Violent crime rates have dropped a lot in the United States, but they’re still fairly prevalent.
But, what actually is a violent crime? And exactly what should you do if you’re charged with a violent crime?
Read on to find out what a violent crime is and how Orlando criminal defense lawyers can help you if you’re accused of one.
What Is a Violent Crime?
A violent crime is a crime where the victim is either actually harmed or threatened with physical violence. These crimes may or may not involve a weapon or a deadly weapon. And, it can sometimes be hard to see the line between violent and non-violent crimes.
But, there are different types of violent crimes that could be more or less severe. Some common violent crimes include:
- Sexual assault or sexual battery
- Armed robbery
- Vehicular homicide
- Crimes involving domestic violence
- Kidnapping, child abuse, and other crimes related to children
Clearly, violent crimes are some of the most serious ones out there. So, if you’re accused of one, it’s a big deal.
Depending on the violent crime you’re accused of, you’ll face different penalties. Less severe crimes will usually result in lower jail sentences. And, if you’re a first-time offender, you may be able to get off with fines and/or probation.
In Florida, violent felony crimes are classified into first, second, and third degrees. Third-degree violent crimes are the least severe and have a maximum sentence of five years. First-degree violent crimes usually have a maximum sentence of thirty years.
Some crimes can also be federal crimes rather than state ones, which would mean that they face different penalties. If you’re charged with a federal crime, you may need a more experienced lawyer to navigate the process.
Florida also has a three-strikes law. If you’re convicted of three violent crimes, you’ll be sentenced to life in prison, regardless of the details of the specific crimes.
What Should You Do if You’ve Been Charged With a Violent Crime?
If you’re charged with a violent crime, there are specific steps you’ll need to take. When you’re arrested, utilize your Miranda rights and don’t say anything, just in case it could incriminate you. You’ll want to call an Orlando violent crime lawyer as soon as you possibly can.
A lawyer can help you navigate the process so that you can either be proven innocent or be subject to the lowest possible penalty for the crime you’re accused of. If you’re financially able, you should avoid relying on a court-appointed attorney.
Court-appointed lawyers are usually massively overworked, and may not have the appropriate time allotted to properly defend your case. And, while you’re waiting for your attorney, don’t submit to testing for drugs or alcohol. Those requests should always go through your lawyer so that nothing underhanded happens in the process.
You shouldn’t post bail before you’ve called your defense lawyer, since your lawyer may be able to negotiate the terms of your bail or get you out of custody without you having to pay any bail at all.
Your lawyer can go through the evidence. If there’s no way to prove you didn’t do what you were accused of, your lawyer can walk you through the possible defenses for your alleged crime and see if there’s one that applies.
If your crime was verbal, the lawyer may be able to argue that you were joking or not serious in the threat you made. In many cases, your lawyer might be able to argue that you acted in self-defense, particularly if you were in the midst of a fight or if you were in an abusive relationship.
Provocation can also be a defense for a violent crime. If you were provoked into violence, the jury or judge may find that you acted rationally given the situation.
It may also be a case of mistaken identity, if your case is based on security camera footage or testimony from people who don’t know you personally. These types of cases tend to get dismissed much more quickly because the evidence is clear-cut and easy to understand from everyone’s perspective.
No matter what the crime is, your lawyer will have a lot of work to do. In any criminal proceeding, there’s a great deal of paperwork involved. Your lawyer will need to spend a lot of time carefully reading through the evidence and figuring out what your options are.
What Happens if You’re Accused of Capital Crimes?
If you’re accused of a capital offense, you’ll have a lot more challenges to battle. A capital offense is one that’s punishable by either life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Crimes charged in Florida can be subject to the death penalty. The penalty won’t be decided until after you are found guilty, in what’s known as the penalty phase. And, you’ll be able to continue appealing the verdict, so ensure that you pick an attorney that you’ll be able to work with over the long term.
Remember that the legal process is a marathon, not a sprint. Just because a lawyer gets something done quickly, doesn’t mean that you’ve gotten it done correctly. This is particularly true when it comes to capital crimes, so be patient and trust the process.
Hire The Top Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
When you’re accused of a violent crime, you’ll want the best Orlando criminal defense lawyers you can find. But, you don’t have time to waste. You need to start preparing for your trial ASAP.
Do you need a lawyer? Contact Longwell Elite Criminal Defense Lawyers today to get started.