Former State Prosecutor
Many clients the Morris Law Firm represents are first-time offenders who have no prior record. If you have never been arrested or charged with a crime in the greater Tampa Bay area including St. Petersburg or Clearwater in Pinellas County, Brandenton in Manatee County, Sarasota in Sarasota County, or any of the surrounding counties, we know the direct and indirect consequences that can occur after an arrest.
We understand this is a very stressful and uncomfortable situation for you and your loved ones. Individuals may lose sleep wondering what the criminal justice system has in store for them. Keep in mind that your lack of a criminal record can work to your advantage.
You may be interested to read additional information we have written and compiled for you convenience:
The Morris Law Firm has handled numerous cases for individuals arrested in Pinellas County and the surrounding areas. The majority of cases result in dismissal, reduction in charges, or pre-trial diversion. Of course, this depends on the nature and circumstance of your criminal offense and the number of offenses for which you are charged.
You have a very narrow window of time between when you are arrested and when the State Attorney's office makes a decision to file a criminal charge against you. Hiring an attorney immediately to negotiate on your behalf gives you the best chance of avoiding criminal charges.
Early Intervention is the Key
The Morris Law Firm has been successful in meeting with prosecutors prior to the formal filing of charges. It is extremely important to hire the Morris Law Firm as early as possible so we can intervene and convince the prosecution that your offense is a one-time event and present evidence on your behalf. Without early intervention, the prosecution will likely file the charges for which you were arrested by the police.
This is a program run by the local State Attorney's Office. The Morris Law Firm is extremely effective in enrolling their clients in the pre-trial intervention or pre-trial diversion program. The programs vary from county to county and are only available to first-time offenders.
Keep in mind, the programs are typically offered in misdemeanor and in simple, non-violent, third-degree felony cases. A person offered pre-trial intervention/diversion will enroll in the program and complete certain conditions (i.e., community service hours, drug testing, an anger management class, or payment of restitution) depending on the offense. When you complete the program successfully, the State of Florida will dismiss all charges against you. If you are eligible our criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida can help you then work to seal or expunge your criminal record, so public record or a background checks will not show you were ever arrested.
Your clean record will serve you well when the Morris Law Firm negotiates on your behalf to receive a Withhold of Adjudication (meaning there is no formal conviction of guilt on your criminal record). It is imperative to receive a Withhold of Adjudication for two reasons:
Reduction or Dismissal of Charges, Sealing or Expungement of Records, Alternative Sentencing
If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, you need to know that the potential consequences can have a significant effect on your life. At the Morris Law Firm, we will put together a strategy to fight your first DUI case aimed at giving you the best possibility of avoiding a DUI conviction.
A DUI arrest is often a local or tourist introduction to the criminal justice system. The experience is perplexing, and many people simply give up, hoping if they plead guilty to drunk driving their problems will go away sooner. Numerous individuals try to handle matters on their own, but it is difficult to avoid a conviction without help from an experienced St. Petersburg DUI attorney.
Act now to get the Morris Law Firm on your side. We strive for dismissed or reduced DUI charges; submit you case details in an online form or call us today at (727) 388-4736 for your free initial consultation.
If you have been arrested for a theft, fraud, or shoplifting crime in Florida, it is important to obtain reputable representation immediately. If you are convicted of these offenses, the record will be considered a “crime of dishonesty,” which can be used against you on background checks, if you testify in court, or job applications. Even as a first-time offender committing petty theft, you will still have this mark on your record.
At the Morris Law Firm we find solution strategies to aggressively resolve these charges with minimal intrusion on your life. Typically, a first-time offender may be entitled to participate in programs which contribute to reduced or dismissed charges.
If you are being charged for the first time with a misdemeanor or felony in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or surrounding areas, contact the Morris Law Firm and let us represent and defend you.
The maximum penalties for first-time offenders in Florida are as follows:
Drug crimes can have severe consequences for a first-time offender. The likelihood of jail time for drug crimes in St. Petersburg and surrounding areas in Florida is very likely. The minimum punishments for drug possession are punishable by 1 to 3 years imprisonment for first time offenders. Any conviction for drug offenses consist of far-reaching consequences, including, but not limited to:
A first-time offender charged with prostitution or solicitation can face up to 60 days in the county jail and a $500.00 fine. Due to the deficiency of physical evidence in these cases, a distinctive circumstance is presented. A strong defense that highlights inconsistencies or rights violations during an arrest can sometimes results in charges being reduced, dismissed, or dropped.
If you are arrested for driving in the State of Florida with a license that has been cancelled, suspended or revoked, you can be subject to substantial criminal penalties for a first offense. If convicted, you will face a second degree misdemeanor charge and be subject to imprisonment for up to 60 days in the county jail, as well as a $500.00 fine. If you have been charged with driving with a canceled, suspended or otherwise invalid license, contact an attorney at the Morris Law Firm today to discuss your case.
The State of Florida defines reckless driving as driving with "willful or want to disregard for the safety of persons or property." A first conviction for reckless driving is punishable by up to 90 days imprisonment and a $500 fine. The penalties increase significantly if the reckless driver causes any damage to persons or property.
The Morris Law Firm specializes in sealing or expunging your Florida criminal records so they don’t appear on criminal background checks.
In the State of Florida, driving is not a right and privileges must be earned. Driving privileges may be jeopardized for various traffic violations and unlawful criminal offenses.
Incurring too many "violation points" is another way to lose driving privileges. General traffic infractions have assigned point values and are recorded on every occasion you are ticketed. Points stay associated to your Driver's License for 3 years.
Top Point Values
The following infractions will result in six points against your license:
These infractions will earn you four points:
Three-point infractions include:
A note on restricted driving hours for juveniles: The State of Florida law states that juveniles younger than 17 years old are prohibited to drive between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they're accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older, or unless the minor is going to or from work. Motorist 17 years old are subject to the same driving restrictions from the hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Top Point Maximums
Your license may be suspended if you incur the following points:
The law is more strict with cases involving juveniles; if you accumulate only six points in a year, your license will be limited to "business purposes only" for a year. Accumulating greater than six points in that same time period will result in a 90 day extension of your license restrictions.
Points are given on the date the offense occurs. Driving out of state doesn't help, either; you'll accrue the same amount of points on your Florida license for convictions in any state or federal court.
For juvenile offenders, an arrest can be an incredibly frightening experience for the minor as well as the parents. Juvenile cases require a distinct approach, and having an experienced St. Petersburg juvenile lawyer who understands the nuances of juvenile law can make a big difference in your child’s future. It is advantageous to act fast and get an attorney involved in your child’s case so an opportunity can be seized early on to either get your child’s charges dropped or get your child in a diversion program, which, if successfully completed, will result in the charges being dismissed.
As adults, juvenile criminal records can be sealed or expunged. However, expungement is not always necessary. Juvenile records are usually not available to the public.
If you are facing a domestic violence charge, you need an experienced St. Petersburg domestic violence attorney to guide you through Florida's legal court system and safeguard your future.
First-Time offenders may be eligible for a pre-trial diversion program in which your charges could be dropped. If you are charged and convicted of felony domestic violence, you may receive a strike on your criminal record under Florida’s three strikes law. If you can establish that you acted in self-defense, the court will likely reduce or dismiss the charges. With so many major consequences hanging over your head, getting an experienced domestic violence attorney is the only logical solution. One mishap could cost the accused their freedom or even more. Contact our expert domestic violence attorney today.
Many people who find themselves involved in the criminal justice system have never been in trouble with the law before. Becoming a victim of Florida’s criminal legal system can be both frightening and potentially embarrassing; negatively affecting your freedoms, liberties, and ability to work. Regardless of where you are from, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable Florida attorney to defend your constitutional rights and to obtain the best possible outcome on your behalf.
The Morris Law Firm is committed to representing individuals facing first-time criminal charges in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park, Dunedin, and nearby areas. We are dedicated to criminal defense and defending local clients in Florida as well as tourists. Our goal is to protect your constitutional rights and defend your case to obtain the lowest possible punishments. Contact Attorney Melinda Morris to get assistance with your legal needs.
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