Answers To Common Questions About Florida Criminal Defense
Our two attorneys at Foley & Wilson Law Firm have considerable experience on both sides of the criminal justice system, having served as both prosecutors and defense attorneys. As such, we are often asked questions by clients and prospective clients about Florida criminal law. On this page, we’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions we receive. After reading, you can ask us your own questions during a free consultation.
When should I hire a criminal defense attorney?
You should seek an attorney’s help at the first signs of trouble. If you haven’t been arrested but know you are under investigation, your attorney can get a head start on building your defense and can advise you on what to do/say (or avoiding doing and saying) to prevent the situation from getting worse. This is especially important with federal crimes, which can be investigated by numerous powerful agencies.
If you’ve already been arrested, it is wise to have an attorney by your side before agreeing to be interrogated or otherwise complying with law enforcement. Remember that you have the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. Exercise those rights!
Will I be subjected to mandatory minimums if convicted?
It depends on the specific offense and the details of the case, but Florida has laws imposing minimum sentences for numerous types of crimes (misdemeanors and felonies), especially those involving drugs, sex and guns.
One example is the 10-20-Life rule applying to the use of a firearm during a violent felony. It is called the 10-20-Life rule because of the mandatory minimum sentences associated with possession, use and discharge of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Another example is the “three strikes” law, which imposes mandatory minimums for individuals convicted of numerous violent offenses.
Judges do not have much discretion when it comes to deviating from mandatory minimums, but prosecutors have some discretion regarding how offenses are charged. By contacting an experienced defense attorney right away, you may increase your available options for avoiding the worst consequences associated with a conviction.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
These are two classifications of the seriousness and severity of a crime and potential associated sentences. Misdemeanors are typically considered less serious and are punishable by up to a year in jail. Felonies are more serious and have potential sentences of more than one year in jail.
Many crimes can be classified as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the severity and details of the crime, the impact to victims, a person’s previous criminal history and other factors.
It should go without saying that misdemeanors should not be treated lightly. All criminal convictions can have serious legal and collateral consequences.
Will I lose my license after a DUI?
In many cases, there is a very good chance of temporary loss of your license if you are convicted. You can also lose your license following an administrative hearing, even before being convicted and even if the charges are ultimately dropped. We discuss these issues in greater detail on our DUI defense page.
Ask Us Your Own Questions During A Free Consultation
Foley & Wilson Law Firm has offices in Fort Myers and Naples, and we serve clients throughout Lee and Collier counties. To schedule your free initial consultation, you can reach out online or call 239-984-9115.