AGGRESSIVE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF THOSE CHARGED WITH VIOLENT CRIMES
Crimes of violence often mean injuries or death for the victims and innocent bystanders. While Florida’s overall crime rate has been declining in recent years, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported in 2018 that violent crimes have been steadily increasing in this state.
Any crime where violence is threatened or is actually used against a victim constitutes a violent crime. Such crimes do not necessarily involve the display or use of weapons. Because of the danger they pose to the public, violent crimes are dealt with harshly by Florida’s criminal courts.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION FOR A VIOLENT CRIME?
Violent crimes include homicide, assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, false imprisonment, and arson. A conviction for a violent crime triggers not only serious legal penalties but also serious extra-legal consequences.
Your family could be devastated. Your career could be ruined. You’ll probably also lose your right to own a firearm if you are convicted of a crime of violence, and at least temporarily, you could lose your right to vote.
If you hold a professional license or certification in Florida, your professional licensing board will almost certainly take disciplinary action if you’re convicted of a violent crime. If you are an immigrant in this state, a conviction for a violent felony will probably trigger a deportation order.
WHEN ARE PENALTIES “ENHANCED” FOR VIOLENT CRIMES?
If a violent crime involved a firearm or an explosive device, or if a minor was involved in any way, the penalties for a conviction will be even harsher – or what the law calls “enhanced.”
Similarly, if an act of violence is found to be a hate crime – a crime motivated by the victim’s gender, race, or ethnicity, for example – the penalties for a conviction will be enhanced.
COULD YOU BE FALSELY ACCUSED OF A VIOLENT CRIME?
The violent crimes that you are most likely to be falsely accused of in Florida are assault and battery. When a fight or a violent dispute happens in a bar, a parking lot, or another public setting, the police sometimes simply arrest everyone who’s involved – including the victims.
If you are charged with a violent crime that you did not commit, it is imperative to fight the charge, but do not try to act as your own attorney. When the charge is a crime of violence, even if you’re innocent, acting as your own attorney can be the fast track to prison.
Don’t try to explain anything to the police, because anything you say could be used against you. Politely insist on your right to remain silent and on your right to have your attorney present for any interrogation. Do not agree to or sign any “deal” before you have an attorney’s advice.
WHAT DEFENSES MAY BE OFFERED AGAINST VIOLENT CRIME CHARGES?
Your legal defense against a violent crime charge will depend on the details of the incident and the charge against you. If you’re innocent, you may have been misidentified or even framed for the crime. You may have acted in self-defense or in the defense of others.
You should know, however, that Florida’s Supreme Court has ruled that violent crime defendants who claim self-defense must assume the burden of proof and show that they were in fact acting in self-defense.
Every violent crime case in the Tampa Bay area needs to be reviewed and investigated by an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney. Violent crimes can present difficult defense challenges. Juries, for example, are more likely to convict when a victim is physically injured.
WHAT IS A DEFENSE ATTORNEY’S ROLE IN A VIOLENT CRIME CASE?
Experienced defense attorneys in violent crime cases work to find and present exculpatory evidence, to suppress illegally gathered evidence, to challenge unreliable witnesses, and to provide effective defense representation.
You can’t afford to hire an inexperienced defense lawyer. Every criminal defendant is innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and everyone who is charged with a violent crime deserves to be advised and represented by a good defense attorney.
PAT COURTNEY KNOWS HOW TO WIN JUSTICE
With his background as a former prosecutor, Tampa criminal defense attorney Patrick B. Courtney knows how violent crimes are prosecuted in Florida and just how serious a violent crime charge can be. He knows how to protect a client’s rights – and how to win justice.
Prosecutors sometimes “overcharge” in violent crimes cases – to get a quick guilty plea on a lesser charge from a scared defendant. Pat Courtney does not let prosecutors railroad his clients this way. He will recommend a plea bargain only if a plea bargain is genuinely the best option.
Pat Courtney represents clients who are charged with violent crimes in Hillsborough, Pasco, Polk, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. Find out more by calling his law offices at (813) 967-2000 or by using the online contact form on this website.