Criminal Defense Lawyers in Punta Gorda, Florida
Florida Criminal Defense Overview, Laws, Penalties, and Defenses
With just over 20,000 people, Punta Gorda does not see the same level of crime as Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and other larger cities. However, Punta Gorda still sees its fair share of arrests and criminal charges, and all criminal matters must be taken seriously. In some cases, facing a criminal charge in a smaller city or county can be more serious than facing the same criminal charge in a larger city or county. For example, a smaller city may be more aggressive in prosecuting minor drug possession or driving under the influence (DUI) cases. As such, anyone facing criminal charges in Punta Gorda should expect prosecutors to fight extensively to secure the maximum punishment allowable for conviction of a crime under Florida law.
At Musca Law, our team of nationally-recognized Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyers have built their careers representing the legal rights of the accused throughout the state of Florida. With offices and lawyers available throughout the entire state, our legal team has the resources, diligence, reputation, and proven results to provide anyone facing criminal charges in Punta Gorda with excellent legal representation. The Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law treat all criminal matters with the same level of seriousness and attention. Prosecutors are not always predictable nor are judges. Therefore, whether you are facing a minor misdemeanor or serious felony, you need to retain a highly qualified lawyer right away. To find out how Musca Law can protect your rights in Punta Gorda, contact our office today by calling (888) 484-5057. Our lawyers are standing by 24/7 to help you.
Levels of Crime Under Florida Law – Misdemeanors and Felonies
All jurisdictions in the state of Florida, including the city of Punta Gorda, follow state statutes when charging individuals with misdemeanors and felonies. However, while criminal statutes are the same throughout the state, some prosecutors will be more aggressive in seeking the maximum penalty for conviction that other prosecutors.
Pursuant to Florida statutes, criminal charges are classified as misdemeanors and felonies as follows:
CATEGORY OF CRIME
MAXIMUM MONETARY FINE
Unclassified Misdemeanor (pertaining to DUI charges)
6 months to 1 Year
$1,000 to $5,000
Beyond Jail Time and Fines – Additional Penalties Resulting from Criminal Convictions
Depending on the level and severity of a criminal charge in Punta Gorda, some defendants may face additional consequences either in lieu of, or along with, jail time and/or fines. Examples of such consequences include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- A permanent criminal record;
- Loss or limitation on constitutional rights;
- Completion of community service hours;
- Completion of counseling/treatment for mental health and/or alcohol and substance abuse;
- Completion of educational courses;
- Limitation on driving abilities (for DUI convictions);
- Submission to random alcohol and/or drug testing;
- Tarnished reputation (especially when the criminal conviction at issue involves violence or sex crimes); and
- Inability or difficulty getting a job, being accepted into a college or university, difficulty obtaining credit, and difficulty renting an apartment or house.
One criminal conviction – no matter how minor – has consequences that extend for many years or decades. Therefore, if you are facing criminal charges in Punta Gorda, you must act quickly to retain a superior Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer who can handle ANY criminal matter.
The Charlotte County Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Take on All Criminal Charges
Musca Law prides itself in offering legal representation to clients charged with any crime under Florida and/or federal law. Some criminal defense lawyers specialize in only DUI cases or only minor crimes. Such law firms often handle non-criminal practice areas, which means that these firms may not devote all of their time to criminal cases. When looking for a criminal defense law firm in Punta Gorda, you should choose a firm that specializes in all aspects of criminal law. At Musca Law, we handle a variety of criminal matters, which include the following:
- Drug Crimes;
- Domestic Violence Crimes;
- Sex Crimes;
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Crimes;
- DUI Manslaughter
- Theft Crimes;
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
- Violent Crimes;
- Internet Crimes;
- White-Collar Crimes;
- Juvenile Crimes; and
- Protective Injunctions/Restraining Orders.
Additional Information on Criminal Defense Practice Areas in Punta Gorda, Florida
Drug Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida (F.S. § 893.13)
Drug crimes in Punta Gorda range in severity, with some defendants avoiding jail time and others being sentenced to decades in jail. Regardless of the chances of facing jail time for a given drug charge, all defendants must approach the matter with the understanding that jail time is a legitimate possibility. At Musca Law, we represent clients facing a variety of drug crimes, some of which include the following:
- Drug Possession;
- Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute;
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
- Drug Trafficking (within Florida and/or across state lines); and
- Conspiracy to Commit Drug Crimes.
Drug crimes involving marijuana – especially those involving possession of a small amount intended for personal use – typically do not result in jail time. However, because prosecutors can be unpredictable in Punta Gorda, defendants facing minor marijuana possession charges should still assume the maximum penalty under Florida law can be assessed for conviction. Marijuana is now legal in the state of Florida for medicinal use, with legalization of marijuana for recreational use a possibility in the coming years. Despite the future change in laws, it is still currently illegal to possess marijuana – for any use – aside from medicinal use authorized by a valid medical card compliant with Florida state laws.
Drug crimes involving cocaine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, fentanyl and other opiates, LCD/acid, PCP, and ecstasy, are considered more dangerous drugs that Punta Gorda law enforcement officials and prosecutors will take more seriously. As such, defendants must be armed with the best Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer when facing drug charges.
Domestic Violence Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida (F.S. § 741.28)
Domestic violence crimes in Punta Gorda can land a convicted person in jail for decades. Under Florida law, “domestic violence” is defined 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.” Florida law further defines “family or household member” as:
- 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.”
Because domestic violence crimes are very specific, a failure by Punta Gorda prosecutors to prove that a person is legally considered a family or household member per Florida statute is grounds for dismissal. However, to raise the proper defenses to domestic violence charges, a defendant must choose a Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer well-versed in handling domestic violence cases.
Sex Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida
Sex crimes in Punta Gorda carry hefty jail sentences and the stigma of always being a registered sex offender. The consequences of being convicted of ANY sex crime under Florida law are far-reaching and disastrous for a defendant’s future. Examples of sex crimes Musca Law handles include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Attempted Rape;
- Statutory Rape;
- Solicitation of Prostitution;
- Human Trafficking;
- Lewd and Lascivious Acts;
- Sex-Related Crimes Involving a Child (such as child pornography crimes);
- Stalking (including cyberstalking); and
- Failing to Register as a Sex Offender.
Given that sex crimes can severely tarnish a person’s reputation and livelihood in addition to substantial jail time, defendants facing sex-related criminal charges cannot settle for just any lawyer. Only a Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer who has successfully defended clients charged with sex crimes should be handling the matter.
Driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Punta Gorda have decreased in recent years but remain common charges drivers face every day. DUI charges can range from a minor offense to one that lands a person in jail for thirty years. In all DUI cases, the prosecution must establish the following:
- The defendant was in actual physical control of the vehicle at issue; AND
- The defendant’s normal faculties were impaired from being under the influence of alcohol or drugs; OR
- The defendant had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; OR
- The defendant had a breath-alcohol level of .08 or greater grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
When aggravating factors are involved, such as a blood-alcohol content (BAC) reading of .15 or more, a DUI involving property damage or perhaps injury or death to another person, prosecutors must prove additional elements. While many DUI cases in Punta Gorda involve BAC readings, some only involve an officer’s interpretation and belief that a “defendant’s normal faculties were impaired” because of alcohol or drugs. The right lawyer will raise the necessary defenses to help clients receive the best outcome, which in some cases, may be a complete dismissal of DUI charges.
Theft Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida (F.S. § 812.014)
Theft crimes are some of the most commonly charged crimes in the state of Florida, with many of them being misdemeanors. However, some theft crimes are felonies, and a defendant will likely face significant jail time if convicted. At Musca Law, we represent clients charged with a variety of theft crimes in Punta Gorda, some of which include the following:
- Burglary (F.S. § 810.02);
- Grand Theft;
- Identity Theft (F.S. § 817.568);
- Petit Theft; and
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13).
Theft crimes that do not involve violence, although serious, are not nearly as serious as theft crimes that harm or potentially harm others. With a reputable and diligent Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer, a defendant facing theft crimes is in the best position to reach a fair result.
Violent Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida
Violent crimes, like sex crimes, are some of the most severe crimes under Florida law. Any crime that causes physical harm to another person, whether such harm involves injuries or death, will land a convicted person in jail for a very long time. If a violent crime is serious enough, a defendant may even face the death penalty. Musca Law represents clients facing violent crimes in Punta Gorda that include the following:
- Murder (F.S. § 782.04);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. § 782.051);
- Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.07);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. § 782.071);
- Assault and Battery (F.S. § 784.011 and F.S. § 784.03);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. § 784.045);
- Arson (F.S. § 806.01);
- Rape/Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011); and
- Robbery (F.S. § 812.13).
Many individuals are wrongfully convicted of violent crimes when they do not have the right lawyer. While positive results can never be guaranteed, having a lawyer who possesses the necessary tools and experience to represent a client’s constitutional rights in the courtroom substantially increases the chances that an innocent person will not be convicted and sentenced to jail. At Musca Law, we leave no stone unturned when vigorously defending the rights of our clients.
Internet Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida
Internet crimes have become more prevalent as the world increasingly relies on the internet to conduct daily business. Although the internet makes life easier in many ways, the internet has opened the door to an entirely new area of criminal law. Internet crimes in Punta Gorda typically involve allegations of theft or sex crimes. Examples of internet crimes Musca Law handles include the following:
- Child Pornography Crimes (including manufacturing, possessing, and/or distributing child pornography, among others);
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Identity Theft;
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Sex Trafficking; and
- Solicitation and/or Enticement of a Child for Sexual Purposes.
Many criminal defense law firms in Punta Gorda do not handle internet crimes. As such, when seeking a Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer, experience in the specialized field of internet crimes is a must.
White-Collar Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida (F.S. § 775.0844)
White-collar crimes are those that cause financial harm – not physical harm. While white-collar crimes do not involve violent behavior, they do lead to serious jail time and fines. Punta Gorda prosecutors often treat white-collar crimes more seriously than some violent crimes. At Musca Law, we represent clients charged with white-collar crimes that include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Conspiracy to Commit Fraud/Theft;
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Exploitation of Certain Groups of People (such as the elderly and disabled);
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Non-Violent Theft Crimes; and
White-collar crimes are sometimes intertwined with internet crimes, which is not surprising given that most financial transactions are electronic. Musca Law possesses the necessary experience to represent the rights of clients facing white-collar criminal charges in Punta Gorda.
Juvenile Crimes in Punta Gorda, Florida
Criminal matters involving juveniles are handled differently than the adult criminal system. Unless a juvenile is being charged as an adult for a serious violent crime, a juvenile should expect to face a process that is intended to rehabilitate rather than punish the juvenile. Like any criminal matter, if grounds exist to dismiss criminal charges filed against a juvenile, a qualified Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer will raise such grounds. If a juvenile pleads guilty to a crime, the consequences will not be jail time in an adult penitentiary or thousands of dollars in fines. Rather, the consequences may be detention in a juvenile facility (in harsher cases), placement in a halfway house/juvenile group home, probation, counseling, and/or community service.
Juveniles who have been charged and convicted of crimes have the benefit of a sealed criminal record. A permanent criminal record does nothing to rehabilitate or help a juvenile who has made a mistake at a young age. Although the outcome is good for most juveniles (who are not tried as adults), any juvenile facing criminal charges in Punta Gorda must make every effort to find the best lawyer for the job.
Protective Injunctions/Restraining Orders in Punta Gorda, Florida (F.S. § 784.0485)
One area of criminal law that is unique from the rest is the area of protective injunctions/restraining orders. Such orders are not themselves criminal matters but instead are civil matters that involve underlying criminal conduct. A person can technically face a protective injunction/restraining order without ever facing criminal charges and/or being the subject of a criminal investigation pertaining to the same conduct alleged in the protective injunction/restraining order. Under Florida law, a person can seek the following types of protective injunctions/restraining orders:
- Dating Violence Injunctions;
- Domestic Violence Injunctions;
- Repeat Violence Injunctions;
- Sexual Violence Injunctions; and
- Stalking Injunctions (including cyberstalking).
Because protective injunctions/restraining orders involve allegations of criminal conduct, it is imperative that anyone who has been served with a protective injunction/restraining order in Punta Gorda act quickly to seek the advice of a Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer.
Contact the Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyers of Musca Law Today!
Successfully fighting criminal charges in Punta Gorda, Florida begins with the right criminal defense lawyer. If you are facing criminal charges in Punta Gorda, you have limited time to find a lawyer and protect your constitutional rights.
At Musca Law, our Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyers have what it takes to help clients avoid harsh penalties resulting from criminal convictions. Musca Law utilizes all resources to ensure clients are receiving the legal representation they need and deserve. To speak with a Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer, contact Musca Law 24/7 by calling (888) 484-5057.