Jacksonville Criminal Lawyers
When detectives show up at your home to conduct a search or pull you over and request that you perform standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs), you need to know your legal rights. Even if you have not been arrested, legal advice from seasoned Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers can help you defend your rights and future. The decision to retain an attorney when an investigation is pending before formal charges have been filed can result in a far better disposition.
The Importance of Speaking With A Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have representation at the pre-charge stage of a criminal case, your attorneys can expose weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, questions about the admissibility of evidence, and a paucity of evidence to prove specific charges. Effective negotiation based on these strategies can lead to a decision not to file charges, an agreement to diversion, or fewer and/or less serious charges. Since the initial charges usually set the parameters for a plea agreement in the case, success in influencing the initial charging decision usually will mean the parameters for a plea agreement will be set at a lower level.
Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys
Criminal charges can threaten your job, family stability, liberty, reputation, and financial well-being, but our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys provide aggressive opposition to the full range of criminal offenses, such as:
- DUI Manslaughter
- Injunctions (Protection Orders)
- Sex Crimes
- Domestic Violence
- Child Pornography
- Drug Crimes
- Narcotics Crimes
- Juvenile Crimes
- Violent Crimes
- White-Collar Crimes
- Federal Crimes
- Child Molestation
- Criminal Enterprise Crimes
Sex Crime Lawyers in Jacksonville
While most people probably would be hesitant to condemn a high school senior who engages in consensual sex with his sophomore girlfriend to a lifetime of adverse consequences, Florida’s tough sex crime penalties can have exactly this result. While any misdemeanor or felony offense can result in undesirable forms of punishment, most sex offenses require registration as a sex predator or sex offender. Although pursuing employment, housing, and close personal relationships can always be complicated by a criminal conviction, a registrant will face more than the risk of incarceration, fines, counseling, and probation.
Jacksonville Sex Crime Defense Strategy
To determine the best possible sex crime defense strategy, our attorneys conduct a thorough evaluation of all factors involved in the case. Depending on the facts of your case, defenses that might be relevant include:
- Lack of knowledge or specific intent
- Consensual encounter
- Suppression of illegally obtained statements or confessions
- Attacking the credibility of the government’s witnesses
- Tainted testimony of a child skewed by a biased or suggestive interview
Jacksonville Sex Offender Registration
When you are convicted of many sex crimes in Florida, you must register as either a sexual predator or sexual offender. The sexual predator designation is reserved for those who engage in violent sexual offenses. Florida law does not provide a process for those designated as sexual predators to be removed from the registry. When the alleged victim of a sex crime is under the age of 16, the registered sex offender usually will not be able to live within a thousand feet of a school, park or playground facility under state law. Many county and city ordinances impose even stricter restrictions that can make it virtually impossible for a registrant to find housing.
Jacksonville DUI Lawyers
Many people think their chances of beating a DUI charge are virtually non-existent because of the “science” of screening procedures like chemical tests of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, our experienced Jacksonville DUI lawyers have represented hundreds of people facing DUI charges, so we have the expertise and background to challenge the prosecutor’s case based on Constitutional, administrative, and/or legal grounds. An effective challenge to the basis for the stop of your vehicle, for example, could result in all the evidence against you being thrown out by the judge. Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined in Florida Statutes, Section 316.193 as driving a vehicle or exercising actual physical control over a vehicle when your “normal faculties” are diminished by drugs or alcohol or you have a BAC of .08% or higher. Conviction under this provision can result in imprisonment, fines, and other penalties. If you have prior convictions or were transporting a minor in the vehicle, you could face harsher penalties even for a first offense.
Strategies Used by Jacksonville DUI Attorneys
Some common defense strategies in DUI cases include:
Illegal Stop: Police officers cannot pull you over based on a mere “hunch,” they must have “reasonable suspicion” that you are committing a traffic offense or “probable cause” you are committing a crime. This “reasonable suspicion” must be based on articulable facts rather than mere speculation or guesswork.
Contesting Field Sobriety Test Results: These “divided attention” tasks must be conducted according to very specific procedures and evaluation guidelines. Many officers lack the required training to administer the tests properly. Even if properly trained, the officer might deviate from these protocols. In other cases, physical disability, illness, or injury might impair a motorist’s ability to perform these tests properly.
Challenge Chemical Tests: Breath tests are only admissible if the test complies with strict regulations and mandatory maintenance procedures are followed. The results can be thrown out for noncompliance with these procedural and maintenance requirements.
Exclusion of Damaging Statements: When the officer pulls you over, he or she will likely ask questions like the following:
- Have you been drinking?
- How much have you had to drink?
- Where are you coming from?
Request A Jacksonville DUI Attorney
Florida law does not require motorists to answer these questions, so you should politely indicate you want legal advice before answering any questions. The officer will not allow you to call your lawyer, but this provides a convenient rationale for your refusal. If you did answer questions, those statements may still be subject to suppression if the officer violated your Miranda rights or compelled an “involuntary” confession.
Domestic Violence Lawyers in Jacksonville
Domestic violence refers to a category of crimes under Florida law that generally involve threats or acts of violence between parties in certain designated relationships under Florida Statutes Section 741.28. The relevant relationships include:
- Married or formally married partners
- Parties related by either marriage or blood
- Parties who live or have lived together as a family
- Parents of a child
Jacksonville Domestic Violence Defense Strategy
Our domestic violence lawyers in Jacksonville conduct a thorough evaluation of medical records, law enforcement records, witness statements, and other evidence to determine the best defense strategy, such as fabricated allegations or self-defense. The statutory provision provides a non-exclusive list of offenses that merit a domestic violence charge:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- False Imprisonment
- Aggravated Stalking
- Other crimes resulting in injury between parties in the relationships indicated above
Society’s opinion on drugs has varied greatly over the past century or so. We are seeing reforms to the law even now with the rapid legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana in many states. Law enforcement, however, still holds drug distribution, possession, and trafficking to be major crimes. Both federal and state drug charges and the potential consequences that they will bring down on you will vary widely depending on the class of drug involved, the amount of the drug involved, and additional factors pertaining to your arrest. If you have inquiries about a drug charge that you have received, it is in your best interest to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. On occasion, a person turns out to be qualified for postponed sentencing when it pertains to a minor drug crime, which could aid you in avoiding a criminal charge on your record.
White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes include criminal acts such as embezzlement, forgery, fraud, and other crimes that are generally corporate-related. If you are found guilty of such a crime, you could face a jail sentence, financial penalties, restitution obligations, and the loss of any professional licenses that you may hold, as well as your reputation. Often times these cases are extremely complex and it may be difficult to even understand your charges. If you have been charged with one of these or any other white collar crime, or become aware that you are the target of a criminal investigation, you need to promptly contact a Florida white collar crime attorney today.
Theft and Property Crimes
Property crimes are crimes such as fraud, shoplifting, robbery, and identity theft. While a conviction for petty theft includes comparatively small penalties, a felony conviction could end with you serving substantial jail time, paying restitution, additional financial penalties, and other adverse outcomes as well. If you are dealing with charges of theft or property crimes, it is imperative that you schedule a private evaluation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Jacksonville office of our Musca Law firm today.
A large portion of violent crimes are classified as felonies. That means that you could be looking at extended jail time as well as other life-altering penalties. These crimes include but are not limited to:
- Murder and manslaughter
- Assault and battery
- Sex crimes
- Gun charges
Due to the abhorrent nature of these particular charges, they have a very heavy social stigma attached to them. If you have been charged with one of these or with any other violent crime, it is in your best interest to contact a Jacksonville, Florida criminal defense attorney who is experienced in handling cases where violent crimes are involved.
If you have been charged for such a crime, it is vital that you understand the potential defenses you have the option of using in the state of Florida. For instance, the law in Florida permits you to stand your ground in cases where you were required to defend yourself to save your own life or the life of someone else. This is what is known as the Stand Your Ground Law.
A good criminal defense attorney will examine your case and listen to your side of the events. He will then be able to give you sympathetic and sound guidance in terms of what you are dealing with and what legal options are available to you at this point. Your criminal defense attorney will also assist you in developing a thorough defense tactic that will concentrate on both your long-term and short-term goals in equal measure.
Reach out to the violent crimes attorneys here at Musca Law in Jacksonville today for a no-obligation, confidential, free consultation.
No Time to Waste
In the same way that crimes are different on so many complex levels, so are the various intricate facets of a criminal trial. The federal and state judicial practices are complicated in their demands and in their methodologies. The specific area of the law in which your criminal charges lie also carries with it various scenarios. Every individual charge necessitates a separate defense tactic and technique.
To make the situation even more desperate, strict time constraints are also in place that are ordered by the courts in each charge. Hiring a criminal defense attorney in order to adhere to these strict deadlines is, consequently, in your very best interest. For instance, if you have been charged in the state of Florida with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then you only have 10 days in which to demand a hearing, which could possibly prevent your driver’s license from being suspended.
Once you get in touch with our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys at the offices of Musca Law, we will be able to start the task of constructing an efficient and proactive defense strategy for your exact case. In addition, we will conduct an extremely thorough examination of any evidence against you. We will always move swiftly in order to adhere to any deadlines or provide for any discoveries that may be ordered.
At Musca Law, we endeavor to keep our clients apprised of any and all developments as their case progresses, in order to ensure that they get ongoing legal counsel and direction at every step of their legal journey. Furthermore, we recognize the emotional damage that a criminal charge places on you and on your loved ones as well. We engage all of our clients with courtesy, non-judgment, and respect. We are here to help you achieve the best outcome to a bad situation that we possibly can. Please call our Jacksonville office today to schedule a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys to determine how our legal services could most benefit you.