If you or a loved one have been accused of a felony, then you are facing, potentially, the most serious decision of your lives. The wrong decision can cost you dearly. For most people, this is a new experience that is stressful to say the least.
What is a Felony?
A felony is any serious crime that could result in punishment greater than one year. In Florida, Felonies are subdivided into separate categories referred to as degrees (3rd, 2nd, 1st, Life and Capital).
- Third Degree Felonies (e.g. grand theft, possession of a controlled substance) carry a maximum punishment of five years, whether that is five years of prison in Department of Corrections, probation, or a combination of both not to exceed five years.
- Second Degree Felonies (e.g. Aggravated Battery, Robbery, Traveling to Meet a Minor to Engage in Sex) carry a maximum punishment of 15 years, whether that is 15 years of prison in Department of Corrections, probation, or a combination of both not to exceed that time.
- First Degree Felonies (e.g. Burglary with assault/battery, Drug Trafficking) can carry a maximum punishment of 30 years, whether that is 30 years of prison in Department of Corrections, probation, or a combination of both not to exceed that time.
- Life Felonies (e.g. Lewd or lascivious molestation; victim less than 12 years; offender 18 years or older, Robbery with firearm or other deadly weapon) can carry a maximum punishment of life in prison.
- Capital Felonies (e.g. Murder) can carry a maximum punishment of death or life imprisonment without parole.
In addition to the degree of the Felony, you can also have an enhanced sentence based on the Florida Criminal Scoresheet where additional points can be added based on sentence enhancements (such as injury to a victim)Follow this Link for a current copy Florida Criminal Scoresheet Manual
Who Should I hire?
The hiring of an attorney could be the most important decision of your life. You should base your decision on results and experience and not advertisements or pitchmen. Get a lawyer that has experience handling cases like yours. Ask your potential lawyers about their trial experience and their previous cases.
Here are some important questions to ask any potential lawyers and law firms:
- Have they ever tried a jury trial case for the charges you are facing?
- Have they ever tried a criminal jury trial? If so, when was the last trial they actually handled? If Bill Clinton was in still in office the last time they tried a case, the Prosecutors know they are not likely to take any case to trial, no matter the strengths. That includes yours.
- If they intend to assign your case to another lawyer, who exactly is the lawyer that will appear on your behalf?
- Does that lawyer work for your firm or are they a Contract Lawyer?
- What are some of the results of their previous cases?
- How many cases have they handled?
Don't be mislead by advertisements that claim offices throughout Florida or hundreds of years of combined legal experience. More times than not, what you may end up with is a lawyer that advertises but never goes to court or actually handles cases. You could end up paying a very large legal fee to someone who subcontracts to another lawyer for a low hourly wage. You have a right to know who exactly is handling your case and what exactly is his or her qualifications and previous experience.
As a former felony prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, I have personally handled thousands of cases just like yours, including jury trial experience for both the prosecution and the defense. My jury trials range from the most serious felonies, including sex crimes, through minor traffic offenses and driving under the influence. When you hire Fayard Law, P.A., you get exactly who and what you see. Me and my team of private investigators, legal professionals, and support staff are with you every step of the way. My philosophy is to be accessible, professional, and to constantly keep your interest in the forefront. After all, this is your life in our hands.
Call or write me, Michael Fayard, for a free felony consultation.