Felony Crime Attorney in West Palm Beach
The police just arrested my friend for a Felony. How do I get him out of jail?
Depending on what time he was arrested, he will be taken to First Appearance court the next morning where bond will be set. You can retain an attorney for this hearing and you can also be present. Once bond is set, contact one of the many bondspeople available and give them 10% of the total bond. Your friend will be released the same day the bond is posted most times.
My charges are very serious. Am I entitled to a bond?
You are entitled to appear before a judge within twenty-four (24) hours of your arrest for a First Appearance hearing, where bond is normally set. Most the time you will be entitled to a monetary bond. If there is an Arthur hearing, however, and the judge finds that proof is evident or the presumption is great for a punishable by life felony in a particular case, you will be not be entitled to a bond and will be incarcerated until the case comes to a conclusion. You will need an attorney for an Arthur hearing.
The maximum penalty for my charge is 5 years/15 years/30 years/Life in Prison. If I take a plea or am found guilty, am I automatically going to prison?
No, that is far from automatic. Your sentence will depend on a number of factors. If you have no prior history or if mitigators are present, you could receive a jail sentence or even a probation sentence. It is up to your attorney to study the facts of your case, speak with you and then let you know what the possibilities are. A good attorney will be honest with you from the start and let you know what is possible and what is not. And always remember, if you go to trial and win, your sentence will be no prison, jail or probation. You will be free to resume your life.
I have heard the State of Florida uses scoresheets to determine what to offer in a given case. What is a scoresheet?
A scoresheet is where your current alleged crimes are given a numeric value, as are any previous crimes you have been found guilty of in the past. Even if a crime took place in a different state, it will most likely still be scored. If your total score is forty-four (44) points or higher, the offer is supposed to be prison. If your score is under that number, the offer can be anything from jail to probation to time served. Remember, however, even if your score is over 44 points, you can avoid prison if your attorney finds a mitigator that results in a downward departure (a lower sentence). One other important fact is if you are able to go ten (10) years without picking up any new crimes, all of your guilty pleas before the current offense WILL NOT be scored.
A mitigator sounds pretty good. What is a mitigator?
A mitigator is a reason why a person can avoid a prison sentence through downward departure even though their scoresheet states the minimum sentence they can receive is prison. Some examples of mitigators found in Florida Statute 921.0026 (this list is not all-inclusive):
(a) The departure results in a legitimate, uncoerced plea bargain.
(b) The defendant was an accomplice to the offense and was a relatively minor participant in the criminal conduct.
(c) The capacity of the defendant to appreciate the criminal nature of the conduct … was substantially impaired.
(d) The defendant requires specialized treatment for a mental disorder that is unrelated to substance abuse or addiction or for a physical disability, and the defendant is amenable to treatment
(e) The need for payment of restitution to the victim outweighs the need for a prison sentence.
(f) The victim was an initiator, willing participant, aggressor, or provoker of the incident.
(g) The defendant acted under extreme duress or under the domination of another person.
(h) The defendant cooperated with the state to resolve the current offense or any other offense.
(i) The offense was committed in an unsophisticated manner and was an isolated incident for which the defendant has shown remorse.
(j) The defendant is to be sentenced as a youthful offender.
What is the difference between jail and prison?
Jail is a sentence of 364 days or fewer, while prison is any sentence of one year or more.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get legal advice for your specific legal issue is to speak to a lawyer.
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Allen Ambrosino has been a member of the Florida Bar Association in good standing since 2006.
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