Offenders facing misdemeanor charges frequently downplay the seriousness of their situation. It's a common misconception that pleading "no contest" or being placed on probation will keep one's criminal history clean. Do not try to resolve a misdemeanor charge or citation without first consulting with a qualified criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach.
Doing things incorrectly can lead to a conviction and severe repercussions for the offender. This conviction may stay on your record indefinitely. In addition, a misdemeanor conviction can serve as a "first strike" for those who go on to commit more serious crimes. Any crime that carries a sentence of one year in county jail, or less, is considered a misdemeanor.
Criminal Defense Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges in West Palm Beach, FL
If you have been accused of a misdemeanor, you should retain the services of a lawyer immediately. An attorney with experience in these matters can advise you on what plea or defense to enter, and in some cases may even be able to have the charges against you dropped.
Get in touch with the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ian Goldstein for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation about your alleged misdemeanor crime. Individuals from Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Broward County, and the rest of South Florida are represented by the firm with pride.
Misdemeanor Charges in Florida
The firm has extensive experience defending clients charged with a wide variety of misdemeanor offenses. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, but they still require legal representation and may remain on your record indefinitely. They may also affect important rights, such as the right to possess firearms.
Misdemeanor theft charges can also be defended against. Given the nature of theft as a breach of trust, a conviction for this crime can make it difficult to gain employment or enrollment in certain educational or vocational programs.
Ian Goldstein and the team have extensive experience defending clients who were wrongly accused of driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida. The firm is willing to represent Floridians accused of a first, second, or subsequent DUI offense, so this policy applies even to those with a criminal history.
Cases involving misdemeanors of violence are also taken on by the firm. Among these charges is the more serious misdemeanor offense of assault, which involves the threat of physical injury to another person and carries with it the possibility of more severe penalties.
The State of Florida also targets people who have been accused of violating their probation or who are facing misdemeanor domestic violence charges. Ian Goldstein will defend your rights no matter how serious the charge. Common misdemeanor charges in the State of Florida include:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Domestic Violence
- Petit Theft
- Criminal Mischief
- Marijuana possession
- No valid driver’s license
- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
- Reckless Driving
- Public Intoxication
- Using someone else’s ID
Types of Misdemeanor Charges in Florida
According to Section 775.081 of the Florida Statutes, misdemeanors can be either first-degree or second-degree offenses. There are also “special” misdemeanor offenses, such as DUI and Reckless Driving, which fall somewhere in between first and second degree offenses.
First-degree misdemeanors are more severe than second-degree misdemeanors under Florida law (Sections 775.082 and 775.083). Crimes considered "first degree" can result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, or both. Second degree misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.
Habitual Misdemeanor Offenders in Florida
It is possible to label someone as a habitual misdemeanor offender if they have received four or more misdemeanors within a given time frame. Those who commit multiple misdemeanors in Florida may face mandatory jail time, mandatory commitment to a treatment program, or mandatory supervised detention under Section 775.0837 of the state's statutes.
Felony vs Misdemeanor Charges in FL: What’s the Difference?
A misdemeanor charge is typically less severe than a felony charge, and the potential penalties are also less severe. As a general rule, state prison sentences for felonies last longer than one year, while county jail sentences for misdemeanors typically last 12 months at most.
Misdemeanor penalties are also less severe than felony penalties. However, repeat misdemeanor offenders can face stiffer penalties.
What is a Warrantless Arrest?
Law enforcement officers in the state of Florida are authorized to make a warrantless arrest under the following circumstances, per Section 901.15, F.S.
a warrant has been issued and is in the possession of another officer who is authorized to carry it out; the officer has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing a felony; the officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony; the person has committed a felony or misdemeanor or violated a municipal or county ordinance while in the presence of the officer.
Any person suspected of committing a misdemeanor or violating a local ordinance must be apprehended at once or within a reasonable amount of time after the crime was committed.
The events leading up to the stop and search are taken into account by the courts when deciding whether reasonable suspicion or probable cause was sufficient. The courts then determine whether or not these facts raise reasonable suspicion or probable cause from the perspective of an objectively reasonable police officer.
With limited exceptions, an officer can only make a warrantless misdemeanor arrest if they actually see a crime being committed. Section 901.15, Florida Statutes, provides several statutory exemptions from this mandate.
Palm Beach Misdemeanor Defense Attorney near me
Contact a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney like Ian Goldstein if you've been charged with a misdemeanor in Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, or the surrounding areas and want to discuss your individual case and possible defenses. An attorney can advise you on how to best present mitigating evidence or argue for a dismissal of the charges.
If you want to avoid severe punishments, hiring an aggressive attorney is your best bet. Defend yourself against false misdemeanor charges by calling us at (561) 600-0950.