At Ellis and Bryant, we represent people charged with felonies and misdemeanors throughout Northeast Florida. Being charged with a crime is a serious situation that can come with significant consequences for your family and you. This is why our Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers fight these cases head-on, working aggressively to help clients get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible. Partner Gary Bryant is a former Assistant State Attorney who understands how police and prosecutors often approach these cases and knows how to build strong defenses for the people whom he represents. Attorney Bryant also can assist people who need a DUI lawyer or representation in facing other motor vehicle charges.Why You Need a Lawyer
Whether it is a misdemeanor assault or a felony drug case, being charged with a crime is something to be taken very seriously. For one thing, a conviction can come with significant fines and jail time. Take shoplifting, for example. A person who steals up to $300 worth of goods is looking at up to $1,000 in fines and as much as a year behind bars. Armed robbery, on the other hand, is a first-degree felony in Florida. It is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and as much as life in prison.
This is not to mention the social and professional consequences of being convicted of a crime. A criminal record of any sort can make it hard to find a job or to keep the job that you already have. Long jail stretches mean that you cannot work and earn money for your family. They also pose barriers to your re-entry into the workforce upon your release. Meanwhile, the social stigma of being taken to jail is often significant, both for the person charged with the crime and for their family. For a person convicted of a sex crime, moreover, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will post their photo and address to a sex offender registry that can be viewed by friends, neighbors, and coworkers. To avoid these consequences, you need to put a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in the Jacksonville area on your side.Defenses in Criminal Cases
The good news for a person charged with a crime in Florida is that the law provides a wide range of possible defenses. It is important to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible – even if you are only suspected of a crime and have not been charged – in order to build your defense. Florida law puts the burden on prosecutors at all times to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime with which you have been charged.
Many of the defenses in criminal cases concern how the police got the evidence that they are trying to use against you in court. If a police officer wants to stop you on the street or pull over your car, for example, they need to have a “reasonable suspicion” that a crime is being or has been committed. They also need a reasonable suspicion to believe that you are carrying a weapon if they want to frisk you. The standard is even higher if the police want to search your car or your home. They generally need to have “probable cause” to believe that a crime has occurred or is occurring. If they do not meet that standard, any evidence obtained by the police during the search is likely to be kept out of court.
Search and seizure defenses are some of the more important protections in criminal cases, but they are not the only protections. A criminal attorney can explain all of your options in detail.Talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Jacksonville or the Surrounding Area
At Ellis and Bryant, we take satisfaction from fighting for clients in their times of need. We guide people through the criminal justice process with experience and understanding, keeping clients apprised of their rights and options at every step of the way. Our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to reduce the impact of a charge or conviction through negotiation while standing ready to bring the strongest possible case to trial. Our firm’s recent successes include positive outcomes for clients in a number of criminal matters. We are happy to serve people across Duval and Clay Counties, including in Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Middleburg. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to speak with a lawyer about your case today. We also represent people who need a traffic ticket lawyer or assistance in dealing with a drunk driving charge.