Criminal Defense

Dedicated Tampa Lawyer Standing Guard for Your Rights Against the Prosecution

Criminal charges can result in harsh legal and social consequences. In addition to the possibility of imprisonment, someone who is convicted of a felony may face substantial fines, ostracism, loss of job opportunities, an inability to obtain a professional license or certain types of housing, and damage to their reputation. Whether you are charged with a serious felony or a misdemeanor in the Tampa Bay area, it is imperative to retain an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer. At Hanlon Law, we take pride in building sophisticated, comprehensive defense strategies for each and every client. For over two decades, Will Hanlon has represented people who are seeking a drug crime lawyer or assistance in fighting charges of theft, sex offenses, gun crimes, white collar crimes, domestic violence, and other crimes under state and federal laws.

Drug Crimes

Florida prosecutors take drug crimes very seriously. Under Florida Statute section 893.03, there are schedules for different types of illegal drugs. Schedule One drugs are considered the most harmful drugs, while the least harmful are enumerated in Schedule Five. The types of charges that you face and the potential penalties if you are convicted depend on how much of the drug you allegedly possessed, which type it is, and whether you have a prior criminal record. The penalties may be harsher if a drug crime is committed in a drug-free area like a school, church, or park. Commonly charged drug crimes in Florida include marijuana cultivation, possession of methamphetamine, cocaine trafficking, fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs, and many more.

To obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard of proof. Your attorney can examine the steps that the police followed and determine whether there were any constitutional rights violations. If, for example, the drugs that constitute the basis of the charges were recovered in an illegal search and seizure, it probably is possible to get them suppressed so that they cannot be presented as evidence. A criminal defense attorney in the Tampa area can also determine whether you may be eligible for a diversion program or negotiate a plea bargain to reduce the charges.

Sex Crimes

There are three main types of sex crimes in Florida: lewd or lascivious acts involving a victim who is younger than 16 years old, sexual battery involving any nonconsensual sexual activity that is forced, and unlawful sex with minors. Under Florida Statute section 794.011, for example, sexual battery occurs when someone has nonconsensual oral, vaginal, or anal contact with someone else by using their sexual organ or an object. Different defenses may apply, depending on the situation. Each element of a crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, so if it is possible to show that the contact was consensual or at least raise doubt in the mind of a juror about whether there was consent, it may be easier to negotiate a plea deal or secure an acquittal. Other defenses may include an alibi or a mental condition that removes responsibility from a defendant’s acts.

Theft Crimes

In Florida, theft can include any action that intentionally deprives another person of property without their consent or knowledge. The value of the property taken will determine the degree of theft and the penalties that will accompany a conviction. Under Florida Statutes section 812.014, grand theft occurs if the defendant knowingly and unlawfully used, obtained, or tried to use or obtain someone else's property, the defendant did this with the intent of temporarily or permanently depriving a victim of the right to the property, and the property at issue was worth at least $300. To get a conviction for grand theft, there needs to be substantial competent evidence from which a felonious intent can be inferred. When defending a grand theft charge, it may be possible to show a lack of knowledge or intent. If you did not know that the property belonged to someone else, you did not have the intent to deprive the owner of the right to use or benefit from the property, or you did not mean to appropriate it, it may be possible for a Tampa criminal defense attorney to secure a dismissal or acquittal.

Gun Crimes

Although the state strongly favors gun rights, Florida also has stringent gun laws. One potential misdemeanor charge is for the improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm under Section 790.10. To prove this charge against you, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you carried a weapon, you exhibited the weapon in a careless, angry, threatening, or rude way, and you exhibited it in the presence of at least one other person. If you are convicted, you can be penalized with up to a year in jail or 12 months of probation and a $1,000 fine. In some cases, this charge is a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault. However, you are allowed to openly carry a firearm in connection with activities such as fishing, going to a gun show, camping, or hunting. Many people also have concealed weapon permits. Heavy sentences are associated with gun crime convictions, but a conviction is not assured. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the police must have used proper procedures to obtain evidence against you. For example, if you were showing the weapon in self-defense, you might be able to receive an acquittal or have the charges dropped.

Consult a Skillful Criminal Defense Lawyer in the Tampa Area

If you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the Tampa Bay region, or even if you are under suspicion or targeted in an investigation, you should not hesitate to discuss your situation with a criminal attorney. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been representing the criminally accused since 1994, and he is dedicated to preserving their rights. Everyone deserves vigorous legal representation when faced with criminal charges, no matter their circumstances. Mr. Hanlon takes his professional responsibilities seriously, working hard to win dismissals, acquittals, or reductions of charges whenever possible. Call Hanlon Law at 813-228-7095 or use our online form to set up an appointment if you need a theft lawyer or assistance with fighting a charge related to a sex offense, a drug crime, an assault, a gun crime, or any other type of offense.