Posted on February 20, 2017 by Jeffrey FeilerOne of the biggest decisions made during the court process is whether or not to take a case to trial. The reality is that most cases simply never make it to trial. Most are decided during pre-trial negotiations known as "plea bargains". Taking a case in front of a jury, especially a sex crime case, can be extremely difficult. Sex crimes can be extremely prejudicial to a jury. It may be unwise to risk the serious Sex Offender penalties. As an experienced sex crime lawyer in Miami, I have represented clients in many sex crimes cases and have examined and researched the charges as well as the evidence presented. I would like to give you some insight as to the many aspects of the challenging and reputation-damaging consequences that a sex crime arrest, charge, and conviction can get you if you don't consult with an experienced lawyer.
Misdemeanors vs. Felonies
In Florida, a sex crime could fall under the category of a misdemeanor or a felony. The main difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is that a misdemeanor is usually less serious. Misdemeanors are usually punishable by fines with a jail sentence of up to one year, while a felony conviction has a minimum penalty of a year or more in prison in combination with a much larger fine. The fines and penalties vary depending on the type of charge and the defendant's criminal history, or lack thereof.
Another difference between a misdemeanor conviction and a felony conviction is that a misdemeanor will be served in a county jail, whereas a felony conviction is served in a state penitentiary.
The long-term consequences of a misdemeanor conviction versus a felony conviction are significant. A misdemeanor has fewer lifelong consequences – but with a felony conviction, you probably have to "register" as a Sexual Offender or Predator. You cannot live in many areas of a County or City. Your name and picture would be on the internet. Buying a gun or voting in an election are no longer possible and you will most likely have a problem getting a loan, a job, or getting an apartment.
What Factors Should You Consider?
Whether or not to go to trial is a big decision. There are many factors that can influence whether or not you should take a case in front of a jury. It's often a good idea to eliminate the time, stress, and expenses of dealing with a long trial. Above all else is the probability of whether or not you will be convicted by the jury. The evidence and other factors will have to be carefully considered with your attorney before making such an important decision that will affect your freedom.
How Does Evidence Affect Your Case?
Within a few days of your arrest, the state's prosecutor will do a "screening". During this case review process, the prosecutor looks at all the evidence presented to them by police and determines whether or not to pursue the case by filing an "Information", which is the official filing document. If you hire an experienced attorney, your lawyer can endeavor to persuade the prosecutor to "No Action" the case or possibly file less serious charges.
What If You Have a Strong Case?
An informed attorney can help you determine whether or not to fight the charges at a trial. Relying on your legal team will likely get you the best result, depending on your case. The advice of your attorney can help you determine the best course of action for this very serious decision.
Your Case Begins the Minute You Speak to a Police Officer
You should waste no time in speaking to an attorney. The minute you speak to a police officer while you are under investigation, anything you say can and may very well be used against you. It's essential to the outcome of your case that you immediately contact a lawyer and do not speak to police the minute you are investigated for any crime, especially a sex crime.
If you're facing these difficult charges, the best thing you can do is contact a good sex crime lawyer. Contact The Feiler Law Firm at (305) 670-7700 to invest in the best possible outcome for your case.
Disclaimer: The names of all persons, including Police, have been changed to fictitious names in the case of blog posts about actual cases handled by Jeffrey Feiler and the Feiler Law Firm. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal, legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.