You Have Questions, We Have Answers
Hiring a defense attorney is the last thing anyone plans on doing. A criminal complaint brought against you can be a stressful and confusing time. A large part of the stress comes from not knowing what comes next, and where to turn for help.
At this point in your (or your loved one’s) case you probably have a lot of questions, such as:
- What happens next?
- Can I get out on bond? What does that cost?
- Just because I was arrested, will the State file charges?
- What happens to my family?
- Will I lose my job?
- Do I have to tell work? Can you write a letter for me?
- I received a letter from the Government. Should I be concerned?
- Will I go to jail?
- Can I get probation, and stay out of jail/prison?
We will answer all of your questions, go to court with you (or for you), and advise you on your best course of action. If you hire us, Ms. Palmieri attends many court hearings without you, so that you will not miss work or school.
We Make Sure the State Hears You
You, personally, cannot pick up the phone and call the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) about your own case. But your attorney can do just that.
We will listen carefully to your side of the story. We then formulate a defense and try to influence the State Attorney’s Office… Depending on your explanation and the facts of the case, we can negotiate for reduced charges, or ask that the SAO not file anything at all (drop the charges).
It is imperative that you have an experienced defense lawyer involved early in your case, to help minimize whatever charges are brought against you. Once charges are filed by the State, it is extremely difficult to “unring that bell.”
What are My Options?
Once you have been charged, you have a few options. How to best proceed is to first speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney and discuss the specifics of your case. From there you can:
- Plead Not-Guilty. The prosecutor will agree and drop the charge, or disagree and proceed to trial.
- Challenge the admissibility of the evidence (Did the police gather evidence legally?). If the evidence is thrown out, the charges are usually dropped.
- Apply to an Intervention Program (also known as a Diversion Program). These programs are usually reserved for first-time offenses for both felonies and misdemeanors. If successful, it will result in the State Attorney no-filing (dropping) your case.
- Plead guilty to a lesser charge. Ms. Palmieri can negotiate for lesser charges, for example, getting a DUI charge reduced to a reckless driving charge.
- Plead guilty. Sometimes cooperation with authorities is your best, and only option. Your level of cooperation will usually lessen the fines, length of probation, or jail time.
As always, the best way to protect your liberty is to keep quiet, and talk about your case ONLY with your attorney. As much as you would like to trust your friends and family members, please don’t share any facts with them. It’s possible that they can later be called as witnesses against you.
We Advise, But You Decide
The role of your attorney is to review all the facts of your case, communicate and negotiate with the State or Federal prosecutor, and advise you of both the best-case outcome and worst-case scenarios. From there it is up to you, the client, to make the final decision on how to proceed.
Ms. Palmieri is a former prosecutor in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, as well as Statewide (cases that cross county lines). She maintains ongoing professional relationships with attorneys in the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) and Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSWP).
We Protect You Now and In The Future
We will fight to protect your rights, your privacy, and your future. Once your case is concluded, we are available to seal or expunge your record, if available. This is a critical step in your matter, because it allows you to LEGALLY DENY the arrest or charge.
The question, “Have you ever been arrested?” is showing up with more frequency on job applications, bank loan applications, mortgage applications, and even on apartment leases. Once your record is sealed, you can legally answer, “NO.”