St. Petersburg Criminal Lawyers
Whether you have been stopped and arrested for DUI or you learn you are the target of an investigation involving a financial crime, skilled and experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys can protect your rights against overzealous law enforcement and prosecutors. Although a misdemeanor or felony conviction often results in significant formal penalties and long term informal consequences, individuals accused of a crime can significantly improve their prospect for a positive outcome by asserting the constitutional right not to talk to law enforcement and to assist on legal representation. While a police officer, investigator, or detective might claim you can improve your situation by “telling your side of the story,” law enforcement personnel are probing for evidence to support your prosecution.
If you are pulled over by law enforcement in St. Petersburg, the basis of the stop will usually be the officer’s observation of a traffic violation or so-called “erratic driving.” The officer will then use the stop to ask you questions and observe your responses. Depending on this interaction, the officer frequently will ask you to perform standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). Although a longer driver’s license suspension can be imposed if a person refuses to submit to chemical testing of blood alcohol level (BAL) under the Florida implied consent law (See Florida Statutes, Section 316.1932), you cannot be penalized for refusing participation in SFSTs. The purpose of SFSTs and officer questions during a stop is to gather the evidence needed to create probable cause for an arrest and to force you to submit to chemical testing. Because you have nothing to gain by participating, you should politely decline to answer any questions without legal counsel (besides providing your driver’s license and registration) or to participate in SFSTs. This approach can minimize the amount of evidence available to the prosecutor, but an experienced attorney can use other defenses, such as:
- Exposing officer errors in conducting SFSTs
- Providing explanations for failing the tests unrelated to intoxication
- Failure to calibrate the breath testing machine
- Contamination of blood or urine samples
- False positive breath tests from a low carb diet, GERD, vomiting, or acid reflux
An experienced St. Petersburg DUI lawyer can protect your rights and defend your driving privileges, freedom, reputation, and future if you are charged with alcohol-related offenses like the following:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- DUI Manslaughter
- DUI Accidents
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
- Felony DUI
- DUI with Prior Convictions
- Implied Consent Law Refusals
- Administrative Driver’s License Suspension Hearings
Domestic Violence Charges in St. Petersburg
“Domestic violence” under St. Petersburg and Florida law refers to engaging in acts like battery, assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, stalking or other criminal acts that cause physical injury to a family or household member. See Florida Statutes, Section 741.28. Although the precise penalties for a domestic violence offense will depend on the circumstances of the offense, penalties might include loss of gun rights, incarceration, substantial fines, completion of a Batterers Intervention Program, probation, and other consequences. Experienced St. Petersburg criminal attorneys tenaciously advocate for the rights of those accused of these offenses. We might employ strategies like investigating motivations for false allegations, seeking the exclusion of impermissible evidence, and challenging the sufficiency of the prosecutor’s evidence regarding the elements of the charged offense.
Defense of Individuals Charged with Sex Crimes in St. Petersburg
Sex crimes often carry a stigma and consequences that linger long after you have fully served your jail time and satisfied all the terms of your probation. The impact of a conviction of a sex crime often includes the requirement that you register as a sex offender. This registration requirement means that anyone can learn about your past crime even after you have fully satisfied the terms of your sentence. You also must comply with restrictions about your occupation, the place you reside, and even locations you visit. Feel free to contact Musca Law if you have questions about a St. Petersburg sex crime charge or investigation, such as:
- Federal sex crimes
- Spousal rape
- Date rape
- Procuring a Minor for Prostitution
- Child Pornography
- Stalking Injunction
- Sexual Violence Injunction
- Repeat Violence Injunction
- Dating Violence Injunction
- Domestic Violence Injunction
- Aggravated stalking
- Sexual Tourism
- Indecent exposure
- Pimping and pandering
- Sexual battery
- Sexual Predator Act
- Computer and internet sex crimes
- Failure to register
- Lewd or lascivious
- Sexual assault
- Sexual activity with a 16/17-year-old
Our Defense Lawyers in Pinellas County Handle a Variety of Different Cases
Although these are the types of crimes that we see most often, our St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys have decades of collective experience. Our background defending individuals charged with a diverse range of state and federal charges has equipped us to also handle the full range of criminal cases, including but not limited to the following:
- Simple Possession
- Possession of Marijuana
- Prescription Drug Offenses (e.g., forging prescriptions, pill mills, etc.)
- Drug Trafficking
- Driving on a Suspended License
- Red Light Violations
- Reckless Driving
- Other Serious Traffic Offenses
Other Areas of Criminal Defense in St. Petersburg
- Probation Violations
- Weapon Crimes
- Juvenile Offenses
- Disorderly Intoxication
- Theft Crimes
- Violation of Restraining Orders/Injunctions
- Possession of Stolen Property
Our St. Petersburg defense lawyers share a commitment to defending individuals facing the enormous power of the state and federal government. When the prosecution employs endless resources to tear away your rights, our St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys will defend you and fight back. Having reliable legal counsel with over 150+ years of experience is invaluable. You leave nothing to chance with the power of Musca Law on your side.
Since the mass availability of computers in the 1980s and the internet in the early 1990s, almost everything about contemporary society has changed. We work differently, communicate differently, share information easier, socialize without distance as an obstacle and, as you might expect, the manner in which we commit our crimes has also evolved. This is not to say that the more standard forms of criminal activity have dwindled, but rather the availability of the internet has simply created numerous opportunities and methods of engaging in crimes that have never before been possible.
Internet crimes usually settle into one of two distinct categories. These are theft/fraud and sex crimes. The most notable distinction between internet crimes and their tangible counterparts is that internet crimes, while still possessing real-world impact, take place with the assistance of computer technology. Being charged with an internet crime can include things such as hacking, phishing, identity theft, illegal marketing schemes, child pornography, child solicitation, and even human trafficking. Computer-related crimes are detailed in Florida Statutes 815.01- 815.07.
St. Petersburg internet crime defense attorneys here at Musca Law are dedicated to helping our clients formulate a solid defense, especially when you consider that computer-related crimes are usually felonies and your sentences could possibly include decades in a Florida state prison.
When someone who is under the age of 18 is charged with committing a crime in the state of Florida, the issue is typically taken care of within the confines of the juvenile justice system. The main distinction between the adult criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system is the ultimate aim of the court. When adults are involved, the purpose of the court system is to punish. When juveniles are involved, the purpose of the court system is to reform.
As our St. Petersburg juvenile defense attorneys will be able to tell you, prosecutors do possess the ability to direct-file a case from juvenile court to standard court. There are some forcible felony crimes, like 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 assigned for criminal prosecution through a direct file, the court will promptly transfer and certify all current felony cases concerning 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 St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to alleviating as many of those negative effects as possible.
A violent crime is any type of criminal offense that is accompanied by the use of physical force and violence. These sorts of crimes can sometimes end in severe injury or even death. The lack of physical injury to a victim, however, does not positively spare a crime from being deemed violent. While it is possible, in some cases, for violent crimes to be charged as misdemeanors, they are fundamentally felony offenses. This means that any convictions could result in a rather lengthy prison sentence. Some violent crimes could even be charged as capital offenses, indicating that you might be facing a lifetime of imprisonment or possibly even death.
Some examples of violent crimes include but are not limited to robbery, arson, rape, manslaughter, assault and battery, and homicide.
At Musca Law, our St. Petersburg violent crimes defense attorneys will work hard to find more than one defense tactic where these types of charges are concerned. This involves defense tactics that will range from suppression of unfavorable evidence to confronting the key witnesses against you to the proficient negotiation of a plea bargain including a reduction in your charges.
It is vital that you first meet with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Florida before you ever talk about your case with law enforcement.
Criminal acts like robbery and burglary can easily become magnified if the accused is already in possession of a lengthy criminal record. The laws surrounding theft crimes are subject to exacerbation in the event that the accused has been discharged from the Department of Corrections in three years or less from the date of the supposed new offense. These upgrades to a charge are commonly referred to as “Prison Releasee Re-Offender Enhancements” and they could very well cause you to do an extreme amount of prison time. There are many different kinds of crimes that involve taking property that does not belong to you, such as:
- Petty Theft
- Grand Theft
- Burglary with Battery
Robbery vs Burglary
Robbery occurs when the crime of theft is committed and the accused has used some form of force, violence, intimidation, coercion or the threat of violence against the victim in order to accomplish the robbery. Robbery is a felony charge that, in the state of Florida, is punishable by as long as 15 years in state prison and as long as 30 years if any kind of a firearm or weapon was employed.
If a weapon was employed during the commission of the crime, it is now going to be a charge of armed robbery and, contingent on what exactly took place during the offense, the sentences will differ greatly, ranging from:
- A mandatory ten-year minimum prison sentence for the possession of a weapon
- A mandatory 20-year minimum prison sentence if the firearm was discharged
- As long as 25 years to life in state prison if the victim sustained severe bodily injury
If you are a repeat offender or have a well-established criminal record, then the consequences that you suffer will be accordingly more severe
Burglary is when an unauthorized person enters a business, a home, a vehicle, or a building with the intention of committing a crime. A burglary can receive sentences that, based on the severity of the circumstances surrounding the crime, can vary from five years to life in state prison. Burglary turns into a first-degree felony charge when it is characterized by battery, an assault, extreme property damage, or the possession of a weapon. It is also possible that you could be charged with burglary if you are just trespassing.
Contact Us 24/7 for Legal Representation
Accusations of a criminal offense are never brought on at a convenient time. Our St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers are available 24/7 to immediately begin representing you during this difficult time. We recognize and value your time, and work to resolve these allegations as quickly as possible. Contact us today for immediate legal representation.