Criminal law differs from civil law in that the “Plaintiff” in a criminal law case is the federal, state, or local government whose laws are alleged to have been broken by the Defendant. Therefore, criminal matter will list “United States of America vs. Defendant”, or “State of Florida vs. Defendant”, or even “City of Metropolis vs. Defendant” if the breached law is a municipal ordinance. Federal prosecutions are a different animal all together addressed elsewhere on this site. Most of our clients find themselves on the wrong side of the State of Florida and its many listed crimes. If you or someone you know needs advice in a criminal matter, The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A. offers free consultations.
The process for most criminal cases is basically the same. Things progress in steps as follows:
- Arrest – This is the gateway to the criminal justice system. After arrest, some may be able to meet a predetermined bond based on the bond schedule. If one cannot afford the bond, it may be addressed at First Appearance or later by hearing with the judge.
- First Appearance – If someone has not made bond, a magistrate or judge will review the arrest to confirm probable cause existed for arrest and address bond, particularly should there be need to change or set the bond.
- Formal Charging – The State Attorney’s Office (usually) then examines the evidence and decides what, if any, charges it will file. They can file the same charges from arrest, they can file more, or they can file less. Sometimes, though not often, they decide not to go forward.
- Discovery – This is when the defense and the prosecution exchange evidence and question witnesses to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the case. This is when pretrial motions are generally filed to attack the case, the law, or the evidence.
- Resolution – Whether by trial, plea, or drop, eventually the cases are resolved. Information gained during the work done in trial preparation and during discovery will guide you and your attorney in deciding what to do to resolve your case.
Of course, it isn’t as simple as it sounds, but this gives you an idea of what to expect. Often time the wait for resolution is difficult on the accused. Unfortunately, as the expression says, “the wheels of justice grind slowly.”
In Florida, crimes are designated as felonies or misdemeanors. Felonies are the more serious categories of crimes, having a possible sentence of more than one year of incarceration, while misdemeanors have a possible sentence of one year or less of incarceration. The focus of this firm in a criminal matter is to challenge the evidence, challenge the law, and then use that information to achieve the best result for our clients, supported by the facts and evidence.
The law office of The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., which primarily serves Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties (and other parts of Florida, as needed), is very well versed, and vastly experienced, in the defense of criminal actions. Attorney Sean Clayton, a former prosecutor, has brought to the firm a very academic view of criminal defense, which has translated into success in the presentation of pre-trial motions and placement in alternative resolution programs which have saved our clients the trauma, uncertainty, and expense of trials. In short, law office of The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., has found a way to serve our clients’ best interests, while also working to serve the ends and means of justice, with admirable results for our clients.
A criminal conviction can have a long-lasting, and sometimes, a devastating effect, upon a person’s life. It can impact his or her ability to obtain gainful employment, a decent place to live, and it can even damage one’s credit rating. For these reasons alone, consultation with experts in the defense of criminal matters, such as the staff at the law office of The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., as soon as a charge has been filed, or even threatened, is essential for your safety.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, or if charges are about to arise, please call the law office of The Law Office of Sean Clayton, P.A., for a free consultation. Our number is (954) 951-3351, and we will be standing by to answer your questions. You can also contact us by email on our Contact Us page. We are pleased to be able to offer competent representation, reasonable fees, and a personal touch to every one of our clients.