Criminal Defense Lawyers in Sarasota County, Florida

An Overview of Florida Criminal Law, Legal Strategies Defenses, and Penalties

Sarasota is a city south of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast that was once the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus. Today, it hosts a number of cultural institutes, notably the Ringling Museum of Art, which showcases old masters and modern art. It’s also the gateway to miles of beaches with fine sand and shallow waters, such as Lido Beach and Siesta Key Beach.

Sarasota County is a county located on the Southwest side of Florida and is located on the Gulf of Mexico. According to the United States Census data, Sarasota County’s population exceeds 380,000 people. The county seat of Sarasota County is the City of Sarasota, which has a population of over 58,000 residents. The largest city in Sarasota County is North Port, which has an estimated population of over 68,000 people. Sarasota County is part of the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The Sarasota County Justice Center is located at 2071 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34237.

In 2019, law enforcement made a total of 10,698 arrests in Sarasota County, which is approximately 29 arrests on average, per day. Sarasota County saw a decrease of 7.1% in the total number arrests in 2019 as compared to 2018. The significant decrease in the total number of arrests is due to a sizable decrease in the number of both property and violent crimes in 2019. In 2019, the total value of all property stolen in 2019 was approximately $16,000,000. Larceny is the frequent type of crime committed in Sarasota County. In Sarasota County, there was over 5,900 Larceny arrests in 2019, which is a decrease of about 3% over the year prior. Larceny crimes include thefts from coin operated devices, purse snatching, pocket picking, theft from motor vehicles, shoplifting, theft of motor vehicle parts, theft from buildings, and theft of bicycles. The most common form of Larceny committed in Sarasota County in 2019 was shoplifting, which accounted for 16.4% of all Larceny offenses.

If you, a friend, or a family member has been asked to speak with police, accused, or arrested for a criminal offense in Sarasota County, Florida, call Musca Law at (888) 484-5057 for your free consultation. Most people know that everything you say, can, and will be used against you. However, most people do not understand that statements given to law enforcement that might be considered helpful to the person being questioned cannot be used as evidence in court due to hearsay. Therefore, there is absolutely no benefit to provide any statement to law enforcement. But there are many legal pitfalls when speaking with investigators without an attorney present. Investigators are highly trained interrogators who are skilled at tricking people into making damaging statements. Often times when people are being questioned by law enforcement, they are nervous overstate state things or overelaborate certain details, which police will use in court against you to make you appear to be a liar. If you or someone you know is being questioned by police, you are a suspect. Any misstatement can bring a separate criminal charge. Therefore, any encounter with local police, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Customs, FBI, or any other law enforcement agency must be taken seriously and you need an experienced attorney by your side to protect you legal rights. Having an attorney present in your police “interview” does not give the appearance to law enforcement that you are guilty. It shows police that you are intelligent, that you understand you know your legal rights, that you want to provide answers to law enforcement without being tricked into making a false confession. In fact, several former law enforcement officers and detectives, who now work as consultants confess that many innocent people are tricked into making damaging statements that lead to convictions on crimes the interviewee was not originally being questioned by law enforcement.

Be smart. Remain silent. Ask to have an attorney present before speaking with police. Have an attorney present with you before making any statements or agreeing to speak with law enforcement. Then contact Musca Law to protect your legal rights.

Musca Law’s Sarasota County Criminal Defense Attorneys represent Florida residents and tourists who visited Florida and were arrested in a wide range of criminal offenses in Sarasota County and throughout the State of Florida. We represent clients in cases ranging from simple misdemeanor shoplifting offenses to serious felony charges, such as rape or murder, amongst others. In Sarasota County, Florida, there are 100s of lawyers who offer a wide scope of legal services in several areas of the law. However, criminal trials are life-changing situations, and not all law firms focus its law practice solely on criminal law. Musca Law has the reputation, resources, workforce, and commitment to achieve the best possible results in your criminal case. If you, a friend, or someone you care about is facing one or more criminal charges in Sarasota County, Florida, do not delay and contact our seasoned Sarasota County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law at (888) 484-5057. Our courteous, hardworking Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys are ready 24/7 to explain your legal options.

Classification of Criminal Offenses in Sarasota County, Florida

In the State of Florida, criminal offenses are described and classified within Florida's criminal statutes. These statutes characterize crimes as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Although each Florida county applies the same Florida criminal laws, every Florida county may prosecute specific crimes more aggressively than other criminal transgressions. By way of example, Sarasota County may not prosecute property damage cases as aggressively a more populous Florida county.

When choosing a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Sarasota County, Florida, for your criminal matter, it is critical that you find an attorney who sustains a good functioning association with Sarasota County law enforcement, judges, and city/county prosecutors. Also, an experienced criminal defense attorney who is recognized for being trustworthy, hardworking, determined, and considerate of the Sarasota County Prosecutor's Office gives the accused a much better probability of successfully defending themselves against criminal charges in justice court.

Sarasota County Misdemeanors and Felonies Under Florida Law

Florida criminal code categorizes misdemeanors and felonies as the following (from the least egregious misdemeanor to the most serious type of felonious crime:

  • Second-Degree Misdemeanor;
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor;
  • Third-Degree Felony;
  • Second-Degree Felony;
  • First-Degree Felony;
  • Life Felony; and
  • Capital Felony.

The Maximum Penalties for Offenses According to Florida Law (F.S. § 775.082; F.S. § 775.083)

A highly-skilled Florida Criminal Defense Attorney works hard to help their clients dodge hefty fines and lengthy prison sentences if the defendant's criminal charges can't be dismissed. However, when substantial fines and/or jail time may not be avoided, an individual convicted of either a felony or a misdemeanor under Florida law, the defendant might be facing the following maximum penalties:




Second-Degree Misdemeanor

6 Months


First-Degree Misdemeanor

1 Year


Third-Degree Felony

5 Years


Second-Degree Felony

15 Years


First-Degree Felony

30 Years


Life Felony



Capital Felony

Death Penalty


Additional Penalties Associated with Criminal Convictions in Sarasota County, Florida

Despite whether or not the accused is facing prison time and/or steep fines, if the accused is found guilty of any crime, they will suffer penalties that are typically life-changing. Unless a defendant´s criminal case is dismissed, the defendant may be subject to the following punishments, either in lieu of prison time and stiff fines or in addition to jail time and fines.

The following list of penalties are often associated with criminal convictions in Sarasota County, Florida, and these penalties may be applied in conjunction with other punishments during the sentencing hearing:

  • A Criminal Record;
  • Probation;
  • Difficulty in Securing Credit;
  • Loss of Second Amendment Rights;
  • Loss of Voting Rights;
  • Difficulty in Renting or Buying a Home;
  • Trouble in Obtaining Employment;
  • Public Humiliation;
  • Loss of a Professional License, and
  • Damage to Relationships with Family and Friends.

In some Florida criminal cases, the accused´s criminal record could be expunged or sealed. If you, a friend, or a loved one was charged or convicted in crime in Sarasota County, Florida, speak with an experienced Sarasota County Criminal Defense Attorney from Musca Law. Our team of legal professionals has the skill necessary to help our clients reduce the level of criminal charges and work hard to have pending charges dismissed.

Musca Law is a client-focused, full-service criminal defense law firm with offices in Sarasota County, Florida (FL).

Drug Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida (F.S. § 893.13)

Drug offenses in the State of Florida span lesser crimes such as simple possession to felonies, which are more serious crimes such as drug manufacturing. In some drug crimes cases, federal laws may have been violated, and therefore the federal criminal justice system may assume jurisdiction or work concurrently with the state, county, and local prosecutors. This particularly true when the drug crime committed is both a felony and that criminal activity was committed while crossing state lines. Nevertheless, most drug crimes in the State of Florida are overseen by state justice court system, governed by state law, and include the following types of criminal offenses:

  • Conspiracy to commit any drug crime.
  • Drug Possession (including cocaine, crack, DMT, ecstasy/MDMA, fentanyl, hashish, heroin, LCD/acid, marijuana, methamphetamine, morphine, PCP, peyote, steroids, psychedelic mushrooms, and all types of unlawfully possessed prescription drugs such as opioids, stimulants, Adderall, and anti-anxiety medications.);
  • Drug Possession with the Intent to Sell/Distribute;
  • Drug Trafficking (transporting drugs across state lines or across the State of Florida); and
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Florida's state legislature is drafting on new legislation and regulations that may eventually legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Nevertheless, until marijuana is legalized in Florida, it is still a criminal offense to use, possess, sell, grow, or distribute marijuana within Florida's borders. However, a few local municipalities created local ordinances which reduced simple possession of marijuana to a lesser offense with a fine as low as $100. In essence, these city ordinances make simple marijuana possession as severe as receiving a parking ticket. However, simple possession could lead to more serious criminal charges, and there are no guarantees that state or federal law enforcement will not intercede to pursue a criminal case for marijuana possession. Florida continues to have some of the severest marijuana penalties in the United States. So, if you, a friend, or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a marijuana charge, contact our law firm immediately to discuss your case. In the State of Florida, medical marijuana is legal. However, an individual must possess a valid medical marijuana license and follow all rules and regulations to possess marijuana for medicinal purposes in Florida lawfully.

Florida drug offenses involving "the intent to distribute or sell, to traffic drugs, and conspiracy to commit drug crimes" are far more serious than simple drug possession offenses. In some cases, drug charges involving dealing, trafficking, or distribution could be punished with life in prison. If you or a family member is facing any drug-related offense, it is imperative that you speak with one of our friendly, hardworking, and knowledgeable Sarasota County Criminal Defense Lawyers. At Musca Law, our legal team will evaluate your legal matter and provide information about your legal options. If we represent you or your loved one, we will work with you to develop the best possible defense and fight hard to reduce your charges or win your case.

Domestic Violence Offenses in Sarasota County, Florida (F.S. § 741.28)

Criminal offenses involving domestic violence, abuse, child abuse, and other domestic crimes are complex and very serious. An allegation and subsequent charge of domestic violence can restrict a parent from spending time with their kids, prevent access to the home, and damage their chances of winning a future child custody or divorce case. When a spouse, roommate, or child alleges an act of violence, the accused will be arrested and charged with a crime even if the charge has no merit. In other words, a careless decision to call law enforcement can ruin the accused's reputation and future without cause or justification. Also, state prosecuting attorneys may and will prosecute the accused even if the accuser insists, they overreacted. For this reason, along with many other reasons, the accused must break contact with the accuser, keep silent, stay calm, and then contact Musca Law for a free consultation.

Law enforcement and prosecutors are quick in charging the accused with the criminal charges because, in many cases, another person's life or safety may be at risk. As with any other criminal charge, a domestic violence allegation does not prove the claims to be true. Since the nature of domestic abuse offenses are serious and often life-threatening to the victims and law enforcement, the accused is often treated as if they were guilty of the crime long before actually defending themselves in court. This frequently leads to the charged, making comments or behaving in such a way that the accused could jeopardize their defense. If you or someone you love is accused of domestic abuse, assault, or any violent crime in Sarasota County, Florida, you do not have time to waste. Contact Musca Law to discuss your legal matter.

Under Florida criminal statutes, "domestic violence" is characterized 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."

One of the central elements in proving domestic violence accusations in the State of Florida is establishing the alleged victim is a member of the household. Florida criminal statutes define household or family members as:

"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."

If this important element in the prosecuting attorney's case is not satisfied, the case against the defendant might be a dismissed. However, for a dismissal, your Criminal Defense Lawyer must show that the prosecution has not successfully satisfied its burden of (1) showing an act of domestic violence has occurred, and (2) that the victim at issue is a family or household member, as outlined under Florida law.

Sex Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida

Sex crimes are charges that can often cause significant emotional and physical trauma to a victim. However, even if the criminal allegations are true, the accused has a Constitutional Right to have a fair trial and receive the best legal representation possible. A defendant has the right to fight charges to reduce his or her charges and potential punishments.

According to the Florida criminal law that governs sex crimes, crimes of a sexual nature include, and are not be limited to:

  • Child pornography;
  • Computer-related sex crimes;
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender;
  • Human Trafficking;
  • Lewd and Lascivious Acts (i.e., exposure of the genital area to others, including minors.);
  • Prostitution;
  • Solicitation of Prostitution;
  • Rape;
  • Sex Crimes Involving Children (including possession and/or distribution of child pornography);
  • Sexual battery;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Stalking; and
  • Statutory Rape.

If the accused is convicted of a sex crime in Sarasota County, Florida, the accused will be facing the possibility of receiving the harshest penalties. The penalties may include a lengthy prison sentence, fines, and probation and be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life. In many instances, these life-long punishments are overly burdensome and do not fit the alleged crime. Call Musca Law, we want to fight for you!

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida (F.S. § 316.193)

Charges of Driving Under the Influence (or DUI) in Sarasota County, Florida, is like many other crimes since the severity, of the charges, ranges from a misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. If someone is arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the driver could face one or more of the following DUI charges (with possible penalties):





First DUI
(BAC of .08 or More)

Unclassified Misdemeanor

Six Months


First DUI with Minor Under 18 in Vehicle

Unclassified Misdemeanor

Nine Months


First DUI
(BAC of .15 or More)

Unclassified Misdemeanor

Nine Months


Second DUI
(BAC of .08 or More)

Unclassified Misdemeanor

Nine Months


DUI Involving Damage to Property

First-Degree Misdemeanor

One Year


Second DUI
(BAC of .15 or More)

Unclassified Misdemeanor

One Year


Third DUI (More than 10 Years Later)

Unclassified Misdemeanor

One Year


Third DUI
(Within 10 Years)

Third-Degree Felony

Five Years


Fourth DUI
(Whether Within or More Than 10 Years After Prior DUI)

Third-Degree Felony

Five Years


DUI Involving Bodily Injury

Third-Degree Felony

Five Years


DUI Manslaughter (Death of Another Person or Unborn Child)

Second-Degree Felony

Fifteen Years


DUI Manslaughter with Failure to Render Aid

First-Degree Felony

Thirty Years


To secure a guilty verdict by way of a plea agreement or a guilty verdict in a DUI criminal trial, Sarasota County prosecutors must prove the latter according to Florida DUI law:

The defendant accused of DUI was in actual physical control of the vehicle at issue; AND

(1) The defendant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that his/her “normal faculties” were impaired; OR

(2) The defendant had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; OR

(3) The defendant had a breath-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.

Although many DUI charges in Florida are classified as misdemeanors, any "aggravated conduct" will instantly turn a minor misdemeanor charge into a felony charge even if the defendant has a clean criminal record. Therefore, if you or someone you love one is charged with DUI in Sarasota County, Florida, it is vital that you stay calm, keep silent, and handle the arrest and detention process with the utmost respect. Then to talk one of our experienced DUI Defense Attorneys in Sarasota County, Florida, for your free consultation. Our law firm and our dedicated attorneys have substantial criminal defense experience, particularly with DUI cases throughout the State of Florida.

Theft Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida (F.S. § 812.014)

As earlier mentioned, the most prevalent kind of criminal offense in Sarasota County pertains to larceny or theft crimes. As in the case of most criminal offenses, theft crimes could suddenly turn into felonies. According to Florida theft laws, the term “theft” is defined as “knowingly obtains or use, or endeavor 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.”

The following list of common theft crimes may be deemed a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case:

Violent Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida

Most violent crimes include accusations of domestic violence. A substantial number of violent crimes perpetrated by a family member or household member. In the State of Florida, violent crimes, connected with a domestic relationship or not, include the following:

Should a defendant in a violent crime trial be found guilty, the penalties will probably include a prison sentence, especially if the alleged victim was injured or murdered. On top of a jail sentence, the other potential penalties could consist of expensive fines, a criminal record, probation, damage to one´s reputation, and other life consequences.

If you or a loved one are charged with a violent crime, only a highly-trained Criminal Defense Attorney with experience representing their clients in cases concerning allegations of violent crimes should be defending a client in the courtroom. Contact Musca Law for your free consultation, case review, and protect your freedoms.

Internet Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida

Although most Internet crimes do not involve some sort of physical harm committed on another person (with the exception of certain Internet sex crimes), the consequences of an Internet crime conviction are severe. The most frequent forms of Internet crimes involve sex and theft crimes.

Examples of internet crimes include, among others, the following:

  • Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
  • Distribution of Child Pornography;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Identity Theft;
  • Illegal Financial Transactions;
  • Possession of Child Pornography;
  • Production of Child Pornography;
  • Sex Trafficking; and
  • Solicitation and/or Enticement of a Child for Sexual Purposes.

White-Collar Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida (F.S. § 775.0844)

The most common types of white-collar crimes are Internet-related. A few examples of white-collar crimes committed in Florida include:

  • Conspiracy to Commit Fraud; and
  • Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Exploitation of Certain Groups of People (such as the elderly and disabled);
  • Illegal Financial Transactions;
  • Non-Violent Theft Crimes;
  • And Racketeering.

When a person is convicted of perpetrating a white-collar crime, these crimes are frequently felonies, which bring substantial prison sentences. Federal and Florida laws penalize financial crimes as harshly as many crimes involving severe bodily injury. White-collar criminal law is an area of law that few Criminal Defense Attorneys practice. If you or a colleague are facing white-collar criminal charges, contact Musca Law to protect your legal rights.

Juvenile Crimes in Sarasota County, Florida

Juvenile offenders often face the same sorts of criminal charges that adults face. But the way juvenile criminal charges are approached in Juvenile Courts in Sarasota County, Florida will vary depending on the age of the juvenile offender, the severity of the asserted crime, and if the juvenile has a criminal history. Often, juvenile offenders are able to avoid significant jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record if they undergo court-directed counseling, live in a group home, or, in some cases, spend a period of time in a juvenile jail. However, imprisonment is reserved for the most severe juvenile offenses. In cases where a juvenile is close to the age of 18, and the crime committed was substantial, the juvenile defendant might be tried as an adult. In the most extreme offenses, such as 1st-degree murder, a child may be tried as an adult even though the child is several years under the age of 18.

Protective Injunctions in Sarasota County, Florida (F.S. § 784.0485)

Protective injunctions, also known as restraining orders, no-contact orders, or protection orders, are oftentimes part of a criminal case involving the same alleged violent conduct. According to Florida law, victims of suspected abuse, sexual misconduct, stalking, or violence may petition the courts for the following protective injunctions:

  • Domestic Violence Injunctions;
  • Dating Violence Injunctions;
  • Stalking Injunctions;
  • Repeat Violence Injunctions; and
  • Sexual Violence Injunctions.

In certain protective injunction cases, a person might be served with a protective injunction without receiving any criminal charges. The legal system is set up to protect victims, and therefore, the courts will err on the side of caution to protect lives. Getting a protective injunction (or restraining order) does not require an equivalent burden of proof needed in a typical criminal case. However, the consequences of a protective order may have life-long damaging effects. If you or a loved one have been served with a protective injunction or believe a judge has issued a protective order against you, you must seek the advice of one of our Sarasota County Protective Order Defense Lawyers as quickly as possible.

Contact the Sarasota County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today

Are you facing criminal charges in Sarasota County, Florida? If you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony criminal charge in Sarasota County, Florida, your freedoms are at stake. You or your loved one deserves a skilled legal advocate for legal representation and help you or your loved one defend against the prosecution. At Musca Law, our growing team of Sarasota Criminal Defense Lawyers has over 150 years of combined criminal law experience helping our clients avoid the harshest of penalties. To learn how Musca Law may be able to help you, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!