Choosing an experienced criminal defense attorney in Orlando is crucial if you’ve been charged with a crime. From a crime against a person, such as domestic violence, assault and battery, to a drug crime or crime against property, such as burglary, it is important to know your rights and to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side
Find Law explains criminal law and the important role an attorney plays.
Felonies and Misdemeanors
Criminal cases are generally categorized as felonies or misdemeanors based on their nature and the maximum imposable punishment. Each state is free to draft new criminal laws, so long as they are deemed constitutional. Thus, what is a crime in one state may not necessarily be a crime in a neighboring state.
A felony involves serious misconduct that is punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year. Most state criminal laws subdivide felonies into different classes with varying degrees of punishment. Crimes that do not amount to felonies are typically called misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is misconduct for which the law prescribes punishment of no more than one year in jail. Lesser offenses, such as traffic and parking tickets, are often called infractions.
Police Investigate, Prosecutors File Charges
Many people think that police officers (who investigate crimes) also charge offenders. That is a common misconception. Police gather evidence and sometimes also testify in court. But prosecutors – including district attorneys, United States Attorneys and others – ultimately decide whether a suspect is prosecuted or not.
Criminal Defense Lawyers
A qualified criminal defense attorney is often a crucial advocate for anyone charged with a crime. These attorneys are very familiar with local criminal procedures and laws – some may have even first worked as prosecutors. Most defense lawyers should be able to handle any misdemeanor or low-level crime. But not all lawyers are qualified to handle serious charges. Some courts don’t allow inexperienced attorneys to represent defendants facing capital punishment, for example.
So whether you were arrested for a crime against a person (like assault and battery, rape, or murder), a crime against property (like shoplifting, burglary, or arson), or a drug crime (marijuana possession or cocaine dealing), a criminal defense lawyer can help.
Many people don’t realize handling criminal issues on their own can easily result in irreparable damage. With early involvement, HAWM Law may be able to avert the filing of a criminal charge or can assist with getting the charges reduced.