When charged with a violent crime, it’s essential to have a law firm in your corner that will do everything possible to protect your rights, freedom, and future.
Few charges in West Palm Beach County are as serious as a violent crime conviction. Your freedom, livelihood, family, career, and reputation hang in the balance when facing violent crime charges. Don’t gamble with your future but instead, hire an experienced violent crimes attorney in West Palm Beach.
At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we pride ourselves on being Florida’s go-to criminal defense attorney. We have a proven track record of winning violent crime cases. So, get our experienced criminal defense attorneys on your side and protect your freedom.
Florida’s Violent Crime Law
Florida criminal law defines violent crime as an aggressive and intentional act that threatens, harms, or attempts to harm another person. Violent crimes can get ruled felonies, and if convicted, you could face jail time in state prison. Besides imprisonment, you risk losing some of your rights and having a permanent criminal record.
Due to the seriousness of violent crime charges, they often get prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The aggressive attorneys at the law offices of Meltzer & Bell, P.A. in West Palm Beach have years of experience protecting respondents’ rights. We fully understand the application of state law in violent crime cases and how the prosecution structures its arguments.
Therefore, we come into every trial fully prepared to compact whatever the prosecution throws our way. We’ve defended clients facing violent crimes for years and are committed to protecting your rights and providing you with unmatched legal support and guidance. A conviction could turn your life upside down, and therefore, we fight hard to have our clients’ charges dismissed.
Florida’s 10-20-Life Law
Florida frequently figures in the top ten dangerous states in America for violent crimes. For this reason, courts don’t treat violent crimes lightly. The state is renowned for its 10-20-Life Law, which outlined punitive minimum prison sentences for those convicted of violent crimes:
- A ten-year minimum sentence for having a firearm when committing a crime.
- A twenty-year minimum sentence for using a gun while committing a crime.
- A 25-year to life sentence for shooting someone while committing a crime.
The law sets minimum sentences for other criminal acts as well. If you get charged under the 10-20-Life Law, your future hangs in the balance. It’s essential to work with an experienced violent crime lawyer West Palm Beach who can defend you vigorously.
Types of Violent Crimes
Penalties for violent crimes vary depending on the severity of a crime. As the go-to criminal trial lawyers in West Palm Beach, we have the expertise to rebut the prosecution’s testimonies and prove your innocence. Here’s a low-down of the violent crime cases we handle:
- Vehicular Homicide
- Helping Someone to Commit Suicide
- Child Abuse
- Conspiracy to Commit a Crime
According to Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 782.04, murder is the illegal and premeditated act of killing someone else. Besides homicide (singularly), a culprit may commit murder while attempting to commit a kidnapping, burglary, home-invasion robbery, or sexual assault. In Florida, murder usually gets charged as a federal crime, and culprits are charged with second-degree murder and a life felony.
If the court determines that murder wasn’t the initial intent of the crime, the defendant can get charged with a third-degree murder (second-degree felony). It is punishable by a 15-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
This violent crime is defined by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 782.01 as the deliberate act of killing another human being or an unborn child using a vehicle. If convicted, the crime is punishable in two ways:
- Under Chapter 782.01(a), it can be considered a second-degree offense, punishable by a 15-year jail term or a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Under Chapter 782.01(b), if you were aware that the crash occurred but didn’t attempt to help the victim, your crime will be charged as a first-degree felony. In this case, you face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 to $15,000.
Anyone who helps someone else to commit suicide can face manslaughter charges. The second-degree felony is punishable by a 15-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Florida law defines assault as a deliberate and illegal act of violence or threat of violence on a victim and being physically able to undertake the threat. Assault is a second-degree demeanor. If you get charged with maliciously and intentionally attacking another person, you face a 60-day jail term and/or a maximum fine of $500.
In line with this, anyone who commits the violent crime of aggravated assault (using a weapon to injure or abuse a victim) can get charged with a third-degree felony. The offense is punishable by a five-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 787.01, kidnapping is the act of threateningly and/or forcibly abducting and holding onto someone against their will with the intention to:
- Commit a felony
- Physically harm or terrify them
- Hold the victim for ramson or use them as a hostage for bargaining
- Disrupt the government’s function
Kidnapping a victim often gets charged as a first-degree felony. If convicted, you face a thirty-year prison sentence and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
Under Florida law, robbery involves stealing or attempting to steal private property to prevent the rightful owner from permanently or momentarily claiming ownership. Culprits can get charged in one of these ways depending on the circumstances of the crime:
- If they were armed with a deadly weapon such as a firearm when committing the crime, the culprits can get charged with a first-degree felony. The offense is punishable by a jail term of 30 years and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
- If the culprits were armed with a weapon while committing the crime, they get charged with a first-degree felony. They face a 30-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
- If the culprits didn’t carry a weapon during the robbery, they’ll get charged with a second-degree felony. This comes with a 15-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.03 highlights that battery occurs when someone deliberately and maliciously hits or touches another person against their will, causing bodily injuries. Battering is a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable with a one-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $1,000.
If you’ve previously faced a similar conviction, the second act of battery will get charged as a third-degree felony and attracts a five-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $5,000. Aggravated battery involves the using a deadly weapon and often gets charged as a second-degree felony. You face a 15-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.
Under Florida law, child abuse is the act of torturing, battering, maliciously punishing, and intentionally harming a juvenile, resulting in physical and mental injuries. Urging someone to commit any of these acts toward a minor is also child abuse.
Depending on the severity of the crime, you can get charged in any of these ways:
- Aggravated child abuse is a first-degree felony, which attracts a 30-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
- Abusing a child without inflicting bodily harm can be charged as a third-degree felony and is punishable by a five-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
- Child neglect can be charged as a second-degree felony and attracts a 15-year jail term and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 777.04(3) dictates that anyone who agrees to get involved in a violent crime or works with another person can get charged with conspiracy to commit the offense. If your crime is considered a low-ranking conspiracy, you’ll get charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable with a one-year jail term and a maximum fine of $1,000.
If the crime you were planning to undertake constitutes a capital offense, you can get charged with a first-degree felony punishable by a thirty-year jail term and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
Your Best Shot at Winning a Violent Crime Case
Our attorneys recognize that the truth isn’t the only thing that sets people free. The evidence, or lack thereof, and legal expertise, also play a significant role. Our team of violent crime attorneys is unmatched in experience, vigor, and professionalism.
Regardless of the severity of your charges, we’ll be ready and prepared to defend you. We use creative and effective strategies to aggressively challenge each aspect of the violent crime case against our clients. This goes a long way in reducing the charges to lesser offenses or getting them dismissed.
Regardless of the violent crime charges you’re facing, we can work diligently to secure the best possible outcome for you. The attorneys on our team have practices law on all sides of the courtroom. Therefore, they have the expertise and resources to defend you vigorously.
Our Defense Strategies
When a violent crimes case reaches our attorneys, the first thing they do is investigate the circumstances surrounding the case. We can pore through police reports, witness statements, crime scene investigations, and any other evidence related to the case and pinpoint loopholes we can use to reduce your charges or argue for dismissal.
Each case we handle is unique, but we use tried-and-tested defense strategies to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. The potential defense strategies we may use include:
Defense of Self
Under Florida law, non-deadly and deadly use of force is allowable when protecting yourself against an attack by another person. Nonetheless, there must be reasonable proof that the other party intended to harm you.
According to the Castle Doctrine enacted in 2005, you can stay put in your dwelling when under attack and defend yourself. Our attorneys may argue that you committed a violent act while protecting yourself from an attack.
Defense of Others
The use of deadly force is allowable if you were protecting third parties such as family members from harm. Our violent crime lawyers in West Palm Beach can prove that using such force was necessary to keep others out of harm’s way.
Defense of Property
Sometimes, deadly force is allowable if you were protecting your occupied residence against intruders. Although this argument is harder to prove, our attorneys can argue that you had a reasonable belief that your property could get damaged due to the intrusion.
Lack of Intent
In most violent crime cases, intent to commit the offense is the required element. Without proving your intent to commit the crime, the prosecution won’t have a strong case against you.
Let Us Protect Your Future
A lot is at stake when you get charged with a violent crime such as robbery, battery, or assault. The conviction goes into your record, translating into missed opportunities in life. Not to mention the possibility of spending a significant chunk of your life behind bars. Why risk all that when you have a team of skilled violent crime lawyers in West Palm Beach to count on?
At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we’re committed to helping you get a second chance at life. You might have been at the crime scene inadvertently or didn’t have an idea of your involvement in the crime. Regardless of your circumstances, we will fight to have your charge reduced or dismissed.
Thanks to our experience in legal practice, we understand the severity of violent crimes compared to non-violent crimes. We work hard to protect your legal rights while exploring all the available legal options. Our attorneys also develop solid and effective defense strategies so that you avoid a conviction and the resultant consequences.
Contact a Violent Crime Lawyer West Palm Beach
When facing violent crime charges, it’s best to have a capable criminal defense attorney by your side. At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we have the resources to investigate your case, explore the evidence, and formulate a solid defense strategy. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with our team.