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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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Will I automatically lose my job if I get arrested?

Will I automatically lose my
job if I get arrested?

Whether you have an active warrant or were recently arrested, it’s natural to be concerned about the fate of your job.

In Florida, the answer to this question isn’t necessarily clear-cut. Due to the state’s “at will” employment laws, most employers are free to make their own hiring and firing decisions. As a result, your employer may or may not decide to terminate you depending on various circumstances. 

Continue reading for more information, then contact the Orlando criminal defense lawyers at Katz & Phillips, P.A. for personalized guidance.

will I lose my job if I get arrested

Certain careers make job loss more likely

If your job requires special state licensing, a criminal record — including an arrest — could have serious implications for your employment.

For example, if you’re a licensed healthcare professional in Florida, a criminal charge could lead to an investigation by the Department of Health. Florida law doesn’t mandate the loss of medical licenses for criminal charges, but the licensing board has the authority to revoke your license if they feel it’s warranted.

Some employees are entitled to due process

On the other hand, certain types of careers may protect you from immediate job loss. For instance, individuals employed by federal, state, and county agencies are entitled to “due process” before they can be terminated from their jobs. Tenured teachers who are employed by the public school system are one example of workers who fall under this category.

“Due process” means that the employer must notify the employee in advance of their impending termination and allow them to defend themselves at a hearing.

During the hearing, the employer must demonstrate that they have a compelling reason for the termination. While your employer may still choose to fire you, this added layer of protection gives you the opportunity to explain your circumstances in a formal setting and potentially avoid job loss.

The nature of the crime often matters

The nature of your criminal charge will also play a role in whether you lose your job, either in the immediate aftermath of the arrest or during a court hearing.

For instance, if you’re arrested for an offense involving violence, theft, or drugs or alcohol, your employer may be more likely to decide to sever ties with you. Alternatively, if you’re arrested for something “minor” like contempt of court, loitering, disorderly conduct, or trespass, your employer may be more willing to overlook the incident — but there’s no guarantee.

Consider your employer's policies

Some employers have policies in place that may affect the outcome of your job. If you have an employment contract, for example, it may contain provisions about criminal charges and their consequences. Some employers have “zero tolerance” policies that might require them to terminate your employment if you’re arrested, regardless of the nature of the crime.

Other policies may protect you from termination. If you’re in a union, for instance, your union’s collective bargaining agreement may require the employer to issue a warning before taking disciplinary action for minor criminal charges.

Additionally, if you’re a contracted employee with a specified term, the employer may not have grounds to terminate you before that term expires unless your contract specifically mentions criminal charges.

Orlando criminal defense lawyers help you understand your rights

Ultimately, the best way to protect your job is to avoid a conviction. While an arrest may or may not have an immediate impact on your employment depending on the circumstances, a conviction almost certainly will.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Florida, it’s in your best interests to consult a qualified attorney. At Katz & Phillips, P.A., we understand that your job and reputation are on the line and will do everything we can to help you secure a favorable outcome.

Our experienced criminal defense lawyers in Orlando can review your case and guide you through your legal options. Contact us at (321) 332-6864 to learn more and schedule a consultation.

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Why do I need a lawyer if I plan to plead guilty?

Why do I need a lawyer if I plan to plead guilty?

Nobody wants to experience criminal punishment. Sometimes, though, your best bet is to plead guilty, as reduced punishment is often better than the risk of going to trial – and potentially facing far more severe penalties.

When you want to enter into a guilty plea, you need the assistance of a skilled and professional Orlando criminal defense attorney.

Contact Katz & Phillips, P.A. immediately for a free consultation and case review. In the meantime, keep reading to learn why it’s important to have a lawyer, even if you plan on pleading guilty.

do I need a lawyer if I plead guilty


What a lawyer can do for you

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate

The biggest advantage that you will get out of having an attorney is the negotiation aspect.

Knowing the law and having experience in the realm of criminal law is probably the biggest advantage that a lawyer has over a layperson.

The reason why negotiation is such an important part of plea agreements is that prosecutors have almost unlimited discretion to decide what charges to bring against you.

Even if you have clearly and obviously committed a crime, you will not be charged with it unless the prosecutor decides to charge you.

Making prosecutorial discretion work to your advantage

A skilled criminal defense attorney can persuade the prosecutor:

  • Not to charge you
  • Charge you with less than they could
  • Make sentencing recommendations to the Court that are far lower than the typical sentence for such a crime. 

It can be scary how much power prosecutors have, but prosecutorial discretion can be used in your favor.

If you enlist the assistance of a skilled and professional Orlando criminal defense attorney, you can convince the prosecutor to grant you a favorable plea deal agreement.

Contact an Orlando criminal defense attorney today to ensure that you are well-represented.

It is much easier to negotiate with the prosecution if you are apprised in the area of law and can argue to the prosecutor that their case is weaker than they think.

Personal relationships with prosecutors

When your lawyer has a personal relationship with the prosecutor, it is much easier for them to negotiate a favorable outcome.

In fact, for several types of misdemeanor negotiations, talks between the prosecutor and your lawyer might take as little as a few minutes.

Contact an Orlando criminal defense attorney

While pleading guilty might seem like an easy task, you still need a reliable criminal defense attorney to assist you.

This is because pleading guilty is essentially a negotiation, but your negotiation partner is a trained prosecutor. Prosecutors are very good at their job, and if you aren’t careful, you might get railroaded.

Our skilled Orlando criminal defense attorneys are well aware of all of the tricks in the prosecutor’s arsenal.

They will be able to advise you on whether the deal you are being offered is a good deal or not, and what the collateral consequences of your plea will be.

When you need help negotiating a plea deal, contact Katz & Phillips, P.A. online or call (321) 332-6864.

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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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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 is the difference between a dismissal and an expungement?

What is the difference between a
dismissal and an expungement?

Anyone in Florida who’s been the subject of a criminal case has likely heard the terms “dismissal” and “expungement” thrown around. Although the concepts are similar, there are several important distinctions. Whether you’re actively facing charges or have a criminal history, it’s important to understand the difference between these legal remedies.

The following information will shed some light on the key differences between a dismissal and an expungement under Florida law. If you have any questions or would like more information, contact the Orlando criminal defense lawyers with Katz & Phillips, P.A. at (321) 332-6864 to schedule a consultation.

difference between a dismissal and an expungement

What is a dismissal?

A dismissal is the termination of criminal proceedings against a defendant (the person facing charges). If your case is dismissed, it will still appear on your criminal record. However, it will indicate that you were charged with a crime but that you weren’t convicted.

Prospective employers, landlords, or other entities conducting a background check on you may see the dismissal on your record, but it generally won’t carry as much weight as a conviction.

There are two common ways in which a dismissal can occur. The first is by the prosecutor’s own volition, meaning they dismiss the case before it goes to trial. This can be based on factors like lack of evidence, errors in the charging paperwork, or a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights, such as an illegal search or seizure.

The second way for a case to be dismissed is on the court’s orders. The court may order a dismissal if it feels there’s insufficient evidence or for certain procedural violations of the Defendant’s rights.

What is an expungement?

An expungement is a legal process that erases a criminal case from all records. The physical copy of the court records and any other documents related to an expunged case will be destroyed.

If you’re granted an expungement, anyone who accesses your criminal record won’t be able to see that you were arrested or charged with a crime. You also won’t be required to disclose the information on job applications or other forms, making it easier to secure employment, housing, and other opportunities. This is where expungement can be much more beneficial than a dismissal.

In Florida, expungement is available to a limited group of people. Only those whose cases have been dismissed, dropped, or acquitted are eligible for expungement. However, certain types of charges, including manslaughter, homicide, sex offenses, burglary, and drug trafficking are ineligible for expungement.

You may only have one expungement granted in your lifetime. If your case meets the eligibility requirements, you can file a petition with the court to have it expunged with the help of our criminal defense lawyers in Orlando. The court will review the petition and determine whether or not to grant it.

Learn more from our attorneys

Dismissal and expungement aren’t synonymous, but they can go hand-in-hand. For example, if you’re able to have your case dismissed, you may then be eligible for expungement. Either option can positively impact your future by providing an opportunity to move forward after being charged with a crime.

While there’s no guarantee of either outcome, working with an experienced attorney can greatly increase your chances of achieving a favorable result. Whether it’s a dismissal or expungement you’re after, the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at Katz & Phillips, P.A. can help you understand your options and determine the best course of action for your particular case.

From there, we can guide you through the necessary steps and advocate on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more and get started.

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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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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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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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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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