Criminal charges can have a significant impact on the rest of your life. More significantly, a criminal conviction produces a record that follows you forever and could reduce your opportunities for employment, housing, credit, education, and public assistance. It could even affect a judge’s decision in child custody and visitation matters.
Contact a Belle Isle criminal defense lawyer immediately if you face criminal charges. An experienced attorney could explain the process, protect your rights, and fight for the best result possible.
The U.S. Constitution and court cases throughout the years have established specific rights when someone has contact with the justice system. The police and prosecutors must respect those rights. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers sometimes fail to uphold their responsibility in that regard. Some of the crimes that The Umansky Law Firm defends against are:
A Belle Isle attorney ensures that someone accused of a criminal offense has the chance to exercise all the rights the law guarantees. They could discuss the events leading to the arrest and review other evidence, such as search warrant applications, electronic surveillance records, witness statements, and arrest reports.
If evidence exists that law enforcement personnel violated a defendant’s rights, a lawyer could bring it to the judge’s attention, since prosecutors cannot use evidence that law enforcement obtained illegally. The prosecutor often must dismiss criminal charges if the defense convinces a judge to exclude important evidence.
Every crime has several elements a prosecutor must prove to get a conviction. Focusing on the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s evidence for each critical element is often an effective defense.
Other defenses might be appropriate in a given case. Alibi is an effective defense when a defendant has proof that they were elsewhere when a crime was committed. If the prosecutor’s evidence relies on witness identification, the defense could show the witness is mistaken or has a motive to lie. If the crime involves violence or aggression, it may be possible to argue self-defense under the state’s “stand your ground” law, Florida Statute § 776.013.
Challenging police procedures could be beneficial in many instances. If the case required police to send samples to a lab, the defense could investigate whether the officers gathered, stored, and transported the evidence properly to avoid contamination. If the police used equipment to find evidence of a crime, such as a radar gun or breathalyzer, the defense could question how well the police maintained the equipment and whether the officer had the proper training to use it. If evidence required lab analysis, a defense lawyer could subpoena the lab’s records to determine its error rate.
Many crimes result from unaddressed social or personal issues such as substance dependency, mental health challenges, poverty, homelessness, and readjustment problems. Diversion programs offer an opportunity to work on the underlying issue while avoiding punitive measures and a criminal record.
Multiple diversion programs are available locally. Most are open only to first offenders but some accept participants with prior convictions. When an accused person qualifies for a program and might benefit from it, a Belle Isle defense attorney could seek the prosecutor’s support for their enrollment.
Diversion programs are not easy. Participants must engage with the services the program offers, follow program rules, and be accountable, but the benefits are usually worth the effort. When a participant completes a diversion program, the prosecutor dismisses the charges, and the participant leaves the experience with new life skills and no criminal record.
Sometimes people feel that an arrest is just a misunderstanding, believing they can explain their situation and the problem will go away. Our criminal justice system does not work like that.
If you were arrested or received a citation for a criminal offense, speak with a Belle Isle criminal defense lawyer before you speak to the arresting officers or anyone else. Call us anytime to get an aggressive advocate to stand up for you.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys