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What should I do if I think there’s a warrant out for my arrest?

What should I do if I think there’s a warrant out for my arrest?

While it’s normal to feel overwhelmed when faced with the possibility of an arrest warrant, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Proactive measures are your best defense against the consequences of a potential arrest.

warrant out for my arrest


1. Confirm the warrant

It’s best to avoid assuming that an arrest warrant exists unless you’ve taken steps to confirm it. Confirming the existence of the warrant allows you to confidently move forward with the next steps.

One of the simplest and most reliable ways to confirm a warrant is to perform a Wanted Persons Search with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

After inputting your information, the database will display any warrants that have been recently reported by law enforcement agencies in Florida that were authorized for public release.

You can also try searching a county-level database, if applicable. Most counties don’t display this information online, but some do, including the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Unfortunately, in most cases, warrants are NOT made public prior to the arrest of the person sought, therefore it is extremely difficult and frustrating when you are stuck wondering if there is a warrant.

2. Contact an attorney

If you confirm the existence of a warrant, or if your search results are inconclusive, your next step should be to contact a criminal defense attorney.

They can take further steps to confirm the warrant, determine its status, and advise you on your best course of action.

Your attorney can also get ahead of the situation by beginning to work on your defense, even before you’re taken into custody. This means you’ll be better prepared to face the police and possible legal proceedings.

Again however, this may turn into additional frustration, as law enforcement will not and is not required to tell anyone, including your attorney if there is a warrant for your arrest.

The relationships we have built with law enforcement do sometime lead to us being able to learn more than you could on your own.

3. Surrender voluntarily

Once you’ve consulted with an attorney and have a clear understanding of the situation, you can make an informed decision about your next steps.

In some cases, it may be possible to arrange a voluntary surrender with your attorney’s assistance. This option can help you avoid being arrested at your home or place of work.

If voluntary surrender is the best course of action, your attorney may instruct you to appear at a specific law enforcement agency on a specific date and time. The police will take you into custody and process your arrest, then a court date will be set.

Alternatively, your attorney may be able to get the warrant recalled by filing a motion with the court, or arrange for you to surrender in court, where a judge can immediately set bond.

4. Be prepared to post bail

Many times warrants have a bond amount set when they are issued.  Prior to turning yourself in, your attorney can help you arrange to do a walk through, which means you are processed in, bonded out immediately and processed out.

Alternatively, if there is no bond on the warrant, after you’re brought into custody, a judge might set bail. If bail is set, you must pay it in order to be released pending trial.

The amount of bail varies and largely depends on the nature of the crime and your prior criminal history. The money is returned after you attend all court hearings.

Preparing to post bail ahead of time can make the process smoother. If you’re unable to post the full bail amount, you may be able to utilize the services of a bail bondsman.

These professionals allow you to pay a portion of your set bail, charge a fee for their services, and often require some form of collateral. Choose a bail bondsman in advance so you’re ready to post bail when the opportunity arises.

5. Prepare for court

Your trial may be weeks or months or even years away, and there’s much work to be done in the meantime. After you post bail and are released, you should continue to work with your attorney to prepare for trial and any pretrial court hearings.

This may involve reviewing evidence, meeting with witnesses, or participating in plea negotiations. The more time and energy you invest in preparing for your court date, the better chance you have of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Take control of your future – call Katz & Phillips, P.A.

Remember that if you’ve been issued a warrant, the smartest and safest approach is to contact a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers in Orlando as soon as possible. Reach out to Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 to schedule a consultation and ensure that your rights and interests are protected. We look forward to assisting you.

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What happens to your phone when you get arrested?

What happens to your phone when you get arrested?

Although you have the constitutional right to make at least one phone call after being arrested in Florida, it’s unlikely that you will be able to make those calls from your phone.

Florida law provides a few guarantees of privacy for your phone after your arrest, but consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure your rights are protected.

when you get arrested what happens to your phone


Phone confiscation

Your phone may be confiscated upon your arrest, however, in most circumstances, its contents can’t be accessed or searched without a warrant. 

However, officers can take the necessary steps to protect the data on your phone.

For example, they can place the phone in a Faraday Bag or another protective bag that blocks radio waves to prevent remote access and deletion of any contents until they have the warrant to search your phone. 

Phone access and search

Your mobile phone data, location tracking, texts, photos, voicemails, and app usage could be critical in proving or disproving an alleged crime.

Although searching the contents of your phone is something that the police want to do to prove your involvement in a crime, they can’t do so without probable cause and a warrant, and they can’t force you to unlock your phone to permit them access before they’ve obtained a warrant.

What the law says

In 2014, The Supreme Court ruled that because a smartphone contains significant amounts of personal data and other information that could be used against you, it’s protected from unlawful search and seizure per the Fourth Amendment and your right of protection against self-incrimination, protected by the Fifth Amendment.

Unlocking your phone and granting access is protected under the Fifth Amendment which protects you against self-incrimination—this is an argument your criminal defense lawyer may make. 

Only in rare circumstances can the officer search the contents of your phone without a warrant. Some of the most prevalent circumstances under which this can happen are if it’s to protect others such as locating a missing child or preventing something drastic like a bomb threat.

When will I get my phone back?

This depends on your circumstances. If your phone is only held for safekeeping while you’re in police custody, then it will be returned to you with your other belongings when you’re released. 

However, if a warrant is issued to search your phone for evidence and the prosecutor feels that they need the phone for evidence during the case, it will take much longer for you to get your phone. 

If you’ve been informed that a warrant was issued for your phone or the contents on your phone, it’s important to contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.

Your lawyer can determine if the search or seizure of your phone was lawful. 

Do you need a criminal defense lawyer?

If you’ve been arrested in Florida, you have the guaranteed right to representation, but make sure you don’t wait until it’s too late.

Don’t take your chances; work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Orlando at Katz & Phillips, P.A. Call (321) 332-6864 to protect your rights and your freedom.

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Does getting arrested affect my immigration status?

Does getting arrested affect my immigration status?

Part of the U.S. permanent residence application process includes a criminal background check conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If you’ve been arrested while in the U.S. or have been convicted of a crime, your citizenship application or current immigration status could be in jeopardy.

The U.S. criminal justice system can be difficult to understand, which is why we strongly advise you to seek the help of a skilled lawyer as soon as possible.

Katz & Phillips, P.A. understands the complexities of the immigration process and can help you avoid making a mistake that could jeopardize your immigration status. 

does getting arrested affect my immigration status


How would an arrest affect my citizenship status?

If you’re arrested or convicted of a crime in the U.S., your citizenship status or application could be at risk.

For example, you might not be able to receive a work visa or get your permanent resident card (green card), and if you’re seeking official entry into the U.S. or a temporary residence visa, your application could be denied.

That being said, there are certain types of convictions that will categorize a non-citizen as inadmissible or deportable. Generally, these crimes include:

Consequences of an arrest without conviction

All arrests in the U.S. are entered into a database at the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

Even if the arrest doesn’t lead to a conviction of a crime, your arrest record will be visible to the USCIS when you apply for an immigration benefit such as citizenship or a visa renewal.

Even if you weren’t actually convicted of a crime, you will need to disclose the arrest in your immigration application.

Failure to admit to an arrest may lead to charges of fraud or cause your application to be denied.

Consequences of criminal convictions

In the context of permanent residence and immigration status, a conviction refers to:

  • An outcome where you were found guilty in court
  • Admitting guilt through a plea bargain
  • Admitting guilt in any court record
  • A conviction that was reopened and then dismissed, due to a reason other than an error

Exceptions and defenses

If you are a non-citizen who has been convicted of a crime in the U.S., it may be possible to request a waiver of inadmissibility or deportability to gain immigration relief.

However, in some cases, a criminal conviction can result in the automatic loss of an immigration benefit, such as DACA.

If you are a non-citizen and have been arrested or currently have criminal charges pending against you, it is imperative to speak to an experienced attorney knowledgeable in both criminal law and immigration law as soon as possible.

An attorney well versed in both areas of law may be able to resolve your criminal case in a manner most beneficial to your immigration status.

In addition, your lawyer may be able to prevent removal proceedings or petition the U.S. government to excuse your criminal conviction.  

Is your immigration status in jeopardy after a criminal conviction?

If you were arrested or convicted of a crime and fear your immigration status is at risk, the Orlando criminal defense lawyers with Katz & Phillips, P.A. can help. Contact us today at (321) 332-6864 to learn about your options.

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What’s the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

What’s the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are crimes that are typically treated as less serious than felonies and thus have less severe penalties.

For instance, a misdemeanor shoplifting charge will be treated less severely than a felony robbery charge. 

In Florida, misdemeanors may be punishable by up to one year in county jail, while felony convictions require at least one year in state prison.

Whether you’re being accused of a misdemeanor or felony, you shouldn’t navigate the Florida justice system alone. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys are ready to protect your rights and your freedom.

what is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor


Misdemeanors in Florida

Florida law defines a misdemeanor as any criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in a county correctional facility for no more than one year.

Many misdemeanors may result in a suspended jail sentence with probation and fines in lieu of jail time.

Certain misdemeanor charges, such as a DUI or other traffic charges like reckless driving, may also result in a license suspension.

State law further categorizes misdemeanors as first- and second-degree offenses. First-degree offenses are more serious than second-degree offenses.

First-degree misdemeanors 

Penalties for the crimes listed below include a ​​jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

Please note, this is not a full list of first-degree misdemeanors.

Second-degree misdemeanors 

Penalties for the crimes listed below include a jail sentence of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500.

Please note, this is not a full list of second-degree misdemeanors.

Felonies in Florida

State law defines a felony as any criminal offense punishable by death or imprisonment in a state facility.

Similar to misdemeanors, there are different classes of felonies based on the severity of the offense. As the severity of the class increases, so does the punishment. 

Here’s a breakdown of some common felonies we’ve defended our clients against, as well as the maximum prison term and fines that may be issued during sentencing.

Felony class


Maximum prison sentence

Maximum fine

Third-degree felony

Aggravated assault

Child abuse

Grand theft (less than $20,000)

Possession of a controlled substance

5 years


Second-degree felony

DUI manslaughter

Burglary of a dwelling

Sale of cocaine

Sexual battery

Grand theft (less than $100,000)

15 years


First-degree felony

Aggravated child abuse

Drug trafficking

Burglary with assault or battery

Robbery with a weapon

Grand theft (more than $100,000)

30 years


Life or capital felony


Capital drug trafficking

Armed kidnapping

Robbery with a firearm

Sexual battery (when the victim is under 12 and the perpetrator is 18 or older)

Life sentence or

death penalty


Don’t assume you’re out of options if you were charged with any of the crimes listed above.

In many instances, a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Orlando can get a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor, which can help reduce the fines you owe and the amount of time you could spend in jail.

Life-altering consequences of felony and misdemeanor convictions

Aside from spending time in jail or prison, a misdemeanor or felony conviction can have a ripple effect on your life.

A conviction could affect your reputation in your community, hinder your employment opportunities, and might even impact your ability to be approved for housing.

Depending on your conviction, you may not be able to get a job in:

  • Finance and banking
  • Education, or any position involving working in a school
  • Law enforcement
  • Commercial driving

Are you facing felony or misdemeanor charges in Orlando?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you have the right to legal representation of your choosing. You shouldn’t try to navigate the complex Florida criminal process alone.

Contact Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 to schedule a consultation and begin your defense.

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Will my case go to trial?

Will my case go to trial?

In Florida, different factors determine whether or not your case will go to trial. Some of these factors are dictated by state law while others are based on the circumstances of your case.  

Our skilled attorneys can help you understand the likelihood of your case going to trial. If it does go to trial, we’ll construct a solid defense on your behalf.

You have the constitutional right to representation – don’t risk your freedom without it.

will my case go to trial


Factors that determine if a case will go to trial

For any felony charge, you have the right to a trial before a jury of your peers.

For misdemeanors, an accused person still has a right to a jury trial for all misdemeanor charges. 

However,  where the punishable term of imprisonment is six months or less, and the court certifies in advance that upon a loss, the accused will not be incarcerated and will not be adjudicated guilty, a bench trial may be conducted.

Most misdemeanors won’t go to trial; they’ll get pleaded out or possibly dismissed. However, Florida Statute 918.0157 permits anyone charged with DUI to have a jury trial..

Even when you’re afforded the right to go to trial, you don’t have to take your case that far. Your defense lawyer may consider a few things before recommending a trial:

  • Does the State have strong evidence against you?
  • Is the state offering a good plea deal?
  • Does the judge or prosecutor take a plea offer off the table once a trial date is set?
  • Are the issues clear-cut and factual?
  • Does the crux of the case rest on interpretations of points of law?

Please note, cases with complex legal or factual issues often go to trial.  

Steps in the pre-trial process

You and your criminal defense lawyers in Orlando may negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain at any point in the pre-trial proceedings.

In these agreements, you might plead “No Contest” or “Guilty” and agree to the penalty outlined in the plea arrangement.  

Otherwise, you can expect your case to follow these steps.

1. First appearance

If you are arrested, you must appear at a court hearing within 24 hours of your arrest unless you bond out prior to the hearing.

At that hearing, the judge will recite the charges being brought against you, will advise you of your rights, and may set bail or release you of your own recognizance.

2. Arraignment

You will be formally charged at the arraignment, at which point you may enter your plea.

If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced immediately; otherwise, your trial date will be set.

3. Pre-Trial Conference

Depending on the county where your case is, these conferences go by many names including Plea-Negotiation Conference, Sentencing, Pre-Trial Conference, Case Management Conference, Scheduling Conference, etc. 

These various court dates are generally to keep the court informed about the status of your case and to keep the process moving forward.

The role of plea bargaining in the criminal trial process

A plea arrangement is made at the prosecutor’s discretion, following the directives of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.171.

Your lawyer negotiates a better deal for you, including a reduction in your charge or charges in exchange for your plea to those lessened charges.

For example, suppose you’re charged with multiple crimes. In that case, your lawyer may negotiate that you only be charged for one crime and serve the penalty instead of multiple charges and the associated penalties.

Trial preparation

If you opt out of a plea bargain or plead not guilty, your lawyer will prepare your case for trial, including propounding discovery and conducting depositions of witnesses and interested parties in the case.

You may still enter a plea bargain at any time during trial preparation so long as the prosecutor is still offering it, otherwise you may plea to the court.

Are you facing criminal charges in Orlando? Contact a skilled criminal defense law firm today!

Penalties for a criminal charge in Florida can be steep and life-changing. Don’t go it alone; call Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 today.

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What Factors Determine Bail In Florida?

What factors determine bail? How do I know if I’ll have bail?

Bail is a monetary exchange for the release of a defendant from jail. It’s basically an insurance policy that allows the individual to stay at home but return to court for all required appearances.

Within 48 hours of your arrest, you will appear before a judge who will advise you of your charges and decide whether to release you on bail. If you post the necessary amount, you will be released from jail, and as long as you attend all required court dates, you should receive a refund for the bail money.

Bail is available for most offenses in Florida, but it may not be granted to certain repeat offenders or offenders of serious crimes. 

If you or a loved one have been arrested, know that working with a skilled criminal defense attorney is your best shot at being granted bail. Keep reading to learn what factors determine bail in Florida, but remember, this information is intended for general purposes only.

what factors determine bail


Factors that determine bail amount in Florida

In deciding whether or not to grant bail, judges weigh several elements in each case for each alleged offender.

It’s important to note that even persons being charged as co-conspirators for an alleged crime will be judged independently for bail.

Severity of the crime allegedly committed

Persons charged with misdemeanor crimes and lower felony offenses are more likely to receive bail than those who were charged with more serious felonies. 

In fact, in Florida Bond is a Constitutionally-guaranteed right afforded to almost all Defendants with very limited exceptions.

If someone is arrested and charged with a crime fitting the exceptions, then they will remain in police custody unless the court releases them.

When released, they may be  on electronic monitoring or a more expensive bond. The following are just some of the crimes for which there are exceptions in Florida:

Criminal history

Criminal history plays a large role in whether or not someone gets bail.

When someone has no prior charges or has been previously cleared of a misdemeanor charge, the judge may feel they’re less likely to commit more crimes while they’re out on bail. 

That’s not to say that someone charged with a first-time misdemeanor will automatically be given bail at the first opportunity.

That’s also not to say that someone with a prior conviction will be denied bail. What we can say is that bail is more likely to be awarded to someone who has been charged for the first time.

Flight risk

If the judge believes the accused will flee the state if they’re released before trial, then they may not be granted bail, or the judge may set much higher bail.

If you have strong ties to your community, such as children and family in the area, or if you own a house or business, the judge may decide you’re less likely to flee.

Again, these factors make it more likely that bond will be granted, but not guaranteed.

If you or a loved one were arrested, call us for strong legal advice

The decisions you make immediately after an arrest can have profound implications on the rest of your case, including the result of your charges.

A skilled criminal defense lawyer in Orlando can help you understand your charges and whether or not bail may be an option for you.

Call Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 to discuss your legal options today.

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What happens when you accept a plea deal?

What happens when you accept a plea deal?

A plea deal or plea bargain is a valuable legal tool to help criminal defendants and prosecutors accelerate the criminal justice process.

These agreements allow parties to avoid the hassle and unpredictability of jury or bench trials and conclude legal proceedings swiftly. Keep reading to learn more about what happens when you accept a plea deal.

what happens when you accept a plea deal


Plea deal explanation 

Plea deals allow criminal defendants to negotiate the parameters of the criminal conviction with prosecutors to obtain favorable outcomes without going to trial.

Essentially, a plea deal is a contract. In exchange for reduced charges or a reduced sentence, the criminal defendant agrees to plead guilty to the charges brought forth by the prosecution.

No two plea deals are the same, and the facts of the underlying criminal case can impact the severity of the charges, the length of the sentence, and the overall tone of the prosecution during negotiations.

Initiating a plea agreement

Prosecutors have 100% discretion over whether to offer a criminal defendant a plea agreement.

Plea agreements may be considered as a way to reduce the prosecutor’s caseload, prevent first-time offenders from engaging in further criminal acts, or as a policy matter to advance criminal justice reform. 

During the earliest stages of the criminal proceeding, the assigned prosecutor handling the case can offer the criminal defendant a chance to avoid full prosecution (if the defendant is likely to or already has pleaded not guilty) by agreeing to a plea or changing an existing plea to guilty.

If the defendant agrees, the prosecution can offer reduced charges and punishment for the guilty plea. 

The negotiation process

Under Rule 3.171 of Florida’s Rules of Criminal Procedure, the prosecutor can approach a criminal defendant’s legal counsel (or the defendant if they are representing themselves) with a potential plea agreement.

The defense counsel or the defendant can negotiate the parameters of the plea agreement, which often includes a discussion of the relevant facts and applicable law surrounding the case.

An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney will understand the severity of the looming conviction and the current status of evidence to determine the viability of a full prosecution and leverage the risk of acquittal or mistrial for reduced charges or sentences. 

Both the prosecutor and your attorney can use information and input from relevant people  in the case, like investigators, witnesses, and victims.

Before a plea agreement can be finalized by both parties, the trial court judge overseeing the case must approve the agreement. Only in rare circumstances will a judge deny a plea agreement. 

Considerations for plea deals

Criminal defendants considering a plea deal should understand the benefits and consequences of accepting a plea offer–of which there are many. 

Many attorneys recommend plea agreements which result in criminal conviction to the underlying originally charged crime causing defendants to endure the consequences of a criminal conviction on their record, whether it is a misdemeanor, felony, or both.

However, through plea agreements a good attorney can help reduce harsher charges and sentencing, which results in downgraded charges, shorter sentences, lower fines, and better probation terms.

In many instances, a defendant may be placed on probation without facing incarceration through a plea deal. 

Lastly, some offenses (primarily drug offenses) include mandatory minimums. Thus, only if a defendant is offered reduced charges through their attorney’s negotiations with the prosecutor of their case, can their sentence be reduced.

An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney can provide proper guidance on negotiations and sentencing issues. 

Contact us for assistance 

If you or a loved one has been arrested in Florida, it is vital to seek legal representation as quickly as possible.

The skilled criminal defense lawyers in Orlando with Katz & Phillips, P.A. have negotiated numerous plea deals resulting in lesser sentences and no jail time. Contact us today for a consultation.

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How do you clear a bench warrant without going to jail?

How do you clear a bench warrant without going to jail?

Bench warrants provide the judicial system with a unique tool to ensure those charged with a crime appear in court when required.

If you were charged with a crime, you need to take a bench warrant very seriously. Those with outstanding bench warrants or those seeking to prevent the issuance of a bench warrant should understand their options.

how to clear a bench warrant without going to jail


What is a bench warrant? 

A bench warrant is issued by the judge overseeing a criminal case, typically a misdemeanor charge like a DUI or traffic violation.

However, bench warrants can also be issued in more serious felony cases.

Bench warrants are issued only after the defendant has failed to appear in court. This typically occurs when a criminal defendant is currently out on bond or is on probation and neglects to appear in court on a scheduled court date. 

Typically judges also issue a bond amount on bench warrants. 

Once a bench warrant is issued, law enforcement within Florida and elsewhere will be notified of the bench warrant upon the defendant’s identification. Addressing bench warrants as quickly as possible is best to prevent issues with a criminal case. 

How does a bench warrant differ from an arrest warrant or an alias capias warrant? 

As mentioned above, bench warrants are used in many misdemeanor cases where a defendant has failed to appear in court.

In addition, bench warrants provide notice to law enforcement agencies to detain a person after identification and investigation. 

However, other types of warrants include arrest warrants and alias capias warrants.

Arrest warrants

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge authorizing law enforcement to detain a criminal suspect, search their person and property, and seize property under the suspicion of criminal misconduct.

Arrest warrants are really not that common. Most arrests are made based upon probable cause at the scene of a crime.

Alias capias warrants

Similar to a bench warrant, a judge overseeing an ongoing criminal case can issue this type of warrant once the defendant fails to appear in court.

These differ from bench warrants because alias capias warrants are issued in felony cases and signal to law enforcement that the warrant be actively pursued. 

Further, a person arrested on an alias capias warrant cannot be released on bond.

Addressing bench warrants

Bench warrants can result in many consequences for a criminal defendant, including revocation of probation, forfeiture of bond money, additional court costs and fees, and additional criminal charges.

Therefore, when addressing a bench warrant, it is best to engage the services of an experienced Florida bench warrant attorney. 

When addressing a bench warrant, a defendant has multiple options to resolve the warrant before it negatively affects the person’s criminal case, which include: 

  • Motioning to the court to withdraw the warrant because it was issued improperly. 
  • Filing a Motion to Withdraw or Quash the warrant stating that the failure to appear was unintentional or unavoidable given the defendant’s circumstances. 
  • Surrendering to the court or law enforcement. 
  • Negotiating the parameters of surrendering to the court or law enforcement with the assistance of legal counsel. 

Consequences of a bench warrant

If a criminal defendant believes a bench warrant has been issued for their arrest, they should immediately contact their attorney. Being arrested on a bench warrant without attempting to resolve the warrant can dramatically harm one’s criminal case and can result in incarceration.

Lastly, bench warrants can appear on a person’s criminal record, which could impact that person’s credit score, job opportunities, social service benefits, housing, custody, and overall social standing in one’s community.

Contact us today

If you or a loved one has recently been charged with a crime and failed to appear in court, there is a good chance that the judge overseeing the case has issued a bench warrant.

Without proper representation, bench warrants can create havoc in a person’s life and often result from circumstances that can be rationally explained to the judge.

The Orlando criminal defense attorneys with Katz & Phillips, P.A. have experience addressing numerous bench warrants on behalf of clients. Contact us today for a consultation.

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What do I do if I lose my appeal?

What do I do if I lose my appeal?

An appeal is a process that allows someone to challenge the decision of a lower court.

In order for an appeal to be successful, there must be errors in the lower court’s ruling that can be identified and corrected, and they must have been significant enough to potentially change the result of the case.

Every defendant enters the appeals process with the hope that their conviction will be overturned.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the outcome. Lost appeals are a reality of the law.

If this happens to you, it’s important to understand what happens next. Continue reading for more information, then contact Katz & Phillips, P.A. to speak with an attorney about your options.

what do I do if I lose my appeal


Potential reasons for a lost appeal

When someone loses an appeal, it means that the judge or judges of the higher court agrees with the original judgment by the lower court.

This usually happens for one of two reasons: either the lower court didn’t make any mistakes, or any errors that did occur weren’t serious enough to merit changing the ruling.

For example, if the lower court used incorrect terminology or made a mistake in instructions given to the jury, but the error didn’t change the outcome of the trial, then the appeal would likely be lost.

Another reason could be that the evidence presented by the prosecutors was simply too strong to be successfully argued against in an appeal.

What are your options after losing an appeal?

All hope is not lost after you lose an appeal. If you believe that a mistake was made in your case, there may be additional options available to you.

File a motion for rehearing

This is a petition to the appellate court requesting that it reconsider its decision. While this course of action is only sometimes successful, it may be a viable option if you can show that the court overlooked critical facts in your case.

If you choose this option, you’ll have only one opportunity to pursue it; if the appellate court denies your motion for rehearing, you won’t be able to request any further appeals.

Appeal to an even higher court

If your case was heard by the state appeals court, you may be able to appeal the decision to the highest court in the state, such as the Florida Supreme Court.

As with the other possible options, the chances of this being successful are slim, but it may be your best recourse if you’re confident that the lower court made mistakes in your case.

Alternative dispute resolution

In some cases, you may be able to pursue a more favorable outcome through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration. This is especially true if your case involved a civil matter, such as a contract dispute or copyright infringement.

This option is less likely to be available in criminal cases, however.

Accepting the decision and moving forward

While nobody wants to accept a conviction, sometimes it is the best course of action in terms of time and money spent.

Before making any decisions, though, you should carefully weigh all of your options with the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Speak with our attorneys for personalized guidance

At Katz & Phillips, P.A., we know how frustrating it can be to lose an appeal. Our attorneys are committed to helping our clients understand their rights and find the best path forward before and after an appeal.

Whether you’re just starting the appeals process or need help exploring your options after a lost appeal, our criminal defense lawyers in Orlando are here for you.

Contact us today at (321) 332-6864 to schedule a consultation and get the guidance you need.

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What is a writ of mandamus?

What is a writ of mandamus?

Several legal remedies are available to Florida residents who believe their rights have been violated or treated unfairly by the legal system. One of these remedies is known as a “writ of mandamus.” This remedy can be used in a variety of situations, including criminal law cases that are being handled by the lower courts.

A writ of mandamus is a court order that requires a government official or agency to perform a specific duty. It’s a way for individuals to compel a government entity to take action when they have failed to do so or made a mistake.

There are strict guidelines for filing a writ of mandamus, which can be found in Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.100.

Our criminal defense attorneys in Orlando are well-versed in this area of the law and can help you determine if filing a writ of mandamus is the right course of action for your situation. Keep reading to learn more, then contact us for personalized guidance.

what is a writ of mandamus


How can a writ of mandamus be used in criminal cases?

Several requirements must be met before a court will issue a writ of mandamus.

The person requesting the writ must establish the following:

  1. They have a clear legal right to the action they are requesting.
  2. The government entity or official has a clear legal duty to perform that action.
  3. There is no other adequate remedy available.

One common situation in which a writ of mandamus may be used in criminal law is when a defendant is being held in custody and isn’t being brought to trial promptly.

Under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, defendants have the right to a speedy trial. If a defendant has been in custody for an extended period without being brought to trial, they may be able to file a writ of mandamus to compel the judge to move their case forward.

Another possibility is when a defendant has been denied the right to present a defense.

Defendants have the constitutional right to due process, including the right to bring forth evidence relevant to their case. If a judge has denied a defendant that right, a writ of mandamus may be used to compel the judge to allow them to present their defense.

Procedure for obtaining a writ of mandamus

1. File a petition

To obtain a writ of mandamus in Florida, you must file a petition with the appropriate higher court as instructed by your attorney.

The petition must include a straightforward explanation of the legal basis for the request, along with any supporting evidence. It should also include dates, case numbers, court orders, and other key information related to the issue at hand.

2. Court assesses petition and issues order to respond

Once the court receives the petition, it will assess its factual and legal merits.

If the court finds that all of the elements required for a writ of mandamus are present, it will issue a “show cause order” requiring the target of the writ to respond.

3. Respondent agrees to or denies allegations

If the respondent denies the allegations with sufficient evidence, the court may schedule a hearing.

If they fail to do so, a hearing is unnecessary, and the court can make a decision based on the available information.

4. Hearing

In the event that a hearing occurs, both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence.

The higher court judge will then determine whether the legal elements have been met and whether a writ of mandamus should be issued.

If the judge grants the writ, the government entity or official will be required to perform the requested action.

If the writ is denied, the petitioner may have other legal options available to them.

Our attorneys can help you explore your options

If you believe you may have a case for a writ of mandamus, it’s vital to consult with an experienced attorney.

When you turn to Katz & Phillips, P.A., we’ll carefully review the facts of your case to determine if a writ of mandamus is a suitable option.

Our criminal defense lawyers in Orlando can also explore other avenues that may be available to you. Contact us today at (321) 332-6864 to get started.

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