Violent crime charges are taken very seriously in Florida. If you are charged with a violent crime in Volusia County or Flagler County, you should retain an experienced criminal attorney. Your reputation and freedom, as well as your ability to find a job or secure housing, may hang in the balance. Volusia County violent crime lawyer Genine Ann Mejia is a seasoned trial attorney who gives sound counsel and provides strong courtroom representation for people charged with violent crimes.Types of Violent Crimes
Violent crimes usually involve force and physical harm. In some cases, violence is the purpose of the crime. In other cases, violence is a means to achieving some other objective, such as perpetrating a bank robbery. The term "violent crime" covers offenses such as rape, forcible sexual assault, assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, robbery, and murder.
What must be proven depends on the specific charge and the language of the statute under which it was brought. For example, under Florida Statute section 784.045, a prosecutor trying to establish aggravated battery must prove that a defendant intentionally or knowingly caused great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or a permanent disability. Alternatively, they must show that the defendant used a deadly weapon in committing a battery. Or they need to show that the defendant perpetrated a battery against a pregnant person, and they knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Even the least serious felony violent crime charges can carry a substantial sentence of incarceration. And there are situations in which mandatory minimum sentences may apply. For example, Florida has a 10-20-Life law that provides for reclassification and a sentence enhancement for certain violent crimes. Since the penalties often are harsh, retaining a violent crime attorney in Volusia County can be critical.
Under Florida Statute 775.087, heightened penalties are involved when a defendant uses a firearm during the commission of a forcible felony. If somebody is charged with a felony, and the use of a weapon or firearm is not a crucial element, but while perpetrating that felony, the defendant uses, threatens to use, or tries to use a weapon or firearm, the felony for which the defendant is charged will be reclassified to a higher level. For example, if the defendant is charged with a first-degree felony, and he displayed a gun while perpetrating the felony, he will be charged with a life felony under this law. Similarly, if the defendant is charged with a second-degree felony, and he brandished a weapon while perpetrating the crime, he will be charged with a first-degree felony. This reclassification will also occur if a defendant commits an aggravated battery during the commission of the felony.
Also under the 10-20-Life Law, if you possessed a firearm while committing certain felonies, with some exceptions, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years that will be imposed. A Volusia County violent crime attorney can help you fight the application of this enhancement. Felonies covered by the law include sexual battery, robbery, burglary, murder, arson, aggravated battery, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, and trafficking. If you are convicted of any of these felonies, and while committing the felony, you discharged a firearm or destructive device, you will face a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years. If someone suffered death or great bodily harm due to the discharge, the minimum term of imprisonment is 25 years, but it can be up to life in prison.Other Sentencing Considerations
The most serious violent crimes can result in serving a term of life in prison or the death penalty. Sentencing can hinge on multiple factors, including whether there was a deadly weapon used, how serious the crime was, the defendant's criminal history, and where the crime happened.
Once an incarcerated person has been released after being sentenced for a violent crime, a permanent criminal record can block the person from getting a house, getting a job, obtaining bank loans, or furthering personal relationships.Discuss Your Case With a Violent Crime Lawyer in Volusia County
Considering these harsh penalties, being accused of a violent crime in Florida can be unnerving. It is important to hire an attorney who understands the nuances of the charge and how to mount a strong defense. If you face criminal charges in Volusia County or Flagler County, call the Law Office of Genine Ann Mejia at (386) 463-0849 or contact us via our online form. Let us take the burden off your shoulders.