If you have been charged with a crime in North Florida, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney at your earliest opportunity. At the Law Offices of Edwards & Jones, we represent people accused of crimes such as DUI, sex crimes, assault and battery, theft crimes, violent crimes, and firearms violations. Criminal charges can carry the threat of a long period of incarceration and significant fines. Our Gainesville criminal defense lawyers work diligently to develop strong defenses to reduce or avoid the impact of criminal charges in state and federal courts. A member of our firm can speak with clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Criminal Defense
The consequences of being convicted of a crime can be harsh. Under Florida's 10/20/Life system, for example, there are mandatory minimum sentences for people convicted of certain offenses in which a gun was present. Even showing a gun while perpetrating certain felonies can result in 10 years of incarceration. While all crimes must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, it is still important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney rather than simply waiting for the prosecution to prove its case. The earlier that we get involved, the more likely it is that we can develop a strong strategy to pursue a favorable outcome.
In Florida, you can be charged with a DUI if you operate or are in physical control of a vehicle while you are either impaired or showing a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. The latter crime is a per se DUI. While there is no minimum sentence for a first DUI, each subsequent offense carries a minimum jail sentence. A Florida DUI is considered a second offense if the defendant has a prior DUI conviction within the last five years. It may be possible to reach a plea bargain for a lesser charge, such as wet reckless. In certain situations, however, it makes sense for a criminal defense attorney in the Gainesville area to make a strong defense at trial.Drug Crimes
Drug crimes are taken seriously in Florida. Controlled substances that are often implicated in drug crimes include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, MDMA, methamphetamine, oxycodone, synthetic drugs, hydrocodone, GHB, and Fentanyl. Sometimes sentencing alternatives, such as pretrial diversion or pretrial intervention, are available for people charged with drug crimes. However, if you are caught with a threshold amount of a certain controlled substance, you can be charged with trafficking. Drug trafficking charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence.Violent Crimes
In Florida, violent crimes include murder, robbery, aggravated assault, and rape. Different elements must be shown to establish each of these charges. For example, aggravated assault, defined under section 784.021, requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant intentionally and illegally threatened to do violence, they seemed to have the ability to carry out this threat at the time that they made it, the threat created a well-founded fear of imminent violence in the victim's mind, and they made the assault with a deadly weapon or a fully formed, conscious intent to perpetrate a felony. Some violent crimes are further subdivided. For example, there are different degrees of homicide based on how severe society considers the offense to be. If you are convicted of a violent felony, you may face jail time, and you may be prohibited from possessing a firearm. You should retain a knowledgeable Gainesville criminal defense attorney to help you fight this type of charge.Sex Crimes
Sex crimes in Florida include unlawful sexual activity with minors, lewd or lascivious acts, and sexual battery and rape. These are very serious criminal charges. If convicted, you may not only serve time in prison but also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. What must be shown depends on the specific sex crime charged. Generally, you can be charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor if you are at least 24 years old, and you engage in consensual sex with a 16- or 17-year-old. Sexual battery is defined under Florida Statute 784.011. This crime is perpetrated if someone has nonconsensual anal, oral, or vaginal contact with somebody by using a sexual organ or object.Theft Crimes
In Florida, you can be charged with theft if you unlawfully took or used property with the intent of depriving the owner of their right to the property. Theft crimes are subdivided into grand theft and petit theft. The former occurs when the property that is taken is worth at least $300. The kind of sentence that you will face for grand theft charges depends on how valuable the property was and the kind of property that it was. For example, grand theft is charged as a third-degree felony that is punished by up to five years in prison or five years on probation and a $5,000 fine, if the property is valued somewhere between $300 and $20,000.Gun Crimes
If you use a gun in connection with certain criminal acts, you may face mandatory minimum sentences under Florida's 10/20/Life law. A criminal defense lawyer can help Gainesville residents try to avoid the harsh application of this law. Additionally, Florida makes certain gun-related conduct a crime. Some common gun crimes include carrying a concealed firearm, improper exhibition, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Carrying a concealed firearm may not seem like a big deal, but it is charged as a third-degree felony. If the prosecutor can show that you knowingly carried a concealed firearm on or about your person, you can face up to five years in prison or on probation and up to $5,000 in fines.White Collar Crimes
Generally, white collar crimes are nonviolent crimes committed for financial gain. They can include embezzlement, fraud, forgery, money laundering, identity theft, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, cybercrime, and Medicare fraud. What must be established depends on the charge, and certain white collar crimes can be charged either as misdemeanors or as felonies. For example, whether embezzlement is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the value of the property at issue. If you are accused of embezzling more than $100,000, you would probably be charged with a felony, and the potential sentence could include up to 30 years in prison.Traffic Tickets
You may want to consider fighting a traffic ticket with the assistance of a Gainesville criminal defense lawyer. Many people assume that they should just pay the fine and move forward. However, if you get points against your Florida driver's license, you can face insurance premium surcharges. Our firm has handled such traffic matters as red light violations, speeding tickets, failing to buy car insurance, passing a school bus, suspended driver's licenses, running a stop sign, and failing to appear in court. It can be helpful to consult an experienced criminal attorney about your traffic ticket.Probation Violations
In Florida, probation is a kind of community supervision that requires you to follow certain terms and conditions ordered by the court, instead of serving all or part of a sentence of incarceration. It is considered a privilege, rather than a right. Probation violations are offenses involving the breaking of terms or conditions of probation. The consequences for a probation violation depend on the circumstances, including how serious the crime was, whether you have a record, and whether there were factors that made the situation less or more serious. You might face extensions in probation, jail time, or fines for a probation violation. Our criminal defense attorneys can help Gainesville residents fight to keep their probation intact.Injunctions and Restraining Orders
Injunctions and restraining orders are court orders that bar the person covered by the order from taking specific actions or require them to take certain actions. For example, if an abusive ex-spouse is stalking his former wife, the court can issue a stalking injunction prohibiting him from continuing to stalk or contact his former wife. The court has the power to enforce an injunction or restraining order that is violated. Sometimes a violation of an injunction or restraining order can result in criminal charges or affect determinations in family court. Injunctions that may be issued in Florida include repeat violence injunctions, sexual violence injunctions, dating violence injunctions, and stalking injunctions.Expungement
Under Florida Statutes section 943.053, your adult criminal history record is public with certain access provisions, unless the record has been sealed or expunged. When a record is expunged, it is taken out of the record systems and destroyed. There are different types of expungement processes that may be available, depending on the situation. With a court-ordered expungement, you can apply to the FDLE for a certificate of eligibility to seal or expunge your criminal history record, which is the first step toward getting a court-ordered expungement. There are other processes as well, including juvenile diversion expungement, lawful self-defense expungement, automatic juvenile expungement, and early juvenile expungement.Contact a Dedicated Criminal Defense Lawyer in Gainesville
Whether you are a first-time offender or have multiple convictions on your record, you can face serious consequences in court. It is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Edwards & Jones, we know how to deliver aggressive defense strategies. We're 100% Devoted to Your Defense When You Need It Most. If you are facing criminal accusations or charges, call us at 352.377.7800 or contact us online.
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