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St. Petersburg, Florida

Violent Crimes Defense Lawyers

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A conviction for a violent crime can have an everlasting effect on your freedom. This can impact your employment prospects and your reputation in the community.

Violent crimes in Florida typically involve charges such as assault, battery, robbery, or murder.

If you’ve been accused of a violent crime, contact our St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys at Fletcher & Fletcher and we’ll get to work building your defense immediately.

“Mr. Fletcher has been caring, compassionate and non-judgmental throughout my entire legal process. I trusted him with my future, career and he has been honest and kept my best interests his priority.”

~ Rashel R.

St. Petersburg, Florida Violent Crime Cases

Florida considers an offense that involves the intentional use or threat of physical force or violence to be a violent crime. And most of these offenses are charged as felonies.

But if you’re facing a false violent crimes accusation in St. Petersburg, you are not alone.

Many suffer the consequences of an unfair accusation for a violent crime they did not commit.

Similarly, people accused of violent crimes have been punished beyond what was appropriate. Emotions run high in cases where someone alleges to have been physically harmed, which could cause the prosecutor to file criminal charges that may not otherwise have evidence to support them.

The most common types of violent crime cases we see include:

  • Murder / manslaughter
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery / aggravated robbery
  • Assault / aggravated assault
  • Battery / aggravated battery
  • Child abuse

Penalties for Violent Crimes in Florida

Florida courts take violent crimes very seriously.

In fact, we have what is known as the “10-20-Life” law that outlines some of the strictest mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of violent crimes in the country:

  • Having a firearm while committing certain crimes: 10-year minimum, up to 20 or 25-year-to-life sentence
  • Using a gun while committing a crime: 20-year minimum sentence
  • Shooting someone while while committing a crime: 25-year-to-life sentence

First-degree murder is the only conviction eligible for the death penalty in Florida.

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Of course, not every case will face the above penalties, and other details regarding the case may cause penalties to vary. Generally speaking, though, here are some typical penalties for felony violent crime cases:

  • Murder / Manslaughter (second-degree felony): Up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Most murder charges, regardless of degree, carry a potential life sentence because of aggravating factors. These factors can also enhance the sentencing guidelines.
  • Kidnapping: Up to 30 years or life imprisonment
  • Robbery: Ranges from 5 years to life imprisonment. Certain aggravating factors can trigger minimum mandatory penalties for crimes such as robbery, aggravated battery, and kidnapping just to name a few.
  • Aggravated assault (third-degree felony): 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000
  • Aggravated battery (second-degree felony): 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000
  • Child abuse (third-degree felony): 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000 (aggravating factors can increase the penalties)

To try to win their case, prosecutors will use any evidence they can find to prove you are guilty. And in the face of such severe penalties, it’s in your best interest to retain a dedicated and experienced St. Petersburg violent crimes attorney as soon as you know about your charges.

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law

If you did use force against another person, but feel you were justified in doing so, you can breathe easy.

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, originally passed in 2005, provides immunity to those who reasonably fear imminent harm.

The law states:

“A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

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Clearly, this law is similar to the theory of self-defense. In Florida, however, it gives you the ability to compel a hearing, before trial, that requires the prosecution to try to prove that you were not acting in self-defense.

Until recently, a criminal defendant had the burden of proving that he or she acted in self-defense. A recent change in the law has shifted the burden of proof to the prosecution, and it is now their responsibility to try to prove that you were not acting in self defense.

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Contact a St. Petersburg, Florida Violent Crimes Defense Attorney

Whether you’ve been wrongfully accused of a violent crime or you want to successfully argue self-defense, our team of St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys at Fletcher & Fletcher is on your side. Call today for a free consultation.

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