Experienced Criminal Law Representation
Some areas of law are more self-explanatory for the sorts of things encompassed in that area of specialty. Criminal law encompasses a great many infractions that range from things like traffic violations and drug paraphernalia possession to assault, theft, and violations of probation. Even infractions like boating under the influence (BUI) are considered criminal cases. If you are facing criminal charges, seek out representation who understands the ins and outs of your case.
Here at Matthews & Jones, LLP, our team of Florida attorneys is experienced in a variety of legal specialties, including a wide range of criminal law charges. Explore below to see all of the major categories of criminal law and see whether this might be the subset of legal practice that fits the charges you or your loved one faces. If you are facing charges like these in Destin, Niceville, Santa Rosa Beach, or anywhere along the Emerald Coast, connect with the legal team at Matthews & Jones, LLP, and we can connect you with the best representation to help with your case.
Criminal Law Cases Can Include:
- Assault and Battery
- Boating Under the Influence (BUI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Burglary and Theft
- Domestic Influence
- Drug and Paraphernalia Possession
- Expunging or Sealing of Criminal Records
- Minor in Possession
- Violation of Probation
- Traffic Violations
Areas of Practice
Assault, battery, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery are all serious criminal charges with substantial penalties and jail time. Early representation is critical to your defense.
- Assault is defined as “an intentional threat by word, or act that seeks to physically harm another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.”
- An Aggravated Assault is “an assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill; or with an intent to commit a felony.”
- Battery occurs when a person “intentionally touches or strikes another person without that person’s consent; Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.”
A battery case becomes an aggravated battery case if “during the commission of a battery: intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; uses a deadly weapon. Also, a person commits aggravated battery if the victim of the battery was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.”
Penalties for Assault & Battery in Florida
- Assault is a second degree misdemeanor, which has a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. FL Criminal Statute §784.011
- Battery is a first degree misdemeanor, which has a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1000 fine. A Second Offense Battery charge becomes a felony battery (3rd degree felony) with a penalty of up to 5 years in jail an a maximum $5000 fine. FL Criminal Statute §784.03
- An aggravated assault charge is a felony assault third degree felony, which has a maximum penalty of 5 years in jail and a $5000 fine. FL Criminal Statute §784.021
- An aggravated battery is a second degree felony, which has a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Boating under the influence (BUI) is a serious criminal offense. BUI is similar to driving under the influence in that the blood alcohol concentration is above .08%. Penalties for a BUI conviction can be severe, ranging from community service and probation to imprisonment and heavy fines. Sentencing will depend upon the number of convictions and the severity of the crime. All sentences include mandatory substance abuse classes and monthly probation reporting, as well as a possible 12-month probation period including community service and the 10-day impounding of your boat.
A theft crime is the act of stealing another person’s property without consent. If a person is convicted of a theft crime they face numerous life altering legal consequences such as: imprisonment, monetary fines, restitution, probation and community service.
Domestic violence charges are some of the most difficult to deal with, for all parties involved. Due to the relationships between the parties, these cases can carry an emotional stress that isn’t always present in other criminal charges.
Consequences for spousal abuse may include:
- Counseling sessions
- Batterers’ intervention programs
- Community service time
- Losing the right to stay in your home
- Jail time
- Court orders to stay away from your spouse or children
- Anger management sessions
- Loss of custody
- Heavy fines and court fees
- Revocation of concealed weapons permit
- Inability to seal or expunge a domestic violence charge from your record
- Enhancement from a misdemeanor to a felony
Drug offenses involve the use, sale, or distribution of illegal narcotics such as: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, or unauthorized prescription drugs.
In the State of Florida, all drug offenses involve strict legal punishments. If a person is convicted of a drug crime, he/she may be punished with imprisonment, monetary fines, court-ordered rehabilitation programs, probation, community service, and drug offender registration. A convicted drug offender may also lose his/her right to drive and obtain student loans.
In the State of Florida, you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) when operating a motor vehicle while impaired with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance. You can also be arrested for DUI if the police believe you are impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. If you are found guilty of driving while under the influence, you are subject to heavy penalties for a first offense. These include imprisonment of up to six months, a loss of your driver license for a minimum of six months, a fine of between $250.00 and $500.00 in addition to court costs, completion of a substance abuse course, and 50 hours of community service. Second and subsequent offenses are dealt with more severely.
If you have a criminal record in Florida, you may already be aware of how this has affected your life. Criminal arrests and convictions are official public records, which means they are ultimately available to anyone. Sealing or expungement allows you to put much of your past behind you so you can move forward.
Under Florida law, anyone under the age of 21 years old cannot possess alcohol. Possession of Alcohol by a minor is a second degree misdemeanor and carries serious consequences. A second or subsequent offense enhances the offense to a first degree misdemeanor.
Violations of probation are offenses where a convicted individual who has received a probation sentence rather than jail time violates the restrictions of probation in some way. Upon discovery of the violation, the individual’s probation officer can do one of two things: give a warning, or take the individual to court for a probation violation hearing. At a probation violation hearing a judge will review the evidence and make a decision regarding punishment. The judge may decide upon the maximum penalty the individual faced before being awarded probation – such as jail or prison.
Traffic violations can be serious and have lasting consequences, such as the suspension of your driving privileges, increase of insurance rates and potential jail time if you are pulled over for driving with a suspended license. Tickets for substantial offenses may require your presence in court and may result in hefty fines.