West Palm Beach, FL Criminal Defense Attorney
It is normal to feel overwhelmed and frightened when you are arrested or charged with a crime in West Palm Beach, FL. A criminal case may seriously impact you for the rest of your life. Whether you were arrested for a DUI, got involved in a fight and were charged with assault, or got arrested for drug charges, you need compassionate and experienced attorneys. You may wonder what will happen next, how long the process will take, and what penalties you may face. The first thing you should do is contact a qualified West Palm Beach, FL criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
If you find yourself in this situation, contact our firm. We can help you at every stage of the process. We can help you understand the seriousness of your charges, know your next steps, and prepare you for court appearances. If you are facing criminal charges, trust the team at the Law Offices of Nellie L. King.
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What are Criminal Charges?
Criminal cases are what happens when an individual has broken a law and must face punishment from the government. Because there are varying levels of crimes, there are varying levels of repercussions for those crimes. One job of a criminal defense is to work toward having their clients charged with the least severe crime in order to for them to suffer the least consequences. Other times, their job is to help clear their client of all charges. Every case is different, so the outcome of each case will depend on several factors. A few of these include the amount of evidence against the client, any past crimes, and the circumstances surrounding the crime.
Penalties for criminal charges are broken down into three categories:
- Infractions. These crimes are the least severe and thus incur the least severe charges. A traffic ticket is one example of an infraction. It is against the law to speed, but it is not a crime that results in jail time. If you are issued a traffic ticket, then you will likely be charged with an infraction and will simply have to pay a fine.
- Misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are a type of crime more serious than an infraction but are unlikely to lead to serious charges. Examples of misdemeanor charges include being arrested for a minor drunk driving offense or committing a simple assault. Misdemeanors can carry fines as potential jail time. There may be other penalties for a misdemeanor, like community service or probation.
- Felonies. If you are charged with a felony, then the consequences can be the most severe. They also incur the harshest consequences. Felony charges may be charged against you if you cause serious harm to another person, kill someone intentionally or unintentionally, or make credible threats of harm against someone. Additionally, if you have been charged with a misdemeanor assault in the past, then commit another assault, your misdemeanor may be elevated to a felony. Felony convictions that include jail have a mandatory one-year period of incarceration. Further penalties can include fines, probation, the loss of a license, and more.
Types of Criminal Cases We Handle in West Palm Beach, FL
After being charged with a crime, you may not know where to turn. If you’re not sure what to do, get in touch with our criminal attorneys. We help with all types of criminal cases, including:
- DUI and traffic offenses: Unfair traffic stops, field sobriety tests, and breathalyzers are just a few factors that play a role in a DUI arrest. We can thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your arrest. A good defense attorney can find any evidence that might point to your innocence or lead to a reduction in charges.
- Drug crimes: Florida has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. If you face charges for possession, sale, or trafficking of illegal drugs, you could face serious penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and large fines. Because these allegations can sometimes be based on false information or faulty police work, we have a proven track record of fighting these charges and achieving favorable outcomes for our West Palm Beach, FL clients.
- Violent crimes: Aggravated assault, battery, robbery, and homicide are all serious violent crimes that can lead to life-changing consequences if you are convicted. We understand the impact these charges can inflict on your life, and we will do everything in our power to investigate the facts of your case and build a strong defense on your behalf.
- Theft crimes: Shoplifting, burglary, grand theft, and embezzlement are just a few of the many theft-related crimes we can help you with. Depending on the property’s value, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony charges. If you feel that you have been unfairly accused, we will work tirelessly to better understand where something went wrong and clear your name.
- White collar crimes: Crimes like fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion are often complex and involve a lot of paperwork and evidence. Sometimes people are mistakenly accused of these crimes due to innocent errors or misunderstandings. We will review your case to ensure that you are being treated fairly.
- Sex crimes: Being accused of a sex crime can be one of the most devastating experiences a person can go through. In addition to possible jail time and having to register as a sex offender, you may also face social stigma and job loss. We understand the gravity of a sex crime charge. We can ensure that none of your rights are being violated if you were arrested for or accused of a sex crime you believe you are innocent of.
- Domestic violence: Accusations of domestic violence are serious allegations, inferring that you have harmed or threatened to harm a family member, household member, or dating partner. These charges can result in restraining orders, loss of child custody, and jail time. With so much at stake, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney on your side if you do not believe the facts of the case warrant the charges against you.
The Cost of a Criminal Defense Attorney in West Palm Beach, FL
Since there is no one case exactly the same, it’s impossible to know exactly how much a defense case will cost. A few things that could affect your case’s cost include the severity of the charge, the difficulty of the case, and the client’s own unique situation.
Minor cases, like a misdemeanor drunk driving incident or a petty theft, will likely be less expensive because they take less time. If you are facing more severe charges, like manslaughter or drug trafficking, then your attorney fees could be. The time, attention, and resources a misdemeanor case will take will likely mean there is a higher cost.
If you’ve been charged with a crime and you are concerned about the cost, talk with us. It helps to start your consultation with a frank discussion of your case, and that includes cost. When you work with the Law Offices of Nellie L. King, we will be open regarding the potential costs of your case and ensure clear communication at every stage. Many criminal defense attorneys in Florida charge almost $300 an hour for their services on average, so you can expect to spend several thousand dollars initially, regardless of the severity of your case.
Top Reasons You Need a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
When you are charged with a crime, you have the right to an attorney. You should exercise this right as soon as possible to ensure that you have the greatest chance of winning your case. Here are some of the top reasons to hire a criminal defense attorney:
- To ensure that your rights are protected: The Constitution guarantees that everyone accused of a crime has the right to an attorney, and there is a reason for that. An experienced attorney will know how to protect your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the criminal justice process. By having an attorney on your side, you can be confident that you are in the smartest position to defend yourself against the charges against you rather than resorting to self-representation.
- To avoid self-incrimination: It is important to remember that anything you say to the police can be used against you in court. If the police question you, you should politely refuse to submit to questioning until you have an attorney present. This can protect you from accidentally saying something that could be used to convict you of a crime you did not commit.
- To understand the charges against you: A criminal defense attorney will be able to explain the charges against you and what they mean. This can help you make informed decisions about your case. Because the average citizen is not familiar with the intricacies of the law compared to an attorney, having that professional legal guidance can make the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
- To investigate the facts of your case: An experienced attorney will know how to analyze your case and identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. This is vital as it can help you avoid a conviction or get a more favorable outcome in your case.
- To negotiate with the prosecutor: In many cases, a criminal defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. This is key because it can help you avoid a conviction and the penalties that come with it.
- To represent you in court: If your case goes to trial, a criminal defense attorney will be able to represent you in court and present your defense. This is crucial since it can help you avoid a conviction or get a more favorable outcome in your case.
- To appeal a conviction: A criminal defense attorney can help you file an appeal if you are convicted of a crime. This is critical as it gives you a chance to have your conviction overturned if you believe there was a mistake made in your case.
- To help you expunge your record: In some cases, a criminal defense attorney can help you expunge your criminal record. This is valuable because it can help you get a job, housing, and other opportunities that may be closed to you if you have a criminal record.
FAQs About Florida Criminal Laws
How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in Florida?
An attorney’s fees will vary from one client to the next and are determined by the specific details of each case. If you are facing manslaughter charges, then your case may require more time and attention from your attorney, which will raise the cost. A simpler case, like a petty theft charge, may be less expensive. It is critical to discuss fees and expected costs when you first meet with a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney, but you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000, depending on the severity of your case.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge for a DUI?
There is no standard charge for a DUI attorney. As with any West Palm Beach criminal defense case, the overall cost of legal assistance for a DUI will vary. If you are charged with a misdemeanor DUI, which is less severe, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $7,500 in attorney fees. If your DUI is a felony, such as a DUI that results in a death or serious injury, then your fees will be much higher because the case will require more time and resources.
When Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
You should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as you realize there is a potential for charges. The sooner an attorney can start working on your case, the sooner they will be able to work toward the most optimal defense. Because a criminal conviction can have a serious impact on your life, it’s in your interest to get ahead of any potential fallout from a crime. In fact, you should connect with an experienced West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney as early as possible.
How Do I Find a Good Criminal Defense Attorney?
A good criminal defense attorney is crucial if you expect an impending arrest. Your first step should be to research. Most reputable attorneys will have testimonials or reviews listed on their website. Once you have a list of attorneys who you think would be a good fit for your situation, narrow down the list by determining if they practice in the area of law under which you have been arrested. Making an initial appointment with an attorney is the most optimal way to determine if they will be a good fit for you and your situation.
The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. handles a wide range of criminal defense cases in the West Palm Beach area. Our team can help you navigate DUI charges, provide a solid defense if you are charged with theft, and walk you through a drug trial. As a former public defender and strong social advocate recognized in her community, Attorney Nellie L. King will handle your criminal case with care and personalized attention. She treats each of her clients like family, and she will get to know you personally as she frames a compassionate and aggressive defense based on the particular facts of your situation.
Whether you have been charged with a sex crime, accused of homicide or domestic violence, or seek legal guidance in post-conviction relief options, Nellie L. King is your attorney. Contact our office today for all your criminal defense needs.