Tampa Violent Crime Lawyer

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Tampa Violent Crime Attorney

Violent crimes in Tampa, FL cause serious consequences for the victims involved. For that reason, these crimes are something the state takes very seriously and has created significant penalties as a means of deterrence. It’s these severe penalties that can make facing violent crime charges a frightening proposition. A conviction will most likely lead to a prison sentence and a lot of challenges in rebuilding a life afterward.

Part of what can make violent crime charges so frightening is that it feels like you won’t get a fair chance. Understandably, everyone is eager to see violent crimes punished. In their zealotry, though, it seems that justice and the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” can take a back seat. Fortunately, a good criminal defense lawyer can help even the odds. It’s a criminal defense lawyer’s job to remind the jury of the importance of giving their clients a fair hearing. It’s their job to ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected throughout the legal process.

A talented, aggressive lawyer can give their clients a strong defense against charges and a real chance at avoiding the harsh penalties that come with violent crimes. With Paul Figueroa Law, you can get that kind of legal help that represents you with the same passion and devotion that you would yourself.

Violent Crimes

Unlike other categories of crime, such as white-collar crimes or drug crimes, violent crimes involve a specific threat of harm and damage to other persons or property. In most cases, these crimes will result in felony charges and years in prison. Some of these crimes include:

  • Murder/Homicide
  • Rape
  • Sexual Battery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Arson
  • Armed Robbery
  • Burglary of a Dwelling
  • Crimes Involving Firearms
  • Resisting an Arrest With Violence

These crimes are often eligible for enhanced penalties, usually consisting of extended prison time. Some of these enhancements include:

  • Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern
  • Habitual Felony Offender
  • Habitual Violent Felony Offender
  • Prison Releasee Reoffender

Consequences of a Violent Crime Conviction

Violent crimes are almost always felonies, which carry the harshest penalties in the legal system. The exact penalty will depend upon the specific crime, the nature of the circumstances surrounding the crime, the harm caused, and a host of other factors. Some of the potential legal penalties include:

  • Jail or Prison Sentence – Almost every violent crime conviction will result in some sort of prison sentence, more often than not, on the scale of multiple years. In more severe cases, the term can span decades or even life.
  • Death Sentence – There are certain crimes for which the death penalty may be given in Florida.
  • Fines – In many cases, fines are a part of the penalty for a violent crime.
  • Probation – Even after a prison sentence ends, it’s possible that a period of probation may follow the term.
  • Loss of Right to a Firearm – In almost every violent felony case, part of the penalty is losing the right to own a firearm.

Extralegal Consequences of a Violent Crime Conviction

It’s not only the legal consequences that result from a violent crime conviction; there are usually significant social and professional consequences as well. Some of these issues stem from the fact that a conviction results in a permanent criminal record, which appears on background checks. Some of the extralegal consequences of a criminal conviction include:

  • Employment Challenges – With a criminal record, it can be very difficult to find employment options.
  • Credit Challenges – A criminal record may also negatively impact someone’s ability to get a line of credit.
  • University Trouble – When applying for a university, a criminal record could negatively impact your chances of being accepted.
  • Disqualification From Professional Licenses – There are several licenses that cannot be acquired at all with a criminal record or are nearly impossible to get approved.
  • Disqualification From Student Loans – Even if you are accepted into a university, getting student loans is often not an option, as most programs won’t lend to anyone with a criminal record.
  • Reputation Damage – A violent crime conviction can lead to damage to your reputation and relationship with your community.

What Does a Violent Crime Lawyer Do?

The pithy way of describing what a lawyer does is that they act as your representative, but that really doesn’t capture the full extent of the job. Yes, your lawyer will represent you and put forth a defense for you, but in doing so, a good lawyer will have to do much more than just that.

To begin with, a lawyer can help before there are even any charges brought against you. It’s important to realize throughout the investigation process that things you say may end up being used against you in court. If you are being investigated, it’s important to talk with a lawyer about how to handle the situation. Your lawyer acts as a protector of your rights if you allow them to and follow their advice. They’ll continue to help protect your rights throughout the entire legal process.

If you are charged, your lawyer is going to perform their own investigation of the case. This process will involve interviewing those involved and witnesses. They will take a look at the police report. A critical part of the process is gathering any facts that may be relevant to the case. This could include any video or photos that are relevant, subpoenaing cell phone data, or anything relevant based on the particulars of the case.

How Can a Lawyer Help Your Case?

The entire time your lawyer is investigating the case, they’ll be considering two things. On the one hand, they’ll be trying to get into the mind of the prosecutor and predict how they will attempt to make their case. They will have access to the same evidence as the prosecution, but that’s not the same thing as knowing how the case will be argued. Your lawyer will try to understand the case from a prosecutorial perspective and identify any potential weak points.

The other thing your lawyer will do while investigating is begin to plan your defense. In part, this will involve demonstrating the flaws with the prosecution’s case. However, a strong defense will also likely have a proactive component to it as well: perhaps an argument for self-defense or the presentation of an alibi. Exactly what a defensive strategy will look like depends on the details of the particular case.

Your lawyer will be prepared to take that defense to court if need be, but the right option may be to try to avoid the trial if possible. This could be getting the case dismissed if possible. It could also be a plea deal that your lawyer would negotiate on your behalf. Another role your lawyer can play is as an advisor. They should be honest with you about your chances in court and advise you of the risks of going to trial compared with a potential plea deal.

At Paul Figueroa Law, we take the time to make sure our clients are aware of where things stand with their cases. We take a tenacious approach to investigating every possible means of defense for our clients. Whether it’s a hands-on approach to evidence gathering or hitting the books to look at potential defenses based on precedent, our clients get high-quality representation. We understand how much is at stake in a violent crime case, and we won’t give up without a fight for our clients.

What to Do if You’re Arrested

If you find yourself being arrested, it’s important to handle the process in a particular way. A mistake at that time can sometimes be detrimental to your case. There are three important things to remember:

  • Call Your Lawyer – As we mentioned above, it’s your lawyer’s job to protect your rights. We can’t do that, though, if we are unaware of what’s happening, so ask for your lawyer and give Paul Figueroa Law a call.
  • Don’t Say Much – It’s important to realize that the police are always investigating the situation. They use a plethora of means to try and coax information and even a confession out of people they suspect or arrest. They may try to speak casually and conversationally to get you to let your guard down. They may even lie to you about some fact of the case or claim to have evidence. They are legally allowed to do this, so the right option is to avoid saying anything until your lawyer is present. They can help prevent you from saying something that would be self-incriminating. You can keep insisting that you won’t say anything until your lawyer is present.
  • Stay Composed – Getting angry or emotional when you’re getting arrested can only make the situation worse. You may end up saying something incriminating, which could potentially bring additional charges against you. Therefore, the most effective thing you can do is stay calm, stay quiet, and contact your lawyer.

Violent Crime Criminal Defense

The most important thing to remember when it comes to defending against violent crime charges is that the burden of proof belongs to the prosecution. Your lawyer does not need to prove that you did not commit the crime. If this can be done through something like an alibi, then that is all the better, but it is not required to successfully defend your case. Instead, it is the prosecution that must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To execute a successful defense, your lawyer must simply give the jury reasonable doubt about the validity of the prosecution’s case.

However, while your lawyer will attempt to attack the prosecution’s case, there may be cases where a different approach may be necessary. The evidence that you committed an act may be so overwhelming that it is not a worthwhile strategy to claim otherwise. In these cases, the most useful defense may be one that admits to having committed the act but having done so for a reason that means that the action was not actually criminal in nature. Some of these potential defenses include:

  • Self-Defense – Deadly force is permitted to protect yourself from another person if you reasonably believed that an attack from another person would lead to serious bodily injury or death.
  • Defense of Others – Force can be used to protect someone from an attack up to deadly force if the threat is significant enough.
  • Defense of Property – Force can be used to protect property, including deadly force, in some circumstances.
  • Lack of Intent – Many violent crimes require intent, and if there was no intent to commit the crime, that may be a viable defense.
  • Justification – This may be a defense if the act that would otherwise be a crime was necessary because of an emergency that threatened to cause injury or if it was authorized by law.

What You Need in a Violent Crime Lawyer

With everything that’s at stake in a violent crime trial, you want to make sure you have a lawyer that you feel confident in. Therefore, it’s important to understand what makes for a good criminal defense lawyer. There are a number of characteristics that can be beneficial, but a few of the more important ones include:

  • Tenacious – You want a defense lawyer who is not going to settle when it comes to defending you.
  • Aggressive – A strong defense can depend upon an aggressive effort to attack the prosecution’s case.
  • Detailed – So much of defending a violent crime depends on attention to detail that can expose the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • Trustworthy – You need a lawyer you can trust to be honest with you, given everything that’s at stake.

We’ll Fight for You

A violent crime conviction can have some of the most serious consequences in the legal system. Just because you’re facing charges, though, doesn’t mean you need to give up hope. There are an array of possible defenses against violent crime charges, and the burden of proof still lies with the prosecution. Even though it can feel like the system is stacked against you, with the right legal team, a formidable defense may be constructed and be enough to secure your freedom.

When you work with Paul Figueroa Law, you’ll have a dedicated, aggressive team defending you. We pursue every angle possible for our clients. We’ll defend your rights with everything we have and attempt to secure a favorable outcome for you. If you have a case you need help with, contact us today.

Practice Areas

Criminal Defense
Personal Injury