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Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense of Felonies and Misdemeanors

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY - CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER

Felonies

If you have been arrested or are under criminal investigation by state or local law enforcement for a state crime, you will be prosecuted in a state court.  State crimes are violations of state and local statutes or ordinances.    Prosecutions are brought by the either the office of the state attorney, or the office of statewide prosecutor, and are heard in either county or circuit court, depending on the particular charges, in the county where the charges are filed.

In the state of Florida, crimes are categorized as either misdemeanors or felonies, and the potential criminal penalties will vary greatly depending on the crime charged.  If you are convicted of a criminal charge, a judge could sentence you to the following maximum penalties: 

  • First Degree Misdemeanor:  Maximum penalty of one year in the county jail and fines up to $1000
  • Second Degree Misdemeanor:  Maximum penalty of sixty days in the county jail and fines up to $500
  • First Degree Felony:  Maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison or, in some cases, life in prison.
  • Second Degree Felony:  Maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
  • Third Degree Felony:  Maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Felonies are serious crimes.  As shown above, a felony charge can result in a sentence of up to 30 years in prison or, in some cases, life in prison, along with substantial fines.  Major felony criminal offenses, include, but not limited to, murder, sex crimes, armed robbery, theft, drug offenses, and aggravated battery, are felonies that are charged by degrees, depending on the offense.  

Each degree of felony has a different maximum penalty, ranging from five years to life in prison.  In felony cases, Florida has established a set of sentencing guidelines, which is essentially a complex scoring system that determines whether a criminal defendant warrants mandatory prison time.  The score sheet takes into consideration many factors, including the nature of the current charge and prior criminal history.  In many offenses, including those involving drug trafficking and firearms, there are minimum mandatory sentences that a judge must impose if a defendant is convicted of the charge

Once you are convicted of a felony, it will appear on your criminal record.  Felony convictions can result in the loss of some fundamental constitutional rights, such as the right to vote and bear arms, and can also cause significant professional harm.  Furthermore, many employers may be unlikely to hire a convicted felon, resulting in limited professional opportunities and potential financial hardship. 

At Rice Law Firm, we represent clients in all types of felony cases.  Whatever the felony charge, we will examine your case and work aggressively to see what options are available in your case.  Many felony cases are eligible for pre-trial intervention or drug court, which can result in dismissal of the charge upon successful completion of the program. 

Our experienced attorneys have a reputation for providing superior representation.  We understand that each person, and each case, is unique, and we will carefully evaluate the evidence in your case.  At Rice Law Firm, your rights are important, and our experienced attorneys will fight to protect them.  Let us put our expertise to work for you.  A strong criminal defense is vital to protecting your freedom and your future. 

Please contact us through our web mail contact form, or through our main office number, 386.257.1222. We understand that you may need our assistance after-hours or on the weekends, and in such situations, we can be reached at our after-hours number of 386.255.2464.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanor offenses are generally less serious than felony offenses and carry a potential penalty of no more than one year in county jail.  Although the penalties for misdemeanors are not as severe, a misdemeanor conviction can still result in a jail and/or probationary sentence, as well as a sizeable fine.  Furthermore, the conviction will appear on your criminal record and can often negatively impact your professional and personal pursuits.  Misdemeanor convictions can also cause financial hardship and damage to your reputation.   

Being arrested is often a devastating experience for both the accused and his or her family, and an arrest can affect your life in many unanticipated ways.  If you have been charged with a crime or if you are the subject of a criminal investigation, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before speaking to, or answering any questions from, the police and/or the prosecutors.  Your freedom is at stake.  Securing experienced legal representation at an early stage is vital to the outcome of your case.

The criminal defense attorneys at Rice Law Firm understand the Florida criminal justice system.  With so much at stake, it is important that you obtain the services of a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in handling Florida criminal matters and who can use that experience to benefit their clients.  Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Please contact us through our web mail contact form, or through our main office number, 386.257.1222. We understand that you may need our assistance after-hours or on the weekends, and in such situations, we can be reached at our after-hours number of 386.255.2464.


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