Criminal Defense Lawyers in Okaloosa County, Florida
Florida Criminal Defense Laws, Penalties, and Defenses
Okaloosa County, Florida is not known for having a high crime rate. In 2019, 11,247 people were arrested in Okaloosa County, which has a population of just over 200,000. Although not every arrest leads to criminal charges, when prosecutors choose to press charges, accused individuals face a tough fight in the courtroom. Facing a crime, especially for the first time, raises concerns of the unknown. Regardless of whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges in Okaloosa County, Florida, you need the guidance of an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer who routinely handles a wide array of criminal matters.
Musca Law is a full-service criminal defense law firm that has offices throughout the state of Florida, serving many clients in Okaloosa County. Successfully fighting criminal charges begins with the important choice of finding a lawyer who has the necessary skill set to advocate for your legal rights in the courtroom. When your rights are on the line and you are facing jail time and a long list of other consequences, you should never settle for just any lawyer. At Musca Law, our team of Okaloosa Criminal Defense Lawyers handle all criminal matters and have the reputation to demonstrate how we have already helped so many clients. To speak with one of our Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyers, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.
Criminal Classifications Under Florida Law – Misdemeanors and Felonies
In the state of Florida, crimes are categorized as misdemeanors and felonies, terms most people are familiar with. Florida classifies misdemeanors and felonies in terms of degrees, with the lower number equating to a more serious offense. For example, a first-degree felony is considered more serious than a second-degree felony. Florida law imposes strict penalties for individuals who are convicted of crimes, with jail time ranging from a few months to life imprisonment.
Jail sentences and monetary fines resulting from criminal convictions in Florida are governed by Florida Statute § 775.082 and Florida Statute § 775.083, respectively. Maximum penalties and maximum fines are outlined in the following table:
LEVEL OF CRIME
MAXIMUM JAIL TIME
Unclassified Misdemeanor (for certain DUI charges)
6 Months to 1 Year
$1,000 to $5,000
Felonies are certainly more serious than misdemeanors, however, even a seemingly minor misdemeanor can have substantial negative consequences. As such, all criminal matters, regardless of the level or seriousness of the alleged crime, should be managed by a truly skilled advocate. While even the best lawyer cannot guarantee criminal charges will be dismissed in a given case, a lawyer with the requisite experience, dedication and sources can provide an accused person with strong legal representation to help the best outcome given the facts of the case.
Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Areas of Practice at Musca Law
The Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law represent clients charged with various crimes, and our lawyers do not limit themselves to certain types of criminal matters. At Musca Law, our criminal defense practice areas include the following:
- Drug Crimes;
- Domestic Violence Crimes;
- Sex Crimes;
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Crimes;
- Theft Crimes;
- Violent Crimes;
- Internet Crimes;
- White-Collar Crimes;
- Juvenile Crimes; and
- Protective Injunctions/Restraining Orders.
Musca Law is not afraid to take on the toughest of criminal charges in Okaloosa County and provide the best defense to clients in the courtroom.
Drug Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida (F.S. § 893.13)
Crimes involving the possession and use of illegal substances are very common in Okaloosa County. Examples of drug crimes routinely prosecuted in Okaloosa County include, among others, the following:
- Drug Possession;
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
- Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute;
- Drug Trafficking (in Florida and/or across state lines); and
- Conspiracy to Commit Drug Crimes.
Most drug crimes in Okaloosa County are prosecuted at the state level. However, if an alleged drug crime involves conduct that crosses state lines, federal prosecutors may be pressing charges. In such cases, an accused individual needs to retain a lawyer who handles criminal matters at both the state and federal level.
Domestic Violence Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida (F.S. § 741.28)
Crimes involving acts of domestic violence can send a person to jail for many years, if not decades. 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.” Florida law further defines “family or household members” as:
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.”
Because allegations of domestic violence carry countless consequences – regardless of the truthfulness of the allegations – anyone charged with domestic violence crimes in Okaloosa County needs the assistance of a superior Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Sex Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida
Sex crimes are often considered more heinous than many other crimes, and conviction of such crimes under Florida law leads to not only jail time, but the possibility of being permanently branded as a sex offender, regardless of the type or severity of the sex crime. Examples of sex crimes the Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law handle 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 (i.e., child pornography crimes);
- Stalking (including cyberstalking); and
- Failing to Register as a Sex Offender.
Criminal cases involving sex crimes can be difficult to defend in court as many people deem individuals accused of sex crimes guilty until proven innocent when it should really be the other way around. The requirement to register as a sex offender can be very harmful to a person’s reputation. As such, facing sex crimes in Okaloosa County requires the assistance of an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer who has experience successfully defending cases involving sex crimes.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida (F.S. § 316.193)
Driving under the influence (DUI) crimes can be minor or can be severe enough to send someone to jail for fifteen or more years. While DUIs are on the decline, DUIs are still common criminal matters that face individuals in Okaloosa County every day. Under Florida law, a person may face DUI charges if he or she is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while operating a motor vehicle. To convict a person of any DUI offense in Okaloosa County, a prosecutor must prove the following:
- The driver was in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time of being stopped; and
- The driver’s normal faculties were impaired from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or
- The driver had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
- The driver had a breath-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
Some DUI cases involve aggravating factors that heighten the level of criminal charges. Examples of such factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Having a BAC of .15 or More;
- DUI Offense Involving a Minor Who Was Passenger to the Vehicle;
- DUI Offense Involving Property Damage; and
- DUI Offense Involving Bodily Harm (injuries or death).
Most DUI cases end in dismissal or an agreement to plead guilty to a less serious offense that does not substantially harm a person’s record. When DUI cases involve aggravating factors, an accused person faces felony charges that carry long potential jail sentences.
Theft Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida (F.S. § 812.014)
Theft crimes can be minor and nonviolent, or they can be severe and involve acts of violence. Most theft crimes charged in Okaloosa County are minor, such as petit theft. However, even minor theft crimes can have serious consequences. At Musca Law, our Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyers represent clients charged with many different theft crimes including, among others, the following:
- Burglary (F.S. § 810.02);
- Grand Theft;
- Identity Theft (F.S. § 817.568);
- Petit Theft; and
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13).
The consequences of facing a conviction for a theft crime in Okaloosa County can be far-reaching, especially if the crime at issue is a felony carrying a long jail sentence.
Violent Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida
Violent crimes are some of the toughest cases to take on in Okaloosa County. Musca Law represents clients charged with numerous violent crimes, some of which include the following:
- Murder (F.S. § 782.04);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. § 782.051);
- Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.07);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.071);
- Assault and Battery (F.S. § 784.011 and F.S. § 784.03);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. § 784.045);
- Arson (F.S. § 806.01);
- Rape/Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011); and
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13).
Criminal matters involving violent crimes require a heightened level of experience and attention to detail. When a client’s constitutional rights and livelihood are on the line, only a proven Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer with substantial experience should represent a client facing criminal charges for violent crimes.
Internet Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida
Internet crimes have become more prevalent over the past couple of decades, which should come as no surprise given the world now heavily relies on the internet. Many internet crimes may be the subject of both Florida state law and federal law. Examples of internet crimes we handle at Musca Law include the following:
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Identity Theft;
- Child Pornography Crimes;
- Sex Trafficking; and
- Solicitation and/or Enticement of a Child for Sexual Purposes.
Internet criminal law is very specialized and not every criminal defense law firm will be well-versed in handling this area of law. As such, it is imperative to choose a lawyer or firm that has extensive experience representing clients charged with internet crimes.
White-Collar Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida (F.S. § 775.0844)
White-collar crimes, like internet crimes, are specialized areas of criminal law that require the assistance of a lawyer with the right skillset. White-collar crimes are those that involve theft of money or data, causing financial harm rather than physical harm. Examples of white-collar crimes Musca Law handles include the following:
- Conspiracy to Commit Fraud/Theft;
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Tax Fraud;
- Exploitation of Certain Groups of People (such as the elderly and disabled);
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Non-Violent Theft Crimes; and
While white-collar crimes may not cause physical harm, the consequences of being convicted of a white-collar crime are disastrous. Many individuals convicted of committing white-collar crimes find themselves in jail for longer than others who have committed violent crimes. Anyone facing white-collar criminal charges must find a lawyer who specializes in this area of law.
Juvenile Crimes in Okaloosa County, Florida
Juveniles (minors under the age of eighteen) in Okaloosa County who are charged with crimes will be dealt with at the juvenile level rather than the adult level. Except in rare cases when a juvenile may be charged as an adult for a violent crime, juveniles face a rehabilitative process rather thana process intended to punish. If a juvenile is facing criminal charges that cannot be dismissed, he or she may face consequences that include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- Community Service Hours;
- Mandatory Educational Courses;
- Mandatory Counseling/Mental Health Treatment;
- Random Drug and Alcohol Testing;
- Mandatory Placement in Group Home; and
- Incarceration in Juvenile Detention Center (for serious crimes).
Juvenile criminal records are sealed to help prevent a mistake from following a minor around for the rest of his or her life. While the outcome for the average juvenile criminal matter is positive, some juveniles may face charges at the adult level for very serious criminal matters.
Protective Injunctions/Restraining Orders in Okaloosa County, Florida (F.S. § 784.0485)
A sub-area of criminal law that qualified criminal defense law firms handle are civil protective injunction matters. Commonly referred to as restraining orders, protective injunctions are court orders issued by civil court judges. A victim of alleged abuse or potential abuse can obtain a protective injunction by filing a petition in court. Florida law allow individuals to seek the following five types of protective injunctions:
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Repeat Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
- Stalking Injunctions (which includes cyberstalking).
Being the subject of a protective injunction/restraining order in Okaloosa County is not unlike being the subject of a criminal investigation. While protective injunctions do not charge a person with a crime, they require a person to comply with stringent orders or face potential criminal prosecution. Moreover, while a person can face a protective injunction without being the subject of a related criminal investigation, many protective injunction matters are directly related to ongoing criminal investigations concerning the same alleged conduct.
What to Expect Following a Criminal Conviction in Okaloosa County, Florida
Being convicted of a crime by pleading guilty or being found guilty by a jury leads to much more than jail time and monetary fines. Whether a person serves jail time or not following a criminal conviction, he or she should expect to face the following penalties:
- Mandatory Counseling and Mental Health Treatment;
- Mandatory Alcohol and Drug Testing (often randomized);
- Loss of the Right to Own and Possess Firearms (for convicted felons);
- Temporary Loss of the Right to Vote (for convicted felons currently serving time in jail);
- Permanent Criminal Record Viewable to the Public;
- Mandatory Educational Courses;
- Tarnished Reputation; and
- Difficulty Getting a Job, Attending College, Renting a Home, or any Other Matter that Requires a Background Check.
The best outcome any person accused of committing a crime can hope for is full dismissal of criminal charges. A qualified Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer will make every effort to raise the best legal defenses in the courtroom to seek dismissal of criminal charges when dismissal is warranted. When a dismissal cannot be achieved, the best result may be to enter into a plea agreement. If a criminal charge involves hefty jail time, a positive outcome may be to serve minimal time in jail versus potentially serving decades in jail.
All criminal cases are unique, and the outcome of each case will be dependent on the weight of the prosecution’s evidence, the severity of the criminal charges, and whether the accused person has a prior criminal history. Allow Musca Law to help you fight for your rights in the courtroom.
Contact the Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!
If you have been charged with a crime or are currently the subject of a criminal investigation, you need the advice of a qualified Fort Walton Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer right away. At Musca Law, our team of nationally-recognized trial lawyers strives to ensure all clients receive the utmost respect, attention, and legal representation that they deserve. Okaloosa County prosecutors aggressively pursue the most stringent penalties for crimes allowable by law. As such, you need an even stronger advocate on your side. Find out your legal options today by calling Musca Law toll-free at (888) 484-5057. Our legal team is ready to help you 24/7, as criminal matters can arise at any time.