In Hernando County alone, police officers arrested over 6,000 people in one recent year. Many of these people faced charges of serious crimes and significant potential penalties for a conviction. Regardless of the possible jail sentence (or even if there is not one), every criminal charge is a significant and possibly costly event in your life.
Many aspects of your life are on the line during the criminal process, as you can face long-term consequences of a conviction and criminal record, even after you have served your sentence.
When your reputation, freedom, and many of your rights are on the line, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Lucas, Macyszyn, and Dyer are here for you when times are the toughest for you. We know how the criminal justice system works in Florida, with years of experience working as a prosecutor, and we will use that knowledge for you.
Criminal Cases We Handle in Hernando County
Our criminal defense team knows that any type of criminal charge can significantly affect your life. You should take all degrees of charges seriously, whether you face a misdemeanor or felony.
At Lucas, Macyszyn, Dyer, we represent defendants facing charges of:
- Reckless driving
- Public intoxication
- Possession of marijuana
- Drug offenses
- Assault and battery
- Aggravated assault and battery
- Sex Crimes
No charge is too minor or serious for professional defense from our attorneys.
How the Criminal Justice Process Begins for Defendants
The criminal justice process can start for you in one of several ways:
- You may be arrested and charged with a crime
- You might receive a notice to appear in court
- The prosecutors will file an indictment with the court
- Law enforcement might contact and notify you of a pending investigation
The Early Stages of Your Criminal Case are Important
There are many immediate threats to you in the short and long term. Even being arrested and charged with a crime will significantly affect your reputation and mental health. The days following an arrest or the filing of criminal charges can be the most stressful when you do not know what you will face. The uncertainty does not lift so long as your case is pending. You are likely considering the worst-case scenarios and may even panic and make a mistake.
Law enforcement does most of its work preparing its case against you in the early days after your arrest. They may have already seized evidence and be trying to speak with you. You may not even know of your legal rights, and you can do or say something unintentionally incriminating that makes law enforcement’s job easier for them.
It is difficult to undo these mistakes later in the process. Once you have freely given police information, it is very difficult to take it back. Allow us to handle all communications with law enforcement for you.
Avoid Mistakes in the Criminal Justice Process
Here are some of the mistakes that you might make that can cloud your legal picture:
- Speaking to law enforcement freely without having an attorney present
- Volunteering information to law enforcement to try to talk your way out of trouble
- Allowing police to go beyond the scope of a search warrant when they are seizing evidence to use against
- Waiting too long to hire a lawyer to help with your case
Once law enforcement has filed charges, you must go through the criminal justice process. From your initial appearance in court through the end of a trial (and a possible appeal), you should have an experienced attorney advocating for you every step and guiding you through the process. This is exactly what we do at Lucas, Macyszyn, Dyer.
Potential Punishments for Criminal Offenses in Florida
You might face misdemeanor or felony criminal charges.
While felony charges are more serious, misdemeanor charges still carry a potential threat to your freedom.
- Misdemeanor charges may result in a year in prison and a fine, depending on the severity of the charges.
- Felony charges may result in at least one year in prison, and they can carry life sentences in extremely serious cases.
Your most immediate concern after criminal charges is the potential jail time attached to a conviction. You can also face many other consequences, depending on the nature and severity of the crime.
For example, if you are a temporary resident of the United States, you may face deportation if you have a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude (which might even be theft charges). If you share custody of a child, a court may change your custody situation and restrict access to your children after a conviction.
A Conviction Could Have Other Costs for You
There are even more permanent and lasting consequences for felony convictions. In Florida, convicted felons lose the right to own firearms and work in certain professions.
You cannot vote until you have fulfilled all the terms of your sentence (meaning court costs and any fines). The conviction will remain on your record permanently, showing up in a background check when you are applying for a job or trying to find a place to live.
Therefore, the best possible legal outcome in your case will differ depending on your particular situation. At Lucas, Macyszyn, Dyer, our attorneys take the time to learn about you and what you may face in your own life before we give you legal advice and help you plot your path forward.
You Have Legal Rights in Every Criminal Case
The legal standard the prosecutor must meet to win a conviction is proving their case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard of proof is the highest one in the legal system. However, the prosecution does not need to prove their case beyond all doubt – just beyond the doubts that the average reasonable juror will have. Still, the standard means that prosecutors must come close to proving their case against you completely.
Just because the prosecution has a high standard of proof does not mean that they can do anything and everything to win a conviction against you.
You have protections under:
- The United States Constitution
- Florida law
- Rules of Evidence
It is your lawyer’s job to do everything possible in the course of your case to both keep your legal rights from being violated and to take action in court if they are.
Law Enforcement May Violate Your Legal Rights
For example, one common way that the prosecution violates your legal rights is when they seize evidence to use against you. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees you the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Law enforcement must obtain a warrant to conduct a search based on probable cause (a reasonable belief that a crime occurred). They may conduct a warrantless search if certain exceptions apply. Of course, whenever there are emergency exceptions, law enforcement will try to use these to the fullest extent possible (and often overuse them).
The remedy for illegally seized evidence is for your attorney to file a motion to suppress it and ask the court not to allow it against you. The court needs to find that the evidence seized was the “fruit of the poisonous tree” to disallow it. A conviction might be difficult or impossible when law enforcement loses key evidence.
Your Legal Defense Involves Key Choices
In every criminal justice case, you will have to make decisions. Perhaps the most consequential decision you will make is whether to negotiate a potential plea bargain or fight the charges against you.
Your decision should consider the specifics of your particular case. Many legal cases do end in a plea bargain. Although you will receive a conviction after pleading guilty and face some consequences, they are usually lighter than if you were tried and convicted of the crime.
How You Might Resolve Your Criminal Case
However, there is no legal requirement to accept an offered plea bargain. In some cases, especially when the prosecution is moving forward with a weak case against you, it may make sense to fight the charges. In reality, jury trials are rare in the criminal defense realm.
Cases might conclude before trial if:
- A judge dismisses some or all of the charges against you.
- The prosecution drops the charges (especially when they cannot line up credible witnesses to testify) or can narrow the case by dropping some charges.
- You plead guilty to the charges (or to lesser charges) as part of a deal with the prosecutor.
Ideally, the prosecutor will not file charges in the first place if they do not have the evidence to support them. Prosecutors often learn during the case that the evidence isn’t as strong as they thought, leading them to drop some of the charges they cannot prove. For a prosecutor, the worst thing is to try your case and lose.
Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Negotiate a More Favorable Plea Bargain
A plea bargain is exactly that – a bargain you reach with the prosecutor about your plea. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor for the best deal possible. You do not always have to accept the first deal offered to you. When your attorney puts up a strong and vigorous legal defense, you will find yourself in a better bargaining position.
Most prosecutors have an interest in getting you to plead guilty because it means that they do not have to expend the time and resources to try the case. They also do not have to take the risk of not winning a conviction because losing a case looks bad for them.
At Lucas, Macyszyn, Dyer, we are former prosecutors with detailed knowledge of how law enforcement approaches a case because we have worked on that side. Our attorneys have a sound reputation and credibility with prosecutors.
How Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help You
The time to contact an attorney is immediately after learning that you are under investigation or after an arrest. You do not have to go through this process alone.
Our attorneys can do the following for your legal case:
- Handle communication with law enforcement (police cannot approach you to talk without a lawyer when you have a defense attorney or say that you want one)
- Advise you of your legal rights in your case and what to be on the lookout for when law enforcement tries to violate your rights.
- Perform our own investigation of your case, gathering evidence that we can use to make your case stronger.
- Represent you in court at every necessary appearance.
- Learn about your situation and help you craft a legal defense strategy in your case.
- Handle potential plea bargain negotiations with the prosecutor if you choose to reach a deal.
- Tell your side of the story at trial if you decide to fight the charges against you.
Our attorneys are committed to achieving the best possible legal outcome for you, depending on your own facts and circumstances. We believe you have the right to the strongest possible legal offense, no matter what allegations you face. We will handle your case with compassion and understanding for what you are going through during the legal process. Our lawyers will take the time to explain your case to you in plain English, so you can make decisions when necessary.
Contact Our Hernando County Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
When you have been arrested or have received a Notice to Appear in court, your first call should be to a criminal defense attorney. The lawyers at Lucas, Macyszyn, Dyer are available at all times to discuss your case.
Call us today at (352) 686-0080 or send us a message online to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. You cannot afford to delay this call. We are ready to assess your defense options and protect your constitutional rights in the Hernando County criminal justice system.
Lucas, Macyszyn & Dyer Law Firm – Hernando County Office
2190 Commercial Way
Spring Hill, FL 34606
“Lucas and Macyszyn was instrumental in accomplishing the mission at hand. We had to do absolutely nothing once the ball was set in motion. Weekly reports were the norm as the process progressed. The staff were all courteous and very easy to work with. I would recommend this law firm if you don’t already have one on retainer.”
Review by: Les M.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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