An Overview of Florida Criminal Laws, Penalties, and Legal Defenses in Osceola County, Florida
According to the Florida Department of Law enforcement, over 700,000 people were arrested in the state of Florida in 2019, and about 550,000 of those arrested were charged with a crime. A significant number of the criminal charges brought by state prosecutors were larceny offenses and many other low-level criminal offenses. In Florida, allegations of domestic violence accounted for approximately 20%, or 100,000, of the criminal cases prosecuted in Florida Justice Courts. Although the State of Florida's population grows each year, a state with 700,000 criminal arrests resulting in 550,000 charges prosecuted in a single year is astounding.
The State Attorney's Office in the Ninth Judicial District serves both Osceola and Orange counties in Central Florida. Osceola County prosecutors have earned a reputation for working hard to win convictions and for seeking lengthy prison sentences in every criminal case. When prosecutors are working hard to send you or a loved one to jail, the accused needs a legal advocate who will fight even harder to beat the prosecution.
An individual who decides to use a public defender or represent himself or herself is powerless against the power of the state government. Although public defenders work very hard, a county public defender's office is highly overburdened and overworked. There is a lot of stress and a lack of appreciation that leads to a lot of turnover at the public defender's office. This is why you need an experienced, aggressive, and skilled Osceola County Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you and help even the odds that you will win an acquittal and to avoid harsh punishments for the crimes you have been charged.
Convictions for serious charges such as felonies in Osceola County, Florida, can have a long-lasting and adverse impact on your future. Even facing misdemeanor criminal charges can have severe adverse effects on one's life. Fortunately, the Osceola County Criminal Defense Attorneys from Musca Law are available 24/7 to help you fight your charge. Simply call 888-484-5057 to discuss your legal options and learn how to protect your freedom.
Criminal Offense Levels in Florida
Florida divides criminal offenses into categories and sub-categories that show the comparative severity of crimes. In Florida, most of minor offenses do not result in a first-time offender receiving jail time. However, first-time offenders who are charged with capital felonies or life felonies can receive the maximum punishment authorized under Florida's criminal statutes despite the defendant not having a prior criminal history.
Severity of Crime
Maximum Period of Incarceration
Maximum Allowable Fine
Sixty-Days in County Jail
One-Year in County Jail
Five-Year Prison Sentence
Fifteen-Year Prison Sentence
Thirty-Year Prison Sentence
Incarceration for Life without Parole
Many factors determine the amount of prison time a Justice Court Judge or Jury will impose on the defendant. A prior criminal history of the defendant, a history of substance abuse, the level of education, the employment status, the marital status, and whether the defendant has children, along with other factors, will be weighed by the judge as he or she sentences a defendant. Also, some criminal offenses such as narcotics trafficking carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence, as outlined in Florida's criminal statutes.
The likelihood of serving out a jail sentence, receiving probation, or paying a large fine is the kinds of consequences that people generally expect to endure after they have been caught committing a crime in the State of Florida. Collateral punishments often accompany jail sentences and monetary fines. A judgment of conviction in Osceola County, Florida, becomes a part of the public record except in cases where the court seals or expunges the defendant's criminal record.
Musca Law: One of Florida's Most Aggressive Criminal Defense Law Firms
While many Florida law firms practice several areas of law, our firm only focuses on Florida criminal defense law. Musca Law is a full-service criminal defense law firm operating in Osceola County and throughout Florida. Our law firm has the manpower and the resources to represent anyone charged with a crime throughout the State of Florida. Our firm's philosophy originates from our deeply held belief that any criminal charge could change our client's life forever, and our firm must fight hard on behalf of our clients.
Controlled Substance Crimes in Osceola County, Florida
Florida Statutes §893.13 is designed to outlaw the sale, distribution, and trafficking of narcotics and controlled substances without a prescription. Law enforcement officers in Osceola County, Florida, are aggressive in seeking search warrants, conducting undercover stings, and conducting drug surveillance to remove illegal drugs off of the street and to break up drug rings. Wide-sweeping drug-fighting operations often capture drug users and low-level drug dealers who are only transferring or selling drugs to support their drug habit instead of turning a profit. Large drug trafficking organizations are organized in multiple secrecy layers to protect the higher ranks within the drug ring from criminal prosecution.
- Drug crimes in Osceola County, Florida include:
- Conspiring to commit narcotics-related offenses,
- Possession with the intent to distribute,
- Simple drug possession of heroin, prescription drugs, opioids, cocaine, fentanyl, morphine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and other unlawful substances,
- Trafficking in narcotics, and
- Possession of paraphernalia related to narcotics use.
In Florida, minor, non-violent, drug offenses such as possession of a small amount of a suspected narcotic or drug paraphernalia may not result in a jail sentence even when the statute authorizes a jail sentence. Alternatively, some judges will severely punish a relatively minor drug offense and subsequent probationary programs intended to help people in battling their addiction. Some of these programs include:
- Attending drug court - the aim is treatment versus incarceration,
- Substance abuse educational courses,
- Inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs and
- Random drug screening during probation.
Many of these drug programs are saved for the first-time of petty drug crime offenders and for those who have minimal criminal histories. As a person's history of criminal convictions grows, the more likely the court will believe the offender is a.repeat offender and will impose incarceration as punishment instead of addressing the root issue that causes the individual to commit crimes. Consequently, our aggressive Osceola County Criminal Defense Attorney will fight to help our clients avoid the severe consequences of repeated offenses by arguing for deferred adjudications or dismissals.
Domestic Violence Charges in Osceola County
Florida Statutes §741.28 helps county prosecutors seek harsh sentences for defendants convicted of domestic violence. If one of the following crimes are committed against a family member, the definition of domestic violence has been met:
- aggravated assault,
- aggravated battery,
- aggravated stalking,
- false imprisonment,
- sexual assault, or
- sexual battery.
The terms "household member" and "family member" have special meanings under Florida law. A family member or household member, according to Florida law, is a person who is married or used to be married, a blood relative, or people living together as a family, or a people who once lived together as a family. A family or household member must have once lived together within the same home or currently live together in the same home.
A domestic violence conviction carries severe criminal punishments. Osceola County judges rule over hundreds of cases of domestic violence annually. Osceola County judges impose stiff penalties seeking retribution for the act committed and to prevent further incidences of domestic violence.
Tragically, Osceola County judges rule over several cases involving false or exaggerated domestic violence assertions. Some people use the legal system as a weapon to inflict revenge against another. Acquiring the assistance of an experienced Osceola County Domestic Violence Attorney will provide you with the leverage you need to fight a conviction and the harsh consequences that transpire from a domestic violence conviction.
Sex Crimes in Osceola County, Florida
The term "sex crimes" is a generic term used to describe a sub-set of crimes that are of a sexual nature. A few examples of sex crimes prosecuted in Osceola County, Florida, are:
- Committing Lewd or Lascivious Acts;
- Failure to Register while a Convicted Sex Offender;
- Human Trafficking;
- Sex Crimes Involving Children including Child Pornography and other crimes;
- Solicitation of Prostitution;
- Statutory Rape; and
The mere accusation of a sex crime will have a damaging effect on an individual's life. Even if the defendant receives an acquittal after the criminal trial, the person may still suffer within his or her community. When our aggressive Osceola County Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys represent you at the beginning of your case, we will build a powerful defense, negotiate with the prosecuting attorney for reduced charges, and vigorously defend your rights in court.
(DUI) Driving Under the Influence Charges in Osceola County, Florida
Florida Statutes §316.193 detail the crime of Driving Under the Influence. Often times people who are charged with DUI in Osceola County, Florida, have never been involved with the criminal justice system. DUI charges are prosecuted intensely because law enforcement and prosecutors feel they can save ives by making examples out of good people who may have made a simple mistake- even if they have no prior criminal history. Osceola County DUI charges may include:
- Driving Under the Influence;
- Driving Under the Influence while Driving a Commercial Vehicle;
- DUI as a Subsequent Offender (Felony DUI);
- DUI Causing Property Damage or Personal Injury;
- DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury, and
- DUI Manslaughter.
Florida DUI laws do not limit DUI charges to alcohol consumption exclusively. A DUI can occurring when a driver has consumed an illegal narcotic or a prescription drug alone or in combination alcohol. Florida prosecutors are required by law to prove three elements of a DUI to win a conviction.
The elements of DUI in Florida are:
- The person arrested was driving or had physical control over a motor vehicle,
- The accused was driving when his or her ability to control the motor vehicle or normal functions were impaired by the consumption of alcohol, a combination of drugs and alcohol, or narcotics, or
- Either the person's blood-alcohol level contains 0.08 or more grams of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood or had a breath alcohol level of 0.08 grams of alcohol for every 210 liters of breath.
First and second offense DUI are typicaly misdemeanor criminal charges. DUI charges become a felony in Florida when the offender has two or more previous DUI convictions on their record, the the offender causes an accident resulting in property damage or personal injury, or the offender causes a serious bodily injury or death in an accident while driving drunk.
DUI Manslaughter is a felony in the second-degree in Florida. The maximum penalty is a fifteen-year prison sentence. DUI Manslaughter also has a four-year minimum-mandatory prison sentence if convicted.
Boating under the influence, or BUI, involves operating a boat, jet ski, or vessel while under the influence of alcohol while having control of the watercraft. A BUI is different from a DUI because the operator could be charged with BUI although he or she is not behind the wheel. BUI punishments range from misdemeanors to felonies, as decided by the circumstances observed by the law enforcement officer.
Theft Crimes in Osceola County, Florida
Theft is defined by Florida Statutes §812.014. Section 812.014 defines theft as knowingly and willfully procuring or obtaining another's property with the purpose of depriving the owner of the property the right to use or benefit from the property. Larceny crimes are the most common crimes committed in the State of Florida. Penalties for a theft conviction in Florida carry a range of punishments. The length of the jail sentence is mostly dependent upon the value of the property stolen or its replacement value. The individual's prior criminal history can play an important role in reducing the severity of the punishment.
- Theft crimes in Osceola County include:
- Petit Theft;
- Grand Theft;
- Burglary (See, F.S. §810.02)
- Robbery (See, F.S. §812.13);
- Embezzlement; and
- Identity Theft (See, F.S. §817.568).
Victims of theft crimes have the opportunity to address the court and the judge at sentencing hearing when the defendant is convicted or pleads guilty to the theft crime. The victim's input will play a significant role in the judge's sentencing of the offender.
Violent Crimes in Osceola County, Florida
Crimes of violence are the most severe crimes committed against a fellow human being and these types of crimes can terrorize a Florida community. Accordingly, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors work hard to pursue people suspected of committing a violent crime and bring these individuals to justice. However, people accused of a violent crime have constitutional rights and people deserve a powerful defense.
Violent crimes under Florida law include:
- Murder (F.S. §782.04);
- Attempted Murder (F.S. §782.051);
- Vehicular Manslaughter (F.S. §782.071);
- Arson (F.S. §806.01);
- Robbery (F.S. §812.13);
- Aggravated Battery (F.S. §784.045);
- Manslaughter (F.S. §782.07);
- Assault and Battery (F.S. §784.011 and F.S. §784.03); and
- Rape or Sexual Battery (F.S. § 794.011).
An individual convicted of a violent crime in Florida faces the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence and substantial monetary fines. Also, a person convicted of murder could receive life in prison without the possibility of parole or receive the death penalty. The government has a responsibility to prove their case against the defendant. However, state prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have extensive resources to investigate any accusations and they work hard to construct the strongest case possible.
Cyber Crimes in Osceola County, Florida
The Internet's expansion over the last three decades have revolutionized the way we communicate, work, and conduct business. Law enforcement agencies are constantly developing new and sophisticated investigative technologies to keep up with rapidly developing technologies. People with some computer skills easily perpetrate crimes like credit card theft, embezzlement, and identity theft. Notwithstanding the proliferation and accessibility of technology, people are still somewhat intimidated by their devices and become easy prey to scams that steal their identity or wipe out their banking accounts. Moreover, sex crimes are often perpetrated over the Internet. Crimes like transferring enticement of children for sexual purposes, sex trafficking, and child pornography frequently occur through Internet usage. The shady "dark web" is a virtual red-light district where drugs, human organs, and guns can be transferred evading law enforcement surveillance.
White-Collar Crimes in Osceola County, Florida
White-collar crimes often fall under the category of theft. The term "white-collar" was given to describe crimes such as bank fraud, fraud, embezzlement, computer crimes, racketeering, and conspiracy. Florida Statutes §F.S. § 775.0844 provides a list of penalties for these offenses ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.
Juvenile Crimes in Osceola County, Florida
Juvenile justice in the State of Florida has received much publicity in the past several years. The trend in criminal justice is to treat juveniles differently than adults even when juveniles commit the same crimes. The juvenile justice system in Osceola County, Florida, tries to strike a balance between rehabilitation and punishment of juveniles. Most juveniles will be qualified for diversion programs rather than facing traditional criminal justice penalties. However, children arrested with crimes of violence or other felonies might face incarceration at a juvenile detention facility or a state prison facility depending on the type of the criminal offense and whether or not the child is tried as an adult.
Fortunately, youthful indiscretion does not leave a permanent blemish on a child's future. Juvenile charges are udually made public and will not remain on the chicld's permanent criminal record unless the child is tried as an adult.
Protective Injunctions in Osceola County, Florida
Protective injunctions, restraining orders, injunctions for protection are all the same. Protective injunctions against certain kinds of abuse often bring future criminal charges. For example, a victim of domestic violence will seek an emergency domestic violence injunction and then he or she may press domestic violence criminal charges. Florida Statutes F.S. § 784.0485 identifies five protective injunctions which apply in special circumstances. In Osceola County, victims are able to apply for an injunction to prevent future abuse from:
- Sexual Violence;
- Dating Violence;
- Domestic Violence;
- Stalking; and
- Repeat Violence.
Alleged victims of abuse do not have to file criminal charges to obtain a proactive injunction. However, any violation of a protective order will result in serious criminal charges. It is important that an individual defended themselves against a protective injunction. A protection injunction is public records and an individual will lose valuable legal rights- guilty of the protective injunction’s allegations or not.
Musca Law: Over 150 Years of Combined Criminal Defense Experience
Relying on a public defender who is overworked, overburdened, and cannot dedicate their time and attention to your case to achieve the best outcome is risky. The legal fees associated with retaining a private, experienced, and hardworking Criminal Defense Attorney in Osceola County, Florida, is an investment in your freedom. There are no absolute guarantees. However, you will have a far better chance of obtaining a favorable outcome when you retain an experienced Osceola County Criminal Defense Attorney. Talk with our attorneys for free 24/7 at 1-888-484-5057.
Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!