It’s scary being charged with a crime. Especially, when you’re facing prison or jail time.
What do I find scary? The thought of a first time offender from Jacksonville facing the full force of the Florida legal system bent on wringing out a guilty plea without being advised of all the alternatives, or future ramifications of a criminal conviction.
Let’s face it, the judicial system isn’t prepared to counsel you fully on your rights and hash out all of the consequences associated with entering a plea.
Expediency and convictions matter to them. Often times the justice system will attempt to fast track you to a guilty plea. Maybe they’ll appear helpful, by mentioning that entering a plea will get you out of jail today. What they fail to mention is how your employer will react to you being convicted of a criminal offense, or how future employers may not hire you because of the conviction.
Facing another night in jail, sleep deprived, traumatized, and facing a harsh sentence, you may find yourself saying yes to a quick plea offer.
Let’s Take a Look at What a Conviction Means to Your Future
Entering a plea of guilty and being convicted of a crime will haunt you for a lifetime. A criminal conviction, even without prison or jail time, becomes part of your public record. If you are convicted of any criminal charge, you will not be eligible to seal or expunge your record in the State of Florida.
It can influence potential employment, your ability to obtain a driver’s license or rent an apartment. Plus it could prevent you from getting financial aid for college.
If you do get into college, don’t expect a college degree to overcome that conviction. I’ve seen many highly educated, good people with a youthful criminal conviction on record blocked from well-paying careers.
Their future robbed because they didn’t fully understand their rights and options to avoid a criminal record.
Charged with a Crime? Know Your Options. Know Your Rights.
Make no mistake, there can be many options to avoid trial and a criminal conviction. Often times bad things happen to good people, but that doesn’t make you a criminal. Being charged with a crime doesn’t mean that you have to be convicted of one. In many circumstances you could walk away without a conviction.
You just have to know your rights and to have someone knowledgeable about the criminal justice system fighting by your side
Of course, each case is different. Additionally, conviction alternatives can vary among counties and cities. Negotiating a positive outcome takes a specialist with a deep understanding of the justice system and someone who understands the importance of calculating every option in defending your case.
Let’s take a look at some of the options available to you if faced with a criminal charge.
Pretrial Diversion: Pathway to Criminal Charge Dismissal
The State of Florida offers a Pretrial Invention Program to individuals without prior criminal history and non-violent charges.
The program is structured for rehabilitation and to allow a second chance for first time offenders. Basically, eligible offenders enter a negotiated agreement with the State to participate in a supervised program not much different than probation.
At the end of the intervention term, and if all conditions successfully completed, the charges are dismissed. Quite simply, you’re diverted from a potential criminal trial, criminal conviction and permanent criminal record.
Having an experienced attorney by your side to mitigate the charges and advocate on your behalf is essential.
Duval County Drug Court: Getting Treatment Instead of Being Prosecuted
If you’re arrested for a non-violent substance abuse or drug-related crime and do not have previous criminal history, you could avoid prosecution and a felony conviction by agreeing to participate in the Adult Drug Court program.
It’s a rigorous 12-month minimum program designed to help offenders make changes in their lives, while reducing the need for incarceration. Once you successfully complete the program, the State Attorney’s Office dismiss the charges against you.
If charged with a non-violent felony, an Attorney could negotiate your participation in the program—arguing that the program could help you make permanent and positive lifestyle changes.
Adult Drug Court recognizes this and agrees that individuals with drug related offenses will benefit from the services offered in this program in an effort to instill permanent lifestyle change.
When Facing a Criminal Charge & Conviction: Don’t Plead Guilty without Knowing Your Options
That’s why you should keep my phone number—(904) 567-3113—handy.
I can be there to advise you on your options and work with the legal system to help you avoid a costly and life changing conviction. Let us fight for you!