If you are charged with a crime in the Tampa Bay area, it is crucial to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Some criminal convictions carry mandatory minimum sentences, which means that the judge will have no discretion over the sentence and must impose a term of imprisonment as part of the sentence. Clearwater criminal defense lawyer Will Hanlon has more than two decades of experience handling matters such as charges of drug crimes, sex crimes, violent crimes, theft crimes, white collar crimes, and more. Hanlon Law fights for the accused even before charges are filed and aims to get cases dismissed as efficiently as possible so that a client can move forward with their life.
All crimes need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction. You should not assume that a conviction is assured, but also you should not sit back and wait for the prosecutor to prove their case. The earlier that we get involved, the more likely it is that we can have some influence over whether and which charges are brought. Prosecutors are not required to offer you a plea deal, and talking to the prosecutor on your own can result in incriminating yourself. It is better to retain a seasoned criminal defense attorney in the Clearwater area, whether you are facing serious felony charges or misdemeanor charges.Drug Crimes
Florida prosecutors take drug crimes seriously, and these crimes carry harsh penalties upon a conviction. Generally, drug trafficking is the most serious type of drug crime because it carries a mandatory minimum sentence if you are caught trafficking over a certain quantity of a particular drug. The type of drug at issue can affect the potential penalties that you are facing. For example, if you are caught trafficking heroin in Florida, the potential sentence is much greater than if you are caught with a small amount of marijuana. Common defenses in drug crime cases include attacking the way in which evidence was obtained. When the drugs at issue were seized in violation of your constitutional rights, it may be possible to bring a motion to suppress the evidence of the drugs.Sex Crimes
Sex crimes are also taken quite seriously in Florida. Sex crimes include sexual battery, child pornography, lewd and lascivious offenses, prostitution, and sexual misconduct. Lewd and lascivious offenses are crimes perpetrated against people younger than age 16, and they include four distinct crimes. Crucially, you cannot raise your ignorance of the victim's age as a defense, and your age is also not a defense, even if you were a minor yourself at the time of the crime. If you are convicted of certain sex crimes, you will need to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This makes it critical to retain a Clearwater criminal defense attorney who can help you try to avoid these consequences.Violent Crimes
Violent crimes in Florida include robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, rape, and murder. A conviction usually comes with serious penalties. Your sentence could include many years of imprisonment, fines, and even, in a capital case, the death penalty. What must be proven varies depending on the crime charged. Under section 784.021, for example, a prosecutor trying to secure a conviction for aggravated assault would need to show that you intentionally and illegally threatened to perpetrate violence against the victim, and, at the time of the threat, you seemed to have the ability to carry out the threat. Also, the threat must have triggered a well-founded fear that violence was going to happen, and the assault must have been perpetrated with the intent to commit a felony.Domestic Violence
Domestic violence includes any dangerous conduct that is used to control one's partner or family member. It may include assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, or false imprisonment of a family or household member. Family and household members may be spouses, exes, relatives by blood or marriage, people living together like a family or who previously lived together in this way, and people who co-parent. Florida Statute section 741.28 prohibits domestic violence in Florida. The criminal defense lawyers can help Clearwater residents fight a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence charge.Theft Crimes
You can be charged with theft under Florida Statute section 812.014. Theft can be charged as petit theft or grand theft, and there are different degrees of these crimes. The value of the funds or property at issue will determine the precise charges. Theft may be charged in connection with a stolen car, for example, and it may also be charged in connection with stealing a diamond necklace. To establish theft, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly used, obtained, or tried to use or obtain someone else's property, while intending to temporarily or permanently prevent the victim from having or benefiting from their property or to put it to your own use.White Collar Crimes
White collar crimes are typically nonviolent. White collar crimes may involve Ponzi schemes, racketeering, embezzlement, counterfeiting, pyramid schemes, Internet crimes, bribery, and public officers' offenses, among other examples. Generally, these crimes are perpetrated with the intent to deceive. Florida Statute § 775.0844(3) sets forth enhanced penalties for specific white collar felonies. It provides that white collar felonies are those involving the commission of fraud or deceit, a conspiracy to defraud or deceive, or a conspiracy to keep someone from property with the intent to defraud them. The Clearwater criminal defense lawyers can investigate the nuances of your case and develop a plan based on your circumstances.DUI
You can be charged with a DUI in Florida if you are caught driving or in physical control of a vehicle when you either have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher or are impaired to some degree because you drank alcohol or used drugs, or both. The former charge is a per se DUI. If you are convicted of a first DUI, you may face penalties such as incarceration, a license suspension, the impoundment of your vehicle, a requirement that you install an ignition interlock device, and a $1,000 fine. However, if you are charged with a DUI in which you caused a serious bodily injury to someone, you may face third-degree felony charges, which carry more serious penalties. If you are convicted again within the lookback period, you will face even harsher penalties.Child Abuse
If you have been charged with child abuse, you should consult a criminal defense lawyer in Clearwater who is experienced in these cases. You can be convicted of child abuse if you perpetrate intentional acts that you could reasonably anticipate would cause mental or physical injuries, or you encourage another person to do the same. You need not be the parent of the victim to be charged with child abuse. Furthermore, you can be charged with aggravated child abuse in certain situations, such as if you committed aggravated battery on a child. Aggravated child abuse carries the possibility of a first-degree felony sentence of up to 30 years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. There are certain circumstances in which it would be appropriate to defend against child abuse charges on the grounds of self-defense or defense of others.Probation Violations
In Florida, probation is also called community supervision. It is not a right but is instead considered a grace given by the government in order to rehabilitate a person. Generally, if you are put on probation, you will need to keep in contact with a probation officer and follow detailed, specific conditions. Probation violations can be either technical or substantive. Technical violations are those in which you do not complete a probation condition, such as meeting with your probation officer. A substantive probation violation occurs if you commit a new violation of a law, such as stealing a car during the probationary period.Consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in the Clearwater Area
It can be stressful and anxiety-inducing to be charged with a crime. However, you should not assume that a conviction is assured. Instead, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you are being investigated for or charged with a crime in Clearwater, you should contact Hanlon Law. Call us at 727.897.5413 or complete our online form for a consultation.