You've spent a grand day fishing off the Daytona Beach Pier. You caught yourself a whopper, the coveted "Atlantic Blue Marlin". You even took a photo under the Main Street Pier sign. You're just about to get your grub on at Crabby Joe's Restaurant when you see your archenemy, Moe. He started making fun of your catch. Calling it a "shrimp." Next thing you know, you're brawling. The police arrest both of you and you're headed to the slammer.
If you have found yourself on the wrong end of the law in Daytona Beach, here's some general information about what to expect in typical criminal cases in the area.
Law Enforcement in Daytona Beach
The typical case will begin by getting arrested by either the Daytona Beach Police, the Florida Highway Patrol, or the Volusia County sheriff. The nice officer will likely take you to the Volusia County Jail and then write up a police report to submit it to the Office of the State Attorney to review and decide what charges, if any, to file.
Jail and Posting a Bond
After getting arrested, you'll either be released on your own recognizance or have to post bond. A bond is an amount of money you, or a person bailing you out of jail, promises to pay the court in case you fail to appear on any date set by the court. You usually have to put up 10% of the total amount of bail the judge sets in your case in order to get out.
Remember, when you post a bond, you are guaranteeing that the defendant will appear for all court appearances and abide by all non-financial conditions. Any cash or property posted is subject to forfeiture if the defendant fails to comply with all orders of the court.
I Need a Lawyer
Court proceedings in Daytona Beach aren't like what you see on television or in the movies. Criminal law and procedure can be extremely complicated and stressful. Spending an afternoon at any one of the Daytona Beach courthouses will probably provide enough of an example. Because of this complexity, and also because of the potential consequences involved in more serious cases, it may be a good idea to at least consider speaking to a Daytona Beach criminal defense lawyer or to seek the assistance of a Daytona Beach public defender.
Most states have a statute of limitations or time limit to file charges. However, there is absolutely no time limit for the prosecutor to file charges against a defendant in a murder case or any charge involving life in prison. For most other felonies, the statute of limitations is either three or four years. If you are accused of a theft-related offense, the time limit can be as long as five years from the date you allegedly committed the crime. Any crime involving abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the elderly or disabled is also five years.
The time limit for misdemeanors is either one or two years from the date of the offense.
Florida Criminal Sentences
If you want a little "light reading," you can read the Florida State sentencing laws for yourself.
Ok, now let's break it down in a more manageable fashion. A felony is the most serious of crimes. A conviction in Florida carries huge penalties, including years of prison time, large fines, and major repercussions for the rest of an offender's life. Convicts can lose some of their rights, such as the right to carry a gun, the right to vote, or the ability to join the military. There may be immigration-related consequences to a conviction, as well.
Some Daytona Beach felonies include murder, robbery, sexual assault, fraud, drugs sales, and some domestic violence.
Felonies are classified as third degree, second degree, first degree, life, or in the most serious situations, the death penalty. Simply put, the more serious the felony, the higher the penalty. Here are some examples:
Third Degree Felony
Second Degree Felony
First Degree Felony
Anyone convicted of a felony in Florida may also face other fines and probation, drug and alcohol treatment, and community service, among other things.
A misdemeanor in Florida is less serious than a felony, but remember, a conviction or guilty plea can have consequences on your career and your freedom. If you are a non-citizen, a misdemeanor can still impact your immigration status in some cases.
Misdemeanors are classified into two categories: first and second degree.
Common Daytona Beach misdemeanors include shoplifting, assault, public intoxication, or violation of emergency protective order/domestic violence order. Here's some penalty ranges:
Second Degree Misdemeanor
First Degree Misdemeanor
Some crimes carry additional penalties such mandatory counseling or substance abuse classes.
A Final Word on Daytona Beach Criminal Cases
A criminal conviction can have a serious, lasting impact on your life. You have options and rights. For specific information about your case, you may wish to consult with a Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.