Violent crimes carry some of the harshest penalties in Pinellas County. The state charges most of these offenses as felony crimes, all of which carry the threat of years or decades in state prison. Pinellas County prosecutors will pursue the harshest possible penalties for violent crimes convictions. If you were arrested or currently face felony charges for a violent offense, call the violent crimes lawyers in Pinellas County at Goldman Wetzel to protect your legal rights.
Contact us today for help: 727-828-3900.
What Penalties Might I Face for a Violent Crime in Pinellas County?
Robbery, sexual battery/rape/forcible sex offenses, aggravated assault, and murder are the four different types of offenses under the violent crime umbrella. All four offenses carry felony charges. However, this broad category of criminal offenses can involve any crime during which the offender inflicts or threatens to inflict physical harm upon another person.
The penalties for conviction on a violent crimes charge depend on the nature of the offense, any prior convictions on your record, and any aggravating circumstances.
Misdemeanor violent crimes, such as simple assault or battery, carry penalties as follows:
- Jail time of 60 days to one year
- Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000
- Community service
- Intervention programs
Felony violent crimes in Florida carry penalties as follows:
- Jail or prison time of five years to life
- Fines ranging from $5,000 to $15,000
- Community service
- Intervention programs
- Loss of civil rights (e.g., possessing a gun)
The Florida statutes prohibit juries and judges from imposing a lesser sentence than the offense carries, unless the judge determines there is a valid reason for a downward departure. So, once the court convicts you for a violent crime in Pinellas County, you will have little to no hope of receiving a lighter sentence.
Any violent crime conviction goes on your permanent record. As a convicted felon, you will lose your right to vote, sit on a jury, or own or possess a firearm. You will also have a hard time getting a job, renting an apartment, or obtaining any type of professional licensure.
Florida also has laws on the books for habitual violent felony offenders (HFVO). These laws, written to address recidivism in violent crime, carry harsh, enhanced penalties. For a third-degree felony HFVO conviction, you will spend between five and ten years in prison. A second-degree HFVO offense means 15 to 30 years in prison. A first-degree felony HFVO conviction means 30 years to life.
How Can Goldman Wetzel Help Me?
At Goldman Wetzel, we use a team-based approach for defending clients who face violent crimes charges. This allows us to take an intensive, proactive approach with your case.
Depending on the nature of your offense, we have a variety of strategies that we can use in your defense.
If we have the opportunity to start working for you before the State Attorney (SA) files violent criminal charges, we can often negotiate with the SA to file less serious charges.
Even if the SA has already filed charges, we have numerous approaches for helping you. After evaluating the prosecution’s evidence against you, we can negotiate for reduced charges or, ideally, the dismissal of some or all the charges against you.
If we must proceed to court, these are some of the most common and effective defense strategies we may use to defend our clients accused of a crime of violence:
Stand Your Ground
This is arguably one of Florida’s best-known — and least-understood — laws. It allows you, in many scenarios, to legally use deadly force to protect yourself, someone else, your home, or your vehicle.
Some situations make it necessary to commit a statutorily criminal act due to necessity or duress. When using this defense, we will demonstrate the legal elements of necessity.
Depending on the nature of your violent crime charges, the Goldman Wetzel attorneys may question the prosecution’s evidence of your offense. This defense strategy is particularly effective if the state charges you with multiple offenses.
In some types of violent offenses, the purported victim may report an event that did not occur or exaggerate what actually happened.
With any violent crime, we can also explore a defense based on illegal search and seizure, improper handling of evidence, or lack of intent or ability to carry. Because the prosecution’s burden of proof is high for violent crimes in Pinellas County, we need only to establish reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind.
Goldman Wetzel: Violent Crimes Lawyers in Pinellas County
The Goldman Wetzel team of professional attorneys have backgrounds that include working within the Pinellas County justice system and the State Attorney’s office. We know exactly how the state prosecutes violent crimes, and we put that insight to work for our clients.
When you face charges as serious as those for a violent offense, you need aggressive criminal defense lawyers on your side. The attorneys of Goldman Wetzel will work tirelessly for you and ensure the protection of your legal rights. We approach every case with an outside-the-box thought process to identify innovative solutions and produce the best possible outcome for your case.
Contact Goldman Wetzel today to schedule a complimentary consultation and case review: 727-828-3900.