When a police officer snaps handcuffs on your wrists or you receive notice that you are the subject of a criminal investigation, these developments will spur anxiety about the future. Police officers and detective have no desire to ease your concerns because they frequently leverage your anxiety and unfamiliarity with the criminal justice process. Many people currently in jail or prison made the error of attempting to obtain their release by talking to law enforcement instead of firmly and unambiguously exercising their right to an attorney and to remain silent. If you take advantage of these two powerful constitutional protections, your odds of a favorable outcome significantly increase. Our law firm brings decades of criminal defense experience, extensive litigation resources, and the dogged determination to take full advantage of our clients’ rights under state and federal law. We also protect our clients from law enforcement officers and prosecutors prepared to act improperly by using tactics like suggestive lineups, coerced confessions, illegal searches, and other unlawful conduct.
Domestic Violence Lawyers in Melbourne
Increased media exposure focused on domestic violence has encouraged victims to come forward, but this positive development has had a negative side effect. Parties sometimes use false allegations to secure a strategic advantage in civil litigation involving child custody, divorce, and property rights. We hear from individuals whose heads are still spinning after they have been kicked out of their home, denied access to their children, and placed in jeopardy of job loss based on a very brief notice of a hearing for an initial domestic violence injunction. Although the intention was never for this powerful shield to be “weaponized,” the consequence of a domestic violence conviction potentially extends far beyond the terms of your sentence to your career, family relationships, reputation, Second Amendment rights. Under Florida Statutes, Section 741.28, domestic violence differs from most other criminal offenses because the statute applies to the commission of a range of offenses. The defining characteristic of these offenses is that the alleged victim and the accused must have one of the following relationships:
- Parents who share a child in common
- Individuals currently or previously married
- People living together as a family
- Persons related by marriage or blood
- Currently or previously cohabitating adults
- Parties in a current or former dating relationship
Crimes that cause injury or death involving parties to any of these relationships can be prosecuted for domestic violence. Examples enumerated by the statute include assault and aggravated assault, battery and aggravated battery, sexual assault and sexual battery, aggravated stalking, and kidnapping. The offense can result in state prison and carries a mandatory minimum of five (5) days in jail. The prosecutor can also seek a conviction for other offenses, so the prosecutor could pursue both a domestic violence conviction and an assault or battery charge. Our domestic violence lawyers in Melbourne understand the risk that these kinds of allegations will be misused based on improper motivations. Our attorneys carefully examine police reports, past incidents between the parties, witness statements, and other evidence to identify inaccurate or false allegations. We diligently strive to obtain the best outcome whether that be a dismissal, acquittal, or a plea bargain involving a lesser charge or more lenient sentence.
Some people arrested for DUI do not retain legal representation and plead out to the prosecutor’s initial offer at the first opportunity. This flawed strategy usually will be motivated by a sense that failing a chemical test or poor performance during standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) makes a conviction virtually inevitable. Although our Melbourne DUI lawyers usually recommend declining to submit to standardized field sobriety testing or a portable roadside breath test, the results of these alcohol screening tools, or even a formal chemical test following an arrest, do not mean you will be convicted. There are many defenses that can be used based on a careful examination of the entire process of your stop, roadside interaction with the officer, arrest, and formal chemical test. The exact strategy our lawyers would utilize to defend you will depend on the specific facts, but some successful defense strategies could include:
- Showing the stop of your vehicle was not legal
- Exposing errors, misrepresentations, and falsehoods regarding the officer’s observations of you prior and after you were pulled over
- Emphasizing factors that compromise breathalyzer reliability, such as Adkins (low carb) diets, mouthwash, and GERD (acid reflux)
- Revealing procedural errors in conducting SFSTs and chemical tests
- Highlighting factors that compromised SFST results like tight clothing, proximity to traffic, illness or injury, or other factors
Whether you are arrested for DUI because you alleged had a BAL of .08 or above or your normal faculties were impaired [See Florida Statutes, Section 316.193], our Melbourne DUI attorneys provide a tenacious defense to individuals charged with driving under the influence. Time is of the essence in seeking legal advice because you can only dispute an administrative suspension of your driver’s license if you request a DMV hearing to fight the suspension within 10 days. Our law firm handles the full spectrum of drunk driving offenses, such as:
- DUI Overview
- DUI for commercial drivers
- Felony DUI
- Driver’s license revocation hearings
- DUI with priors
- Implied consent violations
- DUI accidents
- DUI with injuries
- DUI manslaughter
- Boating under the influence
Sex Crimes Lawyers in Melbourne
Few accusations do as much damage as one that you have committed a sexual offense. While any misdemeanor or felony conviction can harm your reputation and interfere with your career, personal relationships, and other aspects of your life, the mere allegation of a sex crime can be damaging. Our sex crime lawyers in Melbourne recognize that skill and experience is needed to shield our client’s reputation from unjustified allegations of this nature. We also focus on an aggressive defense to prevent a conviction that might require permanent registration as a sex offender. Registration as a sex offender or sex predator can severely limit your options in choosing where to live and work. Some of the sex crimes we handle include:
- Sexual Battery
- Child Porn Offenses
- Sexual Assault
- Sex Offender Registration Offenses
- Federal Sex Crimes
- Child Molestation/Child Exploitation
- Statutory Rape
- Domestic Violence
- Lewd & Lascivious
- Stalking/Aggravated Stalking
- Spousal Rape
Because our attorneys have decades of experience defending misdemeanor and felony offenses in state and federal courts, we also provide an effective defense to other categories of crimes, which include the following:
- Crimes of Violence
- Drug Offenses
- Financial Crimes
- Crimes Involving Theft
- Other Serious Traffic, Misdemeanor, Felony, and Juvenile Offenses
If you are the target of an investigation or you have been arrested, we invite you to speak to one of our knowledgeable and seasoned Melbourne criminal defense attorneys today to learn how we can help.
White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes, as defined by Florida law, are crimes that include the “commission or conspiracy to commit any felony theft or fraud.” White collar crimes took their name from the fact that they are most commonly associated with people who work in corporate professions. These crimes, however, are normally a tad more complex than your average street robbery. White collar crimes also customarily include a far greater amount of money than any home burglary or purse snatching.
White collar crimes are criminal acts such as counterfeiting, forgery, passing bad checks, racketeering, taking advantage of the disabled or the elderly, insurance fraud, offenses involving financial transactions, extortion, embezzlement, and pyramid schemes. They often require the aid of high-level technology, and prosecutors and law enforcement attack these types of cases very aggressively. Aggravated white collar crimes are crimes that involve more than one offense, 10 or more elderly targets, 20 or more assorted victims, or a subdivision or agency of the United States government.
It is important to keep in mind that simply because someone was not subjected to bodily harm during the commission of a crime that is considered white collar, it does not imply you cannot serve time in prison. The majority of white-collar crime offenders are looking at anywhere from five to 30 long years in Florida state prison. Even more in certain cases. Sentencing guidelines vary greatly and will largely rely on the sort of crime that you committed, how much money was stolen, the number of victims affected, and whether or not you already have a criminal history. Not receiving a guilty verdict is our main goal in cases involving white-collar crimes. In the event that there is a substantial amount of evidence against you, this might mean arranging a plea bargain for a reduction in your criminal charges and therefore a reduction in your penalties as well. You will need to have a defense attorney in Melbourne who is skilled in handling these types of extremely complex and time-consuming cases, and who has previously worked with the other people who will be involved with your cases, such as law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors. Our 150 years of collective experience at Musca Law have demonstrated repeated, positive outcomes for our clients, making Musca Law and its team of criminal defense attorneys a commonly relied on and trusted law firm in criminal defense in the state of Florida.
If you have been recently convicted of a crime in Melbourne, then you were probably sentenced to a period of incarceration or other rigid penalties. If you do not feel that you were treated fairly or agree with an injustice that had a direct bearing on the results of your trial, then you are permitted to file a direct appeal to a higher court. Filing an appeal means that you are formally requesting relief through an appellate court. Following your sentencing, you and your criminal defense attorney will have thirty days in which to file your direct appeal with the courts.
A Florida criminal appellate attorney will be able to assist you in determining the most valid reasons for filing an appeal to your criminal conviction. A few of the more frequently raised issues in a criminal case that is under direct appeal include, but are not limited to:
- Decisions regarding pretrial motions
- The incorrect disclosure of evidence given by the state during the trial
- The incorrect omission of evidence given by the state during the trial
- Incorrect assertions were given by the state during the closing arguments
- Errors in the instructions to the jury
Criminal appellate procedures can last anywhere from eight months to longer than one year, starting from the time the appeal is formally filed until the appellate court presents the written notice containing the results of the appeal. Once the appeal is resolved, a Melbourne criminal defense attorney can also file another appeal to an appellate court with a higher ranking.
When someone who is under the age of 18 is charged with committing a crime in the state of Florida, the problem is typically taken care of within the confines of the juvenile justice system. The main difference between the adult criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system is the ultimate purpose of the court. Where adults are concerned, the determination of the court system is to punish. When juveniles are concerned, the determination of the court system is to rehabilitate.
As our Melbourne juvenile criminal defense attorneys will be able to tell you, prosecutors do maintain the power to direct-file a case from juvenile court to standard court. There are some forcible felony crimes, such as sexual battery, murder, arson, kidnapping, robbery, manslaughter, aggravated child abuse and more, that demand compulsory direct filing. State prosecutors do, however, have a wide berth given to them when it comes to direct-filing other, less serious types of crimes as well. Once a minor has been selected for criminal prosecution through a direct file, the court will immediately transfer and certify all current felony cases involving the minor to the adult court system.
If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense in Florida, it could leave a permanent mark on their otherwise bright future. Our committed Melbourne criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to alleviating as many of those negative effects as possible.
Here in the offices of Musca Law, our Melbourne, Florida criminal defense attorneys will work vigorously to find more than one defense tactic where any of these kinds of criminal charges are concerned. This includes defense tactics that will extend from the suppression of damaging evidence to challenging the key witnesses against you to the skilled negotiation of a plea bargain that includes a reduction in your criminal charges.