Broward County Criminal Defense
It can be extremely stressful to be accused of a crime in Broward County. If you're being investigated for a crime or you've just been arrested, you may be concerned about your future. Certain crimes such as drug trafficking carry mandatory minimum sentences in Florida. But even when there is no mandatory minimum sentence, there is a real threat of time in prison if you are charged with a felony. An experienced Broward County criminal defense attorney can answer your questions about your legal options, and help you protect your rights.Broward County Criminal Defense
In Florida, crimes are divided into misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are generally less serious than felonies, and the penalties are less severe. Nonetheless, you should take misdemeanor charges seriously, as convictions can accumulate and trigger harsher penalties down the road. Misdemeanors include battery, petit theft, domestic violence, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, vandalism, providing alcohol to a minor, driving with a suspended license, and DUI. Generally, first-degree misdemeanors carry the potential for being sentenced up to one year in jail, 12 months of probation, and a $1000 fine. Slightly less serious are second-degree misdemeanors, which can be punished by a maximum of 60 days in jail, six months probation, and a $500 fine. A criminal defense lawyer in Broward County can help you determine the most effective way to fight misdemeanor charges.Felony Charges
Felony convictions often carry a sentence of at least one year in prison. If you are charged with a felony, you may be imprisoned while waiting to be tried by a jury. Felony convictions can prevent you from voting or buying a gun. Felonies can include homicide, kidnapping, sexual battery, grand theft, robbery, and stalking. There are multiple classes of felonies. A third degree felony such as cocaine possession or a fourth DUI can result in up to 5 years in a state prison and a fine of up to $5000.
Second-degree felonies can result in a maximum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. If the second-degree felony involves a violent crime such as aggravated battery with a weapon or sexual battery, the court may also order you to pay restitution.
First-degree felonies can be punished by up to 30 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine. A defendant may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim as the court sees fit. First-degree felonies can include DUI manslaughter after leaving an accident scene, carjacking, or robbery with a weapon.
Life felonies are very serious, and if convicted, you could face a sentence of 40 years to life in prison as well as a $15,000 fine. Life felonies often involve violent crimes or subsequent convictions of first-degree felonies. Similarly, capital felonies such as murder and armed kidnapping are quite serious, and a conviction can result in death or life in prison. You may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Broward County will investigate all avenues in crafting your defense if you are facing serious charges of this nature.Defenses
There are multiple defenses that may be available to criminal charges in Broward County. The circumstances will dictate what defenses are likely to work best. For example, it may be appropriate to challenge evidence with a motion to suppress where the police did not have probable cause to search and found drugs through an illegal search and seizure. In other cases, such as with violent crime, there may be a self-defense or defense of others argument to raise. Sometimes the witnesses to the crime are not credible and they can be cross-examined so as to raise reasonable doubt. In other cases, it is better to negotiate and take a plea deal.Broward County Attorney Skilled in Criminal Defense Matters
Oftentimes criminal records carry a huge stigma that may follow someone around for the rest of his or her life, making it a challenge to find a job, get an education, rent a home, or obtain a professional license. It is wise to fight any criminal charges in Broward County with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Hoffman Firm assists clients charged with crimes in areas including Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, Pembroke Pines, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and Davie. Contact us at (954) 524-4474 or via our online form for a free, confidential consultation.