In Florida, as well as in other states in the United States, a state crime is one that is prosecuted 'under state law' and may lead to a fine, imprisonment or even execution in severe criminal cases in Saint Lucie County.
Florida's prison population has recently grown by more inmates than any state except California. Media coverage, public outrage and politicians who want to get re-elected are the primary source of the swelling prison population in Florida. In fact, in the last decade the legislature has added more than a dozen new categories of enhanced and minimum mandatory sentences.
These kinds of harsh mandatory sentences that people are facing make it more important than ever to be represented by a competent and experienced Saint Lucie County criminal attorney. Although certainly not every case involves a minimum mandatory sentence, sentencing policies are not getting better at any level from the perspective of someone accused of a crime in Florida.
Men and women are forced to permanently register as sex offenders and are seen as 'outcasts' in their own neighborhoods, even though they may have been falsely convicted of a computer sex crime.
A suspect that is arrested may find themselves faced with a violation of probation, even though the alleged crime may have never resulted in a conviction.
The state of Florida's criminal justice system can truly be a complex web of events, and trusting an expert in criminal trial law is the first step to guiding you through the process.
If you are charged with a state crime, you want a lawyer who is not afraid of the fight and will immerse themselves into the facts of the case. When the moment of truth arrives and a jury is to decide your fate, you want a criminal lawyer who knows what it takes to win an outright acquittal.
Here are some things that you need to know about the process in Saint Lucie County:
This process starts with the police investigation. Sometimes the police will conduct an investigation before actually making the decision as to whether or not to arrest someone. This would be the time to get in touch with a good lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer who is board certified by the Florida Bar and designated as a specialist in criminal trial law is a good place to start. It may be that an effective criminal attorney can suggest some proactive steps to help clear your name. Maybe your attorney can even persuade the police to see the facts of the case from a different perspective.
In Florida every criminal defendant is entitled to a 1st Appearance hearing within 24 hours of an arrest. This is a very brief hearing where the judge typically reviews where the client lives, the seriousness of the charges, and the prior criminal history of the accused. It can be helpful to have a criminal lawyer at this hearing to help tell the judge a little bit about you. If the 1st appearance judge refuses to set a bond or sets a bond that is unreasonably high, your lawyer should immediately request a bond reduction hearing in front of the judge. Unless charged with a Violation of Probation or a Capital offense, a criminal defendant is generally entitled to a reasonable bond.
The State will typically have an "intake" prosecutor make charging decisions based upon the reports and witness statements submitted to them by the arresting officer in the case. It is possible to request a meeting with the intake prosecutor and attempt to persuade them that the police overcharged the accused (given the facts of the case). This isn't an option in every situation, but early intervention from a criminal defense attorney with an ethical legal reputation can sometimes pay large dividends.
In Florida people accused of a crime are entitled to know what the state has as evidence. This process is called discovery. In felony cases, a person accused of a crime is entitled to take sworn depositions of the state's witnesses. This can be an effective tool to preview what the police and witnesses are going to testify to at trial. It also sets up the crown jewel of any defense lawyer's arsenal of weapons at trial –Impeachment. One of the most effective ways to poke holes in the state's case at trial is to impeach the testimony of a witness by presenting a prior inconsistent statement made by that witness.
This is where you want your criminal lawyer to have the gift of creativity. Whether it be a Motion to Dismiss, Motion to Suppress, Motion for Severance, Motion in Limine or Motion for Change of Venue you're going to be in much better hands if your defense lawyer knows how to research, draft, and argue a great motion. The laws in Florida are very specific and a carefully and creative pre-trial motion can make the difference between evidence being tossed out of a case (resulting in a dismissal) and a lengthy period of incarceration and probation.
The trial of a criminal case begins long before the trial date. The cornerstone of every trial lies in preparation. The criminal trial is a multifaceted event, and they are all important -- Jury selection, opening statement, cross-examination, motion for judgment of acquittal, direct examination, request for specific jury instructions, and closing argument. They all have a particular art to them. If you or someone you care about is facing criminal prosecution, he or she will want to have a board certified criminal trial lawyer by their side every step of the way.
If you or someone you care about in Saint Lucie County would like to speak to a criminal lawyer who handles cases in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida contact criminal lawyer Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 for a no cost evaluation of your case.
Brian Mallonee is a Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties