Violent crimes can result in extremely serious direct and collateral consequences impacting a person’s livelihood, well-being, and opportunities for years. If an individual is convicted of criminal charges in Florida, a judge will sentence that person to jail or prison, probation, fines, or some combination thereof.

The penalties that a judge may impose are generally described in the criminal statute an individual is charged with. What is not described in the statute, however, are the collateral consequences of criminal convictions which can wreak havoc on a person’s life long after the conviction took place and the sentence has been served. Such collateral consequences include difficulty obtaining employment, challenges qualifying for renting an apartment, and so on.

Thankfully, our experienced Key West criminal defense attorneys at Reed Palacios Law Firm are here to help. We know how grave allegations of violent crimes can be, and we are committed to providing legal assistance that defends your rights and resolves criminal matters as favorably as possible. We work with criminal defense clients throughout the lower, middle, and upper Keys.

Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Violent crimes encompass a wide range of conduct, and the penalties for a conviction vary considerably. That said, all violent crimes are serious matters, and if you or a family member are accused of one you should speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Common examples of violent crimes in Florida include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Child abuse
  • Robbery
  • Sexual battery
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder

In some cases, violent crimes are charged as misdemeanors – in others, they are charged as felonies. The seriousness of the charges brought by prosecutors depends on the circumstances, including the relationship between the parties involved, whether any weapons were used, and the existence of other aggravating or mitigating factors.

Violent crimes can result in significant penalties imposed by a judge, including jail time, incarceration in state prison, and substantial fines. You could even face the death penalty if you are convicted of first-degree murder in Florida.

Unfortunately, in addition to the obvious penalties the law sets out for a conviction of any crime, a criminal conviction also carries collateral consequences. Collateral consequences can follow you for your life unless a conviction is expunged or sealed – which can only take place in certain circumstances.

A criminal conviction on your record can lead to loss of employment opportunities – you may be automatically disqualified from certain kinds of employment because you are a “convicted felon,” for instance.

Criminal convictions can also result in the loss of civil and civic rights like the right to vote or own a firearm.  An individual can also lose the right to drive, or the right to drive without a special hardship license upon certain kinds of convictions. It is important to understand these consequences before making any decisions in your case.

Facing charges related to violent crimes can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that there are many legal defenses available to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

Self-defense is a widely recognized legal principle that allows individuals to protect themselves from physical harm when they reasonably believe they are in imminent danger. To successfully use self-defense as a defense to a violent crime, it must be demonstrated that:

  • You had a reasonable belief that you or someone else was in danger of imminent harm.
  • The force used was proportional to the threat.
  • You did not initiate the violence.

If there is evidence that an individual acted in self-defense, the experienced attorneys at Reed Palacios Law will consider setting a “Stand Your Ground” motion, to present evidence that the person charged with the crime acted in self-defense. Upon successfully meeting that burden to the presiding judge, the burden then shifts to the State Attorney to prove that it was not self-defense. The Stand Your Ground motion is a valuable strategy in violent crime cases.

When Can Defense of Others Be Used as a Defense?

Like self-defense, defense of others allows individuals to use reasonable force to protect someone else from harm. To use this defense effectively, it is essential to establish that:

  • You genuinely believed the person you were defending was in immediate danger.
  • The force used was appropriate, given the situation.
  • You did not instigate the violence.

A Stand Your Ground motion can also be utilized in the context of defense of others. Our legal team will carefully evaluate the details of your case to determine if the defense of others applies to your situation.

Mistaken identity can lead to wrongful accusations of violent crimes. Our attorneys are skilled at investigating cases thoroughly and uncovering evidence that supports your claim of mistaken identity. We work to demonstrate that you were not the perpetrator and ensure that justice is served.

In some cases, it may be in your best interest to consider plea bargaining or diversionary programs. These options can help reduce the severity of the charges or provide an opportunity for rehabilitation instead of incarceration. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who can advocate for the most favorable terms possible in such arrangements, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the process.

If you or a family member or friend has been charged with a violent crime, it’s crucial to act swiftly! It’s in your best interest to reach out to an attorney as early in the process as possible. The attorneys at Reed Palacios Law take their duty to clients very seriously and once hired, begin investigating a case, exploring defenses, and gathering all evidence possible to help defend their clients.

Retaining an attorney early can lead to tracking down witness statements while the events are fresh in their minds, surveillance videos that may otherwise expire, and so on. Victor and Colleen are committed to finding the best possible outcome in every case because communication is the key to a successful lawyer-client relationship and the best outcome.

With over two decades of experience dealing with criminal matters in the Florida Keys, the Reed Palacios team has cultivated a deep understanding of the legal landscape. Having worked on both the prosecution and defense sides of the courtroom we’ve built strong relationships and connections with local prosecutors, judges, clerks, and probation officers. This enables us to navigate the Monroe County criminal justice system efficiently and effectively, always with the best interests of our clients in mind.

Don’t hesitate; to get in touch with us today.  Call or reach out online to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney. Your future deserves the protection and advocacy we provide.