heavily in Manatee County. Cyber criminals apply their technological skills to victimize innocent individuals. Essentially, cyber crimes are committed through the use of the internet or electronically. Cyber crimes include fraud, credit card fraud, sex crimes, theft, identify theft, and embezzlement. A sex offense can also be considered a cyber crime if an electronic device is used to solicit prostitution, engage in prosecution, engage in human trafficking, and distribute child pornography.

White Collar Crimes in Manatee County

White collar crimes apply to those cases that do not involve violence. However, these offenses often devastate businesses as well as the community at large. This is why Manatee County judges take these cases very seriously. Examples of white collar crimes include theft, illegal gambling, racketeering, and embezzlement.

Juvenile Justice in Manatee County

According to recent scientific research, it has rendered the determination that children’s brains do not fully develop until the individual is in his or her mid-20s. The result of this research has influenced how the criminal justice system treats juveniles who are accused of engaging in criminal activities. While changes have not occurred rapidly, there has been a shift in the consequences associated with a juvenile offense, which focus heavily on formal education training and rehabilitation rather than imprisonment in a juvenile detention center.

An attorney understands how vital it is to avoid having a minor in the juvenile justice system. This could be accomplished through alternative consequences such as a diversion program that helps the minor avoid devastating effects on his or her life. Unless the minor is tried as an adult, the juvenile offender will not have a public criminal record.

Protective Injunctions in Manatee County

Each year, Manatee County judges handle hundreds of protective injunction cases. Under Florida Statutes §784.0485, it allows a presiding judge to have the discretion to issue injunctions to prevent harm or violence. Florida law permits judges to issue any one of five injunctions to prevent against harm, which include:

  • Sexual violence;
  • Dating violence;
  • Repeat violence;
  • Domestic Violence; and
  • Stalking.

The alleged victim can request any of the above injunctions in a civil court that handles these types of matters. The victim must file a court-approved document that is known in Florida as a petition. After the filing of the petition, the judge may issue a temporary injunction that will last for at least fifteen days. At the end of the fifteen days, the judge will hold a final hearing on the merits of the petition and decide whether or not to issue an order approving a permanent injunction, which dramatically affects the life of the alleged offender.

Call Musca Law to Defend Against Criminal Charges

Contact Musca Law at 888-484-5057 to consult one of our dedicated Criminal Defense Lawyers. We are available 24/7 to advise you of your rights and take all the necessary steps to protect you and your family. Don’t wait – contact Musca Law right away to learn more about your legal rights and options. We look forward to making a difference for you!

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!