Criminal Defense Attorneys Bradenton, FL

Serving all of Manatee County, our Criminal Lawyers are Ready to Fight to Protect Your Life, Your Rights and Your Record.

A criminal offense carries consequences that can hurt a person’s life. Being charged with a crime — even a relatively minor misdemeanor — could mean hefty fines, jail time, loss of rights, and other penalties. In these cases, having an experienced criminal attorney in Bradenton will help you protect your rights and future.

Dealing with the criminal justice system when knowing that your future depends on it, can be an overwhelming task. Especially, if you don’t know how the law works.

Criminal Offenses in Florida

Florida and federal legislatures routinely add new offenses and increase penalties for various types of existing offenses. Additionally, law enforcement is ramping up their efforts to crack down on crime and the state is always swift to prosecute. 

In a broad definition, a criminal offense is an unlawful action or behaviour considered to transgress the moral standards of society. A criminal offense may include infractions, felonies and misdemeanors.  

The penalties for a criminal offense will depend on the type of crime as well as the aggravating circumstances. If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, you may need a criminal defense lawyer to represent you.

We Defend Clients for Criminal Offenses in Bradenton & Manatee County, FL

When arrested or charged with a crime, you need to get a Bradenton criminal attorney to prepare the best defense for your case. Goldman Wetzel represents individuals accused of many types of criminal charges, both misdemeanors and felonies. The charges we most typically handle are listed below

DUI/DWI

DUI charges are a result of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol, controlled and chemical substances that impaired a person’s faculties while operating a motor vehicle. Depending on the circumstances of the case, some of the penalties for a DUI charge in Florida might include fines, probation, community service, incarceration and driver’s license suspension. Penalties vary based on the degree of intoxication or Blood/Breath Alcohol Level, whether it is a first-time offense and whether an accident occurred caused by the intoxicated driver.

Misdemeanors

In Florida, misdemeanors are classified as first and second degree charges. This means that these types of cases are punishable by up to a year in county jail and a $1,000 fine. Some of the misdemeanors that a criminal attorney can handle are:

  • Driving with suspended driver’s license
  • Stalking
  • Indecent exposure
  • Probation violation
  • Traffic infractions
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Disorderly intoxication
  • Prostitution 
  • Rape/sexual battery

Domestic Violence Crimes

Domestic violence is an offense that includes physical injury or death of a family member and people in a romantic relationship committed by a member of the household. Some examples of domestic violence crimes are child abuse, stalking, kidnapping, assault and battery, restraining order violation and sexual battery. Depending on the severity of the case, a domestic violence offense may lead to mandatory counseling, no contact orders, limited time with children, or even jail. 

Drug Crimes

Drug crimes are among the most common offenses in Florida. There are numerous categories of drug charges that range from possession, trafficking/distribution, and manufacturing/cultivation. A person accused of a drug offense may face fines, probation, losing your driver’s license for a year or jail time. However, these penalties depend on different factors such as the type of drug, the amount and the accused’s motive. 

Sex Crimes

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a sex offense is unlawful sexual intercourse or behaviour. In Florida, sex crimes are taken very seriously. As a result, these types of offenses can result in severe penalties. 

Some of the sex offenses in Bradenton include:

  • Child pornography
  • Indecent exposure
  • Rape/Sexual battery
  • Traveling to meet a minor
  • Lewd and lascivious
  • Prostitution
  • Indecent exposure 

Violent Crimes

A violent crime is the offense of harming or threatening to harm another person. The penalties for these types of charges vary depending on the nature of the offense, aggravating factors as well as the accused’s prior convictions. Violent crimes include assault and battery, murder and manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery and forcible sex offenses.     

White-Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes are generally non-violent and usually committed in commercial situations to obtain goods or other financial benefits. Criminal defense lawyers handle the following types of white-collar crimes:

  • Fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Bribery
  • Racketeering
  • Laundering
  • Insurance fraud
  • Wire fraud 
  • Credit card fraud 
  • Ponzi/Pyramid schemes
  • Tax evasion

Federal Crimes

An individual can be charged with a federal crime if she or he broke a federal law or commited a crime in: a U.S. military base, federal waters or across two state lines. Any crime that meets one of these stipulations can be taken to federal courts. Because federal crimes tend to be more serious, they typically result in harsher penalties.

What Are the Degrees of Criminal Charges in Florida?

In Florida, crimes are classified into felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are less severe crimes and, as a result, they’re punishable by up to one year in a county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 in many cases. However, a more serious misdemeanor can be charged as a felony. 

Unlike misdemeanors, felonies are more serious offenses that can be punishable by incarceration or death. Depending on the severity of the crime, a felony can be classified as:

  • Capital felony
  • Life felony
  • First-degree felony
  • Second-degree felony
  • Third-degree felony

The penalties for a felony charge depend on the type of crime committed. However, here are the maximum fines and maximum prison sentence for felonies.

Type of FelonyImprisonmentFine
Third-degreeUp to 5 years$5,000
Second-degreeUp to 15 years$10,000
First-degreeUp to 30 years$10,000
Life felonyLife sentence$15,00
Capital felonyDeath penalty

What happens after arrest in Bradenton?

After an arrest, make sure you know your rights and what to expect:

1. Exercise your rights

You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. Exercise both. Saying too much can ruin your case and get you into bigger trouble. And you need a criminal lawyer to be present and counsel you so that you can make the right decisions and statements. Immediately after an arrest, call Goldman Wetzel at 941-405-5193 and ask to be patched through to a criminal defense attorney who can help you.

2. Attend to your first appearance

Usually, within 24 hours of your arrest and booking, you will have your first appearance with the judge. Whether your bond is high or has been denied, your attorney should attend the hearing with you Two things occur at the hearing:

  1. The judge determines whether there is probable cause to hold you for the offense officers have accused you of.
  2. If there is no probable cause, the state will release you. On the other hand, if the judge says there is probable cause, she will then determine whether to grant you pretrial release (e.g., to post an appropriate bond). We may also try to convince the judge to release you on your own recognizance.

3. Enter your plea

The next step is called the arraignment, which is where you enter your official plea of guilty or not guilty. Oftentimes, Goldman Wetzel can handle this without you having to appear in court. Before we enter a plea, we will try to persuade the state not to file charges or to file a lesser charge. Thus, retaining us early so we can intervene right away is key and could result in lesser or no charges.

4. Work on your defense case

The next phase is pretrial, where we begin gathering and sharing information (discovery), speaking to witnesses, gathering evidence, filing pretrial motions, taking care of depositions, and strategizing our defense.

5. Go to trial

If your case does not settle prior to trial, your attorney will prepare the best strategies and defense for your case. Our team of lawyers will represent you aggressively and ethically, raise arguments, bring supportive evidence and testimony, and present your case in the best possible light.

What penalties am I facing and how do I reduce them?

The outcome of your case and the potential penalties you face depend on a host of factors, such as:

  • The nature and category of your charges
  • Any aggravating factors
  • Your past criminal record
  • The strength of the state’s case
  • Whether the case is under federal or state jurisdiction
  • The evidence involved
  • The judge and prosecutor assigned to your case

There is not much you can do on your own to reduce your penalties after you have been charged with a crime, but a Bradenton criminal defense attorney can certainly take steps to try to get your penalties lowered or dropped in some circumstances. 

This may mean negotiating with the state and agreeing to a plea bargain. It may mean pushing to get your charge reduced to a lesser offense. It may mean getting your case transferred to mental health court. 

There are numerous options that might be available. Your defense attorney will discuss your best options with you.

Contact our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Bradenton, Florida.

Goldman Wetzel represents clients accused of crime offenses in Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Manatee County and surrounding areas. If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, it’s important to seek advice from a skilled defense attorney.

If you have been accused of a crime and are facing charges in Bradenton, contact our firm for legal help. Contact us via our contact form or call (941) 405-5193 for a confidential, no-obligation and free consultation.

Goldman Wetzel

Bradenton Law Office
1023 Manatee Ave W
Suite 309
Bradenton, FL 34205
(941) 405-5193