Criminal Defense Attorney in Naples, FL
In the American justice system, there are two types of law: civil and criminal. A civil lawsuit involves two parties disputing their rights. A criminal case, however, results from a charge against an individual by the government. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you could face prison, jail, fines, loss of licensure, parole/probation, and a permanent criminal record.
Here at the Law Offices of Neil Morales, we have years of experience standing up for people facing criminal charges. If you have any questions, a criminal defense lawyer in Naples, FL can help.
The Basics of Criminal Law
If you’ve been accused of a crime and the police believe that there is probable cause, you will be arrested or charged. A judge and a state attorney will review the charges against you and decide whether or not there is merit. If there is, the state will attempt to prosecute you. If the violation is against federal law, you’ll be prosecuted in the federal courts instead of the state courts.
Understanding the Elements of a Crime
You can only be found guilty of committing a crime if the prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that all of the elements of the specific offense were met. You can find the statute for the crime in those details. The laws detail the requirements necessary for a person to face criminal charges.
In most cases, there are three basic elements to a crime. First, there’s the act or conduct: the criminal act. Then, there’s your mental state while you are committing the crime: the criminal mind. The final element is the causation that connects the act and the effect.
When you’re prosecuted for a crime, the government has to show that you knowingly committed the crime.
Consequences for the Crimes
There are volumes of pages crimes listed in both the Florida and federal statutes. However, you can separate most of the crimes into one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors. In Florida, misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail, while felonies can involve much harsher penalties. The consequences for crimes vary greatly, however. Penalties depend on all of the following factors:
Both the Federal Government and the state of Florida have sentencing guidelines. Although a judge doesn’t always have to comply with those guidelines, they do use them to influence their decisions.
Level of Involvement
Another factor that can impact your penalty is your level of involvement in the crime. If you are the one who committed the crime, then you are known as the principal in the first degree. But sometimes, others are involved with the crime. These accessories are likely to receive softer penalties than the principal in the first degree.
There are several levels of accomplices. For instance, a principal in the second degree is someone who helped, advised, or encouraged the person who committed the crime. An accessory before the fact did the same actions as a principal in the second degree but did so before the act occurred. If an accomplice helped the criminal after the act, they are an accessory after the fact.
The Severity of the Crime
Some crimes cause minor emotional and financial damage. But others are much more serious. Generally, the more severe the crime, the worse the penalty. When considering the penalty, the court looks at all of the circumstances surrounding the crime.
Defending Against Criminal Charges
Fortunately, the US justice system gives accused individuals the chance to fight for their freedom. With the help of a criminal defense attorney in Naples, FL, you can seek a fair and beneficial outcome. There are several ways in which your attorney can help you fight the charges:
1. Show Failure of Proof
If there’s not enough evidence against you, the court can’t convict you. Therefore, your lawyer could argue that there’s not enough evidence to prove one of the elements of the crime.
2. Show a Legal Mistake was Made on Behalf of the State
The legal process isn’t perfect. In some cases, a mistake affects the outcome of criminal charges. There could be a mistake regarding the legal status of the case or an error regarding the facts of the case.
If you have justification for your actions, you may be able to have your charges dismissed. Common examples of justification include self-defense, defending others, and necessity.
4. Mitigating Circumstances
It’s possible that you have an excuse for your actions. Although this type of defense might not get your charges dismissed, it could improve your sentencing. For instance, you could claim that you were in fear of imminent physical harm when you struck another individual. That might make the violence warranted.
Are You Looking for Criminal Lawyers in Naples, FL?
You don’t need to take on the judicial system on your own. With the help of the Law Offices of Neil Morales, you can fight for your rights. Our firm has what it takes to stand up for you. Contact us to learn more.