If you face criminal charges in Wesley Chapel, you may risk jail or prison time, fines, and a tarnished reputation. To help protect you in these cases, get a criminal defense attorney in Wesley Chapel by your side.
At Lucas, Macyszyn & Dyer Law Firm, you can get the representation you need in criminal cases. Based on the specifics of your case, we may be able to work with you to build a strong defense. We understand how difficult it can be to navigate these types of cases, which is why we work to give our clients the representation and guidance they need.
Whether you face accusations of a crime or are under investigation, our Wesley Chapel criminal defense lawyers are here to help.
Why Choose Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Law Firm?
At Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Law Firm, we have built a reputation as one of the leading criminal defense law firms in Wesley Chapel and other cities in the Tampa Bay area. Since our founding in 2000, we have developed significantly because of our dedication to our clients and their needs, along with our principles of hard work. The staff behind us work closely with each client to meet their needs, with bilingual support staff who can speak Spanish, Greek, and Polish.
If law enforcement has charged you with a criminal offense, or if you believe you are under investigation for a crime, our attorneys may be able to represent you. You can consult us to discuss your case with our Wesley Chapel criminal defense attorneys. Depending on the nature of your case, we may then help build a defense to help protect your freedom and future.
We can represent clients involved in many types of criminal cases, including felony and misdemeanor charges such as:
- Drug crimes
- Driving under the influence (DUI) and boating under the influence (BUI)
- Sex crimes
- Traffic violations
- Violent crimes
Regardless of the alleged crime, we can learn more about your case and help determine the best steps.
What to Expect With Criminal Cases in Florida
If you face criminal charges or investigations in Florida, you need to how criminal cases work in Florida. Generally, Florida criminal cases progress similarly across all counties, but the personalities, styles, and requirements of the authorities may differ enough that you need local legal counsel.
You may need to take these specific steps. Here’s what to expect with each.
Arrests or Notices to Appear
Criminal cases in Wesley Chapel and throughout Florida may begin with either an arrest or a notice to appear. Law enforcement officers may need to make an arrest if they witness individuals committing specific crimes, they have probable cause to believe they committed a crime, or if there is an outstanding warrant for the individual’s arrest.
Officers may alternately issue a notice to appear in court if they don’t make an arrest, as per Rule 3.125 in the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. A notice of appearance requires individuals to appear in court at a set date and time. In some cases, the Clerk of the Court may deliver notices to appear. This only occurs if an officer files an incident report without making an arrest and if the prosecutor chooses to pursue charges later.
If you receive a notice to appear and fail to appear in court at the designated time and date, the judge’s next step will be to issue a bench warrant for your arrest.
Throughout this initial stage, it’s best to consult with a Wesley Chapel criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case. A qualified attorney may be able to help you prepare a defense in the early phases of the criminal case, which may increase your chances of succeeding.
The First Court Appearance
If an individual is arrested but is still in jail, they will need to make their first appearance before a judge within 24 to 48 hours of their arrest. During this appearance, the judge will detail the specific charges involved and ultimately decide whether the individual is eligible for release and the conditions of their release.
During this stage, you should have an attorney present to push for a personal recognizance bond, which can prevent you from paying a large amount of money to bail out of jail. If you’re curious to know more about the purpose of bail and how to calculate the total amount, the Florida legislature provides this information in its statutes.
In the arraignment hearing, accused individuals submit pleas of guilty, not guilty, or no contest (nolo contendere). Even if individuals don’t plan to challenge the charge they face, a not guilty plea may enable our criminal defense attorneys to spend more time building a defense.
If there’s enough evidence for prosecutors to succeed in convicting the accused, the prosecuting attorney files an information. This is a list of the specific charges involved that the prosecutors plan to pursue.
Once the accused has filed their plea with the court, their attorney may then choose to file a Notice of Discovery along with a Demand for Jury Trial. A Notice of Discovery will require prosecutors to provide the defense with copies of all evidence they obtain. The defense attorney will, in turn, need to provide prosecutors with all of the evidence they collect. This evidence may include police reports, physical evidence at the crime scene, and witness statements, among other evidence.
Following the discovery process, the judge will schedule a pre-trial conference, also known as a status conference. This court date enables judges to ensure the case progresses as it should. At the same time, attorneys can provide judges with an update regarding the case’s progress or make them aware of any evidentiary issues or conflicts.
Often, criminal cases involve both sides attempting to negotiate a plea. The plea negotiation process may start with the first appearance and could even continue long after the initiation of the trial process.
Defendants may accept plea offers by pleading guilty or no contest during the pre-trial conference or at another hearing. Defendants will need to give up certain rights to accept plea offers, including the right to a trial, along with the right to require the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Trial Process and Sentencing
While most criminal cases result in a plea deal, some may go to trial. During this process, the prosecution must prove that the defendant committed the alleged crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. Throughout the trial, both the prosecution and defense will have time to present their cases, starting with opening statements and ending with closing arguments.
The jury or judge will then decide whether the prosecution succeeded and proved the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury or judge finds the defendant not guilty, the accused won’t face any fines, incarceration, or probation. Conversely, if the jury or judge finds the defendant guilty, the next step will involve sentencing. At this point, the judge will consider the facts involved in the case to determine the appropriate sentence.
Following sentencing, the defendant may begin the appeals process with the help of their attorney.
How Different Criminal Cases Work in Wesley Chapel
If you’re wondering what different types of criminal cases entail in Wesley Chapel or elsewhere in Florida, there are certain things to keep in mind with each case type.
In Florida, prosecutors take drug crimes seriously. The Florida legislature lists several classes of illegal drugs based on the level of harm they cause. Drugs that cause the most harm fall under Schedule I, while the least harmful are under Schedule V.
The specific charges that individuals face with drug crimes depend on the type of drug, the quantity in their possession, and whether the individual has a criminal history. If the crime takes place in a park, church, school, or another public location, individuals may face harsher penalties.
One defense in these cases could include proof that officers performed an illegal search and seizure that led to the criminal charges, in which cases it may be possible to suppress the use of the obtained drugs as evidence.
Florida classifies three different sex crimes. These include lewd or lascivious acts that involve minor victims under 16, unlawful sex with minors, and sexual batter involving forced nonconsensual activity.
Defendants in these cases may be able to prove that contact was consensual, or they may have an alibi or prove that a mental condition eliminated responsibility for their acts.
Florida has strict gun laws that people must adhere to within the state. One potential gun crime involves the misdemeanor charge of improperly exhibiting firearms or dangerous weapons. Prosecutors will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrators of this crime carried a weapon, exhibited it in a threatening, angry, rude, or careless way, and exhibited the weapon in front of one or more people.
Criminal Defense FAQs
If you have additional questions about hiring a Wesley Chapel criminal defense lawyer, here are some frequently asked questions regarding criminal defense in Florida.
What Makes Criminal Defense Lawyers Different from Other Lawyers?
Normally, lawyers involved in criminal cases should have plenty of experience with criminal law. Criminal defense lawyers often have a history as former prosecutors, former judges, or former public defenders. It’s best to seek an attorney with plenty of experience handling these cases and the different perspectives involved.
What Questions Should I Ask When Selecting a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Wesley Chapel?
Before you settle on an attorney to handle your case, there are certain criteria to look for in the ideal lawyer.
To pinpoint the right attorney, ask these questions throughout an initial consultation:
- How much experience do you have in criminal law?
- Have you handled similar cases to mine or that involve similar facts?
- What is the maximum sentence I can receive for the charges I face?
- What kind of experience do you have with criminal cases that go to trial?
- What results have you gotten for previous clients?
- What are the chances of a successful outcome in my case based on what you know?
- What are my pre-trial release conditions?
Keep in mind that a criminal defense attorney should never make any promises. Criminal cases can be particularly difficult, and your attorney should provide a realistic evaluation of your case. If an attorney guarantees success in your case or a specific outcome, this is a red flag to seek representation elsewhere.
Should I Talk to the Police?
Never talk to the police without an attorney. When an officer makes an arrest, they must read the arrestee their Miranda Rights, which include the right to remain silent. Officers also establish they can and will use anything you say against you in a court of law. This is why you must remain silent following an arrest until your attorney is present. This will prevent you from inadvertently saying anything that might be incriminating or otherwise hurt your case.
Consult Our Wesley Chapel Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
If you need criminal defense lawyers in Wesley Chapel, Florida, the experienced team at Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Law Firm may provide the representation you need. We work to serve as dependable advocates for our clients to achieve the best possible outcomes in all criminal cases we handle. With the right lawyer by your side, you may successfully avoid a conviction or significantly reduce the charges.
Want to find out your options and speak with a reputable and experienced lawyer? Contact the compassionate team at Lucas, Macyszyn, & Dyer Law Firm today by calling (813) 849-5353 or contacting us online for your free consultation.
Wesley Chapel Location
2533 Windguard Circ Suite 101
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544