Oldsmar Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being convicted of a crime in Florida can have far-reaching consequences for defendants, who could face jail time, hefty fines, and the creation of a permanent criminal record. The latter can make it difficult to find housing, secure employment, or take advantage of educational opportunities for years to come, so if you were recently accused of committing a crime, it is important to retain an experienced Oldsmar criminal lawyer who can help you start building a strong defense.
Criminal offenses in Florida are divided into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. The former are classified as either first or second degree crimes, with first degree misdemeanors considered more serious, and as such, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The theft of property valued at more than $100, but less than $750, for example, is a first degree misdemeanor.Second degree misdemeanors, on the other hand, are the least serious form of misdemeanor crime in Florida and are punishable by a jail term of up to 60 days and a $500 fine. Some of the most commonly charged misdemeanor offenses include petty theft, possessing small amounts of marijuana, public intoxication, reckless driving, and shoplifting.
It’s important to note that in Florida, a person can only be convicted of an offense if charges are brought within a certain period of time. For instance, first degree misdemeanor charges must be filed within two years of the date of the alleged crime, while second degree misdemeanor charges have a limitation period of one year.
Felony offenses are charged as either first, second, or third degree felonies, with crimes of the first degree considered the most serious. First degree felonies include crimes like aggravated battery of a police officer and come with a penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Second degree felonies, which include offenses like selling marijuana to a minor, are instead punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment, while those who are charged with third degree felonies, such as theft of an automobile, face a five year sentence. Crimes that result in a death are charged as capital felonies, which come with a life sentence. Unlike first degree felonies, which have a statute of limitations of four years, and second and third degree felonies, which have a limitation period of three years, capital felonies have no statute of limitations and can be charged at any time.
There are a number of legal defenses that Florida defendants can utilize, although which arguments are available will depend in large part on the defendant’s criminal record and the charge in question. Some possible defenses, however, include:
- Procedural errors during the arrest and questioning;
- The lack of intent to commit the crime;
- Failing to prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt; and
- The use of evidence that was obtained during an unlawful search or seizure.
Please contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to learn more about these defenses and how they could be applied in your own case.
Call Our Oldsmar Office Today
If you were recently accused of a crime, you need a dedicated Oldsmar criminal lawyer in your corner. Please call the Pawlowski // Mastrilli Law Group today to learn more about how we can help with your own charges.