Criminal Law Information
There are times that people become involved in the Criminal Justice System as defendants. It could be you, a sibling, a child, family member or friend. The important question is not who is involved but what can be done to help. At the Law Offices of William S. Orth, P.A., we have helped thousands of people with problems in the Criminal Justice System and we can help you. As a former Prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer for over 16 years, contact me and I can look at your case from several different perspectives to understand what your best defense is by analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the prosecutor’s case. The State of Florida has the burden of proving you guilt – shouldn’t you have an attorney who is best able to make sure the government, both police and prosecutors overcome that burden while following the rules our constitution and laws have established? Remember – the State must prove you guilty beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.
If you, a loved one or friend have been arrested, it is important to know your rights and what can be done to help you through the complex criminal justice system. I am able to understand the important issues related to the crime involved, the possible penalties and defenses you may have. Also important is to understand what is called the collateral consequences. This means I must be mindful of how a case is dealt with today may have serious consequences in the future. This is important in terms of applying for jobs, enrolling in school and whether or not a crime today can be held against you if you get in trouble in the future.
The criminal justice system is confusing and worrying. Contact us and I can help you to understand what is going on and help you achieve the best possible resolution for your case while understanding how this may affect in the years to come. It doesn’t matter if you are a student or in the workforce. Everyone deserves the best defense available.
Before I go any further, it is helpful to understand how the process works.
ARREST OR NOTICE TO APPEAR
The first step is becoming involved in the criminal justice system. You may be arrested for a crime and taken to jail or you may have received a Notice to Appear either in the mail or from an officer. Just because you get a Notice to Appear and not arrested does not mean your case is any less serious than others. If you are arrested, you will be taken to jail and either given a bond or go in front of a Judge who will determine if probable cause exists and whether you will get a bond. Once arrested, the person will have a good idea what charges they will be facing. This is the time to contact a lawyer. Contact us at the Law Offices of William S. Orth for a free consultation on you rights and what to expect. Sometimes with serious charges, you or your attorney may utilize the services of a Private Investigator to begin gathering evidence and information that is helpful to your defense.
The State Attorney’s Office gets police reports regarding people who have been arrested and from police officers investigating crimes. The person reviewing the report must decide what, if any charges, to file on. If the person decides to file charges, a charging document called an Information is filed. This is the stage where a good defense attorney can help a client by either getting charges initially dismissed or reduced and gathering information favorable to you.
Every person accused of a crime is set for Arraignment. This is the initial court date where you learn what charges you are facing and you will enter a plea to the charge. The court will set a date for a Pre-Trial Conference if you plea nolo contendre. If you have hired an attorney, you will not have to be present since your attorney will enter a Notice of Appearance and Written Plea of Not Guilty.
This is the stage where the state must give you all of the police reports and witness statements as well as a list of potential witnesses and whether any physical evidence exists in your case. Whatever the items are, your attorney and you have the right to receive or inspect all of these things. This assists your attorney in preparing your defenses and determining what course of action to take in defending you. It is important that each defendant review the discovery so that the attorney can have your input into whether the discovery is accurate as to what happened.
This is the date where you or your attorney will address the court on issues such as discovery, hearing dates or trial dates. Often times, your attorney has not received all of the discovery in the case and is not able to set your case for trial or recommend a disposition. In some cases, depositions need to be taken of the state witnesses because the police report and witness statements do not fully inform you of what the accusations are.
Some cases are set for trial because the state is not willing to dispose of your case in a way that is satisfactory to you. This decision made by you and your attorney takes into account the charges, possible penalties and defenses you may have. Every person has the right to trial, the right to have an attorney represent them and to face their accusers. The job of your attorney is to thoroughly review your case with you so that you are able to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to go to trial.
I have gone to trial hundreds of times on cases ranging from misdemeanors to major felonies like Robbery and Attempted Murder. Thus not only can I help you with the discovery and negotiation in your case but I can also help you if you decide whether or not to go to trial. You need a seasoned aggressive trial attorney on your side who can effectively prepare your case and go to trial if that is what you decide is the best course of action. Contact me at the Law Offices of William S. Orth so that we can meet with you and analyze your case in a free consultatation.
Each crime in the State of Florida has a certain level or degree attached to it. The degree of crime along with the elements of the crime can make certain crimes more or less serious than others. Other factors such as prior record or the existence of weapons during the crime can enhance the penalties. It is important to know this aspect of the case as it can help to determine what outcome you are seeking. For example, robbery is different depending on whether a firearm or other weapon is used. Some drug charges are more serious depending on the amount of the drug you are in possession of.
I can help you with any all types of criminal defense cases. I handle all types of misdemeanors, felonies, violations of probation or community control or juvenile defenses. I can also assist you if you are being investigated by the police and need someone to advocate for you to avoid charges or reduce the charges before you even step foot in court. Contact me 24 hours to discuss your case and the possible defenses you may have. The majority of the time, you will speak with me regarding your case or I will call you back the same day to discuss your matter. While some attorneys may be unavailable for days, I strive to keep in contact with my clients and prospective clients regardless of whether you call me during business hours on a weekday or after hours. When you hire me to represent you, I will be the attorney handling your case, not an associate. I have assistants in my office who have extensive experience and can assist me in effectively representing you and preparing your case for court. Contact me at the Law Offices of William S. Orth for a free consultation.
Some examples of the cases I can help you with are:
* Domestic Violence
* Drug Offenses
* Theft Offenses
* Resisting an Officer
* Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer
* Sex Offenses
* Traffic Offenses
* Violations of Probation
* Violations of Community Control
Many of these charges can either be misdemeanors or felonies. Regardless of the level of the offense, I have the extensive experience to help you know your rights and resolve your case in the best way possible.
If you have already been to court and resolved your case, you may want to modify the result. Contact me and I may be able to help you. I can also help you terminate your probation early or modify the terms of probation to allow you to live and work with as little interference as possible.
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