Florida Autism Criminal Defense Attorney | Nationwide ASD Lawyer

Florida Autism Criminal Defense Attorney | Nationwide ASD Lawyer

Florida Autism Criminal Defense Lawyer

Within the criminal justice system, those who are autistic report higher victimization from crimes and actions such as bullying, property crime, child abuse, sexual abuse, and other violent crimes. This is important to note, as is the treatment and vulnerability of those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have been charged with crimes in the criminal justice system. It is essential for you to work with a Florida autism criminal defense attorney and nationwide ASD lawyer if you face criminal charges.

When you are autistic, criminal cases require unique legal support. Individuals with ASD may face charges for cybercrimes, stalking and harassment, assault, child pornography, drug crimes, and other charges.

It is common for those with autism to not fully understand social norms and expectations or for those around them not to understand their needs and expectations. This lack of understanding can result in altercations and criminal changes. Misunderstandings of legal expectations can also result in criminal activity.

Autism Defense at the Law Offices of Nellie L. King

If you or a loved one is on the autism spectrum and have been charged with a crime, it is crucial that your criminal defense attorney understands how that could potentially affect your charges. Your nationwide ASD lawyer needs to understand how the laws of your state impact you based on the charges you face and your ASD. You need a compassionate attorney who looks out for your rights and protects your interests in the face of the criminal justice system.

At the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, our team understands the unique complexities and vulnerabilities in criminal cases against someone with ASD. Nellie King has worked solely in criminal defense for many years, defending the rights of her clients in state and federal courts. She can help clients at any point in their criminal defense case.

Autism can be an effective defense against some charges if approached with tact and understanding. ASD impacts how you interact and see the world and affects how the world sees you. If your defense attorney does not know how your autism affects a criminal case, you will be charged the same as any adult without a disability.

Our team knows how to build a defense that takes ASD into account, using it as a relevant defense against criminal charges, potentially mitigating or eliminating the charges you face.

How Does ASD Affect Criminal Activity and Prosecution?

Individuals with autism are frequently categorized as high-functioning or low-functioning, often indicating their ability to live independently and support themselves. Individuals with ASD, regardless of their perceived cognitive function, often have a range of mental and physical behaviors considered abnormal in both childhood and adulthood.

Individuals with autism may interact socially in unexpected ways compared to their neurotypical peers, communicating in other ways or potentially not at all. These conflicting ways of interacting can result in misunderstandings, altercations, and criminal charges. Repetitive or compulsive actions can also increase these issues and result in criminal actions like stalking or harassment.

Autistic individuals also have different views on social and legal norms, which can result in cybercrimes, including child pornography charges.

Although some have made efforts to increase the understanding of ASD in the criminal justice system, this understanding is not pervasive throughout the system. The cognitive and behavioral differences of autistic defendants are often not considered, and they are charged just as any other defendant.

Prosecutors, judges, and juries may even have less sympathy for those with ASD simply because of common ASD behaviors, such as stimming, lack of eye contact, or speaking in monotone, that some may deem suspicious in a courtroom. This may result in a higher-than-necessary sentencing or even a wrongful conviction.

A defense attorney must have a full understanding of the unique challenges that autistic individuals face in criminal court. A strong defense must address how a defendant’s cognitive and behavioral differences contributed to their criminal offense.

ASD and Child Pornography Charges

Some of the most common charges against autistic individuals are child pornography offenses and other similar cybercrimes. Child pornography possession or distribution is a state and federal crime, and both are charged as felonies. A conviction can result in several years in state or federal prison, significant fines, and registration as a sex offender.

Every individual with autism experiences unique thought processes and altered social understanding. This worldview contributes to why autistic individuals are more likely to commit these types of crimes. Some other reasons include:

  • The defendant may not understand that it is legally and morally wrong.
  • Those with ASD are often not provided with the sexual education or health education necessary for their age.
  • Adults may be socially isolated, potentially as a choice they made or a choice made by a caretaker.
  • Many adults with ASD have high intelligence but low emotional or social intelligence.
  • Adults also may have the physical and sexual needs expected of their age, but childlike emotions or maturity level
  • Those with ASD may become obsessively or compulsively drawn to things they find online.

These situations must be approached with understanding and compassion. An effective criminal defense attorney should address the specific situation and what contributed to a crime.

Can Autism Be Used as a Defense in Criminal Law?

Autism by itself is not an effective criminal defense. However, there are ways that ASD may be relevant to the overall criminal defense strategy. It takes a skilled attorney to navigate the process of fully protecting an individual’s rights and ensuring the criminal court takes ASD into account during proceedings.

Criminal prosecution requires that a criminal intent be present for offenses other than statutory crimes. This is in addition to proof that the criminal act occurred. When an individual has an ASD diagnosis, this may be proof of their lack of intent, depending on the person and circumstances of the crime.

Determination of the defendant’s competency is different from determination of insanity, and it is important to understand the difference between the two. If intent can’t be established, the case may be dismissed.

Even if the case is not dismissed, a defendant’s mental capacity may affect the sentencing of a crime. A shorter or lesser sentence may be an option in these instances. Your criminal defense attorney works with relevant professionals to determine legal competency, how that relates to the crime that was committed, and argues for lesser or alternate sentencing if a conviction can’t be avoided. This may include probation, community service, and other lighter types of sentencing.

Why You Need an ASD Criminal Defense Attorney

Whether or not you have committed the crime you are being accused of, you need skilled legal counsel to defend your rights. Due to the prejudice of the criminal justice system, autistic individuals may be convicted of crimes that they did not commit or did not understand the criminality of. It is essential to have an attorney by your side immediately after you are arrested or charged with an offense. An attorney can help with:

  • Understanding the charges against you. Most people are unaware of intricate legal requirements. A skilled attorney can help you understand the charges that have been brought and walk you through the likely outcomes and options for your case.
  • Protecting your rights. If your constitutional rights were ignored during your arrest or at any other point during the case, an attorney will recognize it and be able to use that information to dismiss evidence or potentially dismiss the case entirely. Additionally, under certain state laws, those with autism have the right to have an expert appointed to evaluate their competency.Your attorney will ensure the right state laws are being followed by law enforcement and through the court system.
  • Avoiding self-incrimination. Invoke your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. You should not speak with law enforcement until your legal counsel has arrived. Self-incrimination is, unfortunately, more likely for those with ASD. Under Florida law, officers must make a good-faith effort to secure a professional with an understanding of autism if you request one be present during an interrogation.However, it is also important to have your attorney present to ensure this good faith effort is respected.
  • Investigating the case. Your criminal defense attorney will review the charges against you, conduct research into the arrest, and determine the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case against you.
  • Negotiating an out-of-court resolution. For many criminal cases, negotiation with the prosecution can result in exchanging a guilty plea for lesser criminal penalties, settling the case outside of court. When you work with a criminal defense attorney, they can determine if that is the right option for your situation.
  • Advocating for you in court. If negotiation does not work, is not right for your case, or other pre-trial motions are ineffective, the criminal case will proceed to court. Your attorney will present your side of the case and may be able to reduce or remove the charges against you. You are more likely to achieve a favorable outcome in your criminal case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
  • Appealing and other post-conviction actions. Conviction of a crime is not the end of the criminal justice process. Your attorney can determine if a criminal appeal is appropriate for your case, such as if a legal error was made. You may also qualify for a criminal record expungement in the future.

When you are autistic and are convicted of a crime, your attorney can help you through the process with necessary care and consideration, helping facilitate communication and understanding throughout proceedings.

How Much Is a Criminal Defense Attorney?

The cost of a criminal defense attorney varies nationwide, within a state, and even from firm to firm. Attorneys charge different rates, and different case types will have different rates. It’s important to understand the factors that influence the cost of a defense attorney. It is also important to discuss pricing with an attorney prior to hiring them, ensuring that you understand the costs of representation and know that you can afford legal services throughout your case.

The factors that influence attorney costs may include:

  • Fee structure. Most criminal defense attorneys charge an hourly fee, which itself varies. Along with an hourly fee, an attorney may require an upfront retainer fee. For some cases, however, a defense attorney may instead charge a flat rate. This is typically for simpler cases that are expected to be settled out of court, and that an attorney can predict how much work it will require.
  • Experience and success. A more experienced attorney with significant success in a field of law will have higher rates. They may also be able to conclude the case more quickly or reach a more beneficial resolution than a less-experienced attorney.
  • Complexity of case. Fees vary between cases because each case has its own unique challenges and requirements. Cases that require expert witnesses, may go to court, or are difficult to investigate, will have higher rates. A more serious charge may also be charged more due to the time, care, and resources required to defend a more severe charge.
  • Litigation. If your criminal defense case goes to court, it will be more expensive. Not only are hourly rates likely to be higher if an attorney anticipated this, but litigation is much longer. This increases attorney costs over time and requires additional fees like court costs.
  • Attorney location. Attorneys who are located in cities are likely to have higher rates than those in rural locations. You want to find an attorney with local experience and professional connections in the location and court where you are being charged.

The team at the Law Offices of Nellie L. King remains open during an initial meeting about the costs you will face and strives for clear communication and an honest understanding of your case.

Contact a Florida Autism Criminal Defense Attorney | Nationwide ASD Lawyer

The most effective way to avoid long-term financial and personal consequences from a criminal charge is by working with a qualified criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, our team understands the unique needs of our clients and the stress that a criminal charge causes autistic individuals and their families.

Regardless of the types of criminal charges you are facing, our firm can help. Nellie L. King works to provide her clients with individualized and compassionate legal support with an effective and aggressive legal defense. Contact us today to see how we can aid you.

Speak with Attorney King today about your case by calling (561) 833-1084 or filling out this online form for a free initial consultation.

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