Behind my office doors, you’ll find a defense attorney ready to champion your case, regardless of the charge you face. I frequently shoulder the burden of providing legal services for a diverse range of cases that span every corner of the legal landscape, from issues related to traffic law, encompassing driving on a suspended license and driving under the influence, to the intricacies of serious drug offenses, including everything from possession to drug trafficking and manufacturing.
In addition to this, I handle all varieties of property crimes, tackling charges like petit theft, grand theft, criminal mischief, and an array of fraud-related accusations, such as schemes to defraud and wire fraud. And for those who are accused of actions that are violent or forceful, I offer advocacy in cases involving battery, aggravated battery, robberies, carjackings, and homicide. I also handle sex crimes, including, sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation, and battery. No matter the charges against you, I remain steadfast in safeguarding your rights.
Several of the common misconceptions surrounding criminal cases in Florida, and the criminal justice system at large for that matter, stem from popular portrayals in TV shows and movies. For example, one of the most prevalent misconceptions is the belief that if a police officer fails to read you your Miranda warnings, your case must be dismissed. In reality, authorities are only obligated to read you your Miranda warnings if you are in custody and subjected to interrogation. What’s more, failure to do so doesn’t lead to case dismissal, but rather, can be used to argue to have your statement suppressed. While this might impact the prosecution’s ability to use your statements against you, other evidence can still be used for prosecution.
Another widespread misconception surrounds the duration of a criminal case. Unlike the quick resolution seen on your favorite crime-related TV show, the reality is that many cases, especially serious ones, can extend for months, or even years, before reaching a conclusion. Yet another common misconception related to this is how many people think most cases end up in trial. In actuality, less than 1% of cases proceed to trial; the majority are resolved through negotiated plea deals.
Many people also believe that there is a requirement for physical or forensic evidence to convict someone at trial. The truth is, the law doesn’t strictly mandate the presentation of physical or forensic evidence for conviction; witness testimony holds equal weight to physical or forensic evidence in court, and have historically played a significant role in the justice system well before the advent of widespread forensic evidence.
Within criminal law, the spectrum of fears and concerns that many of my clients face is diverse and understandable. The strongest among them is the fear of incarceration, whether that entails going to jail for shorter sentences or prison for longer ones. It’s important to distinguish that jail sentences are for durations less than a year. In contrast, prison sentences extend beyond a year. Jail is also where individuals can be held while awaiting trial if they cannot secure bond, have had their bond revoked, or have been ordered to await trial by a judge.
Another prevalent fear revolves around the prospect of being labeled a convicted felon or, in a similar vein, a registered sex offender. These designations can cast a long shadow over your life, affecting employment and housing opportunities. Unfortunately, such outcomes are possible, as people charged with crimes can indeed become convicted felons or sex offenders, particularly in serious cases.
Navigating these concerns involves dispelling these misconceptions and others. While a fear of incarceration is realistic for certain cases, it’s important to acknowledge that not all cases lead to jail or prison. A first-time offender charged with a minor crime might expect an extreme penalty, such as a year in jail, but this is a worst-case scenario and not one that a first-time offender is likely to face. The maximum penalty is rarely applied, especially if the case is resolved through negotiated plea deals.
Another significant concern is the impact of a criminal record on reputation and employability. The digital age has made information accessible, and arrest records can easily find their way onto various online platforms. While official records can sometimes be sealed or expunged, the challenge of removing records from private websites persists, particularly if the case gains media attention.
In criminal law, realities often counterbalance misconceptions. A good lawyer not only provides accurate information but also guides clients away from the edge of worst-case scenarios. While each case is unique, the majority are resolved through negotiated agreements, relieving clients of the unpredictability that often accompanies a trial.