Criminal Defense Lawyers in Sumter County, Florida
How to Beat a Criminal Charge in Sumter County, Florida
In Sumter County, prosecutors work hard to keep the public safe from crime. The state takes such duty very seriously and will, therefore, aggressively prosecute suspects, even in cases involving fairly minor charges. If you are facing criminal charges in Sumter County, Florida, it is imperative that you understand the gravity of the situation. Never believe that it is acceptable to take such charges lightly, as they can result in serious consequences.
The state has a number of resources at its disposal when prosecuting criminal matters in Sumter County, Florida. As such, your best move is to contact a Sumter County Criminal Defense Attorney right away so that you can develop a strategy to fight the charges that you are facing.
In some cases, defendants may find it tempting to represent themselves. The court system is complicated and regulated by a host of rules and regulations. Choosing to take the path of self-representation will undoubtedly put you and the future in jeopardy.
Misdemeanor crimes, while they are certainly lesser offenses than are felonies, still can come with a host of serious penalties, which will include possible time in jail, as well as costly fines, and the loss of a driver's license, loss of a professional license, and other professional and personal consequences.
If you are facing any type of criminal charges in Sumter County, Florida, it is vital that you find an attorney as soon as possible. Ideally, you want someone experienced who is familiar with the Sumter County court system, the local prosecutors, and the judges.
At Musca Law, our experienced attorneys are here to help you defend against Sumter County criminal charges. Call us today at (888) 484-5057 to discuss the facts of your case with a dedicated Sumter County Criminal Defense Attorney.
Crimes in Sumter County, Florida: An Overview of Categories and Classes
In Florida, crimes are codified in the law. The Florida Legislature breaks these offenses into misdemeanors and felonies, and then into different degrees within those two main categories. Facing a misdemeanor generally means that your sentence will not include any jail time greater than one year. In the case of a felony, the sentencing can include far longer prison terms, and in the event that the crime is categorized as a capital offense, the court may impose the death penalty. The time that a person can anticipate serving will depend on the specific crime committed, as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors associated with that charge. The basic break down of charges is as follows:
Maximum Incarceration Periods
Maximum Monetary Penalties
Jail Term of 60 Days
Jail Term of One Year
Prison Sentence of Five Years
Prison Sentence of 15 Years
Prison Sentence of 30 Years
Life in Prison without Parole
The Florida Sentencing Scoresheet is used to provide guidelines to judges. In some cases, offenses will come with mandatory minimum jail terms. In those situations, the judge is somewhat bound by the Scoresheet. This is intentionally followed as a way to ensure some degree of fairness throughout the state. The goal is to have a criminal defendant in Sumter County and one in another Florida county, both of whom are facing similar charges, also face similar penalties. Without the Scoresheet, it would be possible for judges to sentence similar defendants to wildly different terms based on their own particular biases or temperaments. The Scoresheet is used to avoid this outcome while still allowing judges to have some discretion in the case. After all, two seemingly similar crimes may have certain details that make a significant difference in culpability. Judges are therefore able to take such possible factors into account in their sentencing as well, but only so long as the sentence complies with the Scoresheet.
Because there is some leeway in sentencing, it is important to have an experienced legal advocate who is able to point out all of the mitigating circumstances that may be in your favor in an effort to influence the judge.
Additionally, a skilled criminal defense attorney in Sumter County will often decide to negotiate the charges in order to have them reduced. Such will place the defendant in a lesser category on the Scoresheet.
If you are facing criminal charges of any kind in Sumter County, Florida, contact Musca Law to learn how we can help you.
Common Sumter County Criminal Charges
Controlled Substance Laws in Sumter County, Florida
If you are facing charges for drugs in Sumter County, be prepared to learn just how seriously these crimes are considered by the prosecutors in the Sunshine State. Florida has earned itself a national reputation for being tough on drug-related crime. Many people are shocked to find those seemingly minimal offenses will be met by aggressive and harsh persecution at the hands of the state.
In many cases, drug-related crimes are really a product of the defendant's addiction or substance abuse habits. People who are struggling with this disease will sometimes sell small amounts of drugs in an effort to simply feed their own addition. Prosecutors may seek to send that person to prison.
At Musca Law, our attorneys do not believe that prison is the best place for many of these defendants. These individuals are often suffering, and sending them into prison will do nothing to prevent the person from continuing to cycle through addiction and legal consequences. Our attorney will often work to get our clients into a treatment program rather than having them incarcerated.
The state's drug laws are codified in Florida Statutes Chapter 893. Each drug is classified and comes with related sentences. Some of the crimes will come with mandatory minimum sentences.
The experienced attorneys at Musca Law have worked with clients charged with the following offenses:
- Distribution and possession of drugs;
- Drug trafficking;
- Possession of cocaine, heroin, meth, opioids, stimulants, and fentanyl and other controlled substances;
- Conspiracy; and
- Sale, distribution, possession, with intent to sell, distribute, or gift.
- When representing our clients in these matters, we work to find alternatives to lengthy prison terms. Some of the following possibilities may apply in your case:
- Drug counseling (this could be either in-patient or out-patient depending on the facts of your case);
- Drug court;
- Placement in a dual-diagnosis program;
- Probation; and
- Detoxification and addiction treatment.
Charges Related to Domestic Violence in Sumter County, Florida
Prosecutors will aggressively pursue any domestic violence charges in Sumter County. Sadly, many people face false charges related to domestic violence. This often happens when the accused and the accuser are both involved in a fierce custody battle and/or divorce. In such situations, the accuser may believe that he or she will be able to gain the upper hand in the civil litigation by filing criminal charges based on fabricated or exaggerated accusations. When this happens, police are obligated to place the accused person under arrest to protect the other person from harm.
Domestic violence-related laws are defined in Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes. Not every form of violence will fall under the umbrella of domestic violence. These crimes are, in part, based on the relationship between the parties. In order for an act of violence to be viewed as domestic, the parties must share a residence as a family, have shared a residence, be common parents to one or more children, or be siblings, or parent and child.
These crimes come with mandatory minimum sentences and should be addressed immediately and defended against aggressively. The judge may also set terms for probation that are incredibly burdensome, leading to long-lasting effects on the life of the defendant. Those convicted will also lose their right to bear arms and will have to surrender any firearms or ammunition in their possession.
Sex-Related Crimes in Sumter County, Florida
Sex-related crimes are complicated to defend against. Each of these crimes begins with allegations and a criminal accusation. Remember, if you are facing such charges, you are innocent until such time as you will be proven guilty.
At Musca Law, our attorneys handle all varieties of sex-related crimes, including:
- Sexual assault;
- Sexual battery;
- Human trafficking;
- Aggravated sexual battery;
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Lewd or lascivious acts;
- Possession of child pornography;
- Cyberstalking; and
- Violations of sex offender registration.
Sex-related crimes take a significant amount of effort and resources to defend against. It is vital to take any of these charges seriously, even if the allegations are misleading, exaggerated, misrepresented, or completely false. Keep in mind that the consequences of being convicted will last a lifetime. Specifically, once an offender has served his or her sentence, he or she will be required to register as a sex offender in Florida.
DUI-Offenses in Sumter County, Florida
DUI crimes are common, but they come with serious sentences. Most DUIs qualify as misdemeanors, and yet, they still may lead to jail time and other serious consequences. Florida Statutes §316.193 defines DUI-related crimes and the penalties affiliated with those offenses. In addition to prison time and monetary fines, the person may have his or her vehicle impounded, lose his or her driver's license, face probation, mandatory community service, and have to install an ignition interlock device in his or her vehicle.
- Commercial vehicle DUI;
- Property damage DUI;
- Aggravated DUI;
- DUI manslaughter;
- Serious bodily injury DUI; and
- Hit-and-run DUI/failure to render aid DUI.
Theft Crimes in Sumter County, Florida
Theft crimes involve the taking of another individual's property with the intent to deprive that person of said property. The crimes are stated in Florida Statutes §812.014, and they vary based on specific factors. At Musca Law, our attorneys represent clients who are facing various types of theft-related crimes, including:
- Petit theft;
- Grand theft;
- Identify theft (See, F.S.§817.568);
- Robbery (See, F.S. §812.13);
- Burglary (See, F.S.§810.02); and
Violent Crimes in Sumter County, Florida
Some of the most serious crimes which a person can be charged with include acts of violence against another person. The experienced Sumter County, Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Musca Law, defend against the following violent crimes:
- Manslaughter (F.S. §782.07);
- Robbery (F.S. §812.13);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. §784.045);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. §782.051);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. §782.071);
- Murder (F.S. §782.04);
- Rape/Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011);
- Arson (F.S. §806.01); and
- Assault and Battery (F.S. §784.011, See also F.S. §784.03).
If you are facing charges for any violent criminal offense, it is vital that you hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine what the best possible defenses are based on the relevant facts. There are many ways to defend against charges involving violence. For instance, self-defense, defense of another person, and third-party culprit defenses are some of the commonly used arguments that can help avoid a conviction.
A conviction for a violent crime will include serious prison time, and in some cases, life in prison or even the death penalty. When the stakes are this high, you need an attorney familiar with defending against serious violent crime charges in Sumter County, Florida.
Cyber Crimes and White-Collar Crimes in Sumter County, Florida
Various crimes are considered white-collar or cybercrimes. Some of the offenses that fall into this category include the following:
- Identity theft; and
White-collar crimes are ones that tend to be enacted through the exertion of influence over another person. This is as opposed to violent crimes, which include burglary or robbery, which involve the use of physical force.
In the case of cybercrimes, these are forms of white-collar crimes that use the internet. For instance, defendants accused of cyber-crimes may have allegedly exploited others, sold illegal goods, dealt in drugs, organized prostitution rings, solicited children for sexual purposes, or dealt in child pornography.
It is important in such cases to find an attorney who has experience in defending against such offenses. These crimes are often technical and sophisticated, and it is imperative to find counsel who is able to understand the technology and other factors involved in the alleged offense.
Juvenile Cases in Sumter County, Florida
When a juvenile defendant is involved in an alleged crime, the consequences are different, but still severe and potentially devastating. The juvenile system is often changing as more research indicates the way in which the brain develops over time. It is now understood that the human brain will not reach maturity until a person is in his or her mid-twenties. As such, the penalties for these young offenders should reflect their immaturity.
The skilled Sumter County Criminal Defense Attorneys at Musca Law believe that juvenile offenders deserve another chance and that they are best handled through rehabilitative and treatment programs. Sending juvenile offenders to be incarcerated does not yield rehabilitative effects. In many cases, a juvenile who is locked away in a detention center commits crimes again as an adult. It is incredibly important that these young people have a skilled Sumter County Juvenile Defense Attorney who is able to advocate for the defendant and fight to avoid that juvenile being sent to a detention center.
Protective Injunctions in Sumter County, Florida
Florida law states in Section 784.046 of the Florida Statutes and Section 784.0485 of the Florida Statutes that ways in which a person who is an alleged victim of violence can obtain a protective order that will prevent the accused offender from contacting him or her and causing further violence. These injunctions, often called restraining orders, are filed and adjudicated in civil court, not a criminal court. However, in many cases, criminal charges will also be filed in conjunction. Additionally, the hearing for an injunction can impact a person's criminal charges.
In many unfortunate cases, these injunctions are used as a way to seek vengeance against a person. The consequences can be devastating. A judge will often order a temporary injunction even before the accused can respond to the allegations. The accused, referred to as the respondent, will then be served the notice of the injunction and a court date at which the hearing will occur.
If you are facing a protective injunction, it is important to hire an attorney right away. The final hearing will be a time when you and the person who sought the injunction, referred to as the petitioner, will be able to present evidence and make your case. Your attorney needs time to prepare a strong defense. He or she will often look to postpone the hearing in order to prepare.
There are serious considerations, such as whether to testify at an injunction hearing. Doing so as the respondent is incredibly risky. You can end up forfeiting your right against self-incrimination, which can damage your position in related criminal proceedings. You will need to have an experienced Sumter County attorney at your side in order to fight against the allegations in a strategic manner. Once an injunction is in place, the respondent must follow the terms. Any violations are considered criminal.
Contact Musca Law Today to Protect Your Legal Interests
At Musca Law, we know that our clients come to us to protect their lives and their freedom. We are prepared to serve as your advocate and to fight aggressively to defend you. Call us at (888) 484-5057 to speak to an experienced Sumter County Criminal Defense Attorney.