February 16, 2016

Criminal Process

LEGAL REPRESENTATION AT EVERY CRITICAL STAGE

Megan will personally handle your case at every critical stage, from start to finish

 

Defending your Driver’s License at the formal review hearing with the Florida DHSMV (Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) or facilitating in the waiver review process if you elect for an extended hardship permit.

Filing the necessary court documents to satisfy your initial court date (plea day or arraignment) to negate the necessity of your appearance. (This is imperative if you are from out of town or were visiting on vacation.)

Demanding all evidence, including arrest reports, witness statements, and videos.

Filing all pre-trial motions and setting hearings for any legal or factual issue that could potentially impact the case.

Engaging in meaningful negotiations with the State prosecutor to get the best plea offer possible for the client’s consideration; or proceeding to a jury trial.

 

Discovery:

 

The State is required to provide reports, copy of any audio recordings and a list of potential witnesses to the defense to prepare their case.  In felony cases depositions (sworn statement) can be taken of the witnesses in the case.  Participating in this process is how we ‘discover’ if there are any potential basis to file a motion to suppress in your case.

 

Motion to Suppress:

 

The U.S. Constitution protects us from unreasonable search and seizures.  Drug cases, much more so than many other criminal cases, present circumstances and issues that must be closely scrutinized to ensure that the police followed the law.  Police officers make mistakes in the heat of the investigation crossing the line of lawful searches and seizures.  In these cases, a Motion to Suppress all evidence obtained by illegal search/seizure will be filed and heard by the Court.  Depending on the evidence that is suppressed it may result in your case being dismissed.

 

Plea Offers:

 

Many plea offer in drug cases involve lengthy periods of probation, sometimes community control (house arrest), drug evaluation and treatment, random urinalysis testing, court costs, community service work and more.  What is often left out of the offer and court’s announcement is the potential driver’s license suspension that may result in entering a plea.  Having an experienced attorney working with you during the plea negotiations is vital for you to enter a knowing and intelligent plea to resolve your matter with minimal immediate and long term impact.

 

Setting your case for Trial:

 

Rejecting the State’s offering and setting the case for trial may have consequences that you had not anticipated.  When the State’s offer is rejected and the matter set for trial, the State withdraws the offer and considers whether to file additional charges (sometimes these additional charges require a minimum mandatory prison sentence) if supported by the evidence.  If the State is going to trial they usually bring the most charges at highest levels they believe they can prove.  Your attorney needs to discuss this possibility with the State and advise you accordingly before you make important decisions in your case.

 

Expunction/Sealing Record:

 

Whether or not your case is eligible to petition the State and Court to be sealed or expunged depends on several factors: 1) the charge; 2) the plea; and 3) the disposition or outcome of the case.  If having your record sealed or expunged is important to you then you need to discuss this with your attorney prior to entering a plea in your pending criminal case.  If your case is already resolved please contact me for a free consultation to discuss if you may be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged.