If you have been accused of a crime, it is vital to take the charges seriously and seek experienced legal help. A conviction can result in time in jail or prison, hefty fines, and a criminal record that can impact your future opportunities. An attorney can review the facts of your case and work toward a favorable outcome, such as getting the charges dismissed or reduced.
The Possible Consequences of a Criminal Charge
Florida separates offenses into different levels (misdemeanors and felonies) and classifications (first, second, and third). The potential penalties that can be levied in a criminal case will vary depending on the level and class of the alleged offense.
Below are examples of the possible punishments for crimes in Florida:
- Capital felonies:
- Death or
- Life imprisonment without parole
- Life felonies:
- Life imprisonment or
- 25 years' imprisonment followed by probation for life and/or
- Up to $15,000 in fines
- First-degree felonies:
- Up to 30 years' imprisonment and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Second-degree felonies:
- Up to 15 years' imprisonment and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Third-degree felonies:
- Up to 5 years' imprisonment and/or
- Up to $5,000 in fines
- First-degree misdemeanors:
- Up to 1 year of incarceration and/or
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanors:
- Up to 60 days' incarceration and/or
- Up to $500 in fines
How a Criminal Record Can Impact Your Life
A person with an arrest, charge, or conviction on their criminal record can face several consequences extending beyond their sentence. The information on the criminal record is public. That means anyone can access it, including employers or landlords. If someone conducts a background check on a person with a criminal history, their decision to hire or rent to them may be affected.
A prior conviction can also affect subsequent offenses. For example, a first-time DUI is punishable by a fine between $500 and $1,000 and up to 6 months of incarceration. If someone has a previous DUI conviction, the penalties increase to a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 and up to 9 months in jail.
Additionally, a criminal record can result in the loss of certain rights. For example, a person may not purchase or possess a firearm if they were convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.
For foreign nationals, a criminal record can also have immigration consequences. Depending on the crime and when it occurred, the individual may be considered inadmissible to or deportable from the U.S.
The Importance of Seeking Legal Help
When facing criminal charges, it is essential to seek legal help. Navigating the complicated criminal justice system can be daunting and stressful, even for those familiar with it. An attorney can protect their client's rights and help ensure that the proceedings are conducted according to the law. They can prevent their client from saying anything that may be misconstrued and used against them. They can also seek remedies for any overreaches of authority by law enforcement officials or prosecutors.
In addition, an attorney can provide valuable insights regarding different options available concerning plea deals or other matters related to a case, helping their client make informed decisions about the defense strategy.
When dealing with serious criminal charges issues, no one should have to go it alone: receiving legal assistance from a lawyer is invaluable. It can provide much-needed guidance throughout each stage.
Defending Against Criminal Charges
When someone is charged with a crime, they have the right to defend themselves. Several defensive strategies can be used depending on the circumstances of each case.
Some examples include the following:
- Lack of criminal intent,
- Self-defense or defense of others or property,
- Necessity defense,
- False accusations, and
- Mistaken identity.
Defending against such charges requires evidence collection, strategic planning, and knowledge of applicable laws to recognize available legal options. A criminal defense attorney can be instrumental in handling the details of a case.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
A criminal charge can have a significant impact on your life. It is vital to retain legal representation as soon as possible to defend against the charges and protect your future. Hubbs Law Firm has experience defending people against criminal charges and can help build a defense to protect your rights.
Call our Miami lawyers at (305) 570-4802 or contact us online to discuss your case.