Like other states, criminal cases in Florida vary widely. The nature of the offense and the defendant’s criminal record history play roles in the penalties involved. Since these factors vary from case-to-case, there are many different possible outcomes. If you’re facing criminal charges for the first time, you may be wondering, “What are the possible outcomes in my case?” To shed light on the matter, I’m going to explain the possibilities.
1. When charges are dropped. Just because you are charged with a crime, it doesn’t mean it’s going to trial. The prosecutor can decide to drop the charges for various reasons, such as inadmissible or insufficient evidence. Often, a criminal defense attorney plays a key role in getting charges dropped. If your charges are dropped, it doesn’t mean you no longer have a criminal record. In order to remove the arrest and charges from your record, you’ll have to seek an expungement.
2. When you accept a plea bargain. Accepting a plea bargain is much like pleading guilty, but in many cases the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser offense. With a plea bargain, the defendant enters into an agreement with the prosecution, and the judge accepts or rejects the plea agreement. If everything proceeds forward, the defendant waives their right to a jury trial, the judge accepts the plea bargain and things move on from there. When you negotiate a plea bargain, you have to accept whatever sentence the judge hands down, which could deviate from the prosecutor’s suggestion. The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains.
3. When you are found guilty at trial. If you enter a plea of “not guilty” at your arraignment, your case will go to trial. If the jury comes back with a guilty verdict, it will be up to the judge to determine your sentence and penalties. When deciding on a sentence, the judge will consider the nature of the offense, the applicable sentencing guidelines, and your criminal record. Your sentence may include probation, fines, incarceration, restitution, community service, or any combination of the above. If you don’t agree with the verdict or if there was a legal error in the case, you can file an appeal. Of course, the ideal solution with a trial is to have the jury come back with a “not guilty” verdict.
If you are facing criminal charges in Miami, I urge you to contact my firm to schedule a free criminal defense consultation. As a former prosecutor who’s handled thousands of cases, I am well-qualified to defend you. To learn more about my firm, click here.