West Palm Beach State & Federal Court Lawyer
What Is the Difference Between Federal Court & State Court?
There are two main classifications of state crimes in Florida:
- If you are convicted of a misdemeanor charge in Florida, you can be sentenced to a range of possible penalties, including county jail time, probation, and sometimes pre-trial diversion programs that can result in your charges being dropped.
- If you are convicted of a felony, you have fewer sentencing options and will face jail time in state prison.
Federal crimes on the other hand are more serious offenses above state offenses, and they often involve complex, multi-count indictments which carry corresponding lengthy terms of imprisonment as mandated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
In addition to state crimes, Attorney King also defends those charged with federal crimes, including the following types of offenses:
- Drug Trafficking, Drug Importation – When drugs are unlawfully brought into, or out of, a different state/country
- Fraud – Including bank fraud (such as counterfeiting checks), insurance fraud, healthcare fraud, mortgage fraud, and IRS violations
- Internet Crimes – Including distribution of child pornography, cyberstalking, and Internet fraud
- Sex Crimes – Some sex crimes will be tried by the federal court system because of the severity of the allegations and the number of victims alleged in the indictment
- White Collar Crimes – Many white collar crimes such as money laundering or racketeering will impact businesses at a national level
As a former public defender and advocate for the people, Attorney King believes in providing treatment instead of jail cells for the mentally ill and the addicted, in treating children like children instead of adults in criminal court, and in requiring law enforcement to utilize best practices in criminal investigations to avoid arresting the wrong people. Nellie King treats each client as an individual with their own unique set of circumstances and life history, and she will frame a personalized defense strategy for you based on the facts of your specific situation.
Common Misdemeanor & Felony Offenses
While every case is different, you may be looking at a felony conviction if your charge is any of the following:
- Aggravated fleeing and eluding
- Animal cruelty
- Battery – Aggravated battery, battery on a person 65 years of age or older, battery on a law enforcement officer or firefighter, felony battery
- Burglary – Burglary of a structure or conveyance, possession of burglary tools
- Child neglect
- Drug Crimes – Trafficking, possession, sale, purchase, manufacturing, delivery, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud
- DUI causing serious bodily injury
- Firearms and Weapons Offenses – Discharging a firearm in public; carrying a concealed firearm; unlawful sale of firearms; felon in possession of a firearm; throwing, making, placing, projecting, or discharging a destructive device
- Homicide – First degree murder, second degree murder, manslaughter, attempted murder
- Kidnapping and false imprisonment
- Organized scheme to defraud
- RICO activity
- Sex Crimes – Sexual battery (including varying degrees determined by the age of the victim, i.e. less than 12 years of age); lewd and lascivious molestation; failure to register as a sexual offender or predator; possession, sale, or distribution of child pornography
- Theft and Robbery – Grand theft, dealing in stolen property, false verification of ownership to a pawnbroker, robbery by sudden snatching, carjacking, home invasion robbery
You could be looking at a misdemeanor conviction if you are arrested for:
- Battery – Domestic battery, assault
- Disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication
- Driving under the influence or boating under the influence
- Petit theft, shoplifting
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana
- Prostitution, solicitation of prostitution
- Reckless driving
- Resisting arrest
- Violation of restraining orders
Misdemeanor Charge Penalties in Florida
There are a couple different misdemeanor classifications in Florida:
- First Degree Misdemeanor – The most serious classification of misdemeanor offense in Florida, it is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year in county jail.
- Second Degree Misdemeanor – Punishable by a maximum sentence of 60 days in the county jail.
Felony Charge Penalties in Florida
Felony charges in the state can be classified among the following:
- Capital Felony – The most serious classification of crime in Florida, capital offenses can result in the death penalty, or, alternatively, a life sentence.
- Life Felony – Persons charged with this can be imprisoned for life in state prison.
- First Degree Felony Offense – Punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in state prison.
- Second Degree Felony Offense – Punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison.
- Third Degree Felony Offense – Punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years in state prison.
Note that the nature of the charges and potential penalties you might face are dependent on a number of factors, including the nature of the evidence against you, whether or not others were seriously injured or killed, your previous criminal record, and your defense strategy.
Additionally, be aware that Florida’s sentencing scheme is such that a number of charges in Florida carry minimum mandatory prison sentences, even for nonviolent offenses. Attorney King believes that wrongfully accused people thus face unfair and arbitrary sentencing policies that do little to ensure the safety of the community as the state intends these minimum sentences to do. Attorney King advocates, instead, for alternative sentencing and statutory options that serve to address the core problems attendant to crime in this country; a fixed minimum sentence carries its own set of problems as it could impose unfair jail time on someone who committed only a minor offense, if at all.
Contact a West Palm Beach Attorney for State & Federal Cases
Law enforcement has vast resources and influence. As a result, it will be daunting to handle your case on your own. The best response when facing the prospect of investigation or incarceration is to arm yourself with a skilled litigator who has the knowledge, experience, and reputation to fight for you when you need it the most. A good defense lawyer like Nellie L. King can mean the difference between years of jail time or none at all. Attorney King examines each case critically by analyzing every aspect of a client’s contact with law enforcement in order to curtail abuses of the Fourth Amendment, delving into the forensic issues of each case, and investigating and presenting potential defenses related to the crimes charged. There is no “one size fits all” solution; every case is individual. As such, Attorney King will develop a personalized approach to each case brought to her, especially as it carries the burden of criminal prosecution.
It is also worth noting that incarceration is not your only worry when it comes to a criminal charge. The collateral consequences of a criminal record are not to go unnoticed, as the long-lasting effects of a criminal charge can sometimes outweigh the threat of incarceration looming over your head. If you possess a criminal record, your booking photo and case information will be public record. You can be denied employment, deported if you are not a U.S. Citizen, turned down for housing if you attempt to rent an apartment, have your driver’s license suspended or revoked, and you can be stripped of your rights to vote and possess a firearm. In order to make sound decisions when you are being prosecuted for a criminal offense, it is critical to understand everything about your case that can impact your life now, as well as in the future.
The mission of the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. is to provide zealous representation for individuals when they need it most – when they are up against a vastly resourced government in a criminal investigation and have their life and reputation at risk. Attorney Nellie King places an emphasis on “front-ending” cases, a process where she aggressively advocates for the state to No-File, or decline prosecution, during the initial stages of your case. Attorney King is often successful in avoiding criminal charges from being filed against her clients during this early but critical stage of the case.
Award-Winning Trial Lawyer
Nearly 25 Years of Legal Experience
Personalized Approach to Handling Cases
Well-Respected in the Legal Community
The Government zealously in State & Federal Courts with a reputation for fierce advocacy, unwavering attention to detail, aggressive defense tactics, & award-winning oratory skills.Attorney Profile
For criminal justice reform & Constitutional protections for ALL citizens accused, becoming a nationwide change-maker known for her passionate advocacy, commitment to volunteerism, & dedication.View Awards
The criminal defense bar on the National, State, & Local levels, earning the status among her peers as a true defender: committed to the ideals of a just society one client, one project, one conversation at a time.Leadership Roles
In the media as a seriousIn The News
litigator, tenacious advocate,
& an experienced criminal
defense practitioner who leaves
no stone unturned in the
preparation of her cases.
Attorney King was my voice in the courtroom.- V.C., Former Client
Top-notch, caring, and highly respected.- Brenda Benson
Ms. King truly cares about her clients and the outcome of their cases.- W.G.
Nellie brings power and grace. She is the velvet hammer.- Leigh D. Hagan (Ph.D. Board-Certified Forensic Psychologist)
She is a true leader and one of the fiercest advocates in the legal profession.- Jessica Yeary (Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer & Public Defender Elect, Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit)
Nellie is a DEFENDER!- Joe Guastaferro (Nationally Recognized Trial Consultant and Jury Selection Specialist)
A top-notch fighter who will protect their legal rights.- Charles Mittelstadt (Criminal Defense Investigator)