Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orange County, Florida
An Overview of Florida Criminal Laws, Penalties, and Legal Defenses
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, arrests in Orange County, Florida, have been on a downward trend since 2015. However, from 2018 to 2019, there was a slight increase. As is the case with the rest of the state of Florida, a vast majority of the arrests in Orange County during 2019 related to theft and property crimes. As such, while Orange County law enforcement officials arrested approximately 134 people every day in 2019, most of those arrests did not relate to violent crimes.
At Musca Law, our Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyers possess more than 150 years of combined professional experience. Our law firm focuses its practice on only criminal matters and protective injunction matters. As such, we handle any criminal matter that may come our way. If you are facing criminal charges in Orange County, consider contacting Musca Law today by calling (888) 484-5057 to discuss your criminal matter with a member of our legal team.
How Crimes are Classified Under Florida Law
All states classify criminal charges in different ways. Some states use letters to classify misdemeanors and felonies, while others use numbers and degrees to classify such crimes. In Florida, misdemeanors and felonies are classified in terms of numbers and degrees, with the more serious crime have a lower number. For example, a first-degree felony is more serious than a second or third-degree felony. Each level and degree of crime carries separate criminal penalties for jail time and the imposition of fines. Jail sentences associated with each level of crime are identified in Florida Statute Section 775.082. Monetary fines associated with each level of crime are identified in Florida Statute Section 775.083.
Misdemeanor and Felony Classifications Under Florida Law
Per Florida law, misdemeanors and felonies are classified as follows in order from least severe to the most severe crime:
Additional Penalties Resulting from Criminal Convictions Under Florida Law
Serving a jail sentence and paying a fine are only two consequences associated with criminal convictions in Florida. Whether a convicted individual spends time in jail and/or pays monetary fines is separate and apart from the following additional consequences:
- Blemished Criminal Record – Even one arrest record or criminal conviction can be a substantial burden on one’s life. Without the sealing or expungement of criminal records, a person may be forever branded as a criminal.
- Probation – A person who avoids jail time by pleading to a lesser offense in a criminal matter will likely be subject to probation, which in some cases may be more of a burden than a short time in jail. Moreover, the probation period may last for well over one year, depending on the crime(s) at issue.
- Loss of Right to Possess a Firearm – If convicted of a felony under Florida law, a person loses the right to possess firearms, which is one of the most cherished rights under the Constitution.
- Loss of the Right to Vote – If serving time in jail for a felony, a person will lose his/her right to vote, at least during the pendency of the jail term.
- Inability to Obtain Employment – If arrested, a person may lose his or her job and may find it difficult to get a new job, as prospective employers may not want to hire any person with a criminal record.
- Inability to Rent a Home or Apartment – Like prospective employers, prospective landlords may not want to offer housing to a person with a criminal record.
- Damage to Reputation – An arrest record alone can harm a person’s reputation even though no person should be deemed guilty unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, mere criminal allegations are sometimes enough to categorize a person as unlawful or dangerous, even when that may not be the case.
Although it may not be possible to avoid all potential consequences associated with a criminal conviction, such consequences may be lessened with the assistance of a reputable Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Musca Law – Orange County Criminal Defense Areas of Practice – We Defend Clients in ALL Criminal Charges in Florida
When facing criminal charges in Orange County, the right to legal counsel should always be utilized. Some individuals facing criminal charges do not fully understand the consequences of facing such charges without the help of an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer. At Musca Law, we do not pick and choose the criminal matters we handle. Rather, we routinely handle all types of criminal matters, ranging from minor to the most serious of crimes under Florida law, as identified below.
Drug-Related Criminal Offenses in Orange County – F.S. § 893.13
Crimes involving drugs in Orange County are commonly charged crimes. In many cases, drug crimes involve simple possession, but in other cases, drug crimes can be severe enough to result in a life prison sentence. Drug crimes many individuals face every day in Orange County include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Possession of drugs, including, among others, marijuana, cocaine, acid/LSD, methamphetamine, PCP, fentanyl, heroin, morphine, elicit mushrooms, and prescriptions drugs;
- Possession of drug paraphernalia (pipes and devices used to manufacture or consume illegal drugs);
- Drug possession with the intent to sell or distribute (either in small or large quantities);
- Drug trafficking; and
- Conspiracy to commit a drug crime.
Depending on the nature of the alleged drug crime, federal prosecutors may pursue drug charges if the alleged crime involves conduct that goes beyond the confines of the state of Florida. Regardless of whether drug crimes involve Florida state law or federal law, the Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law are ready to aggressively represent a client’s rights to the fullest extent possible.
Minor drug offenses in Orange County may be addressed in Drug Courts, which seek to help an accused person address the problem of drug or alcohol use as opposed to punishing that person. Although probation may seem like a form of punishment, probation avoids jail time, which can be a very traumatic experience for a convicted person, especially for a first-time criminal offense. In addition to probation, a person facing minor drug charges may be required to undergo substance abuse treatment and counseling, to submit to random drug and alcohol testing, and to complete a certain number of community service hours.
Domestic Violence Criminal Offenses in Orange County – F.S. § 741.28
Crimes involving domestic violence are vigorously prosecuted in Orange County. Because domestic violence is a serious matter that causes harm to victims daily, most individuals facing allegations of domestic violence are immediately seen in a negative light even before the facts are fully known. Like any other crime, Orange County prosecutors must prove that each element of the crime, per Florida statute, has been satisfied.
Per Florida law, “domestic violence” is “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.” The threshold requirement of proving a domestic violence case is establishing that the alleged victim is a “family or household member.”
Under Florida law, “family or household members” are “spouses, 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.”
Sex-Related Criminal Offenses in Orange County
Like domestic violence crimes, sex crimes can land a person in jail for decades, and like domestic violence crimes, a person accused of sex crimes is often immediately seen as a dangerous sex offender before being given the chance to defend him or herself. Examples of commonly charged sex crimes in Orange County include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Statutory Rape;
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender;
- Human Trafficking;
- Lewd and Lascivious Acts;
- Solicitation of Prostitution;
- Stalking; and
- Sexual Crimes Involving Children (including child pornography crimes).
If convicted of a sex crime in Orange County, a defendant is likely to face at least some jail time. As such, working with the best lawyer for the job will help to increase the chances that a defendant will achieve a result that avoids a long jail sentence.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Criminal Offenses in Orange County – F.S. § 316.193
Driving under the influence (DUI) crimes typically do not result in jail time except in severe cases. However, the consequences of a DUI conviction can substantially disrupt a person’s life. Most DUIs in Orange County involve a first or second DUI offense without any aggravating factors, both of which are misdemeanors. Musca Law represents clients charged with the following DUI crimes in Orange County:
- DUI Involving Commercial Drivers;
- Felony DUI; and
- DUI Manslaughter.
To find a person guilty of DUI in Orange County, prosecutors must satisfy the following statutory requirements under Florida law:
- The person facing DUI charges was driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle; and
- The person’s normal faculties were impaired from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or
- The person has a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
- The person has a breath-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
With a strong Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer, many individuals facing DUI charges can achieve complete dismissal of such charges or an agreement to plea to a less serious offense. If a person is ultimately convicted of a first or second DUI offense in Orange County, he or she faces a misdemeanor which, in some cases, leads to jail time and fines. If a person is convicted of a third or subsequent DUI within ten years, the new DUI charge becomes a third-degree felony. If a person is convicted of a third or subsequent DUI more than ten years after conviction of the prior DUI offense, the new DUI charge is a misdemeanor. A DUI that involves the death of another person is DUI manslaughter, a second-degree felony that leads to a potential fifteen-year jail sentence.
Theft-Related Criminal Offenses in Orange County – F.S. § 812.014
The majority of crimes allegedly committed in the state of Florida are theft-related crimes that typically do not involve acts of violence. Under Florida law, an individual commits “theft” if “he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently” (1) “deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property,” or (2) “appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.” Theft crimes can be both misdemeanors and felonies.
Examples of theft crimes individuals face in Orange County include, among others, the following:
- Petit theft;
- Grand Theft;
- Identity Theft (F.S. § 817.568);
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13); and
- Burglary (F.S. § 810.02).
Although all theft-related crimes carry potential jail time and fines, many people can overcome a minor theft crime without spending time in jail or paying the maximum fine allowable under Florida law.
Violent Criminal Offenses in Orange County
If convicted of one or more of the following violent crimes, the convicted person should expect to spend a very long time in jail, especially for crimes that end a person’s life – whether intentional or not.
- Murder (F.S. § 782.04);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. § 782.051);
- Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.07);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.071);
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13);
- Assault and Battery (F.S. § 784.011 and F.S. § 784.03);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. § 784.045);
- Rape/Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011); and
- Arson (F.S. § 806.01).
Because violent crimes carry substantial jail time and fines, anyone facing such crimes in Orange County needs to work alongside a lawyer who has successfully defended other clients facing the same violent crimes. Defending against violent crimes requires a lawyer who will carefully scrutinize the facts of the case to craft a strong defense strategy for each client.
Internet Criminal Offenses in Orange County
Internet crimes under Florida law encompass conduct that involves both theft and sex-related offenses. Examples of such theft and sex crimes committed via the internet include, among others, identity theft, credit card theft/fraud, embezzlement (and other money-related crimes), possession or distribution of child pornography, enticement of a child for sexual purposes, and sex trafficking.
White Collar Criminal Offenses in Orange County – F.S. § 775.0844
White-collar crimes can land a person in jail for decades when some violent crimes do not lead to the same result. When white-collar crimes involve high-value theft, accused individuals will likely face felony charges. White-collar crimes include the following:
- Illegal financial transactions;
- Computer-related crimes to defraud others;
- The exploitation of certain groups of individuals, including the elderly and disabled;
- Conspiracy to defraud; and
- Non-violent theft crimes.
Juvenile Criminal Offenses in Orange County
Juveniles facing criminal charges in Orange County are usually dealt with in juvenile courts that seek to rehabilitate, rather than punish, juvenile offenders. Instead of spending time in jail, many juvenile offenders undergo counseling, treatment, and may even be placed in group homes to keep them out of trouble. Moreover, unless a juvenile is tried as an adult, juvenile criminal records are sealed, allowing offenders to move forward in life without the burden of having a scar on their record.
Protective Injunctions in Orange County, Florida – F.S. § 784.0485
Per Florida law, individuals may be served with protective injunctions, which are commonly known as protective orders or restraining orders. The five types of protective injunctions available to victims of violence, abuse, or potentially violent or abusive conduct, include the following:
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Stalking Injunctions;
- Repeat Violence Injunctions; and
- Sexual Violence Injunctions.
While protective injunctions are civil matters and not criminal charges, anyone facing a protective injunction should treat the matter as one involving criminal activity. Many people facing protective injunctions in Orange County are also facing criminal charges or are the subject of a criminal investigation involving the same alleged conduct. Only a truly experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer should represent clients facing protective injunctions.
Contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today
If you are facing criminal charges in Orange County, it is essential to find a lawyer right away to protect your rights. The Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law have extensive experience defending clients who have faced the harshest of criminal charges. With a track record of success, Musca Law can provide you with the legal representation you need to fight the prosecution in court. To discuss your criminal matter with our an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney in Orlando Florida, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.