Criminal Defense Lawyers in Putnam County, Florida
How to Beat a Criminal Charge in Florida
With a population of approximately 74,000 people, Putnam County, Florida is in the northeastern portion of the state and is a county with a low crime rate. Per data released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in 2019, there was a total of 2,716 arrests, which averages to just more than seven arrests each day, and not every arrest turns into criminal charges.
While having a low crime rate is certainly a good thing, communities with low crime rates often have zealous prosecutors who treat every criminal matter more seriously than most. For example, a minor drug crime, such as possession of a small amount of marijuana, may lead to a slap on the wrist and probation in Miami-Dade County, while the same charge may lead to the maximum statutory penalty of jail time for up to one year.
Because the vast majority of crimes carry potential jail sentences in the state of Florida, no criminal charge – no matter how minor – can be taken lightly in Putnam County. Anyone facing criminal charges should assume that prosecutors will seek the maximum penalties regardless of one’s criminal record. To have a solid chance of fighting criminal charges in Putnam County, all individuals facing criminal charges should be armed with strong legal representation. Only a skilled Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer has what it takes to represent a client’s legal rights in the courtroom.
The Range of Criminal Charges Under Florida Law
Under Florida law, serious crimes are categorized by misdemeanors and felonies. Most traffic offenses do not rise to the level of misdemeanors or felonies and are typically referred to as infractions. Although some traffic offenses are serious enough to be categorized as misdemeanors (and in very serious cases, as felonies), the vast majority of traffic offenses will not be governed by Florida’s more serious criminal laws discussed on this page.
The criminal penalties associated with misdemeanors and felonies, in terms of maximum potential jail sentences and maximum monetary fines is identified as follows:
CLASSIFICATION OF CRIME
MAXIMUM MONETARY FINES
Whether a defendant in Putnam County, Florida will face the maximum potential criminal penalties will be dependent on numerous factors. In some cases, prosecutors may not take into consideration positive factors (such as a clean criminal history and the low level of the alleged offense). In other cases, prosecutors may be agreeable to seeking less serious consequences but only in cases where a defendant has a strong Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer to negotiate on the defendant’s behalf. Even with tough prosecutors, many defendants in Putnam County have achieved favorable outcomes, such as dismissal of criminal charges, and when dismissal is not possible, negotiating an agreement to plea guilty to a less serious offense that does not result in jail time. However, it is difficult to achieve a positive result without having a proven Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer handling a case from start to finish.
Additional Penalties Associated with Criminal Convictions in Putnam County, Florida
The best outcome a defendant and his/her Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer can hope for is complete dismissal of criminal charges. When dismissal cannot be achieved, a highly skilled Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer will utilize his/her resources to reach the best possible resolution obtainable, given the unique facts of the case. For example, if a person is facing a misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) charge and the available facts support the prosecution’s case, a negotiated agreement to plead guilty to a less serious offense may (1) avoid a DUI conviction, and (2) avoid jail time and substantial fines, such an outcome is considered positive.
Even when a Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer helps a client negotiate a favorable plea agreement, the defendant should expect to face some consequences in lieu of jail time. Moreover, for individuals who must serve time in jail – either through a negotiated plea agreement or conviction at trial – additional consequences will likely follow them once they complete their jail sentences. Consequences individuals can expect to face whether they serve jail time or not include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Loss of the right to own or possess a firearm;
- Loss of the right to vote;
- Mandatory mental health and/or substance abuse counseling;
- Random drug and alcohol testing; and
- Permanent criminal record of conviction.
Because a person facing criminal charges is likely to face some type of consequences when a criminal case cannot be dismissed, it is critical that the person is represented by a strong Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer who has proven results in the courtroom.
Musca Law Takes on All Criminal Matters in Putnam County, Florida
Criminal law encompasses a large spectrum of conduct that is considered illegal under Florida state law and, in some cases, federal law. A well-versed criminal defense law firm handles all aspects of criminal law in Putnam County. Examples of some sub-areas of criminal law that Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyers handle include, among others, the following:
- Drug Crimes;
- Domestic Violence Crimes;
- Sex Crimes;
- DUI Crimes;
- Theft Crimes;
- Violent Crimes;
- Internet Crimes;
- White-Collar Crimes;
- Juvenile Crimes; and
- Protective Injunctions/Restraining Orders.
If you or a loved one is facing any criminal charge in Putnam County, you should consider seeking the advice of a Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer right away.
Drug Crimes in Putnam County, Florida (F.S. § 893.13)
Drug crimes are commonly charged throughout the state of Florida, and Putnam County is no exception. Examples of these commonly charged drug crimes include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Misdemeanor possession of drugs (such as marijuana);
- Felony possession of drugs (such as cocaine, methamphetamine, opioids, crack cocaine, ecstasy, and LCD, among others);
- Possession of drug paraphernalia;
- Possession of drugs with intent to distribute/sell;
- Drug trafficking; and
- Conspiracy to commit drug crimes.
Many drug crimes involve the possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal use. In some cases, the drug at issue is marijuana, which is now legal for medicinal use. Although state laws allow for medicinal use of marijuana, Putnam County prosecutors will still execute Florida law to the fullest extent possible when a person possesses marijuana without having a valid license for medicinal use. Possessing a small amount of more serious drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamines, is a felony, which may be surprising to many individuals. As such, drug crimes should always be taken seriously even when they clearly involve personal use rather than an intent to distribute or sell a large quantity of drugs.
Domestic Violence Crimes in Putnam County, Florida (F.S. § 741.28)
Domestic violence crimes in Putnam County include a wide variety of conduct. Nearly any crime that involves physical injury or death, committed by one “family or household member” towards another “family or household member” can be considered domestic violence. Specifically, domestic violence crimes include 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. The following individuals are considered “family or household members” under Florida law:
- 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.
In all cases of domestic violence, except for persons who are parents of a child in common, the family or household members must either currently reside together or have resided together in the past.
Sex Crimes in Putnam County, Florida
Sex crimes are very serious in the state of Florida along with violent crimes. Like domestic violence, numerous crimes fall into the category of “sex crimes” in Florida, and many sex crimes are considered felonies. Examples of sex crimes charged in Putnam County, Florida include, but are not 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.
Sex crimes include the added element of the sex offender registry. Any person convicted of a sex crime – no matter whether the sex crime is a misdemeanor or felony – must register as a sex offender pursuant to Florida law. What this means is that individuals convicted of sex crimes are lumped together in the same category even when one person was convicted of statutory rape (pertaining to a consensual relationship where the individuals were close in age) and another person was convicted of forcible rape. Furthermore, failing to register as a sex offender is grounds for additional criminal charges and potential jail time.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Crimes in Putnam County, Florida (F.S. § 316.193)
Driving under the influence (DUI) crimes under Florida law are similar to most other states. The legal limit in Florida is a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08, and the number is much lower at .02 for drivers under the age of twenty-one. While DUI cases are typically straightforward, there is room for challenging a Putnam County prosecutor’s case. A DUI case that does not meet all statutory elements should be dismissed. A person may be found guilty of driving under the influence in Putnam County if prosecutors prove the following:
- The person’s “normal faculties” are impaired by intoxication of alcohol or drugs; or
- The person’s blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; or
- The person’s breath-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
Minor DUI offenses are considered misdemeanors under Florida law, and while some defendants can avoid jail time, others may not. The most serious DUI offenses that involve aggravating factors, such as bodily harm, property damage, or even death, are felonies that carry jail sentences up to fifteen or even thirty years. Most DUI cases that do not end dismissal will carry some consequences, most of which limit a person’s driving privileges. In addition to probation, counseling, and drug testing, some drivers may be required to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles, among other long-term consequences.
Theft Crimes in Putnam County, Florida (F.S. § 812.014)
Theft crimes are extremely common throughout Florida, especially those that involve internet transactions, and even though many theft crimes do not involve violent conduct, they are still considered felonies that can lead to substantial jail time. Examples of common theft crimes in Putnam County, Florida include the following:
- Burglary (F.S. § 810.02);
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13);
- Petit theft;
- Grand Theft;
- Identity Theft (F.S. § 817.568);
- Larceny; and
Violent Crimes in Putnam County, Florida
Without question, violent crimes – especially those that result in the death of another person – are the most serious crimes under Florida law, and carry the harshest consequences, ranging from minimal jail time to life imprisonment, or even the death penalty. Because violent crimes are so serious, anyone facing criminal charges for violent crimes must be represented by a superior Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer. Examples of violent crimes include, but are not limited to, 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).
Given the importance of presenting a strong defense in the courtroom to severe criminal charges involving violent crimes, no defendant should ever move forward without the assistance of legal representation.
Internet Crimes in Putnam County, Florida
Most people rely on the internet to conduct their daily lives, especially for businesses that rely on the internet to earn a living. Without the internet, we would be lost. However, while the internet enables the world to function at light speed, the internet opens the door to potential criminal conduct. Internet crimes have become more prevalent since the internet began to explode in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Examples of internet crimes, many of which are felonies, include the following:
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Identity Theft;
- Child pornography crimes (possession, sale, and/or distribution, among others);
- Sex Trafficking; and
- Solicitation and/or Enticement of a Child for Sexual Purposes.
White-Collar Crimes in Putnam County, Florida (F.S. § 775.0844)
White-collar crimes, which are typically non-violent and involve money or items of value, are extremely serious under both Florida law and federal law. Many white-collar crimes can be included in the categories of theft crimes and internet crimes. Examples of white-collar crimes in Putnam County 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.
Juvenile Crimes in Putnam County, Florida
The juvenile criminal system is separate from the adult system, and the consequences associated with criminal charges and convictions at the juvenile level are often not as harsh as those resulting from an adult criminal proceeding. However, juvenile criminal matters in Putnam County should still be handled by an experienced Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer. One important aspect of juvenile criminal matters is that court records are sealed, which helps juveniles move on in life without the burden of a criminal record. Except in cases of serious violent crimes that may lead a juvenile to be tried as an adult, juveniles who face criminal charges should expect to face the following consequences if they are convicted:
- Mandatory Community Service;
- Random Drug and Alcohol Testing;
- Placement in a Group Home/Halfway House; and
- Incarceration in Juvenile Jail for more severe cases.
Protective Injunctions/Restraining Orders in Putnam County, Florida
Under Florida law, restraining orders or orders of protection are known as protective injunctions, which are civil court orders. Protective injunctions encompass an area of criminal law that does not involve a prosecutor or jury. Rather, a victim of abuse or violence can seek a protective injunction in certain circumstances, and by doing so, they are obtaining court orders that compel another party to essentially stay away. While protective injunctions are civil matters, any person who violates a protective injunction could face criminal charges. In Putnam County, Florida, individuals can seek the following five types of protective injunctions:
- Dating Violence Injunctions (F.S. § 784.046);
- Domestic Violence Injunctions (F.S. § 741.30);
- Repeat Violence Injunctions (F.S. § 784.046);
- Sexual Violence Injunctions (F.S. § 784.046); and
- Stalking Injunctions (F.S. § 784.0485).
One mistake that some individuals make is ignoring the importance of protective injunctions in Putnam County. Once a person is served with an injunction by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, he or she must comply with all aspects of the court order. Because protective injunctions involve allegations of criminal conduct, only a skilled Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer should handle a protective injunction matter.
Contact the Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!
If you are facing criminal charges in Putnam County, Florida, you need a strong advocate by your side to protect your rights. At Musca Law, our team of nationally known Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyers have more than 150 years of experience helping clients avoid the harshest outcomes resulting from a criminal matter. To speak with a Putnam County Criminal Defense Lawyer about your situation, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.