Are you facing a violent crime charge?
Despite being known as the “Sunshine State,” Florida experiences its share of violent crime which is vigorously prosecuted. A conviction carries serious penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and probation. More than this, having a permanent criminal record may tarnish your reputation and hinder future employment opportunities. When your freedom and good name are at stake, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Located in West Palm Beach, Herman Law, P.A., defends clients against violent crimes in state and federal court. We know how to build the best line of defense against such charges and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and your freedom.
What Is Considered a Violent Crime in Florida?
Our legal team routinely handles a wide range of violent crimes, such as:
- Assault and Battery — Florida law defines assault as an intentional, unlawful threat by word or an act of violence, from one person to another. If the offense involves the use of a deadly weapon or the intent to commit a felony, it is considered aggravated assault. Battery occurs when an individual intentionally touches, strikes, or causes bodily harm to another person, charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on circumstances.
- Robbery — Intentionally taking money or property from another person through force, violence, assault or putting the victim in fear of harm, considered a second-degree felony. If a deadly weapon is used during the commission of the crime, charged as a first-degree felony.
- Sexual battery/rape — Forcing, or attempting to force, another person into sexual intercourse or sexual contact, specific charges include sexual battery (a first-degree felony), indecent assault, and sodomy.
- Domestic Violence — Acts or threats of violence against anyone with whom the accused has or had a close relationship — current or former spouses, parents, children, romantic partners, or individuals residing in the same household, may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature of the crime.
- Manslaughter — Killing another individual without lawful justification by an intentional or negligent act. Voluntary manslaughter involves an intentional act that results in death, regardless of whether or not the death was intended. Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, can be charged when a death results from the negligent or reckless conduct of another.
- Murder — The unlawful taking of a human life, charged as a first, second, or third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances. First-degree murder involves an intentional death carried out with prior thought or pre-planning, or one that occurs during the commission of another serious offense (e.g., robbery, carjacking, drug trafficking). If there was no premeditation but the death was intentional, the offense is considered second-degree murder. The lowest charge, third-degree murder, applies to cases in which there was no intent.
- Arson — Causing damage to a dwelling or other structure by fire or an explosion, regardless of whether the dwelling is occupied or people are present, may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
Dangerous Weapons Enhancements in Florida
In Florida, there is a zero tolerance for the possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. As such, the state’s laws contains mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for felony offenses involving the use of a deadly weapon, such as murder, sexual battery, robbery, or assault and battery. In addition, Florida’s Habitual Offender Law allows the court to impose double the sentence on defendants who are convicted of a combination of two or more felonies.
Defenses to Violent Crimes
Although each case is unique, there are a number of defenses that can be asserted against a violent crimes charge, including:
- Alibi — The strongest defense is to provide proof that you were not at the scene at the time the crime occurred.
- Mistaken identity — Because eyewitnesses are often unreliable, we can present evidence that you have been falsely identified due to a bona fide mistake, bias or because you closely resemble the alleged assailant.
- Self Defense — Using deadly or non-deadly force to protect yourself or a third party from someone else is permitted, as long as you reasonably believed the other person’s actions were likely to cause serious bodily harm or death.
- Lack of Intent – It is necessary for prosecutors to demonstrate intent in violent crime cases, so the burden is on the state to prove its case. As such, it may be possible to argue that unintentional.
West Palm Beach Violent Crimes Attorney
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Herman Law know that the state and government vigorously prosecute violent crimes. Through our many years of practice, we have also seen how charges are often brought without sufficient evidence to support the allegations. We have the legal knowledge and skills to design an effective defense strategy.
By conducting a thorough investigation, examining all the evidence, and identifying and interviewing witnesses, we will work to secure your freedom. If necessary, we will work with our respected network of forensic and medical experts to challenge the validity of the evidence against you. Although we are committed to winning an acquittal, we will advise you of all your options and may recommend a plea bargain in exchange for a reduction of the charges.
Above all, we will always put your best interests first and provide you with aggressive legal representation. Call our office today or complete the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.