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COMMON CRIMINAL DEFENSE FAQ’S

  • September 12th, 2012
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Q. Will the Court drop a first-time marijuana charge?

A. While the Court may have the power to dismiss charges against you when there are issues related to violations of your Constitutional Rights, they do not have the power to simply drop charges against you. However, the State Attorney does have the power to drop a first-time marijuana charge. The State Attorney has the discretion to decide whether to prosecute or not to prosecute any case. It is always recommended that you contact an   attorney as soon as possible after you are arrested to see if early intervention with the State Attorney’s office can result in having the charges against you dropped. We can also explore other ways to have a first-time charge dropped. For example, many first-time offenders qualify for a Pre-Trial Intervention Program or a diversion program. Please contact Bruce Denson to see if one of these options is right for you.

Q. How can I get a first-time drug sale charge lowered or dismissed in Florida?

A.  It may be possible to get a drug sale charge lowered and dismissed by hiring an attorney and acting quickly after your arrest. If you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a diversion program or Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Completion of one of these programs will result in the case being dismissed. A qualified attorney can also examine the discovery in your case to determine if there are any grounds for a Motion to have the Court dismiss your case. As a first-time offender with no priors, it is essential that the case be resolved  without a conviction. A conviction on a drug related charge will result in your driver’s license being suspended for two years. However, there are many options we can explore for resolving your case without this penalty. Please give us a call today to discuss your case.

Q. Can a vehicle be seized if charged with drug possession?

A.  Yes, police can attempt to forfeit your vehicle if there is a nexus or connection between use of the vehicle and possession of the illegal substance. If your car or cash has been seized by police related to a drug related offense, please contact us immediately. Once you are  put on Notice of the seizure, there are very limited time restrictions and you need to act immediately to protect your assets. We will request an Adverse Preliminary Hearing on your behalf and begin work immediately to get your property back. Forfeiture is a harsh   remedy not favored by the Courts. Even though the police have taken your property, you may be entitled to relief. Please contact us immediately upon receipt of any Notice of Seizure or Forfeiture.

Q. Does restitution in a criminal case preclude civil recovery?

A. Restitution in a criminal case does not preclude civil recovery. Any amount ordered as restitution in a criminal case can be set-off against any judgment in a civil case, but it does not preclude you from being sued civilly. In fact, if restitution is ordered in a criminal case it is most likely you will be precluded denying liability in the civil matter. If you are facing a criminal charge and a related civil lawsuit, it is essential that you consult with an attorney that can help you craft a resolution of the criminal case in a fashion that best preserves your possible defenses in the civil suit. Otherwise, your resolution of the criminal case may  hamper your ability to defend yourself in the civil lawsuit.

Q. Can I do Pre-Trial Intervention in Florida on a first-offense DUI?

A. Some counties are now offering Pre-Trial Intervention or diversion programs for a first-time DUI offense. Unfortunately, this is not being offered in Pinellas County or Hillsborough  County. It is being considered. However, at this time Pre-Trial Intervention is not an option for resolving DUI offenses in Tampa Bay.