A criminal charge against you can follow you for the rest of your life. Even if you can endure the prison sentence attached to the felony you committed or even if you afford to pay the steep fines, having a criminal record will affect every aspect of your future, which includes your job prospects, the ability to drive, or own a firearm, and your personal relationships and reputation.
Apart from the very obvious ways it can change your life such as those mentioned above, there are effects that are not talked about as much, such as the trauma of being the defendant in a criminal case, and the mental anguish this may cause.
What do you do when you are the accused in a criminal offense? The only way you can prevent long-lasting damage is to have your rights defended by an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney.
We Can Help with a Wide Variety of Criminal Offenses in Florida
Our founding attorney Coy H. Browning is a former Florida State Trooper. This makes him the ideal criminal defense attorney for felony and misdemeanor cases. He is knowledgeable not only in the substantive aspect of criminal law, but also in criminal procedure.
Criminal law is defined as “the body of law that defines criminal offenses, regulates the apprehension, charging, and trial of suspected persons, and fixes penalties and modes of treatment applicable to convicted offenders.”
On the other hand, criminal procedure “deals with the set of rules governing the series of proceedings through which the government enforces substantive criminal law.” In other words, the two things go hand in hand, and our Attorney Coy H. Browning has an extensive background in both. He can work with you on your case whether it’s a simple offense or a more serious one.
If you or someone you know were arrested and charged with a crime on the Emerald Coast or Northwest Florida, contact us today by calling (850) 344-1736 for a FREE review of your case.
We tirelessly defend our clients against a wide range of misdemeanor and felony charges, including, but not limited to:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Under the Florida Statutes, a person is considered as “driving under the influence” when they are “driving or in actual physical control” of a vehicle and they have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or has a breath alcohol level of 0.08 or more alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Depending on the severity of the offense and habituality of the offender, the penalty for driving under the influence can range from being fined a certain amount, having to serve jail time, or a combination of both. A person convicted for a second time may even be mandated by the court to install in his vehicle, at his own expense, an ignition interlock device that will prevent him from starting his vehicle when he has consumed alcohol. Attorney Coy H. Browning knows firsthand the rules, regulations and standard operating procedures (SOPs) police officers must follow when pulling someone over and arresting them for DUI. He will be able to tell immediately if the manner in which you were pulled over and arrested were violative of your rights. We will be discussing more of this later on in this article. If you have been charged with drunk driving, we can help determine whether your rights were violated during the time of apprehension and arrest and work to refute or reduce the charges against you.
- Drug Possession. Section 893 of the Florida Statutes expressly prohibits the possession and sale of prohibited substances, stating: “a person may not sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture, or deliver, a controlled substance.” The same section also goes on to categorize the substances into 5 different schedules. Possession of prohibited substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), heroin, and other illegal drugs may be charged as felony crimes with penalties that include long prison sentences and thousands of dollars in fines. The severity of the punishment you receive will depend on the type of substance you were found to be in possession of, and the amount you had with you. We advocate for defendants found to be in possession of narcotics, prescription medications (such as Xanax or Oxycodone), and other controlled substances in their homes and vehicles. One key aspect of building your defense is determining if you were subjected to an illegal search and seizure of your person and home. Evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure is deemed inadmissible in a court of law. The rule on searches and seizures is far too often disregarded by the local authorities, so you need a lawyer present to help you determine if your rights under the rule were violated.
- Assault & Battery. Florida laws define assault as “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.” Under the laws, assault can be put under two categories: assault upon another person, and assault of another person in furtherance of a riot. The first category is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree, while the second category is considered as a misdemeanor of the second degree. Any physical act that has the ability to inflict bodily harm to another, or places an alleged victim in reasonable fear of bodily harm, could result in charges of assault. You may be charged with assault even if the alleged victim was not seriously injured, or has made a false or vindictive claim against you. Your criminal defense attorney will work on getting charges against you dropped, or at the very least get the charges against you minimized.
- Domestic Violence. Domestic violence is something we hear often, and we pretty much have an idea of what it is. But legally speaking, what is it exactly? Under the law it is defined as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” The term family member is broad in its scope of application and can be used to refer to any of the following persons:
B. Former spouses;
C. Persons related by blood or by marriage;
D. Persons who are presently residing together as if a family;
E. Persons who have resided together in the past as a family; and
F. Persons who are the parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.
If you are accused of assaulting and inflicting bodily harm to a family member, you can be charged with domestic violence. If you are convicted, there is a chance that you will permanently lose the right to obtain or keep firearms, be ordered to leave your home, and have only minimal contact with your partner and children.
We can help you build a defense that can refute the charges against you and help protect your reputation as well as your gun rights.
- Theft. Under the law, theft is defined as: knowingly obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently:
(a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.
(b) Appropriate the property to his or her own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property.\
Theft charges can range from misdemeanor shoplifting to burglary and armed robbery, and can carry a wide array of consequences depending on the details of the offense such as the items taken and the value of said items. Your Fort Walton Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer will do all that they can to prove non-participation in the act minimize your role in it and fight for the dropping of your charges or the reduction of your penalties.
- Driving With a Suspended License. Depending on whether you have prior convictions, this offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, resulting in shorter or longer periods of suspensions. Either way, these suspensions can prevent you from performing ordinary tasks such as driving yourself to work or school. Those who drive with a suspended license are considered guilty of a moving violation and are punishable under Section 322 of the Florida Statutes, the penalties for which will depend on the habituality of the offender. Here at our law office, our attorney and staff can help review your situation and help get your suspension lifted or shortened.
- Possession of Alcohol by a Minor. Under Section 562 of the Florida Statutes, it is prohibited for persons under the age of 21 to consume or be in possession of alcoholic beverages. Persons under 21 found to be in violation of this rule shall be charged with a misdemeanor of the second degree. A further violation of this rule after a first offense, and the offender shall be charged with a misdemeanor in the first degree. One exception under this rule are persons employed over the age of 18 who are employed in businesses involved in the sale, preparation, or service of alcoholic beverages. A further exception to this rule are students 18 years of age or over who are enrolled in courses where the tasting or consumption of alcoholic beverages is part of the curriculum. Florida law enforcement regularly arrests hometown students and visiting spring breakers who are caught with alcohol in their possession. We can argue for minimal sentencing and work to get your record expunged to protect future employment and education opportunities. Call our law office for a free consult in order to know more of your rights as a minor regarding alcohol consumption.
What Should You Do If You Have Been Arrested in Fort Walton Beach, Florida?
Nobody goes about their daily activities expecting to get arrested by the police. However, there are instances in which this is unavoidable. It may be because you had a little too much to drink at the bar and still decided to drive your vehicle, or you got into an altercation with another person, resulting in physical blows against one another. Whatever the situation may be, you need to make yourself aware of the things happening around you. First, take note of how you were apprehended by the police. Local authorities may use extraordinary means in neutralizing a situation. However, authority is unlimited. The amount of force used by the police should be commensurate with the aggression being exerted by the offenders. Be on the look out for this.
The second thing to look out for is if you were read your Miranda Rights. What are these so-called Miranda Rights? It’s highly likely that you’ve heard this term mentioned either on shows you watch or on the news. To put it simply, a person arrested by authorities has the right to remain silent, and this right has existed for a long time. It got its name from the landmark case of Miranda vs. Arizona. In this case, the United States Supreme Court held that under the Fifth Amended, statements made by a person in custody are admissible provided that they were informed of their right to remain silent and their right to speak with an attorney prior to interrogation.
If a person cannot afford their own attorney, the state will provide them with one. In the absence of informing the accused of these rights, statements made during the interrogation are inadmissible.
Lastly, you should contact your attorney. In line with the discussion above, you will need to speak with your attorney prior to the conduction of interrogation. You will need an attorney with years of experience dealing with arrests and criminal law and knows their way around the criminal justice system.
We at Browning Law are here to help. We are a law firm consisting of a criminal defense attorney and an excellent set of professional staff who will work tirelessly to ensure that from the very beginning, your rights were upheld and you are given the best possible outcome in your case.
A Former State Trooper Defending Your Rights
From the time that he left the force, Coy Browning has defended numerous clients who have been accused of breaking the law. At Browning Law Firm, we make it our mission to investigate all of the facts surrounding your case, get the charges against you dismissed or reduced, and prevent the incident from negatively impacting your future.
It is our goal to provide:
- Immediate intervention. We want you to know your options and begin preparing your best defense as soon as possible. That is why we provide a free initial consultation to let you know where you stand, relieving as much stress as possible while you await a court date. If your family member has already been arrested, we will go to the jail in order to meet with them and explain their rights. While we are there, our team of experienced lawyers and staff will ascertain if any of the accused’s rights were violated in the manner of conducting the arrest.
- Aggressive representation. Having years of experience working on both sides of an arrest, wherein we’ve represented private complainants as well as accused persons, we are given unique insight and knowledge on the inner workings of the systems involved in a criminal case. If total dismissal of the charges cannot be achieved, we will then proceed to negotiate with the other party for the best possible plea deal, arguing for lesser penalties or probation programs such as pre-trial diversion, pre-trial intervention, or deferred prosecution.
- Criminal record sealing and expungement. In the current era where nearly every piece of information about ourselves can be found online, we will fight hard to protect your privacy. Even if your criminal record is sealed, your booking image may still exist on the internet, affecting your career path and future in the workforce, loan applications, and other prospects for the future. We can work to have your criminal record expunged, and have all evidence of a prior conviction expunged. This will allow you to start with a clean slate and have a fresh start.
Contact Browning Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation
As with most cases, it is better to talk to a lawyer at the soonest possible time. The sooner you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney, the better your chances of refuting the charges against you. Browning Law Firm assists defendants in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Navarre, Crestview, Niceville, and across the Florida Panhandle.
If you or a loved one have been arrested on criminal charges, contact us today for your free initial consultation by calling (850) 344-1736 or completing our contact form. You can rest assured that under the attorney-client relationship, any information you share shall be protected and not disclosed with unauthorized persons.