Data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) shows that violent crime in Florida has been reduced considerably from the levels of 20 years ago, but remains high. In 2013, The FDLE reported a total of 91,703 violent crimes: over 57,000 aggravated assaults, more than 23,000 robberies, almost 10,000 forcible sex offenses, and slightly fewer than 1,000 murders.
Public outcry against criminal behavior, especially violent behavior, gives law enforcement tremendous incentive to clear cases of violent crimes; each case in which police make an arrest improves public opinion of area law enforcement. But too much incentive for an arrest can easily lead to arrests that are not based on good evidence of guilt.
It’s up to a Tampa violent crimes lawyer to ensure that justice prevails over expediency in Florida.Severe Penalties
Not only can haste to close a case result in innocent people going to prison for violent crimes, those who are wrongly convicted go to prison for lengthy periods, because violent crimes carry the harshest penalties. The specific penalty varies considerably from one crime to another, but all violent crimes carry potentially severe penalties that completely change the course of the defendant’s life if convicted. All carry the potential for prison sentences of several years to life, with the death penalty possible for capital crimes.
Crimes involving violence are singled out for stiff penalties for two reasons:
- To keep violent criminals off the street longer
- To deter criminals from committing violence
In practical terms, a third reason is to ease public pressure on law enforcement and the justice system.Defenses
Defenses to violent crimes in Tampa generally fall into one of three categories:
- Various “affirmative defense,” in which the defendant admits committing the acts charged, but claims that there was good reason for doing so (i.e., the defendant did punch the victim several times, but only because the victim was trying to stab him).
- Defenses that admit the facts charged but deny that those facts amount to the crime charged (i.e., the defendant did argue with the victim, but that argument did not make the victim fear for his life).
- Defenses that deny the facts as charged (i.e., the defendant did not fire a pistol as the state claims).
Florida laws on violent crimes are complex, with numerous aggravating factors that bump a crime to a higher degree, relatively new and complex laws such as the controversial “stand your ground” defense, and technical elements that must be proved in order to convict you.
There is no time to waste if you have been charged with a violent crime in Florida. The sooner you get the help of an experienced Tampa violent crimes lawyer, the better your chances of avoiding conviction and, if convicted, minimizing the penalty. If you are simply being investigated and haven’t yet been charged, getting experienced help is your best chance to avoid having charges filed.
Apart from the defenses discussed above, a few of the major tasks with which an experienced Tampa criminal defense lawyer’s help is invaluable include:
- Making sure the prosecutors live up to their legal obligations when it comes to time limits, bail, and other crucial procedural issues;
- Evaluating the wisdom of accepting a plea deal;
- Ensuring that prosecution discloses all exculpatory evidence;
- Identifying and bringing out inconsistent testimony from adverse witnesses (what the witness says now is not what the witness said before);
- Identifying and bringing out material bias on the part of key witnesses, such as when the witness has a deal with the prosecution for dismissal of charges, a lighter sentence, etc.
Criminal law is the only kind of law that William Hanlon practices. He has been handling these cases aggressively and successfully for 20 years in Tampa and the surrounding areas. Take no chances with your life and freedom. If you are or may be charged with a violent crime, get your defense started here: call Will today.