If you were arrested for aggravated assault, aggravated battery or felony battery in West Palm Beach, FL, you face charges that are very serious. According to the Florida statutes, aggravated battery is a felony in the second degree. This will be charged when a violent act by you caused significant bodily harm, disability or disfigurement. Aggravated battery also can be charged if you used a deadly weapon.
S.784.03, 784.045, 784.041 of the Florida Statutes describes in details the laws pertaining to battery, assault and felony battery.
Be aware that an aggravated assault charge in Florida can come from you simply throwing an object at someone else, even if that object did not strike him or her. An aggravated assault charge also can be brought if you committed an assault with an intent to murder or rape. Aggravated assault is distinguished from simple assault (a misdemeanor offense). This is done by the Florida police officer determining what your intent was, the injuries to the victim, or whether you used a deadly weapon. If you are accused of felony battery, you often can get a third degree felony charge, but without the element of a deadly weapon being used.
Also, if you use a firearm in these cases, you can be prosecuted under the 10-20-Life statute in Florida (see 775.087, Florida Statutes).
Also, if you use a firearm, you can increase the degree of the felony charge. If you were arrested for aggravated assault, if you used a firearm, a third degree felony charge becomes a second degree felony charge.
According to Florida Statute 316.1935, it is against the law in West Palm Beach, Florida for you to flee or to attempt to elude a law enforcement officer. The law states that if commit this crime, you will be charged with a third degree felony in most cases.
The same statute also notes that if you drive at a high speed or in any way that shows a wanton disregard for public safety, you can be charged with a second degree felony. Also, if you cause serious bodily injury or death to anyone, including law enforcement, you can face a first degree felony charge.
If you are convicted for any of these charges, your driver’s license will be suspended for at least one year. The Florida statutes also note that no judge in the state of Florida may suspend, defer or withhold adjudication of guilt in an evading law enforcement conviction.
If you are charged with evading law enforcement in West Palm Beach, you will need a strong defense attorney in your corner. Your lawyer should review all evidence in the case, such as the video from the police car, recordings of calls between police and headquarters, and testimony from witnesses about the alleged event. He will look closely for any facts that can be used in your favor.
For example, your lawyer will look for evidence that you were not actually fleeing the police. You may not have been aware that the police were trying to pull you over. You could have been distracted or even drunk. Your lawyer also will determine if the police car was clearly marked, and if the police had on recognizable uniforms. You also may not have seen or heard the sirens and flashing lights.
While evading the police is a serious criminal charge, a strong defense lawyer in Florida can give you a solid chance of having the case dropped or reduced to a lesser charge.
If you are charged with rape or sexual assault in West Palm Beach, your reputation is going to be damaged even if you are not convicted. However, if you hire a top sexual assault defense lawyer, he or she can help to minimize the damage and hopefully get the charges dismissed.
As soon as you are charged with rape, contact your lawyer right away. Your attorney can investigate your case to see if there is adequate evidence to support the charges. You should never speak with any law enforcement officer in Florida before you speak with a lawyer.
Most rape and sexual assault cases are different from the other. But just about all of them can have terrible consequences on your life. In many cases, the case will come down to your word against that of your accuser. In such a situation, your lawyer must find every fact that bolsters your case. Your lawyer will need to hunt down every witness, collect evidence, challenge statements from witnesses and try every avenue to prove your innocence.
One of the problems with rape cases today is that they carry heavy prison sentences if you are convicted, and you will have to register as a sex offender in your community.
According to Florida law, the crime of rape has three elements that must be proven:
- The victim was 12 or older when the crime happened
- The defendant took part in a sexual act with the person where the sexual organ made contact with the vagina or anus of the victim.
- The victim did not provide consent.
The law states that these elements can be proven just by the victim’s testimony alone. If you are convicted, you can do 15 years in prison, and the minimum is five years. The absolute minimum punishment would be sex offender probation. This would be if you do not have a previous record.
Note that the Florida Statutes covers rape and related crimes in these sections:
- Rape and sexual battery: s.794.011
- Unlawful sexual activity with certain minors (statutory rape): s.794.05
- Lewd or lascivious battery (sex with a child): s.800.04(4)
Get in touch with a sex crimes lawyer immediately if you are charged with rape in West Palm Beach, Florida, so your rights can be fully guarded.
If you are arrested for prostitution in West Palm Beach, you should know that this is not a minor offense. You can do serious jail time and pay heavy fines for this crime. According to Florida law, prostitution is the giving/receiving sexual acts for currency or some other form of payment.
Prostitution laws are covered in Florida Statute 796.04. The law states that a first offense of prostitution is a second degree misdemeanor, and you can do up to 30 days in jail. For a second violation, it is a first degree misdemeanor and you can do a year in jail.
The law here states that you will face charges for prostitution if you commit any of these offenses:
- Run, set up or own any building to deliver prostitution services.
- Provide another person with the intent to commit prostitution.
- Allow the delivery of someone or transport them with the intent to commit prostitution.
- Make an offer to engage in prostitution.
- Live in any place or be in the presence of any vehicle whose purpose is prostitution.
Also, the law states that it is also illegal to engage in any types of sexual acts with the intention to commit prostitution. What this means is that you cannot set appointments for prostitution with the intent of making such an appointment occur.
No matter if you are facing your first prostitution offense or a subsequent one in West Palm Beach, you should speak to a skilled sex crimes attorney right away to make sure that you have the best possible chance for beating your charge.
Robbery is a violent offense that is treated seriously in Florida. The main difference between robbery and theft is that there is violence in a robbery offense. This means that the crime is more serious than with theft, and it is treated more seriously by West Palm Beach judges and prosecutors. You will need to speak with a strong criminal attorney about your robbery charges to minimize the chances of any serious penalties.
Florida Statute 812.13 defines robbery as ‘the taking of money or other property from a person with intent to deprive the person or owner of the property where there is the use of force, violence, assault or putting in fear.’
The exact charge that you are going to face in Jacksonville, FL and the potential penalty will vary, depending on the circumstances of your case.
If you were armed when you committed the offense, this is a first degree felony, and you could get up to 30 years in prison. If you were unarmed, this is a second degree felony and you could get up to 15 years in prison. You also can be fined in both cases up to $10,000.
Also, the Florida Statutes have a section, 821.131, that defines ‘strong arm robbery.’ This is where you used any amount of force to complete a robbery. This is a term that is used in Florida law to describe the crime of ‘robbery by sudden snatching.’ This would cover such incidences as stealing a woman’s purse or a wallet.
Most robbery cases in West Palm Beach, Florida will result in a plea agreement. If there is a good chance that a plea agreement can be reached in your case, your FL defense attorney will work with the prosecution to minimize any incarceration or fines. If there is physical evidence of a robbery that can be used against you in court, your criminal lawyer will examine the evidence, as well as how it was obtained. If your lawyer determines that the evidence was gotten illegally, this evidence might be inadmissible in court, and the case against you would be weakened.
Being charged with cocaine possession in West Palm Beach, Florida is always going to be difficult. The penalties become a lot worse if you have a previous history, or if you have drug possession convictions in your past. If you have a strong Florida lawyer with you, you can often avoid some of the more serious penalties.
Drug crimes and penalties are defined in Florida Statute 893. 13.
Florida law enforcement takes any cocaine possession charge as a serious matter. This is because of the history of cocaine distribution in Florida. Anyone who deals in cocaine is viewed negatively by law enforcement. If you are arrested with cocaine in your possession, you are going to be treated harshly.
Under the laws of Florida, possessing cocaine is a third degree felony. You can get up to five years in prison, a $5000 fine, probation and a license suspension of two years. Note that many cocaine possession charges do not result in a conviction. These cases often can be settled with a plea agreement by a skilled drug possession attorney. In some cases, you may be able to receive probation instead of jail time. Probation on a serious drug case is not fun, but it is much better than being put in jail.
If you are given probation for your Jacksonville cocaine possession charge, some of the terms of your probation may include:
- Drug testing
- Drug treatment
- Being required to work or go to school
- Meeting with probation officer randomly
- Plenty of community service
Florida also has special drug courts that are set up to specifically deal with people who are charged with serious drug crimes but are nonviolent in nature. These courts try to work with you to hopefully ensure that you will not get in this sort of trouble again. You could be given an intense period of supervision, which is similar to regular probation. Being eligible for drug court participation will depend upon where you are arrested in Florida.
Be sure to speak with a highly qualified drug possession lawyer about your cocaine possession charge, so you have the best chance to minimize any penalties.
Anyone who has an outstanding warrant for their arrest in Florida, you can be arrested at any time. This could be for failing to appear in court, skipping on bail, or for a probation or parole violation. The laws of Florida governing this crime are covered in Rule 15A-6.015 of the Florida Administrative Code.
It is becoming easier for Florida law enforcement to find people who have outstanding warrants. More data is being shared online today between states. There are many database connections between many different law enforcement agencies around the country. Also, there are now license plate scanning technologies that mean you do not even have to be pulled over for the police to run your license plate. The cruiser can just scan your license plate as you drive by, and they can run your plate in their database.
So, it is becoming harder for you to hide from an outstanding warrant in West Palm Beach or anywhere in Florida. The smart thing to do is to hire a good criminal lawyer and deal with the issue up front.
In some cases, with a good attorney, you can have an outstanding warrant for a failure to appear in court be cleared without serious penalties. This is especially true with older cases, where the evidence for your crime was weak. In this case, it might be as easy as getting the old charges dropped, and once that happens, there is no warrant anymore.
Also, judges in Florida will often look positively on those who are trying to fix their legal problems from the past. This is definitely the case for minor charges, such as driving on a suspended license. If you are up front about it, the judge will likely clear the charges with a small fine.
Remember, if you do not deal with your outstanding warrant, you still can be charged with a failure to appeal crime, even if the underlying charges are no longer valid.
Under Florida statutes, theft is a charge that can be many different offenses. These include larceny, stealing, shoplifting and unlawful taking. The charges can run from felonies to misdemeanors, depending upon the situation. You should speak with your Jacksonville, FL criminal lawyer to determine the best defense, depending on the specifics in your case.
In Florida law, theft means that you knowingly received/took the property of another person with the intent to deprive that person, either permanently or temporarily, of his or her property. See Florida Statute 812.014.
One of the most common theft charges in West Palm Beach is for shoplifting. Your Florida defense lawyer may be able to challenge the witness statements, or possibly challenge the ‘intent’ clause in the statute and make the argument that you accidentally took an item, or that there was a misunderstanding.
The penalties for theft can be severe, depending on the value of the item stolen:
- First degree grand theft: If the property is worth $100,000 or more. This is a first degree felony, with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
- Second degree grand theft: If the property is worth from $20,000 to $99,999, this is a second degree felony. You can get up to 15 years in prison.
- Third degree grand theft. This is if the property is worth between $300 and $19,999. This is a third degree felony, and carries up to five years in jail. This charge often applies if you stole a firearm, car, or a farm animal.
For items valued under $300, you can be charged with first or second degree petit theft, which is a first or second degree misdemeanor. You can receive one year or up to 60 days in jail, depending on the value of the item.
Note that if you are found guilty of petit theft, you will be required by law (Florida Statute 812.014) to have your fingerprints taken, and this is attached to the written judgement.
If you were charged with assault and battery in West Palm Beach, Florida, you face a serious criminal charge that will require a top Florida criminal lawyer. The good news is that many of these cases are simply minor fights that got out of hand. Just because you were arrested does not mean that you initiated the quarrel. It just means that the other party called the police, and they just decided to arrest everyone and sort it all out later.
However, know that aggravated assault may be charged in an aggressive manner by the Florida district attorney. The assault could be called ‘aggravated’ if you threw an object, even if it did not hit the other person. Even if you just throw a potted plant against a wall, it could be called aggravated assault.
For more information on Florida laws governing assault and battery, please consult Chapter 784 of the Florida Statutes.
How You Can Beat The Charge
A simple argument that gets out of control can end up being an assault case. In a domestic situation, the police usually feel that they need to arrest someone if they were called in and there was a disturbance.
The prosecution in West Palm Beach may have a weak case. The witness may not be reliable, or she may have changed her story and does not want to press charges anymore. But the district attorney will not share this, unless he or she is aggressively challenged by your defense lawyer.
Your defense attorney will possibly argue that an aggravated charge be reduced to a misdemeanor charge of assault or battery.
- Assault is considered a second degree misdemeanor, which can result in 60 days in jail (Florida Statute 784.011)
- Battery is a first degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to a year in jail (s784.03).
- Aggravated assault is a felony in the third degree and carries up to five years in jail (s.784.021).
- Aggravated battery is a second degree felony, and you can get up to 15 years in prison (s.784.045).
The state of Florida passed a new law in 2007 that is generally referred to as ‘the Romeo and Juliet law.’ This law provides that certain people who were convicted of a sexual battery or lewd/lascivious offense in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in Florida to petition the court to be removed from the FL sex offender registry. This law is detailed in Florida Statute 943.04354.
The law was created because of the serious problem of high school aged people being named as sex offenders because they engaged in a consensual sex relationship with a person aged 14-17. The very serious consequences that follow being named a sex offender have a devastating impact on the accused’s opportunities for employment, attend school functions of their children, and where the accused may live. The sex offender registry does not distinguish between ‘Romeo and Juliet’ offenders and others who actually did engage in sex with minors that pose a serious societal risk.
Please note that you only can do this if you meet the very strict eligibility requirements:
- You had sex of a consensual nature with a minor who was between the ages of 14 and 17;
- You were a maximum of four years older than the minor person when you had consensual sex;
- You were convicted of sexual battery, as described in Florida Statute 794.011, or lewd and lascivious offense, as described in Florida Statute 800.04;
- You have to register as a sex offender ONLY because of the offense described above; and
- You have not been convicted of any other sex-related crimes in your life.
Also note that if you were convicted after 2007 of a lewd/lascivious offense, sex battery or lewd/lascivious exhibition with a computer, the new law lets you to avoid being named a sex offender or sex predator, IF you meet the exact, same eligibility requirements. However, the decision here is entirely up to the judge on the case. This is why you should be certain that you have an expert criminal lawyer in West Palm Beach to represent your interests.