Criminal Defense Lawyers in Volusia County, Florida
An Overview of Florida Criminal Law, Legal Strategies Defenses, and Penalties
Florida's criminal justice system is a complicated legal scheme that combines numerous statutes, procedural rules, decisional law, and constitutional provisions to deliver justice to those who seek it. Not every person who seeks justice finds it, however. Each day in Florida courts, people flock to avail themselves of the mercy of the court, only to leave the courthouse in chains. Sometimes incarceration is just. However, the majority of people who pray for the mercy of the court deserve a second chance. Not every criminal charge should be prosecuted with bloodlust. Instead, prosecutors should take a common-sense approach to dispense justice.
The prosecutors assigned to work in Volusia County fight hard and fair to win cases and seek extended periods of incarceration. They have a job to do. Their job is to safeguard the public from future harm. The question becomes, what is the best way to protect society from future harm? Sending someone to jail is certainly punishment for a crime and can protect society from that person while the person is locked up, but does incarceration prevent the convicted offender from committing future crimes upon release? No, mass incarceration does not work. Notwithstanding, the current penal philosophy in the United States, which dates back centuries, remains. Therefore, until change happens, people charged with a crime in Florida will be fighting for their freedom.
Not having an aggressive criminal defense attorney with extensive experience, coupled with a sterling reputation for excellence in the Florida legal community, can jeopardize your rights. Trying to resolve the matter yourself is a dangerous strategy. You could say something that ruins your defense, or even causes you to waive your right against self-incrimination. Furthermore, obtaining the services of the public defender could leave you wanting. Public defenders fight hard for their clients, but they are seriously overworked, underpaid, and lack the resources necessary to provide the quality of representation a person deserves.
When you retain the Volusia County criminal defense team from Musca Law to represent you, you have the backing of over 150 years of criminal defense experience in Florida, unmatched resources, and the added protection of knowing that you have aligned yourself with one of the most pre-eminent criminal defense law firms in Florida. Our lawyers are well known across the state for their high level of advocacy, along with their reputation for fairness and exhaustive pursuit of justice. Call Musca Law immediately at 888-484-5057 to speak with our Volusia County criminal defense lawyers today if you are facing any criminal charge out of Volusia County or any other county in the state of Florida.
Criminal Offense Categories in Volusia County
Florida's legislature devised its criminal justice punishment scheme based on categories of crimes and the severity of the offenses. Minor crimes like petit theft or shoplifting do not result in incarceration. Notwithstanding, a person with no criminal history at all could receive a stiff prison sentence for violent crimes, drug trafficking offenses, and sexual battery.
Florida's penal system breaks down as follows:
Severity of Crime
Maximum Period of Incarceration
Maximum Allowable Fine
Sixty-Days in County Jail
One-Year in County Jail
Five-Year Prison Sentence
Fifteen-Year Prison Sentence
Thirty-Year Prison Sentence
Incarceration for Life without Parole
Numerous factors figure into determining the appropriate sentence for a crime. Certainly, judges must make sure that the penalty fits the crime. However, Florida judges must consult the state's sentencing scoresheet. The scoresheet takes into consideration the offender's criminal history, if any, the nature and severity of the offense, along with any aggravating factors like the presence of or use of a firearm, the effect the crime had on the victim, whether offender took responsibility for his or her actions and accepted a plea or took the case to trial, among other factors. The scoresheet will also direct the sentencing judge to consider all minimum-mandatory sentences the court must impose. The judge could give the offender credit for certain actions and be persuaded by counsel to depart downward from the sentence the scoresheet dictates.
Florida's sentencing scoresheet was designed to create a unified system of punishment that is consistent across the state and applied fairly to all while affording the sentencing judge discretion to devise an individualized punishment for the particular offender.
Musca Law is a Full-Service Criminal Defense Law Firm Serving Volusia County and all of Florida
Musca Law's strength is the dedication of its lawyers to protecting the constitutional rights of the accused and making sure that all people charged with a crime receive fair treatment in court. Our lawyers make sure that our clients understand the particular laws governing the charges, the possible penalties, and work with our clients to devise a defense strategy aimed at mitigating the consequences a conviction could have on a person's life. We devote our practice to the defense of all criminal charges instead of limiting our representation to people who only practice in a limited area. The breadth of our practice areas allows us to be a full-service law firm to Volusia County residents and all of the people living in and visiting Florida.
The potential adverse consequences of a criminal conviction extend beyond the courthouse. A conviction could lead to negative collateral consequences such as job loss, financial problems, family problems, and revocation of the offender's driver's license. Additionally, a felony conviction, even for someone visiting Florida, will follow them forever. A felony conviction could force the offender to surrender all firearms, lose the right to vote, and lose out on educational, as well as economic advantages.
Our firm has represented many people visiting Florida who were arrested or charged with a criminal offense. Our out-of-state clients were shocked to learn that possession of a large amount of marijuana or even a relatively small amount of other drugs could be a felony charge. A conviction on a felony drug charge could ruin that person's life. Therefore, it is vital to your future to speak with our Volusia County criminal defense lawyers today by calling 888-484-5057.
Controlled Substance Defense in Volusia County
The penal scheme for controlled substance offenses in Florida may be found at §893.13 of the Florida Statutes. Law enforcement officers working in drug interdiction roles in Volusia County use all of the tools available to them to infiltrate drug distribution rings. Police conduct undercover surveillance, obtain search warrants, use wiretaps, and other investigatory means to break up large scale drug operations. However, many people get swept up in large scale investigations who are buying drugs for personal use rather than distributing narcotics. Officers arrest these low-level offenders and turn them into informants or send them to court for prosecution, while they continue to pursue the most serious drug offenders.
Drug offenses are extremely serious crimes. Musca Law represents clients in Volusia County, and all across Florida for narcotics-related crimes such as:
- Simple possession of drugs like cocaine, heroin, morphine, fentanyl, crystal meth, and marijuana, along with synthetic drugs;
- Possession of drugs or narcotics with the intent to sell or distribute;
- Narcotics trafficking offenses;
- Conspiracy to violate Florida's controlled substance laws; and
- Possession of paraphernalia designed to facilitate the sale or consumption of narcotics.
Drug offenders are a cross-section of the population. Some people are struggling to get by and are forced to sell drugs to feed their habit, while other people sell as a means to make a living. Large-scale drug traffickers will face minimum-mandatory prison sentences in Florida, along with the possibility that the federal authorities could indict then individual. Alternatively, small-time offenders can get help with their addiction in the court system in programs such as:
- Drug court,
- Substance abuse education,
- Inpatient or residential drug treatment,
- Outpatient drug programs,
- Placement in dual-diagnosis programs to treat drug addiction and mental illness, and
- Probationary terms such as compulsory abstinence with random urine screens to ensure compliance.
First-time offenders, as well as non-violent offenders, are eligible to attend these programs through Florida's alternative drug sentencing scheme. It is important to bear in mind that convictions remain on a person's record forever unless expunged or sealed. Therefore, having a Volusia County criminal defense lawyer vigorously argue for a dismissal or a deferred adjudication could help you have access to court-sponsored drug treatment instead of going to jail or prison.
Charges of Domestic Violence in Volusia County
Domestic violence charges are all too commonly prosecuted in Volusia County. Florida Statutes §741.28 describes domestic violence as an assault, an aggravated assault, a battery, an aggravated battery, a sexual assault, a sexual battery false imprisonment, kidnapping, stalking, and an aggravated stalking. Additionally, any crime committed by one family member against another that has the potential to cause physical injury or death also satisfies the definition of domestic violence.
Domestic violence applies to people who are members of the same family or household. Family members or household members are people who were either married, people related by blood or people who once lived together as a family, or are currently married or living together as a family unit. Additionally, people who have a child together are family members for the purposes of §7421.28.
Judges take domestic violence cases very seriously. They will order long prison sentences for people convicted of domestic violence that extend well beyond any minimum-mandatory sentence imposed by Florida law. Additionally, the judge must sentence a person to complete a batterers' intervention program after a conviction for a crime meaning the definition of domestic violence.
In addition to the harsh penalties people accused of domestic violence bass, the judge could also enter orders such as an injunction to prevent domestic violence. These orders will help keep the alleged victim safe from further abuse. However, these orders also have the ability to shred the family structure instead of seeking reconciliation if possible. A judge can order the alleged offender accused of domestic violence to stay away from the alleged victim, have no contact with the alleged victim, wear a GPS monitoring device, attend counseling and surrender all firearms and ammunition.
Volusia County Sex Crimes
Any person accused of a crime involving sexual misconduct faces an uphill battle. Even though every person enjoys the presumption of innocence, including anyone charged with a sexual crime, people commonly assume the allegations are true. Ordinary people cannot fathom why someone would falsify a complaint of sexual abuse. Sadly, it happens. Musca Law's Volusia County criminal defense lawyers work hard to preserve the presumption of innocence for their clients. Musca Law represents people charged with sex crimes such as:
- Committing lewd and lascivious acts;
- Sex crimes involving children such as distribution, possession, or creation of child pornography,
- Solicitation of prostitution,
- Sexual battery,
- Sexual assault,
- Human trafficking, and
- Failing to register in the sex offender registry.
Preserve your rights by speaking with one of our Volusia County criminal defense lawyers today if you are being investigated for a sex crime or have been charged with a sex crime. Our dedicated lawyers will fight for justice for you.
DUI Charges in Volusia County
Driving under the influence is a criminal offense that people from all walks of life face. DUI is referred to as "every man's crime," because most people have driven when they have had too much to drink. Driving after consuming alcohol is legal; driving while impaired or while having a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or above is not.
DUI charges in Volusia County could include:
- Driving under the influence,
- Driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of .15% of above,
- Driving under the influence with a child younger than eighteen in the vehicle,
- Driving under the influence while operating a commercial vehicle,
- DUI manslaughter,
- DUI causing serious bodily injury,
- DUI causing property damage or personal injury, and
- DUI as a subsequent offender.
The potential penalties for DUI range from a six-month jail sentence for a first time offender with probation to fifteen years' incarceration in the state prison for conviction of DUI manslaughter. Additionally, a conviction for DUI will result in the revocation of the offender's driver's license, mandatory attendance at a drivers' educational courses, community service obligations, large fines, and the possibility of attending drug counseling.
Boating under the influence is also a serious crime in Volusia County. The possible penalties for BUI are similar to those for a DUI conviction.
Theft Crimes in Volusia County
Florida Statutes §812.014 defines the crime of theft. Theft is the knowing, and willful taking of another's property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently. The potential prison or jail sentences will depend on the severity of the allegations, along with a myriad of additional considerations.
Common theft offenses in Volusia County are:
- Robbery (See, F.S. §812.13);
- Petit Theft;
- Grand Theft;
- Burglary (See, F.S. §810.02)
- Larceny; and
- Identity Theft (See, F.S. §817.568).
Victim impact plays a vital role in determining the appropriate sentence a person must serve. The judge will pay close attention to the victim's statement and could order the offender to pay restitution to the victim.
Crimes of Violence in Pinellas County
Violent crimes have a way of tearing apart communities. Accordingly, prosecutors and law enforcement officers in Volusia County thoroughly and exhaustively investigate violent crimes to apprehend the offenders and try to bring them to justice. Notwithstanding the government's efforts, each person is guaranteed the right of the presumption of innocence despite facing heinous charges.
Violent crimes in Volusia County include:
- Murder (F.S. §782.04);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. §782.051);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. §782.071);
- Robbery (F.S. §812.13);
- Rape or Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011).
- Arson (F.S. §806.01);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. §784.045);
- Assault and Battery (F.S. §784.011 and F.S. §784.03); and
- Manslaughter (F.S. §782.07);
These offenses are some of the most egregious and serious charges a person can face in Florida. Anyone charged with a violent offense faces decades in prison if not the death sentence for a capital crime. The need for experienced, skilled, and dedicated defense counsel when facing these charges cannot be overstated. Too much is at stake to trust any other attorney to represent you in these circumstances.
Cyber Crimes and White Collar Crimes in Volusia County
Cyber crimes are a growing trend in Florida. Law enforcement officers have trained hard to keep up with technological developments so that they can identify apprehend people who have perpetrated crimes such as credit card fraud, embezzlement, theft, or identity theft. Additionally, the internet and electronic devices are misused thousands of times daily to perpetrate sex crimes such as the distribution of child pornography and human trafficking.
White-collar crimes such as embezzlement, theft, racketeering, are a non-violent means to take another's property. Even though no violence is used to steal, law enforcement agents aggressively pursue white-collar criminals because of the harm they do to the businesses they ravage and the community in which those businesses operate.
Juvenile Justice in Volusia County
Juvenile justice has evolved in recent years. Research has shown that the brain of a young man does not reach maturity until he is in his mid-20s. Therefore, scholars believe that the court should push for rehabilitation an education rather than confinement when punishing a juvenile who breaks the law. Unfortunately, some juveniles will end up in a juvenile detention facility instead of in a divergent program because they were charged with crimes of violence or other felonies. They could even be charged as an adult and sent to state prison if convicted.
Aggressively and vigorously defending children in juvenile court can reap enormous rewards for the future. Diverting children away from the criminal justice system can help them grow and mature while having the guidance of the court system rather than facing strict punishments. Juvenile charges are usually not public record and do not appear on a criminal history when the individual becomes an adult. Therefore, the juvenile will not be haunted by youthful indiscretion as he or she grows older. However, children teetering on the brink of lawlessness need strict intervention to rehabilitate them and give them guidance to grow to become a productive citizen.
Protective Injunctions in Volusia County
Courts in Volusia County entertain numerous petitions for injunctions to prevent harm annually. Florida Statutes §784.0485 authorizes judges to issue injunctions for protection from harm. The law recognizes five categories of injunctions. They are:
- Dating Violence;
- Sexual Violence;
- Domestic Violence; and
- Repeat Violence.
The victim who alleges a need for the protection of any one of these categories of injunctions, except for injunction to prevent sexual violence, does not have to file criminal charges against the perpetrator. Notwithstanding, these are profoundly serious legal matters because a violation of an injunction could lead to criminal charges. Injunctions to prevent violence also cause significant intrusions apart from your life. The court could compel you to stay away from certain people, not contact certain people, stay away from certain geographical locations, and surrender your firearms and ammunition to the local law enforcement agency. Therefore, you must protect yourself against allegations of abuse made during an injunction hearing by retaining experienced Volusia County injunction and criminal defense attorneys.
Over 150 Years of Experience Fighting for Justice
Contact our Daytona Beach criminal lawyers at 888-484-5057 to speak with our dedicated professionals who have dedicated their talents to preserving and protecting people's rights if you face criminal charges in Volusia County or if you find out you are under investigation for a criminal offense in Volusia County. Call our firm 24/7 to discuss your rights and plot a defense to preserve your freedom.