Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Punta Gorda, FL Criminal Defense Attorney

Criminal charges of every kind have the potential to create significant hurdles in a person’s life post-conviction. In fact, a conviction stays on an individual’s record indefinitely, limiting their freedom to pursue opportunities for self-improvement. If you are facing criminal charges, make sure you seek the support of a Punta Gorda criminal defense lawyer right away.

Criminal Defense Representation in Punta Gorda, FL

The attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. have decades of experience handling a variety of criminal cases in Punta Gorda and its surrounding areas. We understand the potential impact a conviction can leave on your life, your family, and your future. We believe that everyone deserves quality representation in our justice system and will fight to uphold your rights, regardless of the crimes with which you are being charged.

What Is a Criminal Offense?

Most simply, a criminal offense represents any violation of a state or federal law. Depending on the severity of the offense, an individual may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Though any person may, if they so choose, represent themselves in their case, it is highly inadvisable to do so. Skilled legal counsel can significantly impact the outcome of a case while foregoing a lawyer increases the risk of conviction.

What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony in Florida?

In Florida, crimes are categorized into one of two groups: misdemeanors and felonies. The delineation largely reflects both the severity of the offense and the extent of the subsequent penalties. Each type of crime is broken into several different degrees, further distinguishing between the seriousness of the crime:

Misdemeanors

  • Second-degree misdemeanor. The least severe crime, these misdemeanors, can incur a fine of $500 and up to 60 days in a county jail.
  • First-degree misdemeanor. These crimes are punishable by fines of $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

The following are some of the more common misdemeanors in Florida:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • DUI
  • Shoplifting
  • Indecent exposure
  • Simple possession of drugs

Felonies

  • Third-degree felony. These crimes can result in fines of up to $10,000 and five years in state prison.
  • Second-degree felony. Convictions at this level lead to fines of up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison.
  • First-degree felony. The most serious offense, these felonies, result in up to $15,000 and 30 years to life in prison.

The following represent some of the most common felonies in Florida:

  • Drug crimes
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Sex crimes
  • White collar crimes
  • Arson
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Federal crimes

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Arrested in Punta Gorda, FL?

Very few people are properly prepared at the time they are arrested. However, there are several things you should and should not do that will help your case. If you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime, follow these steps:

  • Remain silent. Having a right to remain silent is for your benefit. Legally, anything you say can be used as evidence against you to establish your guilt. During your arrest and subsequently thereafter, it is advisable not to answer or speak with law enforcement until you have obtained a lawyer.
  • Show respect. Whether you are innocent or not, keep your cool and do not lose your temper with a police officer. Resist the urge to be defensive and instead adopt a respectful demeanor. Showing disrespect will only hurt your case.
  • Contact a lawyer. Choosing your own lawyer is ideal since you will have more control over the quality of your representation. Do not hesitate to begin this step. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner they can begin building your defense.

Why Should I Hire a Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyer?

It is a lawyer’s job to provide a thoroughly prepared defense of those accused of a crime. Experienced attorneys will use their knowledge of current applicable laws and statutes to navigate the implications of the case while they use their experience in the courtroom to develop an effective defense strategy that is tailored to your particular case. Additionally, criminal defense attorneys can do the following:

  • Investigate the circumstances of your case. Gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, reviewing available surveillance, and speaking with industry leaders to gain insight and testimony into the details of your case can all work to provide a well-rounded view of the events that took place.
  • Evaluate evidence. Analyzing the evidence available can help your lawyer discover and expose potential flaws in the prosecution’s arguments, thereby mitigating liability and potentially minimizing or even dismissing your charges altogether.
  • Negotiate deals. In some cases, negotiating a plea may be the most favorable outcome. Your lawyer can handle the negotiations to arrive at a favorable bargain that represents a dramatic decrease in a penalty, especially if you know you are guilty of one or all of the charges.
  • Represent you in court. When no plea is desired or accepted, a criminal charge case may go to trial before either a judge or a jury. Your attorney can not only prepare themselves to appear in court but can help prepare you and help you be at ease even as difficult subjects are brought before you.

Your criminal defense attorney will be an invaluable asset throughout the legal process, counseling you and guiding you through each step. An experienced criminal defense attorney, like those at Ruhl & Lux, P.A., can offer strategic guidance and dedicated advocacy and can ensure you are treated fairly throughout the legal process.

What Kinds of Criminal Defense Cases Do We Handle in Punta Gorda, FL?

The team at Ruhl & Lux, P.A., has decades of experience handling a range of criminal defense cases. Here are some of the most common types of cases for which we have represented clients:

  • Domestic violence. This offense generally refers to an act or pattern of violence between people in a current or past familial or intimate relationship. Not limited merely to physical violence, domestic violence can include emotional, psychological, financial, or sexual abuse towards another.While any acts of violence would be criminal, violent acts towards family members, partners, or members of the same household garner special classification since those crimes tend to carry harsher penalties and additional measures intended to protect the harmed, such as restraining orders and other legal protections.
  • Sex offenses. These crimes involve forced, non-consensual sexual acts against another person. Common examples include rape, statutory rape, sexual assault, child pornography, indecent exposure, and sexual harassment. Consent is a critical factor in prosecuting sexual offenses, and convictions lead to severe punishments that include prison time, substantial fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.
  • Drug charges. It is illegal to possess, sell, distribute, manufacture, or traffic controlled or illicit substances, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or marijuana. Certain prescription drugs can also be abused, constituting unlawful use. The extent of the penalties, which can range from fines and probation to long-term incarceration, is influenced by factors such as the amount of drugs involved, the intended use, and the individual’s criminal record.
  • Traffic violations. These offenses encompass a wide range of illegal activities related to driving and road use. This includes minor infractions like speeding, ignoring traffic signals, and failing to stop at a stop sign, as well as major offenses such as reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter, and operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked driver’s license.
  • DUI charges. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Florida is a serious offense. Penalties can vary based on the severity of the violation. Generally, the legal limits for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) are set to 0.08 for adult drivers and 0.04 for commercial vehicle operators. Florida maintains a zero-tolerance policy for underage drivers.
  • Probation violations. When an individual breaches the terms or conditions of their probation, those violations can lead to strict penalties. Courts offer probation to some individuals as an alternative to incarceration, and following the specific requirements is a show of good faith towards the court. Non-compliance can lead to serious repercussions, such as a judge imposing the original sentencing back onto the individual.
  • Expungements and sealing. These legal processes offer individuals with past convictions the chance to potentially clear their criminal records. Sealing refers to the process of removing a criminal record from public view, while expungement constitutes the complete destruction of a criminal record. Doing so can significantly aid offenders in overcoming obstacles to employment, housing, and education.Eligibility for both expungement and sealing varies and largely depends on the nature of the original offense.
  • Violent crimes. This category covers offenses that involve the threat or use of force or harm against another person. This includes assault, battery, robbery, domestic violence, and homicide. Violent crimes represent serious offenses, in no small part due to the severe and immediate impact on victims, and they carry significant legal consequences, such as lengthy prison sentences.
  • Gun crimes. These crimes encompass the unlawful possession, use, purchase, sale, and trafficking of firearms. In addition to illegal arms sales, these crimes include carrying a weapon without a permit, concealing a weapon without a concealed carry license, or using a firearm in the commission of a crime.Though Florida affords citizens many rights to gun ownership, it treats gun crime very severely, imposing significant penalties for those convicted of gun and gun-related crimes, including a minimum prison sentence of ten years.
  • White collar crimes. This category refers to crimes typically committed by business professionals that are characterized as being non-violent, economically motivated, and involving some sort of deceit. Fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, and insider trading are common examples.Specific penalties vary by particular crime and by the total value of the cheated property but include some combination of fines, prison time, and mandatory restitution.
  • Contracting without a license. Performing contractor work without a proper license or certification or operating a business under the guise of licensure is illegal in Florida and poses risks to both property and public safety. Penalties for committing this violation include fines, jail time, and criminal charges. Associated work impacted by this statute includes construction, electrical, plumbing, and renovations.
  • Juvenile cases. This area of law addresses offenses committed by persons under the age of 18 who are not yet considered legal adults. As opposed to focusing on punishments, juvenile law emphasizes rehabilitation, reflecting the belief that younger individuals have a greater potential for change. Truancy, underage drinking, vandalism, and some other serious crimes are the most common cases generally addressed with juveniles in court.The juvenile justice system also emphasizes privacy and educational opportunities in addition to rehabilitation, with diversion programs, community service, and probation serving in place of penalties.

Criminal offenses represent some of the most difficult and challenging legal charges an individual can face. In addition to the comprehensive knowledge of Florida criminal law required to defend a case, it is imperative that your criminal defense lawyer also exemplify compassionate and non-judgmental representation.

Convictions can carry harsh penalties, but even an unsubstantiated charge can immediately enact harm to a person’s reputation and standing in their community and other relationships.

Regardless of what type of offense you have been charged with, the attorneys at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. are ready to represent you, advocating on your behalf as we fight for the most favorable outcome in your case.

How Much Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Charge Per Hour in Florida?

Planning to hire a criminal defense attorney is an essential step toward protecting your freedom and securing your future. The specific costs will vary depending on the lawyer’s experience and the complexity of the case. However, an initial consultation with our attorneys is free of charge.

Misdemeanor crimes generally demand less time and effort to resolve, while felony offenses can require extensive trial preparation, meaning you can expect felony offenses to incur higher fees. Overall, however, because convictions can lead to serious penalties and fines, it is in your greatest interest to obtain a quality criminal defense attorney, as it is worth the investment in order to avoid conviction. You should discuss the details of your case during the initial consultation.

Your Punta Gorda Criminal Defense Lawyers

No matter how minor or severe the criminal offense with which you’ve been charged, it is vital that you partner with a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Our team at Ruhl & Lux, P.A. is dedicated to ensuring justice in your case, fighting to uphold your rights. Our knowledge of the legal system, local courts, and experience implementing proven defense strategies have enabled us to secure favorable outcomes in a wide range of cases. To get started with your defense, contact our office today. Serving clients in Charlotte, Sarasota, or Desoto Counties. Call 941-505-7845 or 855-784-5529.

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