3 Ways To Resolve Florida Criminal Charges Before You Get To Trial
Florida has a reputation of being tough on crime, and statistics on arrests are proof that police are diligent in apprehending suspects. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), officers arrest more than 679,200 people every year across the state. In Palm Beach County alone, law enforcement charges almost 40,500 individuals with crimes ranging from drug offenses, assault, DUI, gun and weapons crimes, and many other violations of criminal laws. Some will face misdemeanors, while others will face the most serious charge of a felony offense.
Statistics on arrests are interesting, but these figures do not include information on how the case was resolved through the criminal process. Being charged with a crime does not always mean a conviction, and there may be opportunities to get a favorable outcome in your case. You gain an advantage when you have assistance from a Florida criminal defense lawyer, but here are a few ways to resolve criminal charges before getting to the trial date.
- Disprove Facts: The government has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and this burden applies to each element of the crime for which you were arrested. If you have evidence disproving any of the prosecution’s facts, you might get the charges dismissed. A common scenario is where you have an alibi.
- Present Defenses: Every case is different, and there are defenses available for specific crimes. At the pretrial stages, you might have grounds to raise:
- Illegal search and seizure by police;
- Failure to give a speedy trial; and
- Expiration of the statute of limitations.
- Plea Bargaining: There are cases where you do not have a complete defense, but you could still benefit from plea bargaining to reduce the impact of criminal charges. If you qualify, you may try to work out an agreement with the prosecutor to reduce the charges, the sentence, or both. You will need to plead guilty in exchange for plea bargaining, which is a consideration because your criminal record will include a conviction for a misdemeanor or felony.
When Going to Trial Might be a Wise Move: It would be ideal to have the charges dismissed before your case is set for trial, and your lawyer will pursue all possible strategies. However, it might be a mistake to consider plea bargaining just because of the reduced punishment. You might have defenses that are not appropriate for pretrial, but which should be presented to a jury. It is possible that you could be acquitted at trial, so your record will not reveal a conviction or guilty plea. Though there are no guarantees, you should fully understand the implications of a plea bargain.
Discuss Options with a Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Attorney
Pursuing defenses and other options is a solid strategy, but keep in mind that there may be good reason to go to trial. To learn more about possible strategies, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. You can set up a consultation with an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer by calling 561-626-8880 or visiting our website.