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Ocala Criminal Defense Attorneys
People make life-defining mistakes that they regret bitterly afterward. Or, they’re wrongfully accused or investigated for a crime they didn’t do. If you or a loved one is in a similar situation, the first smart thing to do is get in touch with an expert attorney. Contacting a lawyer for legal advice is preferable before being arrested by law enforcement officials or receiving a “Notice to Appear.” Knowledgeable legal counselors have the expertise to guide you on the best options to pursue, preserve your rights and freedom, and secure your future.
Understanding the Complexities of the Justice System is Hard for a Regular Person
The justice system is complex, and understanding laws and regulations can be next to impossible for a regular person. Ensure that you get a favorable outcome and avoid a conviction, jail or prison time, or criminal indictment that can change your life entirely. And one way you can make that happen is to hire the services of a competent lawyer who knows how to navigate the judicial process. In-depth information about how public prosecutors gather evidence and build a case can be a critical asset when creating a robust criminal defense strategy.
Criminal Charges Can be of Different Kinds
Most defendants are unaware of the exact nature of the criminal charges against them. Or the possible punishment, prison terms, or fines they might incur. Rely on a smart attorney to explain what the case entails and how to come out of the situation with the minimum damage to your reputation or finances. Here are some of the practice areas where the attorneys at Smith & Eulo can help.
Misdemeanors are typically less serious crimes as compared to felonies. Defendants can expect jail time, smaller fines, and shorter punishment. However, misdemeanor charges can quickly turn into felonies if the accused has prior convictions and a criminal record. Typical offenses include:
- Drunk driving
- Simple assault
- Domestic violence
- Indecent exposure
- Retail fraud
- Public intoxication
Such offenses are considered more critical than infractions and typically punishable with a 12 months’ or less jail term and possibly, a fine depending on the nature of the case.
Any cases against a child in the state of Florida are tried in a court presided only by a judge without a jury present. Exceptions to the rule include the possibility of a direct filed case when the juvenile is tried in an adult court. When a child is arrested, the court may choose to transfer them to a detention center. Or, permit the defendant to go home with their parents and appear when ordered. Some of the juvenile offenses include:
- Violating curfew
- Underage possession or consumption of tobacco or alcohol
- Possession of marijuana or any other illegal substances
Punishments for juvenile offenses can include low-risk programs, moderate-risk programs, high-risk programs, and juvenile prison for 18 to 36 months.
The state of Florida defines theft as the act of knowingly taking or using another person’s property without permission. Obtaining property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner’s right temporarily or permanently is also considered theft. This offense can be categorized as petty theft and grand theft.
- Thefts of property valued at $30,000 or more are considered grand thefts or first-degree felonies and carry a punishment of up to 30 years in prison with a maximum fine of $10,000.
- If the value of the stolen property is $300 or more but less than $750, the offense is considered a misdemeanor.
- A record of similar crimes can result in a petty theft being considered a felony.
Sexual crimes in Florida carry some of the harshest of punishments. The seriousness of the charges depends on factors such as:
- Age of the victim
- Age of the offender
- Any other aggravating circumstances
Punishment for sex offenses varies according to the crime. For instance:
- Probation for a first-time offender for solicitation of prostitution that is considered a misdemeanor
- Up to 15 years’ imprisonment for lewd or lascivious battery
- Prison terms ranging from 11 years to life for aggravated sexual battery where the victim is above 12 years
- Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for sexual battery on a child below 12 years if the defendant is above 18 years
The court can award probation to any person and order them to be released from detention under supervision, if they show good behavior. However, in case the person violates the terms of the probationary punishment, they must face severe penalties. Probation can be technical or substantive. Technical violations can include:
- Failing to pass a drug test
- Failing to pay the court fees
- Failing to show up for the mandatory probation meeting
- Failing to complete the rehabilitation program
Substantive violations can include committing a new crime while under probation for an existing offense. The court may choose to revoke the probation and order imprisonment.
Domestic violence incidents are defined by the state of Florida as specified acts of violence committed against a member of the family or household. The minimum penalty is a five days’ prison term. However, if the charges are combined with assault and battery, a domestic assault conviction can result in extended jail time. Some of the offenses included in household violence include:
- Sexual assault
Domestic violence charges can be for crimes committed against a current or ex-spouse, persons who are currently or were formerly living together as a family, or persons who share a child, whether or not they are now or were once married.
Loitering and Prowling Offenses
The law does not permit any person to loiter or prowl in a place or time, displaying behavior that is unusual for a citizen respecting the law. Any law enforcement officer may stop a person if they have reason to believe that the person in question can be a potential threat to peace and security to other people or property in the area. Here are some of the typical reasons for such charges:
- Running away on sighting the police officer
- Refusing to provide identification
- Attempting to hide or conceal objects
- Refusing the leave the area when asked to
Loitering and prowling offenses are considered misdemeanors of the second degree and can be punished accordingly.
Robbery is a felony offense and can be categorized as first, second, or third-degree carrying different punishments according to the severity of the crime.
- Sudden snatching typically includes pickpocketing or grabbing purses and falls under the third-degree offense category. Such crimes are punishable by a prison term or probation terms of up to 5 years.
- Robbery by force is when the act accompanies some kind of violence and harms the victim. Such offenses are considered second-degree and carry a sentence of a maximum of 15 years in prison or probation.
- Robbery with a deadly weapon is when a weapon is used to threaten or harm the victim and take away their possessions. Such cases are considered first-degree felonies with the possibility of a maximum 30-year prison term.
What to Expect in Your Criminal Case
The criminal defense process will most likely be something you are very unfamiliar with. It can be very intimidating to go through the legal process by yourself, so ensuring you have the expertise of a great criminal defense attorney can put your mind at ease. If you need criminal defense representation in Ocala, Smith & Eulo Law Firm is here to assist you!
The first step in the process of defending your criminal charges is to contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation to give you an idea of what it will take to defend your case, including our team at Smith & Eulo. You can schedule your free consultation with us by calling 407-930-8912.
Once you’ve secured legal representation, your lawyer will ask you as many questions as possible to understand the details of your case. They will be able to tell you the likelihood of a positive outcome, as well as exactly what to do in order to achieve it. A good attorney will make certain you are completely prepared for your court date and will coach you on exactly what to say and do.