Criminal Law

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The attorneys at Draper Law Office are skilled and experienced in dealing with criminal law cases. Our criminal law attorneys deal with cases varying from misdemeanors, felonies, and a variety of traffic crimes. A misdemeanor being classified as crimes punishable by a sentence of up to a year, a felony as a year or longer, while traffic crimes can be either misdemeanor or felony sentences. Within both misdemeanors and felonies there are also different degrees of sentencing - for example, second degree or first degree misdemeanors, as well as third degree, second degree, first degree and potential life felonies. Traffic crimes also often have their own special, unique sentences.

No matter which case your crime falls under, it is important to have proper representation. You will want an attorney that is familiar with crime investigation and the law, and who will listen to your case in order to understand what occurred.

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Florida Criminal Laws

A number of the criminal laws in Florida have received a lot of attention nationally. This is particularly true of our “Stand Your Ground” law. This law states the ways in which a person can use deadly force to defend themselves if they fear for their life. Florida has numerous criminal laws relating to capital offenses, gun control, first degree murder, burglary, cocaine, domestic violence, prostitution, and many others. We have provided brief descriptions of various types of criminal laws, and their potential punishments.This list is far from an exhaustive list, and it provides only general information of some of the most common types of criminal offenses.For an in-depth discussion of a specific offense, contact one of our attorneys. The descriptions below pertain only to Florida law.

kissimmee criminal law

Capital Punishment Law

The death penalty is always very controversial and it tends to evoke emotional responses. In the U.S., every state crafts its own capital punishment laws. The majority of states, Florida included, permit capital punishment for very serious offenses. Florida executes criminals with lethal injections, but the offender is able to request electrocution.

Gun Control Law

Florida was a trend setter in passing the first “stand your ground” law in the United States in 2005. The George Zimmerman case instantly catapulted Florida’s law to center stage. This law was first in removing a duty for a person to retreat prior to employing a forceful self-defense. Florida’s law permits people to avoid retreating if they believe that standing their ground will prevent bodily harm or death.

There have been several other states that followed Florida’s lead by affirming the right of a person to act in self-defense, even outside their personal residence, and with deadly force, if needed.

However, gun laws incorporate much more than just “stand your ground”. There is a three-day waiting period, not including holidays and weekends, in order to buy a gun.

First Degree Murder Law

Homicide, is the killing of another person, unlawfully. Under Florida law, this includes manslaughter and murder in several degrees. The kind of homicide dictates the requirements needed for a prosecutor to provide the case and the punishment that is meted out if the defendant is convicted.

First degree homicide is the most serious type of murder charge in Florida, and it includes:
  • Premeditated murder
  • Felony murder
  • Killings that are concomitant with a drug related offense

Assault and Battery

Even though assault and battery are frequently related crimes and lumped together, they are actually two separate offenses. These crimes are separately defined in state law. Assault, is considered a threat of using force and battery is unwanted physical contact with another person, that usually results in bodily injury, but may also be sexual in nature.

Criminal Assault Law

Assault is a threat of violence that causes a victim to fear that harm is imminent. This offense does not entail any physical contact between the offender and his or her victim. To prove this offense the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant’s threat was intentional, intentionally meant to evoke fear in the victim, or intentionally perpetrate a violent act.

The defense will often try to prove that there was no criminal intent and that the incident was accidentally, or made in a joking manner. The prosecution must prove that a defendant exhibited the threat via a gesture, words, or an act of intimidation. Additionally, the defendant must have and the ability to actually execute the threat, and the victim must have anticipated imminent harm.

Florida law has specific assault offenses such as simple, aggravated, and felony assault. The severity of the charge and its punishment are dependent upon the type of assault charge that is pursued by the state prosecutor.

Battery Law

When physical contact occurs between and defendant and the victim, the defendant may be prosecuted for battery.

In order to prove bather, the prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant’s contact with the victim was intentional or that the defendant struck the victim. The physical contact between the two must have been done against the will of the victim and without the consent of the victim.


Burglary is considered a property crime in which the defendant is charged with entering or occupying someone’s property with the intention of engaging in an unlawful act.

The prosecutor needs to show that the premises was entered by the defendant with the intention of carrying out a crime. For instance, the defendant’s intention may have been to steal some items.

In addition, the prosecutor needs to show that the defendant was not authorized to enter the premises. Sometimes burglary can be established if the defendant had authorization to enter, but the authorization had been revoked, or expired.

Burglary Classifications

Burglaries may be classified as first, second, or third degree. A first degree felony may be established if a motor vehicle was used to damage a structure or if more than $1,000 is damages resulted to premises during the time the burglary occurred.

If no assault or batter occurred and no deadly weapon was used, it is likely the burglary may be prosecuted as a second degree burglary.

Cocaine Laws

Florida’s proximity to the Caribbean, Central, and South America have made it a prime entry point for illegal drugs. However, cocaine has seemed to have a very big impact. Illegal funds related to cocaine sales were enormous during the 1980s, due to numerous cocaine cartels.

State Cocaine Laws Against this history, it’s not surprising that cocaine possession is a serious crime in Florida. The possession of greater than 28 grams is a first degree felony and is considered trafficking. Nevertheless, first time offenders with smaller drug quantities are often sent to diversion programs rather than jail.

Domestic Violence

Numerous states have enacted statutes that are related to the prosecution and prevention of domestic violence. Florida law has legal options via both civil and criminal court systems. For instance, restraining orders can be obtained via family courts.

Domestic violence is defined as a specified kind of violent act committed against a household or family member. For example, a violent act can be committed against an ex-spouse, spouse, relative or child that have a relation to the perpetrator by marriage or blood. Florida also has domestic violence protection between people who live together, or lived together in the past.

The kinds of crimes that are considered under Florida domestic violence law include kidnapping, aggravated assault, assault, sexual assault, sexual battery, aggravated battery, aggravated stalking, stalking, and others.

The type of charges that are levied depend upon the particulars of each event. For instance, the threat of bodily harm may turn into an assault charge whereas as striking another person may be charged as battery. If an aggravating factor can be established an aggravated battery, or aggravated assault charge may be pursued, which makes the crime a felony, with a punishment that is more severe.

Criminal Law FAQs

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