Fighting for You
Fort Lauderdale Attorney Defending People Facing Serious Criminal Charges
Florida classifies crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies. While any criminal charge is cause for concern, felony charges are more serious than other offenses. They typically carry significant and potentially life-altering penalties. As a result, it is crucial for people accused of committing a felony offense to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss their charges and potential defenses. Dave L. Simmons is a dedicated Fort Lauderdale felony lawyer with the knowledge and experience needed to help people fight to protect their rights. If you hire him, he will develop a strategy to help you seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case.
Felony Charges and Penalties in Florida
In Florida, felonies fall into one of five classifications: a felony of the third degree, a felony of the second degree, a felony of the first degree, a life felony, or a capital felony. A felony of the third degree is the least serious felony charge and can result in imprisonment for up to five years and a fine not to exceed $5,000. Examples of felonies of the third degree include aggravated stalking, resisting arrest with violence, and felony battery. A conviction for a felony of the second degree can lead to a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Felonies of the second degree include DUI manslaughter, dealing in stolen property, and burglary of a dwelling.
The potential fine for a person convicted of a felony of the first degree is $10,000 as well, but the possible prison term increases to up to 30 years, unless a longer prison sentence is permitted by statute. You should immediately consult a felony attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area if you are being investigated for a first-degree felony. Drug trafficking is typically charged as a first-degree felony, as are burglary involving assault and battery and robbery involving the use of a deadly weapon.
A person convicted of a life felony can be fined $15,000 and sentenced to either life imprisonment or a prison term of at least 25 years, followed by probation for the rest of the individual’s life. Certain homicide and sexual battery crimes are life crimes. Finally, a capital felony is punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment with no chance of parole. Typically, first-degree murder is charged as a capital felony.
Potential Defenses to Felony Charges
The exact defenses available to a criminal defendant will vary depending on the facts of the case. In any criminal matter, though, the State is required to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. While the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard has no precise definition, it is generally interpreted to mean that no reasonable person who reviewed the evidence can come to any conclusion other than that the defendant is guilty. This is a high evidentiary burden, and if the State cannot prove an element of a charged offense, a Fort Lauderdale felony attorney can show that the defendant should be deemed not guilty. For example, many crimes involve an element of intent, and the State is required to demonstrate that the defendant possessed the state of mind indicated by the relevant statute at the time that the crime was committed to establish guilt.
In some instances, a defendant may be able to argue that the State obtained evidence via a search and seizure that violated the defendant’s constitutional rights, and therefore the evidence must be suppressed. Similarly, criminal defendants have constitutional rights against self-incrimination and Miranda rights during interrogations. If these rights are violated, it may be grounds for dismissal.
Speak With a Skilled Florida Attorney Today
A felony conviction can cause permanent harm to a person’s liberties and reputation. It is critical for people charged with serious crimes to understand their rights. If you are accused of a felony, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible to assess your options and possible defenses. Dave L. Simmons is a skilled felony lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who can advocate aggressively on your behalf. Mr. Simmons represents people throughout Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties. You can contact Mr. Simmons to set up a confidential and free consultation via the online form or by calling (954) 765-3540.
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- 3 20 Years Experience in Broward County