Most people charged with misdemeanors (or even some felonies) wonder whether they really need to spend the money to hire a criminal defense attorney. Oftentimes during an initial consultation, people feel as though they've heard everything they need in regards to their case and can pretty much handle it on their own. Unfortunately, most times, they would be wrong.
When the state brings allegations of abuse, abandonment, neglect, or failure to protect your child, you may find yourself dragged into dependency court and possibly criminal court as well. Dependency court is a combination of family court and criminal court where the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure govern while still attempting to provide the parties with due process. The standard is the "best interests of the child" if the petition is against you, but changes to "detriment to the child" if you are the non-offending parent.
Some people are under the mistaken belief that an attorney is not necessary when their child is being charged criminally, or that the child's school can make the charges just "go away". The reality is, the sooner you higher an attorney, the better the outcome can be. The consequences may include secure detention, a permanent criminal record, or even being charged as an adult ("direct file").
Being charged with a crime when you are not a United States citizen can have harsh consequences on your immigration proceedings. Depending on the outcome of your criminal case, your legal status in this country might be in jeopardy. You may be facing detention, deportation, and/or prohibited re-entry. There are many criminal charges, from misdemeanors to felonies, which may impact your ability to stay legally in the United States, including drug charges, crimes of moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, and gun crimes. In Part I, we will be focusing on crimes considered within the realm of "moral turpitude."
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 allows a defendant to have his previously entered plea vacated. In other words, you could have your sentence withdrawn. Sometimes you may not realize the impact a "good plea deal" can have, such as immigration consequences, or being unable to seal or expunge your record as a result.
Broward's Misdemeanor Diversion Program (MDP) is a program run by the State Attorney's Office for misdemeanor charges. It is offered to first-time criminal offenders and, if successfully completed, your case would be "nolle prossed", or dismissed.
Resisting without violence is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or probation and $1000 fine. Unfortunately, it is a common criminal charge that is usually added to other charges, or can also be a sole charge.
More commonly referred to as a hit and run, Leaving the Scene of an Accident is actually much more common than most people realize. Unfortunately, the criminal consequences are much more serious that you may realize. You could be facing jail, fines, license suspension, and points assessed on your driving record, which could raise insurance rates. There are three types of Leaving the Scene of an Accident charges.
I have had several clients confused about the way a criminal case commences, proceeds, and ends. This is meant as a brief explanation as to how cases in the criminal justice system proceed generally. These are not hard and fast rules. Each case and each county is unique, and it is best to speak to a criminal defense attorney about the specific facts of your case to know what applies and what does not.
In Florida, a person commits theft by knowingly taking or using, or attempting to take or use, someone else's property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive them of a right to or benefit from the property, or appropriating the property for their own (or someone else's) use. (Fla. Stat. Section 812.014). There are varying degrees that may be charged criminally, depending on the value or the item itself.