Q: What Happens Next After Being Arrested?
A: When you are arrested you are assigned a future court date approximately one month after your arrest. This is called an arraignment and it is where you formally enter a plea of not guilty, guilty or no contest to the charges. It is highly unusual for someone to plea guilty or no contest to a felony at arraignment. In fact, the judge will not usually accept such a plea as the Criminal Punishment Code score sheet will not have been prepared yet. If you hire the Faett Firm, we can file paperwork which will waive your appearance at arraignment. If the State files charges you will be given another court date. In misdemeanor cases this is a pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference the attorneys will let the judge know the status of the case. From this point the case may be plead out, continued or set for trial. In felony court the second court date is called a case management and is conducted much as the pretrial conferences are in misdemeanor court. If the State does not provide the proper information to you (known as the “discovery”), the judge may continue the case without forcing you to waive speedy trial. It also may result in the judge excluding or suppressing evidence. It is important that you have an attorney who is aware of these issues.
Q: Am I Going To Jail?
A: There are many factors which determine whether you will be incarcerated as a result of your charges. The most important factor is the seriousness of the offense. Some minor offenses will result in penalties as minor as a fine or warning. As the level of seriousness increases so do the penalties. If you are charged with open container you will likely only get a fine. If you are charged with sexual battery it is likely the State will seek imprisonment. The strength of the case is the second most important factor in determining what penalties you are facing. If they realize that there are problems with their case they are more likely to offer you a favorable plea offer rather than risk losing at trial or by motion. For example, if your attorney presents a valid challenge to the breath test in a DUI case the State is much more likely to remove and request for jail and even reduce the charges to Reckless Driving. The third and most ignored factor in determining whether you go to jail is you the person. In misdemeanor charges, unless there are minimum penalties such as in repeat DUI’s, the judge has the leeway to sentence offenders from anywhere from the minimum to the maximum penalty. In felony cases the judge is given a score sheet. The number of points you have gives him/her the minimum sentence he/she can give you (again, a minimum mandatory overrides the bottom sentence). However, if the judge finds a valid reason for departure he can go below the minimum sentence required by the guidelines. These reasons range from a need for restitution to the offense being an isolated incident committed in an unsophisticated manner for which the offender shows remorse. This is the reason for departure our attorneys used in State v. Vanbebber, 848 So.2d 1046 (Fla. 2003). Mr. Vanbebber was charged with three counts of DUI with personal injury, one of them with serious bodily injury, and one count of DUI/manslaughter. His scoresheet called for an extensive prison sentences. Are attorneys were able to convince the trial court to sentence Mr. Vanbebber to a much shorter period of incarceration and to allow him to serve it in the county jail as opposed to prison. They then successfully argued the case in front of the Second District Court of Appeals and the Florida Supreme Court. The Faett Firm will help you fight your charges. Our attorneys will prepare your case to give you the best possible chances at trial. We will also look at all the facts surrounding you and your case so that you will receive the most lenient sentence if it comes to that.
Q: How Will My Case Be Resolved?
A: If you go to trial, the entire burden is on the State of Florida to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A trial is a battle. It is essential that you have an attorney who knows the rules of evidence and has the experience and knowledge to hold the State to this burden. The attorneys at Faett Firmhave been trying cases for years and will do everything legally possible to have you found not guilty. In most cases the State Attorney will make you a plea offer. Plea conferences, office meetings, and court hearings can help fine tune these offers. Aggressively preparing a case for trial can also cause the State to give a better offer. If the plea meets your satisfaction upon acceptance by the judge the case is over. If the plea offer is not to your satisfaction the matter can be set for trial. There are several programs in Collier, Lee, Hendry and Charlotte counties which may be an alternative. These programs are based on your history and factors unique to you. If you qualify for one of these programs the end result is often that the charges are dropped upon completion. If the charges are dropped you can often seek to expunge the record so that the files are actually destroyed. If you have no or a limited criminal record you may be eligible for pretrial diversion. Similar to probation, pretrial diversion will give you tasks to complete. These tasks can include substance abuse treatment, community service, shoplifting classes, and restitution depending on the facts of your case. There may also be fines, cost of investigation and a fee for the program. Upon completion of pretrial diversion or intervention your charges are dropped. Under some circumstances we may even be able to get you into substance abuse diversion over the objection of the State Attorney.
Q: What Is Mental Health Court?
A: If you suffer from mental illness drug court may be the best option for you. Mental health court is aimed at helping people with mental illness. Like drug court, mental health court may be diversionary or probationary in nature.
Q: What Is Motion To Dismiss A Case Involve?
A: The 4th and 14th and seizures by the State. If the police officers involved in your case improperly stopped your car or conducted an improper search the judge can throw out the evidence they discovered. The 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you a privilege against incriminating yourself. If law enforcement questioned you without reading you your Miranda rights your statement may be inadmissible. At a hearing on a motion to suppress the State and defense can present evidence. The attorneys then argue as to what the result should be. If a motion to suppress is granted, it will weaken the State’s case against you and may ultimately lead to the charges being dropped or dismissed. There are several reasons why the judge may be convinced to dismiss charges. Depending on how long ago the offense occurred before an arrest was made the prosecution may be barred by the Statute of Limitations. If the facts are agreed upon and still do not amount to proof you committed a crime the judge can dismiss the case. Finally, Florida law gives you a right to a speedy trial. If you do not waive this right the judge can dismiss the case after the speedy trial time periods have run.Amendments to the United States Constitution prohibit unreasonable searches.
Q: What Is Computer Soliticiation?
A: Using a computer or similar device to solicit sexual relations from a minor is a crime in Florida. Traveling to meet that minor is also illegal and adds additional potential penalties.
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