Criminal Defense Lawyers in Tampa, Florida
How to Beat a Criminal Charge in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida
Have you or a loved one been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Tampa or Hillsborough County, Florida? If so, you or your loved one must understand that state prosecutors will take an aggressive approach in prosecuting that crime. Prosecutors work hard to keep the public safe from criminal offenders and protect the reputation of Tampa as a major business center and a city rich in cultural offerings, museums, themes parks, beaches, family fun, fishing, golf, and an international destination for fine dining and nightlife.
Tampa spans a large geographical area, which is referred to as the "Tampa Bay Area." The U.S. Census calls the general Tampa Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the "Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater" MSA and this MSA includes four counties. The population of this area has a population of 3.1 million people. This MSA is the second largest MSA in the State of Florida. The Hillsborough County Courthouse is located at 800 E Twiggs Street, Tampa, FL 33602.
Crime Statistical Data in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida
In 2019, law enforcement made a total of 46,660 arrests in Hillsborough County, which is approximately 127 arrests per day. This is an annual decrease of about 6% over 2018. This sharp decrease in arrests was due, in part, to a large drop in the number of home burglaries in 2019. The value of all property stolen in 2019 was over $47,000,000. The most common criminal charge in Hillsborough County in 2019 was larceny. In 2019, Hillsborough law enforcement officers arrested over 15,500 people on larceny offenses. Larceny offenses involve crimes such as Shoplifting, pocket-picking, purse snatching, theft of motor vehicle parts, theft from motor vehicles, theft from buildings, coin-operated device thefts, and bicycle thefts.
Free Criminal Defense Consultation – Call Us 24/7 at (888) 484-5057
If you or a loved one are facing any criminal charge in Hillsborough County, Florida, it is essential to your future that you speak with one of our experienced, results-oriented criminal defense attorneys in Tampa, Florida, to understand your options and legal rights. To receive your free consultation, call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
What to Do When You Are Being Questioned By Police - Remain Calm, Respectful, and Silent
If you or your loved one have been arrested, or if the Tampa police or Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office are asking your or your family member to answer questions, you need a lawyer. Do not delay! Always remember to be respectful, remain clam, and tell the police, deputy, or law enforcement officer that you will be glad to answer questions with your attorney present. Then contact Musca Law at (888) 484-5057. Our firm is here to talk with you, 24/7.
Never give skilled interrogators the opportunity to trick you or your family member into statements that will damage your case or your potential defense strategy. This is especially true if you are innocent. Psychological studies confirm that innocent people can be manipulated, by law enforcement, into making false confessions. When a serious crime has been committed, law enforcement officers are under an enormous amount of pressure to make an arrest and to prosecute the perpetrator.
In several high profile criminal cases, we have all witnessed the lengths law enforcement will go to manufacture evidence to gain a conviction regardless if the accused is an innocent person or the actual perpetrator. Any encounter with the Tampa police, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, FBI, US Customs, or any other law enforcement agency should be taken seriously. If you or a member of your family are being questioned by law enforcement, you are either a witness to a crime, or you are their suspect. Either way, when someone is either being questioned by law enforcement officers or being arrested, it is essential that you contact Musca Law and discuss your legal situation to protect your legal rights and your defense strategy. To receive your free consultation, call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
At Musca Law, Our Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyers Handle All Criminal Matters
The Hillsborough Criminal Defense Attorneys of Musca Law defend our clients in a wide range of criminal charges ranging from minor misdemeanor criminal charges to serious felony criminal charges that carry a penalty of decades in prison or even life. At Musca Law, our legal professionals represent clients charged in any crime, and these offenses generally which fall into one of the following criminal law categories:
- Domestic Violence Crimes;
- Drug Crimes;
- DUI Crimes;
- Juvenile Crimes;
- Protective Injunctions/Restraining Orders;
- Sex Crimes;
- Theft Crimes;
- Traffic Offenses;
- Violent Crimes; and
- White-Collar Crimes.
If you or a member of your family are facing one or more criminal charges in Tampa, Hillsborough County, or anywhere in the State of Florida, and you or your loved one are unsure which category your criminal matter falls under, contact Musca Law, and our criminal defense attorneys can give you with a thorough criminal case evaluation and explain the penalties associated with the criminal charges filed against you or your loved one.
Categorizing Crimes in Tampa, Florida
The Florida Legislature categorizes criminal offenses as either misdemeanors or felonies. Each criminal offense is then broken down into degrees, which are based on the severity of the criminal offense. Some minor criminal offenses do not result in a jail sentence. In Hillsborough County, the sentencing guidelines begin at 60 days and, in the most severe criminal cases, may result in the death penalty. Florida criminal code provides the guidelines and punishments for all types of criminal offenses in the State of Florida.
In Florida, those charged with a misdemeanor crime are facing up to one year jail or more. Conversely, when the accused is facing a felony charge, a conviction could bring punishments such as lengthy prison sentences. The amount of jail or prison time a defendant found guilty of a crime will serve depends on many factors, including the type of crime of which the defendant was charged.
It is critical to understand that some criminal offenses carry "mandatory minimum sentences." A "mandatory minimum sentence" means that the defendant must serve a minimum jail or prison sentence if found guilty of a certain criminal offense, and the judge or prosecutor may not reduce the punishment. Should you or your loved one be convicted of a criminal offense in Florida that has a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge is unable to issue a more lenient jail or prison sentence. It is important to note that crimes may fall within the same category but might include very different penalties. The punishment will depend on whether the justice court finds that there are aggravating factors or mitigating factors.
Below is a chart that details the various penalties associated with crimes in Tampa and Hillsborough County, Florida:
Maximum Incarceration Periods
Maximum Monetary Penalties
Jail Term of 60 Days
Jail Term of One Year
Prison Sentence of Five Years
Prison Sentence of 15 Years
Prison Sentence of 30 Years
Life in Prison without Parole
In Florida, criminal justice judges use the Florida Sentencing Scoresheet to guide the terms of a defendant’s sentence. This Sentencing Scoresheet exists to create some level of fairness in the issuance of punishments throughout the state of Florida. In other words, criminal defendants who are facing similar charges in different Florida counties should also face the same punishments. Florida's criminal justice system is designed to create fairness while still allowing judges to consider certain case-specific circumstances that may warrant a more severe or more lenient jail or prison sentence. Without this type of continuity, the punishments issued by judges or juries would depend on the biases or even the emotions of the various juries or presiding Florida judges.
Should You Fight Your Criminal Charge?
Your Musca Law criminal defense attorney will help you understand and determine whether it is feasible or not to fight for a dismissal of your criminal charges, to fight for a reduction in the criminal charges, or to try and sway the judge in an effort to obtain a more lenient sentence that is within the judge's control. Oftentimes, skilled criminal defense attorneys will successfully negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the charges which reduce the penalties that a defendant is facing using the guidelines provided and the Florida Sentencing Scoresheet. Determining the best option for defending against any criminal charges that you or your loved one are facing depends heavily on case-specific facts. For this reason, you should call Musca Law and speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys in Hillsborough County, Florida, as soon as possible to begin the process of protecting evidence and building your defense strategy.
The Other Punishments and Consequences You Should Know Aside From Fines and Jail or Prison Sentences
Of course, every defendant is concerned with having to serve time in county jail, or federal or state prison. However, there are several other punishments and consequences that may follow a criminal conviction. At Musca Law, we fight hard to obtain the best outcome for our clients, which would be a dismissal of the criminal charges. But if a dismissal cannot be achieved, your Musca Law criminal defense lawyer will work with you to negotiate a better outcome that is fair given any undisputed evidence associated with you or your loved one's criminal case.
The following is a list of example consequences that the defendant could receive if he or she has been convicted of a crime – regardless of whether he or she is ordered to pay a fine and/or serve time in prison or jail. A defendant, if found guilty of one or more crimes, could also receive one or more of the following additional criminal punishments:
- Probation, which can last more than one year, depending on the crime;
- Loss of constitutional rights, such as the right to possess a firearm or to vote;
- Mandatory counseling for anger management, substance abuse, and/or mental health issues;
- Mandatory educational programs;
- Mandatory, random alcohol and/or drug testing;
- Tarnished reputation due to having a criminal record; and
- Difficulties on keeping or obtaining a job, attending college, applying for credit, or even renting an apartment or a home.
Many defendants facing criminal charges in Hillsborough County, Florida, who proceed with their case without the assistance of a highly-qualified criminal defense lawyer are in jail when serving a jail sentence or receiving other consequences could have been avoided by retaining the right lawyer. As such, if you or a loved one are facing ANY criminal charge in Tampa, Hillsborough County, or Florida, you have a limited amount of time to find a defense attorney who can help you with reaching a positive result in your case.
Florida Criminal Offense, Charges, and Punishments
Drug Crimes, Offenses and Charges
Florida has established a national reputation for aggressively prosecuting all drug-related crimes. Defendants who are facing drug charges for simple possession are shocked by the stiff sentences that prosecutors seek even in cases where the drug charges are for possessing a small amount of controlled substances. For example, Tampa police often place a person under arrest who sells illegal drugs to feed their own addiction or arrest a person who is stuck in a negative cycle of drug misuse. Not every individual who sells or possesses narcotics is a criminal mastermind. These low-level drug offenders simply need the opportunity to learn the skills to wean themselves off of the illegal drugs, so they aren't forced to sell illegal drugs anymore.
At Musca Law, our criminal defense lawyers work hard to persuade the judge to rule that the offender attend a drug treatment program rather than be sent to prison. If a person is sent to prison, they are not able to have their drug problem effectively treated.
Florida Statutes Chapter 893 codified the state's drug-related laws. This chapter provides the schedule that classifies drugs, the acts that are specifically prohibited, and the related sentences. Many convictions for drug-related crimes in Florida mandate that the defendant must serve a minimum mandatory jail term.
Musca Law has represented countless numbers of people who are facing drug-related charges such as:
- Drug trafficking;
- Drug manufacturing;
- Distribution or possession of drug paraphernalia;
- Possession of controlled substances such as cocaine, heroin, meth, opioids, stimulants, and fentanyl;
- The distribution, sale, or possession of controlled substances with the intent to distribute, gift, or sell them.
- Drug trafficking;
- Simple possession of drugs like crystal meth, heroin, morphine, fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana, along with synthetic drugs;
- Possession of drugs or narcotics intending to sell or distribute;
- Conspiracy to violate Florida's drug laws;
- Prescription drug offenses; and
- Possession of paraphernalia designed to facilitate the distribution or consumption of drugs.
At Musca Law, our team of legal advocates works hard to prevent our clients who are charged with drug-related offenses from having to serve time in jail and advocate for the following sentencing alternatives:
- Drug court;
- Drug counseling programs (possibly in-patient or out-patient depending on the circumstances);
- Placement in dual-diagnosis programs; and
- Drug detoxification or treatment for addiction.
Offenders who have no criminal record or non-violent drug offenders may be eligible to engage in alternatives to incarceration in order to treat their drug addiction problems. Therefore, having a Musca Law drug crime defense attorney to advocate on your behalf for a dismissal or a deferred adjudication with attendance in alternative programs may help you or your loved one avoid a jail sentence for drug addiction problems.
Domestic Violence Charges in Tampa, Florida
Domestic violence is a very serious crime in Florida. Notwithstanding, there are some individuals who press false allegations against a domestic partner or spouse in order to gain an advantage in a family law matter such as a divorce or child custody battle. Tampa police are required by Florida law to arrest individuals who are accused of domestic violence. In other words, police officers and Sheriff's deputies do not have the power or discretion to refuse to place the accused under arrest.
Domestic violence laws are governed by Section 741.28 of the Florida Statutes. Pursuant to this Florida statute, not all relationships are considered domestic relationships. Under Florida Section 741.28, spouses, former spouses, children, siblings, those who are common parents to a child or children, and those who reside in the same home qualify as domestic relationships.
The penalties associated with a domestic violence conviction in Tampa or Hillsborough County are severe. Specifically, minimum mandatory jail sentences are typically applied in domestic violence cases. A judge may also decide that a domestic violence perpetrator must undergo very strict probation requirements that can be very difficult to satisfy. The convicted offender in a domestic violence case may also be ordered to turn over all firearms and ammunition to law enforcement and attend batterer intervention programs.
Our Tampa Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys represent clients in all types of criminal matters including, but not limited to:
- Domestic Violence
- Dating Violence Injunction
- Domestic Violence Injunction
- Sexual Violence Injunction
- Stalking Injunction
- Repeat Violence Injunctions
Contact Musca Law and discuss your legal situation, to protect your legal rights, and discuss your potential defense strategy. To receive your free consultation, call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
BUI & DUI Charges and Offenses in Florida
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Boating Under the Influence (BUI) offenses in the Tampa-Sarasota area are taken very seriously by law enforcement and county prosecutors. Most DUI charges are misdemeanors, but the fines and punishments for operating a vessel or motor vehicle in Florida are severe and include stiff monetary fines and jail time. Florida's DUI laws, offenses, and punishments are published in Florida Statutes §316.193. Depending on the facts of the DUI case, and field sobriety evidence, if found guilty, the defendant could receive several additional penalties, such as the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device on the defendant's car, impoundment of the subject vehicle, community service, license suspensions, probation, and attendance at a driver's education course.
At Musca Law, our DUI defense attorneys understand there is a lot is at stake in your DUI-related case. Our law firm represents clients in all types of DUI offenses in Hillsborough County, and throughout the State of Florida, including:
- Aggravated DUI
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI)
- Domestic Violence
- DUI Manslaughter
- Chemical Test Refusals
- Vehicular Manslaughter
- Property Damage DUI
- Hit-and-run DUI / Failure to Render Aid DUI
- License Revocation Hearings
- Commercial Drivers (DUI)
- Felony DUI
- Multiple DUIs
- Serious Bodily Injury DUI
DUI cases are generally defensible when the defendant has retained an experienced attorney. At Musca Law, our DUI and BUI defense lawyers in Tampa, Florida, routinely defend clients in all types of alcohol or drug-related driving under the influence cases. Our firm has successfully helped our clients avoid harsh penalties and avoid jail time.
Contact Musca Law and discuss your legal situation, to protect your legal rights, and discuss your potential DUI or BUI defense strategy. To receive your free consultation, call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
Juvenile Justice Court Cases in Florida
Those defendants who are under the age of eighteen and are charged with a crime in Florida are usually prosecuted in juvenile court. The only exception is in cases where a juvenile minor has been charged as an adult. The juvenile court system is designed to rehabilitate minors rather than punish them.
Below are a few examples of consequences juveniles could face if he or she is convicted of a crime:
- Incarceration in Juvenile Jail for more severe cases.
- Mandatory Community Service;
- Placement in a Group Home/Halfway House;
- Probation; and
- Random Drug and Alcohol Testing;
Although juvenile criminal records in Florida are sealed, any minor charged with a crime needs to retain a private criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible. Especially if a minor might be charged as an adult because the outcome could become catastrophic without the representation of an experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer.
Research reveals that children's brains do not mature fully until later in life, such as when they are in their mid-twenties. The result of that groundbreaking psychological discovery inspired change in how juveniles are treated in the Florida criminal justice system. Musca Law fights hard for our minor clients and advocate fully for the minor to receive treatment, rehabilitation, and undergo education instead of confinement in juvenile detention centers. Our attorneys understand that minors who are sent to juvenile detention centers will likely continue to commit crimes as adults.
Sex Crime Offenses & Charges in Florida
Sex offense cases in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater are highly complex legal matters that carry severe punishments if the accused is found guilty. All sex offense matters begin with an allegation. As with all criminal accusations, the defendant is presumed to be innocent until he or she has been proven guilty in a court of law.
At Musca Law, our sex crime defense lawyers in Tampa are highly experienced at representing defendants in sex offense cases such as, and not limited to:
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Aggravated sexual battery;
- Child molestation,
- Child pornography,
- Human or Sex trafficking
- Lewd or lascivious acts;
- Sexual assault;
- Sexual battery;
- Stalking; and
- Sex offender registration-related offenses.
Sex crime cases require a substantial amount of resources to prepare one's defense. An individual who is being convicted of a sex-based offense in the Tampa or Hillsborough County area is facing extremely harsh punishments, such as a lengthy prison or jail sentence, mandated registration as a sex offender, and incarceration in a state treatment center. For those facing a sex crime charge in Hillsborough County, Florida, contact our experienced sex crime defense lawyers at Musca Law. Discussing your case with one of our attorneys is one of the best ways to protect your legal rights. To receive your free consultation, call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
Theft Crimes, Offenses, and Charges in Florida
Florida Statutes §812.014 explains Florida's laws theft laws, offenses, and potential punishments. Theft offenses typically involve the taking of another person's property without his or her consent with the intention of depriving him or her of the property thereof.
Musca Law's team of theft (larceny) defense lawyers in Tampa, Florida, represent clients in a wide array of theft-related crimes, including, but not limited to:
- Burglary (See, F.S.§810.02).
- Embezzlement; (F.S. §10.10)
- Grand theft;
- Identify theft (See, F.S.§817.568);
- Possession of stolen property;
- Petit theft; and
- Robbery (See, F.S. §812.13).
In many cases, victims of theft crimes are often elderly because they are vulnerable scams. At the time of sentencing, a criminal justice judge will weigh the impact of the theft crime on the victim when determining the punishments and prison sentence. If you or a loved one are facing charges of petit theft, robbery, or armed robbery, you need a strong Tampa theft defense lawyer to construct the best possible defense for your case. To receive your free consultation, call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
Violent Crimes in Florida
Violent crimes are severely punished in Tampa, Florida. There are many issues that arise in criminal cases involving acts of violence. Our attorneys work hard to find, raise, and present the most effective defense in your case, including self-defense, third-party culprit defense, and defense of another, to name a few.
At Musca Law, our violent crime defense attorneys aggressively handle all criminal cases involving acts of violence, including but not limited to:
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. §784.045);
- Arson (F.S. §806.01).
- Assault and Battery (F.S. §784.011, See also F.S. §784.03);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. §782.051);
- Manslaughter (F.S. §782.07);
- Rape/Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011);
- Murder (F.S. §782.04);
- Robbery (F.S. §812.13);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. §782.071), and
- Weapons Charges.
If you or a loved one a charged with any violent crime in Hillsborough County, Florida, you will be facing severe penalties if found guilty. For example, you could receive life imprisonment or even the death penalty. To receive your free consultation, call Musca Law 24/7 at (888) 484-5057.
Protective Injunctions, Restraining Orders, Orders of Protection in Florida
Section 784.0485 of the Florida Statutes and Section 784.046 of the Florida Statutes grant Florida residents the ability to seek a protective injunction to avoid additional acts of violence. Specifically, the alleged victim of violence may file what is known as a petition with a civil – not criminal – court if he or she is in fear of repeat violence, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, or sexual violence.
Hillsborough County Judges rule on hundreds of petitions for protective injunctions to prevent harm each year. Florida Statutes §784.0485 grants judges the ability to issue Protective Injunctions based solely upon their discretion in order to prevent harm or violence. Florida law allows judges to issue any one of five injunctions to protect an individual from harm such as:
- Dating Violence Injunction
- Domestic Violence Injunction
- Sexual Violence Injunction
- Stalking Injunction
- Repeat Violence Injunctions
Protective injunctions are also used by people to exact revenge or to gain an advantage in divorce and child custody cases. Nonetheless, if a protective injunction has been filed against you, this is a very serious legal matter that could have life-altering consequences.
In order for an individual to obtain a protective injunction, the petitioner must file a court-approved document, which is known as a petition, with the county court clerk. After the petition has been filed, the presiding judge will review the petition to determine whether or not a temporary restraining order should be issued. The temporary restraining order protects the alleged victim until the final hearing. The judge may decide not to issue a temporary restraining order. However, the judge will schedule a final hearing. At the end of the final hearing, the judge will render his or her final decision to grant or deny a protective injunction. If the judge approves a protective injunction, then the respondent is ordered to follow all of the terms outlined in the protective injunction or the respondent will be charged with several criminal charges that carry severe penalties.
White-Collar and Cyber Crime Defense Cases in Florida F.S. § 775.0844)
White-collar crimes do not always involve physical confrontation with the alleged victim. Numerous white-collar crimes are felonies, which are punishable with many years or even decades in prison.
Some examples of white-collar crimes under Florida law include, but are not limited to:
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Conspiracy to Commit Fraud; and
- Exploitation of Certain Groups of People (such as the elderly and disabled);
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Non-Violent Theft Crimes;
- Tax Evasion, and
- Wire or bank fraud.
White-collar crimes are highly specialized, and not every criminal defense attorney represents clients in white-collar criminal cases. At Musca Law, our attorneys defend clients against all crimes, including white-collar criminal matters. The legal term "white-collar" means that the alleged crime involved the exertion of influence over another or was committed in secrecy (as opposed to strong-arm criminal offenses which include burglary and robbery).
Cyber-based Criminal Offenses
Cyber-based offenses may be considered white-collar crimes in some cases. This is because these crimes often involve the exploitation of people by way of the internet. Examples of cybercrimes include sales of illegal goods, organization of prostitution rings, dealings involving drugs, solicitation of children under eighteen years old for the purpose of sex, and the distribution of child pornography.
Internet crimes are becoming increasingly more common in Florida. Internet crimes usually do not involve physical contact. However, these crimes often involve financial harm or the potential for physical harm in internet-related sex crimes.
At Musca Law, our law firm represents clients who are facing internet crimes, such as:
- Illegal Financial Transactions;
- Credit Card Fraud/Theft;
- Identity Theft;
- Child pornography crimes (possession, sale, and/or distribution, among others);
- Sex Trafficking; and
- Solicitation and/or Enticement of a Child for Sexual Purposes.
Most internet crimes are felonies that carry long-lasting consequences. As such, it is essential that anyone charged with cybercrimes or white-collar crimes to speak with an experienced defense attorney in Tampa, Florida. Defending individuals charged with cyber or white-collar crimes requires an attorney who understands technology.
Free Case Review Call Us 24/7 at 1-888-484-5057
Musca Law represents residents and tourists who have been arrested in Florida or who face federal or state criminal charges in Florida. Musca Law is available 24/7 at 888-484-5057. Call us to receive your free case review and consult with one of our experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys. Together our attorneys have more than 150 years of legal experience handling all types of criminal matters throughout Florida. Our attorneys are dedicated, knowledgeable, and experienced, and we also have a track record of success. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options. We work hard to mitigate the effect criminal charges have on our clients' lives. Call us Musca Law right now at 1-888-484-5057 to learn what we can do for you.