1. What is the difference between being charged with a Felony vs. a Misdemeanor Crime?
Crimes are divided into two main categories – felonies and misdemeanors. Each carry a different set of penalties, including length of punishment, based on the seriousness of the crime. Our state has different classifications called ‘degrees’ for both felonies and misdemeanor charges. There are five felony degrees. A first degree felony has a maximum of 30 years in prison; a second degree felony carries 15 years; and, a third degree felony carries 5 years. If charged with a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to a full year in county jail. Because of the varying degrees of punishment, it is very important to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you
Felonies – These are crimes that are punishable by more than one year of imprisonment. With a felony charge, you have the right to a jury trial. Common types of felonies include: murder, sex crimes, robbery, burglary and kidnapping.
Misdemeanors – These are crimes that are punishable with less than one year of imprisonment. You also have the right to a jury trial if the charge is serious and warrants a jury trial.
2. What do I do if I’m arrested?
It is best to hire a criminal attorney if you are arrested. If you’ve already been arrested, please take note: Everything you say can and will be used against you in court of law. Your phone conversations from jail and your conversations with visitors are all taped and can be used as evidence against you. DO NOT speak about your case to anyone except your criminal defense lawyer. At any time that you are in doubt if you should speak with the arresting officer or other law enforcement personnel, you should remain silent until you have spoken with an attorney; otherwise, you will be giving up your right to remain silent and waive your Sixth Amendment right to counsel and your Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.
If you are asked to sign any document while in jail, or if you are coerced to sign anything, advise your attorney immediately. If you do not have an attorney, you may ask to see one immediately. Bauer Crider & Parry offer free consultations and can meet you at the jail in the event that you are not released on bond.
If unable to afford a private criminal defense lawyer, you should request a Public Defender immediately.
3. Why should I choose Bauer Crider & Parry Criminal Defense Law Firm to represent me?
Our firm is dedicated to handling ONLY criminal defense cases. We are a law firm with five attorneys, three paralegals, and one full time investigator who solely focus on criminal law. For over 30 years, our lawyers have backgrounds as Public Defenders, State Prosecutors, and Law Enforcement Officers with a wealth of experience understanding the intricacies of the law.
Three of our attorneys, Rob Bauer, Ronnie Crider and David Parry, are all Board Certified Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers, a certification from the Florida Bar Association, which less than 1% of Florida attorneys maintain. This level of experience offers our clients a level of defenses that has been recognized by The Florida Bar.
We offer free consultations at your location or any of our three offices throughout the Tampa Bay region. You can contact us by calling our office at (800) 486-0472 or send us an email through the Contact Us tab on this website.
4. What will my attorney do for me if I’ve been arrested?
If you’ve been arrested, or soon will be, our criminal defense team, becomes your voice and will work very hard to immediately achieve the best result. We work diligently to fight the charges and often use pre-trial motions on your behalf. We represent your best interests to the prosecuting attorney and will try to negotiate bond amounts., and other important details, in order to minimize the stress that you and your family are going through.
If you’ve been arrested, but not formally charged, we will work to present all of the mitigating factors and exculpatory evidence to the State Attorney in the hope we can influence the State Attorney in their charging decisions. It is important that you act quickly, as well, because most charges are filed within 21 days of your arrest. By hiring an experienced attorney after an arrest, you will give yourself a stronger and more effective defense.
5. What if I am stopped by Police for a DUI? Should I take the breath test or not?
Yes, you should take the breath test if: You have nothing or very little to drink. It’s important to remember that the police can also request a urine test to determine whether you have ingested any controlled substances (that can mean prescription drugs as well).
Do not take a breath test if: You have had more than a couple drinks or have combined drinks and ingested any controlled substance (including prescription drugs). It’s important to remember that Florida Law does not allow for a police officer to request a breath test or urine test unless you are already under arrest for DUI. This means, that even if you ‘pass’ the test, you are still under arrest and are going to jail and a police officer can not ‘un-arrest’ you. Most DUI arrests are videotaped and there is a better chance of getting your case dismissed if there is no breath test and you look sober on the video.
6. What if I wasn’t read my Miranda rights?
It is important that every person accused of a crime know of their rights and understand that they are meant to protect you from the stressful and often coercive nature of an arrest. If the police have enough evidence to arrest you – they will. Don’t talk to the police because if you do, you may give them more information and evidence that will later be used in the case against you.
Your Miranda Rights under Florida Law are: 1. You have the right to remain silent. 2. Anything you say can and will be used against you. 3. You have the right to an attorney before and during any interrogation. 4. If you cannot afford an attorney, you have the right to have an attorney appointed to you before and during any questioning. Miranda Rights only apply when a person is questioned or interrogated by law enforcement. You can be arrested and NEVER read your Miranda Rights. If you are detained and law enforcement wants to question you about a crime, you should always request the assistance of an attorney before speaking with them.
7. What are the penalties for a first time DUI in Florida?
Many times individuals charged with their first DUI, assume that they must plead guilty and do not have a criminal attorney handle their case. Since penalties vary and can be severe, we recommend contacting an experienced DUI attorney. Penalties vary but may include: 6 months in jail (9 months if your blood alcohol level was 2.0 or higher or a minor in the vehicle.); Fines of up to $500 ($1000 for BAC of 2.0 or higher or a minor in the vehicle.); 6-month driver’s license suspension; Vehicle impounded for 10 days; 12 hours of DUI school; Up to 1 year of probation; 50 hours of community service or an additional $500 fine.
8. What is “Doctor Shopping?”
Florida Statute section 893.12 prohibits the practice of ‘doctor shopping.’ Doctor Shopping is the practice of visiting multiple doctors for the purpose of obtaining a prescription you are otherwise not entitled to fill. Being charged with doctor shopping is a serious crime and requires the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney.
9. What can I expect from Bauer Crider & Parry Criminal Defense Law Firm?
Our pledge to our clients is very simple and straight forward.
We pledge to:
• Honestly communicate with you and your family throughout the judicial process so that you are always fully informed of what may happen with your case.
• Return your calls within 24 hours/ 7 days a week.
• Access the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
• Help you make decisions that resolve your case in both a timely and cost effective manner.
• Devote the resources of our three legal assistants, five attorneys, and our full time staff investigator
to best defend your freedoms.
10. What is the difference between expunging and sealing?
There are two ways to clear your criminal record: Expungement or Sealing.
Expungement destroys your criminal record and returns the record to you. This means that their is no record of your charge in the court systems. However, your record has to fully qualify to be expunged and you may only expunge your record for one criminal episode in your lifetime.
Sealing a record means that your charge can not be obtained unless it is sought with a court order. A sealed record is not available to most of the general public. Cases on your record can be sealed on an individual basis.
11. Do I have to appear in Court for all of the hearings?
In most cases, your lawyer can appear on your behalf and you will not have to come to court. However, there will be some hearings whereby it will be necessary to appear with your lawyer. Each case is unique and handled on an individual basis that will allow you the best defense. This is why it is so important to hire a qualified Board Certified Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer to defend your case.
12. How Do I Bond Out of Jail?
The purpose of a Bond is to make sure that you will return to appear in Court until your case is resolved. Some charges will not have a bond set and you must remain in jail until your case is presented to the Judge. Hiring an attorney, soon after being arrested and booked into jail, can often help to get a bond reduced or removed. There are standard amounts based on the charge and in order to be released, you must pay the bond amount.
If it is necessary to pay a bond in order to get out of jail, you can either pay it entirely (called a ‘cash bond’) which will be held until your case is completed. Once completed, depending on the resolution of the case, you may get the cash bond returned to you; however, if you are found guilty, court costs and other fees associated with the case may be deducted from the cash bond.
Another way to ‘bond out’ is to pay 10% of the bond amount. This becomes the fee for the Bondsman. It will be necessary to present collateral for the 90% balance. This collateral can be jewelry, car, home, etc. and once your case is complete, may be returned to you. If you fail to appear at your necessary hearings, this collateral may also be kept by the bail bondsman.