Answers To Common Questions About Florida Criminal Law
When you are facing criminal charges, you need answers to your questions right away. The team at Mandell Law is here to provide those answers for you. With over 25 years of combined experience, we understand the law and how it could impact your case. The following are answers to some common questions we hear from clients.
Will I go to jail for a DUI?
You can face up to six months in jail, even if this is your first offense for driving under the influence (DUI). Florida does allow some first-time offenders to participate in a diversion program, however, that will allow you to avoid jail and reduce your charges.
Do I have to allow the police to search my home?
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects us from unlawful search and seizure by law enforcement. This means you do not have to give the police permission to search. If they have a warrant or another lawful reason for entering your home, they can search it without your permission.
What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
Misdemeanors are less serious than a felony, but they still go on your criminal record and can include penalties of fines, probation and jail time of less than one year. Felonies often have more severe consequences, including the possibility of over one year in prison. Felonies can affect your rights in other ways, as well.
Is marijuana really a big deal anymore?
Possession of marijuana is still illegal in Florida unless you have permission to use it under the state’s medical marijuana program. Possessing under 20 grams is a misdemeanor, while anything more can result in felony drug charges, or even trigger state or federal trafficking charges.
Will I be charged in federal or state court?
Although state and federal laws do overlap, the majority of crimes in Florida are brought in state court. Federal law enforcement may pursue certain cases that the state could prosecute, such as drug possession, but they often stick to high-level offenses and those that involve federal agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service. We will help you determine what kind of charges you face and where you will face them.
Should I plead guilty?
How you should plead in your case depends on many factors, including the nature of the charges, your past criminal record and the evidence against you. We never assume you should plead a certain way before we take the time to thoroughly discuss your case and examine the evidence. Then we will help you make the best decision for your situation.
What happens if I refuse to take a breath test?
Florida’s implied consent law states that all drivers with a Florida license consent to submitting to a blood, breath or urine test when arrested for DUI as a condition of their license. If you refuse to do so, you face administrative penalties, including the suspension of your license for one year. Subsequent refusals can result in further penalties, including a misdemeanor charge.